Frank Sans C Video

Lip, Junghans, Tissot, Seiko, Raketa: 5 automatic watches under €1,000

Finding a brand new stunning, high-quality, automatic watch under €1,000 is a real obstacle course. Still, a few respectable brands manage to release some compelling pieces. Let's travel around the world with five beautiful – and affordable – watches from Switzerland, Japan, France, Germany and Russia.

By Nicolas Yvon
Montres automatiques à mçisn de 1000 euros chez Tissot, Seiko, LIP, Junghans et Raketa
Frank sans C’s “international” selection for his video about automatic steel watches under €1,000.

SwitzerlandTissot PRX Powermatic 80 – €650

Tissot is reissuing a signature sports design straight out of the seventies with the launch of its emblematic PRX watch.

La Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 en acier arbore un cadran quadrillé
Tissot’s automatic Powermatic 80 calibre is inspired by a model from the seventies.

The different versions of the new references – which look almost identical to the original versions – are powered by the Powermatic 80 calibre.
This release deserved far more than a quick presentation! Click on this link to read an entire article dedicated to Tissot’s PRX.


Japan, Seiko Presage Cocktail Negroni automatic watch – €450

The arrival of Seiko’s three new (unlimited) “Cocktail” special editions within the Presage collection came as a very nice surprise.
Indeed, the meticulous Japanese manufacture found inspiration in some of the greatest classic drinks to design the striking Negroni, Old Clock and Mojito pieces.

La montre Seiko Presage Negroni en acier arbore un cadran rouage et un bracelet en cuir coordonné
The Japanese brand drew inspiration from the shades of the Negroni cocktail to design the watch of the same name.

The Negroni version was the one featured in Frank sans C’s video. The red and amber-coloured dial elegantly reminds of the chromatic colour palette of the Negroni cocktail. Which must obviously be made using the Generous Gin Purple to get a deep red shade.

Seiko based its Presage Cocktail series on the best classic cocktails.

Seiko chose to decorate the piece in a way that reminded of how the light streams through old cocktail glasses. The font of the numbers on the dial reminds of the writing on alcohol bottles’ labels. The blend is a real success.
And what about the back? A see-through case back displays the cogs of the 4R35 automatic calibre which has already proven its reliability.

Seiko Presage Cocktail Negroni technical specifications

Stainless steel case
38.5 mm diameter
See-through screwed-in case back
Domed Hardlex crystal
Water resistance to 50 metres
Leather strap with a three-fold clasp


FranceLIP Himalaya Calendar Automatic – €699

The Himalaya (1954) is the LIP collection comprising the most models. On top of that, it is also the brand’s most successful line.
The name of the instrument is a tribute to Maurice Herzog’s incredible feat: climbing the Annapurna in 1950 while wearing the original watch on his wrist.

Short video to discover the spirit of the LIP Himalaya collection.

Among the many references, the Himalaya Calendar Automatic is the high-end model of the collection.
It features: 316L steel (surgical steel), a domed sapphire crystal, a dial with a railway-track-style chapter ring, lighter days and months counters – in French – and a full-grain French leather strap.

La montre automatique LIP Himalya Calendrier possède deux compteurs ^pour les jours et les mois
LIP’s Himalaya Calendar automatic watch displays the day, the date and the month.

Let’s let our French pride speak for a second: this is a very nice watch featuring small complications for this price range.
Inside the timepiece, there are no Swiss Made calibre in sight, but a Miyota 9122 adorning “Côtes de Genève” is displayed on the back.

La montre automatique Himalya Calendrier de LIP possède un fond transparent
The LIP Himalaya Calendar watch reveals its automatic movement on the case back.

The only thing left to explain is what the 2 o’clock push-piece is for. It enables to quickly set the months, as all the other indications are set with the crown.

LIP Himalaya Calendar Automatic technical specifications

Made in France in Besançon
Case: 40 mm diameter, thickness: 13.6 mm
Water resistance: 50 metres
20 mm width, grey crocodile style, cowhide leather strap
Three-fold steel clasp
Automatic Miyota 9122 movement
Size 13″1/2 – diameter 26 mm
vibration frequency: 28800 per hour
26 jewels
40-hour power reserve
Warranty: 2 years


GermanyJunghans Max Bill Kleine Automatic – €995

The very old German manufacture Junghans – founded in 1861 in Schramberg in the Black Forest – collaborated with the Swiss Max Bill in the 1950s.
The painter, sculptor, graphic designer and architect was part of the Bauhaus movement and was also known for advocating for classic and minimalist designs.

Chez Junghans, la montre Max Bill Kleine Automatic est très épurée
This Junghans Max Bill Kleine Automatic is made of stainless PVD-coated steel and features a strap made from recycled PET.

After designing a kitchen clock, he started designing Junghans’ refined watches in 1961 which became one of the brand’s most famous collection.
The Max Bill Kleine Automatic watch faithfully represents the refined style of the artist. There are three different models, including the steel one and its singular character conveyed by the grey PVD-coating.
It also stands out because of its very simple signature dial, its segment indices, its inner ring hour markers and its railway-track-style chapter ring indicating the minutes, which reminds of the dial of old military watches.
When it comes to the dial, the name of the Max Bill Kleine Automatic is perfectly appropriate: its diameter is only 34 mm, just like the original 1961 model.
Moreover, its bracelet deserves some attention too. Though it looks like textile, it is actually made from recycled PET (plastic): a good deed for the environment which must be pointed out.

Junghans Max Bill Kleine Automatic technical specifications

Automatic calibre J800.1, 38-hour power reserve, date
Grey stainless steel PVD-coated case
34 mm diameter, 10 mm thickness
Convex hard plexiglas with coating for enhanced scratch resistance
Full case back screwed in four places
30 metres water resistance
White matt dial featuring luminous (Superluminova) dots and hands

Olive green strap made from recycled PET
Grey matt stainless steel PVD-coated tang buckle


Russia, Raketa Classic Big Zero – €990

Raketa is a very old stonecutter’s Russian workshop founded by the Tsar Peter the Great in 1721 near Saint Petersburg. After World War II, the Kremlin decided to turn it into a watchmaking manufacture.
First called Podeba, it was renamed Raketa (Russian for rocketship) in 1961 in tribute to the first human spaceflight achieved by Yuri Gagarin.
The watches of the Soviet manufacture were resistant and trustworthy and quickly made their way onto pilots, cosmonauts, soldiers and politicians’ wrists – such as Brezhnev, Gorbachev…and even Fidel Castro.

Take a look at the Raketa Big Zero.

Raketa is manufacture which makes all the pieces for its own movements, including the balance spring of the regulating organ which is actually made of a secret Soviet alloy.
Raketa watches stand out because of their 0 index at noon instead of a 12, but also because of their very visible red logo on the dial: Pakema – and not Raketa – which is the name of the brand in Latin.

The perfect watch for fans of vintage designs and military-inspired watches

Some signature elements of the Classic Big Zero watch are revealed on the set of the Frank sans C’s video. You can only find this exclusive instrument at the Fréret-Roy boutique in Paris (30 rue Danielle Casanova, Paris 2e).

Raketa Big Zero Classic édition exclusive Fréret-Roy à Paris
Raketa’s automatic Classic Big Zero automatic watch is only available at the Fréret-Roy boutique in Paris.

Its 38.8 mm case is water resistant up to 100 metres and its silvered square pattern dial comes with golden hands and indices. An Avtomat 2615 calibre – specific to this edition – is displayed on the case back: here the automatic movement adorns a stunning rose gold colour and a delicate spiral decoration which could be kindly nicknamed “Côtes de Saint-Pétersbourg”.