We looked for the most elegant and versatile watch with a Day-Date complication with a cost around $1,500. Elegance is defined as something that would look fantastic with a tuxedo at the most luxurious of settings while versatility implies that the watch would need to also be sporty and fit right in while wearing a pair of blue jeans doing blue collar work.
The watch should have a rich history and character that is respected in horological timepiece discussions with your friends. A Day-Date complication is practical and not overpowering such as the dials on a Chronograph.
The watches were selected with the following criteria:
- Sapphire Crystal
- Automatic Movement
- Exhibition Back
- Elegant and Versatile
- Meaningful History
- Price around $1,500
The finalists were:
- Mido Multifort Chronometer 1 Ref: M038.431.11.061.00
- Oris Williams F1 Team Automatic Ref: 01 735 7716 4154-07 8 24 50
- Tag Heuer Carrera Calibre 5 Ref: WAR201A.BA0723
Let’s evaluate each watch against the criteria. All three naturally meet the first 4 criteria so the last three vary and will bear the focus of the evaluation.
Mido Multifort Chronometer 1
The Multifort Chronometer 1 may be viewed as simple and understated at first glance until the reflection of the Geneva Stripes on the dial captures the attention. The watch is adorned with triangular rhythmically placed hour markers.
The sweeping seconds hand adds elegant movement and the Day-Date presents a visual anchor at the 3 o’clock. The brand name Mido is not recognizable mainstream which can be a negative.
The brand Mido (Mido name comes from the Spanish phrase Yo mido meaning "I measure") was founded in 1918 and the Multifort line was first launched in 1934 as a shock-resistant, anti-magnetic and water-resistant watch. Mido is owned by the Swatch Group which also owns brands such as Blancpain, Breguet, Glashütte Original, Harry Winston, Omega, etc.
The Chronometer 1 continues on that heritage sporting a COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) grade Caliber 80 SI movement with an 80 hour power reserve which are qualities that will impress those who know anything about watches. The watch case is 42mm and is water resistant to 100m.
On the business end the Caliber 80 SI movement is based on the ETA caliber 2824-2 Chronometer which is the best of the 4 variants. The movement is reasonably decorated and visible through the large exhibition back.
The overall craftsmanship, quality and value of the watch is excellent for this price point of $1,290.
|Sapphire Crystal||10||Sapphire crystal with double sided anti-reflection treatment|
|Automatic Movement||10||Impressive COSC performance and 80 hour power reserve|
|Exhibition Back||10||Large exhibition to display a nicely decorated movement|
|Elegant and Versatile||10|
|Meaningful History||9||Solid history but name not well known|
|Price||10||Priced very competitively|
Oris Williams F1 Team Automatic
The blue sweeping seconds hand is probably what first captures the attention in the elegant and sporty looking Oris Williams F1 Automatic watch. The brand name ORIS is then noticeable and the “W” completes the decorations besides the Day-Date at the 3 o’clock position. The watch strikes a good balance at being simple for a sporty watch and being busy for a simple 3 hand watch.
Under the hood the Williams F1 is powered by the Oris 735 which is based on the Sellita SW 220-1 (Clone of the calibre ETA 2836). The case size is 42mm and water resistance is 100m but the power reserve is only 38 hours.
Oris was founded in 1904 and introduced its signature pilot’s watch in 1938, the so-called Big Crown. Since the turn of the millennium, the company has concentrated on the worlds of Diving, Culture, Aviation and Motor Sports. Subsequently in 2002 Oris created a collection of motor sport watches produced to honour the Williams Team as one of the most iconic names in Formula 1.
The overall craftsmanship, quality and value of the watch is good for this price point of $1,550.
|Sapphire Crystal||10||Sapphire, flat, anti-reflective coating inside|
|Automatic Movement||6||Ironically not impressive movement for F1 performance|
|Exhibition Back||7||Smaller window displaying a the undistinguished movement|
|Elegant and Versatile||9||Sporty and elegant but not great at either|
Tag Heuer Carrera Day-Date Calibre 5
The Carrera is a master at reflecting light from the case edges that have been cut brilliantly. The black dial does have an understated texture that’s visible from certain angles but the real eye-catchers are the case and stainless steel bracelet with its “Azurage” finishing. The Day-Date is encased making it stand out. On closer look it is clear that the Carrera is a quality crafted elegant timepiece.
The Carrera is driven by the Calibre 5 Automatic movement which is based on the ETA 2824-2 or Sellita SW200-1 with a 38 hour power reserve. The case is 41mm and water resistance is up to 100m.
Tag Heuer was founded in 1860 as Uhrenmanufaktur Heuer AG. In 1985 the TAG Group purchased a majority stake in the company, forming TAG Heuer. In 1999 the French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH bought nearly 100 percent of the Swiss company.
The Carrera chronograph was first introduced in 1963 and designed as a tool for racing drivers. The design was clean, uncluttered, ultra-legible and a reliable instrument to measure time and average speed during races. It was named after one of the most legendary races (the Carrera Panamericana). The word Carrera is Spanish for "race".
The overall craftsmanship, quality and value of the watch is exquisite for this price point of $2,800 retail but it can be acquired for around $1,500.
|Sapphire Crystal||10||Caseback is also Sapphire|
|Automatic Movement||6||Ironically not impressive movement for racing|
|Exhibition Back||8||Smaller window displaying a the undistinguished movement|
|Elegant and Versatile||10||Sporty and elegant but not great at either|
|Price||9||Retail is overpriced|
The clear winner with 69 out of 70 possible points is the Mido Multifort Chronometer 1 because of the combination of its elegant presence, great COSC quality movement and the best price point all of which make this watch the most elegant and versatile Day-Date entry luxury watch.
Tell us which of these watches would be your choice or is there another watch altogether?