If you’re going for a four-digit watch, your expectations will have risen considerably in comparison to our Buyer’s Guide Part 1, which took you through watches from 150 to 1,000 euros. Consumers are justified in expecting something pretty special for a watch over 1,000 euros. It usually means higher quality, finesse, and perhaps also a sense of status that comes with a brand. While priorities may differ, less convincing products within this price segment will simply fail. The reason for this is partly because in this price segment, brands are also in competition with smart watches. The Hermés Apple Watch, for example, is available from around 1,300 euros. The TAG Heuer Connected starts at around 1,700 euros, while the Tambour Horizon Smartwatch by Louis Vuitton starts at 2,430 euros.
These products are undeniably extremely popular, and certain features are not available elsewhere in this price segment. However, there is one thing these watches are not: mechanical. It doesn’t take a particularly nostalgic person to enjoy a “real” watch, instead of a tech gadget, on one’s wrist. A mechanical watch is a unique piece of craftsmanship, creating a special connection to its owner – unlike a smartphone. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Part 2 of our Buyer’s Guide can offer numerous exciting, meaningful examples of contemporary watchmaking. We are now going to introduce watches that range in price from 1,000 to 3,000 euros. Our simple rules here are exactly the same as in Part 1. Therefore, all of the watches are mechanical, and all come from Switzerland.
GETTING SERIOUS: Watches for 1,000 to 2,000 euros
Mido Ocean Star GMT for ca. 1,210 euros
Reference number: M026.629.11.051.01
On the surface, the orange colour accents typical of the brand make this watch shine particularly brightly. As functional as it appears, the splashes of colour not only aid readability, but also give the model a relaxed and playful feel. This Ocean Star integrates the extremely practical and popular GMT function, which displays an additional time zone. All time zones are clearly and charmingly engraved on the back, from London to the Azores. The travel watch, which is water-resistant to 20 bar, has an 80-hour power reserve as an optimised version of the ETA C07.661. Furthermore, those who purchase online on the Mido homepage currently also reap the reward of a free watch winder (March 2021).
Formex Essence for 1,240 euros
Reference number: 0330.1.6324.100
The brand Formex is the wild, young brand of the Swiss watch industry. CEO Raphael Granito has been steadfastly heading in his own direction ever since taking over the brand. Granito relies completely on online direct sales, allowing him to offer top-quality watches at astonishingly good prices, while saving in the retail margin. The Essence watch is essentially an entry-level model from the Biel-based, family-owned manufacture. This particular edition has a very cool dial with a dégradé effect. Furthermore, customers can have their potential future watch displayed on their wrist via the company’s app.
Oris Big Crown Pointer Date for 1,600 euros
Reference number: 01 754 7741 4065 07 5 20 63
Hölstein-based manufacture Oris has been drawing attention to itself in recent years, having produced an array of extremely attractive watches. The Big Crown Pointer Date is available in around 35 variations. All of these can be traced back to the first Big Crown from 1938, a watch whose large crown could be easily adjusted even when wearing pilot’s gloves. The special feature of the new Pointer Date is the way in which it displays the date. Instead of the usual date window, the days of the month lie around the outermost ring of the dial, with a hand pointing to the current date.
Longines Heritage Military for 1,960 euros
Reference number: L2.8184.108.40.206
With its 38.5 mm stainless-steel case and silver, retro-style dial with blued hands, the Heritage Military is a classic three-hand watch presented in the best possible form. Reduced to the essentials without becoming minimalist, it is driven by calibre L888, which operates at a frequency of 25,200 vibrations per hour.
Frederique Constant Highlife Automatic COSC for 1,995 euros
Reference number: FC-303B4NH4
What a beauty. This noble-looking model, produced by an excellent horology house, features a steel case coated in rose-gold. This helps the timepiece to stand out, especially thanks to the harmonious aesthetic created by the combination of rose-gold with a black dial. In this sense, it’s the perfect watch for those who tend to prefer gold. What’s more, it’s also a good choice if you’re looking for a business watch that is as flamboyant as it is reliable, not least because powering the Highlife model is the COSC-certified, in-house calibre FC-303.
Watches for 2,000 to 3,000 euros
Rado Captain Cook Automatic 2,020 euros
Reference number: R32505313
RADO is famous for its expertise in using ceramic. While in the case of this model, only the bezel is ceramic, this is by no means a normal feature at this price level. Furthermore, materials aside, the Captain Cook Automatic successfully exudes a vintage look, without its retro vibe appearing forced or unauthentic. Additionally, there are several editions with varying dials and bezels available.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer for 2,550 euros
Reference number: WAY201P.FT6178
Striving to be part of the avant-garde is part of TAG Heuer’s DNA. Despite its vast history, TAG Heuer always looks forward, and does not shy away from thinking differently about watches in comparison to its competitors. This is already evident in the entry-level segment, including with this Aquaracer. Admittedly, blue watches everywhere these days. But a resin bezel with a tortoiseshell look? That’s what makes this 43 mm diver’s watch a real eye-catcher, presenting a classic function in a cool new look at second glance. Powering it is the Calibre 5, and for those who are starting to get tired of blue watches, it’s also available with a black dial.
TUDOR Royal for 2,690 euros
Reference number: M28500-0006
Admittedly, a Royal is also attainable for less than 2,000 euros. For reasons of variety and to show what is possible in this price segment, however, we want to suggest this edition with a 38 mm diameter and diamonds on the dial. The diamonds make the dial, whether it’s black, blue or silver, shine brightly. Furthermore, they demonstrate that Rolex’s younger sibling is very good at making a name for itself with its pretty outstanding quality to price ratio. You don’t have to be an expert on Rolex and its sibling brand TUDOR to see that some design features of the new Royal line are also present in the models of the Oyster Perpetual line. This starts with the Roman numerals, is reflected in the case, bezel and bracelet, and becomes difficult to overlook in the variants with a Day/Date display.
Montblanc Heritage GMT for 2,700 euros
Reference number: MB119950
With its takeover of the traditional manufacture Minerva, Montblanc gained a lot of expertise in the production of high-quality chronometers. On top of that, it was an investment in a company with a great history. Its design codes are now enjoying a revival under the new management. The salmon-coloured retro dial is on offer in a wide variety of models, however this GMT’s dial is particularly impressive, with its simple, clear form. With a diameter of 40 mm, it is suitable for almost every wrist, and perfect for all those who are looking for a watch that displays a second time zone, without coming across as a sporty pilot’s watch.
Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Chronograph for 2,890 euros
Reference number: AI6038-SS002-131-2
The dial with silver squares, blue subdials, and blue outer ring resembles a certain chronograph model currently available from a well-known manufacturer in Le Brassus. This Aikon is considerably larger, with a diameter of 44 mm, is considerably less expensive, and has its own unique dial thanks to the unusual arrangement of the subdials. What’s more, the model itself boasts tradition, being regarded as the successor of the Calypso from the 1980s. All in all, this is an elegant and expressive chronograph, and its stainless-steel bracelet can easily be replaced with a dark blue leather strap. The latter option comes with the timepiece, making the model even more versatile.
Longines Spirit Chronograph for 2,900 euros
Reference number: L3.8220.127.116.11 | L3.818.104.22.168
The new Spirit collection is positioned between the existing, successful models of the Heritage and Tradition lines, and presents itself as a tribute to the great aviation pioneers of the past century. Inside the 42 mm chrono, the ETA-based Longines calibre L688.4 is at work. While the stop function is controlled by the pushers on the right side of the case, the date can be set via the fixed-screw pusher at 10 o’clock. All in all, the watch presents itself as a very attractive, highly competitively priced piece of watchmaking. Only the five stars on each dial probably make it a bit overloaded for purists – but they are primarily intended to emphasise the high quality, are a reference from Longines’ history, and can be found on some of the brand’s vintage models.