Analog:Shift Watches Under $1,000

Analog:Shift Watches Under $1,000

| 06.20.24

Whether you’re just starting out on your collecting journey or you prefer to keep yourself on a strict budget, there are plenty of interesting watches available in the sub-$1K price category. Some are quartz-powered while others are mechanical — all are cool and fun.

Which brings us to an important point: What makes a watch exciting isn’t its price. (Well, it can be, especially if said price is so high as to elicit your curiosity — but our point is that price alone is rarely indicative of the degree to which a watch is compelling.) Rather, it’s a watch's aesthetics, its construction, its movement, its history, or some combination of all of these factors that generally moves the needle. These are the things that make a collector’s heart flutter and their eyes water.

To that end, here are a few of our favorite sub-$1K wonders from the current A:S inventory, from a 007-themed, battery-powered SWATCH to a solar-charging Seiko travel watch to a hand-wound, vintage-inspired field watch…and much more. (There’s even an incredible piece conceived of by renowned fashion designer Pierre Cardin and housed in a wild ‘UFO’ case. Pretty neat — especially for the money!) Be sure to check back with us frequently to see what’s kicking in the sub-$1K category, and as always, feel free to reach out if there’s something specific you’re looking for. 

SWATCH License To Kill 2020 James Bond Collection ($350) 

SWATCH License To Kill 2020 James Bond Collection - IN THE SHOP

Part of a series introduced in 2020, this 007-themed, 34mm plastic SWATCH takes inspiration from 1989’s License To Kill and includes a rubber strap with a stylized sunset, palm trees, and an iguana-skin motif. It also comes with its box and papers, making it perfect for collectors. 

Seiko Astron GPS ($550)

Seiko Astron GPS - IN THE SHOP

If convenience is what you crave, you couldn’t do much better than this Seiko Astron GPS. Its movement, which is solar-powered, updates the local time zone depending on where you are in the world — meaning this is the perfect watch for the highly mobile, modern traveler.

Pierre Cardin Espace ($700) 

Pierre Cardin Escape - IN THE SHOP

Italian-born French dressmaker Pierre Cardin was an adaptable designer who mastered haute couture, ready-to-wear, and even watches. This Espace, housed in a 42mm stainless steel ‘UFO’ case and powered by a mechanical movement, is a beautiful example of ‘70s horology.

Hamilton Khaki Field 'Brookstone' ($750)

Hamilton Khaki Field 'Brookstone' - IN THE SHOP

An extension of Hamilton’s military watch production for U.S. forces, this ‘Khaki’ field watch was sold under various U.S. retailers in the 1980s — in this case, by Brookstone. Hand-wound and measuring 34mm, it’s a mil-spec piece in all but name. (Try and collect ‘em all!) 

Vulcain Steel Dress Watch ($850)

Vulcain Steel Dress Watch - IN THE SHOP

While you may best know this Swiss brand for its Cricket alarm watch, Vulcain made plenty of other interesting models — including this slim, hand-wound dress watch with a silver dial, applied indices, and a ‘dauphine’ handset. Use it to accessorize a more formal look.

Tissot Seastar ($850)

Tissot Seastar - IN THE SHOP

Handsome as this sector-dial Tissot Seastar is, the most exciting thing about it has to be its jangly, matching stainless steel multi-link bracelet. Slide it over your wrist, and this silver-dialed beauty will instantly transport you back to a more civilized era in horological design. 

Elvia Automatic Diver ($895)

Elvia Automatic Diver - IN THE SHOP

The 1970s saw all manner of wild and funky tool watches produced by brands big and small. Take this Elvia, for example: Housed in a 41.5mm steel cushion case, its deep blue dial, applied indices, useful date function, and automatic movement provide tons of sub-$1K value. 

Mirexal Superautomatic ($895)

Mirexal Superautomatic - IN THE SHOP

Similar to the Elvia mentioned above, this diver uses a contract cushion case and an automatic Swiss movement. However, its orange-tinged handset provides a welcome pop of color, and its rotating, unidirectional steel bezel was a rarity in 1970s dive watch design.

Seiko Prospex 1965 Mechanical Diver's Modern Re-Interpretation Black Series Limited Edition ($950)

Seiko Prospex 1965 Mechanical Diver's Modern Re-Interpretation Black Series Limited Edition - IN THE SHOP

A modern update of the venerable 62MAS diver from 1965, this entry in the Prospex line combines a blacked-out 40.5mm stainless steel case with a handsome black dial, a unidirectional dive bezel, an automatic movement, and a cool rubber strap.