When shopping for a fine timepiece, people often seek particular attributes, and two of the most popular are “Swiss made” and “In-house movement.” Here are five watches that meet these criteria, and that you can acquire without breaking the bank.
Alpina proudly counts itself among the small group of Swiss watch manufacturers that develops and produces its own calibers. Within this elite circle, the Startimer Pilot Manufacture offers outstanding value. This 44 mm watch lets you enjoy classic good looks, automatic winding and a useful pointer date at 6 o’clock, all powered by the Alpina AL-710 caliber. The suggested retail price for the stainless steel model on a leather strap is a mere $2,595.
If you seek something a bit dressier, Alpina’s sister company, Frédérique, Constant offers the elegant Slimline Manufacture Moonphase. This 42-mm watch features the Frédérique Constant automatic winding caliber FC-705 with 26 jewels and a 42 power reserve. The stainless steel model on a strap lists for $3,695.
JeanRichard, the sister brand of Girard-Perregaux, also joined the manufacture club recently. The sporty-yet-dressy 1681 Ronde Small Seconds is attractive and versatile. This 41-mm watch features the automatic winding caliber JR1050 with small seconds at 6 o’clock and a date display at 3 o’clock. The JeanRichard 1681 Ronde Small Seconds is priced at $5,300.
Some may be surprise to see a Rolex in this group. The watch is the new 36-mm Oyster Perpetual, and it is powered by the Rolex self-winding caliber 3130. This is the only movement in our group that is a COSC-certified chronometer. The movement features other high-end Rolex components, including a free-sprung balance and the patented blue Parachrom balance spring, all protected by the famous Rolex Oyster case. The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is priced at $5,400.
Our final affordable Swiss watch is produced by Zenith, a brand with a proud history as a manufacture. We’ve selected the Captain Elite Central Seconds, a dress watch with a sporty flair that makes it a great all-around timepiece. This 40-mm watch features Zenith’s in-house Elite 670 caliber with automatic winding and a date display at 6 o’clock. This movement runs at 28,800 vph in 27 jewels with a 50 hour power reserve. The Captain Elite Central Seconds is priced from $5,600.
This article was originally published on September 25, 2014, and has been updated.