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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.

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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.

G-Shock DW9052-1V

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 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

Price: $51.95


Braun BN0021

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

Price: $69.99


Orient 3 Star

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 there’s not much in the way 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

Price: $74.97


Timex MK1 Aluminum

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 mechanical movement inside and a plastic case protecting it, this version swaps both with a more reliable quartz engine and a higher-quality case made from anodized aluminum, which is now available in multiple colors.
Movement: Quartz
Case diameter: 40mm
Water resistance: 30m

Price: $89.00


Withings/Nokia Steel

If you just wanted to spend $130 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

Price: $98.98


Orient Bambino

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

Price: $101.42


Citizen NH8350-83L

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

Price: $119.00


Bertucci A-2T Titanium

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

Price: $160


Swatch Sistem51 Irony

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

Price: $159.00


Seiko 5 Sports

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

Price: $200+


Timex Marlin Hand-Wound

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

Price: $200


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