Don’t Miss This: Our team debates the best watches from $10K-$15K USDZach Blass
We’ve debated some of the best watches under $1,000 USD, from $1,000 – $3,000 USD, from $3000 – $5000 USD, from $5000 – $7,000 USD, and from $7,000 – $10,000 USD. Today, in our next installment of the Don’t Miss This series, we are stepping up the increment again – tackling some of the best watches from $10K-$15K USD. To recap: the mission of this series boils down to each team member nominating a watch they believe a prospective collector should definitely consider if they are looking within that specific price budget. While our nominees are some of our personal favourites at the price point, it is less about us selling you our pick than it is about showing you what benchmark qualities or specifications we believe you deserve. (You can see the full criteria at the bottom of the piece).
Luke’s pick: Breitling Premier B25 Datora 42 Copper
Sure, there’s no denying it looks an awful lot like the Patek Philippe 5270P, but Breitling’s take is about $200,000 more affordable. And, in fact, the design inspiration is very much in-house, with this watch actually a revamp of Breitling’s original triple calendar chronograph model from the 1940s.
Either way, there’s a lot to like here. Salmon dials exude old-world elegance and Breitling have unleashed a stunner with this retro-inspired chronograph that comes perched on a brown alligator leather strap with folding clasp. There’s plenty happening on the dial with an outer tachymeter scale, full calendar (weekday and month) and moonphase with a pointer date. But it’s executed with such masterful balance that the overall effect still feels comfortable within a 42mm case that’s 50mm lug-to-lug.
While the dial is very much the main attraction here – particularly the blue accents against the pink backdrop – there’s also a lot to like under the bonnet with a new manual-wind movement. The open caseback reveals the B25 caliber, a COSC-certified chronograph movement with 48 hours of power reserve and a vertical clutch column wheel to deliver crisp and smooth pusher actuation. If you fancy a spot of salmon fishing, this is well worth casting the net for.
Price: $12,950 USD
Ricardo’s pick: Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42mm
The integrated bracelet design. It represents what currently seems to be the most popular style of watch out there. With that being said, many brands have tossed their hat in the ring to produce their own version of this dynamite design. One such brand, in my humble opinion, has absolutely mastered the design and have been doing it for quite some time. That brand is Girard-Perregaux. And the watch in question is their stunning Laureato 42mm.
My friend Zach has already spoken highly of the watch in his “Don’t Feed The Hype” series, yet for those at the back, I’ll re-emphasise just how great it is. Born a year before the Nautilus, the Laureato features a beautiful case that uses angular and curved lines. That choice gives the watch both a sporty and dressy appeal. This play on opposites continues with the choice of finishing, a mixture of brushed surfaces and polished trim.
The case comes in at a very respectable 42mm. I find this size to be my favourite, though GP has multiple options at 44, 38 and 34mm (truly a watch model for the people). Thickness on the 42 only comes in at 11.1mm with a 49.1mm lug-to-lug. You also get what I believe should be an industry standard 100 metres of water resistance.
As you make your way to the dial, you’re met by a beautiful Clous de Paris texture that comes in an array of colours; blue being my favourite of the bunch. GP goes the extra mile and colour matches the date wheel as well. And behind all this sits a fully decorated in-house movement; the Calibre GP01800. It beats at 28,800 bph and provides 54 hours of power reserve.
Overall, the Laureato is an unsung hero in the $10K-15K USD price range. The level of finishing, in-house movement and dial offered provide a ton of value. If you want to get those integrated bracelet vibes and have a little money to spend, this is a great place to start.
Price: $12,200 USD
Zach’s pick: Bulgari Octo Finissimo S
When we talk about high-end sports watch icons of the past, we are normally referring to classic and coveted references like the Patek Philippe Nautilus and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. But with so much focus and attention being thrown the way of these references, some consumers were becoming tired of the narrative and want to look forward with a fresh design that could steal some of the thunder without stealing the designs. I believe the Bulgari Octo Finissimo is the collection that finally accomplished such a tall order.
The Finissimo is one of the most faceted wristwatches on the marketplace, literally having 110 facets to its design. The baroque take on the sports watch from the “Roman Jeweller of Time” was a much needed breath of fresh air, and can be attributed as having a large role in reinvigorating collector interest in ultra-thin timepieces. The initial titanium pieces, while lovely, were a tad less approachable for those looking for daily wearers for every scenario – the depth ratings were just 30 metres. But the recent addition of the Finissimo watches in steel with improved water-resistance sealed the deal for many buyers worldwide.
It has very desireable proportions, coming in at 40mm in diameter, 6.4mm in thickness, and 46.5mm lug-to-lug – manageable dimensions for most wrists. The “S” line of Finissimo watches presented an interesting and strategic tradeoff for buyers to consider. While 1.25mm of thickness was added to the watch (a bump from 5.15mm to 6.4mm), the Octo Finissimo S still remains one of the thinnest sports watches in the marketplace and offers over three times more water resistance, up to 100 metres, with a screw-down crown for extra security.
Beneath the exhibition caseback you have the in-house BVL 138 caliber that is only 2.23mm thick and offers 60 hours of power reserve. It is decorated very nicely, and even has a platinum micro-rotor, but what most impresses me is the consideration for daily wear and sport in its architecture. Sure the movement is ultra-thin, but it’s full balance bridge that anchors the escapement makes this movement much more shock-resistant that other ultra-thin calibers.
All in all, if you want dress and sports watch qualities in a single timepiece it is hard to top the Finissimo. The blue, black, and silvered dials are all attractive options that leverage fresh designs. While most brands look to the past, here Bulgari looked to the future reinterpreting a trending category without rehashing the usual design elements. Why buy a past classic when you can purchase a future icon?
Price: $12,200 USD
To be considered, each nominated watch must prescribe to the following rubric and tick multiple boxes. These include:
- Value for price visually and technically.
- Excellence in aesthetic – great case shapes and dimensions, high wearability and ergonomics, well executed finishes. Intriguing dial textures and tones or power in simplicity (nailing a timeless classic look).
- Robustness – up to the task of daily wear. with a high degree of scratch-resistance, shock-resistance, resistance against magnetism, and water-resistance.
- Thinness/elegance – if a dress watch, how is the watch compelling enough to divert the gaze away from sportier pieces.
- Movements – in house versus mass produced, level of decoration/finishing, accuracy, balance cock versus bridge, length of power reserve, level of complication.
- Emotional connection – heritage-driven quality that speaks to iconic designs collectors love.