The Ultimate Guide to Buying Affordable Watches

Separating the wheat from the chaff.

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Everybody loves something "affordable," but this doesn't have to mean "cheap" in the pejorative sense. You can get highly accurate and well-designed watches for under $100, and there are even excellent mechanical watches available for not much more than that. There's some crap out there too, sure, and that's why a little guidance can be helpful.

The good news is that it's a good time to be a watch lover, or a watch shopper, even if you don't have a lot to spend. The rise of crowdfunding, online retail, direct-to-consumer microbrands, global supply networks and inexpensive production has lowered the entry point to levels of quality that once costed much more. You've got a lot of options.

"Affordable" is relative, of course, and means something different to everyone. Whether you're looking to spend as little as possible for a simple, functional timekeeper or just want bang for your buck, we've got you covered. Below, you'll find solid recommendations and insight to help you make a smart buying decision, whatever your angle.

The 30 Best Affordable Watches Under $1,000

best affordable watches under 1000
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From $80 to a grand, these are the best watches to get when you don’t want to spend a fortune.

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The Best Affordable Mechanical Watches

best affordable watches
Hamilton

From field watches to divers to dress watches and more.

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Affordable Vintage Watches That Experts Love

vintage skin diver watch
Sam Gardiner

We got some of the foremost experts in the watch world to weigh in on vintage watches that aren’t prohibitively expensive…yet.

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These Are the Best Watches You Can Buy Under $500

watches under 500 gear patrol lead full
Gear Patrol

You don’t have to drop a ton of money in order to get a great watch that, with a little TLC, could potentially last a lifetime.

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These Are the Best Watches Under $200

best watches under 200 gear patrol lead full
Gear Patrol

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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The Best Watches Under $100

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It’s perfectly possible to snag a respectable watch for less than a Benjamin — in fact, you can even go mechanical.

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5 Budget Watches That Look Way More Expensive Than They Are

5 budget watches that look way more expensive gear patrol lead full
Maen

Quality and refinement don’t need to cost thousands.

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5 Classy Dress Watches Under $1,000

dress watches
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A great dress watch doesn't have to cost as much as a car.

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A Brief Guide to Affordable Vintage Rolex Watches

affordable vintage rolex
Analog/Shift

From Air Kings to Oyster Perpetuals, these are the Rollies you can buy without taking out a HELOC.

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Affordable Alternatives to the Most Iconic Watches Ever

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If that classic watch is out of reach, there are still other great options.

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The Best Field Watches Under $500

best field watches under 500
Marathon

Field watches offer some of the best value out there, and these awesome examples prove it.

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These Are Seven of the Most Affordable GMT Watches

best affordable gmt
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GMT watches needn’t be bank-breaking. From big Swiss companies and upstart microbrands, here are 7 affordable GMTs.

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