The Top 5 Haute Horlogerie Timepieces You Can Buy For €10,000 Or Less — Featuring Blancpain, Vacheron Constantin, Breguet, And More…
Another Friday, another Top 5! After two weeks with different travel watches, it’s time to move on to something different. This week, we will put the spotlight on some of the less obvious choices. But these are watches that deserve every bit of attention, I can assure you. We have selected five Haute Horlogerie timepieces that you can buy for €10,000 or less. These timepieces not only look stunning but also bring some wonderful complications for relatively affordable prices.
In a world of over-stimulation of popular models from the likes of Rolex, Omega, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe, it’s easy to forget that there are so many more great brands and timepieces out there. And as a team, we are also guilty of that. But if you dig beneath the surface a bit more, you will discover some absolutely stunning watches to spend your money on that are not the next Rolex sports model. That’s why we went on a little quest to come up with five remarkable timepieces that are available for surprising prices. Some are from well-established Haute Horlogerie brands, some feature spectacular movements, and all of them are in precious metals. Without further ado, let’s check them out!
Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duoface “Night & Day” ref. 270.1.54
Let’s kick this list off with a fantastic gold Jaeger Le-Coultre Reverso. When it comes to the Reverso, there are many different options you can get at decent prices. We chose the stunning first-generation Reverso Duoface “Night & Day” ref. 270.1.54 that debuted in 1994. This watch has a 26 × 42mm Grand Taille case in 18K yellow gold with the crown and a pusher on the right side. Like all the Duoface models we’ve come to know, the watch features two dials. The front dial, which is the more traditional of the two, is also silver and beautifully finished. It features the Reverso’s characteristic Arabic numerals and small seconds at 6 o’clock. In typical Reverso fashion, all three hands are blued to contrast the dial nicely.
The rear dial, also executed in silver, allows you to track another time zone, which is controlled via the inset pusher above the crown. It also has a rotated 24-hour indicator with nighttime hours on the left and daytime hours on the right, giving this model the “Night & Day” moniker. I particularly love the dauphine hands in combination with the numerals and indices on the rear dial. Additionally, the finishing of this dial is stunning with its multiple intricate patterns, including Clous de Paris for the surrounding area. The watch is powered by the in-house JLC caliber 854. This manual-winding movement operates at a 21,600vph frequency and has a 45-hour power reserve. Expect to see prices for this beauty starting around €8,000 and slowly increasing. But it’s certainly possible to buy one for less than €10K. What you get in return is a brilliant take on an all-time classic.
Breguet Classique ref. 5907
Speaking of “classics,” how about a “classique“? Fratello’s own Daan owns the Breguet Classique ref. 5907. When he first wore it to the office, we all agreed that this watch was a magnificent and classy statement. Especially in combination with the white gold case, the dial comes alive in all its glory while feeling somewhat understated compared to its rose and yellow gold counterparts. The watch has a 34mm white gold case that is only 7.5mm thick. This gives it an ultra-slim profile, it also features Breguet’s characteristic coin-edge case sides and nice, straight lugs. The case has a beautiful and elegant form that works perfectly on smaller wrists.
As Daan explained, the yellow gold dial is silvered, brushed, and engraved with a beautiful guilloché pattern. It features small seconds at 6 o’clock and two of the most beautiful blued hands you will ever find. If you turn the watch around, you will see the manual-winding Breguet caliber 511DR. The beautiful movement ticks at 21,600vph and has an impressive 95-hour power reserve. As you see above, there is a power reserve indicator with a nice blued hand on the back. Finding one of these beauties in either white gold or yellow gold should be possible for around €9,000. If you would like a similar model but a bit bigger and with central seconds and the date, you could also opt for the 35.5mm ref. 5930 for even less.
Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet ref. 6263-3642-55B
I was surprised that you can actually get this watch for under €10K in rose gold. But it’s true; the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet ref. 6263-3642-55B can be found starting at just under €10,000. For that money, you will get one of Blancpain’s signature timepieces. Lex wrote an article about the watch’s stainless steel successor, ref. 6654. In the article, Lex rightfully states that the Villeret Quantième Complet “could be the poster boy for traditional Haute Horlogerie.” It is an archetypical dress watch with a round case, white dial, and two complications to liven up the overall presence.
The watch has a 38mm rose gold case measuring 10.8mm thick. It houses a movement with a triple calendar and a moonphase indicator, making it a “complete calendar.” As such, it shows nearly all calendar indications. However, it’s not a perpetual calendar because it doesn’t show the years and, crucially, requires manual correction. The windows at 12 o’clock show the day and the month, while the crescent-tipped central hand points to the date. On the outside of the date track, you will find the Roman numerals in rose gold. Lastly, the moonphase indicator sits at 6 o’clock within the sub-seconds dial. Powering this watch is the in-house Blancpain caliber 6763. It consists of 261 parts, operates at 21,600vph, and provides a 100-hour power reserve. This Villeret is a stylish classic that goes for well under €10,000 in steel and starts at just under that price in rose gold.
Vacheron Constantin Historiques Chronograph ref. 47001
The next question was whether we could find something nice under €10K from Vacheron Constantin — and we did! The Vacheron Constantin Historiques Chronograph ref. 47001 is a rather rare piece that was produced from 1989 until roughly 1992. It was one of the brand’s first automatic chronographs, and looking at it now, it is still stunning over 30 years after it was discontinued. The watch has a 38mm yellow gold case that is only 10.3mm thick and 44.1mm from lug to lug. The rounded case sides stand out immediately along with the contrasting welded lugs, domed bezel, and pump-style pushers.
The watch features a silver dial with yellow gold applied indices and stunning rounded yellow gold hands. The three sub-dials all three feature yellow-gold edges. The running seconds sub-dial sits at 12 o’clock, the chronograph hours at 9 o’clock, and the chronograph minutes at 6 o’clock. Powering the watch is the Vacheron caliber 1126 base with a Dubois Dépraz vertical-clutch chronograph module on top. Vacheron’s caliber 1126 is based on the Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 889, operates at 4Hz, and has a 40-hour power reserve. As display case backs were not prevalent in the early ‘90s, the movement is hidden behind a yellow gold case back. But the case and the dial offer plenty of eye candy, I think. Prices for this beautiful chronograph start around €9K–10K, moving up slightly to €12,500. But potentially buying one of these under €10K is quite spectacular.
Chronoswiss Delphis ref. CH1421
For our last pick, we found another stunning piece from a brand that many may not consider to be among the classic Swiss Haute Horlogerie houses. Still, the true fans will most certainly appreciate the Chronoswiss Delphis. In 1995, the then-German brand introduced this model. It has always been one of my favorite models from Chronoswiss. If you are familiar with the Delphis, you know that the watch has a jumping hour and retrograde minutes. It was produced in stainless steel, yellow gold, rose gold, and two-tone. This yellow gold version, like the others, features a 38.2mm case that is 10.9mm thick and 46.9mm from lug to lug. The case is a characteristic Chronoswiss design with a coin-edge bezel and case back along with an onion-style crown.
The sterling silver dial is an absolute joy to see with its stamped guilloché patterns. There is an incredible level of detail to enjoy that reveals the craftsmanship that went into this dial. It features small seconds, a retrograde minutes display, and a jumping 24-hour display. The watch is powered by Chronoswiss caliber C.124. This movement is based on an Enicar 165 caliber and features a Gerd R. Lang-designed retrograde-minutes/jumping-hour module. The movement operates at 21,600vph and has a 45-hour power reserve. It is a stunning piece that you can find in yellow gold for €5K–6K. And if you prefer a steel version, it can be yours for between €3K and €4K. What you get in return is quite incredible.
Final thoughts on our top five Haute Horlogerie pieces under €10K
There you have it — five incredible timepieces in gold that can be yours for under €10,000. Four are from classic Swiss brands, and the last is from a reputable formerly German brand that now calls Switzerland home. Most importantly, though, all of these watches embody high-level watchmaking. But this is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg. That’s why we turn the question over to you. What are some of your favorite affordable Haute Horlogerie timepieces out there today that you can buy at a decent price? Let us know in the comments section, and we will see you next week for another Top 5!