Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

The 30 Best Affordable Watches Under $1,000

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

Best-Watches-Under-1k-gear-patrol-lead-full

One of the biggest misconceptions about buying a watch is that it needs to be expensive to be nice, when, in fact, many watches under a grand prove just how wrong that notion is. Admittedly, finding them amongst the many other budget timepieces that are cheaply made or chintzy can be difficult, which is why we went through the trouble to round up some of the best examples at three different price points: $150, $500, and $1,000.

Table of Contents
Under $150

    Under $500

      Under $1,000

        Under $150

        There’s just something to be said about a cheap watch with a solid build and some character. Admittedly, purchasing a timepiece in this price range can be tricky — it’s littered with junk. On the flip side, plenty of examples out there have garnered cult followings, made up of everymen and horology nerds alike. Some are from respected Japanese brands — Citizen, Seiko — others young innovators. But they all go to show that the affordable watch need not be marked by a shoddy materials or hands that fall off after a month’s use.

        Casio World Time

        While the circa $10 Casio F91W-1 probably also deserves a place on a list like this, we’ll begin with the awesome World Time just to avoid Casio-overload. But the Japanese brand is undeniably strong in this price point with tough, reliable, dirt-cheap watches. Oh, and some people find them to be quite stylish as well. This Casio World Time offers all these attributes and more (including world time, calendar, and alarms) with a dash of retro-futuristic nostalgia, and it’s surprisingly robust for such a great price.

        Movement: Japanese quartz
        Case diameter: 39.5mm
        Water resistance: 100m

        Buy Now: $26

        Orient Tristar

        Using an automatic 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 37.5mm case, a stainless steel bracelet and a colorful dial. Its as simple of an automatic watch that you can get, but therein lies its charm.

        Movement: Orient 469 automatic
        Case diameter: 37.5mm
        Water resistance: 30m

        Buy Now: $75

        Swatch Essentials

        Swatch is Switzerland’s answer to fun, inexpensive, mass-produced quartz watches, but with a distinctly playful European design sense. There’s a colorful Swatch in just about any style you could want, from versatile examples like this Essentials collection model to bold and quirky watches galore.

        Movement: quartz
        Size: 41mm
        Water Resistance: 30m

        Buy Now: $85

        Timex MK1 Aluminum

        Though any number of great Timexes could’ve made this list, we’re particualrly 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.

        Movement: Quartz
        Case diameter: 40mm
        Water resistance: 30m

        Buy Now: $89

        Nokia Steel

        If you just wanted to spend $70 or so on a good-looking quartz watch, you could do a lot worse than the 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

        Buy Now: $91

        Casio G-Shock GWM5610

        A direct descendant of the original G-Shock from 1983, the modern G5600 version and similar watches are as tough as ever. For under $100 you get some nearly indestructible wrist gear that is more accurate than any luxury mechanical watch, and no need for battery changes with solar power. Just make sure you get one that says “Tough Solar” on it, and has a positive display for the best legibility. Further, G-Shocks are just fun, unpretentious, hassle-free, and extremely comfortable to wear.

        Movement: Solar-powered Japanese quartz
        Case diameter: 39.5mm
        Water resistance: 200m

        Buy Now: $95

        Seiko 5 Sports SNZG11

        No list of dirt-cheap watches is complete without the Seiko 5. Originally launched in 1963, it’s cultivated a feverish following amongst watch fans for its utilitarian mechanical movement and the value it provides. The Seiko 5 comes in many iterations, and the field watch — seen here in 42mm — is one of our favorites. In addition to using Seiko’s workhorse 7s36 automatic movement, it features a day/date display and a textile strap matched to its dial color.

        Movement: Seiko 7S36 Automatic
        Size: 42mm
        Water Resistance: 100m

        Buy Now: $125

        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

        Buy Now: $128

        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

        Buy Now: $131

        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 this timepiece from young brand Bertucci such 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

        Buy Now: $140

        Under $500

        You can get a pretty damn good watch for less than the cost of a big night out, that’s for sure. But while there are plenty of great dirt-cheap timepieces under $150, if you’re looking for more features, more capability and more impressive designs, you need to bump up the ceiling of your budget. But only a little. For a mere $500 you can enter the world of geeky timepieces, where complications, mechanical movements and daring design elements are plentiful.

        Orient Bambino V4


        The latest iteration of Orient’s beloved, mid-century-style dress watch. The domed dial now comes in an excellent slate-gray colorway and features rose gold accents. The watch also gets an updated suede strap. Ticking underneath is an automatic movement from Orient featuring hand-winding and hacking seconds.

        Movement: Orient F6724 Automatic
        Size: 42mm
        Water Resistance: 30m

        Buy Now: $150

        Timex Marlin

        With few exceptions, Timex abandoned mechanical movements in favor of digital and quartz movements years ago — which is exactly why Timex’s reissue of the famed Marlin is so exciting. It’s now available with an automatic movement underneath, and if that weren’t enough, it comes with a sleek case, dial, and strap design that truly look like they were plucked from the 1960s.

        Movement: Miyota automatic
        Size: 40mm
        Water Resistance: 30m

        Buy Now: $259

        Merci LMM-01

        Parisian “concept store” Merci launched its own timepiece, and it’s one hell of a looker, like a crossover between a modern Mondaine watch and a vintage field watch. The dial is adorned with Helvetica numerals and yellow accents, it’s equipped with a VH31 quartz movement from Seiko, and it comes in at under $300.

        Movement: Seiko VH31 quartz
        Size: 38mm
        Water Resistance: 50m

        Buy Now: $269

        Citizen Stiletto


        When Citizen launched its mind-blowingly thin (less than 3mm) Eco-Drive One in 2016, it captivated watch enthusiasts, but with a price tag over $2,000, it was steeply priced. At under $500, and with a still crazy-thin case thickness of 4.7mm, the Stiletto is a fantastic compromise, given its sleek proportions and classy guilloche dial. Of course, that solar-powered quartz movement is also a gem, making battery changes a thing of the past.

        Movement: Eco-Drive solar quartz
        Size: 38mm
        Water Resistance: splash-resistant only

        Buy Now: $285

        Bulova Lunar Pilot Moonwatch


        When people think “moon watch,” Buzz Aldrin’s Omega Speedmaster Professional comes to mind. It was the first watch worn on the moon, after all, but there are actually quite a few timepieces that have ventured off this rock. When Mission Commander David Scott and his Apollo 15 crew touched down in the Hadley-Appennius, Scott checked his Bulova and logged the landing at 06:16:29 p.m. This Bulova 956B251 is a high-beat quartz-powered homage to that very watch.

        Movement: Bulova 262kHz quartz chronograph
        Size: 45mm
        Water Resistance: 50m

        Buy Now: $333

        Braun Chronograph BN0095

        If you want excellent modern design in a watch, you don’t need to pay much, fortunately. Braun has won both an iF and a Red Dot award for its minimal, handsome aesthetic. A yellow seconds hand pops against a stealthy black dial and sleek black case, and the watch comes equipped with a robust, Swiss quartz movement.

        Movement: quartz
        Size: 43mm
        Water Resistance: 50m

        Buy Now: $374

        Seagull 1963


        Want a new mechanical chronograph under $500? The Seagull 1963 is pretty much your only option. That’s no concession, though. It uses a hand-wound mechanical movement made by Tianjin Seagull Watch Co. (one of China’s best movement manufacturers), housed in a compact and authentically sized 38mm stainless steel case.

        Movement: Seagull ST21 hand-winding chronograph
        Size: 38mm
        Water Resistance: 30m

        Buy Now: $379

        Laco Augsburg


        German watch brand Laco is perhaps best known for its super simple, super legible Flieger pilot watches. This Augsburg doesn’t stray far from that formula: it comes with a stark black dial adorned with numerals given a healthy dose of lume, plus a big 42mm case (a smaller 36mm variant is also available for fans of small watches). Inside ticks an automatic movement from Miyota, and the whole thing comes affixed to a thick brown leather strap.

        Movement: Miyota 821A automatic
        Size: 42mm
        Water Resistance: 50m

        Buy Now: $410

        Seiko Prospex SRP777


        With its big cushion case, knobby bezel and simple dial, the SRP777 is a faithful homage to the original Seiko 6309 “Turtle” from the 1970s and ’80s. But unlike the Turtle, the new watch is water resistant up to 200 meters (the old one was only rated for 150) and has an automatic movement with hand-winding capabilities. It’s a fantastic option for those who want the look of a vintage diver, but the capabilities and reliability of a modern watch.

        Movement: Seiko 4R36 automatic
        Size: 45mm
        Water Resistance: 200m

        Buy Now: $495

        Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical

        Hamilton’s popular Khaki Field watch needs no introduction to those who have ever explored the world of affordable mechanical watches. It has a cult following for a reason – or more like reasons (plural). Not only is it one of the most inexpensive Swiss mechanical watches you can buy, but it’s solid with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and it perfectly recalls the brand’s history making watches for actual military use.

        Movement: Hand-wound Swiss ETA 2804-2
        Size: 38mm
        Water Resistance: 50m

        Buy Now: $495

        Under $1,000

        Yes, you can get some truly special timepieces from luxury brands if you decide to spend a couple grand — don’t let us deter you from pulling the trigger on your dream watch. But you can get a surprising amount of watch for less than a single grand, too. Want a monstrous titanium dive watch? You can get that for under $1,000. Or a super-thin, mechanical dress watch? We found two. Want a bronze case or an enamel dial? They’re all here, as well, along with a handful of other great-looking, reliable timepieces from watchmakers big and small.

        Baltic Aquascaphe

        French indie brand Baltic’s Aquascaphe was already a great-looking vintage-inspired dive watch, but its 2020 iteration is possibly the best yet. Now with a steel 12-hour bezel and a contemporary look with white, contrasting dial elements, it still offers restrained sizing at just 39mm wide. Water resistant to 200m, it’s available on a steel bracelet but prices start at under $600 on a Tropic rubber dive strap.

        Movement: Miyota 9039 automatic
        Size: 39mm
        Water Resistance: 200m

        Buy Now: ~$586+

        MkII Cruxible Type A-11

        MkII is an independent brand that specializes in producing modern homages to historic military watches, and the Cruxible recreates the World War II-era A-11 watch. It’s available in a wearable 39mm size with an automatic Seiko movement in either a date or no-date variant. Military watches have a utilitarian charm that’s hard to beat, and MkII is appreciated by enthusiasts for offering solid value.

        Movement: Seiko NE15 automatic
        Size: 39mm
        Water Resistance: 100m

        Buy Now: $649

        Seiko Alpinist SPB121

        Seiko’s Alpinist is one classy field watch. Aside from the deep forest green dial, it also comes packing an automatic movement and an inner rotating bezel that can be used as a compass when synched with the position of the sun. And with a case diameter of 39.5mm, it’s a great mid-size watch that should look great on just about anyone. Based on the brand’s first sport watch made in 1959, Seiko has released an updated version now residing in the Prospex family.

        Movement: Seiko 6R35 automatic
        Size: 39.5mm
        Water Resistance: 200m

        Buy Now: $725

        Seiko Prospex SPB051J1


        The SPB051J1 is a reissue of Seiko’s first dive watch, the 6217, which originally debuted in 1965. The modern iteration is certainly bigger than the original at 42.6mm in diameter (versus 38mm of the 6217), but it packs Seiko’s in-house 6R15 automatic movement and is water-resistant to 200 meters.

        Movement: Seiko 6R15 automatic
        Size: 42.6mm
        Water Resistance: 200m

        Buy Now: $782

        Hamilton Intra-Matic


        The Hamilton Intra-Matic remains one of our favorite affordable timepieces. Its simple mix of elegance and style harkens back to an era when understated design ruled drawing boards. Featuring a large sunburst dial, decorated minimally with Hamilton’s vintage “H” logo, faceted lugs and a thin leather band, the Intra-Matic could easily pass as an heirloom timepiece, without the fuss of vintage upkeep.

        Movement: ETA 2892-2 automatic
        Size: 38mm
        Water Resistance: 50m

        Buy Now: $845

        Christopher Ward Trident C60 Sapphire

        Christopher Ward has always offered a lot of watch for the money, and that’s absolutely true even on the higher end of the brand’s wares. This iteration of the stalwart C60 dive watch, for example, packs a Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement that visible through a blue-tinted sapphire dial. Its heavy-duty construction and water resistance to an incredible 600 meters is just a huge bonus.

        Movement: Sellita SW200-1 automatic
        Size: 40mm
        Water Resistance: 600m

        Buy Now: $895

        Junghans Max Bill


        Understated, slim and impeccably clean, this Bauhaus-inspired Junghans is perfectly sized to peek out from under a French cuff. Its case measures 38mm and houses a self-winding movement between 10mm of polished stainless steel and Sicralan-coated plexiglass. Super Luminova has been applied to the hour and minute hands as well as markers at both 6 and 12 to help it shine through the night.

        Movement: ETA 2824-2 automatic (base)
        Size: 38mm
        Water Resistance: 30m

        Buy Now: $895

        Tissot Ballade Powermatic 80


        Though the progress of innovation in mechanical watchmaking is slow, in the last decade or so, silicon balance springs have become one of the industry’s greatest innovations, albeit one primarily used in higher-end watches from brands like Omega, Tudor and even Patek Philippe; silicon provides resistance to magnetism and allows for more accurate timekeeping. It’s remarkable, then, that Tissot’s sub-$1,000 Ballade uses one as well; further, it’s a fully certified COSC chronometer, accurate to within -2/+4 seconds per day. It’s like a budget version of the Omega Globemaster.

        Movement: Tissot Powermatic 80 automatic
        Size: 41mm
        Water Resistance: 50m

        Buy Now: $925

        Stowa Antea ‘Back to Bauhaus’


        To the uninitiated, the Stowa Antena looks like a replicant of the Nomos Tangente, but its roots actually go all the way back to the 1930s, when both Stowa and A. Lange were creating very similar minimalist timepieces. While the basic shape and dial layout remain the same as that early watch, its most prominent update is its choice of font, Bauhaus STD, an evolution of a typeface created by Bauhaus designer Herbert Bayer in 1927. Customers also get to choose between three different configurations: a 35.5mm watch with a hand-winding Peseux 7001 movement or 36.5mm or 39mm versions with automatic ETA 2824-2 movements.

        Movement: Peseux 7001 hand-winding; ETA 2824-2 automatic
        Size: 35.5mm; 36.5mm; 39mm
        Water Resistance: 30m; 50mm

        Buy Now: ~$943

        Autodromo Group B Series 2 Safari

        Autodromo has consistently reached for new design heights since its first automotive-inspired model was introduced in 2011. One of its most recent releases, the Group B Series 2 Safari, sports a newly colored 39mm case, which is comprised of a uniquely designed titanium capsule mated to a stainless steel bracelet.

        Movement: Miyota 9015 automatic
        Size: 39mm
        Water Resistance: 50m

        Buy Now: $975

        Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

        This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
        Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
        More From Buying Guides