10 Affordable Watch Brands & Their Best Watches for 2022
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10 Affordable Watch Brands & Their Best Watches for 2022

The Best Automatic Watches Under $500 (2020)

When new enthusiasts enter the wide world of watches, most will lean into more affordable options as a way to limit financial commitment in an as-yet unproven pursuit. But given the incredible breadth of the watch industry in terms of price, styles, and brands, it can be difficult to know where to start when looking to craft a more affordable collection. Here, we’ll provide a primer on some of the best brands in the overall watch industry from a more affordable context. This is, of course, not to say we’re looking at the cheapest brands or watches, a list that would reveal a curb-worthy selection of direct-to-consumer brands we’ve all been advertised on YouTube. We’re looking for true value here, brands that make watches that distinguish themselves as being especially great for their respective price points. Of course, value and the entire concept of attainability are also subjective, and we won’t pretend that living a life where being able to responsibly buy the functionally-unnecessary watches you want at any price point is anything other than a privilege. 

Moving on, and to put some parameters around it, we’ll focus on brands with a wide selection of models that fall under the $1,000 price point, with special emphasis on brands with strong offerings below $500. We already have a detailed list of microbrand watches to check out right here, so we’ll omit microbrands for the purposes of this list. With all of that out of the way, we will strive to compile a list of brands that appeal to the enthusiast in particular as opposed to the mass market, as your inclusion in our nerdy demographic is likely what brought you here in the first place. In terms of structure, we’ll provide a brief overview of each brand including some history and popular modern models at different price points to consider to give you a basic understanding of what makes each one special and why you might go for one brand over another. Scroll down to discover our choices for the best affordable watch brands in 2022.

Seiko

Seiko Watches

Frankly, starting a list like this with any brand other than Seiko would be a glaring oversight. Such is the passionate following the Japanese brand, founded in Tokyo in 1881, has garnered over the years. Decades of producing capable sports models including the 62MAS, 6105 “Willard”, and 6309 divers as well as chronographs like the 6139 created a legacy that remains at the forefront for the brand even in the modern era. I would even argue that for virtually the entire generation that rode the first wave of internet watch enthusiasm, the vast majority either started their collection with something like the SKX007 or a Presage Cocktail Time, or, at the very least, owned a Seiko early in their collecting journey. And while Seiko for decades was a provider of inexpensive watches first and foremost, in the modern era it is one of the largest watch brands in the world, with a wide range of models at escalating price points with appropriately elevated levels of finishing and specification. Still, many Seiko models, which often offer their own enthusiast-bestowed nicknames, tend to fall under $1,000, with many watches from the Seiko 5 Sports collection starting much lower than that. Check out a few of our top picks from Seiko at ascending price points.

Under $300:

 Seiko “DressKX” SRPE53

Seiko “DressKX” SRPE53

Price: $275, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44.6mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Auto Seiko 4R36, Crystal: Mineral

Where certain members of the newer Seiko 5 Sports collection lean heavily into their SKX inspiration, the so-called “DressKX” SRPE53 differentiates itself more prominently, lacking a rotating bezel and offering a slightly smaller case. And despite its dressier leanings, the SRPE53 still provides impressive luminescent material as well as 100 meters of water resistance, making it more of an everyday watch with more refined elements. If you wanted one watch to do almost anything for under $300, there aren’t a lot of better places to look.

Check Out Our Review

 

Under $500:

Seiko SPRE93 

Seiko SPRE93

Price: $495, Case Size: 45mm, Thickness: 13.3mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46.9mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko 4R36, Crystal: Mineral

In this affordable space, Seiko is perhaps best known for its capable dive watches, including the modern “Turtle” collection. Following in the footsteps of the SKX007 and 009, the modern Prospex “Turtle” collection revives the cushion case shape from the iconic 6309 in production from 1976 to 1988, but updated with a larger case and modern hacking, hand-winding 4R26 caliber. If you’re looking for an entry-level ISO-certified dive watch, which also happens to be one the best overall watch options in its price range, the modern Turtle collection, exemplified by this SRPE93, is one to consider.

Check Out Our Review

 

Under $750:

Seiko SPB121 

Seiko SPB121

Price: $725, Case Size: 39.5mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko 6R35, Crystal: Sapphire

Closely based on the iconic Alpinist SARB017 that Seiko enthusiasts know and love, the modern SPB121 was released in 2020 and offered a few important upgrades including a sapphire crystal as standard and the 6R35 caliber with 70 hours of power reserve. For a do-it-all watch at this price, made all the more secure by 200 meters of water resistance, the modern Alpinist is an excellent place to start for Seiko fans.

Check Out Our Review

 

Hamilton

Hamilton Khaki Field

Hamilton Watch Company was founded in the United States in 1892 following mergers of prior existing watch companies and the acquisition of assets resulting from the bankruptcy of the Lancaster Watch Company. With an early emphasis on railroad-centric pocket watches, Hamilton switched its attention to the production of capable field and pilot wristwatches during the first and second World Wars. By the 1950s and 60s, Hamilton had established a number of a now-iconic dress watch and chronograph designs that are still felt in its modern collection despite a change to Swiss ownership and production in the late 1960s. Today existing under the Swatch Group umbrella, Hamilton is a definitive value leader when it comes to entering the world of mechanical Swiss timekeeping, with a large collection centered around the brand’s heritage with field watches and more refined pieces based on midcentury pieces. Here are some of Hamilton’s best models from the most eminently attainable standpoint.

Under $500:

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical - NATO 

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical

Price: $495, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 9.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Manual ETA 2801, Crystal: Sapphire 

For under $500, the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical is the best Swiss mechanical watch on the market, full stop. Its modified Swiss ETA 2801 caliber, which Hamilton calls the H-50, drops the beat frequency from the standard 28,000 VPH to 21,600 VPH to stretch the power reserve out to an impressive 80 hours. The Khaki Field Mechanical carries on Hamilton’s impressive history of supplying field watches to the U.S. armed forces and other Allied military organizations in World War II, with this basic dial design dating back decades.

Check Out Our Review

 

Under $1,000:

Hamilton Intra-Matic Champagne 

Hamilton Intra-Matic Champagne

Price: $845, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 10.2mm, Lug-to-Lug: 43.9mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto ETA 2892, Crystal: Sapphire

Representing one of Hamilton’s heritage designs from its American-owned era dating back to the 1960s, the Intra-Matic Auto Champagne pairs that charming dial color with a blend of midcentury and minimalist design undertones. For its price of under $900, the watch offers a pleasing set of dimensions, an intriguing dial display that lacks a seconds hand, and the elevated ETA 2892 caliber to keep things slim on the wrist. For that Mad Men-style, Don Draper look, the Hamilton Intra-Matic Champagne is one of the best-finished and least expensive dress watch options on the market from a Swiss maker.

Check Out Our Review

Timex

Timex watches 

Founded in 1854 as the Waterbury Clock Company, Timex is another brand with impressively deep roots in the United States that persist to the present day, though all manufacturing, understandably, now takes place overseas. Known for its "Timex – Takes a Licking and keeps on Ticking" slogan, the brand established itself in the 1950s and 60s with capable yet inexpensive mechanical watches before switching its focus entirely to quartz watches in the 1970s and 80s. It was not until the last few years, after more than 30 years of producing only quartz calibers, that Timex again entered the world of mechanical timekeeping with the updated Marlin collection. Since then, Timex has increasingly leaned into the enthusiast market with heritage-inspired pieces that offer some of the most impressive value in the under-$500 price range. Looking at a range of price points and both quartz and mechanical options, here are a few of the best places to look from this almost 150-year-old American brand. 

Under $50:

Timex Ironman 30 

Timex IRONMAN Classic 30

Price: $40, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 12.73mm, Lug Width: 16mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Quartz Timex, Crystal: Acrylic

Where the Casio G-Shock has gained legions of fans since its official introduction in 1983, the Timex Ironman has also garnered a spot among the most impactful digital sports watches of our time. Originally unveiled back in 1986, theoretically designed and intended to be capable of surviving the then-new Ironman Triathlon. The modern Ironman starts at around $40 and offers 100 meters of water resistance, quartz timekeeping with every imaginable function, and a level of durability that has seen this model utilized by numerous athletes, Home Depot dads, and even U.S. Navy SEALs including Jocko Willink. The modern Ironman collection is vast, so there is likely a size and color variant that will meet your needs and wants. And at this price, you really can’t go wrong.

Under $200:

Timex Marlin Handwound 

Timex Marlin Hand-Wound

Price: $199, Case Size: 34mm, Thickness: 10mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Lug-to-Lug: 41mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Manual Seagull, Crystal: Acrylic

When the Timex Marlin was reintroduced in 2018, the classically designed dress watch represented the first mechanical watch release from the once-American brand since 1982. Equipped with a heavily-domed acrylic crystal, a range of intriguing dial finishes and colors, and a reliable but simple Seagull caliber from China, the Timex Marlin is the definitive hand-winding dress watch for its staggeringly low $200 retail price.

Check Out Our Review

 

Under $500:

Timex Giorgio Galli Automatic 38mm 

Timex Giorgio Galli S1 38mm

Price: $450, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Miyota 9039, Crystal: Sapphire

In 2019, Timex released the original Giorgio Galli S1 in a 41mm case as a collaboration with the brand’s own creative director, who is appropriately based in Milan, Italy. With an injection-molded stainless steel case now offered at 38mm, the S1offers some of the most intriguing architecture in this price range, paired with a minimalist dial design and a 9000-series Miyota caliber with a 4 Hz beat frequency (and elevated finishing). The Giorgio Galli S1 offers an impressive glimpse of what Timex is capable of while still retaining a pleasing under-$500 price point.

Tissot

Tissot wristshot

Along with the aforementioned Hamilton, Tissot is another brand known for its value-packed point of entry to the world of Swiss mechanical watches. The brand’s history dates back to 1853, when it was founded by a father-and-son team. In the last century, Tissot’s history with wristwatches is richly associated with Omega, with the two storied brands having first intertwined as early as 1930. Over the decades, Tissot developed a strong reputation for sports watches like the Seastar as well as numerous attractive dress watch designs. Today, Tissot calls the Swatch Group home, alongside Omega as well as many other brands including Hamilton, Longines, and Mido. While long oriented toward the mass market, Tissot in recent years has offered more enthusiast-centric models including the Gentleman and the PRX, released in 2021, a watch that is quickly becoming a defining piece for the brand in the modern era. Tissot should be considered right alongside Hamilton when discussing the best Swiss brands offering an affordable mechanical watch.

Under $500:

Tissot Everytime Swissmatic 

Tissot Everytime Swissmatic

Price: $450, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.6mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto ETA C15.111, Crystal: Sapphire

Positioned at around $400, the Tissot Everytime Swissmatic comes in significantly less expensive than other automatic watches from the powerhouse Swiss brand thanks to its little secret, the use of an ETA C15.111 caliber derived from the Sistem 51 from Swatch. The Everytime offers versatile looks with a minimal dial design and straightforward dimensions to pair with this intriguing caliber, bringing a mechanical automatic watch from a major Swiss brand to an unexpected price point and even undercutting many microbrands in the process.

Check Out Our Review

 

Under $700:

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80

Price: $650, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44.6mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Auto ETA C07.111, Crystal: Sapphire

As mentioned, the PRX is quickly becoming the go-to watch from Tissot, with the brand now offering two case sizes, both quartz and automatic movements, and even an upcoming automatic chronograph. Based on a Seastar model from 1979, the modern PRX provides the integrated-bracelet sports look enthusiasts are so ravenous for as of late, coupled with a Powermatic automatic caliber made by ETA that offers 80 hours of power reserve. The case and bracelet finishing on the entire PRX collection as well as the waffle dial texture on this Powermatic variant are some of the best in class, and the watch as a whole feels like it should cost multiples of its modest $650 price point.

Check Out Our Review

 

Under $800:

Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 

Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80

Price: $775, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Auto ETA C07.811, Crystal: Sapphire

While slightly older than the PRX, having been released in 2020, the Gentleman is another standout favorite from Tissot, pairing a more mass-appealing design format with another Powermatic 80 caliber that in this case utilizes a magnetic- and friction-resistant silicon hairspring. If you’re looking for a more traditional, less ostentatious Swiss automatic watch and you have less than $800 to spend, the wide variety of Gentleman models has an excellent range of options.

Check Out Our Review

 

Orient

Orient watch 

Mostly regarded as a notch below Seiko in terms of its enthusiast appeal, Orient, a Japanese brand dating back to 1950, offers as much or more when you consider its wide breadth of entry-level mechanical watches. Like Seiko, Orient made its mark with mass-produced, capable watches intended for the everyman, but has in more recent decades made a conscious effort to seek out and please the fickle enthusiast watch market. Models like the Bambino, Kamasu, Mako, Ray, and Saturation Diver all have their place at the table in the "best value watches" argument, and the brand’s collection seems to become more appealing every year. We've even found that many entry-level Orient calibers tend to outperform those in Seiko’s least expensive watches as well, providing yet another reason to consider Orient for your next attainable watch purchase.

Under $200:

Orient Bambino 

Orient Bambino

Price: $160, Case Size: 40.5mm, Thickness: 11.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46.8mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto Orient F6724, Crystal: Mineral

There is little to say about this watch that has not already been said all over the internet, but the Orient Bambino still deserves its position of high regard among the value-minded. Since its debut around 10 years ago, the Bambino has grown to become an icon of affordability that almost no enthusiast manages to escape. Sure, it has its quirks, including an off-putting 21mm lug with and larger than necessary 40.5mm case, but the traditional attractive design formula and quality finishing for the price more than makes up for any shortcomings. It’s not exactly a hot take, but the Bambino is an icon of affordability available brand new for just over $150.

Check Out Our Review

 

Under $300:

Orient Kamasu 

Orient Kamasu

Price: $280, Case Size: 41.8mm, Thickness: 12.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46.3mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Orient F6922, Crystal: Sapphire

Solidly ensconced In the affordable mechanical dive watch space, the Orient Kamasu diver offers a traditional 3 o’clock crown position with angular dial markings and impressive finishing. For smaller wrists, the Kamasu presents an especially pleasing option, at a 41.8mm diameter that wears substantially smaller thanks to a curt 46mm lug to lug measurement that feels like a slightly-downsized take on the Rolex Submariner. In this price range, the hacking hand-winding F6922 caliber and sapphire crystals are standouts, as is the well-done bracelet that complements the overall look. This one isn’t technically ISO 6425-certified as a dive watch, but for anyone entering the watch hobby from the aquatic perspective, the Kamasu is an excellent entry-level piece.

Check Out Our Review

 

G-Shock

G-Shock watches

When it comes to watches that transcend their category, reaching levels of popularity only afforded to pop-cultural style icons, the G-Shock is perhaps the best example at this affordable level. Conceptualized in 1981 by Kikuo Ibe, a visionary designer at Casio who set out to create the most durable watch ever made, the first G-Shock, DW-5000C, was released in 1983 to massive fanfare, eventually building a cult following that persists to the present day. Today, G-Shock is marketed as a separate brand from its parent brand Casio. Equally at home on the wrist of elite military tactical operators as it is on the average Walmart shopper, the G-Shock is more than a durable digital watch; it’s a lifestyle statement. And for fans of street culture and style, G-Shock has collaborated with many intriguing cultural icons and is available in thousands of different variations, almost all of which fall well below $200. While the polarizing look offered by these plastic digital watches isn’t for every watch collector, the truth is that just about everyone should have at least one G-Shock in their collection for when the going gets tough.

Under $50:

G-Shock DW5600E-1V

G-Shock DW5600E-1V 

Price: $40, Case Size: 42.8mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.9mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Quartz, Crystal: Mineral

Easily the toughest watch available in this — and perhaps any — price range, the DW5600 is the defacto standard rectangular G-Shock that keeps alive the design language originally utilized in the DW-5000 from 1983. Now available in hundreds of variations, the basic black model is still the way to go for most fans of its classic design, offering more durability than almost anyone could reasonably need within a smaller case profile compared to the majority of modern G-Shock watches.

Under $150:

G-Shock red

G-Shock “CasiOak” 

Price: $110, Case Size: 45.4mm, Thickness: 11.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.5mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Casio Quartz, Crystal: Mineral

Released in 2019, the so-called “CasiOak” pairs the G-Shock’s legendary durability and digital display with a set of analog hands and a design format that hints at (as you might glean from the nickname) the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Serving as a perfect bridge between mass-market G-Shock enthusiasts and snootier watch enthusiasts, the vastly expanded CasiOak collection offers a variety of colors and even stainless steel variants that help to bring the G-Shock’s distinctive design language to a more approachable level for watch traditionalists. Like other G-Shock watches, these models are still close to indestructible, water-resistant to 200 meters, and an excellent watch to keep in the collection as a beater and powerful conversation-starter.

Check Out Our Review

 

Citizen

Citizen dive watch - lume

Rounding out the triumvirate with Seiko and Orient, Citizen is another legendary Japanese brand with an especially impressive history in the sports and tool watch arenas. Dating back to 1918, the brand came to global prominence starting in the 1960s with models oriented around a sporty lifestyle such as the Parawater before launching its first diving icon in the analog-digital Aqualand in 1985. Today, Citizen offers a broad collection that balances department-store models with more enthusiast-oriented options, with the Promaster collection of sports and dive watches likely offering the most appeal to the finicky watch nerd community. Despite often being associated with its excellent Eco-Drive solar-powered quartz tech, Citizen also offers a wide array of affordable automatic watches equipped with calibers by Miyota, a Citizen subsidiary. If recent years are any indication of what we can expect from the brand in the future, Citizen will continue to be a brand to watch on the more attainable end of the spectrum.

Under $300:

Citizen Promaster Diver 

Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver

Price: $280, Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 11.6mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.2mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Quartz Eco-Drive E168, Crystal: Mineral

Typically available at around $280, the basic Promaster Diver from Citizen is one of the best ISO-compliant diver’s watches on the market and is equipped with a proven Eco-Drive quartz caliber. Citizen’s reputation is especially strong among actual divers both from a recreational and commercial standpoint, and this is essentially where the brand’s professional diving collection kicks off. With a larger 44mm case, this one isn’t for the faint of wrist, but the accuracy, durability, impressive lume, and mass-appealing looks combine to provide one of the better affordable dive watch options on the market.

Check Out Our Review

 

Under $800:

Citizen Promaster Mechanical Diver 

Citizen 200m Promaster Mechanical Diver

Price: $800 - $1,000, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 12.3mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Citizen 9051, Crystal: Sapphire

Based on a legendary tale of one of its old Challenge dive watches being found underwater, encrusted with marine growth but still running, Citizen has elected to revive that original design format with a few modern touches. Housed within a Super Titanium case, the 200m Promaster Mechanical Diver also offers a wearable 41mm case diameter with an impressively svelte 12.3mm height even including the domed sapphire crystal. Finally, and unlike many Japanese dive watches, it features a 9-series caliber that beats at 28,800 VPH or 4 Hz, ensuring a smooth seconds hand sweep to go along with the proven reliability we have come to expect from Citizen’s Promaster collection. Priced at $795 or $995 depending on whether or not you opt for the Super Titanium bracelet (you should), the new Promaster Mechanical might be the Seiko Prospex killer we need.

Swatch

Swatch Omega Moon Swatch collection

While we’ve covered several brands owned by the Swatch Group at this point, we have yet to address Swatch itself. Founded fairly recently, in 1983, Swatch is a brand that rode the waves of the watch industry's transformational Quartz Crisis to a powerful effect with its charming collection of colorful and inexpensive quartz watches. Today, while the brand still relies heavily on its collection of affordable quartz watches, there are also now automatic calibers on display in the Sistem51, an outlier in the arena of affordable mechanical watches from Switzerland.

Under $150:

Swatch Sistem 51 

Swatch Sistem 51 (Ref. SO30B400) 

Price: $150, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 13.9mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto Swatch Sistem51, Crystal: Acrylic

Making a splash at its Baselworld debut in 2013, the Swatch Sistem51 differentiated itself from the majority of the Swatch offerings at the time with an automatic caliber. But rather than some off-the-shelf ETA, the Sistem51 was a brand new mechanical automatic movement produced entirely by an automated process and consisting of only 51 components, hence the name. Since then, the Sistem51 collection has become vast, with numerous color and style variations to choose from as is Swatch’s custom. It’s not for everyone, but the Sistem51 offers a sneaky way into Swiss mechanical timekeeping at a price point that is simply otherwise untenable.

Under $300:

Swatch x Omega MoonSwatch Speedmaster

OMEGA X SWATCH MoonSwatch Speedmaster

Price: $260, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 13.25mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.3mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Swatch Quartz

A watch that rocked the entire industry and even reached beyond the confines of watch fandom, the OMEGA X SWATCH MoonSwatch Speedmaster is already one of the craziest watch releases of all time. Essentially a Swatch version of the iconic Omega Speedmaster design DNA with a quartz caliber, a “Bioceramic” case, and a velcro strap, the MoonSwatch quickly turned the watch world on its head just ahead of Watches and Wonders in 2022. Priced at an alluring $260, which is crazy for a watch with "Omega" on the dial in any form, the MoonSwatch’s announcement led to incredible lines at select Swatch retailers around the globe. When enthusiasts did finally get their hands on the MoonSwatch, many of them paying way over retail, they largely realized that this was in fact simply a Swatch in terms of its quality, but the collaboration with a major Swiss house like Omega is an interesting marketing play in an often-stuffy industry where brands typically value their luxurious positioning above all else.

Casio

Casio calculator watch

While we’ve already mentioned G-Shock, which is arguably a stronger brand from an enthusiast point of view, Japan's Casio also produces many watches that have achieved cult-like status over the years. Casio’s history as a company dates back to the late 1940s when it started by creating small mechanical parts. Throughout the 50s, Casio unveiled several groundbreaking electronic calculators, ultimately laying the groundwork for what was to come. Aiming to capitalize on the success of both quartz and digital technology, Casio unveiled the creatively-named Casiotron in 1974, a wristwatch with an LCD display built around the company’s know-how from the world of calculators. For enthusiasts, Casio also offers some of the very cheapest watches that won’t get scoffed at, providing a fun, retro feel that even the snobs can and do appreciate.

Under $30:

Casio A168WA watch 

Casio A168WA

Price: $25, Case Size: 35.4mm, Thickness: 9.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 38.5mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Quartz Casio 3298, Crystal: Acrylic

For a bit more than the cost of a meal for two at Chipotle, you can get into one of the most fun, most charming digital watches on the market. Long available at the jewelry counter at major department stores for around $25, the Casio A168 is one of the only watches in this extremely affordable price tier that is worth buying, with a charming retro display, slender case profile, and simple stainless steel bracelet, the A168 is the kind of item that reminds you why you got into watches in the first place, and when it was all about having fun.

Check Out Our Review

Casio Duro 

Casio Duro

Price: $60, Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Quartz Casio 2784, Crystal: Mineral

While many enthusiasts are quick to pigeonhole Casio as a maker of solely digital watches, the brand also produces an affordable analog option in the Duro. Rated to 200 meters of water resistance, and styled in line with the traditional dive watch format, the Duro is perhaps the least expensive analog watch available that could theoretically act as a diver’s watch, ISO certification or not. In addition, the level of finishing is truly surprising for the price, as is the lume utilized in the angular applied indices. The strap is essentially junk, but that’s not enough of an issue to fault one of the least expensive aquatically capable watches on the market from a major brand. The Duro is large, at 44mm in diameter, but wears substantially smaller thanks to a restrained 48mm lug-to-lug metric. For $60, you're unlikely to find anything better, or even comparable.

Check Out Our Review

Mido

Mido Multifort blue dial

In business since 1919, Mido’s early history is associated with automotive-inspired designs, pioneering water resistance tech, and the sporty automatic Multifort collection. Despite operating with independent status for much of the brand’s history, Mido now finds itself located under the umbrella of the Swatch Group’s powerful assembly of brands, positioned in many respects slightly above the aforementioned Hamilton and Tissot but still just below true entry-to-luxury brands like Longines, for example. Today, Mido is one among a few recognized value leaders in the Swiss watch industry, combining a rich heritage of classic designs with modern technological advancements to create a compelling collection of reasonably-priced everyday, dress, diver, and chronograph watches, all with Swiss calibers. If your price range is closer to $1,000, Mido presents some enchanting selections.

Under $900:

Mido Multifort Patrimony 

Mido Multifort Patrimony

Price: $890, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 12.2mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 19mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto ETA C07.621, Crystal: Sapphire

For anyone searching for an attractive dressier watch from a well-regarded Swiss manufacturer in our more attainable price range, the Multifort Patrimony from Mido presents one of the more charming packages in terms of sizing, finishing, and design. With a 40mm by 47mm case and striking fumé effect sector dial, the Multifort Patrimony straddles the line between more casual applications and dressier scenarios, with a simple strap change likely providing additional versatility in either environment if needed. Like other Mido watches, this model relies on an ETA caliber with an extended 80-hour power reserve, meaning this is a watch you can wear to work on Friday and then set down for the weekend only to find it ready for action again on Monday.

Check Out Our Review

 

Under $1,000:

Mido Ocean Star 

Mido Ocean Star 200

Price: $930, Case Size: 42.5mm, Thickness: 11.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.7mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto ETA C07.621, Crystal: Sapphire 

At this price range, which pushes the top of our parameters, Mido produces one of the single best diver’s watches, the Ocean Star 200. Offering a level of finishing that is generally unheard of in this price range, coupled with a modern take on the traditional dive watch format as well as a modified ETA caliber offering 80 hours of power reserve, the Ocean Star is any easy recommendation as a capable diver with some luxurious elements. The only real note to make here is that the case size of 42.5mm by over 48mm in length wears slightly larger in practice, making this a better option for those with slightly larger wrists. 

Check Out Our Review









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3 Comments

Join the Conversation

CB
Chandra B.

Awesome guide! Checkout Asorock watches, a leading black African American-owned unique luxury watch brand with swiss ap, Hublot homage watch designs asorockwatches.com

CL
Carl L.

Citizen “Dating back to 1984”?? I assume a typo…
My first foray into watches was a steel and (faux) gold Seiko chronograph quartz, a watch that is now well over 30 years old and still runs like a dream; can’t knock Seiko reliability.

FR
Fred R.

I bought a Tissot PR100 Powermatic 80 2 years ago, it’s been back to Tissot 6 times! The first time it stopped running, they fixed it and returned it, then it was running 10 minutes slow a month! I sent the dam watch in 5 times before Swatch finally got the time to with 3 minutes slow a month which is within what they’re guarantee is for time keeping. For the first 2 years, Swatch had the watch more than I did! Then I found out on a watch forum that the movement in those PR100’s and other Tissot watches, as well as some other brands that Swatch owns, have plastic parts instead of metal for parts including a couple of plastic gears. Swatch will even tell you that those plastic parts are non-repairable, which means you have to throw out the watch when it breaks! I will never ever buy another Swatch brand watch.

I had a Tissot SeaStar from early 70’s, it ran fantastic for almost 50 years, so when it broke and could not be repaired, I got a new Tissot thinking I would buy a Tissot again expecting the same sort of craftsmanship that went into my old one, nope, I learned my lesson.

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