So we’ve covered the best watches under £1k, £5k and £10k, now it’s time to examine the best five timepieces you can buy for under £15,000. It’s an awkward bracket, in all honesty. 

You can’t quite reach watches from the holy trinity, at retail, but you’re above most stainless-steel sports watches from Rolex and Omega, for example. 

But, this bracket is where some brands experiment with precious metals and complications on their previously sub £10,000 watches. It’s safe to say this is an often overlooked and thoroughly exciting price point. 

Here is our guide to the best five watches on the market for sub £15,000.

The A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia (219.026) £13,300

A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia (216.026): 37.0 mm x 7.7 mm, 18k white gold

Image Credit: Pinterest

  • Perfect for: The Sartorial Collector, The Lange Lover, The Movement Maestro
  • Diameter: 35mm
  • Movement: L941.1
  • Case Material: White gold
  • Features: Sub-second dial, argenté dial, rhodiumed-gold hands

German watch brand, A. Lange & Söhne is renowned for their attention to detail, craftsmanship and beautifully designed watches. 

This particular model, the Saxonia, is the entry-level to Lange, if you can call it that. At £13,300 (or thereabouts once converted to pounds sterling) this is far from an affordable watch. 

But much like the Oyster Perpetual gives you access to the world of Rolex, the Saxonia is the key that unlocks the world of A. Lange & Söhne. But this is a far cry from ‘entry-level’ in the traditional sense. 

What may appear quite simple in its design language is far from simple on the inside. In a similar way to many Lange watches, the Saxonia appears rather unassuming and modest but it’s what is under the hood where this piece is miles from any competition. 

What makes it special? 

The defining element of this watch is the craftsmanship, both internally and externally. From every angle, this watch is expertly engineered and refined to the Nth degree. Without going too far into the weeds, the L941.1 movement has the classic three-quarter plate and the hand-engraved balance cock. 

The level of finishing on this watch is second to none, you will struggle to find it elsewhere. Not only is the watch impeccable in its functionality, but it also looks good at the same time. 

Externally, the design language is contemporary without being too bold and the gold case with silver dial is a perfect match. In fact, the dial itself is known as argenté, it’s crafted from solid silver. You can see that Lange has left no stones unturned in the quest for perfection here. 

For many, 35mm is too small, but I can’t think of a better partnership than this Saxonia and a tuxedo. Frankly, we’re lucky to have the watch in this price bracket, because I think this is probably somewhat undervalued, all things considered. It’s not the best Lange, nor is it the most innovative, but it’s a great access point into the world of A. Lange & Söhne.

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (116500LN): £10,500

The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona (116500LN)

Image Credit: The Watch Club

  • Perfect for: The Rolex Fan Boy, The Patient Collector, The Hype Collector
  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Movement: 4130
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Features: Chronograph, Tachymeter, 904L steel 

Daytona. Does anything else need to be said? Arguably, the coolest watch out there. Historically, the Daytona, in its many different forms, has played a huge part in the success of Rolex. In recent years, even those outside of the industry have heard of the Paul Newman Daytona which broke records when it sold at auction. 

The most recent iteration, the 116500LN is a watch that carries all the prestige of the previous models but brings craftsmanship into the 20th century. 

What makes it special? 

Rolex produces some of the most dependable watches. They may not be the definition of perfection when you take a look inside, but they are crafted to last, stand up to day-to-day wear and look good at the same time. The Daytona is no exception. You only understand the true level of the ruggedness of a modern Rolex sports watch when you hold one. 

It’s no surprise, therefore, that the Daytona is a very desirable watch; its heritage and build quality are just two of the main selling points for collectors. So much so, that this particular model (and the white dial too) are incredibly difficult to purchase at retail. 

The secondary market has gone off the charts for these watches, trading upwards of two times retail, above £20,000. 

If you ever get the chance to purchase one of these watches at retail, don’t turn down the offer. And, if you ever get the chance to hold the Daytona, you’ll know exactly why they’re so popular. 

The Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 (311. £11,950

The Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321 (311.

Image Credit: Monochrome Watch

  • Perfect for: The Movement Maestro, The History Buff, The Chronograph Collector
  • Diameter: 39.7mm
  • Movement: Calibre 321
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Features: Chronograph, Tachymeter, 321 movement

It’s no secret that we’re Omega fans. Omega offers great heritage and build quality, both for a reasonable price. 

The Speedmaster, possibly one of the most iconic watches full stop, is a great example of value for money. Whilst many vintage Speedmasters may exceed the realms of affordable for many, modern Speedmasters can prove to be pretty accessible. 

The Calibre 321 movement is probably one of the most iconic movements out there. Omega developed this calibre during its early space missions. But this movement, one which is revered across the industry for its robustness and beautiful execution, was discontinued many moons ago. Omega, however, last year brought back the infamous 321 movement with the new Omega Speedmaster 321 ‘Ed White’. It’s back, it’s better than ever and it’s one of the best reissues we’ve ever seen. 

What makes it special? 

Omega is the master of reissues, they do so respectfully and tastefully. This reissue though takes Omega to the next level. It packs all the charm of its vintage ancestors, but with the build quality of the modern Speedmaster. 

In order to replicate the movement, Omega had to return to the very first 321 movements and even reference the Lemania blueprints, to recreate this iconic movement. Omega has taken a movement that existed many years ago, almost exactly replicated the mechanics and brought it into the modern day. 

That’s impressive by anyone’s standards. Everywhere you look, this watch is a fantastic nod to the previous 321. It has an applied logo, but one which looks modern and robust, the clasp has a vintage feel but is engineered to withstand day-to-day usage, and the case size is relevant today, just as it was back in the day. 

This piece feels like a time capsule, it holds so much historical value in its overall feel but does so in a very modern way. To wear one of these watches shows that you respect heritage but appreciate modern capabilities. Arguably no watch does it better than this Speedmaster 321.

The IWC Portugieser Automatic (IW358306) £14,900

The IWC Portugieser Automatic (IW358306)

Image Credit: Oracle Time

  • Perfect for: The Dress Watch Dude, The Leather Lover, The Gold Guy
  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Movement: 82200 calibre
  • Case Material: 18ct gold
  • Features: Sapphire caseback, 60-hour power reserve, small hacking seconds

So, we’ve had a precious 35mm dress watch and two chronographs with contemporary proportions so far. What happens when you take the design language of the Lange and give it modern proportions… well ladies and gentlemen, you get the IWC Portugieser Automatic. 

Before we get into the details, I’m going to say straight up that this is the best-looking IWC, in my opinion, ever. Yes, ever.

Precious metal, white dial, leather strap, isn’t this just the bigger brother of the Lange Saxonia? In some ways, yes. IWC has created a very refined and elevated watch here. It is a great dress watch at a great value, certainly when you compare the price to that of Vacheron Constantin or Patek Philippe. 

Visually, it does compete with the Lange and offers a larger alternative for those who are more accustomed to bigger proportions. This watch doesn’t compare to the Lange internally with the movement, but the larger proportions do make it a better everyday piece. 

If you’re looking for something that is refined, well-built and carries the name of a reputed watch house, the Portugieser Automatic in 18ct gold, is the perfect option for you.

The Zenith Chronomaster El Primero (18.2043.400/69.C494): £12,200

The Zenith Chronomaster El Primero (18.2043.400/69.C494)

Image Credit: Chrono24

  • Perfect for: Mr Under-the-Radar, The Classic Collector, The Trend-Setter
  • Diameter: 42mm
  • Movement: El Primero  
  • Case Material: Rose Gold
  • Features: Chronograph, Date Window, 100m water resistance

Ever heard of the Zenith Daytona? And no, it’s not a Daytona made by Zenith. In fact, Rolex used the El Primero movement inside their Daytonas. So, doesn’t that prove the ability of the Zenith El Primero, if nothing else?

But aside from the El Primero’s ties to the Daytona, this chronograph is an impressive timepiece in itself. Zenith may be a brand you have not considered before, and truthfully many people overlook the brand. You seldom see people under 50 with Zeniths on their wrists, but maybe we’ll see trends change in years to come. 

You can of course get the El Primero, sub £10,000 in stainless steel, but why not go all out and get the watch in rose gold? 

What makes it special? 

At 42mm this chronograph is bigger than the other options we’ve already put on the table. But the reasonably slim lugs and profile of this watch don’t make it feel intrusive or bulky by any stretch. The leather strap also helps a lot, it wears very well on the wrist and the overall impression is more of that of a 41mm. It’s perhaps not the perfect option for the slimmer wristed gent, but it is undoubtedly well proportioned for its larger, “on paper” dimensions. 

We’ve talked about form and function, but where this watch really does come alive is its appearance. In stainless steel this is a good-looking watch, in rose gold, this is one of the best-looking chronographs money can buy. The rose gold is a perfect combination with the triple-coloured counters. 

This is far from your standard Daytona or Speedmaster (not that they’re bad watches visually). But this El Primero is daring, bolder and has far more character. Indeed, owning an El Primero shows that you tread your own path and don’t follow the masses. If you’re looking for a watch that is well-executed, functional and looks elegantly daring, the El Primero is the perfect choice.

The Verdict

With the options on the table, there are two key themes, precious metals and chronographs. I think for the first time in this series we don’t see on the table a ‘perfect’, per se, the everyday wearer. The Daytona is probably the closest it gets to being adept for everyday use, as it’s built to last. But the reason we aren’t selecting the Daytona is that it doesn’t quite compete with the others in terms of value for money.

Our favourite watch for under £15,000 is the A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia 219.026. Quite simply, this watch is one of the best value-for-money options on the market. The craftsmanship and build quality of this watch far exceed the £15,000 price bracket. 

The materials used are just half the story but certainly, contribute to an expertly executed and elegantly designed dress watch. It’s not perhaps the most versatile watch on our list, but it’s incredibly difficult to look past any A. Lange & Söhne watch, let alone one which falls below £15,000.