Another Friday, another Top 5! This week’s list is a continuation of last week’s topic, our picks for best watches under €1,000. In that article, I already hinted at a follow-up with our picks in that price range from microbrands. The reality is that microbrands significantly changed the landscape of affordable watches. With a strong focus on creativity and offering the best possible options for the money, quite a few of these brands have done very well. This Top 5 focuses on the current models we love and that offer great value for money at under €1,000. While it was even more difficult than last week to whittle our choices down to just five, after a healthy discussion among our editors, we ended up with these picks.

As a reminder, we were searching for five mechanical watches between €500 and €1,000. Now, when using the term “microbrand,” you could have a healthy discussion about what that means. Gerard wrote an insightful piece on that topic at the end of 2022, illuminating the definition and sharing thoughts on what brands qualify. You will find that all five of the featured watches today are indeed from small, independent brands that have become well known among watch enthusiasts. Now, without any further ado, let’s jump in and check out our picks for the best currently available microbrand watches under €1,000.

Top 5 Current Microbrand Watches Under €1,000 Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium

Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium

Our first immediate thought for the best microbrand in the sub-€1,000 segment was Baltic. But which Baltic model should we pick? The French brand has so many great options under €1,000 that mentioning only one seems odd. Indeed, Baltic has built an entire collection centered around attractive, affordable watches, from the Bicompax and the MR01 to the brand-new Hermétique Tourer.

Top 5 Current Microbrand Watches Under €1,000 Baltic Aquascaphe Titanium

However, one model that collectively impressed us when we had it in the office was the Aquascaphe Titanium that Thomas reviewed and bought. As the name suggests, this diver is a modern titanium version of the brand’s popular Aquascaphe, and as such, it ticks many boxes.

This 300m-water-resistant diver has a 39mm titanium case with a 41mm bezel and measures 13.6mm thick. The bezel has a lumed and brushed ceramic inlay that matches the dial design perfectly. The dial design feels balanced, featuring oversized luminous hour markers and a matching handset.

You can choose from a blue version with white (blue-glowing) lume or a black version with light green lume. Both feel distinctive without losing that modern feel. Inside the case, Baltic uses the automatic Miyota 9039 with a 42-hour power reserve. At €860, the lightweight Aquascaphe Titanium is a great first pick for this list from a variety of options from Baltic.

Top 5 Current Microbrand Watches Under €1,000 Serica 6190 Field Chronometer

Serica 6190 Field Chronometer

We’re staying in France with Serica and the 6190 Field Chronometer. This updated version of the brand’s inaugural 4512 was presented in October last year. The 4512 was a favorite at Fratello, combining the classic look of a military-inspired field watch with plenty of vintage design charm. It was a watch that was easy to love, but could Serica improve something that was already so good?

Top 5 Current Microbrand Watches Under €1,000 Serica 6190 Field Chronometer

As it turned out, the brand did quite a bit. Serica updated the design, starting with the case. It retained the 37.7mm diameter but slimmed down to a nice 10.4mm thickness, making it less chunky and easier to wear. The case now also features chamfered lugs, in line with the brand’s 5303 diver and 8312 GMT.

Like the previous 4512, the 6190 offers a choice of three different dial designs, which have also been updated. The first is the clean Commando dial with a full set of Arabic-numeral hour markers. The second is the Denali dial with the brand’s trademark lume dots placed further toward the dial’s center. Finally, there’s an updated version of the popular California dial.

Top 5 Current Microbrand Watches Under €1,000 Serica 6190 Field Chronometer

In another big change, Serica switched from the manual-winding STP1-11 to the COSC-certified automatic Soprod M100. This movement also powers the 5303 diver and has a 42-hour power reserve. Lastly, the Bonklip bracelet also got an update to complete the brilliant looks of the Serica 6190. At €990, this is an impressive update from the 4512 and a solid second pick for our list.

Top 5 Current Microbrand Watches Under €1,000 Traska Commuter 34 and 38

Traska Commuter

Another series of watches that was updated in 2023 was the Traska Commuter. As Vincent explained, the brand added 34mm and 38mm variations to the lineup, much to the delight of many fans. The 36mm Commuter came out in 2021, and with the addition of two new sizes, Traska also graced us with new dials.

And there aren’t just new colors but also various dial finishes. Additionally, the brand keeps tweaking its offerings so that the overall quality as well as functional specs keep getting better. In terms of design, the Commuter has strong Oyster Perpetual vibes, and I love that. With three different sizes, there is a Commuter for everyone.

Top 5 Current Microbrand Watches Under €1,000 Traska Commuter 34

All three Commuter cases are slightly bigger than their names would imply. The Commuter 34 is 34.5mm in diameter, 41.5mm in length, and 8.75mm in height. The Commuter 36 is 36.5mm wide with a 44mm lug-to-lug and the same 8.75mm thickness. Lastly, the Commuter 38 case measures 38.5mm in diameter, 46mm from lug to lug, and 8.75mm thick. All three cases, which are water resistant to 100 meters, come with a sapphire crystal, and the case and the bracelet of all the watches are treated with a proprietary hard coating.

All the Commuter models house the automatic Miyota 9039 caliber with a 42-hour power reserve. Lastly, the Oyster-style bracelet has a toolless micro-adjustable clasp to ensure that the standout Commuter fits your wrist perfectly. It is the full package, and prices range from US$580 to $635 depending on your size preference. Along with the Venturer and Seafarer, the Commuter is just another example of why Traska has quickly become a go-to brand for watches under €1,000.

Top 5 Current Microbrand Watches Under €1,000 Unimatic Modello Quattro Serie 8

Unimatic Modello Quattro Serie 8

Unimatic is another brand with multiple offerings under €1,000 that could be perfect for this list. The obvious pick would be the Modello Uno Classic UC1. It is part of the brand’s Classic series of permanent offerings consisting of the four basic Unimatic models. But while the UC1 is a perfect pick, we opted for the Modello Quattro Serie 8.

Top 5 Current Microbrand Watches Under €1,000 Unimatic Modello Quattro Serie 8

The watch comes in three colors and is part of the brand’s Special Editions collection. While they are limited in numbers, all of the Modello Quattro Serie 8 models in olive green, navy blue, and black are available. So why pick one of these over the Modello Uno or Modello Quattro from the Classic series?

First, you get an upgrade in movement from the Seiko NH35 to a Sellita SW200-1. As a result of that upgrade, the case was also redesigned and is quite a bit slimmer, which adds to the overall comfort of the Modello Quattro. The 40 × 49mm case of the Modello Quattro Classic UC4 is 13.9mm thick, whereas the case of all three Serie 8 versions is significantly slimmer at 12.4mm thick.

The Unimatic Serie 8 models have beautiful blue, green, or black matte dials and gilt-tone details. Combined with the characteristic Unimatic design style and vintage-inspired lume, it makes for a compelling series of watches available for €750 excluding VAT. Knowing the incredible build quality of Unimatic’s watches combined with a Swiss movement and unique style, the Modello Quattro Serie 8 field watches are the perfect fourth pick under €1,000.

Studio Underdog 02Series Field

Studio Underd0g 02Series

Our last pick for our favorite microbrand watches under €1,000 is the Studio Underd0g 02Series. We have covered the brand extensively on Fratello and even collaborated on the April Fool’s Aubergine Chronograph, now named Series01. The funky and colorful Series01 chronographs might have started as a fun series of watches but quickly became seriously popular.

With the introduction of Series02, Studio Underd0g founder Richard Benc shows that it’s not just fun and games. As Ben put it well in his review of the series, the new Series02 injects the brand’s playful nature into the usually serious category of field watches. The result is, once again, rather brilliant.

The Series02 consists of four different models. At first glance, three of the models come with regular dial colors. The white-dial Full Mo0n, the blue-dial Steffany Blue, and the black-dial Midnight editions have a far more serious presence than the colorful Pink Lem0nade edition with its pink-to-yellow gradient dial. But in great Studio Underd0g fashion, that is not the full story. Except for the black-dial Midnight edition, the watches have fully luminous dials with transparent discs above them for the black numerals.

The dials are coated with seven layers of Super-LumiNova for stunning results. They’re combined with a 37mm stainless steel case that holds the manual-winding Sellita SW210-1 with 42 hours of power reserve. This series of four watches is another great move from Studio Underd0g. All versions sell for €850 and will be back in stock in March 2024.

Final thoughts on our top five current microbrand watches under €1,000

As mentioned, we could have picked many different watches from many brands. But these five watches are our favorites under €1,000 from the different microbrands. Now I would like to ask you the same question. What are your favorite microbrand watches in this price segment? Let us know in the comments section, and we will see you again for a new list next week!