The best watch for your buck in 2015
With Baselworld behind us, it is the perfect time for someone on the market for a new watch, to take a look at some of the models will hit the shelves in 2015. Finding the right watch for you or someone else can be a daunting task, should you get a dress watch, or you better go with a tool piece? To answer these questions, you might want to start by looking at our introduction to watch styles.
As with most of the objects of indulgence, with watches too, when it comes to prices the sky’s the limit. How far should you go? Take TimeCaptain’s advice, set yourself a budget and then double it, you won’t regret it.
In this guide, we have organized the watches in five price ranges, from under $500 to under $10,000, and in each category we’re showing you three outstanding models.
With so many excellent watches out there, stopping at only three choices is not easy. Our list consists of pieces that we consider that down the road, will remain as representative models of 2015, because of their design, technical innovation, or because they represent an important milestone in the history of their brand.
To be frank, 2015 will be, first of all, remembered as the year the Apple watch came out. From the point of view of watch history, we like it or not, the Apple watch is an important milestone. This being said, from now on, mechanical watches will become more important than ever. The message you convey the world by wearing a mechanical piece is clearer than ever: you are a person who enjoys the finer things in life, who respects tradition, craftsmanship and you feel more connected to a device powered by a mainspring made from a very special steel alloy, rather than to a feeble appendix of a phone. For this reason, in this blog post, we only look at mechanical pieces.
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Under $500 / Under $1,000 / Under $2,000 / Under $5,000 / Under 10,000
At this entry level, you are pretty much limited at watches using an Asian movement, probably a Miyota 9015, the darling of microbrands. Microbrands are usually small companies – often a one man show – designing and commercializing watches made in small batches. Over the past few years, thanks to crowdfunding websites, such as Kickstarter, they have mushroomed everywhere, offering a wide variety of choices.
When buying into these brands, you have to keep in mind that there is a certain risk. Most of them have popped up recently on the market and it’s hard to check their track record of QA and customer service.
The good news is that there are a few brands already that have proved their maturity and professionalism.
Melbourne Watch Co Portsea Heritage
Despite it’s Australian roots, this is a brand that earned the respect of watch enthusiasts all over the world. With its 40 mm case it follows the current trend of smaller sizes and to be frank it is great size for a dress watch. You have the option to chose among stainless steel or gold PVD for the case and white, black or blue for the dial.
Click here to see the entire Portsea collection. http://www.melbournewatch.com.au/portsea/
Erroyl Heritage Royal 300
Erroyl, another Australian microbrand is probably less known than MWC, they just launched their first collection a few months ago. I had the opportunity to review one of their first models, the E30 Heritage White and I was really impressed.
Now they have something even better on the way, the limited edition Heritage Royal 300, an upgraded version of the early Heritage models. The combo of stainless steel case and bracelet with a mesmerizing royal blue dial for $310 CAD! Fantastic!
The guy behind Aevig is a genius designer. Ever since, I reviewed two of his pieces, the Huldra and the Valkyr, I’m in love with his style. Keep an eye on his website, http://aevig.com/ or follow him on Instagram to stay up to date with the latest Aevig developments.
At under $1k, we’re still at the entry level and this is category is dominated by watches crafted in Germany. With a bit of research, you can even get a hold of solid Swiss Made piece too. These are mainly, basic three hand watches with a date window, using either a Japanese Miyota or a Swiss ETA caliber.
Steinhart Nav B-Chrono 47 mm black
Here is a stunning aviator chronograph with a bold 47 mm stainless steel case, coated with black DLC and powered by an ETA Valjoux 7750. All this at under $1000? I challenge you to find something better at this price…
Stowa Antea 2015
Here is a German brand that operated without interruption since the beginning of the XXth century and since 1996, it is owned by German designer, Jörg Schauer. It is from his drawing board that the new Antea Back to Bauhaus came out from; pure German design. Stowa.de
Hamilton Khaki Field Auto 40 mm
Here is a picture of the upcoming Hamilton Khaki Field 40 mm that I took back in January, at the Baselworld preview. It is a watch with a long history, a reinterpretation of the WWII model that every American soldier was wearing when they were leaving to Europe. At that time, this was a huge accomplishement for the relatively small American brand and to keep up with this huge order, Hamiltont stopped the production of every commercial watch. By the end of the war, there were one million watches that left the factory, quite a feat considering that things were done manually. It helped Hamilton enhance its standards and learn new ways of producing watches.
Christopher Ward C9 Jumping Hour Mark III
This is a model that we have already presented and I consider it to be a really interesting piece because of it’s complication. It is quite uncommon to find a jumping hour watch in this price range. The Mark III in the name stands for the fact that this is the third iteration of this popular model and with its diameter of 40 mm it is an attractive choice those who prefer smaller watches, appealing to both men and women.
SINN EZM 3F
With SINN, we’re back to Germany. SINN Spezialuhren is synonymous with tool watches with an extensive portfolio of innovation in the field of watchmaking. The EZM 3F, for example features their pattented Ar-Dehumidifying Technology. The AR solves two problems caused by humidity: it prevents the crystal from fogging up, even when faced with sudden temperature changes and it protects the oils from premature aging caused by moisture.
To further improve the accuracy of this instrument, it has a Magnetic Field Protection of up to 80,000 A/m and it is equiped with a temperature resistance technology that ensures reliable functioning in a temperature range from –45ºC to +80ºC.
Hamilton Ventura Elvis80
Cinephiles know, Hamilton has close-tight relationship with Hollywood, their watches appearing in more than 400 movies. In 1961, Elvis Presley chose wear the Ventura for his role in Blue Hawaii and this year Hamilton is remembering the King with a updated version of this iconic model.
Hamilton develop a domed sapphire crystal that follows the shape of the case and a special lug system permitting beside the use of rubber or leather strap, the use of a bracelet too.
Expect it to see at your local AD around September with a retail price around $1,700.
As we move up in price, the market is getting more and more crowded with really nice pieces. In this price range, you can go with a chronograph, have a power reserve indicator, or other interesting and useful complications.
Grand Seiko 55th Anniversary steel (SBGR095)
There is a saying that if you want to impress others, buy a Rolex and if you want to impress yourself, than go for a Grand Seiko. The story of this exceptional collection started in 1967, when Seiko introduced its first automatic piece, the 62GS. By making the crown shorter and placing it at 4 o’clock, Seiko wanted to make it clear that this was an automatic piece that did not require winding.
After being awarded last year, the prestigious … at GPHG, this year at Baselworld, Seiko unveiled the 55th Anniversary collection that faithfully re-creates the original 1967 model using Grand Seiko’s latest movements.
Just like the original 62GS, the SBGR095 too has a mirrored, multi-sided case and a wide dial opening, achieved with a bezel-free construction and Grand Seiko’s unique “Zaratsu” polishing.
The particular model presented here is using Caliber 9S65, a 35 jewel movement, beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour (8 beats per second), with a power reserve of 72 hours and with a stated accuracy of +5/-3 seconds per day.
The lion emblem on the case back, the dial layout, the distinctive hour markers and the dial logotypes (notably “Diashock”) are all inherited from the original 62GS. The dial colour of this particular model is also faithful to the original dial.
Limited to only 600 pieces, the SBGR095 is for sure a highly desired model.
Nomos Tangente Automatic
Since it first came out in 1992, Tangente is THE essential Nomos model. Over the years it was awarded numerous prizes, but the most importantly it was the cornerstone of this German brand. This year Nomos unveiled a new version of the Tangente that is powered by the new DUW 3001 automatic caliber, the first time this model is offered with a self-winding movement.
Thanks to the exceptionally flat design of the movement, at 6.9 mm, the Tangente Automatic remains very thin and it’s only 0.3 mm wider than the hand-wound model.
Tudor North Flag
This is a watch designed for extreme cold weather and probably because of this it was not hurt by the undeserved cold reception from the fans of the brand. The North Flag was the first Tudor to be unveiled with the MT5621 caliber. Why is that such a big deal? Well, it is the first time Tudor is using an in-house movement instead of relying on ETA. Thanks to this development, the North Flag will represent an important milestone for the brand with the shield.
While Tudor also presented an updated Pelagos, using the same in-house movement, I consider the North Flag to be a way more interesting watch as it is a fine example of a fresh design, instead of a concept recycled over and over. For more details about the North Flag an other 2015 Tudor novelties, click here.
Worth mentioning: Corum Bubble 2015, Longines Pulsometer Chronograph because of its classic design, bold proportions and the complication that makes it the ideal watch for a healthcare professional. Rado DiaMaster Grande Seconde for its unique mix of beautiful design, ceramic case and small second complications. It should be available next month, retailing for $3,300 CAD.
In the past few years, prices went up significantly, especially for the most prestigious brands. For this reason, as we wonder into the over $5,000 territory, besides their high quality, watches will carry a certain prestige, they often become status symbols, a testimony of financial success.
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professionnal Silver Snoopy Award
With the 2015 Speedmaster Snoopy, you will get a piece of history on your wrist. Besides the fact that is limited to 1970 pieces — commemorating the year of the Apollo 13 — inside, you’ll find the Omega hand-wound 1861 calibre,
the same a movement based on the legendary Calibre 321 that was worn on the Moon (Thanks Marco1818!). Be prepared that this watch has many fans and if you hesitate, you might have a hard time find it.
Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Power Control
Chopard introduced the Mille Miglia collection in 1988, celebrating it’s partnership with “la corsa più bella del mondo”, an annual race of classic and vintage cars, stretching from Brescia to Rome and back. This years collection consists of three models: a more “basic” three hand watch with date, the Mille Miglia GTS Automatic; the GTS Power Control that also receives a power reserve indicator; the third model is the GTS Chrono, powered by an automatic chronograph.
For those that have a soft spot for classic cars, this is a great choice, as the design of the Mille Miglia collection is influenced by the shape of classic cars. What makes this year’s models more interesting than ever, is the fact the GTS Auto and the GTS Power Control, for the first time in the history of this collection, are powered by an in-house movements.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39
Just to play it safe, we have included this model in the under $10,000 category, but with a bit of luck and proper negotiation skills, you might pull this off at under $5k. Following last year’s launch of the 26, 31 and 34 mm Oyster Perpetuals, this year Rolex added to this collection a 39 mm model with sunray finished dial. As per dial colours, you can chose between dark rhodium, red grape or blue.
This might not be the flashiest Rolex out there, but you’ll get all the benefits of a durable stainless steel piece with a timeless design, powered by the COSC certified 3132 automatic Manufacture Rolex caliber, an instant grail piece.
Worth mentioning: the slim Zenith Elite 6150.
I really hope this list will help you find the watch that will enrich your existing collection, or that special one that you will wear for many years from now. If there are other models that you think should have made this list, please share it with us.