Watches don't have to cost a fortune, which is why we've found the best watches under £1000.
Watch collecting can be an expensive hobby, just check out the watch picks in T3's best watch guide and ludicrous best watches to invest in right now guide. There are prices in there that would make an oil baron's eyes water. It doesn't have to be like that – we've collected some excellent affordable watches for anyone's budget – from the best watches under £500 to the top timepieces under £1000.
You'd be surprised what you can get for under £1000, for example, a new Tag Heuer or an automatic Longine, both from the big leagues of Swiss watchmaking. Keep reading to find our top picks for the best watches under £1000.
If you're after more budget timepieces, check out our favourite watches under £200.
Best watches under £1000 ranking
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Christopher Ward has taken the Trident range to a whole new level, with striking, bold designs which really set this British brand apart from its more conventional Swiss rivals. The best example of this is the C60 Sapphire, which features a see-through dial made from sapphire crystal. The updated design is significantly sleeker and more legible than previous versions, and also feels better on the wrist, with a slimmer profile than, and clean sides which play with the light. It's a very attractive piece.
Resistant to water, drastic temperature changes, shocks and eight tons of pressure. The Victorinox I.N.O.X. is a force to reckoned with. Our favourite model features a genuine American paracord strap, which is hand-woven and also allegedly serves as a versatile survival tool.
Hamilton is a historic name when it comes to watchmaking, first established in 1892 in America. Perhaps its most iconic design is this Khaki field watch. Its 38mm stainless steel case houses an automatic calibre H-10 movement, with an 80-hour power reserve, and a date complication.
Automatic dive watches with a design similar to those by Tudor, Omega and Rolex usually command a high price - but not so with the Tissot Seastar 1000, which can be had for around £600.
For that, you get a 43mm stainless steel case with a matching strap and unidirectional rotating bezel. The Swiss-made watch has an automatic self-winding mechanical movement with a date complication at six o’clock. With its classic dive watch design, this is a must-have timepiece for any collection.
We think the Certina DS Action GMT Automatic, with its separate 24-hour indicator, lightweight, and high durability, is the ideal companion for your travels. The case of the DS Action GMT measures 43mm and is made from black PVD-coated stainless steel. It houses an automatic Powermatic 80 calibre with a long power reserve of 80 hours.
The Seiko 5 Sports is an iconic watch that has delivered consistently high levels of reliability, durability, performance and value for over 50 years. Now, with the creation of a new, more modern design, this much loved timepiece is re-born with all of the same values as the original. We think this makes the new Seiko 5 an ideal 'holiday watch', a piece you can wear on your travels without the fear of scratching, denting, or swimming with it, whist still looking impossibly cool.
At a glance, you'd assume the Sistem51 is another peppy quartz timepiece from Swatch. Turn it over to look and you'll find an automatic mechanical movement made from just 51 components. For that reason, the Sistem51 gains a lot of kudos. Sure, there are cheaper mechanical watches from China, but this Swatch is made in Switzerland and features an exceptional 90-hour power reserve. It is a steal at 108 quid.
Mondaine's most fascinating watch has a red second hand that takes just 58 seconds to turn full circle. It then waits for two seconds at 12 o'clock for the minute hand to advance, before resuming its rotation. This mimics the original Swiss railway clock, which used that two-second pause to synchronise station clocks across the country. A lovable little novelty.
Maurice Lacroix Eliros is a very impressive chronograph, especially considering the price. The case material is stainless steel, giving the piece a unique look. It's water resistant up to 50 metres, but we don't recommend you go swimming in this handsome timepiece.
Bringing together contemporary and traditional design, this Citizen Eco-Drive watch is functional, to the max. The piece is synchronized to an atomic clock for superior accuracy. Why is the face so busy? It can display multiple timezones, a perpetual calendar, power reserve indicator, and can be used by pilots to calculate fuel consumption rates, fuel quantity required to complete a trip, as well as cruising time remaining.
Best affordable watch brands
Wondering what are the best brands to invest your £1000 in? Check out this selection below:
Starting life as a watch and clock repair store in Tokyo in 1881, founded by the current CEO's Great grandfather, Seiko is the king when it comes for affordable watches. The name derived from 'Seikosha' or 'House of precision', with a purpose to pursue timekeeping excellence. It's perhaps most famous for creating the first-ever quartz watch in 1969.
Known for the combination of American spirit and Swiss precision, Hamilton has a long history of creating watches with world-class design and functionality. The brand was established in 1892, in Pennsylvania, USA before ending up in Biel, the world’s capital of watchmaking in Switzerland. Hamilton is famous for its Khaki field watch, aviation watches, and being Elvis Presley's watchmaker of choice.
Shop Hamilton watches at Watch Shop
Tissot was founded in Switzerland in 1853 and boasts a rich watchmaking heritage. Since its inception, Tissot has been one of the most innovative watch brands, even releasing a touchscreen watch before Apple. It's been the official timekeeper of a number of sports, including basketball, cycling, motorsports, rugby, fencing and ice hockey.
Looking for a British watch brand? Try Christopher Ward on for size. The brand was created in 2004 with the idea of creating premium quality watches at a fraction of the usual prices. Now, they're one of T3's favourite watch brands, with a number of stylish, well-made, and affordable models on offer.
Where to buy watches under £1000
These are the best places to buy watches under £1000:
Goldsmiths has more than 230 years experience, with its first showroom opening in Newcastle in 1778. Today, Goldsmiths is the one of the leading quality jewellers in the UK with over 90 showrooms in every major town and city from Aberdeen to the south coast. It also operates the largest distribution network for Rolex, Omega, TAG Heuer and many more, as well as running a servicing & repairs centre. They also frequently run luxury watch sales and promotions.
Watch Shop is an official stockist for a number of large watch brands. It has one of the most efficient shopping systems available, with communication at every stage to inform you of your order status, as well as an excellent sales, customer service and support team who are glad to assist you with any enquiry. It's perfect if you're looking for really affordable watches.
Jura Watches is the UK’s leading independent family-run luxury watch retailer with a growing network of boutiques and a massive online store. Jura is an authorised stockist for a number of premium brands including Breitling, TAG Heuer, Bremont, Grand Seiko, Oris and Longines.
Chronext is the Europe’s largest platform for the buying, selling, and trading of pre-owned watches. It has luxury pickup locations in London, Germany, Switzerland, France and Hong Kong. The team evaluates, authenticates and services every watch that they sell.
Shop pre-owned watches at Chronext WatchBox
What to look for when buying the best watches under £1000
If you need a little help deciding what watch to buy, here are a few things to consider:
- Ask yourself what you want a watch for. If it's to wear on the weekends then you might want a sporty tool watch, like a diver or chronograph, or, if it's to wear at formal work events, then you'll want a classy dress watch.
- Fashion brands like Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, and Michael Kors can make attractive watches, but if you're serious about watchmaking, there are higher-quality pieces out there which offer better value for money…
- … on the other hand, if you're not too bothered about traditional watch brands, and are more interested in how a watch looks, then buy that Daniel Wellington watch and wear it proudly.
- If you're planning to wear a watch swimming or around water, you'll need a watch with around 10ATM (100 metres) of water resistance. 3ATM is splash resistant, but probably wouldn't survive a quick shower. If you plan on diving, then you'll want a watch with 20ATM+ water resistance.
- If your current budget is £1,000, but the watch you really want is £1,500, then keep saving, don't just buy a watch for £1,000 because that's all you can afford now.
- Think about what size watch looks good on your wrist.
- Choose between a watch with an automatic movement, hand-wound movement, or quartz movement using information in the section below…
Automatic vs Hand-wound vs Quartz
If you're buying your first watch, you may not know whether you want one with an automatic movement, hand-wound movement, or quartz movement. Here's a quick description of the different types of movement below:
Automatic: powered by the movement of your body
Hand-wound: requires regular winding of the watch crown
When it comes to buying a watch, you've got to ask what movement is best for your needs.
Quartz movements are generally reliable and accurate. They don't need to be worn or wound regularly, meaning you can put your watch down, then pick it up again a month later and it'll still show the right time (as long as the battery hasn't died). If you're not too bothered about the craftsmanship of watchmaking, then this could be for you, especially as they're generally more affordable than mechanical watches (with some exceptions).
If you do prefer the art of mechanical watchmaking, and want to feel more of a connection with your watch, then you'll want either an automatic or hand-wound piece.
Automatic watches are powered by the movement of your arm, which means if you wear your watch regularly then it won't need to be wound. However, if you don't wear it for a few days, it will stop and you'll need to set the time when you next go to wear it. These are generally preferred over hand-wound watches, which need regular winding to keep going.
Hound-wound watches are usually smaller than automatic watches and less expensive.