People sometimes ask me on Instagram and in person which watches they should get. They often expect me to suggest watches from big names like Rolex, Cartier, and Omega. And yes, those brands make and offer great watches, but they’re also rather expensive for most people. In this series, we’re looking at our favorite watches under €2,500. This time, I wanted to find watches that I would buy if I were getting into watches today. Here are some of my genuine recommendations.

There are, of course, many watches for sale at this price point. However, it’s also somewhat of an in-between price category. I feel that people will either look at a sub-€1,000 watch or take a big plunge and go for something around the €5,000 mark. However, if you’ve never spent more than a couple hundred euros on a watch, the €2,000–2,500 range is a nice step up. It’s also exactly how I started with my Oris Art Blakey. I’m still satisfied with that decision, and I also still enjoy wearing that watch a lot. That’s why I thought, “Why not start my recommendations with the same watch?”

best watches under €2,500 Oris Artelier S

The Oris Artelier S

I looked at the Oris website and couldn’t find the Art Blakey anymore. It was a limited edition of 1,000 pieces and might be sold out by now. You might still be able to find one at a boutique, but as I’d like to feature readily available watches, I’ll now point you in the direction of the Oris Artelier S. It’s essentially the same watch as the Art Blakey, only this one isn’t a limited edition, and it comes with either a black or green dial with a very subtle sunburst finish.

It’s a watch from the “old” Oris with a Sellita SW200 automatic movement and that sells for a very acceptable €1,900. The case is fully polished, and the sapphire crystal has a nice double dome. The watch’s pebble-like shape can feel a bit vintage at times., but the minimalist dial and straight hands make it look more modern. On the standard leather strap, the Artelier S seems very much like a dress watch. But if you wear it on a Bonklip bracelet, for example, it becomes much more versatile.

If you fancy something a bit sportier, Oris also has some nice options under €2,500 in its Aquis and Divers Sixty-Five collections. And if you’re not into Oris at all, then my next recommendations might be more your cup of tea.

Mido Ocean Star GMT Special Edition best watches under €2,500

The Mido Ocean Star GMT Special Edition

This next one is a more recent release from Mido. It undercuts today’s budget quite a bit, but I still think it deserves to be mentioned. I’ve been looking for the “perfect” reasonably affordable GMT watch for quite a while now. I think this Mido Ocean Star GMT Special Edition comes dangerously close to that description. For €1,440, it offers a nicely wearing 40.5mm stainless steel case with a flyer-style GMT movement inside. This makes it a breeze to quickly adjust your local time when traveling with the independently adjustable 12-hour hand.

This watch certainly has a vintage-inspired design, especially on its 11-row bracelet. The blue tone on the bezel insert and dial pairs nicely with the red GMT accents. I like the shark-tooth-inspired applied indices. I also appreciate the brushed and raised chapter ring with another 24-hour scale, making it possible to track three time zones. The Mido movement inside is a Powermatic 80 with a comfortable power reserve of 80 hours. All in all, I think the Ocean Star GMT Special Edition offers a price-to-value ratio that is quite hard to beat.

best watches under €2,500 Polo Ralph Lauren Vintage 67

The Polo Ralph Lauren Vintage 67

My third recommendation is my favorite, and I was happy I could include it with its price of €2,460. I feel the Polo Ralph Lauren Vintage 67 is one of the nicest and most original watches you can get for just under €2,500. All right, the Polo branding might be a bit in your face, but at least it doesn’t show a polo player on his horse. The 40mm case with faux wire lugs is only 9.1mm thick, and it comes with an optional Bund strap. But my favorite feature has to be the bold numerals on the dial.

The large onion crown controls the hand-wound La Joux-Perret 7380 movement inside. This caliber offers a commendable 90-hour power reserve and is nicely finished with Côtes de Genève and perlage. This is all visible through its exhibition case back. I know that many enthusiasts frown upon watches by fashion brands, but I think this Vintage 67 by Polo Ralph Lauren is a great example of why we shouldn’t blindly dismiss them. With its 50m water resistance rating, it’s also a capable watch that can take a beating and some water.

Méraud Bonaire MkII best watches under €2,500

Honorable mentions

When making my shortlist for this article, I also put some nice dive watches on it. I thought it would be nice to give them a quick honorable mention here. First is the second iteration of the Méraud Bonaire. Yes, its design might be very close to the Blancpain Bathyscaphe MC4’s, but that green version is quite irresistible. Just like the Polo Ralph Lauren Vintage 67, this watch houses a movement from La Joux-Perret. For roughly €1,240, you can get one on a bracelet with real rivets, and I think that’s an absolute steal.

For a little more than that, at just under €1,600, you can also look at the new 39mm Doxa Sub 200T. It comes in a wide array of colors and gives you that classic Doxa look on the wrist. My favorite here would be the Searambler with a silver sunburst dial. Finally, I’d like to add the Airain Sous-Marine Re-Edition to this list. I mean, who can resist that 37.5mm skin-diver case with the brand’s signature “DNA strand” seconds hand for €1,750?

There you go! Those are my recommendations for watches under €2,500. What do you think of those options? Do you have any other recommendations? Let me know in the comments below.