We're fans of timepieces that cut costs without cutting quality, but today we're feeling a little more luxurious. Not five-digit luxurious, but somewhere in the middle. That's a ceiling that allows plenty of latitude without significant compromises.
Here are a few of our favourite watches under $5000.
Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver
Clocking in at 43mm, the Pontos S Diver from Maurice Lacroix is a hefty piece (as a diver's watch should be). Yet somehow, it manages to successfully cross the divide between dive watch and dress watch without sacrificing credibility on either side.
The dressier aesthetic comes down to an uncluttered dial and the internal bezel, which sits above the dial to create interesting depth. From the functional side of things, readability is good, the Sellita SW200 movement is a solid clone of the ETA 2824-2, and several strap options are available so you can get exactly what you need.
RRP estimate: $3800
Tudor Heritage Black Bay (Blue Bezel)
The follow-up to the massively successful Tudor Heritage Black Bay is this beautiful instrument, a blue-bezelled version known as the ref. 79220B watch. The Heritage Black Bay is a nod to Tudor's dive watches of old, combining the best of several examples from the 20th century into a new timepiece featuring a matte black dial, silver and white metal hands, and a 41mm case.
Strap-wise, you have the choice of an Oyster bracelet or an aged leather strap. The best part is that, because Tudor is Rolex's more affordable little brother, you're getting a well-executed watch for a doable price.
RRP estimate: $3995
Nomos Ahoi Atlantik
If you haven't heard of Glashütte-based Nomos yet, you're forgiven. The German brand has only been around since 1990, a good deal less than many of its ancient competitors, but it has produced some beautiful pieces in that quarter century. The Ahoi Atlantik, younger sibling of the Nomos swimming watch Ahoi, is a recent example.
Designed to be as dark and mysterious as the ocean itself, the Ahoi Atlantik makes expert use of colour with a deep blue dial, gold plated hands and a bright red sub-seconds hand. For a sports watch it's surprisingly minimal, making for a refined-but-casual, wearable design.
RRP estimate: $4200
Breitling Superocean Heritage
Breitling travels back to the 1950s with the Superocean Heritage. Available in two sizes – measuring 46mm and 42mm – the diver's watch calls back to the elegant design of a 20th century classic.
Your options include a black, blue or green unidirectional rotating bezel to match the various dial colors, plus the option of an 18-carat red gold ring. Strap options are a steel mesh bracelet or a perforated sporty rubber strap, equipped with a clasp featuring an adjustable comfort-enhancing extension.
RRP estimate: $4800
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 6 Heritage
The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 6 Heritage does classic elegance brilliantly. It begins with the dial and its stunning traditional flinqué texture. Up next is the seconds counter, which features a sophisticated spiral effect. Finally there are the hands, protruded Arabic numerals, and protruded TAG Heuer logo – all polished to perfection. The combo of blue hands, numerals and alligator strap with a silver dial is also notable.
But it's not just about looks. We're fans of the Swiss-made TAG Heuer Calibre 6 as well.
RRP estimate: $3425
Baume & Mercier Clifton 10112
Baume & Mercier had a very specific audience in mind when they designed the Clifton 10112 (43mm). The watch honours B&M's rich history and directly inspired by a historic Baume & Mercier model dating from the 1950s. Be sure to take a peek at the transparent sapphire crystal case back, through which you can watch the imppeccable self-winding mechanical movement at work. Come with black alligator strap closed by an adjustable triple folding buckle with security push-pieces.
RRP estimate: $3750
Oris Big Crown ProPilot
Oris says: "The Big Crown ProPilot Altimeter has been developed entirely by us to serve as a high-performance instrument for pilots, mountaineers, explorers and research scientists, who work at altitude." Indeed, it has the great distinction of being the world's first automatic mechanical watch with an altimeter. There's also a barometer used to indicate atmospheric pressure.
Oris debuted the Big Crown ProPilot collection earlier in 2014 in continunace of its mission to include useful complications in purpose-built watches for racing, diving and aviation. The sporty, yellow-clad display dial certainly looks the part.
RRP estimate: $4500
Longines Twenty-Four Hours Single Push-Piece Chronograph
For the Twenty-Four Hours Single Push-Piece Chronograph, Longines replicated the lines of one of its pilot watches dating from the 1950s. The diameter of the original model – an imposing 47.5mm – has been reproduced, as well as the dial (available in black or silver) with a 24-hour scale.
That impressive case houses an L789 self-winding mechanical movement. This new column-wheel chronograph calibre, produced exclusively for Longines, is an adaptation of Longines' own single push-piece movement. All that is fitted on a black or brown alligator strap to match the colour of the dial.
RRP estimate: $4800
Bell & Ross BR126 Officer Black
Plenty of brands have jumped on the pilot's chronograph bandwagon, and it's hard to beat Brietling, but Bell & Ross holds up admirably. The brand is best known for its BR 01 instrument line of watches, but the first model produced under the Bell & Ross name was actually a pilot's watch.
The retro-looking BR126 is a classic two-register chronograph that has been available in several guises since 2010, including the Officer Black. In this incarnation, the watch features steel hands against a black sunburst dial and an alligator strap.
RRP estimate: $4700
Bremont Solo/CR Automatic
Inspired by the classic pilot's watches of the 1940s, the Bremont Solo comes in two different dial variants. The CR Automatic is traditionally styled and beautifully simple, with an understated black dial and embossed leather strap.
At the same time, it's also technologically innovative. The case is hardened stainless steel featuring Bremont Trip-Tick® construction with a scratch-resistant, DLC-treated case barrel. Inside you'll find a modified calibre 13 1/4″ BE-36AE automatic chronometer. Every watch case and movement is engraved with its Bremont serial number and is accompanied with its C.O.S.C certification.
RRP estimate: $4269
D'Marge is one of Australia's most popular men's style and fashion blogs.