Three of the best affordable luxury watches with in-house movements

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For those with the watchmaking bug, a watch movement is not just a functional motor for turning time. It’s a well of ideas, a little cornucopia of challenges, solutions, techniques and ingenuity – what Oris properly calls “the joy of mechanics”.

And, as Oris has proven, new exclusive and sophisticated movements are no longer the exclusive preserve of resource-rich luxury groups, or those of the rarefied high-end of watchmaking, suggests Tim Barber.

As these three WATCHPRO exhibitors demonstrate, the options for those who want a watch fueled by something a little more select, demonstrating the ingenuity and passion of the brand that made it, grow richer every day. .

Oris
Aquis Date Caliber 400

It has been a little over a year since Oris started the movement this just might be his game changer.

Developed in-house over several years, the Caliber 400 is not a simple replacement for the ETA / Sellita tractors the brand has always relied on: its attributes include a five-day power reserve, high antimagnetism and such durability that the brand tells you won’t need maintenance for a decade, which also matches the length of the warranty it offers.

Put that motor inside the hugely portable 41.5mm Aquis Date, and you’ve got one of the most versatile and well-equipped all-round watches on the market today.

An absolute home run for Oris and a potential gateway to bigger things to come.

Christophe ward
Concept C60

Christopher Ward’s muscular double barrel SH21 movement, made at his wholly owned Swiss manufacturing facility, has been around for about seven years now and is arguably a somewhat underrated gem.

A five-day chronometer-certified powerhouse, it takes on a whole new identity in one of this year’s most unlikely versions: a skeletonized diver’s watch displaying a lavish hand-finished finish.

Christopher Ward has worked with high-end partners like Armin Strom and Chronode to make what is arguably his most impressive watch to date.

The price, both for the finish and the visual allure of the watch itself, is exceptional.

Péquignet
Golden attitude

Pequignet revitalized in France returns to the UK market and has an exciting new story to tell.

The firm gained attention a decade ago for its top-of-the-line Caliber Royale, but this year launched a new, rather simpler in-house movement, which it calls Caliber Initial.

Elegantly designed automatic and finished with a 65-hour power reserve, it is offered by Pequignet as a potential alternative to the ETA and Sellita movements, and debuts in the Attitude, an alluring gold dress watch limited to 100 pieces.

The movement is made at the Pequignet factory in the French Jura, and each part is made in the surrounding area. For a brand that has long resisted a difficult market, is it development that is finally allowing Pequignet to exploit its considerable potential? Here’s hoping.

* This article first appeared in the UK edition of WATCHPRO as an advertisement ahead of WATCHPRO, which takes place in London from November 12-13.


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