In horology, a watch bearing the Swiss-made moniker is instantly hailed as a quality watch. Swiss-made watches are the pinnacle of watchmaking – given the highest honors, outfitted with the most complicated movements, and certified with numerous accolades. The watch industry, especially, the mechanical one, is congregated in Switzerland, evidenced by a number of legendary watchmakers headquartered in the country.
It’s also the venue for Baselworld – the biggest watchmaking convention on the planet. An event featuring top watchmakers showcasing their latest and greatest horological pieces, Baselworld is as legendary as the watches that it launched. Every watch enthusiast knows that Swiss-made watches fetch thousands of dollars in prizes, that’s why it’s always a great day when a mechanical Swiss-made watch is priced just under a thousand.
In this article, we’ve collated the best Swiss watches that won’t siphon off a major part of your savings. If you’re a guy that is into living a certain way of life, getting yourself a Swiss-made watch is a big chunk of looking the part. Forget about the Rolexes and the Omegas and the Breitlings for a bit – here are the watches you need to be looking into if you’re on a budget:
Hamilton Jazzmaster Thin Auto
Hamilton is famous for offering Swiss-made automatic watches for a fraction of the price when compared to the big luxury watchmakers. Hamilton has a great and storied past as well, as its heritage is based on American sensibilities coupled with quality Swiss watchmaking. There are many watch options from the brand that fits this category, but none is more stylish and elegant as the Jazzmaster Thin Auto.
It’s not the swiss military watch that everyone is coveting these days, but what the Jazzmaster has is the polish and finish of a watch that can transition from casual to dressy. The case is a stainless steel affair, the dial-in a bright stony-gray color, with watch hands that are coated with a proprietary luminous substance.
Under the hood, it’s powered by an automatic movement, with a day-date complication on the sixth hour and a 42-hour power reserve. The brown leather strap is as luxurious as any, and it can be interchangeable with other straps from the company. It’s water-resistant for up to 50m, so not quite a diver’s watch, but you can safely use it near water without worrying about splashes. It starts at $915.
Mido Commander Shade
A Swiss brand that’s always overlooked, Mido has been around since the 1910s, producing quality timepieces that are simultaneously showy and pulled back. The Commander Shade is a prime example of Mido’s design aesthetic – the watch is in a monocoque case with a Milanese mesh bracelet for flair.
It’s powered by an automatic ETA 2836-2 movement, with a day-date complication. The dial is a standard stainless steel affair at 37mm, hour markers with applied indexes, the Mido logo on the 12th hour, and the Commander branding across it. It’s not quite sapphire glass protecting the dial – it’s acrylic glass. Water-resistance is at 50m, with lug width at 20mm. Prepare to shell out $870 if you’re going for this beauty.
Frederic Constant Classics Index
Quite arguably the most handsome watch in this list, Frederic Constant Classics Index is marketed as a watch that is an accessible luxury. From its classic styling and quality materials, the Classics Index screams of class at every angle. If you’re gunning for a watch that can compete with Breitlings and Junghans in terms of looks alone, the Classics Index is your watch.
The heart and soul of the watch is an FC-303 automatic movement with 26 jewels, a 38-hour power reserve, and a date complication. The dial can be black, white or rose gold in color, but for argument’s sake, the white is the most eye-catching. There are four models under the collection, and unfortunately, the white-dial is the only one under $1000. It’s priced at $970.
Longines has been in the business for so long that to say it’s a stalwart in the industry is doing it a disservice. The Conquest, it’s more accessible model, boasts of an automatic caliber L888 movement, a self-winding mechanism that has a power reserve of 64 hours. Opt for the one with a sunray blue dial with stainless steel strap.
The case is polished stainless steel with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal for glass. This is the watch you wear when you go to company events, important family occasions, and a meeting with the boss. It’s conspicuous enough to be seen but affordable enough that you won’t be seen as trying too hard. The conquest will set you back $999.
Raymond Weil Freelancer Diver
If you’re looking for a Swiss-made diver’s watch that doesn’t look like the in-your-face monstrosities out there, the Freelancer Diver is perfect for you. It’s a sporty-looking watch, with its unidirectional rotating bezel and rubber strap. It does not fall into the common problems of sports watches being too attention-seeking, though.
The Freelancer Diver is anything but that. Although the bright deep blue strap and dial is quite the looker, the overall elegant design aesthetic that the watch carries makes up for it. It’s powered by a mechanical movement with automatic winding capabilities, a power reserve of 38 hours, and a proper water-resistance of 300m. The Freelancer Diver will cost you $1000.
Luminox Atacama Field Automatic
Luminox watches may look like they’re too retro for their own good, but vintage is coming out with a vengeance these days. So if you want a decidedly modern timepiece yet also have hints of a throwback, the Atacama Field Automatic 1907.NF is just the watch that you’re looking for.
The watch boasts of a Swiss automatic SW220-1 movement, a water-resistance of up to 200m, and an anti-reflective sapphire crystal for its glass. Among the watches in this list, the Atacama is more in line with the Swiss military-style, favoring a green mesh strap and orange accents on the dial. At $890, this watch is a proper steal.
You can look the distinguished gentleman part without having to shell out thousands of dollars or sell your kidney. Buy any of these watches, and you’ll be as stylish as any bloke earning millions weekly. Always bear in mind that class can’t be bought, and having a distinctive style is constantly better than being fashionable.