Fratello Editors’ Favorite Watches Under €1,000 In 2023 — Thor’s Picks From Seiko, Farer, And Autodromo
I’d happily admit to finding it difficult to choose my favorite watches under €1,000 from this year’s bounty. I’ll try not to be too personal this time, but that’s precisely what is so good about this intensely satisfying pastime. I still get a kick out of lesser-known, budget-priced watches because this game is about personality. Find your style and stick with it; heck, it doesn’t even have to make sense. And by that, I mean not going for the safe choices but allowing yourself creative freedom instead. And go with your instincts, man.
Always follow your heart — well, except if your heart says to sell your year-old BMW to put down a deposit on a Tourbillon Noir from Hajime Asaoka. That would just be plain mad. Charming, yes, but mad. But when shopping for watches under €1,000, you’re allowed to go a bit mad and get something just because you fancy a showy color scheme or a brash, futurist look. These are my three instinctive choices. Yes, I’d buy them all, and they might not make sense except for being different and colorful while setting you apart. Whether you’re at a RedBar GTG or in a boardroom, leave the monochrome at home, baby.
Rowing Blazers × Seiko 5 Sports
I’m sorry that this is already sold out because it’s the hottest Seiko in ages. It might have started life as a daily wearer, but this is a colorful mini-grail. The sartorial touch of Rowing Blazers makes for the third capsule collection with Seiko, and the watches keep getting hotter to the touch. The not-super-accurate 4R36 caliber within the quite perfectly sized 40mm sports watch is a known quantity, and the 5 Sports makes for a great starter mechanical watch. Pick the chewing-gum-sweet pink version here, and you’ll set the tone for summer fun. The tell-tale croquet stripes on the applied hour markers are chunky cool. Plus, the gray accents only accentuate the, well, pinkness. A cult-fave kanji and English day/date in black makes for a useful complication, with the crisp gothic RB logo leaving you in no doubt as to its street cred.
Alas, the pink version is already gone from the Rowing Blazers website, so you’ll have to browse the secondary market to find one. If you don’t feel like going through the hassle, though, may I suggest its purple sibling? This one is still available from Rowing Blazers (at the time of publishing) for €580.
Autodromo Group C
That’s right, bro. Digital is cool, and I do love G-Shocks, but there is a new player in the digital realm. The masters of retro at Autodromo celebrate all things racy and automotive, and though my petrolhead days are gone, I love the vibe. This year, Autodromo fired up its celebration of the mad ’80s Group C cars, the flame-spitting endurance racers that topped out at 300km/h down the Mulsanne Straight. And with the watch, there’s a choice of colors to go for. Me? I’d contemplate for half a second before going for yellow. It’s brash like the Ruf Yellowbird, with a design that screams speed. On the wrist, it has the weighty feel of a proper timekeeping tool, featuring a Cerakoted stainless steel case on a reversible FKM rubber strap for comfort. It’s a 36mm wide case with a 42mm lug-to-lug and massive presence. Yes, obviously, it has a timer for your laps. Fuel up for €520 from Autodromo directly.
Farer Discovery Red 36mm
I have rediscovered my love for larger watches, so the fact that the Autodromo and this are 36mm is accidental. That’s because, like the Autodromo, this Discovery has a massive presence. Farer lets you choose between a plethora of straps, but I’d pick the Rocket Red Barenia leather. The raspberry pop of the dial deserves a deliciously matching tone. This sweet-fitting 36mm case with a 41.2mm lug-to-lug is endowed with a massive presence. But the Discovery is more than popping color. With a solid La Joux-Perret movement and lume-filled applied numerals, it packs a horological and visual punch, making it great value for money. The center dial is vertically brushed, making for a two-tone flash in the right light. Pair this candy-colored baby with a monochrome outfit, and your summer mood will improve by a big margin. The price from Farer is £895 or €1,050, but currency values fluctuate, right?
So what about you, Fratelli? Did I sway you in favor of some color when it comes to watches under €1,000? Let me know what you think in the comments. I’m pretty sure of myself this time.
Find me and follow me: @thorsvaboe