This year, and forgive the hyperbole I’m often guilty of falling into, has been awful. Abject. Just straight up the pits. And it’s only the end of August. Think about it – austerity stalks the world economy like some giant stalky thing; we’ve had the death of David Bowie, Prince and Alan Rickman; we’ve had Donald Trump, Brexit and Hiddleswift; then there’s Christiano Ronaldo winning a major international tournament; and DC films throwing out two turkeys in Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad (I’ll never get those six hours back). The list is endless.

Time is money: three watches for less than HK$2,500

The watch business has been pretty underwhelming with its launches, too, adjusting to the new reality that people don’t have as much disposable income to splash about. But, thank­fully, people are still buying watches, they’re just trading down, so this week we’ll look at three great pieces that come under that psychologically important HK$10,000 barrier.

First up is the Longines Conquest Heritage, priced at HK$9,500 and a tribute to a watch from 1954. The steel case is a retro and refined 35mm. Features, as was the way with watches of old, are kept simple, with only a date display at the 12 o’clock position. Don’t be put off by the fact it’s a Longines – the brand has rather sullied itself with some monstrous watches in recent years – this is a blast from a glorious past. If you’re in the market for a classic dress watch but don’t want to sell a kidney to be able to afford one, then this watch should be in the running.

If your budget can’t stretch to more than HK$5,000, then check out the latest pieces from the rapidly improving Emporio Armani collection. There’s a stigma attached to Emporio Armani watches as they tend to skew towards fashion and can be ubiquitous (after all they are available in every airport in the world, seemingly). The brand has invested a lot in becoming a serious player in recent times, however, first with its Swiss Made pieces and then with its lower prices. The AR6099 isn’t perfect – that huge eagle logo, for starters, puts me off – but, overall, this is a robust and brash sports watch that comes in a rather fetching chocolate brown. The case is sized at a large 44mm and the watch has a chronograph function to boot. The AR6099 is priced at HK$4,500.

Finally, we have a piece that’s a snip at HK$1,850, the new Plano from Hong Kong’s very own Squarestreet. We’ve talked about the wonderfully clean and modern design of Squarestreet watches before, and the Plano continues that DNA, but the difference here is that it is incredibly thin, at only 6.7mm. Best of all, the watch comes in nine colours, so there’s lots of options.