As we continue this year’s Fratello Favorites series, picking the best watches at several specific price points, we have arrived at the €5,000 limit. This is where we start to see some of the biggest names in watches come into the equation. As I mentioned last year, rising prices mean that some brands whose watches could have made the cut are no longer an option. That said, there are still plenty of brilliant watches to choose from. The €5K ceiling is also where my “comfort zone” ends, so it’s one last chance to select a lineup of watches that I’d not just be happy to add to my collection but where doing so is still realistic.

To mix things up from my previous Best Watches Under €5,000 article, I’ve decided to try not to repeat my picks. There is one exception, but I’ll get to that in a second. Something else I wanted to do differently was to make a slightly more varied selection. Last year’s picks were all dive watches. This time, I want to have a four-watch collection comprised of some of the best watches available today for less than €5,000. Let’s jump into my picks and see what I managed to put together.

best watches under €5,000 Tudor Pelagos FXD "USN" pocket shot

The best watches under €5,000 — Tudor Pelagos FXD “USN”

Holy déjà vu, Batman! Now, you may be asking yourself, “Did he really say he was going to mix things up and then choose the same watch he did last year as his first pick?” And you’d be right. But, if you were paying attention, you’ll remember that I mentioned an exception, and this is it. Last year, I was lucky enough to travel to the US for the introduction of the Tudor Pelagos FXD “USN.” In my introduction article, I explained how this watch addressed some of the things that bothered me about the original FXD and expressed that it would be a watch I’d be looking to add to my collection. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to get my hands on one to call my own.

My inclusion of the watch in last year’s list was based on my brief time with the press watch on my wrist. But after three months of ownership, I can confirm it’s spot on. It is more than well deserved. The Tudor Pelagos FXD could easily claim the crown for best dive watch under €5,000 overall. The only other contender is the Pelagos 39, which addresses the FXD’s one weakness (arguably), the lack of a bracelet. However, as someone who enjoys a NATO or single-pass strap, I find it to be a strength as it puts security on the wrist over strap (and bracelet) options. Besides that, the Pelagos FXD “USN” is a rugged, purposeful, and more than capable dive watch that is an absolute pleasure to wear. Priced at €4,230, it comes in well under the €5K price point, offering a brilliant execution of the modern dive watch.

I certainly enjoy mine and look forward to wearing it on many future dives and adventures, both big and small.

Aerospace B70 Orbiter best watches under €5,000

Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter

Exceptions aside, we now venture forth into untrod territory. My second sub-€5K pick is somewhat of a placeholder. I wanted to include the Breitling Aerospace EVO Titanium (ref. E79363101B1E1), but this watch has been discontinued. So I’ve opted for the next best thing, the Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter. This is currently the only Aerospace model available from Breitling, which is why it only serves as a placeholder on my list. As much as I appreciate the history to which this watch pays tribute, I would prefer a more standard model. Do away with the bright orange vignette dial and Orbiter balloon material in the case back, and give me all the same functionality but with a more toned-down look. I truly hope Breitling will reintroduce a standard lineup in the Aerospace model line someday. Until that day comes,  I’ll settle for the Orbiter.

Aesthetics aside, this latest Aerospace model is a truly impressive watch. The case has been updated, and (for better or worse) Breitling has done away with the multifunctional crown in favor of a more standard two-pusher interface. Still, this only knocks a fraction of what makes the Aerospace an incredibly cool and charming watch. A favorite among pilots and sketchy individuals all over the globe, the latest Aerospace is priced at €4,800, including VAT. A standard version with a black, gray, or blue dial would likely be priced slightly lower than this limited model, leaving you a bit of budget left over for a Breitling rubber strap, which would be a great alternative to the titanium bracelet for those occasions that call for it.

 best watches under €5,000 Sinn 144 St DIAPAL

Sinn 144 St DIAPAL

In my quest to assemble a diverse collection of some of the best watches under €5,000, I’d be remiss not to include a chronograph. Unlike in lower price segments, once you approach the €5K point, you have a wealth of possibilities when choosing a mechanical chronograph. My pick is the Sinn 144 St DIAPAL. Where to start with this deeply nerdy yet somehow incredibly cool watch? Well, how about the fact that you get a column-wheel chronograph with a built-in second time zone, a 200m depth rating, low-pressure resistance for high altitudes, and some of the brand’s distinctive tech? This includes Ar-Dehumidifying Technology, which combines a capsule that removes moisture that might get into the watch, special seals, and a protective gas inside the case.

Additionally, the Sinn 144 St uses the brand’s DIAPAL technology, which allows the escapement to function without oils that eventually deteriorate and could lead to potential timing issues. Talk about over-engineering to perfection! I also find the 144 to be a great-looking watch. Its gray dial, black sub-dials, tachymeter rehaut, and bright red accents on the chronograph elements make it a Teutonic tool to behold. It’s worth reading into all the tech used in this watch on the Sinn website. Priced at €3,840 on the steel bracelet, this is a watch that’s long been on my list of favorites and could well end up being mine someday.

The discontinued Tank Solo

Cartier Tank (Solo or Must)

Now, you’ll have to allow me to play this last pick with a slight dose of ambiguity. I say this as I want to include a Cartier Tank on the list but don’t want to set the specific model in stone. Sure, a Tank Must is convenient as it’s available today to purchase from Cartier directly. You’ll have the privilege of being its first wearer, get the pleasure of peeling off the stickers, and be tasked with shifting around in the contents of your cupboard to house the pristine red box. On the other hand, if you opt for a pre-owned Tank Solo, you’ll have (what I find to be) a better-proportioned watch with a more interesting profile.

Cartier Tank Must SolarBeat best watches under €5,000

The current Tank Must large model

The Must certainly comes closer to the classic Tank shape. Regardless, you really can’t go wrong here. They will set you back about €2,500 (for a Solo in good condition) to €3,800 for a Tank Must large model new from Cartier. For that, you’ll get one of the most recognizable and stylish dress watches. Thanks to the reliable quartz movement inside, you’ll also not have to worry about winding it or setting it more than twice a year. Even though the Tank is a dressy watch, I think it’s just as satisfying to wear it informally, in sneakers, a T-shirt, and sunglasses with a beer in hand on a hot summer day. Whether you dress it up or down, the Tank remains a versatile watch with looks that can be drastically transformed with a different strap (or bracelet).

Final thoughts

As I said at the start of this article, €5,000 is a considerable amount of money. It’s about the maximum I’d feel comfortable spending on a watch. Luckily, though, it’s also a price point at which you have many excellent options. The fact that there are so many is likely part of what keeps me happy in my comfort zone. Now, as many of these picks show, you don’t even need to dish out a full €5K for a great watch, but trust me when I say that I tried my best to come as close to the price limit as possible while still keeping these picks honest. That’s the beauty of it: as we increase the price, we begin to get away from the well-known value props at specific price points. We also begin to see more variety and learn more about each editor’s evolving (or static) taste.

However, we would also love to hear your thoughts on our picks and which watch(es) you would buy for yourselves in the sub-€5K category. Let me know in the comments section below!