In this 2015 selection of mechanical watches priced at under €1,000, the watches are listed in ascending price order.
1. Charlie Watch
This watch, sold online by French brand Charlie Watch, provides an idea of what the minimum price of a self-winding mechanical watch could be. It has a calibre 9015 Miyota automatic movement made by Japanese company Citizen providing 42 hours power reserve, visible through the sapphire caseback. The case is in 316L steel, 40 mm in diameter and 9.5 mm thick, and it is waterproof to 30 metres. The strap is available in the colours blue, brown, black and camel. The watch is assembled at the Charlie Watch workshop in Paris. The Charlie Watch Automatic can be purchased online at www.charliewatch.com: no extra charge for delivery. Price €345. Read more here.
2. TW Steel CS6
TW Steel is a cheerful and optimistic brand from Beverwijk in the Netherlands, launched ten years ago by Jordy Cobelens (CEO) and Ton Cobelens (Chief Design Officer, Jordy’s father) when they saw the opportunity to create oversized watches. The watch shown here is the CS 6, case diameter 45mm and 50mm, automatic 8215 Miyota movement, brushed steel case, black dial, black leather strap. The large size, wide bezel, the shape of the numerals and the crown lock makes it something of a low-price Panerai look-alike. Price €479. Read more here.
3. Steinhart Military 42 Black
The Military 42 Black by Steinhart was released in early 2015. It shares a lot with the earliest pilot’s watches, with the Art Deco-inspired numerals, the sectors of “old radium” beige SuperLuminova on the hands, and the black dial, but these have been updated into a modern design with a sleek black DLC-coated stainless steel case, simplified continuous seconds subdial and chapter ring. The watch is particularly attractive when you turn it over, with the hand-wound movement in view through the sapphire caseback. It has a vintage-look leather strap with stainless steel pin buckle. The case is 42 mm in diameter and 13 mm thick. Inside, the calibre is the hand-wound ETA Unitas 6498-1 originally designed for pocket watches, running at 18,000 vph (3 Hertz), power reserve 46 hours. The movement is finished with personalized Côtes de Genève, anthrazite plating and blued screws, and it is perfectly matched to the case in terms of size. The Steinhart Military 42 Black is reference MY0603. Its price is €490 inclusive of VAT, plus shipping costs. Read more here.
4. Triwa Skultuna
The Triwa Skultuna is a limited edition of 200 pieces, a three-hand watch featuring a case and bezel in naval brass by Skultuna. Brass was used extensively by classical clock and watch makers in the 18th and 19th centuries, and this piece is a part of the resurgence of brass and bronze in watch-making, materials that develop a patina over the years so that eventually each piece looks different depending on the user’s lifestyle. The watch’s deep bezel reinforces the naval, almost steampunk aesthetic. The black enamel dial is attractive, with the circular brass profile around the date window, the applied brass hour markers, the two brand names, and the skeletonized hour and minute hands. The 38 mm case size makes it a unisex model capable of being worn by anyone. It is water-resistant to 50 metres. The movement is the Japanese-made Miyota 9015 automatic which provides a power reserve of 42 hours, and has the stop-second function for precise time-setting. Its 26 mm diameter makes it a perfect fit for the mineral glass caseback window. It has an oscillating weight engraved with the Triwa logo. Each watch is numbered from 1 to 200. The watch is sold at the price of €495, available online and at some retailers. Read more here.
5. Agir Watch pilot’s
This is a very wearable pilot’s watch by Agir Watch, a brand founded in Biel, Switzerland, in 1926, and that is currently under Italian ownership. In the past, Agir Watch was part of the group founded by Filippo Giardiello from Naples (his principal brand was Philip Watch), and in 1956 it was purchased by the Swiss Watch Company based somewhere near Milan. Today, Agir Watch has two production centres, one in Switzerland using Swiss movements (ETA, ETA/Valjoux, Unitas) and one in Italy using Japanese movements. They make about five or six thousand watches per year, generally in series of 300 for each model, which may be remade if it sells well. The brand sells almost exclusively to watchmaker/repairer shops in Italy, and in other locations including North Carolina and Beirut. This pilot’s watch has a very IWC Mark XXVII look, with its vertical curved date window; it is powered by an ETA 2824-2A movement, and it has a solid caseback. Price about €550. Read more here.
6. Tissot Chemin des Tourelles
The Chemin des Tourelles series of very classical watches by Tissot includes a wide range of variants for men and women. They are three-handers powered by the ETA Powermatic 80 which offers the unusually high power reserve of 80 hours. The men’s versions are 42 mm in diameter, with cases in steel, water resistance 50 metres; both stainless steel bracelets and leather straps have butterfly clasps opened by pushbuttons. The Powermatic 80 movement by ETA (calibre C07.111) is used in all these watches, and it is hallmarked by 80 hours power reserve, and a balance without a regulator. The rate is set automatically in the factory, so that subsequent adjustment is not necessary; if it has to be adjusted at some time during its life, there seem to be two screws on the balance that change its natural oscillation frequency. The movement utilizes production technology developed for the totally industrialized Sistem 51 calibre, and it possibly also incorporates the anti-magnetic alloys pioneered by Swatch Group. The 80-hour power reserve is attained by reducing balance frequency from 4 to 3 Hertz, by increasing the size of the mainspring, and by using a low-friction synthetic material (probably silicon-based) for the escapement. There are many different models: the one shown is Tissot Chemin Des Tourelles men’s automatic, white dial with black leather strap, T099.407.16.037.00, price €760. Read more here.
7. Stowa Flieger
The Stowa Flieger is based on a historical B-Uhr model which was very large – 55 millimetres – with a long strap so that it could be worn over the sleeve of a flying jacket. Today the version is more suitable for everyday use, with a diameter of 40 mm, thickness 10.2 millimetres, and a black or brown strap with two rivets on each side. The dial is perfect simplicity, with no logo, and just hour, minute and seconds indications, very clearly legible on the black background. Dials are made by German company Schätzle. Hands are made by Swiss company Universo, in blued steel. This is why they have that attractive detail, looking like blue outlines – the white is the SuperLuminova. The movement is the ETA 2824-2 automatic, 38-42 hours power reserve. The watch costs €840, you can buy online at http://www.stowa.de/, delivery in about 6 weeks. Read more about this and other pilots watch here.
8. Hamilton Khaki Field Pioneer Auto
This watch has vintage-colour dials and hands and a traditional style of fluting on bezel and crown. The stainless steel case is available with 45 or 42 mm diameters, and a sapphire caseback. It has an ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. Reference H60515533.. Price about €840. Unfortunately this watch is being phased out and so is not available in all boutiques in the UK. Read more about this and other pilots watch here.
9. Mido Baroncelli Donna Caliber 80
Mido‘s Baroncelli collection offers women’s watches with mechanical movements at accessible prices, and this piece in particular is powered by the new ETA Caliber 80 which provides 80 hours power reserve. The dial is in white mother-of-pearl dial with eight diamond hour markers (total 0.04 carats), framed by a circular rose PVD-finish 316L stainless steel case mounted on a cream-coloured leather strap which has a rose PVD-finish folding clasp. The result is a classic 33 mm women’s watch good for the day and through to the evening. Water-resistance is 50 metres. The watch has a sapphire caseback providing a view of the self-winding Mido Caliber 80 movement, which is the ETA C07.611. It is decorated with circular graining, blued screws and an oscillating weight with Côtes de Genève and the Mido logo. Reference M022.207.36.116.11, price approximately €980. Read more here.
10. Tourby Pilot Automatic
Tourby is a German company based in Westfalen that sells online, with the possibility of choosing from various options so that you can personalize your watch. The Pilot Automatic is the classic pilot’s watch, 42 mm in diameter, 12.7 mm thick, with solid caseback engraved with a map of Europe. The piece is not branded, in classic B-Uhr type tradition. The SuperLuminova dial provides excellent visibility in the dark. The movement is the ETA 2824-2 automatic, with stop-seconds or hacking seconds (when you pull out the crown to set the time, the second hand stops, so you can synchronize it precisely to the second and keep an eye on how the watch is performing in terms of accuracy) and a power reserve of 38-42 hours. Waterproof to 200 metres depth. The watch is fitted with a leather strap, and you can choose from their selection of straps. Price €1,000. Read more about this and other pilots watch here.