The 20 Best Men’s Watches You Can Buy Under $1,000

Updated Jan 03, 2023

Despite a tendency to focus most of our attention on the more top-shelf, four and five-figure timepieces that come to market, the reality is that one doesn’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get their hands on a quality watch. With literally thousands of different options on the market, however, it can be daunting even knowing where to begin one’s search when shopping for a new timepiece. Well aware of this reality — and the sheer abundance of options on the market — we’ve scoured the horological space to deliver this curated guide to the best men’s watches for under $1,000.

The Finer Points Of Horological Hunting

The Eight Most Important Factors To Consider When Shopping For A New Watch

While there are dozens of factors that can be taken into account when shopping for a watch, there’s a short list of areas that trump all others in terms of importance. Below, we’ll briefly break down the eight most pivotal things to think about when shopping for a new watch. 

Watch Type: Even when one’s search is confined to timepieces sold for under the $1,000 mark, there’s still a wealth of options available in terms of style of watch, from field watches to GMTs to divers to dress watches. We recommend beginning one’s search by first determining the style of watch that they’re interested in and then narrowing down their options from there. 

Case: Constituting the actual watch itself, cases are of extreme importance. When shopping for a watch, one wants to explore different case shapes and designs, as well as case material and finish. Additionally, you’ll also want to look into a watch case’s water resistance rating, along with other details such as the case’s crown and case back. 

Dial: While a watch’s case and bracelet (or band) play an enormous role in its aesthetic, the dial is largely responsible for a timepiece’s larger character, as the use of certain colors, patterns, and/or finishes undeniably afford different references their overall flavor. What’s more, the use of indices, numerals, date windows, and handsets also play an enormous role in a watch’s overall look and character. 

Movement: A watch’s movement plays an enormous part in its overall quality, as it largely determines its accuracy and performance. When looking at watches, one should consider the movement type — automatic, mechanical, quartz, etc — as well as other specs such as beat rate, number of jewels, and power reserve. 

Fit & Finish: One of the biggest areas that separate genuine luxury watches from their more budget-focused counterparts is fit and finish. The level of craftsmanship on display tends to be markedly higher on more premium watches, with substantially more crisp polishing and incredibly uniform brushed finishes adorning the case, bracelet, and elements on the dial. 

Manufacturer: While you do tend to pay a markup when buying watches from bonafide luxury brands, there are objectively high-end timepieces from eminent watchmakers that can be had for under a grand. Though often making for solid investments, watches made by elite brands do come at a premium, and seldom offer the same level of value as a watch from a smaller outfit. 

Dimensions: Watches can vary pretty significantly in terms of their dimensions. Case width is typically viewed as being the most important metric in this area, however, it’s also worth looking into a watch’s case thickness, lug-to-lug measurement, and lug size — as this latter dimension will also determine what other bands or bracelets will be compatible with the watch. 

Strap/Bracelet: Though they can typically be replaced with relative ease, a watch’s bracelet still plays an important role in its overall design, and are often penned specifically to complement a timepiece’s case. On top of how it looks, it’s also worth exploring a band or bracelet’s construction, as well as the type of clasp it utilizes. 

Sub-Grand Greatness

The Five Best Watches Under $1,000

Photo: Baltic Watches

Baltic MR01

Best Dress Watch: While minimalism has largely been the name of the game in modern luxury watch design, French micro-brand Baltic has taken things in the opposite direction with its dressy MR01 timepiece. Assembled by hand in France, the Baltic MR01 combines a top-shelf finish with an idiosyncratic movement and a bevy of elegant design decisions to yield a sub-$1,000 watch that’s truly unlike anything else currently on the market. Equipped with a standard 20mm lug width and a fairly compact 44mm lug-to-lug measurement, the MR01 is pieced together around a 36mm stainless steel case that sports a unique edge-to-edge transparent case back, a push-pull crown at 3 o’clock, and an all-around mirror-polished finish. In fact, every exposed piece of steel on the watch has been bestowed with a high-polish treatment. 

Oozing with old-school elegance, the MR01 boasts genuine Breguet numerals, complemented via an off-centered sub-second dial and a pitted Salmon textured finish — all of which are objectively reminiscent of Swiss Vacheron Constantin’s 1920s-era offerings. Protected beneath a high-domed Hesalite crystal is the MR01’s rich Salmon dial. Encompassed via a sixty-second bezel, the dial features a distinctive off-centered smoother sub-second dial between 6 and 9 along with tear-dropped shaped hour and minute hands. Matching the watch’s antique-inspired visual theme is Baltic’s choice of movement, an automatic Hangzhou caliber 5000A. Generating less inertia than other self-winding movements, the Baltic MR01 features a micro-rotor that affords a 42-hour power reserve. First released in 2021, the watch is sold in three color options. The Salmon dial reference that we tested ships with a dark blue Italian calf leather strap with baby blue accent stitching and a slight taper toward the buckle.

Case Size: 36mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Movement: Automatic

Photo: Tissot Watches

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80

Best Vintage-Inspired: Easily one of the most popular timepieces currently available for under the four-figure mark, the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 is a modern horological homage to one of the Swiss brand’s 1970s-era watches, borrowing the case shape from half-a-century-ago and bestowing it with a modern movement. Composed of 316L stainless steel with a fully brushed finish, the PRX Powermatic 80’s neo-retro-style, barrel-shaped case is complemented via a mirror-finish bezel and an integrated quick-release bracelet. Housing a waffle texture dial with lumed high-polished indices, lumed hour and minute hands, and a framed date window at 3 o’clock, the case also sports a crystal-clear Sapphire exhibition case back that puts its wave-engraved centrally mounted rotor on full display. Spanning 39.5mm from lug to lug, the watch sports a 40mm width and a thickness of only 10.9mm.

Keeping the watch ticking is Tissot’s Caliber Powermatic 80 movement. This Swiss-made, 23-jewel powerhouse of a motor is based on the renowned ETA caliber 2824-2 — arguably ETA’s most dependable and most utilized movement to date. Crafted from a titanium alloy, the Tissot’s movement is elevated via a Nivachron hairspring that bolsters its anti-magnetism properties, while also enabling it to better withstand dings, bumpers, and changes in temperature. On top of a wave-engraved centrally-mounted rotor, this movement also boasts a whopping 80-hour power reserve. An enormous part of the PRX Powermatic 80’s character comes from its unique steel bracelet — an old-school-inspired, interchangeable, flat-link, single-row item that pairs perfectly with the case. And, as much as we thoroughly appreciate the bracelet’s design, we aren’t particularly fond of its butterfly clasp — an admittedly very small gripe but a gripe nonetheless. The PRX Powermatic 80 does feature a water resistance rating of 100 meters, however, the Tissot is also outfitted with a branded push-pull crown — the latter of which gives us some apprehension about taking it into the water, despite its robust rating.

Case Size: 40mm
Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Movement: Automatic

Photo: Christopher Ward

Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 300

Best Diver: Even with a nearly $900 MSRP, the Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 300 still punches well above its weight. Starting with the already stellar C60 line, the British watchmaker reached out to the public in order to glean intel on how the dive watch could be improved — a democratic process that would ultimately give way to the C60 Trident Pro 300. Measuring 1.9mm slimmer than its 600 Series counterparts, the C60 Trident Pro 300 features a redesigned 40mm stainless steel case that’s water resistant down to 300 meters. Known as the “Light-catcher,” the watch’s case also features a unidirectional-rotating ceramic bezel with lumed markers, a logo’d screw-down crown, and a brushed finish. What’s more, unlike the 600 Series which features a high-shine full stainless steel screw-down case back, the Trident Pro 300 boasts an exhibition case back that affords a view of the movement’s engraved Christopher Ward two-tone black and silver rotor.

Like any good diver, the Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 300’s dial is a high-contrast affair that’s incredibly easy to read. Sitting beneath an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, the watch’s black dial sports indices and hands adorned in Super-LumiNova BL C1 lume, as well as red accents adorning the tip of the second hand and the “Automatic” script just above the face’s framed date window. At the heart of the dive watch is an ultra-dependable Sellita SW200-1 caliber workhorse. This mechanical movement is equipped with 26 jewels and a 36-hour power reserve. Alongside being produced in 38mm, 40mm, and 42mm sizes, the C60 Trident Pro 300 is also offered with the buyer’s choice of a brushed steel bracelet, a black and red hybrid rubber strap, or a black #tide ocean material band. 

Case Size: 40mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Movement: Mechanical

Photo: Hamilton

Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Auto

Best Military/Field Watch: A top-shelf take on a Swiss-made military-style timepiece, the Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Auto is a more premium evolution of the Bienne-based brand’s iconic field watch, gaining a more high-end case construction along with a more impressive movement. Boasting a thickness of 11.75mm, a 20mm lug, and a 51mm lug-to-lug dimension, the Khaki Field Titanium Auto’s case is crafted from top-shelf titanium and allows the field watch to tip the scales at only 2.3oz. Also outfitted with a trusty screw-down crown, a 100-meter water resistance rating, and an exhibition case back, the watch’s titanium housing is also offered with either a brushed or PVD-coated finish. Putting an upscale twist on this rugged genre of watch, the Khaki Field Titanium Auto is powered by a swiss-made, 25-jewel Hamilton caliber H-10 fully-automatic movement. This in-house motor is derived from an ETA C07.611 motor and features a centrally-mounted rotor that affords an impressive power reserve of up to 80 hours.

Drawing inspiration from the brand’s vintage field watches, the Khaki Field Ti Auto’s dial features a textural contrast, duotone colorway layout that’s subtly elevated via a dial bezel, applied and lumed hour markers, generously lumed hour and minute hands, and target-like concentric rings that contribute to the timepiece’s military-inspired feel. Furthering this field watch’s upscale nature is Hamilton’s take on a classic NATO band. Equipped with branded H-buckle hardware, this duotone calf leather strap sports an OD green exterior and will not only conform to the wearer’s wrist over time, but will also develop a unique patina in the process. The Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Auto is also produced in a variety of other color options — including a fully blacked-out variant — that hugely change the field watch’s overall appearance. 

Case Size: 42mm
Case Material: Titanium
Movement: Automatic

Photo: Longines

Longines Conquest

Best Luxury-Inspired: Moving on to our pick for the best luxury watch being offered for less than four figures, we have the Longines Conquest. Not only does this watch exude an unmistakable sense of elegance and class, but it’s also backed by a genuinely rich heritage, with the Saint-Imier watchmaker dating back 190 years to 1832. Constructed around a 43mm stainless steel case — though also sold in 39mm and 41mm versions — the Conquest’s housing sports a fixed outer bezel, a large, semi-protected protruding grooved screw-down crown, and a screw-down case back with winged-hourglass branding. Weighing in at 6.8oz, the watch sports a thickness of 11.5mm, a 22mm lug width, and a lug-to-lug measurement of more than 50mm. 

Water resistant down to 300 meters, the Conquest’s case also draws inspiration from the mighty Rolex Explorer, with a mirror-polished bezel and a contrasting brushed case and lugs. The Conquest’s case also houses an auto quartz caliber L157 movement that offers an accuracy of ~ +/- 5 seconds per day. Paired with the case is a full stainless steel rounded two-link bracelet that has a branded butterfly clasp and two levels of high polish going all the way around the wrist. Not unlike the Crown’s Explorer, the Conquest’s dial is a thoroughly minimalist affair that utilizes just a single pair of applied Arabic numerals at the 12 and 6 o’clock positions — a layout that’s complemented via simple squared-off hour markers, thin evenly spaced lumed indices, matching lumed hour and minute hands, and a white date window. The jet-black dial is also juxtaposed via bright white and silver details and is decorated with Longines’ winged logo.

Case Size: 43mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Movement: Quartz

Three-Figure Favorites

15 More Fantastic Sub-$1,000 Picks

Photo: G-SHOCK | Casio

G-SHOCK GMB2100D-1A

The G-SHOCK GMB2100D-1A is a newer, full-metal version of the Casio-owned outfit’s ever-popular “CasiOak” watch. Water resistant down to 670’, this 2100 Series timepiece is constructed around a beautifully-polished 44.4mm stainless steel case housing a Quartz movement. Highly resistant to shocks and bumps, this watch also features smartphone/Bluetooth connectivity. 

Case Size: 44.4mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Movement: Quartz

Photo: Seiko

Seiko Prospex SSC813

Inspired by Seiko’s first precision chronographs from the mid-1960s, the Seiko Prospex SSC813 is a freshly-released solar-powered chronograph that’s quickly become a fan favorite largely thanks to its stellar design and perfect proportions. Unofficially known as the “Seitona,” the watch boasts beige LumiBrite hands and markers, a black tachymeter bezel, an AR-coated curved sapphire crystal, and a solar-powered setup that offers an enormous 6-month power reserve once fully charged.

Case Size: 39mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Movement: Solar

Photo: Huckberry

Unimatic UC1

Made in Italy, the Unimatic UC1 is a masterfully-designed, minimalist take on a dive watch that sports a 40mm 316L stainless steel case paired with a heavy-duty Unimatic black nylon strap. Water-resistant down to 300 meters, this watch is also powered by an Automatic calibre Seiko NH35A movement with a 41-hour power reserve and boasts a matte black dial and a matching phantom ladder hands-set adorned in Super-LumiNova C3 pale green lume paint.

Case Size: 40mm
Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Movement: Automatic

Photo: Stowa

Stowa Marine Classic

Offered with Arabic or Roman numerals and produced with or without a date window, the Stowa Marine Classic is an elegant yet understated timepiece that’s kept ticking via an automatic Sellita SW200 movement. The watch’s 36mm polished stainless steel case houses a high-polished, enamel-look dial with temperature-blued steel hands. Stowa also offers this watch with an optional Sellita SW215-1 movement upgrade and an available hand-wound top finish option (for $135 and $156, respectively).

Case Size: 36mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Movement: Automatic

Photo: Halios Watches

Halios Seaforth

Arguably the most iconic microbrand watch ever made, the Halios Seaforth is a playful take on a retro-inspired dive watch that’s offered with several vibrant dial color options — as well as a black dial reference. Kept ticking via an automatic SW200-1 self-winding movement, the watch features a sapphire, double-domed crystal with an anti-reflective coating, a 40-hour power reserve, and a brushed finish with a polished lug chamfer. Halios also offers the Seaforth with an available titanium case upgrade, and with a fixed or rotating bezel. 

Case Size: 41mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel (or Titanium)
Movement: Automatic

Photo: Amazon

Junghans Max Bill Max Bill Hand-Winding

Stemming from a joint effort between Max Bill and Junghans that began in 1961, the Junghans Max Bill Max Bill Hand-Winding model is an upscale dress watch with an unmistakable Bauhaus influence. Sitting beneath its domed sapphire crystal — which sports an anti-reflective coating on both sides — is a minimalist dial with matte, silver-plated hands painted in environmentally friendly lume. Water resistant down to 167’, the watch is also powered by a hand-winding calibre J805.1 movement with a 42-hour power reserve. 

Case Size: 34mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Movement: Automatic

Photo: Bulova

Bulova MIL SHIPS

The latest addition to the American watch brand’s Archive Series, the Bulova MIL SHIPS is a production diver that’s modeled after a vintage prototype watch that was never released. Sporting an unmistakably old-school visual theme, the MIL SHIPS features a silver-tone stainless steel case, a slate blue NATO strap, an 82S0 automatic movement, and a matte black dial contrasted via dark beige-finished luminous hands and markers. This reborn vintage diver also makes for a stellar — and markedly more affordable — alternative to the fabled Rolex Submariner. 

Case Size: 41mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Movement: Automatic

Photo: Farer

Farer Bradfield

An ultra-unique and thoroughly upscale-looking pilots watch that’s sold at a surprisingly accessible price point, the Farer Bradfield is constructed around a marine-grade 316L stainless steel case with a combination of brushed and polished surfaces. Paired with an over-stitched American Horween leather strap, this timepiece also sports dark navy alpha-style hands against a white dial with an inner-stepped ring — both of which are adorned in Super-LumiNova lume.

Case Size: 39.5mm
Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Movement: Automatic

Photo: Zodiac Watches

Zodiac Olympos

The Zodiac Olympos is an updated version of the Swiss-made, American brand’s mid-century dress watch. Boasting a water resistance rating of 170’, the Olympos features a unique, 37mm, crest-shaped case that’s crafted from 316 stainless steel, equipped with a crown at the 2 o’clock position, and paired with a 19mm leather strap. Adding a dash of character to this dress watch’s blue dial is a turquoise seconds hand and framed date window.

Case Size: 37mm
Case Material: 316 Stainless Steel
Movement: Automatic

Photo: Long Island Watch

Squale 1521 Onda

With great value and a stellar fit and finish, we’ve long been fans of Squale’s iconic 1521 diver, so when the Swiss brand released a new wave-dial version of the watch, we instantly knew it deserved a spot on this list. Water resistant all the way down to 500 meters, the Squale 1521 Onda features a 41mm 316L stainless steel case that houses a Swiss-made automatic Sellita SW200-1 self-winding movement with a power reserve of up to 40 hours. This watch is also offered with the buyer’s choice of either a rubber strap or a handmade Italian leather band.

Case Size: 41mm
Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Movement: Automatic

Photo: Watches of Switzerland

Doxa Sub 200

First unveiled at Baselworld 2019, the Doxa Sub 200 is the most affordable diver currently offered from what’s unequivocally one of the most iconic dive watch brands on the planet. Water resistant to 200 meters, the watch is constructed around a 42mm 316L stainless steel case that features a unidirectional rotating bezel, a logoed screw-down crown, an orange dial, and a matching orange rubber strap. Super-LumiNova lume also adorns this dive watch’s hands, batons, and bezel markers.

Case Size: 42mm
Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Movement: Automatic

Photo: Autodromo

Autodromo Group B

Arriving at our pick for the best auto-themed watch currently sold for under a grand, we have the Autodromo Group B. Sold with a handcrafted, numbered aluminum box, this watch features a 39mm titanium and stainless steel bimetallic case construction that’s mated to an integrated, tapered stainless steel bracelet. Powered by a Miyota 9015 automatic movement, the watch’s dial is also modeled after the tachometer found in Lancia’s iconic 037 Rally car.

Case Size: 39mm
Case Material: Titanium & Stainless Steel
Movement: Automatic

Photo: HODINKEE

Certina DS Action GMT

Made in Switzerland, the Certina DS Action GMT is something of a unicorn in the horological world, as a true GMT automatic that’s available for less than a grand. Water resistant to 200 meters, this travel-ready timepiece is powered by an ETA Powermatic 80.661 self-winding automatic movement that affords an 80-hour power reserve. On top of a 43mm stainless steel case, the DS Action GMT also features a local jumping hour hand and an internal 24-hour bezel. 

Case Size: 43mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Movement: Automatic

Photo: Mido Watches

Mido Ocean Star 200

Despite being from what we consider to be one of the most underrated Swiss watch brands, the Mido Ocean Star 200 is a terrific timepiece that offers great specs at an affordable price. Tipping the scales at 4.65oz, the watch is crafted around a 42.5mm stainless steel case with a rose gold PVD coating. Inside the case sits a 25-jewel automatic Mido Caliber 80 movement with an 80-hour power reserve — a motor that’s based on the ETA C07.621. A rotating bezel and date window complete this Swiss-made package. 

Case Size: 42.5mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Movement: Automatic

Photo: Yema

Yema Flygraf French Air & Space Force GMT

Made in France and limited to only 500 units worldwide, the Yema Flygraf French Air & Space Force GMT is a special edition, aviation-inspired watch that features vertical brushing along the case and dial that takes influence from the finishes seen on military aircraft fuselages. This GMT sports a military-grade 316L stainless steel case with a fixed bezel along with a crown that’s adorned in the French Air & Space Force’s national insignia. The French Air & Space Force’s official logo is also engraved on the clasp of this GMT’s 316L stainless steel bracelet. 

Case Size: 39mm
Case Material: 316L Stainless Steel
Movement: Automatic

The Best Men’s Watches You Can Buy Under $500

Photo: HICONSUMPTION

Want to check out another handpicked selection of quality timepieces with even more affordable prices? Then be sure to head over to our guide to the best watches under $500 for a curated selection of references that can all be had for five bills or less.