Ask Indulge | Thousand-Dollar Baby

On the choice of watches in the $1,000-1,250 price range

Dear Indulge,

I am in the market for a new men’s wristwatch. Currently, I own two pieces: a Tag Heuer F1 and an Omega Seamaster. Could you recommend another watch I could buy in the $1,000-1,250 price range?



Hi KM,

First of all, congratulations on owning what are two very respectable watches indeed. We’ve always liked the Seamaster and this year’s new model with the Omega’s new 8508 anti-magnetic was one of our favourite new launches at BaselWorld. Meanwhile, Tag Heuer has recently given the F1 collection a fresh coat of paint and new references with mechanical movements.

It is always futile to make suggestions of what wristwatches to buy without knowing a little bit about what kind of watch you want and what occasion you want to wear it for. Still a nice tight idea of budget is helpful.

Though we must warn you that the $1,000-$3,000 range is a particularly troublesome one. Not that there is a lack of choice. In fact, there is too much of it. But relatively few brands, models or design concepts from this price range immediately jump out at you. There is too much chaff and much too little wheat.

But we’re up for a challenge.

To help us make some recommendations, we’re going to assume that you want one of two types of watches: either you want to buy another piece from the broad category you already own…or something completely different.

Let’s go with the second assumption first.

Assuming you have both the F1 and the Seamaster on a steel bracelet, perhaps you are looking for a fine, elegant dress watch on a leather strap. In which case, congratulations. In the last decade or so, there has never been a better time to buy elegant, minimal men’s watches of restrained size and design.

The Tissot Powermatic 80
The Tissot Powermatic 80

Our next choice may seem a little counter-intuitive. There is nothing we detest more than brands slapping a logo onto a mass-produced piece of rubbish and selling it at exorbitant prices. But Burberry’s ‘Britain’ collection of watches released this year is very enjoyable. This is a diversification of convenience, of course, but one that is executed with tremendous attention to detail. Just look at the number of surface finishes all over the case. Our model of choice is the Britain 47 mm chronograph with the matte brown strap and trench dial. This does blow your budget by around $500. But don’t dismiss it without having a look.

Rado D-Star 200.
Rado D-Star 200.

Straddling both spheres of elegance and sport is the Victorinox’s new Chrono Classic 1/100th. This is possibly the sexiest watch Victorinox has ever made. (Which isn’t really saying much. The brand’s forte is bomb-proof reliability.) But the Chrono Classic is a great watch and a little bit of a plaything as well due to its unique time indication discs. And well within your budget.

And finally, an indie recommendation: mkII. Run by the legendary Bill Yao, mkII is an American company that custom-makes watches with Swiss movements inside them. Yao is known to be a perfectionist, and his extremely affordable watches are cherished in some collector circles. You can order them online at http://boutique.mkiiwatches.com/.

Do you have a luxury consumption conundrum? Write to us at indulge@livemint.com