It’s tempting to consider Baselworld an accessible rebuttal to SIHH’s display of high-end horology, but that isn’t really true. A $20,000 TAG Heuer chronograph and a $40,000 stainless steel Patek Philippe made our Best of Baselworld list for god’s sake. And we’ll let you decide for yourself how “affordable” a nearly $10,000 Rolex GMT is. But because of Baselworld’s sheer size, affordable timepieces always manage to make their way into the show.
This year, some higher-end watch brands focused on offering lower-priced gateways into their brand (not unlike this year’s SIHH), while traditionally low-cost brands continue to pack more features into their already affordable watches. What that leaves us with is a bevy of timepieces that feel like luxury watches but cost less than $2,500. In many cases, less than $1,000.
Citizen Promaster Diver Titanium
Why it matters: The Citizen Promaster Diver is one of our favorite affordable dive watches because it’s so practical and well-rounded. Solar-charged quartz makes sense in a watch like this, and few other timepieces in its price range offer 200-meter depth ratings. Now Citizen is adding titanium to the Promaster dive lineup, and it almost makes too much sense. Titanium is lighter, tougher and more hypoallergenicthan stainless steel, and it’ll be a welcome upgrade to the countless folks wearing this watch outdoors.
Who It’s For: This is in many ways the ideal beater watch: comfortable, cheap, rugged and reliable. We’d expect to see this on the wrists of outdoorsy types everywhere.
Key Features: Solar-charged quartz movement. Titanium case and bracelet. Water resistant to 200 meters
Price: $450 (rubber strap); $495 (bracelet)
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical
Why it matters: Hamilton’s Khaki Field Mechanical is nothing new, but this year, the brand refined it to fantastic results. It gets a new dial mirrored after the MIL-W-3818 watches the brand produced in the 1960s, and the tan-colored lum really helps cinch the vintage aesthetic. Of course, the brushed 38mm case helps achieve that old-school military look, too, and is pretty much the perfect size for anyone. The leather keepers on the olive NATO strap are a nice touch.
Who It’s For: A lot of people will love the Khaki’s old-school looks. Menswear enthusiasts (who have taken to the military-style field watch in recent years), vintage watch enthusiasts, and first-time mechanical watch buyers will all appreciate the kind of value and design this thing offers.
Key Features: Hand-winding mechanical movement. 38mm case. Water resistant to 50 meters.