With watch prices in both the retail and resale markets reaching stratospheric heights over the past few years, it’s easy to disregard the whole industry as overhyped and impossible to enter.
If you’re talking about Rolex and Patek then you might be right, but if you look at almost any other watch brand there are excellent options to be had. And, as these brand’s become more competitive, not only with one another, but also the smartwatch industry, new collections, boasting innovative movements and materials are being unveiled, and many fall below the AU$10,000 mark. Here are 12 great new watches under $10,000 in 2020.
Dornblüth & Sohn 99.0 – $5,800
If rare, handmade wristwatches tickle your fancy, Dornblüth & Sohn is a brand you need to know. With less than 10 employees producing only 120-180 pieces a year, entirely in house, it’s hard to imagine how they manage to price their creations as low as $5,800.
Over the border, Austrian couple Richard and Maria Habring hand-build roughly 150 watches a year under the brand name Habring2. Their timepieces start from $6,975 and are well worth a look.
IWC Pilot Automatic Spitfire – $7,100
IWC’s updates to their Pilot family, which for the first time included in-house calibres, were well received at SIHH in 2019, but none more so than their bronze additions. The steel, however, comes in significantly cheaper and garners less attention as a daily wearer, made even more compelling in a svelte 39mm case.
OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300M – $7,925
The iconic Seamaster Diver was updated and refined last year, resulting in a package that not only blew its competition out of the water in regards to innovation and technical ability but one that might just be the best value buy on the market today.
TAG Heuer Heritage Calibre 18 – $8,000
Harking back to the glory days of Jack Heuer’s first 1960s chronograph, the Heritage Calibre 18 fuses the brand’s iconic Chrono case and pusher design with their modern COSC certified Cal. 18 movement. It really is the best of both worlds.
Longines Master Automatic Pink Gold – $10,000
The Longines Master Automatic in pink gold showcases the elegance of their best selling collection in an entirely new dimension. The barleycorn dial, Arabic numerals and navy blue hands complete a timeless package which is a steal for solid gold.
Rolex Explorer Ref.214270 – $9,150
With some people willing to drop $23k on Hulks and GMTs, it’s easy to forget about Rolex’s humble Explorer. With expedition pedigree dating back to Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s summit of Everest in 1953, the Rolex Explorer is as accomplished as it is versatile. If you want something a bit dressier with a white dial, the 39mm Oyster Perpetual is also a winner and $1,150 lighter on the wallet.
Grand Seiko SBGJ203 – $9,600
We recently attended a lunch with Grand Seiko and were captivated by the dials and finishing across the whole GS range. The SBGJ collection, which features a GMT function, combines our favourite function with the brand’s exquisite polishing, which lets the watch sing in both casual or formal environments. The SBGJ211 in the Titanium case is my pick of the bunch, but I’d be just as happy wearing the SBJ203 in steel.
Cartier Santos De Cartier – $9,800
At SIHH 2018, Cartier relaunched the famed Santos de Cartier, which Louis Cartier essentially invented for aviator and friend Alberto Santos-Dumont. The mid-size square wears a lot larger than it appears, especially on the wonderful interchangeable steel bracelet. Interestingly, prices differ substantially around the world.
Porsche Design 1919 Globetimer UTC – $9,650
I’ll be the first to admit that this inclusion is a curveball but the 1919 Globetimer is a truly compelling piece of kit. It features a contemporary and unique design, in Titanium, alongside a new in-house movement that allows the bi-directional setting of a second-time zone by plus or minus pushers. Bravo Porsche Design.
Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Power Control – $9,750
The Chopard LUC XP was one of my favourite watches of 2019 and I think the brand deserves a lot more recognition than it gets. The Mille Miglia GTS Power Control embodies Chopard’s relationship with classic automobiles and ‘the most beautiful race in the world’ in this limited run of 500 timepieces.
BVLGARI Octo Solotempo – $9,900
The BVLGARI Octo Solotempo represents the origins of the Octo line, characterised by its octagonal shape, minimalist design and titanium case. It’s a bold and intriguing choice, one that suggests a much higher entry price than it actually is.
Jaeger Le-Coultre Polaris Automatic – $10,400
The traditionalist within me says I should have included a Reverso in this list, but my lifestyle says the Polaris is a much better fit. Unfortunately, the RRP of the modern-day Memovox falls just outside the $10k mark, however, I’d hazard a guess that any local retailer would sneak the sale in under it if you asked nicely.