Sometimes, I notice that I don’t look anymore at certain < 1000 USD (or 750 Euro) watches. Not that I think they aren’t properly made or that these watches are inferior to what is in my collection already, but I just overlook them. Aside from being in the credit crisis and bonuses aren’t being spend on expensive watches, I think some of these < 1000 USD watches can be mighty interesting. For both the starting and the advanced collector.

Like one of my watch friends recently said, it is very easy to be critical (or negative) towards the quality of cheaper watches, but look at it this way: it is quite charming to get a watch that you know of that it could be done better, but not for this kind of money or not by the people behind it. They did the best thing they could do (in their powers) to create a watch, and for this kind of money.

1. DMH

First of this top 5 is a watch that was introduced to me by, a Dutch website for watch adepts. DMH stands for Dingemans Mechanische Horloges, which is Dutch for Dingemans Mechanical Watches. This one-man show is the work of Fred Dingemans, he works from his home in a small village in The Netherlands. He uses all kind of tools, but makes sure he does as much by himself as possible. Only 12 pieces per year and approximately 800 euro. A bit above budget perhaps, but it also depends how the USD>EUR conversion is today πŸ˜‰ Not a lot of money for a hand crafted watch like this, using a mechnical Swiss movement, original design and produced in very limited numbers.

2. Sinn 656

This 720 Euro Sinn 656 is a serious option for both serious collectors as the starting collector. Or the guy that just wants one decent watch for a very fair price. It has an ETA 2824-2 movement, a very legible dial, a date feature and a nice soft leather strap. I have written a lot about Sinn in the past and at one point, I even owned one (the ST142St.S). Sinn is a relative small watch manufacturer from Frankfurt am Main in Germany, creating highly functional watches. Function over form, so to speak. The 656 is highly anti-magnetic (80.000 m/A), has a sand blasted case, sapphire crystal and comes with either a leather strap or stainless steel bracelet. The picture is from Horloge Platform Nederland btw.

3. Junghans Max Bill Automatic

Another watch from our German watch friends, who are especially known for two of their models. The Mega1 radio controlled wrist watch and the Max Bill watch. Max Bill was a designer (Bauhaus) and designed a bauhaus style watch for Junghans (since 1861) in 1962. Lately, Junghans has been re-releasing this watch up to current standards. The 38mm automatic version is 695 Euro and comes on a mesh bracelet. This is a typical watch that works for almost anyone who is in the need of a classic time piece.

4. Stowa Airman

Loyal readers might recognize this picture, as I have been blogging about it before (click here for the coverage on this watch). Stowa is owned by Jorg Schauer, known for the time pieces made under his own name. For 590 Euro (approximately 780 USD), you can have this original flieger uhr (pilot’s watch). No branding on the dial, as legible as it can come, automatic ETA 2824-2 movement (same as the Sinn 656), blued hands and a 40mm watch case. This size is considered to be the maximum again by some watch fans. This watch can be ordered directly from the Stowa website. A watch like this is probably not for everyone (including me), but I know for sure that a lot of you will like the ‘raw’ flieger thing.

5. Seiko Monster SKX781

I am not joking. For less than 200 USD, you are the owner of this Seiko Monster watch. It is a respected watch amongst divers and collectors, water resistant to 200 meters, has an inhouse automatic movement (caliber 7S26, for what it is worth), 42mm in diameter and for a few bucks extra, you can attach a rubber strap to it as well. I’ll be the first one to admit that this is a bit of a strange choice, but it is here to show you that even for as little money as 200 USD you can have a nice (and original) automatic time piece of great quality. Although I think the bracelet might be a bit sharp edged, with a rubber strap it should be comfortable. The production of this watch started in 2000, and its name ‘Monster’ is of course not official. Officially, Seiko just uses the SKX781 reference. The stainless steel bracelet has a diver’s extension, which is there to use with a diving suit. The mechanical movement is automatic, and the strange thing is, it doesn’t handwind. You really have to ‘use’ the rotor to wind it.

To sum it up, these are 5 more or less ‘unique’ (each in its own way) time pieces that can be had for less than 1000 USD. Of course, there are a lot more, and my top 5 will probably change along the way. But for now, I definately would choose from these 5, probably number 1 (DMH) or 2 (Sinn 656).

What would be your top 5 of < 1000 USD watches? Leave your ideas in the comments!

  • Evert

    I like the Airman and the Monster as well. I’d like to add the Marathon SAR to the list on the steel bracelet. Solid toolwatch with great design and well within budget. There is a new production run of the original 2006 model available by the way.

  • martin

    I recently tried to shop for an orange monster, but wasn’t able to come across one. Can you suggest a reliable vendor?

  • Hello Martin,

    Personally I would buy them from (it is in Dutch, but you can probably also order them by mailing the owner ,rob @ [remove the spaces]) or eBay. I don’t think they are officially for sale in The Netherlands or Germany (I recall you are from Germany).


  • You can also find a large selection of these seiko watches from

    I’m not sure if it’s allowed, as I never posted here, but if you find one at bluedial, I can order it for you for less. it will be dropshipped right from the distributor, factory fresh and ready to enjoy. I have a seiko divers model with the yellow dial and rubber strap and I love it. I have plenty of the high end stuff also, but when you want a good watch to wear and not worry about, or wear in the heat, this watch with a rubber strap can’t be beat.

  • I would also suggest the wegner teragraph automatic. This is a real beauty, with an eta movement, open back, actually made in switzerland and so forth. Again, if you like it, it retails for only around $500,00. but I can order this for you for under $200.00. Again, factory fresh, right to your door.

  • That Max Bill isn’t half bad. Nice almost Scandinavian design.

  • martin

    Although I do have my ways to order stuff from the U.S., the looks quite promising. Thanks to you guys for your helpful replies.

  • Niels

    Good choices, although the DMH is in some aspects a little rough (like the rotor). Myself, I am a fan of Seiko; great manufacture. Great quality for very reasonable prices (except the Grand seiko line, they are not that cheap).

    Hamilton is also a favourite of mine. For about USD 1000,00 there are some great models. Great finishing also. I must admit, some models might be a little to striking for someones.

  • Matthew

    My custom built d.m.h. arrives this week. After several months of patiently waiting, I am now so excited!!!

    It has been an absolute pleasure to be involved in the watch making process, and own a timepiece that was designed specifically with me in mind.

    Thank you RJ for bringing Fred and his watches to my attention.

  • Anonymous

    My pick for less than 1000 USD watch would be Sinn 656 and DMH they would just complete an old collection for time pieces I am preparing. Undoubtedly the DMH is priceless much for its being handcrafted and rarity of its availability.Β Β 

    lifestyle watches

  • new guy

    any thoughts on the sinn 656 S? my local dealer is asking for 900 that a good price to buy?

  • Naveendeecoolever

    i wna rolex watch

  • akroma

    Great picks mate! Love the Seiko & Stowa-Airman. I would also recommend the Tissot Heritage Visodate πŸ™‚

  • Warsh

    Great picks. My five (and most are under $500!) would be:

    Tissot Visodate $400
    Junghans Max Bill (anthracite dial- model 027/3401.00) $925
    Orion 38 (watches by Nick – $450
    Seiko SNKN37 (this is a mechanical watch with a great dial for <$150!!)
    Stowa Antea Klassik 390 ($900)