It was a case of”you get what you pay for” when it came to watches, both concerning quality and kudos. Dropping a couple thousand not only meant you’d get decent mechanics but also boardroom brownie points to get sporting watches a reputable name on your wrist.
Blame the Japanese to flood the market with timepieces which were cheap and battery-powered during the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s and early 1980s, but anything in the sub-#1000 bracket was treated with derision or even contempt. Thankfully, for your own bank balance , this doesn’t hold true .
Whether it is because quartz got trendy or see manufacturers realised that not everyone with an interest in horology had the capability to finance their burgeoning obsession, a few interesting things have begun to happen in the lower price brackets.
As with any search for a deal, you have to know where to search and which manufacturer names to zero in on, but if you do you could be in with a chance of kitting out your whole watch wardrobe for half of the price of an Omega Speedmaster.
And we’re not just talking quartz watches from fashion houses — however there are some seriously cool styles to be found there. We’re talking timepieces from titles with real design cachet to genuine automatics, even Swiss ones.
You won’t have to go trawling the online equivalent of the bargain basement to get these hidden jewels, either. Just read our useful guide to the watch manufacturers which are making the inexpensive end of the market worth taking another look at. You can assemble your entire watch wardrobe out of its own sub -#300 ranges as well as since the brand has been innovating since 1853, you can be confidant that you are buying into real horological heritage.
Want a dress watch? In the market for an oversized chronograph? Look no further than the Chrono XL line. You may also get a automatic powered by Swatch Group’s entirely machine-made motion, the Swissmatic. What’s of such a quality you do not feel as though you’re making compromises.
Given this Japanese brand develops its quartz for its battery-powered timepieces and prides itself on making everything in-house, which you are able to find any of its timepieces for under #300 seems like a bonus. However, Seiko excels in this price point.
Thanks to Japanese movements being more reasonably priced than their Korean counterparts, it is possible to secure trendy steel automatics for under #200, although its groundbreaking kinetic technology means possessing a quartz watches that never needs a battery change. Each watch can be robustly made with a decorative feel way beyond its price tag.
You will know Casio because of its gold-plated digital bracelet watch which, for a time from the noughties, was the ironic wrist adornment of every fixie-bike riding, flat-white drinking Hackney dweller worth their E9 credentials. However, to reduce it to that one signature is to severely underestimate what this manufacturer has to offer you.
The retro nostalgia is still there — in its aptly named Retro collection — but you can also get your hands on world timers, Bluetooth hybrids and styles acceptable for scuba diving. Consider the brand as a one-stop-shop for all your watch needs, from electronic to dress.
Casio’s muscle cousin is over 30 years old but its own charm certainly hasn’t diminished.
Three years later, this remains a design that takes some beating when it comes to durability. However, now it includes a range of added extras, from the useful — real-time, automatic calendar and alarms — into the more expert, such as memorial information displays and yacht timers. Historically it became renowned for a particular sort of all-American dependability — George Bush Jr wore one, presumably to divert US voters from his upper-class history — but lately it has obtained a particular retro cool.
In 2017, it collaborated with Mr Porter to a limited run of three unique editions inspired by its Vietnam-Era military fashions, while versions like its Easy Reader and Weekender are seen on the wrist of attired men from London to Tokyo.
From the complex-looking chronos to its tasteful Milanese bracelet Fairfield, Timex’s nostalgia-tinged layout language excels, which is exactly why folks continue to wear it.