Top 10 Watches That Our Fratello Editors Love Under 2k — Oris, Seiko, anOrdain, And More…
You guys seem to enjoy our Top 10 articles, so we thought it would be interesting to do another one. This time we would focus on watches below the 2k mark. But here’s the twist: instead of just listing ten watches that I love, I decided to open this up to the team. Our editors got one choice and one choice only. Let’s see what they’d spend their €2,000 on…
I asked nine of our editors to send me their favorite picks under 2k. It’s a pretty exciting list that reflects the versatility we have at Fratello. You’ll see each editor’s selection with a quote from the person explaining why they went with it. Additionally, I’ve included the price and a few thoughts about the watch from me. As always, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Let’s jump right in.
Rob’s pick — Laco Squad Amazonas for €980
I must admit that while I enjoy some of Laco’s aviation pieces, the majority of the brand’s other models rarely catch my attention. The brand does offer excellent pieces for an affordable price and good quality, though. Add that to the fact our Managing Editor is a known Germanophile, Rob’s pick was not a total surprise.
“I never thought I’d fall in love with this Laco, but the unrivaled quality of the bezel machining won me over immediately.
The Squad collection has some incredible looking watches for a very competitive price. His specific model, the Squad Amazonas with its green lume, is one of the most exciting versions. The black dial and rubber strap are subtle details. Still, the green on the dial bezel offers a pop of color. Not to mention that I love the mismatched hands and the fact that the hour hand is a matching green. Under €1,000, the Laco Squad Amazonas is a fine sport model from a trusted German brand.
Dave’s pick — Fratello Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date for €1,950
Well, that didn’t take too long. When we talk about watches in this price category, we must mention our “very own” timepiece. Dave is one of the team members to put his money where his mouth is, having bought the Fratello × Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date. A little shy of 2k, this model is as exciting as it gets. And I’m not just saying that because I’m biased about toward watch. The Oris’s size (40mm), the bronze and oxblood color combination, and its useful and fun pointer date complication make this watch a stand-out for anyone, Fratelli or otherwise.
“The included strap options make this a really versatile watch — it’s rarely been off the wrist since I got it!”
While some may say that the case and dial might bring too much red, the suede leather strap softness the look. As Dave says, the straps that come with it also make the Fratello × Oris Big Crown Ponter Date versatile. If you want one, though, be quick. Our shop stock is down to single digits and we expect to run out within the week. Find it in the Fratello shop.
Gerard’s pick — Ianos Avyssos 300M for € 1,400
When a veteran watch lover talks, we listen. Following the same analogy, if Gerard fancies the Ianos Avyssos 300M and has his reasons, we should consider paying closer attention to said model. The man went hands-on with the watch and list to all those new design elements he talks about in his quote. I will not get into the details. Instead, I’ll highlight the features I love about the piece. Firstly, the Ianos Avyssos’ case is more than remarkable.
“The Ianos Avyssos was the last watch that actually struck me in terms of originality; I didn’t see so many fresh design and construction elements in a single watch thereafter.”
Its curved shape is supposed to support the watch fit on your wrist. The deep groove helps “hide” the nato under your wrist. Secondly, the sandwich dial. I have a thing for these watch faces. Lastly, the running indicator at 6 o’clock shows its wearer that their Ianos is functioning. A great sub 2k contender.
Mike’s pick — Seiko Alpinist SPB199J1 for €880
Here’s another timepiece Fratello was fortunate enough to bring to your attention. Mid-fall last year, we launched our first pre-release with Seiko. Since then, a second Seiko Alpinist made its way to our shop (and quickly out the door) but let’s stick with Mike’s choice for a moment.
“After years of resisting, I finally acquired a Seiko Alpinist and have been amazed by how perfectly this watch wears and how high-end it looks.”
The reference SPB199J1 was a European limited-edition release of 2020. The watch featured a mesmerizing emerald green/gray sunburst dial, a 39.5mm case, and a set of three straps (one of which was our very own Fratello edition). For all of the above, we can agree that the Seiko Alpinist SPBJ199J1 packs a punch and its price (way below 2k) is excellent too. A sporty timepiece that can serve as a dressy watch if you need it to be. It’s such a hard deal to beat. Not to mention that Mike knows his Seikos, so we can all trust him on this one.
Tomas’s pick — Seiko Astronaut A829-6029 Aka Rotocall for €300–600
What else was I expecting from Tomas? I mean, the guy is far from conventional. His pick follows the same path. If you’re a fan of ’80s quartz watch nerdiness, look no further. This Seiko Astronaut A829-6029 is the business. Let’s start with the obvious: while the watches we featured above speak to a larger audience, this piece is not really for everyone. But does that make it less desirable? I hardly think so.
“A rotating bezel that allows switching between functions is innovative and fun to operate. This charmer from the ’80s gets a lot of wrist time.”
On the contrary, the Rotocall is an inexpensive but fun piece with a ton of features. Furthermore, its ingenious mode selector bezel is something you don’t see too often. The same goes for the conformable 37mm size. Many of us are space nerds here, right? Well, if it was good enough for astronauts, it might just be sufficient for us too. Plenty of change from 2k, too…
Jorg’s pick — Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono for €1,995
If I didn’t know what to pick, a safe bet for me would be the Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono. But Jorg beat me to it, and actually, I selected something else. I have one of these, and lately, it’s been my daily watch. I was also lucky enough to review all three versions in the past. This is one of the cool things about the Intra-Matic Auto Chrono; you can have a 42mm reverse panda version or a smaller 40mm panda.
“Try and find another great chronograph for 2k that can compete with its story and incredible presence…I can’t.”
Or perhaps go for my choice, the white and blue chronograph. One of the closest to the 2k mark, the Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono is a beautiful rendition of a beautiful vintage watch. The simple dial layout and the pump pushers are my favorite elements.
My pick — Certina DS Automatic Chronograph for € 1,890
One of the latest hands-on reviews was this lovely watch, the Certina DS Automatic Chronograph. A beautiful neo-vintage piece that takes inspiration from a vintage Certina from decades ago. Why is this a unique watch? To me, it has to do with what we have seen from the brand so far.
“Rarely do we see a classy, vintage-inspired timepiece from Certina. The DS Chronograph Automatic is filling this void.”
Certina has been focusing on sports watch for the longest time. The DS Automatic Chronograph is not such a watch at all. Certina is also actively reissuing some of its vintage icons. While this model is also a reinterpretation, it is not a sports model. As such, I feel that Certina created a trailblazing new trend with the DS Automatic Chronograph. I’m excited to see what they have in store for us in 2021, but until then, this sub-2k beauty will do just fine.
Karina’s pick — Longines HydroConquest for €1,470
The one and only lady in this article brought us a watch that will indeed become a classic in years to come. The love I have seen for the Longines HydroConquest is just amazing. I’ve seen so many in the wild. A few of my colleagues have it, and it’s been in Longines’ portfolio for a while now. I guess this should be looked at as a testament to how excellent this watch is.
“A versatile, dive watch to pair not only with your swimsuit. Sporty and chic, but most importantly very durable. Are you a woman opting for a dive watch? Smaller options are available (my sister owns one and she loves it!).”
I must admit that I don’t see ladies with dive watches too often, but perhaps that’s a new trend. Who knows? In any case, the Longines HydroConquest, as Karina says, is a versatile and robust watch even though we are talking about a diver. The price is well below 2k, and the options to choose from in terms of color and size are immense.
RJ’s pick — Seiko Marinemaster 300 SBDX001.
If you’ve reached this point in the article, it must be evident for you that we have a thing for Seiko. Nobody knew what the other editors picked (you’ll see below what I mean), so it’s a pure coincidence that three of them chose the Japanese brand.
“The Marinemaster 300M SBDX001 was my first acquaintance with a Seiko over €2,000 (at the time), and it ticked many boxes as it features the famous Zaratsu polishing technique, a monobloc case, and the brand’s caliber 8L35 movement.”
RJ’s pick is not a current model, but we’ll not hold this against him. His selection, the Seiko Marinemaster 300 SBDX001, was exactly 2k when it hit the market some six years ago. Used prices are a bit all over the place from €1,500 to way over €2,000. As he mentions in his quote, the Marinemaster’s case has the world-famous Zaratsu finishing, something Seiko is known for. While it is not typical for a diver watch to have this high grade of “decoration,” it certainly adds to the watch’s character. Great choice, RJ.
Bert’s pick — Fratello x Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date for €1,950
I did not have to alter the list as every editor sent a different piece…until I received Bert’s email (the last one) a day ago. So I thought about messaging him to pick another model, but I came up with something better. I mean, if two of our guys want me to feature the Fratello × Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date, who am I to refuse that?
“My latest acquisition is the Fratello × Oris in Bronze which comes with a stunning deep red dial that looks different under various light conditions and the bronze case creates a unique patina over time and is priced just under €2,000.”
I know that Bert is into bronze watches; he had a few such models in the past and was always happy to report on the case’s patination progress. This is something we rarely talk about. A bronze case looks stunning when new, but eventually, as it should, the bright golden tone will fade, and its unique color will appear. That’s the charm of a bronze watch, just like our Fratello × Oris Big Crown Bronze Pointer Date.