The Fratello Favorites series has taken us to the €5,000 limit, and that’s a tricky place to play. This was once the land of opportunity, but it now feels like no man’s land in a search for the best watches. Rising prices mean that brands like Omega and Rolex have disappeared from the scene. That’s okay because there are plenty of nice watches, but since my colleagues have already published articles, many pieces have been discussed. So I’ll take a slightly different direction with my choices.

For most people, €5,000 is not a small sum. Despite the crazy rise in retail prices among luxury brands, many consumers haven’t decided to open their wallets further. Unfortunately, this means that they need to choose from marques that were not considered previously. These companies make nice watches, but there’s another opportunity at hand. New watches and used watches can provide fantastic value. My picks comprise both for the best watches under €5,000.

the best watches under €5,000 The Citizen Caliber 0200

Citizen The Citizen Caliber 0200

In 2021, Citizen dropped The Citizen Caliber 0200 out of nowhere. This high-brow watch brought Grand Seiko-like detailing with a 60-hour-power-reserve movement from corporate cousin La Joux-Perret. The 40mm case and 10.9mm thickness are right in the sweet spot for most wearers, and the bracelet is commendable. I had the chance to wear this watch one evening while visiting Fratello HQ, and I liked it.

We thought The Citizen Caliber 0200 was the start of a new effort from Citizen regarding mechanical watchmaking. Sadly, it went off like a damp squib, and we’ve barely heard a whimper since 2021. When it arrived in boutiques, this watch had a retail price of US$6,000. At the time of publishing this article, though, about €3,600 (plus import duties and taxes) can get you a pre-owned example from Japan. Many Grand Seiko watches are available for under €5,000, but The Citizen makes my list because it’s distinct and beautifully built. Let’s hope that more watches like this are in the making.

the best watches under €5,000 Audemars Piguet Ultra-Thin

Image: Wind Vintage

Audemars Piguet Cal. 2003 Ultra-Thin

Okay, this choice is from left field, but please hear me out. I purchased the watch above from Wind Vintage earlier this year, and it’s one that fools the eyes. It’s only 32mm wide, but with chunky lugs and an 18mm gap, the Audemars Piguet with caliber 2003 looks and feels much larger. Now, if this is to qualify for the best watches under €5,000, I am not suggesting a bracelet like mine. That Gay Frères gem brings us above the threshold, but this watch looks sexy on a strap too.

Image: Wind Vintage

For years, the Ultra-Thin from Audemars Piguet was the primary seller in the lineup alongside the Royal Oak. It was made for decades. It’s a classic dress watch and certainly doesn’t offer good water resistance or ruggedness. However, it’s classy and works beautifully under a long-sleeved shirt. If you’re patient, you can find 18K white or yellow gold models from the ’50s and ’60s for less than €3,000. That’s a heck of a deal for an Audemars Piguet.

Tudor Black Bay 58 925 the best watches under €5,000

The Tudor Black Bay 58 925

For whatever reason, I seem to be heading back to 2021. The Tudor Black Bay 58 925 debuted earlier that year at Watches and Wonders. It was a weird release with its sterling silver case, but I loved it. Immediately, folks began to question and ridicule its supposedly non-tarnishing case with crazy pictures showing darkened metal. It was May that year, and we finally emerged from pandemic-stricken Germany to visit Spain. I saw the 925 in person and knew I had to own it.

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Silver 6

With today’s short attention spans, this Tudor feels long forgotten, but it’s a watch that I love wearing. It’s a great daily piece that works for every occasion. Sure, steel is the normal choice, and a bracelet option is great, but the silver bullet, as Lex called it, is the best colorway in the Black Bay series, hands down. Is it one of the best watches under €5,000? It retails for €4,680 and can be found for roughly 40% off used. That’s a steal in my book, even if it isn’t made of steel.

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight Silver 7

Final thoughts

My choices for the best watches under €5,000 certainly aren’t typical. I opted for a current model, a long-forgotten piece, and a recent watch. What it shows is that there are amazing vintage deals, new watches, and recently discontinued models that are all worth considering. Furthermore, they span different genres, which tells us that opportunities are everywhere.

What do you think of these picks? As always, don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments.