Depending on the type of watch you are looking for, you can sometimes get a pretty good deal as long as you are willing to consider alternate brands. For instance, the concept of a tourbillon watch (which compensates for errors in timekeeping due to the effects of gravity on the watch in certain positions) has been a dream for many, since these have traditionally been Haute-Horology pieces from top luxury brands and retailing for upwards of a hundred thousand dollars. Today, however, a good number of quality brands are focusing on offering true value propositions when it comes to different complications and functions. In short, shopping around and keeping an open mind pays off. Here we look at seven great watch deals that could be the best value for your money and may have your head spinning.
A Tourbillon Watch for Under $23,000
A brand founded on the idea of offering top quality and great value, Frederique Constant offers its Classic Tourbillon Perpetual Calendar Manufacture watch for just under $23,000. This is a veritable steal since the watch also incorporates the calendar function in addition to the tourbillon escapement. How do they do it? The automatic caliber is built in-house and the striking case is crafted of 18-karat rose gold plating over stainless steel. There is also a stainless steel version for just under $22,000.
A Pilot Chronograph Watch for Under $800
While a good pilot’s watch from the big name brands known for their aviation-inspired watches, you can get a great look, as well as function, from an Alpina pilot’s watch. The Swiss-made brand is a sister brand to Frederique Constant and it has the same value/price motto. An Alpina Startimer Pilot Chronograph (to time flights and more) will set you back just about $795 instead of the typical $6,000 or $7,000 and up price tags on big-name brands.
A Dive Watch for Under $1,100
Yes, there are some great dive watches on the market. In fact, this arena is very hot right now, with many brands looking to create new dive watches for today’s active lifestyles. While some of the finest dive watches in the world, with bells and whistles such as silicium movement parts, hydrogen release valves, and bracelet extensions for over wetsuits, can cost upwards of $10,000, you can get a great Hamilton Khaki Navy Frogman Automatic watch for about $1,095. Not only is it a mechanical watch that offers hours, minutes, and seconds, but also it is water-resistant to 300 meters. Plus, Hamilton starred in the 1951 movie Frogmen – a nice conversation starter.
A Regatta Watch for Under $18,000
There are not a lot of watch brands that make regatta watches. These are countdown timers for boat racing. They typically have the ability to count down the last 15 or 10 minutes before the race begins. This is a critical time frame because the boats must properly position themselves for start time. There are some great regatta watches on the market that typically sell for upwards of $20,000. However, Panerai, which sponsors Luna Rossa in the America’s Cup 2021, offers a Luminor Luna Rossa Chrono Flyback (with the ability for the hands to return to zero to continue timing) will set you back just about $18,000. It is crafted in ceramic and is water-resistant to 100 meters.
A Solid Gold Watch for Under $7,500
Most gold watches can cost upwards of $10,000 if they are solid gold and not gold plated. Often to keep costs down, watch brands will bring both gold and stainless steel together for cases and bracelets for a nice two-tone appeal. However, if you really have a desire for solid gold and for a great fashion-forward yet classic style, women should take a look at the Hermès Cape Cod watch. The Cape Cod PM, with mother-of-pearl dial and diamond markers, is crafted in 18-karat gold and yet retails for just about $7,250. A way the costs stay lower: it houses a quartz movement and is offered on a strap instead of a bracelet. But that gives it a chic appeal.
An Alarm Watch for Under $3,000
Equipping a watch with an alarm feature is not that easy, and so the number of brands offering a good alarm with a loud sound and the option of a vibration, as well, is very limited. Generally, these watches retail – in stainless steel – in the $5,000 to $9000 price range and up depending on the brand. However, Alexander Shorokhoff offers a great alarm in its Glocker watch that retails for just $2,850. The 43.5mm stainless steel watch is equipped with a manual movement and features a black dial with a quarter of it decorated with a colorful, artistic motif.
Not the “normal” watch kind of person and have a yearning for the three-dimensional sculptured watches by a lot of the independent watchmakers? Most of those brands, as you know, sell for upwards of $50,000 and often into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. But you can have the unusual for a lot less. For instance, the Ulysse Nardin Freak X automatic watch crafted in titanium or blackened titanium is a steal at just about $21,000. The watch is powered by an in-house movement and offers a flying carrousel that constantly rotates and propels the hand. The mechanics behind the watch makes for good talking with watch nerds.
About the Author
Roberta Naas is a veteran watch and jewelry journalist who began her career in the early 1980’s, and was the first female watch journalist in the United States. She is the editor and founder of the authoritative watch blog, ATimelyPerspective, has written six books on watches, writes for numerous consumer publications (including Forbes and Elite Traveler) – and always brings forth in her work the essence of what makes watches tick. She tirelessly travels the world in search of watch news and stories that she turns into compelling and enlightening articles.