Time destroys everything. Sandcastles. Your smooth forehead. Spurs' last title-shot season. It is a merciless beast, and we are all trapped under its never-ending ticking, ever forward. Ever forward.
Still, watches are nice, right? They're functional. They make sure you arrive in time at the doctor's, despite the fact that you know they're running behind schedule as always. They're fashion accessories. They speak to people about you, as a person. They're pretty great. And they don't have to destroy your wallet either.
That's why we've rounded up an attractive selection of some of the handsomest watches you can snap up for under £500, so you can treat your wrist to some classy timekeeping.
The Revolutionary - Swatch Steel SISTEM51 Irony (£140)
The groundbreaking Sistem51 originally launched in 2013 in plastic, but this year sees the release of the stainless steel version. The ultimate affordable automatic, it retains the same iconic principles (a Swiss-made, 51-part automatic movement held together by just one screw and assembled entirely by robots) but with a more manly, less faddy, everyday aesthetic.
The Chameleon - Shore Projects Poole (£125)
Inspired by the great British seaside, Shore Projects watches are built to withstand everyday rough and tumble. Crafted with stainless steel cases, crystal sapphire glass and waterproofed to 100m, their retro minimalist style makes them versatile wrist adorners. The best thing? The vast array of interchangeable straps means that each design be dressed up for every occasion.
The Springboard - Tissot PR100 (£395)
Tissot is one of a handful of brands that tend to mark a first foray into ‘serious’ watches. A heritage Swiss marque, it's been around for over 163 years, and this handsome automatic draws on all that experience. The PR100 has a date window, minimal hour markers and a stainless steel case that makes it the perfect office timepiece.
The Lightweight - Squarestreet Aluminium (£210)
A featherweight in the watch world, the Aluminium weighs in at only 33 grams. But what it lacks in heft it makes up for with its crazy dial design. The concentric rings and numberless indices create a look that an interior designer might call 'modern maximalism'. In other words, it's designed to be gazed at – which is a good thing, as it might take you a moment to tell the time.
The Minimalist - Kitmen Keung Long Distance 1.0 (£310)
Watches with a dual-time function are an obvious choice for someone who regularly crosses time zones. But unlike so many of their overly complicated rivals, Hong Kong-based Kitmen Keung has made one with the most clean and simple of dial designs. Just the ticket for jet-lagged, bleary-eyed country hoppers.
The Petrolhead's Choice - Christopher Ward C7 Rapide Chronograph MKII V390 (£350)
The Tag Heuer Carrera is one of the most iconic luxury watches on the market. Unfortunately, it also comes with a £2k price tag. Thankfully, British brand Christopher Ward’s quartz Rapide Chronograph delivers the same automotive inspired style (replete with tachymetre and 1/10ths split second timer) at a fraction of the cost, but with the same masculine DNA.
The Modern Brit - Farer Carter GMT (£420)
Inspired by great British adventurers, this new homegrown brand delivers impressive, sporty models that are powered by a Swiss-made quartz movement. Named after Howard Carter, the British archaeologist who discovered buried pyramids containing the tombs of Egyptian Kings, the ‘Carter’ features colour-popping hands and a sporty perforated leather strap that gives it a great weekender vibe.
The Cult Classic - Mondaine SBB Stop2Go (£490)
This exact replica of the railway clocks from Switzerland's impossibly elegant train stations copies every detail, right down to the quirky red second hand. This turns full circle in 58 seconds, before waiting obediently at 12 o'clock for the final two seconds as the black minute hand jumps forwards. Why so? The pause originally allowed 1940s Swiss stations to synchronise their clocks by telephone cable every minute.
The Deep Sea Diver - Seiko Prospex PADI Kinetic GMT Diver (£500)
It's safe to say that most diving watch owners aren't back-rolling into Red Sea every weekend, but this collaboration with the pro divers' association is here for genuine, scuba-loving watch hunters. The Prospex's screw-down crown, 200m water resistance and hi-vis lettering courtesy of Seiko's Lumibrite coating all combine nicely to satisfy its owner's inner Jacques Cousteau.