About a month ago, we posted about 3 watches below the $1000 price tag. This time, we’ll pick three watches for you in the $1000-$2000 price range. Easy, you say? Well, we tend to disagree. The available number of serious timepieces in this category is way higher than in the $1000 + range.
The watches of our choice should comply to the following rules (to narrow down the list of possible options):
1. It should be a well-known/respected brand
2. A mechanical movement (Swiss/German origin)
3. No plastic parts on the outside (excludes Swatch)
4. Stainless steel case and a leather strap
5. Sapphire crystal
6. NEW! (= excluding vintage) However, we don’t care for list prices. Do you?
Quite a list of requirements, but $2000 is a lot of money for most people, so we want to get the best out there for your cash. Before we started our investigation, we hoped that $2K would bring us an in-house mechanical movement that would really set the watch apart from the ETA crowd in this price range. However, most watch manufacturers that use in-house movements are in a higher price range. Seiko, with their recently invented Spring Drive movements are way out of our budget of $2K. It is also not an entirely mechanical movement, but perhaps we would use our ‘Joker’ card to play this game and vote for a Seiko in this list anyway. Sadly, we didn’t find a Seiko Spring Drive for this money. Not even as an occasion. There are a number of other mechanical Seiko watches, but these are in the lower price range. So, unfortunately for all you Japanese/Seiko fans out there, it is not going to happen this time. But keep an eye on this Wednesday Watch section.
What we did find, was quite stunning though! We actually found two interesting watches with in-house movements, and selected one nice watch with an ETA movement.
First, we selected the Nomos Club Automat with its in-house mechanical automatic movement. Our problem with Nomos in the past was the size of the watch, but the Nomos Club with it’s 40mm in diameter and nearly 10mm in height is spot-on for us. This watch manufacturer from Glashütte / Germany is a relative young brand but can rely on quite a large group of watch passionatas. Their range of in-house movements made it even more interesting! The movement by the name of Epsilon is a 31mm diameter movement, with a height of only 4,3 mm. This watch is lists for $1860 and the optional transparent case back would bring this amount just over 2K, so we won’t mention this 🙂
Buying a Nomos, is buying a bit of Glashütte watchmaking history in our view. Think Glashütte Original or Lange & Sohne for example, timepieces that easily adds another zero or two to the list price of a Nomos. As the well respected German watch magazine “Uhren-Magazine” described it in one of their issues, a Nomos watch is ‘An affair of the heart’. Well put.
Next up is Zenith. If you are new to the world of mechanical watches, you might only know Zenith for the crap they have made under the dictatorship of CEO Thierry Nataf. This guy almost single handedly ruined a wonderful watch brand (founded in 1865) in just a few years time by creating horrible looking watches that just scared us here at MotoringExposure. One of the Zenith timepieces that withstood this era of damage is the Zenith Class Elite. Elite refers to the in-house mechanical movement, caliber 650. This Zenith has a modest diameter of 37mm and a height of 7mm, and is therefor the smallest watch of the pack. This classic looking timepiece is in the collection for years now (although the current collection only has the automatic version, caliber 680), and available in either a plain black or silver dial. This is probably one of the cheapest Zenith timepieces available, but nevertheless a very interesting and highly recommended timepiece. At least you keep the original Zenith spirit alive when wearing this watch on your wrists.
The price tag on this BNIB Zenith is exactly $2000.- We found the exact same watch for a few more dollars at other dealers, but $2K is possible! The automatic version of the current Zenith Class collection might be a bit harder to find for these prices.
After two timepieces with an in-house movement, the third and also last watch we are going to mention has an ETA-based movement. Since Baume & Mercier isn’t really fond of telling us what’s really ticking inside, a bit of research tell us it is an ETA 2824-2 movement. We always wonder why brands are being mysterious about this, since ETA isn’t a movement brand you should be ashamed of. Baume & Mercier (founded in 1830) isn’t alone in this type of behaviour, so we won’t include this in our final judgement of our watch of choice. Baume & Mercier has this range of watches called Classima Executives. For $1721.-, we found this very classy looking Baume & Mercier Classima Executives XL, where XL refers to the case diameter of 42mm. Quite large for a dress watch, but this way, we at least cover the whole acceptable range of 37mm – 42mm. 🙂
What’s there to tell about this modern dress watch? We are attracted to it because of just that, a modern dress watch. Some of the round classic looking dress watches out there might give you the feeling that you are walking around with your grandfather’s wrist watch, this Baume & Mercier will certainly do not. The nice black dial, the combination of stick markers and roman numerals and the white printing of the brand’s name and the minuterie (minute makers) keep the watch young and still classy. The brown alligator strap and the B&M marked folding clasp make the watch really stand out of the crowd.
So, what do we have?
– Zenith Class Elite HW (Hand Wound), brand new in box
– Nomos Club Automat
– Baume & Mercier Classima Executives XL
If we had to pick just one, the MotoringExposure team is all for the Nomos Club Automat. Combining classic German watchmaking from Glashütte with a fresh looking designed 40mm case and dial. Don’t get us wrong, the other two watches are great buys as well and to each his (or her) own, but we love in-house movements and we love fresh and creative spirits. Nomos it is!