You could buy a new watch for $1,000 and you’d be very happy. There is no shortage of great mechanical and quartz watches from Japanese, German and even Swiss brands at that price point. But you’re discerning. You want something unique and something with a little provenance. For that, consider turning to the vintage market, where you can find any number of beautiful mechanical watches from legacy Swiss manufacturers under $1,000, easily. Better yet, if you buy one now before everyone else catches on, you might even make money on it when you sell it years down the road.
IWC Caliber 89
What we like: Amid the rubble of post-WWII Europe, IWC developed its robust, stalwart caliber 89 movement which is most notable for powering its iconic 1940s pilot’s watches. The movement is also found in this decidedly dressier timepiece, but since it isn’t iconic, you can pick it up for a song.
From the seller: The watch is in beautiful cosmetic shape with some usual small scratches on the case. Original dial with great patina. The watch was serviced a few months ago and is in great working order. The crown is slightly bent, but it does not affect the winding.
What we like: Though Zenith is known for the El Primero, the manufacturer has long had a history of making excellent in-house movements and watches. In the mid-20th century, the Sporto was Zenith’s idea of an everyday watch: shock- and dust-resistant enough for active wear, yet classy enough to wear to dinner.
From the seller New old stock and never worn. Purchased from an old Italian retailer. Recent service and keeping excellent time.
What we like: First launched in 1952, the Constellation was Omega’s attempt at a beautiful and exceptionally accurate luxury watch. The Constellation is a certified chronometer, and despite it being something of an icon, it can be often found today under $1,000.
From the seller: The case and bracelet show slight evidence of age and soft signs of gentle wear. Dial looks great, no visible imperfections. Original Omega movement in excellent condition. Working well and keeping good time