Fratello Favorites: The Best Watches Under €5,000 — Jorg’s Picks From Tudor, Longines, And Sinn
We’re continuing our series of articles with our favorite watches under a certain budget. We’re slowly increasing the budget and have arrived at our favorite picks under €5,000. The rules are simple: pick three current watches under €5,000 and one “old” timepiece, be it vintage, neo-vintage, or relatively new but pre-owned. As always, the challenge is accepted. I have the honor of kicking things off for this new part of the series, one that will undoubtedly trigger plenty of debate. So here we go!
Finding the best watches under €5,000 is a proper challenge. If you ask me, this is the most difficult budget. There are a lot of sensible choices but far fewer that make my heart sing. Having said that, there are still several options that I love. As I am currently looking to add one or more watches in this popular price bracket to my collection, two immediately came to mind. But the third pick and a pre-owned one turned out to be tough, especially the latter because there are so many great options. But enough about the struggle. Here is my list of three new watches and one pre-owned option.
My no-brainer: Tudor Black Bay Pro
Expect to see quite a few Tudor watches in these lists. As I said in my review of the Master Chronometer Tudor Black Bay, if you want a great watch under €5K nowadays, Tudor is the first brand to turn to check your options. And I did just that. While that Black Bay is the sensible option with its METAS-certified movement, super comfortable five-row bracelet, and thinner case, the burgundy bezel is not for me. I’ll wait until a blue-bezel version comes out without gilt-tone details. What’s next? The Black Bay 54 or 58? The Pelagos 39? Those are great options and maybe even more sensible than the one I picked, the Black Bay Pro. Yes, it mimics the great Rolex Explorer ref. 1655, and yes, it is thicker than you would want from a modern GMT.
Nevertheless, this is the Tudor I would pick because it is one I’ve grown to love after initially not being a fan. As I explained in my New Year’s resolution, the design slowly but surely struck a chord with me. The brand’s designers ensured that the watch had plenty of Tudor elements, and on top of that, they solved the practical issues of the ref. 1655’s dial design. Additionally, I have worn the watch and wasn’t bothered by its actual thickness or the much-debated faux-rivet bracelet. Just as a quick reminder, the Tudor Black Bay Pro features a 39mm case that is 14.6mm thick with a 47.2mm lug-to-lug length and a 20mm lug spacing. Tudor equips the watch with the Kenissi-produced COSC-certified caliber MT5652, a flyer GMT that packs a 70-hour power reserve. At €4,200, the Black Bay Pro is at the top of my list.
Longines HydroConquest GMT
A second natural pick under €5,000 would be a great dive watch, and there sure are plenty of options out there. I did sneak this one into my “best under €3K” list as an honorable mention because the US price is under $3,000. In Europe, though, it is €3,100 on a stainless steel bracelet, which is why it makes a glorious return as my second pick for this list. The Longines HydroConquest GMT is one of the many GMT divers that we have seen released lately. It combines the functions of a dive watch with a GMT watch quite gloriously. As we all know, Longines is hard to ignore when it comes to offering some of the best watches out there under €5K. This HydroConquest GMT is a perfect testament to that. As a fan of GMT watches, the 39mm Spirit Zulu Time might have been a more logical option, but I like this one better.
Why? Specifically, because it is a modern dive watch first and foremost. But I love how Longines has brought plenty of soul to that modern dive aesthetic. The brand did that in the form of a green, gold, and cream color scheme. The colors also balance out the shiny nature of the ceramic bezel and the sunray dial perfectly and keep it from becoming a vintage-inspired watch.
The HydroConquest GMT has a 41mm stainless steel case measuring 12.9mm thick and 49mm from lug to lug. As it’s a proper dive watch, it is also water resistant to 300 meters. Inside the case, Longines uses its COSC-certified Longines L844.5 to power the watch, which offers 72 hours of power reserve. At €3,100, the HydroConquest GMT is a hard-to-beat watch that I would seriously enjoy owning.
Two-tone madness with the Sinn T50 GDBR
If you had asked me a couple of months ago whether there would be a new two-tone watch on this list, I would have thought you were crazy. I would consider it for a pre-owned pick with a gold and steel Rolex Datejust but nothing else. Here we are, though. My third pick is the brilliant Sinn T50 GDBR. As I explained in my review, it’s part of a series of three new T50 models. The first was a limited edition in full Goldbronze, and the second was a regular full-titanium model. While the latter will probably be many people’s pick, I would go for the GDBR version that combines a titanium case with a Goldbronze bezel. The result is a watch that is as practical as it is surprisingly beautiful. I think Sinn has knocked it out of the park with this one.
The overall design is both functional and super stylish at the same time. The titanium case is 12.3mm thick with a 47mm lug-to-lug and an impressive 500m depth rating. Sinn uses the 25-jewel Sellita SW300-1 to power it, giving it a 42-hour power reserve. Altogether, these characteristics make the T50 GDBR a very competent modern dive watch.
But just as importantly, it looks stunning. A combination of titanium and bronze sounds strange, outrageous even. But when seeing the watch and wearing it, it makes total sense. Sinn developed the Goldbronze because of better compatibility with the skin and higher corrosion resistance in seawater. So there is a functional aspect to it, just as there is to the lightweight titanium case. Combined with the light gray silicone strap, the T50 GBDR is my third pick, and it comes in at €4,140.
The agony of selecting a pre-owned pick
Choosing just one pre-owned watch is the true challenge of this series if you ask me. There are simply so many great options. The first one that came to mind is a Rolex Datejust. You can pick from a wide array of different Datejust variations, and I’m sure some of my Fratello teammates will go that route. Some of you might also wonder why I didn’t pick a Grand Seiko. The honest answer is that my two favorite Grand Seiko models — the SBGE285 “Mist Flake” and SBGA413 “Shunbun” — are above the €5K budget. I would be stupid not to check the prices on the pre-owned market, and to my surprise, they weren’t far above the budget. Nevertheless, they were still out of the question.
Then there are the different Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch models that you could opt for. I would go for a ref. 145.022, which you can still find under €5,000. Another version I checked is the chocolate-dial Moonwatch ref. 322.214.171.124.13.001. But the ones that fit the budget have to come from Japan, and with duties and taxes, those will go over our €5K limit. In the spirit of last week’s Top 5 list of watches with green dials, I checked several options. The first was the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra ref. 126.96.36.199.10.001. A watch like that is a perfect daily wearer, and with its green dial, it stands out for me in the Aqua Terra lineup.
Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M — the perfect shade of green for under €5,000
But then I stumbled upon a second option I hadn’t expected — the current Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300M ref. 188.8.131.52.10.001 in green. This watch was introduced only a little over a year ago and currently has a list price of €6,200 on a green rubber strap and €6,600 on a stainless steel bracelet. But a quick search on Chrono24 shows that you can easily get the watch on a rubber strap for under €5,000. There are even several examples available on a stainless steel bracelet. This would be my pick as it’s the perfect everyday modern dive watch. As I explained in my review of the Moonshine Gold Speedmaster with its green dial, Omega has a nose for beautiful shades of green.
This Seamaster is the perfect example. I think the color green works miracles for the Seamaster Diver 300M. It transforms the watch from a hardcore diver into a stylish everyday wearer with its roots firmly planted in its diving characteristics. This Seamaster has a 42mm stainless steel case that is 13.6mm thick, 49.9mm long, 20mm between the lugs, and 300m water resistant. Inside that case, you will find the Master Chronometer caliber 8800. This automatic Co-Axial movement offers a healthy 55-hour power reserve, accuracy within 0/+5 seconds per day, and resistance to magnetic fields of up to 15,000 gauss. These are just more reasons why this Seamaster Diver 300M is a fantastic option to close out this list.
Final thoughts on my picks for the best watches under €5,000
There you have it — my list of 3+1 watches under €5,000. In all honesty, it was a tough task. As you will see in the upcoming articles in this series, there are a ton of options both new and pre-owned — perhaps even a few too many. At some point, though, you have to make choices, and I can honestly say that I would love wearing all of the watches that I picked. But what are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments section which of these is your favorite. We’ll be back with another installment of this “Under €5,000” series soon, so stay tuned for that.