The sub-€1,000 segment used to be teeming with amazing watches from microbrands and long-established mainstream brands alike. Today, a lot of them have crossed the €1K mark. It can almost make you feel as if €1,000 isn’t a boatload of money, which it is, especially if it’s all in pennies. Jokes aside, although there may be fewer obvious contenders than before, I think we should still set the bar quite high. These are my three subjective picks for the best watches under €1,000 that are available today.

Of course, you expand your options by venturing into the secondhand market. For this series, however, we chose not to. Each writer will share what he feels are the best watches available to buy new within this specific segment in 2024.

best watches under €1,000 Seiko SPB317

The best watches under €1,000: Pick #1 — Seiko SPB317

My first choice is one that I get to see regularly. It happens to grace the wrist of my esteemed colleague Daan quite often. And although I had to roast it a little in a Sunday Morning Showdown, I secretly really like it. Well, I guess it’s not a secret anymore.

The SPB317 is a Seiko diver that gets the basics right. It is simple, Spartan even, but executed well. You get the vintage-Seiko-diver-inspired C-shaped case in a manageable 41mm size. You also get a matte black dial and a black bezel insert. Of course, you get a ton of insanely bright Lumibrite, and you even get a neatly hidden date at the 4:30 position. Like many of you, I could live without the last one, but hey, at least it is unobtrusive.

best watches under €1,000 Seiko SPB317

Inside ticks the 6R35 caliber, offering a 70-hour power reserve. Don’t pick the SPB317 if you are an accuracy nut; its movement is specified to run within +25 to -15 seconds per day. But, at the price of exactly €1,000, you will have to accept a compromise somewhere.

best watches under €1,000 Lorier Hydra Zulu

The best watches under €1,000: Pick #2: Lorier Hydra Zulu

The second entry for my list of sub-€1,000 favorites would perhaps be my first choice if pressed. This is the Lorier Hydra Zulu that I got to go hands-on with a while back. Lorier continuously proves how much is still possible in this most competitive price segment. Granted, with Lorier, you sacrifice refinement in execution but not in design. And that slight roughness around the edges has the serendipitous effect of making these vintage-inspired watches truly feel vintage too.

best watches under €1,000 Lorier Hydra Zulu

The Hydra Zulu is plain fun to me. Its blacked-out case and uniquely lumed dial make it seem like a watch straight out of an ’80s action-hero movie. The rubber strap from Bonetto Cinturini is a perfect match. I also love that Lorier sticks to domed Hesalite crystals despite probably alienating a potential client base by doing so. We need more brands to make distinct and clear choices like that. Otherwise, everything looks and feels the same.

The Hydra Zulu features the Miyota caliber 9075, making this watch a flyer GMT. Lorier was quick to adopt this caliber, making this watch a reasonably rare offering within the sub-€1,000 segment. Plus, with a price tag of US$599, it is quite substantially sub-€1,000 to boot.

best watches under €1,000 RZE Resolute Pro

The best watches under €1,000: Pick #3: RZE Resolute Pro

My final subjective pick for the best watches under €1,000 is the RZE Resolute Pro. Now, I could go for the Fratello edition we just announced, but since this article is supposed to have a shelf life beyond the pre-order window of that one, I will stick with the regular Jet Black Enamel version.

What you get here is an outspokenly sporty watch in a hard-coated titanium case on a hard-coated titanium bracelet. A flat sapphire crystal completes the scratch-resistant package around the black enamel(!) dial and Miyota 90S5 caliber. The 40mm case wears extremely well, not least of all because it is only 10.5mm thick. Still, it will withstand 10 ATM of pressure underwater, keeping the movement inside nice and dry. Add a toolless micro-adjustable clasp to the mix, and you have a truly amazing value prop here for US$659.

best watches under €1,000 RZE Resolute Pro

If you follow my writing, you know I love to geek out on design. A good watch, to me, is a great design first, then executed with the right features. You can tick all the specs boxes in the world, but without a proper design, I am uninterested. Now, the RZE Resolute Pro doesn’t break new ground in this respect. However, it is cohesive, non-derivative, and aesthetically and conceptually congruent. Because of this, I have no trouble pointing people towards the Resolute Pro when they ask me about the best watches under €1,000.

Closing thoughts

There you have it — my three subjective picks for the best watches under €1,000 on the market today! Of course, many more watches are worthwhile in this segment. The Seiko, Citizen, and Casio catalogs have plenty of gems. Baltic is another brand with particularly strong contenders in this price bracket. The Serica 6190 is still within budget to qualify, and it is a really good watch. But I have to leave something for my beloved colleagues, right? Keep an eye on Fratello for more of these articles soon!

The three watches above are the ones I would currently pick for myself. These are also the three I would wholeheartedly recommend to friends and family shopping with a €1K budget.

What would your favorite watches under €1,000 be in 2024? Let us know in the comments below!