Don’t Miss This: Our team debates the best watches from $5K-$7K USD

Don’t Miss This: Our team debates the best watches from $5K-$7K USD

Zach Blass

We’ve debated some of the best watches under $1,000 USD, from $1,000 – $3,000 USD, and from $3000 – $5000 USD. Now, in our next installment of the Don’t Miss This series, it is time to tackle the best watches from $5K-$7K USD. To recap the mission of this series, it boils down to each team member deciding which watch a prospective collector should not miss if they are exploring within a certain budget. Therefore, the team was challenged to nominate a watch that they believe serves as a benchmark for a collectors’ hunt within that price bracket. (You can see the criteria at the bottom of the piece).

Ricardo’s pick: Cartier Santos de Cartier Medium

best watches from $5K-$7K

 

In a sea full of watches, it’s so easy to miss a dynamite piece here and there. That’s exactly what happened to me when I started thinking about a requisite watch in this $5000-7000 price range. It wasn’t until Zach figuratively hit me upside the head that I realised I forgot a watch that mesmerised me pretty much this whole year. And that watch was the amazing Medium Santos de Cartier.

Cartier is a brand that has been cast by a contingent of watch collectors as being simply a jewellry maker. But with the Santos, whose place in history is solidified as being the first pilot’s watch, Cartier flexes it’s horological muscles. It features a bracelet with an ingenious mechanism for sizing that, in a pinch, can be done with a fingernail. Cartier also includes a leather strap with your purchase. Inside, you’ll find Cartier’s calibre 1847 MC. It’s the brand’s workhorse, supplying 42 hours of power reserve and featuring a bridged balance wheel. All this within a 35.1mm diameter, 8.83mm thick, case, which gives the Medium sized version its universal wrist appeal.

All in all, when taking these things into account, it’s no surprise to me that recently the Medium Santos De Cartier has grown tremendously in popularity. ADs are barely able to keep one in the display case. From the bracelet to the in-house movement inside, the Santos De Cartier establishes itself as a strong contender for one of the best time-only watches currently on the market.

Price: $6,800 USD

Zach’s pick: Grand Seiko “Snowflake” SBGA211

As someone who has owned a Grand Seiko “Snowflake” SBGA211 for many years now I can personally attest to its gorgeous aesthetics I have yet to tire of and its superlative accuracy as a timekeeper. I use the phrase superlative a bit cheekily in that I have always thought of the Snowflake as Grand Seiko’s answer to the classic Rolex Datejust. It is a watch that at first glance appears to be dressy and elegant, but when you learn about it in its entirety is a badass robust titanium watch. Aesthetically you have a stunning array of hairline brushed and Zaratsu distortion-free, mirror-polished surfaces that put the modern Datejust case to shame – and I can say that because I also own a modern Rolex Datejust.

The crisp white dial is extremely versatile, ripe to be paired with a suit and collared shirt, a white tee and jeans, or straight up anything for that matter. Because the dial is a bright and crisp white, the razor-sharp indices and hands are all  mirror polished in line with Grand Seiko’s grammar of design pillar: legibility. You have likely heard buzz words ‘light’ and ‘shadow’ used in regard to the brand before, which from a finishing standpoint translates to brushed and mirrored. The mirror polishes executed by Grand Seiko go black under direct light, therefore Grand Seiko strategically has the hands and indices go black, or provide shadow, against the light white and brilliantly textured dial.

best watches from $5K-$7K USD

From a specs standpoint it excels as much as its aesthetics, with a robust 41mm case, 12.5mm thick and 49mm lug-to-lug, that offers 100 metres water-resistance with a screw-down crown. Inside its in-house 9R65 Spring Drive movement provides the utmost performance, in my own personal experience gaining half a second or less per day – unbelievably accurate performance. It is hassle-free watch, finished to an incredibly high standard, that can be worn in practically any situation you face without being out of place visually or technically. It could really be someone’s “one watch” were they so inclined.

Price: $5,800 USD

Luke’s pick: TAG Heuer Monaco CAW211P

best watches from $5K-$7K USD

Thanks to its distinctive square case and the legendary Calibre 11 within, the Monaco would be a stone-cold classic even if wasn’t for being spotted prominently on the wrist of a certain Steve McQueen The King of Cool wore the Monaco reference 1133 in Le Mans and this version is an impressively faithful reissue, right down to the historic Heuer logo.

The Monaco was the world’s first square and waterproof automatic chronograph thanks to the ground-breaking Calibre 11, a movement resulting from years of secret research by top Swiss brands. It also made an impression on the case due to the left-hand winding crown that is replicated on this modern iteration.

But you wouldn’t need to know anything about the Monaco’s technical legacy to appreciate it’s head-turning looks. The watch is a visual feast whether your gaze settles on that rich blue dial, the gently rounded squares of the subdials, the blood-red accents or those horizontal, faceted indices. This Monaco may just have a modest 39mm case, but it will always command serious wrist presence.

Price: $6,350 USD

Criteria

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.