It’s a question that haunts every stylish man: what watch do I buy next? Well, there’s often no straightforward answer and it pays to do your research. Thankfully, that’s where we come in. Here’s what we’d buy right now if we could – from a guilty pleasure to a serious investment – they’re all here.
You don’t have to spend a bomb to get your hands on a smart watch. The Shinola Runwell is a perfect example of a watch that’s practical, well made and won’t break the bank. The clue’s in the name – it’s designed to be both reliable and versatile – informed by Shinola’s history of rugged American manufacturing. At 47mm in size, it’s a chunky piece, with ample room to house its Argonite 1069 high-accuracy movement, and the sub-seconds dial. A great day-to-day watch, yours for well under £450.
If you like the Runwell?
You’ve got yourself an American classic, so why not try something British next? Farer’s a pioneering independent British watchmaker, whose watches mix chic mid-century looks with playful design touches, impressive functionality and top-quality engineering. We’re fans of everything from the GMT Automatic, to the Aqua Compressor – but if you’re looking for a real steal, the Farer Stark II is a sharp looking thing with its metallic grey sunray dial, cobalt blue and forest green markers, and bevelled brass crown. The 39.5mm case is a practical size and the quartz movement reliable. You can even choose the strap too – we think this tan Barenia calf is a chic choice.
Hit the £2,000 mark, and it’s worth considering something from Glashuette. Germany’s fine watchmaking heartland, Glashuette watches bring with them some considerable prestige – and none more so than Nomos Glashutte, whose watches are almost impossibly chic. Simple, elegant and perfect with everything from a sweater and chinos to a suit, the Orion is Nomos’s calling card, and the Orion 1989 is particularly cool. Made to celebrate the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, it mixes a ‘November grey’ dial with gold indexes and as smooth a design as you’ll find anywhere. It’s attractively slim and carries Nomos’s in-house Alpha manual-winding caliber, a movement that’s won no shortage of plaudits from critics, and only needs winding every two days.
Like what you see?
Montblanc champions similarly cool and clean watch designs to those of Nomos, and for a reasonable sum you could walk away with a Swiss-made mechanical like the Heritage Chronométrie Automatic. Embodying the values of Montblanc’s iconic Meisterstück, it mixes a silver-white bombé dial with minimalistic polished indexes that complement the polished steel case, with the navy seconds hand providing a subtle touch of colour. Powered by Montblanc’s in-house MB 24.09 movement, with a power reserve of 42 hours, it’s technically impressive too. It’s even water-resistant to 3-bar, if diving happens to be your thing.
Turn things up a notch, and we can move into thoroughbred Swiss watchmaking territory. Tag Heuer’s long been a safe bet for chic yet robust designs that mix a sporty pedigree with everyday wearability. The Heritage Autavia, released last year, links Tag right back to its 1960s racing pedigree. A close aesthetic copy of the original Autavia worn by Jochen Rindt, the only driver to win the Formula 1 World Championship posthumously, this is a handsome thing with a steel case, black bezel and the signature black and white ‘panda’ dial with counters at three, six and nine o’clock (the purist’s preferred layout). It looks the business on a cognac leather strap.
If you’re into the Heuer?
Another Swiss brand that’s known for making mean chronographs is Breitling. Now almost two years into CEO Georges Kern’s tenure, the brand’s been through an impressive evolution, releasing dozens of new models and overhauling old favourites. The Navitimer 8 was Kern’s first new watch when he joined, and marked a clear change in step. The most elevated watch in the range is the Navitimer 8 B01 Chronograph, with Breitling’s favoured in-house movement, but for under £5,000 the Chronograph 3 is also a great buy – designed with a dark blue sunray dial, brushed steel case, bevelled bezel, and Arabic numerals in a typeface taken from the company’s archive. It’s a lot of watch for under five-thou, this.