With the widespread use of smartphones and smart watches, it may surprise some to see that traditional wrist watches remain highly popular. While people are more likely to check the time on their phones, wrist watches are a staple in men’s fashion, and appeal to an entire community of watch enthusiasts who often possess large collections. In fact, the recent rise in microbrand watch companies has given collectors and horolophiles a vast market to choose from. Watch enthusiasts can choose their newest watch down to every detail and sometimes even customize certain elements. Here we explore some of the best offerings in the entry level automatic watch market.
Stowa Antea, $930
What this watch may not show on its understated, simplistic dial is the stunning exhibition case back revealing an ETA 2824-2 TOP grade. The most attractive feature of this watch being its dial. A far smaller watch than the rest being featured in this article, the Stowa comes in three sizes; 35.5, 36.5, 39. A metal strap is available for an additional $60.
Tissot Ballade, $925
Tissot, which is widely known for elegance and excellent movements, still provides an outstanding example of an affordable automatic watch with the Ballade Powermatic. Using a Powermatic 80 movement, this watch also has an exhibition case back. The Tissot measures at 39mm and comes in many color variations with matching bracelets or leather straps. The most attractive feature is the Powermatic 80 movement which has a reserve of 80 hours function without any winding or movement.
Carpathia Ascent, $975
A newcomer to the watch world, Carpathia is offering their flagship model, the Ascent at $975 retail. The ascent is a dress style watch which can be combined with various strap options to make it suitable for casual wear including standard leather straps, mesh bracelets and colorful suede straps. The watch itself is offered in four color variations at no additional cost. Among these colors are a chrome case and rose gold dial, brushed gold case with black dial, 5N rose gold case with deep navy dial and the PVD black case with an ivory dial. Carpathia uses an ETA 2824-2 Elabore movement, fully decorated with Geneva strips and blued screws which can be seen through the case back. This watch has a 42mm case with AR coated sapphire glass on both sides and up to 5 atm water resistance. Pre-sale for this watch will offer a substantial discount and only a limited run of watches.
Autodromo Group B, $925
Autodromo’s Group B watch has a hard, brushed steel look and features a bi-metallic case construction. It houses the Miyota 9015 movement, which to some may be considered a lesser movement than the ETA seen in most other watches featured here. Nonetheless, this is still an automatic movement, housed within a lightweight 39mm titanium capsule which is both subdued and stylish. The Autodromo offers several strap colors, which are a slip through nylon style rather than the traditional leather or mesh.
Christopher Ward Trident C60 Titanium Pro, $945
The Christopher Ward Trident C 60 is a diver watch with a stealthy matte grey and black appearance. The Trident pricing begins at $945 for pre-sale in the standard variation with a rubber or leather strap. In order to upgrade, however, it will cost you a little extra. For a PVD case, there is a $30 upcharge and for a metal bracelet it will run a whole $200 more. This watch has an ETA 2824-2 movement which is highly reputable and reliable. In the case of the Trident, the movement is in it’s most basic variation and there is a logo debossed case back. It is 43mm in size which for some may be slightly too large, but for others will work well to complete the sporty look of the piece. Being a diver watch, it has a 600m water resistance.
Seiko Presage, $1,000
The Presage is made in house by Seiko and houses a Seiko 6R15 automatic movement. The piece itself is an elegant and simple men’s dress watch. The Presage has a 40mm case size which is mid-size for a men’s watch, and sports 100m water resistance. It does have an exhibition case back, but the movement is undecorated. At this $1,000 price point you are getting the classic automatic Seiko without any of the bells and whistles of upgraded features. A uniquely colored dial, for example, would only be found in the limited edition which will cost you another $100.