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These Are the Best Watches Under $200

Bargain watches get a bad rap, but there are plenty of dirt-cheap options with excellent design and solid build quality.

watches
Gear Patrol

It’s easy to assume the most interesting watches lie in the realm of four, five and six figures, where exotic materials, complex hand-made movements and limited editions abound. But there’s something to be said about a cheap watch with character and a solid build. And the price point is lower than most think — you don’t need to spend thousands or even many hundreds for a quality affordable timepiece. Some dirt-cheap watches that sell for $200 or less have all the basic facets of a great timepiece.

Admittedly, purchasing a timepiece in this price range can be tricky — it’s littered with chintzy, fast-fashion watches poorly built with crappy parts. But on the flip side, there do exist many watches around $200 that have garnered their own cult followings and are snatched up by everymen and horology nerds alike. Some are from our favorite affordable Japanese brands (you know who we’re talking about), others young innovators — but they all go to show that the affordable watch need not be marked by a plastic case or hands that fall off after a month’s use. These 10 watches represent the pinnacle of the bargain-barrel timepiece.

Casio G-Shock DW9052-1BCG
amazon.com
$46.99

The quintessential G-Shock deserves a place on the Best Watches of All Time, let alone the best under $200. Always reliably available for well under $100, the basic DW9500-series watch features everything you need (though it can be worth paying a little more for Tough Solar charging) and nothing you don’t: 200m of water resistance; multiple stopwatches and alarms; a backlit LED screen; and a virtually indestructible design.
Movement: Quartz-powered digital
Case diameter: 48.5mm
Water resistance: 200m

Orient TriStar
amazon.com
$98.00

Using a movement based on an old caliber originally from Seiko, the Orient 3 Star is a simple, utilitarian automatic akin to the Seiko 5. While it won't blow you away in terms of fit and finish, it does have a well-proportioned 37mm case, a stainless steel bracelet and a colorful dial. It’s as simple an automatic watch as you can get, but therein lies its charm.
Movement: Orient 469 automatic
Case diameter: 37mm
Water resistance: 30m

Citizen NH8350-83L
ebay.com
$129.00

You’d be forgiven for thinking Citizen’s entire lineup is made up of its quartz Eco-Drive watches, but the brand does, in fact, make some mechanicals. The NH8350, for instance, packs a Miyota 8200 automatic movement into a clean-cut stainless steel case and comes adorned with a shimmering, sunray blue dial. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better mechanical dress watch for less.
Movement: Miyota 8200 automatic
Size: 40mm
Water Resistance: 50m

Orient Bambino
amazon.com
$135.45

Available in numerous dial, case color and strap options and having gone through several updates over the years, the Bambino remains one of the most affordable automatic dress watches on the market. With a clean dial and an unobtrusive date window and a leather strap, the Bambino is a perfect entry-level dress watch, and prices on Amazon are almost always well below $200.
Movement: Orient F6724 automatic
Size: 40.5mm
Water Resistance: 30m

Withings Steel
amazon.com
$149.95

If you just wanted to spend under $150 on a good-looking quartz watch, you could do a lot worse than the Withings/Nokia Steel (formerly the Withings Activité). But this being a “hybrid” smartwatch, you get more than just the time of day. The watch connects to your phone via Bluetooth to give you simple sleep and fitness tracking info that, while not super comprehensive, is helpful in tracking and motivating healthy behavior.
Movement: Connected quartz
Size: 36mm
Water Resistance: 50m

Braun BN0021BKG
Braun amazon.com
$153.00

Braun’s minimalist aesthetic is perfect for someone looking for a wardrobe accoutrement rather than a showpiece. What’s more, graphic elements like the yellow seconds hand and austere font are sure to call to mind the brand’s legacy of Bauhaus-inspired product design.
Movement: Quartz
Size: 38mm
Water Resistance: 50m

Bertucci A-2T Field Watch
amazon.com
$189.99

Cases made from solid titanium — loved for its lightweight, durable and hypoallergenic properties — are not such a common site on sub-$150 watches, which is what makes the young U.S. watch brand Bertucci an enticing option. Similarly enticing is the classic field watch dial design, the Japanese quartz movement inside and a 100-meter depth rating.
Movement: Quartz
Size: 40mm
Water Resistance: 100m

MK1 Mechanical
skimresources.com
$185.00

Though any number of great Timexes could’ve made this list, we’re particularly enamored with the reissued MK1 — a recreation (of sorts) of a short-lived 1980s military-issue watch. While the original was meant to be disposable and had a plastic case protecting it, this version swaps in a steel case. Even better, it's sized small like a proper field watch and is powered by a manually wound movement.
Movement: Manual
Case diameter: 36mm
Water resistance: 30m

Swatch Sistem51
amazon.com
$195.00

When Swatch launched the Sistem51 — an autonomously assembled automatic movement boasting a 90-hour power reserve — it was a revelation, but its plastic case limited its appeal. Now you can get the same movement cased up in stainless steel, making it a more reserved option for everyday wear.
Movement: Swatch Sistem51 automatic
Size: 42mm
Water Resistance: 30m

Timex Marlin Hand Wound
skimresources.com
$199.00

Based on a classic from Timex’s back catalog, the Marlin is available in several different variants in a slim, 34mm case that looks perfect with a suit or with a t-shirt and jeans. With its svelte proportions, thin handset and leather strap, the Marlin is a design that will never go out of style.
Movement: Mechanical handwound
Size: 34mm
Water Resistance: 30m

Seiko 5 Sports
amazon.com
$295.00

This one’s a bit of a misnomer. Technically, the new Seiko 5 Sports models released last year are not sub-$200 watches (they retail for $295+). However, if you check back often on Macy’s or Amazon, the prices might sometimes dip below that mark. Not bad for a watch with a robust automatic movement, thick steel case and 100m of water resistance.
Movement: Seiko 4R36 automatic
Size: 42.5mmmm
Water Resistance: 100m

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