5 Watches Under $5,000 From Tudor, Montblanc, TAG Heuer, Baume & Mercier, And Oris
Everyone in the industry seems to agree that Watches and Wonders 2022 was a resounding success. After two years in digital format, it was a celebration of both meeting again in person and exploring the latest innovations, both of which watch enthusiasts and professionals enjoyed to the fullest.
With sophisticated complications in entirely new models and tasteful variations of existing ones, the luxury manufacturers present at the fair pulled out all the stops. There was also a plethora of reasonably priced watches to discover at what is now the largest horological event. Here are five releases below the $5,000 mark that caught my eye from the fair: a very modern pilot’s watch with a notably high power reserve from Oris, two diver’s watches that combine functionality with good looks from TAG Heuer and Montblanc, an all-new Tudor GMT watch with sporty appeal, and a gorgeous dress watch from Baume & Mercier.
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Orange Diver: eye-catching and limited
Many watch aficionados love good diver’s watches (even if they don’t dive) because they are resilient, functional, and exude a sporty style. In recreational and casual settings you can’t go wrong with this watch type, and some have no problem even pairing a diver’s watch with a suit. For such enthusiasts, there is generally just one kind of watch that tops a diver’s watch: a vintage-inspired diver’s watch. And if it happens to be a limited edition, they are on cloud nine.
So the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Orange Diver that resurfaced at this year’s Watches and Wonders certainly attracted a lot of attention. Inspired by a historic model from 1979, the 43 mm stainless steel addition to the Aquaracer Professional 300 collection introduced last year boasts a bright orange dial with bold indexes, markers, and hands providing maximum contrast and high legibility in the dark blue depths.
While the minute and second hands emit a powerful blue hue in the dark, the markers and indexes are a radiant light green. And there is a magnified date aperture at 6 o’clock with its lens integrated into the underside of the sapphire crystal so that the surface remains smooth.
The bold appeal of the Aquaracer Professional 300 Orange Diver is highlighted by the 12-sided unidirectional rotating bezel with scratch-resistant black ceramic inlay and the sturdy three-link steel bracelet that includes an extension system that allows the wearer to adjust the length up to 1.5 cm.
For more information, please visit www.tagheuer.com/us/en/timepieces/collections/tag-heuer-aquaracer/43-mm-calibre-5-automatic.
Quick Facts TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 Orange Diver
Case: 43 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber 5 (base ETA 2824-2), 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency, 38-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Limitation: 300 pieces
Tudor Black Bay Pro: a stylish and robust travel companion
Probably one of the most popular launches from Rolex’s sibling company this year is an all-new GMT sports watch: the Black Bay Pro. Despite its moderate and very wearable diameter of 39 mm, it portrays the unique 1960s retro tool watch design that fans love, offers water resistance of 200 meters, has an awesome domed matte black dial, and a useful “flieger” GMT function.
When traveling, the angular yellow “Snowflake” 24-hour hand displays home time in concert with the hour indexes engraved on the fixed stainless-steel bezel. The local time is indicated by the shorter “Snowflake” hand set in increments of an hour, which can be easily adjusted both backward and forward. The date indication at 3 o’clock is coupled with the local time.
It is powered by manufacture Caliber MT5652 with a built-in GMT function specifically developed for the Black Bay Pro. Rather than adding a module, the brand explains that the base caliber’s architecture allows for the technical integration of the complication. And it offers a “weekend-proof” power reserve of 70 hours.
While you don’t need to, you are unlely to want to take the Black Bay Pro off over the weekend anyway.
For more information, please visit www.tudorwatch.com/en/watch-family/black-bay-pro.
Quick Facts Tudor Black Bay Pro
Case: 39 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber MT5652, officially C.O.S.C. certified chronometer-certified, 70-hour power reserve, variable inertia balance, silicon balance spring, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, second time zone
Price: $3,675 / CHF 3,800
Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date: a distinguished diver
The Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date was one of the biggest surprises at Watches and Wonders 2022 as the first diver’s watch from Montblanc. While the Richemont-owned brand is known for sporty timepieces such as the magnificent vintage-style chronographs continuing the Minerva legacy in modern times and the sophisticated TimeWalker chronographs, deep waters had not yet been explored by Montblanc.
The 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date is both a premiere for the brand and marks a refreshing take on the genre, reminiscent of glacial Alpine lakes rather than the high seas.
To express the connection to Europe’s highest mountain, the one that lends its name to the brand, Montblanc revived a rare handcraft technique called gratté boisé in which a special wood is used to “scrape” the surface of the dial. Carefully executed, the result evokes the impression of an icy surface covering an eternally frozen lake, with different layers and textures reminiscent of ice crystals and formations.
While the majestic Mont Blanc mountain inspired the blue variation of this watch, other cold regions have influenced the coloring of the other two dial executions: the green colorway was inspired by Antarctic regions in which microscopic snow algae blossoms create a greenish hue. And black occurs in nature when there is a complete absence of inclusions or air bubbles in ice so that it absorbs rather than reflects light, appearing almost black.
With their unique frosty looks, these three colors build an unusual and quite stunning stage for the eight rhodium-plated index markers and three Arabic numerals at 6, 9, and 12 o’clock. Thanks to their luminescent coating, the markers emit a gorgeous glacier blue at night and stand out clearly during the day, crucial for a diver’s watch conforming to the international ISO 6425 standard. Its 41 mm stainless steel case is water-resistant to 300 meters (1,000 feet) and equipped with a unidirectional rotating bezel.
For more information, please visit www.montblanc.com/en-us/wrist-watches.
Quick Facts Montblanc 1858 Iced Sea Automatic Date
Case: 41 x 12.9 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber MB 24.17 (Sellita SW200 base), 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 38-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Price: $3,190 / €2,950
Baume & Mercier Hampton 10762: a modern classic
Born in the early half of the twentieth century, the elegantly shaped watches of Baume & Mercier’s Hampton collection are all about Art Deco. At Watches and Wonders 2022, the Geneva-based brand introduced some particularly refined additions equipped with cool mesh bracelets.
Machining long strands of steel into a skillful weave down to a soldered joint, milanaise is an expert Italian technique that dates to the seventeenth century. However, it was during the 1950s that the mesh bracelet made its entrance into the world of watches.
The filigree pattern in matte gloss perfectly matches the dress-watch appeal of this three-handed Hampton timepiece, which is delightful with its refined, no-frills opaline, finely grained silver dial. The dial makes for a magnificent background for the two riveted Arabic numerals, ten extended indexes, and “glaive” hands that sweep along the black-and-gray minute track.
The case back is similarly striking with a spherical display window exhibiting an ETA 2671 movement with its specific decorations and finishing attributes. In contrast to the front, these display round details such as circular-grained bridges, a snailed base plate, and Geneva Waves on the oscillating weight.
For more information, please visit www.baume-et-mercier.com/us/en/collections/hampton-men/watch-hampton-10672.
Quick Facts Baume & Mercier Hampton 10762
Case: 43 x 27.5 x 9.95 mm, stainless steel
Movement: automatic Caliber ETA 2671, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency, 38-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds
Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400
A compilation of cool, affordable premieres at the world’s foremost watch fair would not be comprehensive without a pilot’s watch. As friends of this genre are aware, Oris has great prowess in this area going back decades. A milestone in its history was marked by the Big Crown ProPilot X Calibre 115, a technical-looking skeleton watch with manual winding, a ten-day power reserve, subsidiary seconds, and a power reserve display introduced three years ago.
The new ProPilot X Calibre 400 that touched down at Watches and Wonders 2022 has the same distinctive angular design of the case and bracelet but is equipped with a “regular” dial in blue, gray, and salmon hues. All three feature a slightly granular texture and elongated indices, which lend them a decidedly modern and casual look that is further highlighted by the knurled bezel.
The airborne trio is powered by automatic Caliber 400, which comes to life through the exhibition case back. Developed and produced in house, its main specifications are quite convincing: a chronometric precision rate of -3/+5 seconds a day, a five-day power reserve, and up to a 10-year warranty.
If you’re still not convinced, you might be swayed by the case material, which is light and robust titanium, and its goldilocks size of 39 mm.
For more information, please visit www.oris.ch/en/collection/big-crown-propilot.
Quick Facts Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400
Case: 39 mm, titanium
Movement: automatic Caliber 400, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency, 120-hour power reserve, silicon escape wheel and pallet fork
Functions: hours, minutes, (hacking) seconds; date
Price: CHF 3,900 / $4,300
*This article was first published 25 May 2022 at Five Watches Under $5,000: Some Of The Best-Priced Pieces From Watches And Wonders 2022 From Tudor, Montblanc, TAG Heuer, Baume & Mercier, And Oris
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One thing I find fascinating about watches is the intricate mechanics and engineering behind them. It’s amazing how a tiny, intricate movement can power a timepiece for years. And the fact that some watchmakers can create watches with hundreds of tiny moving parts that work seamlessly together is truly a testament to human ingenuity and craftsmanship.