The Most Affordable Watches of 2021

Here are the timepieces to spring for — in every category — when cost is a factor.

today in gear watches
Gear Patrol

This story is part of our end-of-year series This Year in Gear rounding up the most notable releases of 2021. For more stories like this, click here.

Sure, we've come a long way since 2020 — which seemed, in more ways than one, like the end of the world. But maybe you wanted to ease back into normality in 2021 and, you know, not spend all your hard-earned cash on a statement piece. Or maybe you have that statement piece and you just want something you can throw on and bang around? Well, that's perfectly fine, and we've got you covered. These are some the best affordable watches of 2021.

Rec Watches TTT Great Escape

rec watches
REC Watches
rec watches
REC Watches

Presented by Rec Watches

Rec Watches is all about the three-pronged concept that shapes its name: "Recover. Recycle. Reclaim." It's that spirit that drives every watch it releases, including — in this case — its first-ever moto-inspired watch collection. This release is far from just any motorcycle watches however; the TTT Great Escape is built with a genuine piece of cinematic history. Recycling the original clutch plates and connecting rods from Steve McQueen's signature 1962 Triumph TR6 Trophy from The Great Escape, Rec Watches' TTT Great Escape uses one of the most memorable motorcycles in history to literally craft an entirely modern luxury timepiece. Building those salvaged materials from the Triumph bike directly into the dial, the team at Rec Watches also included nods to McQueen's on-screen ride via the dark-green color scheme used on the dial, rotor and strap inner lining. Movie buffs will also spot the bike’s license plate (WH-13371) featured at 5 o’clock on the inner dial. Outside of homages to The Great Escape, Rec Watches' TTT watches also feature a practical dual inner-outer case construction that lets the wearer turn the entire dial to switch between RIDE and DRESS modes; RIDE mode shifts the 12 o'clock marker 30 degrees for easy legibility even when on the go. As an exclusive to Gear Patrol readers, Rec Watches is offering 10 percent off with the code GEARPATROL10.

Price: $1,995

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Parchie School-Time

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Kids watches never looked this good. I mean, when was the last time you saw a 12-hour bezel and a single-pass strap on something designed for a prepubescent human? Never, that's when. Available in three colors.

Price: $50

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SWATCH 1984 Black Divers Bioceramic

swatch 1984 black divers bioceramic
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It may look like a typical SWATCH, but this one's made from Bioceramic, a castor-derived bioplastic and zirconium dioxide ceramic. A tribute to a watch from 1984, its understated looks hit all the right notes.

Price: $90

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G-Shock GBD800UC-3

g shock gbd800uc 3
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All the standard G-Shock alarms, calendars, timers, etc. but in a cool, olive green-colored resin case and a matching strap.

Price: $99

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Citizen CA0621-05L Chronograph

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We double dare you to find a better looking chronograph for the money. Then we triple dare you to find one that's powered by light and water resistant to 100m.

Price: $190

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Orient Automatic Dive Watch

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An automatic dive watch with 200m of water resistance on a matching steel bracelet and cool, vintage-inspired looks and a day-date display and and and for $200? Just add to cart. Do it now.

Price: $206

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Seiko 5 SRPG37

seiko 5 srpg37 watch
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Recalling the classic Seiko 5 sports watches of old, the SRPG35 features an automatic day-date movement, black dial with Arabic numerals, and 100m of water resistance. However, it's been upsized to 39.4mm for the modern wearer.

Price: $207

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Timex Waterbury Traditional Automatic

timex waterbury traditional automatic
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A 39mm stainless steel Timex with an automatic movement, day-date display and 100m of water resistance? Sign us up. (It ships on a leather strap but should look killer on a NATO.)

Price: $259

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Dan Henry 1972 Maverick Chronograph

dan henry 1972 maverick chronograph
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Inspired by a classic chrono from the early 1970s, the Maverick is a meca-quartz-powered powerhouse: A 12-hour chronograph, an alarm and an all-black case and bracelet make it a true steal of a watch at $350.

Price: $350

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Bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph

bulova lunar pilot chronograph
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A true watch guy/gal's watch, the Lunar Pilot Chronograph is pretty much the coolest thing you can buy for under $500. It may not be as immediately recognizable as the Speedy, but wearing one is by far the coolest way to fly under the radar.

Price: $391

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