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The 10 Best Microbrand Watches Money Can Buy

D1 Milano Ultra-Thin

Sometimes when you're looking for a watch, you might be leaning toward something from a major brand such as Rolex or Citizen. At other times, it's entirely possible that you're more interested in the prospect of going with something that isn't as commercial as the watches made by these particular companies. As a matter of fact, there is an entire group of people that prefer to purchase microbrand watches. If you're not familiar with the term, the term refers to those watches that are produced by companies that are much smaller than major watchmakers. Typically, they only produce somewhere between 200 and 300 watches at a time, making virtually every watch they produce a limited edition and its own right. The truth is, there are times when these watches are actually a lot more enjoyable than the big-name watches. If you're more interested in this sort of thing, here are 10 of the best microbrand watches that money can buy. It's important to note that while these watches are labeled from number 10 to number one, that doesn't necessarily mean that the most expensive watch is going to fall in a particular location on this list. That's because the list is based on the best watches available from microbrand watchmakers, not necessarily the price of any particular product.

10. Morris & Co. Crimson Silver Forest Hare/Green Perlon ($235.00)

Morris & Co. Crimson Silver Forest Hare Green Perlon

This is a solid all-around choice for someone who wants something that's a bit different, even whimsical, yet is still capable of doing the job it was designed to do. It features a hare on the face of the watch, hence its name. However, that's only the beginning. It also incorporates surgical grade stainless steel and a genuine leather band. It can be purchased in either 30 mm or 38 mm sizes, giving you more control over how the watch looks and feels on your own wrist. Last but not least, it's water resistant. You can't wear it while you go swimming, but you can certainly wear it everyday without having to worry about taking it off every time you wash your hands. These days, that's a tremendous benefit.

9. Canton Day-Date Automatic ($289.00)

Canton Day-Date Automatic

This is a great everyday watch because it looks good without being terribly expensive. It also incorporates many of the things that are important when it comes to high quality watches. It features stainless steel construction along with Japanese automatic movement and a sapphire quartz crystal. Of course, the band is also stainless steel and is long enough to accommodate most wrists. The watch is also 40 mm in diameter, allowing it to be big enough to give it plenty of presence without making it feel terribly ostentatious.

8. Sternglas Zeitmesser Hamburg Automatik Silver ($379.00)

Sternglas Zeitmesser Hamburg Automatik Silver

Perhaps the thing that sets this watch apart from virtually everything else is its simplicity. It's 42 mm in diameter, yet it's also exceptionally thin. The stainless steel case is in stark contrast to the white face and the brown leather band. The numbers on the face are in black and the watch incorporates three hands, along with the date at the six o’clock position. It doesn't get much more simple than this, but there's something quite peaceful in the fact that this watch doesn't have a lot of outlandish features. It merely tells time and it does quite well.

7. Swatch Extravehicular ($160.00)

Swatch Extravehicular

This particular watch looks like a throwback to the late 1970s or early 1980s. It's finished completely in white with red and blue stripes all over it. It has that quality that was so popular during the late 70s and early 80s that practically screams for attention. Of course, it's also made by a watchmaker that's capable of making high-quality watches. This particular example incorporates three hands and the date. It is made of plastic as opposed to high quality stainless steel or leather, but it's also something that stands up quite well to the test of time.

6. Shinola Detroit Wolverine Detrola 43mm ($395.00)

Shinola Detroit Wolverine Detrola 43mm

This is a watch that you can wear purely for fun. It also works relatively well if you have a day that's business-casual at the office. It's a bit quirky, which is part of the fun. This is largely in part to its bright yellow face, one that is outlined slightly in orange. It all serves as a stark contrast to the dark green case and band. Like so many watches, it has three hands and features the date as well.

5. Holzkern Universe ($399.00)

Holzkern Universe

The thing that will set this watch apart at first glance is the fact that the case and the band are made entirely out of wood. It also features a rather interesting looking face on the dial, which comes in either brown or blue marble. If you want something that is truly unique, then this is it.

4. Linjer Chrono-Diver ($172.50)

Linjer Chrono-Diver

If you're looking for a genuine dive watch with an adjustable bezel and a stopwatch feature, then this is a good place to start without spending a ton of money. It's a big watch, 43 mm in diameter. It also incorporates a stainless steel case and a heavy-duty leather band. More importantly, it's water-resistant all the way to 10 ATM, so it works well for a lot of underwater diving.

3. Minus-8 Anza ($198.00)

Minus-8 Anza

This watch has a stainless steel case and a unique band that is made from soft material which allows it to be much more comfortable on the wrist than most watches could ever hope to be. It's made to last, being forged from a single piece of stainless steel. It also incorporates a second hand as well as the date.

2. LIV GX-Diver’s 41 mm T.J. Blue ($790.00)

LIV GX-Diver’s 41 mm T.J. Blue

Aside from a fairly significant price tag, the thing you're likely to notice first about this watch is that it has a genuine presence to it. It's big, there's no doubt about that. It's a stainless steel watch with a band made from the same material and an adjustable bezel. The face of the watch is blue with a wave design, setting off the three hands and leaving a place for the date. Since it's a dive watch, it's also waterproof. It might set you back a few dollars, but it's definitely a high-quality watch that can take a lot of abuse.

1. D1 Milano Ultra-Thin ($350.10)

D1 Milano Ultra-Thin

This is one of the most exquisite looking watches in this entire collection. It's also big enough to get the attention of others without being uncomfortable, thanks to its thin design. In fact, it's 43 mm in diameter. The stainless steel case and band are designed to look different, thanks in large part to their etched design. It's also worth noting that the entire watch incorporates a darker finish than most stainless steel watches, giving it an appearance that’s even more unique. All of this is set off with the intensity of a blue face that grabs your attention. The watch features a second hand and the date. Even though it looks like something that could be worn in the boardroom, it's also water-resistant to 5 ATM, allowing it to compete with a lot of dive watches that are out there.

Lily Wordsmith

Written by Lily Wordsmith

Lily Wordsmith is a freelance writer who has had a love affair with the written word for decades. You can find her writing blog posts and articles while sitting under a tree at the local park watching her kids play, or typing away on her tablet in line at the DMV. In addition to her freelance career, she is pursuing ebook writing with an ever-growing repertoire of witty ebooks to her name. Her diversity is boundless, and she has written about everything from astrobotany to zookeepers. Her real passions are her family, baking desserts and all things luxe.

Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith

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