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Mar 25, 7:02 AM
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Great watches exist at every price point, and today, we're taking a look at three watches that are under $1,000. In fact, one of these watches is even under $500. Having serious horological chops isn't necessarily a function of price, and these three watches prove it. Industrialized production practices and economies of scale have allowed cutting-edge technology and materials to be used even in watches that are affordable to the masses.
Replica Watches
Today, we have three watches that embody the notion that you can get a whole lot of watch for a reasonable sum of money, from Seiko, Hamilton, and Tissot – three companies that all strive to offer extra bang for the buck, but in distinctly different ways.
Our picks include watches from the horological powerhouse nations of Switzerland and Japan, and the design and spirit of the watches go in rather varied directions. In our line-up, there's some serious technological innovation present, and then there are more traditional designs that have been tested by not only time but some of the harshest environments in the world.

These watches are all very different from one another, but what they have in common is that they all get you a fantastic watch for under $1,000. It's up to you to decide which is most compelling.
Replica Rolex
The Seiko SRP777 is the quintessential dive watch. It's tough as nails, it's seen almost half a century of action in one form or another, and it puts function before anything else. It also represents an incredible value. It's a direct descendant of the Seiko 6309, produced from 1976 to 1988 when wearing a watch was how folks kept track of the time. It was a fantastic watch back then, and the "Turtle", nicknamed for its cushion case shape, is still a fantastic watch today.

At first glance, it's easy to mistake the Seiko SRP777 for its forefather, the 6309. Visually, the watches share a common design language – the real differences lie in the unseen. The SRP777 is technically advanced in almost every aspect: more water resistance, a superior movement that hacks, better lume. Upon first seeing the watch, the purpose and intent are clear: This is a tool watch that's designed to be knocked around. It isn't pretty, but its true beauty comes not from what it looks like, but rather what it can do.

It looks great in the same way a Japanese truck from the '80s does. It might not be conventionally attractive, but it sure fits into the most beautiful landscapes on our planet. It conjures romantic images – the kind of scenes from pop adventure comics, like the beam of a diver's flashlight tracing the outline of a shipwreck 30 meters down, or a bush guide rolling up his sleeves as he slides onto the bench seat and fires up an old Land Rover. These aren't images that crafty marketing campaigns have implanted into our imagination. These come from the real world.

Seiko watches have become something of a cultural icon. They're synonymous with robustness, tradition, reliability, and affordability. In 1987, Frances Moody, a southern gal with a southern drawl, proclaimed in a Seiko TV spot, "It’s more reliable than my husband. My husband’s not around anymore, but my Seiko is."

That about sums up Seiko's reputation in America. In the horological industry, influencers and trends come and go, but Seiko is forever. And when you first see the watch, I think it's easy to understand that.

If there's one thing that characterizes the Turtle's dial, it's the abundance of lume. The design isn't any sort of subtle in the least, and that's what also makes it so legible. This is a good time to address something that plagues the Turtle, and that's chapter ring misalignment. Nothing in life is perfect, and many of the watches do indeed suffer from a slightly misaligned chapter ring. Personally, it doesn't bother me, but I'm also not quite as OCD as some of my colleagues, and I know it would totally irk them. I think this particular issue comes down to the wearer's threshold of tolerance. The watch isn't particularly expensive – and I know that sounds like a Seiko apologist's excuse – but the way I see it, it's simply a look at the bigger picture of what the watch offers at its price point.

The designs of the Tissot and the Hamilton are probably more familiar, and familiarity and exposure tend to shape what we think is attractive. Appreciating aesthetics is such a personal thing, and a lot of it comes down to what we value. The utility a watch offers certainly influences my opinion of the visual attraction to a watch, much in the same way I find old boxy SUVs and trucks attractive. Utility isn't always pretty, and an ugly watch is an ugly watch. But, a watch can become a whole lot more beautiful when we know what it's capable of. I'll take the watch that can keep up with me over the one that looks nice on my wrist. Luckily, the Turtle can do both.

The 4R36 is the perfect movement for the watch. It just works, and it allows the watch to exist at a price point that's affordable. Sure, the Hamilton and Tissot have a higher power reserve, but I think we place too much emphasis on this particular statistic on an automatic watch. Keep in mind that a watch's accuracy rises in tandem with the charge, meaning that a watch that's consistently closer to the maximum wind will, in theory, be more accurate. The other important point is that if this is your everyday watch, then it will only be at rest for eight hours at a time while you're sleeping, making the power reserve less important. I value reliability over technical superiority and fancy materials. Our industry innovates for the sake of innovation, but the mechanical watch movement hasn't really changed much over the last century. The introduction of new materials and technologies shaves a few seconds off the variance in accuracy and adds a few hours to the power reserve, but there have been few monumental leaps when compared to the application of Moore's law in technological innovations, or the advancements made in aircraft propulsion systems.

To me, in a world that moves at such a restrained pace, there's nothing wrong with choosing something tried and true rather than the latest and greatest. With this viewpoint, the 4R36 seems like the best choice of the crop. Part of the charm of watch collecting is indeed the antiquated nature of it all, right?

What distinguishes the Turtle from the rest of the modern Prospex lineup (barring re-editions) is the fact that it borrows almost completely from the 6309 that came before it. A cushion case just isn't favored in the modern era; just look at the rest of the Seiko divers that were conceptualized in the last 10 years. But again, it just works. Holding the watch in the palm of your hand and feeling the weight and heft of it, it actually feels congruent with the amount of water resistance it offers. It feels tough. And it better be, because it's not one of those watches that tucks away under a cuff neatly. It just might encounter a few door jambs with its 44mm width and 14mm height. But you can be sure that it'll take it on the chin.

I don't think there's a better watch under $500 that can be bought brand new. It retails for $495, but the street price is even lower. With the SKX007 morphing into a Seiko 5 model that just simply hasn't proven itself yet, this could be the perfect gateway Seiko. What's more, you can take that $500 you saved and get yourself into a fun adventure, because that's the mindset wearing this watch gets you in.
Posted by watchesbiz | Mar 25, 7:02 AM | Add a comment