20 Affordable Swiss Watches for 2023

20 Affordable Swiss Watches for 2023

Swiss watches are regarded by many as the finest timepieces in the world, and finding truly affordable Swiss watches can be, to put it mildly, somewhat challenging. Watches mass-produced in Japan and other Asian countries have cornered much of the market in the affordable realm, which we're defining here as watches with prices roughly topping out at $2,000; even Switzerland's neighbor, Germany, might be able to claim more "serious" brands that aim for this price segment. But due to the sheer size and diversity of its watch industry, Switzerland does offer its own fair share of value-oriented watches, all of which meet the globally respected "Swiss Made" standard. To coin a cliché, you just have to know where to look, and which labels to focus on. Here are 20 affordable Swiss watches, from some of the world's most admired Swiss watch brands, in a handful of popular categories.


Swatch Sistem 51

Swatch Sistem 51 

Price: $155, Reference: SUTN405, Case Size: 42 mm, Case Height: 13.9 mm, Lug To Lug: 50.6 mm, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Crystal: Mineral, Movement: Automatic

Swatch, often dismissed as the maker of plastic-cased, quartz-driven, mass-marketed timepieces for limited budgets and trend-driven youth, made the watch world sit up and take notice when it unveiled the Sistem 51 in 2013. Priced at an astounding $150, the watch contained an innovatively designed 51-part mechanical movement with five assembly-line produced modules held together by a single central screw. Swatch has since expanded the collection from its original handful of models to encompass a wide range of colorways and designs, including the stealth-look model above. Flip the watch over to get a glimpse of the groundbreaking self-winding caliber through a caseback window.

Movado Museum Classic

Movado Museum Classic

Price: $695, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 7mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Swiss quartz 

A watch that you can recognize across a room, Movado’s Museum Watch is the brainchild of the late American industrial designer Nathan George Horwitt, who came up with the idea of a simple black dial with no numbers or indices — only a single gold dot at the 12 o’clock position, meant to symbolize the sun at high noon, an essential element in early timekeeping. The design was adopted for a watch dial in 1947, and Movado became the sole producer of it one year later, in 1948, using it as the template for numerous variations. The watch got its familiar name after the original model joined the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1959. In 2016, Movado went back to basics, presenting the Museum Classic with its 40mm gold-PVD-plated steel case, faceted dauphine hands, and a Swiss quartz movement.


Longines Hydroconquest

Longines Hydroconquest

Price: $1,700, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 11.9mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Longines Caliber L888

The Longines HydroConquest builds upon the brand’s sport-luxury Conquest design for an even more rugged and sport-oriented aesthetic, one aimed squarely at recreational divers and those looking to emulate their look. The HydroConquest’s unidirectional ratcheting bezel has a 60-minute dive-scale insert, with the first 15-minute sector delineated by minute markers and Arabic numerals at each subsequent 10-minute interval. The dial features a short, faceted hour hand with a bulging luminous diamond, a baton minute hand, and a lollipop-style sweep seconds hand. On this model, a military green dial and bezel harmonizes with a rubber strap in the same color. The case is water resistant to 300 meters, more than sufficient to meet ISO requirements for a diving watch, and contains the Longines-exclusive, ETA-based Caliber L888, with a 72-hour power reserve.

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin Automatic

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Skin

Price: $1,195 - $1,295, Case Size: 39mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic STP 1-11

The Super Sea Wolf 53 Skin Automatic is the model that most faithfully re-creates Zodiac's original Sea Wolf dive watch from 1953 (before “Super” was added to the name). Available on either a rubber strap or steel link bracelet, the watch has a steel case measuring 39mm in diameter — far larger than its ancestor’s but still the smallest in the current collection. The dial features prominent triangle hour markers with accompanying interior numerals and maintains a cleanly balanced symmetry, with no date window at 3 o’clock. The luminous material used on the markers and hands glows a bright orange in the dark. The movement inside is the STP 3-13 (following up the STP 1-11 used in previous generations), provided by parent company the Fossil Group.

Tissot Seastar 2000 Professional Powermatic 80

Tissot Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80Price: $1,075, Case size: 46mm, Thickness: 16.3mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 600 meters, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.111

Tissot's ruggedly attractive Seastar family of dive watches, which debuted in the 1960s, welcomed its most robustly engineered member in 2021. The ISO-certified Seastar 2000 entices deep-sea enthusiasts with its integrated helium release valve at 9 o’clock, unidirectional dive-scale bezel with engraved ceramic insert, and its most eye-catching element, a turquoise-blue gradient dial with a maritime-inspired, engraved wave motif. The 46-mm steel case is water-resistant to a very "professional" 600 meters. As with several other watches in our roundup, the Seastar 1000 contains the Swatch Group-exclusive Powermatic 80, which is based on the standard ETA 2824 but as per its name boasts an increased power reserve of 80 hours. 

Oris Aquis Date

Oris Aquis DatePrice: $2,000 - $2,300, Case Size: 39.55mm/41.5mm/43.5mm, Lug Width: 21mm/22mm/24mm, Crystal: Domed Sapphire, Water Resistance: 300 meters, Movement: Automatic Oris Caliber 733 (Sellita SW 200-1 base)

Since its introduction in 2011, the Oris Aquis dive watch has established itself as a tentpole collection within the brand’s portfolio, with numerous versions of the core three-hand-date model now available in a variety of colorways, materials and sizes. At the large end of the range are the 43.5mm models, with the 39.5mm versions at the smaller end and the versatile 41.5mm variants occupying the middle ground. Predominantly in stainless steel, the cases feature scratch-proof ceramic inserts for the rotating bezel’s dive scale, and screw-down crowns with shoulder-like crown guards to secure the 300-meter water resistance. The gradient dial, with the eponymous date displayed at 6 o’clock, features luminous hands and indexes and a lollipop-style central seconds hand.

Rado Captain Cook Automatic

Rado Captain Cook 

Price: $2,000, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug to Lug: 48.2mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic ETA C07.611 

The Captain Cook is based on a 1960s diving watch and eschews Rado’s usual modernist aesthetic in favor of a sporty, vintage look. The 42mm case diameter of the watch featured here elegantly splits the difference between the more modest, historically accurate 37mm and the stately 44mm models that preceded it. The unidirectional rotating bezel has a dive-scale insert made of high-tech ceramic, a hallmark material of the brand. The 200-meter water-resistant case has a solid caseback stamped with three seahorses, an aquatic motif that references historical Rado dive watches. The green dial is modern with a touch of vintage, sporting a rotating anchor symbol at 12 o’clock whose ’60s-inspired ruby-colored background echoes the eye-catching ruby-red date numeral in the 3 o’clock date window. Behind the stamped caseback is the automatic ETA C07.611 caliber, notable for its 80-hour power reserve.


Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic

Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic

Price: $1,295, Case Size: 44mm, Case Height: 11.5mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Alpina Caliber AL-525

The vintage-inspired Alpina Startimer Pilot, launched in 2011, was relaunched in 2017 with a new dial design and additional case options. The watch’s’ 44-mm case is equipped with an oversized crown typical of today’s pilot watch designs and a solid caseback featuring an engraved Alpina logo. On their dial is an outer minute track with Alpina’s hallmark red triangle at the 12 o’clock position, along with applied Arabic numerals broken up with rectangular markers at each of the quarter hours. The hour and minute hands are markedly curved and the red seconds hand uses the triangle logo as a counterweight. The date appears subtly in a small window at the 3 o’clock position. Ticking Inside the Startimer Pilot is the self-winding, Sellita-based caliber AL-525, with a 38-hour power reserve and special finishing by Alpina. 

Mido Ocean Star GMT

Mido GMT

Price: $1,250, Reference: M0266291105101, Case Size: 44mm Case Height: 13.28mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200 meters, Movement: Automatic Mido 80 (ETA C07.661 base)

Wildly popular in Latin America but only vaguely familiar to many watch aficionados in the U.S., Mido has been making watches since 1918 and its nautically inspired Ocean Star line has been around since the 1940s, even before the era of the modern diver’s watch. The Ocean Star GMT, launched in 2020, is that collection’s first dual-time-zone watch, with a sturdy 316L stainless steel case and a ceramic divers’ bezel. The 24-hour scale that you might expect to find on the bezel is instead printed on the flange of the black dial; a long, arrow-tipped hand points to the scale, enabling the wearer to read the time in additional time zones while the two main lume-tipped hands display the local time. The Powermatic 80 caliber inside the 44mm steel case has been equipped with a specially made module for the GMT functionality. 

Oris Big Crown ProPilot

Oris Big Crown ProPilot

Price: $1,700 , Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 12.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.6mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic SW200

One of the flagships of Oris’s varied and versatile timepiece portfolio, the Big Crown ProPilot has a multi-part case measuring 41 mm in diameter and 12.4 mm thick and featuring the familiar hallmarks of the ProPilot series, like the coin-edge motif on the sides evoking a jet’s turbines and the large, fluted, screw-down crown referenced in the model’s name, an emblematic features of historical aviation watches. The double-domed sapphire crystal covers a black dial with indexes and applied hour numerals made of solid Super-LumiNova. The exhibition caseback offers a view of the Sellita-based Oris Caliber 751, which stores a 38-hour power reserve and is equipped with an instant date-change function, a date corrector, stop-seconds capability, and a red-highlighted Oris rotor. 


Tissot PRX Powermatic 80

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80

Price: $650, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug to Lug: 44.6mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Powermatic 80.111

Tissot added to the growing roster of sport-luxury watches on integrated steel bracelets in 2021 with the re-release of the PRX, a watch that first hit the market in 1978. The “P” and “R” in the name stand for “precise” and “robust,” and the “X” is actually a Roman numeral “10” depicting the model’s 10 atmospheres (aka 100 meters) of water resistance. Like its predecessor from the disco era, the first modern PRX model had a quartz movement, but that one was swiftly followed by an automatic version containing the brand’s Powermatic 80 caliber. The stainless steel, barrel-shaped case measures 40 mm in diameter, a relatively svelte 11 mm in thickness, and integrates smoothly into a supple steel bracelet. The dial features a distinctive waffle-pattern motif and a sunray finish.

Baume & Mercier Riviera

Baume & Mercier Riviera

Price: $1,800 - $4,400, Case size: 33mm/36mm/42mm, Thickness: 9.57mm/9.57mm, 13.2mm/12.1mm, Lug Width: 11mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters/50 meters/100 meters, Movement: Automatic Sellita SW 200/Sellita SW 200/Baumatic BM13-1975A

There’s no hotter category in watch fandom today than the sport-luxury steel timepiece on an integrated bracelet, pioneered by trailblazers like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus, making the recent revival of Baume & Mercier’s Riviera model a foregone conclusion. The modern versions of the 1973 classic stand apart from the more classically elegant designs from the brand’s portfolio, with their 12-sided bezels and four visible (and functional) screws at the corners, while also projecting a sense of historical luxury with their applied Roman numeral hour indexes. The dials host partially openworked Dauphine hands and eye-catching textured motifs. Inside the satin-brushed case, Baume & Mercier has installed either a dependable Sellita SW 200 or, in the pricier models, the in-house-made Baumatic BM13-1975A.

Raymond Weil Maestro Moon Phase Automatic

Raymond Weil Maestro Moon-Phase

Price: $1,175, Case Size: 39.5mm, Case Height: 9.8mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Lug to Lug: 44.5mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic Caliber RW4280 (Sellita SW200 base)

Raymond Weil’s collections take their names from the eponymous founder’s love of music and musicians, and the Maestro Moon Phase Automatic is a Moonlight Serenade for the wrist. Just shy of 40mm in stainless steel, the watch has a galvanic dial with a radiating textured motif inspired by waves of musical notes pulsing through a concert hall. Additionally, the outer minute track has an engraved pattern that evokes the grooves of an old vinyl record. The moon-phase display, in a crescent shaped aperture at 6 o’clock, draws the lion’s share of interest on the dial, below the central baton-shaped hands. Hidden behind the lyrical dial but evident behind a sapphire caseback is the Sellita-based RW4280 automatic movement that powers the watch.

Frederique Constant Vintage Rally Healey Automatic

Frederique Constant Rally Healey

Price: $1,995, Case Size: 40mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50 meters, Movement: Automatic FC-303 (Sellita SW200-1 base)

Frederique Constant pays tribute to classic rally cars and their “gentlemen drivers” with this three-hand-date model in a 40-mm polished steel case and a dial in the deep, bold green historically associated with British motorsports and vintage Healey cars in particular. The hands, indices and flange are all silver-coated and the automatic movement inside the 2,888-piece limited edition is Frederique Constant’s Sellita-based FC-303, with 26 jewels, a 28,800-vph frequency, and a 38-hour power reserve. As is traditional with the brand’s special Healey editions, its solid caseback is engraved with the image of a classic Healey automobile — on this model, it’s the Healey 100S N0J393 — and an individual serial number. Completing the package is the brown calfskin leather strap with contrast stitching and perforations inspired by vintage racing gloves.

Rado Golden Horse Automatic

Rado Golden Horse Automatic

Price: $1,800, Case Size: 37mm, Thickness: 10.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 40.9mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Automatic ETA C07.111

The Golden Horse collection, which debuted in 1957, was the first series produced under the Rado brand name. In 2019, Rado re-introduced the model into its vintage-inspired Tradition line. In addition to its period-appropriate 37mm case, the watch’s hallmarks include an engraved bezel, a red-lacquered anchor emblem in the crown, a red date numeral in the 3 o’clock window, and a silhouetted pair of seahorses at 6 o’clock. The dial under the box-shaped sapphire crystal has dauphine hands, applied hour indexes, and a moving anchor in a red circle above  the Rado logo at 12 o’clock. The movement behind the sapphire caseback is an ETA C07.611, with automatic winding, 25 jewels, and an 80-hour power reserve.

Tudor 1926

Tudor 1926Price: $2,000, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 9.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49.2mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic SW200

Released in 2018 alongside favorites like the gilt-dial Black Bay 58 and Black Bay GMT, Tudor’s 1926 collection defines everyday versatility in a timekeeper and is now available in more than 100 variations, encompassing four case sizes in various materials and a plethora of dial colors and textures. The 1926 is not only a truly “unisex” model, suited for both gents and ladies, but also the single least expensive watch in Tudor’s catalog, coming in at or just under $2,000, thanks to its use of outsourced Sellita automatic movements rather than the in-house calibers used in sportier Tudor collections like the Black Bay and Pelagos. The fine finishing on the case and bracelet of the 1926 add an extra layer of luxurious refinement that’s nonetheless suitable for daily wear. 


Luminox Original Navy SEAL Watch

Luminox Navy SEALs 

Price: $475, Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug Width: 21mm Water Resistance: 200m, Crystal: Hardened MineralMovement: Swiss Quartz

Luminox takes its name from a portmanteau of two Latin words, “Lumi” for light and “Nox” for night, an indicator of the Swiss brand’s commitment from the get-go to “offer cutting-edge luminescence and readability in its line of high-performance sports watches.” In 1992, Luminox debuted its Navy SEAL watch in partnership with that elite U.S. military group and has been producing versions of it ever since. The rugged watch has a 43mm case and rotating bezel made of Luminox’s proprietary Carbonox material, a lightweight yet durable carbon alloy; a double-security-gasket crown protection system; and a dial whose hands and indexes feature microtubes of bright-glowing, long-lasting tritium for maximum legibility in the darkest conditions. The dial is of hardened mineral glass, the movement inside is Swiss quartz, and the strap is made of genuine black rubber.

Hamilton Khaki Field

Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium

Price: $895, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 11.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Crystal: Sapphire, Movement: Automatic Hamilton H-10 (ETA C07.611 base)

The Khaki Field Automatic is directly descended from a military watch that Hamilton (which was founded in the U.S.A. but has made watches in Switzerland since the 1960s) provided for marines during the Vietnam War era and strives for a high level of authenticity in its period details. With a modest 38-mm case made of titanium, and containing the self-winding Caliber H-10, which packs an impressive 80-hour power reserve, the model also represents an impressive value proposition for lovers of vintage military watches. The cases have a matte finish to eliminate glare, which would have been a definite boon for an infantryman trying to stay out of sight of jungle snipers. A set of drilled lugs connect the watch to a sturdy nylon NATO-style strap with coordinating leather hardware that enhances both its look and its robustness. The military green tone of this model’s dial is more decorative than utilitarian, but it drives home the historical theme in an appealing way.

Victorinox INOX Automatic

Victorinox Inox Automatic

Price: $925, Case Size: 43mm, Thickness: 13.48mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Sellita SW200-1

The Inox watch collection takes its inspiration from Victorinox’s pioneering invention, the Swiss Army knife. (“Inox” is French for “stainless steel,” the material used for knife blades and the watch’s 43mm case.) Victorinox subjects the Inox watches to a battery of toughness tests to verify them as timepieces “built to last” — dropping them 10 meters onto concrete, driving over them with a 64-ton tank, subjecting them to extreme submersion, sandblasting, and even corrosive agents like gasoline, solvents, and oils. Inox watches can resist temperature variations from -51 degrees Celsius to +71 degrees Celsius and 12 Gs of acceleration and deceleration. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal on this model covers a blue guilloché-pattern dial, whose hour and minute hands are anchored by a reinforced axis. The sturdy steel bracelet attaches to lugs solidified by a crossbar. A Swiss automatic Sellita caliber beats behind a screwed exhibition caseback.

Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale

Longines Heritage Military Marine Nationale

Price: $2,000, Case Size: 38.5mm, Case Height: 12.3mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Crystal: Sapphire, Water Resistance: 30 meters, Movement: Automatic Longines Caliber L888.5

Few watchmakers have mined their early 20th-century archives for modern hits as consistently and as successfully as Longines, whose popular and ever-expanding Heritage collection is underpinned by reviving models from the brand’s nearly 200-year history. The Heritage Military family is no exception, its most eye-catching member being this Marine Nationale model issued in 2020 and based upon a watch from 1947 that Longines supplied to the French Navy. The modern watch’s 38.5mm case is just slightly larger than its 35.5mm predecessor, and its gold opaline dial, with blued steel hands and black painted Arabic hour numerals, features the inscription “Fab Suisse” (for Fabrique Suisse, or “Swiss Made”) under the Longines logo, another period-appropriate detail. The movement is decidedly modern, the ETA-supplied, Longines-exclusive Caliber L888.5, which is COSC-certified for chronometric performance and features an antimagnetic silicon balance spring.

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