T+T Holiday Picks: The best watches to gift for $1,000 – $3,000 (2022 edition) T+T Holiday Picks: The best watches to gift for $1,000 – $3,000 (2022 edition)

T+T Holiday Picks: The best watches to gift for $1,000 – $3,000 (2022 edition)


Editor’s note: The holiday season is upon us, which means it may be the time you are looking to buy a watch – whether as a gift for yourself or for a family member, friend or that special someone in your life. To make your life easier, the Time+Tide team has come together with their favourite picks at various price points. Following up our picks in the under $1000 segment, today we are tackling the best watches under $3000 (but more than $1000). All prices are in USD.


Ricardo’s pick: Grand Seiko SBGN013

best watches under $3000

Coming in right at the $3000 limit is my choice, the Grand Seiko SBGN013. It’s powered by the 9F86 movement, the brand’s answer to high-end quartz. Thermocompensated. Sealed. Jump hour function so you rarely have to stop the movement that delivers +/-10 seconds a year accuracy. It’s definitely not your run-of-the-mill GMT movement. That movement is placed within a 40mm, sporty case that will stand up well to daily wear. The black and red design is classic and versatile. Overall, the SBGN013 is a compelling package for someone looking to enjoy some of the trademark technology that Grand Seiko provides.

Price: US$3,000

Fergus’ pick: Cartier Tank Must SolarBeat

best watches under $3000

Brand power, heritage, storied design and infinite power supply? If you’re not afraid to wear a petite watch, then the Cartier Tank Must SolarBeat for $2,790 is a phenomenal choice for watch enthusiasts of any gender expression. It may be reaching the upper end of the budget, but Cartier have made it possible to wear one of their most iconic watches for a very reasonable amount, and to tip the scale it’s got solar cells hidden in the Roman numerals so you never have to wind it up or change the battery for 16 years. Packaged in a 22mm x 29.5mm case, you’ll be surprised at how many heads a small watch can turn.

Price: US$2,790

D.C.’s pick: Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Ceramic

best watches under $3000

Let’s just get this out of the way: I’m an unapologetic Zodiac superfan. Their rebirth under Fossil’s stewardship has gone from strength to strength, paying tribute to the classic designs of their past, while bringing the brand forward in terms of colourful new iterations that retain their visual identity, show off their horological chops with truly in-house movements, and fortify their position as exceptional value. And their new 140th Anniversary, limited-to-500 Super Sea Wolf Ceramic is just another example. Zodiac really does belong in the entry-level luxury category, and I feel they can be mentioned in the same breath as brands like Oris, or even Tudor. The Super Sea Wolf Ceramic pushes things even further upmarket, with the introduction of a 40mm black ceramic-over-steel case, a great combination of luxe and utility that compares well to makers like Rado, or even Omega, two leaders in ceramics. It’s powered by Zodiac’s own chronometer-rated STP 1-11 automatic movement, and has a deep, rich sunburst dial in midnight blue, a perfect contrast to the bright white Super Lumi-Nova markers and hands, and an understated complement to the glossy black of the ceramic. The ceramic extends to the bezel insert as well, and the supple Italian rubber tropic strap lends the proper level of dive-watch toughness. At $1,695, it’s a downright steal for a classy tool watch of this, ahem, calibre.

Price: US$1,695

Borna’s pick: NOMOS Club Campus deep pink

My pick for this category is NOMOS’ Club Campus deep pink, in either of the two sizes. Not only will it leave you with plenty of cash to spare, coming in at only $1,500, it delivers truckloads of personality with its brightly coloured dial, as well as a proven mastery of Bauhaus design. My entire time with the Club Campus can be summarised by saying that I was left with a smile each time I checked the time, purely down to how fun a watch it really is – you can read my full thoughts here. Powered by the in-house Alpha calibre, you’ve got the option of an open caseback as well, giving you a look at a decently decorated little movement at its price point.

Price: US$1,500 (Club Campus), US$1,650 (Club Campus 38). Both prices include applicable import taxes and duty.

Zach’s pick: Longines Spirit 37mm


We recently put together a list of phenomenal G.A.D.A (go anywhere do anything) watches. Primarily speaking, this sort of watch is robust enough to wear without fear and aesthetically versatile enough to be equally at home in the boardroom as it is at the beach. Well, for under US$3,000 you would be hard pressed to top the Longines Spirit 37mm as G.A.D.A watch in the price bracket. The Spirit was already a fan-favorite in its initial configuration, offering 100 meters of water-resistance, an automatic COSC certified 72-hour power reserve calibre with an anti-magnetic hairspring, and a handsome look that gives the robust steel watch a sporty-elegant factor. Some however felt the initial 40mm version was a tad to large for their wrist, with a lug-to-lug of 49.6mm. The new 37mm variant, unveiled early 2022, is much more manageable with a lug-to-lug of 47mm. These precious few millimeters really make difference, and, in terms of its length across the wrist, brings it more in line with also popular steel watches like the Tudor BB58. While the 37mm is, of course, smaller than the 40mm – shaving off 3mm of the diameter, nearly 3mm of the lug-t0-lug measurement, and nearly 1mm of thickness with a measurement of 11.7mm – the case has the same screw-down crown secured 100 meter depth rating and the same COSC certified L888.4 automatic calibre. A lot of watch for the dollar, from a venerated Swiss brand, the Spirit 37mm is phenomenal watch – especially in the under US$3,000 price segment.

Price: $2,400 USD (on bracelet)