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You Probably Can Afford It: The expert’s choice

by Michael Weare
20 May, 2013
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About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

Citizen Nighthawk

As we wrap up our long running series on watches you probably can afford, for our last round-up we seek the opinion of some real experts. These are not the privileged bespoke suited executives of Swiss watch brands pontificating from their La Chaux de Fonds watchmaking palaces. These are the opinions of hardcore watch fans; those who share their passion for affordable watches on watch forums year in and year out.

Most of these guys have regular jobs, mortgages to pay, kids to educate, cars to run, and no budget for the latest luxurious Swiss novelties as seen on watch websites including of course, Click Tempus.

So in this arena, Swiss luxury and costly limited editions, give way to Japanese mass market reliability and value.

The watches that follow reflect the most popular choices of regular readers and wise watch lovers on a handful of well visited watch forums; there are several variations, but these names crop up more than most. If you are looking for an affordable, quality watch for £300 or well under, don’t take our advice, take theirs. All these watches are thoroughly road tested for quality versus cost.

Seiko Orange Monster

Seiko Orange Monster

We have featured this watch on Underwater Wednesday, and it does undoubtedly represent one of the best value for money watches you can buy. The Monster is top of the list for having a great build quality, solid watch bracelet with great heft, outstanding lume, 200 metres water resistance a tried and tested movement and its own bold and unique look. Prices start from around £120.00.

Bernhardt Binnacle Anchor

Bernhardt Binnacle Anchor

Small family run Bernhardt’s Binnacle Anchor represents a superb value piece with a classic explorer style.  Bernhardt released this watch in mid-2010 and it has since become an extremely popular model in the collection.  The Binnacle Anchor clearly takes style cues from the Rolex Explorer classic 3, 6, 9 and no date features. The stainless steel case diameter is 40mm excluding the crown.   The case features a deeply polished sides and crown.  The crown sports the typical “B” for Bernhardt and is a treat to wind.  The case’s bezel is a smooth bezel at a slight angle and is polished stainless steel.  The lack of crown guards adds to the sleek appeal of the case lines and produces a very smooth continuous feel to the case edges. The watch runs on a dependable Miyota 8215, a tough and durable workhorse of a movement. The watch comes complete with a two year warranty, and it’s possible to pick one up for around £125.00.

Seiko SKX 007

Seiko SKX007

Seiko has been making some of the world’s most competent, durable and affordable dive watches since the late 1960s. Look on any professional dive boat and you are more likely to see a Seiko favoured by professionals from Army GIs in Vietnam to dive instructors in dive resorts from Fort Lauderdale to Phuket. The SKX models represent the best of what the Japanese watch giant has to offer. A direct descendant of Seiko’s first dive watch, the SKX series is powered by a robust rather than super accurate 21-jewel self-winding mechanical timepiece designed and built in-house by Seiko. For £125.00, this is a firm watch forum favourite.

Orient Ray

Orient Ray

From respected Japanese watch company Orient, this excellent diver is available in a black, blue or salmon coloured dial with a bracelet or rubber strap. The case is 41mm wide without the crown. Orient movements are made in-house, the automatic self winding movement comes with a day, date at 3 o’clock and a 40 hour power reserve. The watch is water resistant to 200 metres and features a quality coin-edged unidirectional bezel. The bracelet is high quality polished stainless steel with a good amount of heft. The lume is superb and long lasting. Outstanding cost vs quality value from around £130.00.

Maratac Mid Pilot

Maratac Mid Pilot

The Maratac™ Mid Pilot Automatic watch features a sterile clean dial, with no date and no branding. This watch is made to exemplify the purest form of time which provides a simplistic feel to the watch. American brand Maratac use a Miyota (8245) 21 jewel movement known for its exceptional quality and accuracy. The Miyota movement provides 40 hours of power reserve when not in use. The Maratac™ Mid Pilot watch is a little over 39mm wide and 60 grams. Ideal for both formal and casual events, the watch is built to last with a robust sapphire domed crystal. You can pick up one of these excellent pilot’s watches for just £185.00

Citizen Nighthawk

Citizen Nighthawk

It’s been around for years, but it is still considered one of the best mass market quartz offerings available. The Nighthawk delivers in ways that many more expensive watches do not. It has useful calculation complications and features, distinctive looks, solid build quality, good water resistance and a solar powered movement that lasts 180 days on a full charge and never requires a new battery. Water resistant to 100 metres, the 41mm watch runs on a Citizen Eco-Drive GMT Solar movement. All this and it should be possible to pick one up for around £235.00.

 

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

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