Let’s make things clear! When Frank founded MONOCHROME over 12 years prior, the principle objective was to create “an online magazine dedicated to fine watches”. This meant the celebration of customary, top of the line watchmaking. However, we are completely aware that not everyone (including us) can bear the cost of such pieces and that accessible, rational, great price/quality watches are significant. Very often lower prices translate into lower quality – yet not generally, as we will show you in today’s selection.
To help you with your Christmas list of things to get, we’ve listed our favorite watches of 2018 of every several price segments. Beginning today, here are our 10 best watches of 2018 for under 2,000 EUR! Also, because you’re reading MONO, they are, of course, all mechanical timepieces. Believe it or not, yet even “enamel dial”, “in-house movement”, “chronometer” or “annual calendar” structure part of this buying guide!
Note: as usual, these “buying guides” are our very own selections and we’re sure you’ll have your own favorites. Feel free to list your top watches of 2018 in this “budget” category in the comment section toward the end of this article!
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm
What can one purchase with EUR 300 or EUR 400? A quartz watch made in China under license of a style designer? Or then again can we discover something geekier? Something with a true beating heart, something with pedigree, something with what is certainly one of the best quality/price proportion on the market today? It exists, and it is called the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm . In addition to the fact that this watches look very cool it is made by a true watchmaking brand, with a legitimate heritage and it is powered by a hand-wound ETA movement. What’s not to love here? The Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm has the vintage energy, it is field-tested and it is perfectly sized. Also, at EUR 420, it is one of the best surprises of the year.
There have been hundreds of “Kickstarter-and-the-likes” projects launched for this present year (if not thousands). After all, the concept is refreshing and permits little teams to create and launch businesses. However, there are more garbage-like pieces being offered on this “microbrand” market than watches that we’d encourage you to buy… But the Méraud Bonaire is definitely one that you should take a gander at. What we have here is a retro-inspired dive watch from Belgium with a clean look, nice extents (39mm x 12.5mm) and a decent ETA 2824-2 clone with no date. Overall quality is very pleasant (take a gander at the sapphire “Bakelite-like” insert on the bezel) and it is available in 3 great colors (black, blue, dark). Definitely one of the best Kickstarter watches of 2018, still available for EUR 645, here .
E.C.Andersson Calypso Arctic Sport
E.C.Andersson has been one of our favorite “microbrands” since its inception. This Scandinavian brand started with reliable, hearty sports watches with a straightforward approach and very pleasant quality. With the Calypso, the brand added the cool-factor by blending Nordic elements in with a “luxury sports watch” motivation – tonneau-shaped case, round bezel, integrated steel bracelet and a relatively slender profile. This year, E.C.Andersson the Sport version is a more accessible proposition equipped with an affordable however reliable Miyota 9015 movement, followed by the Arctic edition and its silver dial – and the combination of a full steel case/bracelet with this dial works great in the metal. The entirety of that can be acquired for EUR 785 (on steel bracelet, enthusiastically recommended).
Formex Essence Automatic Chronometer
When you think “chronometer” watch, you presumably have as a main priority something that is a long way from accessible. The facts demonstrate that a chronometer requires much more effort than a standard automatic watch to be perfectly adjusted (in the event that you don’t know exactly what a chronometer is, check this technical article ). Formex, a brand that we already knew capable of crafting great watches at accessible costs felt that it would be a smart thought to democratize the chronometer. Meet the Formex Essence Automatic Chronometer , an automatic watch with a COSC-certified Sellita movement, a beautifully shaped and crafted case (incl. the patented suspension system) and with a truly affordable price. Launched first on Kickstarter, pre-orders have a price label of EUR 790.
Yema Superman Heritage
Yema is definitely one of the most acclaimed French watch brands. Unfortunately, this fame was not due to its current offer of generally quartz watches, yet to the watches manufactured during the 1960s/1970s. Times have changed and Yema is back in the forefront of the vintage-oriented and mechanical scene, launching a new collection inspired by past glories: Rallygraf, Yachtingraf, Flygraf (each of the 3 are automatic chronographs) and Superman. The latter has generated great interest in the vintage market and for 2018, Yema brings it back in a super dependable automatic re-edition (same look, same extents, same functions, same bezel). Overall, it is a very, very cool and accessible dive watch. The watch retails for EUR 949 (or EUR 1,099 with a sapphire crystal option).
Seiko Presage Shippo Enamel SPB075
An in-house movement, essentially manufactured by the same company and decorated with an enameled and guilloché dial… All of that seems like a watch with a 5-figure price tag! Until you discover the people at Seiko, who decided that such very good quality features could be made accessible to a wider audience. Also, when we say accessible, we mean it! The Seiko Presage Shippo Enamel SPB075 offers a true in-house automatic caliber by one of the most respected watch brands with a superb, translucent blue enamel dial with a guilloché mainplate (a technique named “Shippo”) for a fifth of what the most affordable Swiss counterparts offer. Difficult to track down in stores (the success of this SPB075 is completely understandable) however for EUR 1,450, you can access proper top of the line watchmaking.
Oris Big Crown Pointer Date 40mm
Oris needs no introduction anymore. When it comes to price/quality proportion and to watches made considering a true purpose, this brand is an absolute necessity. Well-thought, well-designed, well-crafted and now cooler than any time in recent memory, Oris has not just kept its “watches made for real people” maxim however it is presently making desirable watches – and the new Big Crown Pointer Date 40mm, the evolution of an emblematic Oris watch (the one that kept them alive during the quartz crisis), isn’t going to change that. Available in multiple sizes, with different dials or even in bronze, this watch has a nice vintage/pilot touch and relies on the central presentation of the date, dear to the brand. At EUR 1,500 on leather and in 40mm, it is one great deal.
If you’re okay with something somewhat different and if fast, modern-day technology isn’t your thing, MeisterSinger is a nice arrangement. The single hand show – one hand that indicates both the hours and the minutes – gives a different perception of time, a more poetical approach where accuracy to the second isn’t a necessity. This has been the signature element of all MeisterSinger watches for quite a long time and the new Metris isn’t going to change that. What is different however is the nice, casual touch of this new collection, with its well-protected case and unique shape. The restrained 38mm diameter gives a youthful, fresh look to the watch, which is as yet powered by a reliable automatic movement. Great value for money, as common with MeisterSinger, the Metris is priced at EUR 1,650 for the 4 different versions available.
Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic
How a considerable lot of us, I wonder, harbor the dream of claiming a Royal Oak, a Nautilus or an Overseas? Be that as it may, with prices well above EUR 20,000, this will remain a dream for the vast majority of us. Luckily, if you’re in the market for a steel extravagance sports watch with a shaped case, a slight profile, a textured dial and an integrated steel bracelet, Maurice Lacroix has a much, much more affordable alternative: the Aikon Automatic . In addition to the fact that this is new collection (which additionally includes a self-winding chronograph) impressively well-crafted, however it features all the required elements to enter the extravagance sports watch category. Everything except the steep price. The Aikon 3-hand Automatic on a steel bracelet will “only” cost you EUR 1,690 (and EUR 1,590 on a leather strap).
Longines Master Collection Annual Calendar
Last however not least, the tenth watch in this “below-2K selection” would one say one is that we hadn’t seen coming… What do you reckon a classic, elegant yearly calendar timepiece from an established watch brand could cost? Most likely close to EUR 8,000 – or well above that, as the first yearly calendar, designed by Patek during the 1990s and still in the collection, requires around EUR 37,000. However, this was before Longines set its sights on the complication and conceived a watch that does exactly the same as its expensive competitors yet at a fraction of the cost. Based on an ETA movement, the yearly calendar permits the automatic adjustment of the date toward the end of the month (30 or 31 days) and will require only one single correction toward the end of February. A classic watch, with classic design, a genuine gator lash and a complex calendar show for “just” EUR 1,960. Quite impressive.