Another Friday, another Top 5! It might be a new year, but our weekly lists are going nowhere. We completed our Best Of 2023 series last week with our top dress watches of last year. This week, we move on to our regular series of lists covering various topics. In this first Top 5 of the year, we will look at what we feel are the best mechanical watches under €1,000. What five watches would we buy that tick all our boxes? This is our collective answer to that question.

It seems like an easy question to answer. But finding the best five watches under €1,000 that we collectively agree on is quite the task. Many of our writers covered personal picks in a series of articles last year. I then wrote a summary of all of them, and you had a chance to vote for your favorites. But what five watches do we agree on that represent the best under €1,000? We never answered that question collectively, so that’s why we will cover the topic in this article. We picked watches between €500 and €1,000 that could impress us regarding brand, design, quality, specs, and reliability. On top of that, we looked at watches that are mechanical and easy to service. So, without further ado, let’s jump in.

top 5 current watches under €1,000 Tissot PRX

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80

Our #1 pick was a unanimous decision. The Tissot PRX is one of the watch industry’s biggest success stories of recent times and for a good reason. Multiple Fratello team members own a PRX, and everyone understands its great success. It seems unnecessary, but let’s go over the story in more detail.

top 5 current watches under €1,000 Tissot PRX

The PRX was inspired by a Tissot Seastar model with an integrated bracelet from the 1970s. The designers updated the design to hit the sweet spot of retro charm and modern appeal. Currently, the PRX is available in quartz and mechanical variations and comes in 35mm and 40mm versions with various dial colors.

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80

But our favorites are the 35mm and 40mm Powermatic 80 versions. Both have a design that is instantly recognizable and easy to love. They each feature a dial with a texture reminiscent of the great Royal Oak’s Tapisserie dial. But when put in the context of the PRX, it becomes its own thing that works very well. Inside the cases of these PRX models, you will find the reliable automatic Powermatic 80 movement with an 80-hour power reserve.

At €775 (regardless of size), this is the total package. As a PRX owner, I can say that the watch looks, feels, and wears like a watch worth two or three times its €775 retail price. That is the real strength of the Tissot PRX Powermatic 80. The feeling of a true luxury watch that it gives you is hard to beat at under €1,000.

top 5 current watches under €1,000 Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic 38mm

Hamilton Khaki Field Auto (38mm)

Next up is the 38mm Hamilton Khaki Field Auto. You could debate whether the Auto or the Mechanical should be on this list. We opted for the practicality of the automatic version over its manual counterpart.

top 5 current watches under €1,000 Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic 38mm

As Nacho explained perfectly in his article about the watch, “The Auto gives you everything the hand-winding model does but with the added convenience of a date, automatic movement, and a 100m water resistance rating.” I would also add that the dial design is slightly more refined, making it easier on the eyes than the Khaki Field Mechanical.

Although it’s also available in 42mm and 44mm sizes, our chosen Khaki Field Auto features a neat 38mm case that measures 11mm thick. The display case back reveals the Hamilton H10 automatic movement inside. This staple of the Hamilton collection is another version of the Powermatic 80 that powers so many great affordable options from the different Swatch Group brands. It is a modernized version of the ETA 2824-2 with, once again, a healthy 80-hour power reserve.

If you are looking for a watch with plenty of military-field-watch charm and a modern appeal and execution, look no further. At €825 on a stainless steel bracelet (H70455133) and €745 on a strap (H70455533), this is our second pick for this Top 5.

top 5 current watches under €1,000 Seiko Prospex SPB317

Seiko Prospex SPB317 “Turtle Origin”

Our third pick for this Top 5 was the undisputed winner of last year’s reader poll for the best watch under €1,000. With 22% of the votes, the Seiko Prospex SPB317 won that popularity contest by a landslide. And we agree it is a stellar watch that is now available for exactly €1,000. The SPB317 “Turtle Origin” has everything that makes a vintage-inspired Seiko diver so appealing.

top 5 current watches under €1,000 Seiko Prospex SPB317

It combines good looks with a great story and has the size and build quality to guarantee a standout everyday watch. The 41mm case is a breath of fresh air when considering that many Seiko Prospex divers are significantly larger. Luckily, to many watch lovers’ delight, Seiko has released increasingly more modestly sized divers in recent times.

Fratello’s Daan owns an SPB317, and besides being a great-looking watch, it is also an absolute strap monster. Daan has worn it on various straps, and the watch looks great on all of them. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a NATO, leather, or rubber strap; the design lends itself well to pretty much anything you pair it with.

top 5 current watches under €1,000 Seiko Prospex SPB317

Inside the case, you will find the in-house Seiko 6R35 caliber. As Daan explained, it might not win any accuracy awards, but that didn’t keep you from voting for the SPB317 as the most popular watch under €1,000. We agree that it is a great, affordable daily wearer, and that’s why it is part of this Top 5 list.

top 5 current watches under €1,000 Christopher Ward C65 Dune

Christopher Ward C65 Dune Automatic

There are multiple contenders from Christopher Ward in this price category, including the C60 Trident Pro 300, C60 Atoll 300, C63 Sealander Automatic, and the C63 Celest. If one thing is clear, the brand offers some best-in-class watches under €1,000. But the one model that thoroughly impressed us when we had it in for review was the C65 Dune Automatic.

The Explorer-esque watch is part of the brand’s Dune series and is available in four dial colors. Of these, the most striking is the White Sand version. Combined with a canvas or a leather strap, the C65 Dune Automatic offers plenty of charm and makes a perfect daily wearer with its desert-inspired looks.

top 5 current watches under €1,000 Christopher Ward C65 Dune

The charm combines an unmatched quality and finishing within the price bracket. On top of that, Christopher Ward equips the watch with the Sellita SW200-1, a reliable Swiss engine. Many watches arrive at the Fratello offices, but none offer better quality at the sub-€1,000 price point.

top 5 current watches under €1,000 Christopher Ward C65 Dune

I would even go as far as to that the combination of the watch and the bracelet beats many watches under €2K. Granted, the C65 Dune Automatic bracelet option is slightly above the €1,000 threshold at €1,165. But at €950 on a canvas strap and €965 on a leather strap, the 38mm C65 Dune Automatic is a brilliant watch for the money.

top 5 current watches under €1,000 Certina DS Action Diver

Certina DS Action Diver (38mm)

We have a vintage-inspired diver with the Seiko SPB317, but we also wanted to add a more modern-looking dive watch. We feel that the best option is the 38mm Certina DS Action Diver. Last year, Lex reviewed the titanium version of the watch that could be your pick at €995 on a NATO strap. But as most of us want a diver on a bracelet, the pictured titanium version is just out of scope with its current €1,095 list price.

However, the stainless steel version on a bracelet could be yours for €890, and it offers great bang for the buck. The watch is built according to ISO 6425 specifications and is water resistant to 300 meters. The case measures a modest 38mm wide, 45mm long, and 12.20mm, making it a great fit for various wrist sizes.

Summer watch top 5 current watches under €1,000 Certina DS Action Diver

Just like the case proportions, the dial design also feels balanced. The stainless steel version comes with either a blue sunray dial with a blue bezel (C032.807.11.041.00), a green sunray dial with a green bezel (C032.807.11.091.00), or a black dial with a black bezel (C032.807.11.051.00). The titanium version (C032.807.48.081.00 / C032.807.44.081.00) offers more excitement with the darker titanium color and a brown bezel.

Certina DS Action Diver top 5 current watches under €1,000

On top of that, as you can see in the pictures, the hour markers and hands feature blue lume for a bit more “pop.” Inside the case of the DS Action Diver, you will find the Powermatic 80.611 movement. Yes, this is another Swatch Group watch with another Powermatic movement. It is a great caliber to power this modern diver, our fifth and last pick for our list of the best current watches under €1,000.

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

There you have it — our top five current watches under €1,000. All of them are great picks from reputable brands that tick all the boxes mentioned in the intro. Three of our five options are from Swatch Group brands with Powermatic movements inside. As I already stated in my article wrapping up all of last year’s picks, in the sub-€1,000 segment, the Swatch Group offers many great choices from brands with a good reputation and history.

Hamilton, Tissot, and Certina also have many more great options under €1,000. But so do Christopher Ward and Seiko, so we’d understand if you picked a different watch from any of them.

You might be thinking, “What about smaller brands like Baltic, Serica, Traska, and so on?” We have to admit that we threw you a little curveball. There are so many great options from microbrands these days. That’s why we want to take the opportunity to create a separate Top 5 list for them.

Serica 6190 Field Chronometer

As I explained in our overview of options from last year, smaller brands have changed the landscape of affordable watches forever. We want to give these brands a separate article next week because five spots are not enough to cover all the best options under €1,000.

So we hope to see you next week for another Top 5 list. In the meantime, let us know your favorite pick in the comments section.