Picking three watches under €1,000 that I think are the best buys in 2024 is not easy. What I always find amusing are comments under articles that say, “This list is not valid if it doesn’t include brand X, Y, or Z.” But I understand comments like these if you’re a fan of one of these brands and are convinced these are the best watches money can buy. So I followed the advice in the comments, looked up some of the proposed alternatives, and ended up including one of the mentioned brands.

As Thomas mentioned in his article last week, the pre-owned market offers tons of options for great watches under €1,000. For this series, though, we’re sticking to watches with a retail price within this budget in 2024. Each writer will share what he feels are the best watches currently available within this specific segment.

Seiko 5 Sports SSK023K1

Seiko 5 Sports SSK023

Although my first pick would have been the Seiko SPB317, Thomas already snagged that one for his list, and I want to prevent dupes. That didn’t stop me from checking if there was anything interesting in the Seiko catalog for less than €1,000, and there is! There’s the Seiko 5 Sports SSK023 for half of the budget. It’s a 39.4mm watch with a (caller) GMT function, and it comes on a nice five-row stainless steel bracelet. The movement inside is Seiko’s 4R34, which is visible through the transparent case back.

Seiko 5 Sports SSK023K1 on wrist

For €460, this watch can do little wrong in my opinion. It’s a handsome GMT watch that — with a little bit of imagination — has a bit of a vintage Explorer II 1655 vibe. It’s a Seiko you can wear daily, especially with water resistance to 100 meters. Seiko also offers an all-black version of this watch, reference SSK025. You can find a full review here.

best watches under €1,000 Christopher Ward C65 Dune

Christopher Ward C65 Dune Automatic

A few months ago, my colleague Jorg came to the Fratello office wearing this cream-dial Christopher Ward C65 Dune Automatic. He wrote an article about it here. This 38mm C65 is an incredibly handsome piece that Christopher Ward refers to as the “VIP field watch.” The brand also calls the dial color “White Sand,” but, once again, this watch gives me Explorer II vibes. This time, though, it reminds me of the 1980s reference 16550 with the white dial that tended to discolor, turning this creamy shade due to an issue with the paint.

best watches under €1,000 Christopher Ward C65 Dune

This watch is also available on an Oyster-like bracelet, but that would put it above our budget of €1,000. For €950, you get this beauty on a camel-tone canvas strap. The watch is water resistant to 150 meters and powered by the Sellita SW200-1. What the images of the C65 Dune cannot convey is its incredibly solid feel. It punches far above its weight.

best watches under €1,000 Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 42mm

Another white-dial field watch is this 42mm Khaki Field from Hamilton, though it’s also available in a 38mm size. The 42mm version has a retail price of €745, while the smaller version will set you back only €625. This watch features a white dial with legible black printing, Arabic numerals, and a yellowish luminous triangle marking each hour. The syringe-style hands are also black with matching yellow lume. The case has this sandblasted finish and comes with a NATO or leather strap, but you can also opt for a bracelet with the same sandblasted finish.

best watches under €1,000 Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical

This military-inspired watch is my favorite among Hamilton’s offerings. The Khaki Field Mechanical is a hand-wound watch with the ETA-based caliber H50 inside. This movement provides a power reserve of 80 hours, and the Khaki Field’s case has a water resistance rating of 50 meters. It’s not the best water resistance for a field watch, but it depends on your purposes for the watch, of course.

Seiko 5 Sports SSK023K1 and SSK025K1

Some thoughts and alternatives

When Nacho asked me to write an article about three of my favorite new watches under €1,000, I realized once more that the watch world has changed drastically in the past few years. Whereas watches from some big(ger) Swiss brands like Longines, Oris, Sinn, and Frederique Constant were available within this budget not too long ago, it’s now mainly microbrands with interesting offerings. Seiko, of course, continues to offer several watches in this segment, and Citizen remains a strong player as well.

Being unable to buy something under €1,000 from the big Swiss brands can be a letdown to some. That said, smaller brands often provide more bang for the buck than their big-name counterparts. I am always hesitant to push the things we do ourselves, but the truth is that I did order the collaboration watch we did with RZE. It’s a titanium do-it-all for €679.

Another watch under €1,000 that I bought recently was the G-Shock DW-5600TF19 (yeah, google that!). According to some brands I have spoken to, it’s an incredibly competitive market. There’s enough to choose from in the sub-€1,000 segment, and I am tempted to say that it’s more than ever, just not from the same brands as a decade ago.