Yes, we know, we can sometimes be a bit snobbish at MONOCHROME. We can’t help it, we love beautiful horology. We love high-end movements, complications and handmade decoration. This doesn’t mean we can afford them, though… So, sometimes we need a reality check and think about what most watch enthusiasts can afford, in real life. Dreaming is one thing: treating yourself to a watch that fits the budget is another. For this reason, today we’ll be looking at watches that have superior price/pleasure ratio, watches with character, watches with a story or an unusual touch, and mostly, watches that aren’t going to break the bank. Here are five very cool “value proposition” sports watches that have recently surfaced on the market.
Note: this list is far from being exhaustive. We’ve listed watches that we believe offer great value for money, with something unique and different from the rest of the crowd. If you have in mind other accessible sports watches that made an impression on you, feel free to share them in the comments.
E.C. Andersson Calypso Denise Date
Starting with its Swedish origins, the watch is already something unique… And then there’s the spirit, the devotion to quality, the design, the functions. E.C. Andersson’s latest creation is not only cool, solid as a rock and superbly designed, it is also made to be reliable and precise, equipped with a movement adjusted in-house (based on a Seiko NE57, internally modified and calibrated to higher accuracy). It features a ceramic bezel, a sapphire crystal, comes on a textured rubber strap or a bead-blasted steel bracelet with micro-adjustment dive clasp and is WR to 200m. This year, the Calypso Denise adds to the HMS and the power reserve display a date, in a sub-dial at 6 o’clock. More details here.
Quick facts: 40mm diameter x 14mm height – stainless steel case – unidirectional bezel with ceramic insert – 200m water-resistant – calibre ECANE01, Seiko NE57 based, automatic – textured rubber or bead-blasted steel bracelet – limited to 105 pieces – as of EUR 1,120 – www.ecandersson.com
Hanhart S-Series 105 OE
When we reviewed this watch, we described the series clearly as “purpose-built instruments that do the job, and do it well.” The new S-Series by Hanhart is just that; nicely designed, well-proportioned, (very) well-executed pilot’s watches without unnecassary features. It gets straight to the point; it is clean, ultra-legible, features all you need but not more than you need, doesn’t pretend to be luxurious for nothing. The overall quality is impressive considering the retail price (below EUR 1,000), inside ticks a reliable automatic Swiss movement (Sellita SW 200) and the instrumental, minimalistic look is exactly why this watch is something to consider if you’re into aviation tools. A GMT model is also available.
Quick facts: 40mm diameter x 12mm height – PVD-coated stainless steel case – 100m water-resistant – Sellita SW 200-1, automatic with triple-exposed date – black calfskin strap with PVD-coated pin buckle – limited to 105 pieces – EUR 990 – www.hanhart.com
Mido Ocean Star Decompression Timer 1961
Mido has a long history of reliable, precision timepieces, with some models in its historical range that deserve some attention. One of them, a very unusual dive watch from 1961, featured a rotating bezel combined with a colourful dial with decompression table. This year, the brand reissues this unique funky instrumental display in a modernised package. Based on the robust Ocean Star model, the Decompression Timer 1961 Limited Edition combines the original dial of the vintage watch and its countdown rotating bezel with a reasonably sized case, modern materials and execution and a powerful automatic movement, calibre 80, with 80h power reserve and silicon hairspring. The watch is worn on a mesh bracelet and two leather straps are also included in the presentation box, all of that for an attractive price – as you can see in our hands-on here.
Quick facts: 40.5mm diameter x 13.43mm height – stainless steel case – unidirectional bezel with countdown timer – 200m water-resistant – Mido calibre 80, automatic – steel braided bracelet and two leather straps – limited to 1,961 pieces – EUR 1,150 – midowatches.com
Mitch Mason Chronicle Collection
Something quite unusual recently surfaced on Kickstarter. While most of the projects found on this crowdfunding platform are not worthy of mention on MONO’, the Mitch Mason Chronicle Collection tickled the interest of our contributor Robin, who decided to give this watch a test. And he was pleased! The design is original, compact (only 36.5mm in diameter), sharp but also vintage, the dials and hands are fairly well-executed, a reliable Miyota 9309 automatic movement ticks inside… and it comes for the price of a designer watch… And if the Kickstarter is over, you can still pre-order the Mitch Mason Chronicle for USD 449 on the brand’s website.
Quick facts: 36,5mm diameter x 12mm height – stainless steel case – 200m water-resistance – Miyota 9309 automatic movement – smooth leather or suede leather strap on pin buckle – deliveries expected Feb. 2021 – USD 449 – mitchmason.com
Vario WW1 Trench Watch
This new watch by Vario doesn’t mark the brand’s first time at the rodeo. The small, accessible brand has already made several compelling pieces with an impressive quality/price ratio. And here comes the latest project, the WW1 Trench Watch, a watch clearly inspired by wrist-converted timepieces of the early 20th century. Rounded case, wire lugs, stylized Arabic numerals, cathedral hands, nice colours and a small seconds display make this new piece a winner. Inside is a reliable automatic Miyota 82S5 calibre. The straps also consolidate the cool factor. And for only USD 340, you could even call this a guilty pleasure.
Quick facts: 37mm diameter x 10mm height – stainless steel case – 100m water-resistant – Miyota 82S5 calibre, automatic – horse leather bund pads or leather NATO straps – USD 340 (during the Kickstarter campaign) – vario.sg