The reality is that there are loads of choices for watches under the magic €1,000 threshold. Choosing the so-called “best” watches, however, is a challenge. It all depends on whether the watch will supplement a collection as a daily beater or perhaps be the first nicer watch for the buyer. I’ve chosen three very different models with unique use cases, but all are well-designed watches and are anything but dull.

We frequently bemoan the never-ending announcements of price increases from watch brands. But despite this supposed inflationary environment, the more affordable sector of the watch market has never been so rich. It may have taken 20 years, but we are finally seeing the real value of microbrands and small independent watch companies. Many avoid the costs that plague major global brands and pass the savings on to consumers. I’d argue that smaller brands are more agile and creative. With all this in mind, I’ve thrown my hat in the ring with three picks under €1,000.

The best watches under €1,000 — starting with Brew

I wanted to have a chronograph within my trio of watches, but there aren’t many of them under €1,000 watches that I like with a mechanical caliber. This meant looking for a battery- or solar-powered quartz model. My choice of the Brew Metric is anything but typical, but that’s what makes it even more fun. Jonathan Ferrer, the founder of Brew Watches, is based in New York. He loves coffee, and he makes a point of infusing all of his designs with something related to this passion. On the Metric, the outer seconds track is highlighted between 25 and 35 seconds to mark the perfect timing for an espresso shot. Fair enough.

best watches under €1,000 Brew Metric

What I like best about this watch is its clean design, tasteful nod to the ’70s, and size. At just 36mm wide by 41.5mm long, the 316L stainless steel watch wears like a dream. Even the stainless bracelet is well-made and comfortable. Appointments such as a sapphire crystal and 50m water resistance ensure that it can not only deal with the brewing cycle but also manage other rigors within the kitchen. It uses the Seiko VK68 meca-quartz movement and features a date, running seconds, and a 60-minute counter. Starting at just US$450 (roughly €425), it’s also the least expensive option on my list. Best of all, Brew’s official site has plenty of varieties of the theme.

Summer watch best watches under €1,000 Certina DS Action Diver titanium

The 38mm Certina DS Action Diver in titanium

I’ll cheat here because my next pick technically breaks the bank by €75 with a list price of €1,075. However, it is available on a nylon strap for €985 if you’d like to grab a Big Mac with your leftover cash. The 38mm Certina DS Action Diver in titanium is a fantastic watch. Balazs and I saw this one in the metal at Swatch Group Germany before its release in mid-2023, and we loved it. Naturally, it’s light, but it feels compact and solidly built. It also brings the Powermatic 80 movement and a whopping 300m depth rating.

Certina DS Action Diver best watches under €1,000

A watch like the Action Diver in titanium is why I think Certina is currently giving Seiko a run for its money. The value is too good to ignore at this price. The dark titanium works well with the matte gray dial and cool aqua indexes. Seriously, it’s an attractive diver! And at 38mm wide by 45mm long and just 12.2mm thick, it’s perfect on the wrist. This Certina would be very hard to ignore if I were in the market for an everyday mechanical watch that could do it all. If you’d like to know more, visit the official Certina website.

The Baltic MR01

I’ve selected a chronograph and a diver for my first two picks in the best watches under €1,000. Now it’s time for something more formal. The Baltic MR01 ticks a lot of boxes for me. It has a coin-edge bezel (in this case, referring to the thickness and style, not notching), a detail that’s currently all the rage among vintage collectors of Patek, Longines, and the like. The watch uses a micro-rotor movement that keeps it down to 9.9mm thick. Finally, it has a nice compact size of just 36mm in diameter by 44mm from lug to lug. Essentially, this is a highly affordable modern take on the original Calatrava, and I find that endearing.

Baltic uses the Hangzhou CAL5000A, which may put off some potential buyers. However, the company has been using Chinese-made movements since its start, and reviews have been favorable. Plus, Baltic seeks to manage all repairs within a three-week time frame. The MR01 is available in four color schemes, including a gold-plated model priced at €650. So there’s probably something for everyone. Best of all, the models are all currently in stock on the Baltic website.

Seiko Sportsmatic simple

A last recommendation for the best watches under €1,000

I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t mention the prospect of a vintage watch for under €1,000. The options are endless, and the value is incredible. Best of all, for this sum, it’s possible to find recently serviced watches that should lead to years of trouble-free ownership. I’ve been on a real kick with ’40s watches, but I’d suggest looking at later pieces from Tissot, Omega, and Seiko to see what is available. These watches contain some form of shock protection and tend to stand up better to the daily grind. The benefits of owning a vintage watch include uniqueness, history, and custodianship. If you choose a nice one, you can’t go wrong!

best watches under €1,000 Brew Metric Gold

Final thoughts

As I said in the beginning, there are loads of options for watches under €1,000. What I find interesting is that maximizing the value now often leads to considering microbrands or small independents. Perhaps due to rising costs but also because of the Apple Watch, the larger brands have practically ceded this territory. It seems they’ve walked away from this space rather than slug it out. That’s a pity, but we are lucky to have some fantastic upstart brands on the market that are happy to play in this pricing segment. Let me know what you think of this development and my three picks in the comments.