And yes, while smartphones may be all and good — a modern day working essential that also just so happens to conveniently keep time — the sheer omnipresence of glaring screens alone should not discount the fact that the humble and discerning wristwatch will eternally function as a cultivated staple within the wardrobe of the sartorially-inclined modern gentleman.
With that in mind, here are 6 of the best (often direct-to-consumer) middle-tier luxury watch makers on the planet at this moment; those whose timepieces are nearly as polished and sophisticated as the likes Rolex or Hublot, albeit at an economically sensible price point. And first on the stylish docket we have…
“A watch that can flip your style with a simple change whilst ably functioning as a classic centrepiece that suits your lifestyle”.
That was the design principle put in place that drove the creative fancy of the two Swedish gentlemen who formed this unique U.K. watch brand in 2013.
Designed to make an immediate impression, each Birline watch functions as a stylish statement of character intent that is ably carried forth by an elegant ultra thin 6mm case and sleek 40mm face that comes available in either a warm rose gold or an icy classic silver. And yet, it is not any of those components in which sets a Birline watch apart from its competitive counterparts. On the contrary, it is rather that of its uniquely crowning and definitive element: It's iconic Harris Tweed strap.
Undeniably British in cultural heritage, gentlemanly dignified beyond sensible monetary measure, and famed for the longevity of its source material, Birline’s contemporary — Harris tweed accentuated — timepieces seemingly have one-foot in the cultivated opulence of the days-of-yore and one in the fashionably sartorial present.
Sensibly practical, peerlessly reliability, and charmingly stylish, Birline timepieces are the horological equivalent of a jack-of-all trades utility player (athlete).
"The Preppy Masters of Effortless Refinement"
Daniel Wellington is the contemporary pioneer of the financially accessible, direct-to-consumer luxury-calibre watch industry.
Definitively classic and minimalistic in its basic Scandinavian design, with an evident touch of (formative) militaristic ethos seen in its now famous NATO straps, DW watches truly have a wide-ranging appeal that is as charmingly intriguing as is the brands fanciful tale of origin (read up on it here).
Often regarded as the undisputed champion of preppy, understated elegance, DW became famous for its aforementioned classically designed, thin and round military inspired NATO-straped timepieces that — in a few scant years — have garnered a near legendary status and steadfast following of enthusiastic admirers within both the fashion and blogging communities alike.
Suitably versatile for every (and any) occasion — be it a black-tie soiree, a game of tennis, or simply relaxing upon a beach — every DW watch arrives with an interchangeable strap that creatively renders it as being a timepiece that will take you anywhere, from day to night and throughout the weekend.
Visually striking and elegantly minimalist, their timepieces have become modern classics that deliver that understated, nonchalant look of effortless style that is highly sought after by many a man.
"The New Era of Transparent Luxe Watchmaking"
Brathwait prides itself on “creating iconic wristwatches dedicated to the world’s first gentleman, Richard Brathwait.” Unwilling to besmirch his good name, the brand is driven by a core policy of providing “genuine quality at a great price, as a true gentleman might go about it.”
Uncompromising in their pursuit of faultless end-product quality, yet always cutting costs, one would think their watches would suffer as a result…but they would be gravely mistaken. For you see, Brathwait’s approach to radical production transparency — they are essentially the Everlane of watch brands — offers up detailed industry insight into the “true” cost of every step of the production process so as to best educate its customers on the otherwise (luxury) industry-wide policy of excessive retail price markup, sparing no details in the process. With Brathwait, you will know precisely what you are paying for, why, and whether or not you want to make an informed purchase at the end of the day.
With watches manufactured in the same factories — constructed using the same materials — as those retailing for $500-$3000, but with prices starting as low as $150 (available to be paid back in monthly instalments as well if need be), it is easy to see the draw this brand has on many.
Strictly minimalist in design and style, Braithwaite’s timepieces have garnered praise from every corner of the globe and from both industry stalwarts and common consumers alike as both their website — which displays thousands of perfect reviews — and strong social media presence and engagement can attest to the fact.
Their take on modern horological wrist wear is decidedly minimalist, classic, and seething with pared-back nonchalant class; their approach to marketing fresh and honest. With a Braithwait timepiece you are not only investing in peerless quality (in comparison to watches within its competitor bracket) but also a new era of refreshing brand integrity.
Truly a luxury quality watch (and brand) that punches well above its pricing class.
"Keep it comfortable, minimal and classy".
ARVO's idea of style is classically driven and simple, which is why — from a design perspective — this up-and-coming brands (which hails from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A.) watches will never go out of style. Tack on to that enticing proposition a formatively commendable brand philosophy that entails adhering to a heightened social responsibility — they donate no less then 10% from every sale to a wide variance of charitable organizations — and buy-in pricing that often has many doing a double-take (being the most financially accessible brand in this feature) and what you have is a surefire winner with a sensible heart of stylish gold.
Definitively smart, fashionably sleek, and commendably philanthropic, ARVO watches check off all the requisite (and not so requisite) style boxes.
And while their slogan may read as “Be good, Do good!”, one could honestly add a "Look Good" component that is creatively backed by a collection of watches that simply go with everything.
“Classic design, quality construction, and styled minimalism.”
That is how GQ (magazine) described the horological pieces offered up by MVMT (pronounced “movement”).
The creative byproduct of two friends who dropped out of college to establish the brand in 2013, MVMT timepieces are an amalgamation of classic styles teamed with modern designs. Which means that whether you fancy a watch that adds class to your look or a sporty, casually-inclined piece for your days off, MVMT will surely have something that will appeal to nearly every sort of gentleman out there — from the streetwear enthusiast to the style-conscious professional.
From bold chronographs to sleek slimline classics with fully interchangeable straps, MVMT is the most avant-garde and fashionably forward of the brands featured within this post.
"Build it simple, beautiful, and fair."
Timeless designs — both classic and nautical in their respective heritage —with clean modern lines, all Leonard & Church watches come tailor-made with a luxe (scratch-resistant) sapphire crystal lens, reliably renowned quartz movement systems (either Japanese Miyota or Swiss Rhonda), an authentic genuine leather strap (source from South America), and a 10-year guaranteed promise of quality.
Moreover, the brand has formed a grassroots working partnership with some of the most highly regarded watch manufacturers world-round; those who actively build timepieces for the likes of both L&C as well as some of the worlds leading luxury brand companies (which retail theirs for between $600-$1000) using identically sourced materials and components. The byproduct: truly luxurious watches at an almost criminal monetary entry point.
Touted as the $95 watch set to win over the luxury market (Fast Company), Leonard & Church timepieces have slowly gained traction and recognition as being one of the most revered and sought after middle-tier luxury watch brands by both fashion insiders and those on the industry fringes alike.
Sleek, sophisticatedly understated, and seething with an easy going, magnetic charm, these watches are often the pick of the lot for good reason: they provide the highest form of luxury for the lowest possible price (ie. the R.O.I.is astronomical)
Modern horology. For many its practice boils down to peering at a smartphone or tablet for a reflective glare denoting the time of day, but for the style-conscious gent its field presents an opportunity to characteristically distinguish himself from that sheepish crowd…which is precisely why a watch is a timeless staple — and nonnegotiable component — accessory in his wardrobe.
And while many a gent fancies of one day owning an iconically luxurious piece like a Rolex, Hublot, or Patek Philippe, for most that dream will simply never materialize.
But, that does not mean he cannot own a timepiece of impeachable quality, a watch that not only looks like but also features identical components and performs the same function as its status driven luxury cousins albeit without the overly exorbitant price that is — quite honesty — difficult to quantify.
It is for him who I've ventured to curating this list of sensible alternatives for; a grouping of quality brands that have managed to streamline the production process — cutting out the middle man and being radically transparent about the "true cost" of their products — in due course of presenting appealing, quality ensconced watches at accessible price entry points.
TSOVET SVT-LS47 ($250); TSOVET JVT-TV35 ($250); Mondaine Simply Elegant ($240); SKAGEN Hagen ($185); SKAGEN Rungsted ($185); SKAGEN Grenen ($155)
Collectively, these brands have made it possible for one-and-all to indulge in the lap of a little luxury without needing to inauspiciously leverage their home as collateral or to strike the lottery.
Did I miss your favourite brand? If so, who would you add to this list?
Chime in below with your stylish two-cents…
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