Buyer’s Guide: 5 Affordable Cool Watches

Posted on June 24, 2015


Let’s face it, watches can be expensive. In fact, Australian Economist Jason Collins currently attempting his PHD at the University of Western Australia recently wrote a thesis which opined that consumption of luxury wristwatches was a modern phenomenon which had a natural, evolutionary foundation – that of, to use Pick Up Artist parlance: “peacocking”. In essence, conspicuous consumption serves as a peacock’s tail, which is siren signal to females in the vicinity that our earning capacity makes us perfect mates. Well, good news, it doesn’t take a lot of money to get a nice watch. Here is The Monsieur’s guide to 5 Affordable Cool Watches:

Buyers Guide - Affordable Cool Watches meridian - 31. Vintage Aviator Watch: Dievas Meridian

Reminiscent of pilot watches from the 1920-30s, the Dievas Meridian takes the prize for folks with the uncontrollable desire for a Zenith Type 20’s Pilot watch (myself included) but lack the financial means for it. The 44mm large watch wears comfortably in spite of the heft and the wonderfully brushed bi-directional bezel makes easy work for quick synchronisation and timing. The Meridian takes pole position in this list of affordable cool watches primarily because the old school 3-dimensional vintage look “Radium” is a nice and unexpected touch for $1,200 timepiece; it’s a design element which works beautifully together with signature Dievas pilot watch hands. It’s a vintage aesthetics made with advanced German watchmaking techniques and topped off with an artisanal handmade leather strap sharing a serial number with the watch itself. The movement is a modified (the rotor) and regulated Dievas Uhren Technik ETA 2824-2.

Buyers Guide - Affordable Cool Watches Ophion OPH 960 - 32. Dateless Dress Watch: Ophion OPH 960

A Spanish label producing timepieces in Germany, Ophion‘s debut model is a fantastically pure and philosophically resolute, slightly largish, 42.9mm dress watch. I say philosophically resolute because it takes guts for a watchmaker to produce dateless (without date complication) watches as timepieces with dates are statistically more popular (thus easier to sell) to the broader market. That said, the OPH 960 comes with recognisable high horology traits like domed dial, polished applied indices and dauphine hands. It’s aesthetics are inspired by watches from the 60s but the clean design makes it a modern classic. At these sort of price ranges, the manual winding movement is provided by Technotime: the calibre TT718 comes with an impressive power reserve of 5 days and is decorated with Perlage, Colimaçon, Anglage, blued screws (heat treated not painted, again, surprising at this price range), and Cotes de Genevé finishing. It comes on a 22mm hand-stitched black or brown alligator or Teju leather strap with a steel ardillon buckle. [Pre-Order Ophion for 790€]

Buyers Guide - Affordable Cool Watches INSTRMNT-01- 43. A Watch to Grow Your Love for Other Watches: Instrmnt 01

I love mechanical watches and rare is the quartz watch which catches my attention. The Instrmnt 01 doesn’t catch my attention for its minimalism nor is it a particularly unique design BUT what it does have is the ability to bequeath you new appreciation for your soon to be burgeoning hobby. Glasgow’s INSTRMNT comes in the form of a self-assembly kit which gives you the necessary tools to put your own watch together. Founded by Pete Sunderland and Ross Baynham, Instrmnt has been refined since its initial debut with new advanced PVD coating, hands and a new reprinted date dial. Granted, there’s not a lot of the room to screw up your assembly as you’re putting straps on case but it would give you the necessary skills for another watch lover’s habit: “changing shoes on your watch” that is to say – “Changing the watch strap. Often.” It makes sense to know how to do it yourself – NATO and leather strap combinations abound. [Shop Instrmnt 01]

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4. Perfectly Symmetrical Watch: MY03 Hacker

British Industrial Designer Michael Young has been busy and he’s made a name for himself creating simple yet unconventional designs for watches – the MY03 Hacker is his latest opus featuring a concave face with a central disk that supports the hands while protecting the lens from the knocks and bumps of an active everyday life. Bold lines radiate from the centre to the periphery of the dial and like the dateless Ophion OPH 960, he takes a risk by doing away with the seconds hand (co-incidentally, invented not so much for keeping track of the seconds but also to give the owner a clue as to whether the watch was keeping time). It’s a 43mm timepiece bound to turn heads at a pocket friendly £95.83. [Shop MY03 Hacker]


Buyers Guide - Affordable Cool Watches PXR-5 Digital Watch - 15. The Off-kilter Timepiece: PXR-5 Digital Watch

Michael Young strikes again, his PXR-5 was first launched in 2010 and now celebrating the 10th anniversary of its release, he’s working with VOID on the second run of his functionally pure offering. If I had to wear one digital watch fashionably, it would be this one. All features of the watch are very easy to use with the two right side buttons used for changing the time, whilst the button on the left acts as a light. The watch is also water resistant up to 30 metres. It’s less “techy” (think Apple Watch) and closer to the old school gold Casios which lends real nostalgic appeal especially if you were old enough to watch Back to the Future in the theatres. [Shop PXR-5]

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