The team at Fratello continues its yearly quest to highlight some of our favorite watches available on the market today. We are currently deep into exploring those that we consider to be the best watches under €2,500. After missing out on the sub-€1K picks, I’m pleased to provide my two cents at this price point. It’s still within what I’d consider my comfort zone (albeit less so than the picks under €1,000). Still, as it goes year after year, watches you thought you could reliably list within a specific price bracket have either been discontinued or increased in price. However, it would be unfair to say we are not spoiled for choice at this price point.

In fact, there are so many brilliant options that I decided to narrow it down to a do-it-all trio. What are the three watch archetypes that should be in everyone’s collection? Well, I would say a dive watch, a chronograph, and a GADA/field watch. You could argue that a dress watch would also be a good one to complement two sportier options. But this is not the type of watch I find myself wearing often enough to justify its presence in such a condensed lineup. To be clear, this isn’t meant to be a perfect three-watch collection but one that covers three basic pillars (diver, chronograph, field watch) in a way that suits my taste.

Aquastar Model 60 6 best watches under €2,500

The best watches under €2,500: Aquastar Model 60 Re-Edition

Let’s start with the most challenging category to narrow down at this price point, the dive watch. The options for solid dive watches at the sub-€2,500 price point are overwhelming. We recently gained a great one with the Doxa Sub 200T, and I’m also familiar with the brilliant Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53. But my choice today is the Aquastar Model 60, which takes us back to May 2023. It’s a watch that has been haunting me since it came out. On several occasions, I’ve teetered on the edge of biting the bullet and getting one. There’s something brilliant about a well-executed, faithful reissue of a watch, and Aquastar has an outstanding track record of those. This Model 60 opens up a portal into the early ’60s when the skin diver reigned supreme.

The 37 × 47 × 11mm case is faithful to the original proportions of these popular dive watches. The watch also features a glossy black dial with a healthy dose of lume. Unlike most dive watches, which use an anodized aluminum or ceramic bezel insert, the Aquastar features a lovely radially brushed stainless steel bezel. I would opt for this one on the bracelet. However, it would likely spend most of its time on a Tropic-style rubber strap or even a NATO. With a retail price of €1,478.70 (and currently available for €1,292.70) you get a brilliant reissue of a classic skin diver from a brand synonymous with that golden era of diving, watches, and dive watches.

Baltic Tricompax Panda

The second box to tick in my three-watch draft is a chronograph. This category already has significantly fewer options at the sub-€2,500 price point (at least compared to dive watches). The Tissot PRX chronograph is always tempting, but it’s a bit chunkier than I’d like. After having recently spent some quality time with the Baltic Tricompax Tour Auto 2024, which is slimmer and beautifully proportioned (with the added charm of a hand-wound movement), I decided to go with the non-limited-edition Tricompax. Available in both a panda and reverse panda colorway, my pick would be the former.

This classically styled chronograph includes several features that I love. The first is that, like the beloved Speedmaster, it follows what I find to be the most useful chronograph layout. I strongly prefer having a 12-hour register in addition to the 30-minute counter. The things I find myself timing cover less than half an hour or significantly longer. It’s either cooking pasta or a pizza in the oven, catching a flight on a press trip, or a road trip down to Germany. This, coupled with the classic mid-century styling and clean, date-free look, drilled lugs, steel case, back, and elegant case profile make it worthy of a spot on my list. Priced at €1,990.45 (including tax), the Baltic Tricompax also comes under the €2,500 limit.

Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Auto 38mm ref. H70215130

My third and final pick for this list of the best watches under €2,500 is the 38mm Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Auto. This is the least expensive of all my picks, yet it still packs quite a punch. It also adds a bit of contrast and color to my previous picks and serves as the field/GADA watch in this hypothetical three-watch collection. Though perhaps not as GADA as the stainless steel counterpart, which can be somewhat dressed up on a leather strap, this black PVD-coated field watch still rounds off the trio well. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while and can’t help but imagine combining it with an orange Tropic-style rubber strap or even a NATO for a bright and sporty look.

The fact that the lightweight titanium case and bracelet have a black PVD coating also brings the excitement of seeing it age over time. Imagine a well-worn version of this watch with a gleam of dark gray titanium peeking through where the finish has chipped away. Honestly, I consider this watch a real sleeper hit in Hamilton’s catalog. For whatever reason, you don’t tend to see this one as often as you do, say, the Khaki Field Mechanical or the stainless steel Khaki Auto. It features the Powermatic 80 movement, 100m water resistance, and a sapphire crystal. For €1,325, this Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Auto is a brilliant daily wearer with specs to take on just about anything.

best watches under €2,500 Baltic Tricompax Panda

Final thoughts on the best watches under €2,500

As I mentioned in the introduction, an overwhelming selection of watches is available at the sub-€2,500 price point. This is by no means an exhaustive exploration of them all. However, in hindsight, I’m quite pleased with my picks. The trio offers a lot and would be a solid collection at a pinch under €5,000 (with a total cumulative price of €4,794). I won’t be the last to present my lineup of the best watches under €2,500, so stay tuned for more picks coming your way.

That said, I’d love to know your thoughts. Do you agree with my picks? Would this be a trio you could see yourself going for? And if not, what would you change? Let me know in the comments below.