The Best Watches Under £5,000

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The Best Watches Under £5,000

Words by Mr Chris Hall

7 June 2023

When it comes to buying luxury watches, it has to be said that the sky’s the limit. It might seem crazy to some, but there is almost no upper boundary to what one can spend on a watch. Pursuing extreme rarity, exotic materials and any level of customisation will lead you to a six or seven-figure price tag at several brands. But, importantly for the majority of us, you can buy a great many of the best-known, most admired and most respected watch designs for less than £5,000. Hardly small change, we know, but any one of these would last you for life and serve you well – although we make no apologies if they turn out to be just the first step on your path to full-blown watch addiction.

At this price bracket, a gold watch is still tantalisingly out of reach, as are some brands such as Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget or the vast majority of Panerai’s collection. For that, you’ve got our guide to the best watches under £10,000. Similarly, if you’re making your first watch purchase, you might want to check out our guide to starter watches – at a range of budgets – or our list of the best watches under £3,000. Here, though, are MR PORTER’s top eight watches for less than £5,000, a sweet spot for high-quality mechanics, timeless design and world-class brand names.


IWC Schaffhausen Pilot’s Automatic

It would be hard to justify leaving IWC Schaffhausen’s entry-level Pilot’s watch off a list like this – the word “iconic” gets bandied about too freely, yet being a direct descendant of the archetypal WWII aviation watch and, therefore, the custodian of one of watchmaking’s most fundamental designs does rather make it something of an icon. These days, myriad editions exist, should you fancy blue, brown, black dials, bronze, ceramic or steel cases; the Spitfire is our personal favourite.


Panerai Luminor Base Logo

Only by looking at the simplest version of Panerai’s famous Luminor can you find one for under £5,000, but don’t let that deter you. There’s a lot to be said for buying the distilled, essential version of an icon after all: this hand-wound “base logo” 44mm Luminor in stainless steel has all the Panerai DNA and design for less. The classic “sandwich” dial is present and correct, uncluttered by date windows, additional functions or even a seconds hand.


Montblanc Heritage Monopusher

Most of the watches on this list are sporty characters, but the best pick from Montblanc at this price is resolutely refined. The bezel-free case, delicate mix of textures across the salmon-pink dial and knife-sharp hands all take their stylistic cues from the 1940s and 1950s, an age of bygone formality that today makes it a perfect choice for anyone wanting to look smart and still enjoy the elegant practicality of the single-button chrono.


Hermès Timepieces H08

It’s hard to believe that Hermès has only been seriously committed to making men’s watches since the 2010s, and that it considers the H08 its first “proper” luxury sports watch, such is the confidence with which it arrived in early 2021. The titanium case, compass-style seconds hand and practical navy blue fabric strap combine to deliver a compelling alternative to the mainstream. The movement is also graced with a more interesting level of finishing than usual for this budget, too.


Bremont MB Savanna

For us, the MB Savanna by Bremont earns its place on the list by virtue of its clean, confident design and the dose of character brought by the desert-spec colour scheme, which contrasts nicely with the anodised aluminium case-band insert. Plus, we love a watch with a story, and the only watch developed specifically to withstand the rigours of ejecting from a fighter jet is certainly that.


Bell & Ross BR05 GMT

Launched in 2019, the BR05 brought a cosmopolitan touch to Bell & Ross’ staple diet of military-inspired timepieces. It has flourished into a range with character and style, and is at its best in this dual time zone model, which brings additional functionality without compromising on the BR05’s clear and legible template, using the inner bezel for a 24-hour ring that doesn’t intrude on the main dial space. At 41mm across, it’s a whisper larger than the standard BR05, but a millimetre smaller than its chronograph sibling.


Oris ProPilot X

Arguably one of the sensations of 2022 – at any price – was the redesign of Oris’ techy, titanium-cased ProPilot X. Indeed, turning it into a medium-sized, trend-leading slice of summer fun was significant enough that we wrote an entire story about it. This watch boasts Oris’ in-house movement with a five-day power reserve, weighs next to nothing and has 100m water resistance.


NOMOS Glashütte Club Sport Neomatik

With a 42mm stainless-steel case, dive-watch worthy 300m water resistance, and most of all, a chunky steel bracelet, this is a long way from what we’ve come to expect from NOMOS, the brand best known for its slimline, Bauhaus-inspired everyday watches. But we welcome it: now you can have something that comfortably goes toe-to-toe with Switzerland’s biggest names and retains that unique sense of style and design.