The luxury watch market is soaring, sure. But you don’t need a direct line to Tiffany & Co. HQ to get yourself a worthy timepiece. The best watches under $1000 are proof. With a dizzying field of brands and models—from $40 beater sports watches to minimalist Japanese masterpieces—there’s never been a better time to score some high-quality wrist candy at a price point that won’t give your accountant night terrors.
But with so many options at your fingertips, how does one determine what the best men’s watches in your price range actually are? But with so many options at your fingertips, how does one determine what the best men’s watches in your price range actually are? Whether you need a rubber-strap diver with serious water resistance, a slick black-dial dress watch with a high-end mechanical movement, or a plain-jane beater with oversized numerals for everyday timekeeping, we’ve found covetable, uber-wearable pieces for every possible style and function. These are the absolute best watches under $1000, narrowed down to our most guaranteed-fresh picks in eight essential categories—all of which can be ordered online with minimal hassle.
The Best Dress Watch Under $1000
Apply the same philosophy to your dress watch as you do to your tux: less is more. With a case that’s just 5mm thick (perfect for disappearing under a white shirt cuff) this classic wristwatch is ready to make you feel like a boss.
All the style of the Rat Pack era, minus the fedoras and chain-smoking.
Affordable elegance, thy name is Seiko.
The Best Dive Watch Under $1000
With its combination of 1960s-era design, scratch-proof sapphire crystal, and a modern Swiss automatic movement, the main difference between this dive watch and the ones that cost thousands more is the name on the dial.
In the 1980s, action movies didn’t need CGI. Instead, they got by on snappy one-liners, leading men with biceps the size of telephone poles, and the occasional cameo by a high-tech digital watch.
Dive like a pro, look excellent doing it.
The Best Everyday Watch Under $1000
The perfect everyday watch is a lot like the perfect pair of jeans: it goes with everything, doesn’t cost a fortune and fits like a second skin. This California-designed field watch does all that and adds a screw-down crown so you can take it surfing, too.
High precision, higher style.
Is it any surprise that, in addition to suits, perfume and movies, Tom Ford does a pretty good timepiece, too?
The Best Digital Watch Under $1000
After nearly 40 years and countless riffs on the iconic original design, there’s still no better combination of looks, price, functionality and hands-down ruggedness than the G-Shock. With a slimmer case, a reinforced carbon guard structure and an octagonal bezel that’s reminiscent of a certain highly-coveted Swiss watch, this might be the best G yet.
The best example of Bauhaus-meets-digital since Kraftwerk.
Like Voltron, Megatron, and Tron, this retro banger’s brand of techno-futurism never gets old.
The Best Chronograph Under $1000
This wasn’t the first NASA-approved moon watch, but it proved itself more than worthy on its 1971 trip to the lunar surface aboard Apollo 15. With comparable style at a fraction of the price, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do the math here.
Like a pair of impeccable white low-tops, this Swiss chrono lives at the intersection of sporty and refined.
Speedys and Daytonas are great and all, but this Seiko has two things they don’t: a solar-powered movement and a three-digit price.
The Best Automatic Watch Under $1000
With a few exceptions, the world’s most elite watches all have automatic movements (that is, ones that wind automatically as you move your body). Fortunately, you don’t need an elite budget to get your hands on your very own, especially with the reveal of this grail-worthy new specimen from Timex. Designed by Timex creative director Giorgio Galli, the S1 has everything you could want in an automatic watch—including a sapphire crystal and display back case—all for under $500.
If automatic watches are cool, this one is Miles Davis.
Green and gold: the most powerful combination since Pop Rocks and Coke.
The Best Beater Watch Under $1000
Watches are generally designed to last a long time, but some are definitely tougher than others. Leading the pack is the I.N.O.X from Victorinox, which comes apocalypse-ready with a carbon case and a woven paracord strap. We don’t suggest dropping it off the roof and running it over with your car, but it’d probably be just fine if you did.
If you do manage to destroy this legendarily robust Timex, at least it won’t cost you much to replace it.
Designed for paratroopers and US Air Force pilots and made by the official supplier of watches to American, Canadian and British forces, this watch is literally made for the battlefield.