Best Classic watches

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You'd be forgiven for thinking that winding your watch by hand was a thing of the past. But for watch fans, it can still be a daily ritual. In a hectic and high-tech world, it can be a moment of calm. A simple pleasure before the modern world kicks in for the day.

Here is a list of the best affordable examples - so that you can then make an informed choice when buying your own.


Pilot's watches need to be both legible and tough. The Big Pilot's Watch Top Gun Edition "Mojave Desert" fulfils both briefs. The first of IWC's Big Pilot line to be made in sand-coloured ceramic it comes in a not-for-the-faint-hearted 46mm case, while its insides have been engineered to endure maximum acceleration forces in supersonic jets, such as the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. (It'll work equally well on the bike commute to work, however.) There's also a whopping seven-day power reserve.

Jaeger Le-Coultre

There’s something magical about a chiming wristwatch, doubly so if its made by Jaeger-LeCoultre, whose family of dress watches may be unparalleled. The first Memovox came out in the Fifties, one of the first generation of wristwatches to come with a chiming, vibrating alarm complication. The 2020 version has been slimmed down and tidied up, and (naturally) features a completely new movement. It’s beautifully proportioned, extremely stylish and surprisingly loud. A modern classic, we’re saying.


The S&B Classic Series is a natural crossover watch that makes a statement. The watch face looks pure, but still classic and elegant. Powered by a top-shelf Swiss Quartz movement designed by the renowned Swiss maker Ronda. This innovative watch is constructed from a solid block of 316L stainless steel and was designed to perform in any friendly or hostile situation you may face when on duty.


Available for the first time in a 'Grand Feu' enamel, this peerless dress watch has been rigorously thought-out. To ensure ease of readability, the moon-tipped hands are made of rhodium-plated steel, while the Arabic numerals, stars, diamond shapes and fleur-de-lis on the chapter ring are silvered and larger than normal. A fantastic piece.


Paying tribute to the year it was created, this model is a fair summation of the codes close to Longines's heart: mixing tradition with elegance and performance. The movement can be admired through the transparent caseback. For our money, Longines make some of the coolest, most affordable watches in the business.


The Skin Irony collection launched last year, combining elements from two of Swatch’s best lines: Skin and Irony. At 5.8 mm high, the result was the brand’s slimmest watch, and a great example of a storied brand continuing to evolve. This simple, elegant piece is the perfect wear-anywhere model and has plenty to say about the refined tastes of the wearer, without shouting it from the rooftops.