Orient Bambino Small Seconds collection

In our last editors’ top picks article, the aBlogtoWatch team shared our picks for favorite moon phase watches. As you can imagine, these watches had some very expensive choices on the list (I believe my A. Lange & Söhne pick was pretty close to having a six-figure price tag) and this time I decided to have our team pick something a little more budget conscious. So, I asked the aBlogtoWatch team: what’s your top dress watch for under $1,000?

There are so many options in this category that we kind of wanted to push ourselves to have a mix of the staples as well as some less expected choices. A newer “micro brand” here and there mixed in with the usual Swiss and Japanese picks is what we came up with, but I think it’s worth noting that there are going to be a lot of solid choices that we may not have picked. Our list of Top 10 Affordable Watches That Get A Nod From Snobs in 2018 will have other value-priced pieces to check out as well, though it’s a variety of styles, not just dress watches.

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Obviously, that’s your cue to hit the comments and share your thoughts. We’ll be looking forward to seeing what the readers’ picks are, but before that, here are the aBlogtoWatch team’s top dress watches under $1,000 (at least as of late 2018).


I’ve never traveled to Bangalore, but I was really romanced by Bangalore Watch Company’s seminal product debut with their Renaissance Automatic collection. Unpretentious and well-made, these watches say “ambition and pride” to me in all the right ways. Rather than a dress watch from a brand that seems to want to be better than me, these timepieces are among those which seem to want to exist with me. A good dress watch should feel appropriate – not too fancy, but certainly not boring either. This is especially true for someone such as me who doesn’t wear dress watches on a regular basis. When I do, I want something by a brand that feels relevant to me and run by people who are a lot like me – optimistic entrepreneurs who don’t rest on their laurels but who seek to make a place for themselves in the world. Admittedly Bangalore Watch Company isn’t the only new brand with these values, but over the last year, they’ve impressed me the most with a sensible dress watch offering.

Available in a steel case with a natural finish or rose gold tone, the Renaissance Automatic is 40mm wide with a legible, classic dial, powered by a high-quality Japanese Miyota 9015 automatic movement. The product is very versatile and will look good on the wrists of many different people. The price is also just right.

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It’s a newer one, but I can’t shake the Timex Marlin Automatic from my mind when considering a choice for this list. There were a couple of Seikos that I was considering, but at $250 I’m having a hard time thinking of a better bang for your buck dress watch.

I found the earlier Marlin to be too small for me to actually wear, but at 40mm wide this new Marlin Automatic hits the sweet spot on the wrist. The domed crystal adds some visual diversity from certain angles, which adds a little flair to the otherwise demure dial. When I say demure, I mean handsome and versatile in the best possible way for someone who wants to add a level of maturity to their wardrobe. For someone who is graduating from college, going on job interviews, or is just a watch enthusiast in training, there is not much better you can do for $250.


With fellow team members having highlighted pretty much all dress watches I’d consider in this price range, I was forced to think a bit outside of the box. I chose the Klokers Klok-01 with this midnight blue dial because although it isn’t dressy, it nevertheless is an elegant watch – with elegance radiating from its round, pod-like, minimalist case, its busy, but legible, “midnight blue” dial and neat, high-quality strap options. Sure, this watch is bound to tell more about you than those decidedly restrained pieces featured elsewhere in this article – but on a black strap, with just a bit of this dial poking out from under a jacket’s sleeve, I genuinely believe this would make for a neat formal wear – especially if you’re a doctor or engineer.

The lugless, 44mm case wears smaller than that figure would suggest, and at just 11.5mm thick, there’s no reason why this piece couldn’t stay comfortably under a tighter sleeve… And with that Ronda quartz movement ticking inside, you won’t be late or have to constantly reset your probably less frequently worn formal watch option either. Price for the Klokers Klok-01 with this dial is $575.

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