For traditional mechanical watchmaking, the first country we refer to is, of course, Switzerland. However, when it comes to finding a good quality watch at the best price, your German neighbor knows how to defend himself. Of course, we have in mind Lange and Söhne, a brand that has surpassed many of the great watchmaking names for its complications and manual finishes. We will not talk about the exceptional German watchmaking in this article, because some brands are not suitable for all budgets.
Nomos factory in Germany
Buy a German watch It has several advantages. First of all, most of the mechanisms are ETA movements, made in Switzerland, the same ones that are used for entry level watches in Panerai, IWC, Omega, Breitling … Therefore, sometimes it will have a third of the price , a complete watch as accurate and reliable as some big names. In addition, Germany is a historically watchmaking country that produces certain components by itself often at lower costs than in Switzerland. The quality of the dressing is very important in the choice of a watch and many Swiss brands such as “FortisThey have chosen China for their steel boxes. These cases are not known for their resistance to impact or rust, this does not prevent these marks from being stamped ” Swiss made “
In this article, we will not talk about German brands like Montblanc or MeisterSinger that are not actually manufactured or assembled in Germany.
1 – Archimede
The Archimede brand, despite its young experience in the world of watchmaking, was founded by the company “Ickler”, manufacturer of watch boxes since 1924. This brand is probably one of the best value for money of all brands, from less than 600 euros for certain models. Count 1500 euros for a pilot chronograph, but other styles will be offered, sporty, classic, diving … A drawback, many of its automatic movements are less qualitative Sellita than ETA movements. However, chronographs are equipped with ETA 7750 movements
Above, excellent value for money: Archimede Outdoor Chronograph .S with ETA 7750 movement and sapphire crystal (1560 euros)
2 – Nomos
The Glashütte brand has achieved a tour de force, offering a watch with a design recognizable by all, with movements that often have their own designs. Nomos is a very interesting brand in many aspects, its fineness of box, its quality, the beauty of its dials … However, do not expect a completely original movement for this price. We have an ETA base, the ALPHA movement is a derivative of ETA 7001 at 21,600 A / H derived from an old Peseux movement. Nomos manufactured bridges, turntables, ratchets, etc. We also noticed a slight lack of precision for some of the movements used. Also be careful not to force the winding of the manual clocks too much, the barrel spring breaks easily. Despite these few failures, Nomos is one of the few German brands that offers watches with highly modified movements and original designs at prices below 5000 euros.
Nomos Zurich World time (4,620 euros).
3 – Stowa
Similar to Archimedes, Stowa offers watches that are largely customizable, you can decide through your website whether or not you have a logo, choose the winding movement, record the rotor or ratchet, with or without date. All these options are reasons for a watch lover to choose a Stowa. The brand was created during the interwar period, many watches offered are military watches, however, you will have many different styles at your disposal, a model like the Partitio can be a good alternative to IWC Portofino, share a similar design but with A much more attractive price.
Stowa Partitio watch equipped with the ETA 2824-2 movement (from 790 euros)
4 – Junghans
If you are looking for a smart watch at a low price, the Junghans brand is for you. It is difficult to trace the origin of the pieces of this brand, but Junghans is one of the few brands that offers a Valjoux chronometer for less than 2,000 euros. You will have for this price just a simple date without a second hand, simplified dial to the maximum and plexiglass glass (less luxurious than sapphire but re-polishable). However, like many German brands, you can add options, for example, a sapphire crystal.
Junghans Meister Kalender – Automatic, Day, Date and Moon phase (€ 1,990). A very affordable moon phase watch available with a choice of plexiglass or sapphire crystal.
5 – Sinn
Sinn is a brand known for producing good quality watches. The quality of the steels is excellent, the rotating glasses systems are very well thought out. However, keep a critical mind about your different technologies such as “Diapal”, which is supposed to be an oil-free escape or your “dehumidification technique”, which are more marketing arguments than real technological advances. If you are tempted by a used Sinn, stay away from the EMZ model equipped with the poorly manufactured Lemania 5100 or the new Sinn watches equipped with Sellita calipers. Sinn watches are sold a little more expensive than Archimedes for quite similar designs. However, Sinn has benefited from a recent fashion and has a very close community to the brand. Therefore, Sinn watches maintain a fairly high rating in the second-hand market.
Sinn 556 anniversary equipped with the ETA 2824-2 movement (1,000 euros)
But what to choose?
German brands are known for their designs similar to other more famous Swiss models. Nomos probably offers what would come closest to a Zenith or a Jaeger Lecoultre, Junghans is the best possible option for lovers of low prices, Stowa for those seeking customization to the smallest detail, Sinn for those interested in value Future of your watch and Archimède is in a way a summary of the values provided by the brands mentioned above.
Many other brands are manufactured in Germany, Union Glashütte, Mühle Glashütte, Damasko or Hanart with characteristics very similar to the brands treated in this article, movements ” Swiss made “And designs made in Germany. With a little experience and common sense, you can determine the value of these brands and models and make the best decision.