The best watches under $1000 are proof that you don’t need a fistful of Superbowl rings or a shelf lined with F1 trophies to amass a great timepiece collection. With a dizzying field of brands and models to choose, from classic G-Shocks to office-ready dress watches, there’s never been a better time to score some high-quality wrist candy at a price point that won’t give your accountant night terrors.
With so many great choices on offer (and so much watch jargon in the mix), however, choosing your next timepiece can be a daunting process. That’s why we’ve narrowed the field down to 21 essential pieces across seven major categories, every one of which promises to take your wristwear to the next level, and all of them can be ordered online with minimal hassle.
Looking for more great timepieces on a budget? Check out the stories below for our picks.
The Best Watches Under $100 | The Best Cheap Watches That Don’t Look Cheap | The Best Watches Under $200 | The Best Dive Watches Under $500
The Best Dress Watch Under $1000
Apply the same philosophy to your dress watch as you do to your tux: less is more. With a case that’s thin enough to disappear under a white shirt cuff, this classic wristwatch is ready to make you feel like a boss.
Proof that a sub-$300 watch can still look like a million bucks.
Small watch cases like this one aren’t for everyone, but the combination of a California dial (one with both Roman and Arabic numerals) and a money-green leather strap make this Timex a flex at any size.
The Best Dive Watch Under $1000
With its combination of 1960s-era design, scratch-proof sapphire crystal, and a modern Swiss automatic movement, the main difference between this dive watch and the ones that cost thousands more is the name on the dial.
Classic diver looks, pro-level specs, and a wallet-friendly price make this Japanese diver a solid go-to on land or sea.
Dive like a pro, look excellent doing it.
The Best Everyday Watch Under $1000
There’s a good reason countless watch collections begin with the Hamilton Khaki. From its classic field watch design to its robust Swiss-made movement to its sub-$1,000 price, it’s a timeless addition to any wrist.
High precision, higher style.
Swiss-made goodness filtered through the lens of Milan’s hippest indie watch engineers.
A perfectly minimalist diver from Milan’s hippest indie watch engineers.
The Best Digital Watch Under $1000
After nearly 40 years and countless riffs on the iconic original design, there’s still no better combination of looks, price, functionality and hands-down ruggedness than the G-Shock. With a slimmer case, a reinforced carbon guard structure and an octagonal bezel that’s reminiscent of a certain highly-coveted Swiss watch, this might be the best G yet.
Like Voltron, Megatron, and Tron-Tron, this retro banger’s brand of techno-futurism never gets old.
You know how in kids’ drawings the sun is always smiling? We’re pretty sure that was the inspiration for this indefatigably cheerful chronograph.
From Pharrell to John Mayer, this wallet-friendly G-Shock has earned a place on the wrists of some of the world’s most respected collectors.
The Best Chronograph Under $1000
This wasn’t the first NASA-approved moon watch, but it proved itself more than worthy on its 1971 trip to the lunar surface aboard Apollo 15. With comparable style at a fraction of the price, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do the math here.
Mix the ruggedness of a field watch with the sportiness of a chronograph and this adventure-ready Citizen is the best of all possible outcomes.
High-flying style from the golden era of commercial air travel.
The Best Automatic Watch Under $1000
With a few exceptions, the world’s most elite watches all have automatic movements (that is, ones that wind automatically as you move your body). Fortunately, you don’t need an elite budget to get your hands on your very own, especially with the reveal of this grail-worthy new specimen from Timex. Designed by Timex creative director Giorgio Galli, the S1 has everything you could want in an automatic watch—including a sapphire crystal and display back case—all for under $500.
Here’s one 1970s grail that doesn’t cost a fortune.
Green and gold: the most powerful combination since Pop Rocks and Coke.
The Best Beater Watch Under $1000
Watches are generally designed to last a long time, but some are definitely tougher than others. Leading the pack is the I.N.O.X from Victorinox, which comes apocalypse-ready with a carbon case and a woven paracord strap. We don’t suggest dropping it off the roof and running it over with your car, but it’d probably be just fine if you did.
If you do manage to destroy this legendarily robust Timex, at least it won’t cost you much to replace it.
You can think of this burly Casio as the nature-loving cousin of your favourite G-Shock. With a triple-sensor (altimeter, barometer, compass) a thermometer, and a solar-powered movement, it’s ready for whatever the great outdoors have in store.