Source: Nico Girard via Bloomberg

Five Watches to Buy Instead of That $10,000 Apple Watch Hybrid

The Nico Gerard Pinnacle is an experiment gone wrong

Earlier this week, new watch brand Nico Gerard burst on the scene by unleashing the Pinnacle into the annals of infamy. It's a mechanical watch that has an Apple Watch integrated into the metal bracelet. It costs almost $10,000 in stainless steel and more than $110,000 in 18K gold, both of which sit squarely in "stop that, you're being a jerk" territory. 

Here are five watches that sell for less and will get you a lot more credibility along the way.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin Moon

The Master Ultra Thin Moon is quintessential Jaeger-LeCoultre.
The Master Ultra Thin Moon is quintessential Jaeger-LeCoultre.
Source: Jaeger-LeCoultre via Bloomberg

The Master Ultra Thin Moon ($9,250) is an exercise in what Jaeger-LeCoultre does best: elegant engineering. It's slim at only 9.9mm thick (with a 4.9mm movement under the dial), and the aesthetics are classic and understated. The date display at 6 o'clock also houses a moon-phase complication, and the faceted hour markers make it easy to read in any light. The sunburst black dial is new for this year, but the traditional silver is a great standby.

 

Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT

This is an electromechanical watch you can be proud of.
This is an electromechanical watch you can be proud of.
Source: Seiko via Bloomberg

Just because you don't have an Apple Watch jerry-rigged to your bracelet doesn't mean you need to go for a totally under-the-radar specimen. This Grand Seiko Spring Drive GMT ($7,000) has an all-steel case and bracelet but with gold accents in the bezel and on the dial for a mellow two-tone execution. The best part: The Spring Drive movement is a hybrid electric/mechanical system that you can actually be proud of.

 

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39mm

The new Oyster Perpetual 39mm comes in some less than sober colors.
The new Oyster Perpetual 39mm comes in some less than sober colors.
Source: Rolex via Bloomberg

As you'd expect from Rolex, the Oyster Perpetual 39mm ($5,700) is all about getting the details right. The case is slimmer than most Rolexes and a size that transitions between casual and dressed-up easily. You'd be hard-pressed to find a watch that is a better daily driver. The dials come in a variety of color combinations that are more adventurous than the Swiss stalwart usually opts for, including gray and light blue, brushed blue and neon green, and even plum and raspberry.

 

Panerai Luminor Marina 1950 3 Days Automatic Titanio

Titanium is the key to making this watch easy to wear.
Titanium is the key to making this watch easy to wear.
Source: Panerai via Bloomberg

The Luminor Marina 1950 Titanio ($8,000) has a 44mm case with a strong profile, but it's made of titanium so you can actually lift your wrist. Inside is a fully in-house P.9000 automatic movement, giving you three days of power reserve. It's a beefy watch perfect for this time of year. Also, Panerai opened an e-boutique for U.S. customers just a few weeks ago, so getting your hands on one is a piece of cake.

 

Bell & Ross WW1-97 Heritage

The styling on this watch is straight out of the early 20th century.
The styling on this watch is straight out of the early 20th century.
Source: Bell & Ross via Bloomberg

Vintage-inspired watches are only getting more popular, and the WW1-97 Heritage ($4,500) is a great example of why. The updated 45mm case size is big, even for today, but the styling is all reminiscent of very early wristwatches worn by soldiers in the trenches during World War I. The dial is inky black with gilt accents and the numerals are exposed metal, not painted, adding another textural dimension. The thin lugs hold a black alligator strap, making the otherwise sporty watch feel a little buttoned up.

 

BONUS: Clé de Cartier

The Clé has a unique case that hugs the wrist.
The Clé has a unique case that hugs the wrist.
Source: Cartier via Bloomberg

All right, for a great solid gold watch, reach for this Clé de Cartier ($34,900) instead of the Sunrise Pinnacle. Please. The unique case shape curves to the wrist, and the crown is reminiscent of a tiny winding key. And if you just have to have some tech, too, you can pick up the watch and a Ludicrous Mode Tesla Model S for just a few thousand dollars more than the Sunrise Pinnacle alone.

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