Fratello’s Top 5 Affordable Integrated-Bracelet Watches — Our Picks From Tissot, Straum, Tudor, And More
Another Friday, another Top 5! After last week’s list of skin divers, we are now delving into the world of modern luxury sports watches with integrated bracelets. The category popularized by Audemars Piguet with Gérald Genta’s Royal Oak in the 1970s is still hot today. We have seen a rise in the demand for these stylish modern pieces over the past couple of years. To this day, plenty of brands still release their takes on this category of watches. In particular, those operating at more affordable price levels have put in the effort to come up with models of their own. This week’s list gives you five affordable options for modern sports watches with integrated bracelets.
Many watch fans feel that this genre is already saturated, but the truth is that the releases in it are not nearly as numerous as those in many of the other popular categories. Nevertheless, it is understandable that this sentiment exists. To please the watch-loving crowd, brands have to come up with something new that still feels comfortable but doesn’t take too many influences from already-available options. That last characteristic especially seems to be the key point that we all love to point out. So it seems hard to come up with designs that feel original or, at least, are not blatant copies of other existing models.
It’s a strange category of watches
For this list, we have taken a look at recent releases that are both affordable and fit the bill of modern sports watches with integrated bracelets. Just typing that out feels rather weird. The category is named after a design detail rather than a watch’s purpose or function. Consequently, it is also a topic of much debate. But you are probably well aware of what category we are referring to. Within that realm, we have selected five available options that were all released not too long ago and don’t break the bank.
Tissot PRX Powermatic 80
The Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 was always destined to be our first pick. It’s hard to deny the great success of the PRX. With a steady but not overzealous stream of new models, Tissot’s PRX keeps on winning. What is there to say that you don’t already know? By now, you are all aware that the PRX comes in both 40mm and 35mm sizes with either a quartz or an automatic movement. The much-preferred mechanical Powermatic 80 range has dials with a nice stamped tapisserie pattern. It gives the watch some much-wanted extra detail that matches the angular shape of the case and the bracelet.
Tissot has been great at making sure that it doesn’t release a new PRX too quickly after another. The big news of recent months was the addition of the full range of 35mm Powermatic 80 models to the lineup. That happened in June, and only a little over a week ago, the brand added a gold-plated model and the popular ice-blue version, both in 35mm cases, to the collection. This creates a great range in two popular sizes, with the chronograph models as a plus-sized bonus. As some of you will know, I am the proud owner of a black-dial PRX Powermatic 80, and over a year after I bought it, I still wear it a lot. I’ve said it multiple times and will say it again: at €745, the PRX Powermatic punches way above its weight class. It feels like a watch that costs double the price, and I can’t wait to see what is next.
Straum Jan Mayen
The Straum Jan Mayen collection is my favorite, apart from the PRX, of course. I was all ears when I heard the first stories from Fratello’s own Dave Sargeant that Straum was working on a brilliant stainless steel bracelet and some spectacular dials for its newest model. While I liked the Straum Opphav, there were some design decisions that I didn’t necessarily love. First was the lack of a good bracelet. Second, the hour markers were too short, in my opinion. But I did recognize the incredible potential of the basic design. And with the Jan Mayen collection, Straum has solved both issues that I had. So did I buy our Fratello limited edition? I did not. Why not? The answer is simple, the dial color was just not for me.
But will I be getting one? Yes, either the green- or white-dial versions have my name on them. Because when I tried the Fratello limited edition, I knew I have to get one. It simply is the total package. The beautiful case measures 39mm in diameter and 11.9mm in thickness and has a 45.82mm lug-to-lug. From that, the integrated bracelet tapers from 24.82mm to a nice 18mm at the clasp. The bracelet is, hands down, the best bracelet you can get at the sub-€2K price point. It is impressive in its execution and wears like an absolute dream. Inside the case of the Jan Mayen, you will find the La Joux-Perret G101 with a 68-hour power reserve. At €1,600 excluding VAT, the Straum Jan Mayen is another best-in-class choice.
One of the biggest surprises of last year was the Citizen NJ0150. Seemingly out of nowhere, the Japanese brand graced us with a very affordable take on the popular category of watches with integrated bracelets. The yellow dial version jumped out immediately next to the blue and black dial versions that we also had for review. This year, Citizen followed those models up with four new NJ0151 variants. Three stainless steel watches come with seriously cool blue dials and a gold-colored version with a red dial. The three blue ones look amazing, although the “Tiffany blue” version is probably the one getting the most positive and negative attention.
The NJ0150/1 features a 40mm stainless steel case measuring 11.7mm thick and 49mm from lug to lug. As a result, it wears like a charm around my wrist, although for some of our readers, the dimensions are a bit too big, and they would have loved to see a slightly smaller version. I understand that, especially with the open feel of the dial. It makes the NJ0150/1 feel bigger than the similarly sized Tissot PRX. But I can honestly say that the watch is very wearable and has the style and charisma of a much more expensive piece. Inside the case, Citizen uses its in-house 8210 movement with a 40-hour power reserve. It’s a basic but capable caliber that fits the cheapest one of today’s five picks. At €299, this is a great watch for the money with awesome dial options.
Yema Urban Traveller
Our next pick was introduced not too long ago. I had a chance to try out the new Yema Urban Traveller range and was a bit skeptical at first but quickly changed my opinion. I was a fan of the first Wristmaster Traveller “Old Radium” model that Yema released in 2021. The watch combined the aesthetic of the integrated-bracelet category with a diver’s dial that matched the style very well. But for the new Urban Traveller models, Yema made some changes to make them a lot more refined. The three new models introduce a new dial design that stands out immediately. It has a nice and refined pattern that I had never seen on any watch, and it adds a nice sense of depth to the watch.
A thing that greatly surprised me was the modest size and overall very wearable design. In the pictures, the watch always looked chunky to me, but in reality, it is not. The case measures a nice 39mm wide, 43.5mm long, and 11.4mm thick, and the bracelet is 24mm wide where it connects to the case. That makes it a lot more modest than some of the other options on this list. Inside the case, Yema uses its in-house caliber YEMA2000. This movement operates at 28,800vph and has a 42-hour power reserve. The watch comes with a light blue, silver, or salmon dial, each with its own charm. At €890, the Yema Urban Traveller models are a great way to go. They have a distinctive design aesthetic, and the dials are rather unique as well.
We’re moving a step up on the price ladder with our last pick, the Tudor Royal. I have to say that the new Royal models were a very nice surprise when we had them in the office. Lex wrote about the 34mm two-tone model that caught him off guard in a great way. And this begged the question of why we haven’t given the Royal more attention. Because next to the two-tone models with the brown dial, the brand also released a very nice stainless steel option with a salmon dial. After seeing the 34mm two-tone version, I would love to take the 38mm salmon-dial version for a spin sometime soon.
When it comes to the different sizes, the 41mm model feels too much like an uncomfortable Rolex Day-Date by Tudor, in my opinion. But with the smaller options, the cleaner aesthetic does the Royal good. While it’s hard to deny the influences of The Crown, there is a certain sympathy that some of the Fratello team members have for this often-overlooked model in the Tudor collection. The Tudor caliber T601 that powers the watch is based on the popular Sellita SW200-1. It’s also why the Royal is not up to the price levels of some of the other models that feature Kenissi movements. As a result, the stainless steel 34mm model comes in at €2,350, the 38mm at €2,400, and the 41mm model — powered by the T603 because of its day function — at €2,460.
Final thoughts on the best affordable integrated-bracelet watches
There you have it — a small selection of integrated-bracelet watches that are currently available. As is always the case with lists like these, a wide variety of watches could have been featured in this article. This list is the starting point for a more extensive discussion. What is your favorite affordable option currently available in this category, and why? Let us know in the comments section below. We will see you next week for another Top 5 list.