When it comes to luxury watches, it’s good to know that a nice mechanical watch doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Despite what many people on social media might have you think, the world of mechanical watches is not just about wildly expensive high-end brands.
That’s why we’ve updated our article from 2019 and put together a list of our favorite watches that are currently available for less than $2,500. There is a wide array of appealing watches available in this price range from large and small brands alike. So, let’s dive into the list of watches (in no particular order).
1. Sinn 104 St Sa I A
This list would not be complete without a Sinn. This brand from Frankfurt am Main, Germany offers incredible watches that are characterized by their functionality and high quality. But don’t be fooled; it’s not just a matter of substance. The brand offers a great deal of style, as well. I have chosen to highlight the iconic Sinn 104 St. There are quite a few versions to choose from, but I prefer the 104 St Sa I A with an electroplated anthracite dial paired with a gray Alcantara strap. Priced around $1,400, this is a stunner of a watch.
2. NOMOS Orion 38
The NOMOS brand has been a steady favorite among enthusiasts who love stylish and affordable watches. Located in Germany’s watchmaking Mecca of Glashütte, this company offers timepieces inspired by the world-renowned Bauhaus style. Their most famous model is the Tangente, which would have been another great option for this list; however, I decided to go for the Orion 38, which offers the same great minimalist appeal combined with a different case shape. The result is a very handsome and incredibly wearable watch that oozes modern style.
3. Seiko SPB149
Seiko is always the first place I look for affordable watches. The Japanese brand offers an incredible level of craftsmanship and quality at very reasonable prices. One of Seiko’s latest releases is the SPB149. It is one of a quartet of watches inspired by the legendary 1965 Seiko Diver known as the 62MAS. This modern watch offers great vintage looks combined with modern-day specs for $1,350. The SPB149 features a striking blue sunburst dial, but if that is not your color of choice, there are three other equally stunning versions available.
4. Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono
Hamilton is known for their wide range of affordable watches, especially their vintage-inspired field and aviation watches. Another great option is their super stylish Intra-Matic Auto Chrono. This chronograph watch gets its crazy black-and-white looks from Hamilton chronographs of the late 1960s. The so-called panda dial is the obvious eye-catcher, but overall, this is one of their best watches in terms of looks, functionality, and technology. Priced at $2,195, the Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono is the total package.
5. Rado Captain Cook Automatic
The Rado Captain Cook is another watch whose handsome looks originate in the past. The Captain Cook comes in a few different versions, some of which cost more than $2,500. The one you are after is the smaller 37.3-mm edition on a leather strap. This watch is based on the original 1962 Captain Cook and has a limited production run of 1,962 pieces worldwide. For $1,900, you can get a unique diver’s aesthetic with a great deal of retro style. You can also choose from a series of different dial colors (black, blue, green, and white), as well as a stainless steel Oyster-style bracelet or a beautiful bracelet in the “beads of rice” style.
6. Oris Aquis Date
Oris is another company that offers incredible value for money. Based in the Swiss town of Hölstein, the brand boasts a varied watch lineup. The retro Big Crown Pointer Date and Divers Sixty-Five models are tremendous fan favorites, but if you want a serious modern diving watch, the Aquis Date is the way to go. Depending on your wrist size and personal preference, you can choose between the 43.5 or 41.5-mm versions. Both are available for around $2,300 and offer a great updated diving watch aesthetic with all the specs to back it up.
7. TAG Heuer Formula 1
If diving is not your sport of choice and you prefer the world of fast cars, TAG Heuer has got you covered. TAG Heuer offers a model quite literally called the Formula 1. This watch is the go-to option for speed freaks who are on the lookout for an affordable watch to clock lap times. Plus, it comes with a great deal of TAG Heuer racing history that stretches back to the 1960s. The TAG Heuer Formula 1 offers life in the fast lane for as little as $1,800. Who said you need big money?
8. Longines Heritage 1945
Longines is very well respected for their rich watchmaking history and tradition. My personal favorite from this brand is part of the incredible Heritage collection, which offers watches inspired by different vintage timepieces. The Heritage 1945 is, indeed, modeled after a historical Longines watch. However, instead of reimagining the old classic, all Longines did was increase its size to meet modern standards. Otherwise, this timepiece is pretty much identical to its predecessor. At $1,800, nothing beats the incredible dial and beautiful strap.
9. Maurice Lacroix AIKON Automatic 42mm
One of the most popular types of watches at the moment is the modern luxury steel sports watch. Instagram is plastered with images of the iconic Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus. Luckily, for those who don’t have $20k or more to spend on a timepiece, Maurice Lacroix has their own version of the modern luxury sports watch. Designed in the spirit of Gérald Genta’s classics, the AIKON offers a great deal of style that suits both formal and casual settings. For $1,890, this 42-mm statement piece is the only genuine modern luxury sports watch on this list – and that makes it stand out.
10. Bell & Ross BR V1-92 Military
The final watch on our list comes courtesy of the French brand Bell & Ross. They are known for producing a great series of square watches based on the instruments found in fighter jets. Although the BR-01 and BR-03 are the brand’s most well-known models, they are not within our $2,500 budget. Those who would like to spend a little less should turn to the BR V1-92 Military. This vintage-inspired timepiece offers great retro pilot-style looks based on the watches fighter pilots wore during WWII. Priced around $2,400, this is a great option for lovers of aviation and military history.
There you have it: a top-10 list of watches available for under $2,500. As mentioned, there are plenty of options in this price range, so I would suggest doing some proper digging if you don’t see something that immediately catches your eye. Happy hunting!