I have talked about Hamilton watches quite a lot on WYCA over the years because their mid-range price point puts them right in the upper-end of affordable for most people. “Watch people” might spend north of $1,500 on a watch without hesitation, but for most that’s simply a bit too much. $500 or $600, though? That’s more manageable.
Priced on the grey market in the $490 – $525 range, the Sub Auto is an affordable Swiss-made dive watch with an ETA 2824-2 in it. This is my favorite price range to shop in, and so I definitely appreciated a chance to assess the Sub Auto hands-on. Let’s check it out.
The Freelancer collection, released in 2007, is one of their mainstay lineups. With an MSRP just north of $3,000, the Freelancer Chronograph is more expensive than other chrono’s I’ve tested from Swiss brands.
In any case, as always, I was more than happy to get this chronograph around my wrist. Let’s check it out.
The Multifort Day/Date I have here is my first hands-on experience with Mido; it’s also one of the better-looking versions of the Multifort collection (though all of them are attractive). I prefer clean, purposeful design, and the gold/white dial/brown leather combination I have here is well-styled by such definition.
This watch scratches all the right aesthetic itches.
The Slimline Classics is the first Frederique Constant I’ve reviewed on WYCA, and when I received it I was quite excited to get some wrist time. At this price point, Frederique Constant competes directly against brands I’ve gotten plenty of hands-on experience with (Hamilton, Tissot, and Seiko) and I was curious to see how it compared.
The model I have here is among the lease complicated in the collection, featuring a guilloche dial and a date display at 6 o’clock. Other models in the range feature small seconds, moonphase complications, and an assortment of styles. Regular readers know that my style is conservative, and the one I have here is my preferred version.
A common question we get on our Facebook and YouTube channels is “what are the best mechanical/automatic watches under $X”. The $X changes, but the sentiment in the question does not. It’s a good question, too, as there’s never been a broader selection of mechanically-powered watches than what’s available today.
In this list, I’ve called out my favorite automatic or mechanical watches priced under $1,500. A notable caveat: if the watch is an automatic, the movement must be able to be hand-wound like a non-automatic mechanical movement.
The P2/01 is definitely a statement watch, but wow- what a statement it makes! I’ve never seen a watch get people interested in it like this SEVENFRIDAY does. Even if they aren’t “watch people”, almost everyone who sees the P2/01 thinks that it’s good looking. At 47mm it’s among the largest I’ve worn, but I don’t think that’d keep me from buying it. It’s a very cool watch all around.
In my mind, the Tissot T-Complication Squelette sets the standard for how affordable skeleton watches should be done. Its dramatic design and consistent attention to detail create something that captures the interest of anyone – be they a “watch person” or not. More than good looks, it is an example of Swiss watch making at its best. Of all the watches I’ve reviewed to date, this one is my favorite.
The Jazzmaster Regulator is definitely one of the most unique watches you can get for its $1,275 MSRP. Powered by Hamilton’s own H-12 automatic movement, the Regulator comes with the specs you can expect from a four-figure Hamilton: sapphire front/rear crystals, stainless steel all around, an excellent leather strap, and a deployment clasp. I think it’s a great looking watch, too. If you want something mechanical and decidedly different from what most will have in their collection, the Regulator Automatic is worth your consideration.
As a photographer, I’ve failed to truly showcase how attractive the M02 is. Guilloche and steel contrast, drawing your eye toward a finely decorated prize. Yes, it looks better in person than it does in photo, but there’s more to the M02 than looks. It’s heavy, built to last, and uses a high-regrade and retouched ETA movement. Then there’s the tie-in with Armand Nicolet’s other pursuits, and to me, that’s worth the cost of entry on its own.
I’m in love with the Auto Chrono. Of course it’s beautiful, but it’s the fine details Hamilton put into this version of the Jazzmaster, along with the new H21 automatic movement, that created something genuinely brilliant. I can’t think of a single watch that retails for under $2,000 that I’d recommend before the Hamilton Jazzmaster Auto Chrono.