There’s a wonderful anecdote in A Man And His Watch, the new book from Style Council member Mr Matthew Hranek. In short, Mr Bill Murray is at The Tower Bar at the Sunset Tower Hotel in Los Angeles, when he notices maitre’d Mr Dimitri Dimitrov’s Baume & Mercier and quickly pronounces it to be “garbage” as it’s difficult to see in the restaurant’s low lighting. Instead, Mr Murray shows off his own watch – an inexpensive Timex, with the brand’s signature light-up Indiglo functionality – which he then, in true Mr Murray fashion, gives to his friend. A short while later, Mr Murray calls Mr Dimitrov in the middle of the night and asks “What time is it?”
There are two takeaways from this story: Mr Bill Murray is an international treasure, and sometimes, it takes a lower-priced watch to do what a five-figure one cannot. This is refreshing if, say, your budget isn’t yet ready for that beautiful rose gold Jaeger-LeCoultre you’ve been eyeing up. Or if, like me, your daily life is marked by grueling physical interactions with your own spawn, and you require a daily wearer that can take the proverbial licking and keep on ticking.
The good news is there’s never been a better time to find a well-made, handsomely designed, and relatively inexpensive watch. Whether you procure one from the minimalists at Mondaine, the preppy stalwarts at Timex, or the military-inspired relative newcomers at Techne Watches, you’ll find a level of craftsmanship and beauty that was previously unthinkable at this cost. Here then, are three watches that, pound for pound, offer unparalleled value and quality.