6 Value Watch Picks Under 3,000 EUR

By Montredo in Lifestyle
May 13, 2019
6 Value Watch Picks Under 3,000 EUR


Even if a price of 2,000 – 3,000 EUR reflects just the upper part of the entry-level watch segment, it may still sound like a lot of money for a watch. However, it is the price point where we are getting into serious watch stuff like inhouse movements and mechanical complications. (In case you are on the lookout for watch at a significantly lower price point, you will still find interesting options from 2 interesting German watch brands on this list.) Here are 6 value watch picks under 3,000 Euros, making them the perfect choice for all that appreciate high-end luxury in a watch but don’t necessarily want to spend an arm and a leg.

1. Junghans Max Bill Automatik

After some turbulent years, the German brand Junghans is reclaiming its once established prestige and the Junghans Max Bill is the perfect example of a vintage-inspired watch that does best by staying true to its original version. The legacy is carried over to the present with care and respect for the design heritage of the Swiss Bauhaus artist. Today, the Max Bill collection has an unquestionable standing as an ageless design icon, which has its place amidst other mid-modern classics such as the Eames Chair or the pendant light Artichoke. One thing is certain: It has to be the original. One of the many copies in the style of the Swiss Bauhaus-Artist, which only carry the name Max Bill for sales purposes are out of the question. The beauty in this for you is, that, with prices in the three figure Euro bracket it is a highly attractive entry point for a nice looking quality watch. But, as soon as the plan for in-house production enters the picture, the company might also increase their prices for classic models like the ones from the Max Bill collection. Taking into consideration what the Vintage models of this collection go for in the market today, significantly higher prices are to be expected also for new models in the future.

Editor’s Note: In comparison to the Meister collection, whose prices have been climbing significantly over the past few years, the Junghans Max Bill Automatic still remains below the thousand Euro mark. Since most of the Max Bill enthusiasts are primarily drawn to its design, the more economic hand-wound version at a MRP of 625.00 Euro holds a very special appeal. In contrast to the automatic version, the case size of the hand-wound variant remained unchanged since its original release in the early 1960s. For those who don’t want to forego the convenience of a self-winding movement and who consider a diameter of 34 a tad too small, the 38 mm automatic version at a price of 925.00 Euro is still a very attractive alternative.

2. Tudor Grantour

It is not by coincidence that we count the Tudor line of sports watches among our very favorites. It continues the Tudor tradition of manufacturing high end diver and chronograph watches whose origin is unquestionably intertwined with the Rolex name. The overall impression is as harmonious as a sporty watch could possible aim to be and reflects the Oeuvres of Rolex, although, an ETA-movement is used in this particular Tudor Grantour watch. Regardless of whether ETA-based or Tudor inhouse movements are used, they excel in the same characteristics as Rolex calibers like the 3135 have always been known for, namely their robustness and precision. In terms of its design, the Grantour is visibly sportier than Tudor’s Heritage line consisting of models like the Black Bay and the Pelagos. 

Editor’s Note: Unless you see yourself as definitely not being the type, you may want to consider the version with a steel bracelet. Only slightly more expensive, it comes with a strap that is strikingly similar to the Rolex Oyster bracelet. With a case size of 42 mm looks very well-proportioned on pretty much any wrist. However, if you have a particularly slender wrist you might be interested in the Heritage Black Bay offered in 36 and 41. On top of that, the latter version of the Black Bay employs a Tudor inhouse movement.

3. Longines HydroConquest Chronograph Cal. L688

At a price point of less than 2,000 Euro, the HydroConquest Chronograph is a column wheel chronograph of one of the most tradition steeped Swiss Watch manufacturers. With a water tightness of up to 300 meters and a unidirectionally turning bezel, this watch manifests itself as the very definition of a true “diver”. Most chronographs at this price point rely on the popular ETA/Valjoux 7750 movement, but Longines furnishes the L688 caliber in this watch, which qualifies without doubt as a premium movement. Instead of a regular cam switching mechanism it is equipped with an intricate column wheel chronograph. The position of the auxiliary dials at 3, 6 and 9 hours (at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock) further distinguishes the watch from a standard chronograph based on the Valjoux 7750. All in all, you get a lot of watch for your money and this makes it the predestined entry acquisition for all who like sporty watches. (HydroConquest Column Wheel at a sticker price of less than 2,000.00 Euro (Ref. L3.696.4.59.6).) Editor’s Note: If you prefer a ceramic bezel to the PVD coated bezel of the HydroConquest you will find the Conquest Chronograph to be an interesting alternative. The advantage of a ceramic bezel lies in its weathering years of use without barely any signs of use. It employs the same movement as the HydroConquest, namely caliber L688. If you prefer less sporty watches and like the idea of an entry level column wheel chronograph with superb finish, there are also some more elegant models in Longines’ line up. The vintage-inspired Longines Heritage Chronograph runs on the same movements as the models Conquest and HydroConquest and the impressive movement can be admired through sapphire caseback.

4. Frederique Constant Slimline Moon Phase Blue

Slim Line Moonphase Blue, a dress watch by Frederique Constant is reminiscent of the Oeuvres of Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin und Zenith Elite. The main difference is in the price: The Frederique Constant Slim Line with its in-house developed caliber FC-705 lists at a price that is well below 3,000.00 Euro. Especially attractive are its moon phase dial with pointer date and the deep blue face, which evokes the ambience of a clear night sky.

Editor’s Note:Even if we would choose the night blue dial version anytime, for a first dress watch the bright dial may an interesting choice too. If you find a 42-mm diameter slightly too big for an elegant dress watch and you are in the market for a noble dress watch at an attractive price point look to the 40-mm model as your go-to recommendation. It does not sport an inhouse movement nor a moon phase dial, but that is reflected in the significantly lower price.

5. Hanhart Pioneer MonoControl

It is well known that Steve McQueen had a passion for beautiful watches. Occasionally, you also hear the name Hanhart mentioned along with those anecdotes. A Hanhart 417 was in fact, along with the Rolex Submariner 5512, one of Steve McQueen’s favorite watches which he sported frequently, especially in the early years of his career. The MonoControl from the Pioneer collection is very similar in appearance to the Hanhart 417 and recalls the impressive history of this long-standing brand and its history for single button chronographs and aeronautical watches. While the single button models from Hanhart demand quite high prices on the vintage-market today, you can also acquire a new interpretation of the German classic to a very attractive price point. 

Editor’s Note: Single button chronographs, in contrast to their dual button counterparts cannot add two separate timings to an aggregate total. If you need the functionality of a two button chronograph but you like the design of this Hanhart, your pick may be the similarly priced Pioneer Twin Control or the more economical Pioneer MK II.

6. Nomos Club Handaufzug

Even with NOMOS’ significant price increases over the past few years, you will have a hard time finding a watch with an in-house movement at prices just above the thousand Euro mark from competing manufacturers. Since the company strategized towards a wide range of options and price points, the entry models with manual wound movements still present an exceptional value. The stellar leader among them is the Nomos Club with its manually wound Alpha movement and small seconds. 

Editor’s Note:In fact, at this point we could have just as easily cited the Nomos Tangente, Zürich, Ahoi or Tangente. We decided for the basic model without the sapphire glass bottom without date function, because in comparison with its competition it comes at a significantly lower price point. If the 36-mm diameter is too small for your taste and you are willing to invest slightly more, you may find your match in a different Nomos model like this gorgeous Metro seen on the picture.