Deciding you want a good quality luxury watch can strand you in a confusing sea of pricey timepieces. As the price increases, the value becomes much harder to quantify. The fact is, $5000 is entry-level. And as with most products, entry-level is the largest and most varied area of the market. You want a watch you’ll love. You also want to be able to pass down (or not, we’re not here to judge). But, you need to know exactly how to gauge a watch’s value and quality in order to make sure you’re getting the best option possible.
Good news is, you can get a watch from a respected brand without the hefty price tag. And we’ve got you covered with a selection of the best watches under $5,000.
It’s called a classic for a reason. The Rolex Datejust trumps the common wisdom that high-caliber timepieces are out-of-reach for most of us. For under $5,000, you can get a nice watch in stainless steel, gold, or two-tone. Add to that a ton of dial options, and you’re set. It’s a watch for those who appreciate the finer things, with a firm grounding in life’s wear-and-tear nature. Featuring a 36mm case and automatic movement in a casual-style piece, the Rolex Datejust is a great-value watch for under $5000.
Breitling released the original Chronomat 1941. As one of Breitling’s flagship models, the Chronomat proved itself through its decorated service history and consistently steady commercial demand. Common features? Stainless steel construction, that iconic rider tab bezel, larger case size, chronograph function, and a balanced dial design. Clocking in at around $3,600, the Breitling Chronomat punches well above its price range and sits comfortably within a $5,000 budget.
The OMEGA Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is an incredibly proven timepiece—an understatement for the first watch on the moon. It’s a no-nonsense watch in stainless steel with an easy-to-read chronograph on a black dial. Plus, the Speedmaster employs a manual-winding movement inside a modern-sized 42mm case. It clocks in at around $4,000, making it one of the best options for a watch under $5,000 around.
A much more modern-looking, minimalist entry into this collection, the IWC Portofino is a sharp timepiece. IWC has long been a stalwart presence in the sports watch world. The Portofino, it’s entry-level, stainless steel offering, employs an automatic movement and 40mm case size, making it a highly functional, highly elegant watch under the $5,000 mark.
TAG Heuer Carrera
The Carrera launched in 1964 and quickly became one of the most famous sports chronographs in watch history. TAG Heuer has given it a few updates since then. The modern Carrera Chronograph in its 40mm+ case is a worthy heir to the legacy started by the original—stainless steel case, tachymeter bezel, and a variety of dial layouts. You can swing your own TAG Heuer Carrera for around $3,500, and it’s easily one of the best men’s watches available under $5,000. (Read: The 7 Best Chronographs for the Money)
Bell & Ross Vintage
Don’t let its lack of name recognition undersell it—the Bell & Ross Vintage is a serious watch contender for under $5,000. The Bell & Ross Vintage collection features all of the Swiss/French watchmaker’s design hallmarks: optimal water resistance, precision Swiss mechanical movements, and clear visual indicators. Through this, it demonstrates its roots in aviation instruments and cements its potential for sporting environments. Coming in at around $3,500, the Vintage is serious value for the money.
Panerai Luminor Marina
There’s just something about a Panerai. Initially conceived and used for military purposes, those very origins live on in the Luminor’s sheer functionality and usability under any circumstances. The Luminor Marina is one of the base-level options in the Luminor line, featuring a small seconds indicator and occasionally a date window at the 3 o’clock position. Key features also include the signature black dial, 4omm case size, and a fantastically intuitive and performance-focused design. This hardiness, combined with its modern elegance, makes the Panerai Luminor Marina a very tempting and high-value watch.
There are a lot of good-quality, classic watches out there under the $5000 limit. But the fact is, when you’re spending this kind of money, you need to be making an informed decision. Remember, this is potentially the watch you’re going to wear for a while. If you do your research, you can get a really nice watch for under $5,000.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on June 28, 2016. We have updated it to include better watches.