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5 Value-Worthy Watches

As the watch world begins its marketplace implementation after Baselworld, iW rounds up five timepieces with the best bang for your buck.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Air King 116900
The Rolex Oyster has a rich history in performance. As the first totally waterproof timepiece it became the first wristwatch to cross the English Channel on the wrist of a english swimmer, Mercedes Gleitze, in 1927. It quickly grew popularity in the motorsport community and soon thereafter, aeronautics. In 1933 the Rolex Oyster graced crew members wrists for the first flight expedition over mount everest. In 2016, Rolex continues its rich aeronautical history with the Oyster Perpetual Air King.

Bang for the Buck
The Oyster Perpetual Air King is unique in aesthetic, historical significance and mechanics. The timepiece is equipped with a caliber 3131. The self-would calimechanical movement includes a variant of technologies often found in timepieces far extending the Oyster Perpetual Air King’s price bracket. COSC-certified, the mechanism features a blue Parachrom hairspring, an alloy exclusive to Rolex. The material was created after five years of research and is unaffected by magnetic fields in addition to being 10 times more shock resistant.

Aesthetically, the model carries over the same Air King insignia from the 1950s against a black dial. Large white numerals increase cockpit visability as well as luminous details on the indicators and hour, minute and second hands. The case measures 40 millimeters in diameter, slightly smaller than Rolex’s competitor timepieces within the pilot watch category. Both the bracelet and case are forged from 904L stainless steel, ensuring the Oyster Perpetual Air King is up for even the most intense of adventures.

Price: $6,115

Rado Diamaster Grande Second
This model joined Rado’s Diamaster collection as one of the most mechanically significant pieces in the brand’s recent history. The two pillars of the Diameter collection are met with this timepiece, integrating vintage simplicity and new-world materials like plasma high-tech ceramic.

Bang for the Buck
When the late 80s gave rise to new and proprietary materials in watchmaking, Rado rooted itself in the movement by introducing high-tech ceramic (even beating out heavy-hitter, Omega in the ceramic race). The material, still prevalent in Rado timepieces and the watch industry, evolved into plasma high-tech ceramic; utilized here on the Diamaster Grande Seconde.

Plasma high-tech ceramic achieves its alloy-like finish by heating white ceramic to incredibly high temperatures. The gun-metal colored material comprises the 43 millimeter case and lugs of the Diamaster Grande Seconde. A light dial contrasts the case and features off-set hours and minutes, while subsidiary seconds reside with a date aperture at 9 o’clock. It’s monochromatic aesthetic is warmed with a brown alligator leather strap, completing the integration of modern and vintage sensibilities.

Price: $3,000

Zenith El Primero Classic Car
Zenith adds to its rich heritage in motorsports with its latest El Primero, the Classic Cars edition. The timepiece, in-part, celebrates the kick-off of Zentih’s world tour of more than 50 classic car events. The El Primero movement was a natural choice for the Classic Cars model. The movement was introduced in 1965 as the first automatic chronograph and was built as a representation of precision and reliability, the same core values of the motorsport industry.

Bang for the Buck
The El Primero movement now comes in 23 different iterations, each as technically sound and iconic as the last. The Classic Cars model offers the precision of the El Primero movement and the limited nature of a timepiece celebrating a specific milestone in the manufacture.

An El Primero 400B powers the Classic Cars. It’s comprised of 326 pieces and beats at 36,000 vibrations per hour. The timepiece measures 42 millimeters in diameter and sits 12.75 millimeters off the wrist. The dial is reminiscent of the motorsport industry with a “brushed engine” pattern and three colored subdials. Finishing the timepiece and enhancing its close association with classic cars, a brown calfskin leather strap with perforations reminiscent of a race car’s interior.

Price: $6,700

Seiko Astron GPS Solar World-Time SSE 08
Since its introduction four years ago, the Seiko Astron has become renowned for packing a highly technological punch in a small space. The latest model in the Astron collection comes as no surprise, integrating its solar powered world time functionality in a considerably thinner case than its predecessors.

Bang for the Buck
Slimmer than any other GPS solar watch, the Solar World-Time Limited Edition sits 12.4 millimeters off the wrist and with one touch of a button, can adjust to local time in every timezone in the world.

The Solar World-Time Limited Edition is a new achievement for Seiko and something to be desired in the watch and tech geek communities. To achieve it’s slimmer stature, Seiko reimagined the antenna receiving the GPS signals making such precise world time possible. After research, trial and error the antenna was able to be compressed while increasing the processing power of the circuit.

The caliber 8x22 powering the Solar World-Time Limited Edition includes a perpetual calendar function, reception indication, daylight savings adjustment and a power saving mode. The model is available in several variants and measures 44.8 millimeters in diameter. Featured here, a titanium Solar World-Time Limited Edition with matching bracelet and three fold clasp with a push button release.

Price: Available Fall 2016

Oris ProDiver Chronograph
Oris kept the professional diver and accessibility in mind when creating the ProDiver Chronograph. The timepiece offers a multitude of functions and materials found in some of the most respected dive watches on the market.

Bang for the Buck
Ceramic bezels on dive watches are most popularly found on brands like Rolex. Here Oris implemented the material on a multi-piece titanium case with a multitude of other desirable dive watch functions, adhering to its philosophy, ‘real watches for real people.’

Measuring 51 millimeters in diameter, the case also includes an automatic helium valve, screw-in crown and screw-in pushers allowing a 100 bar, or 3,345 foot water resistance. An Oris 774 caliber with an SW 500 base powers the ProDiver Chronograph. Its functions include hours and minutes, as continuous seconds, 30 minute counter and 12 hour counter.

Price: $4,650

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