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The 40 Best Automatic Watches Under $500 - 2021

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When it comes to watches, let’s be honest, not everyone can spend thousands of dollars on their new watch acquisition, especially if you’re in no hobby to collect watches, or you’re building a 3 watch collection under $1000. While there are a plethora of options out there for a sub-$500 watch ranging from big companies like the usual Seiko and Orient, there are several microbrands that offer a considerable amount in the price range as well. Today I have compiled some of the best automatic watches under $500 that should be on your radar as you further your research.

Before we begin, here are some important ground rules:

This list, of course, will feature watches that are under $500, and it has to be equipped with an automatic movement inside.  In order for a watch to be included in this list, their retail price needs to be under $500 minus a couple of exceptions that will be called out in the descriptions below. As always, we can’t include every potential watch in this range so please refer to some other guides on our site such as The 40 Best Seiko Watches and The 40 Best Microbrands 2020. Finally, in order for this list to flow properly, these watches will be grouped together according to style categories 1) Dive, 2) Dress, 3) Everyday
At the end of the list I will also include a selection of watches that I think are great but that just missed the cut on the price

Dive Watches:

Seiko SRPC91 ‘Turtle’ Save the Ocean edition

Specifications: Price: $495, Case Size: 45mm, Thickness: 13.3mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko 4R36, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: HardlexThe famous Seiko Turtle lineup is famed for its predecessors' popularity among many explorers that went on expeditions in extreme conditioned environments, such as the famed Antarctic Research Expedition, that is commissioned for the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition. The one featured here is the model SRPC91, and it is part of the Save The Ocean series from Seiko. This model features a captivating reflective blue dial that shines blue to black in different light conditions, and a two-tone blue dive time bezel that sets it apart from the other models within this family of divers.

Seiko SRPB53 ‘Samurai’

Specifications: Price: $495, Case Size: 43.8mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko 4R36, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: HardlexIf you think the Turtle is a bit of a dull looker, try this one. The Samurai is a member of the Prospex family of divers that is known for its angled case profile and stark markers. The Samurai features a waffle dial that has a different textured feel that is subtle yet speaks louder on many levels. For under $500, the rubber strap fitted option would be ideal, as the bracelet options normally would bring the price up to well over $500 while leaving a bit to be desired for the price.

Seiko SRPD51 ‘5’ Sports

Specifications: Price: $295, Case Size: 42.5mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Auto Seiko 4R36, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: HardlexAlthough not a direct successor, this line of Seiko 5 Sports often is referred to as the modern re-issue of the cult-classic SKX. The SRPD51 arrived into the market with mixed feelings, mostly as a result of its lack of a  screw-down crown and 100m water resistance, but since its initial release, much of criticism has subsided as it becomes more clear that this watch was never trying to be an SKX replacement, but rather, a great addition to the Seiko 5 family. With its new caliber, familiar design formula, and plenty of variations available, this has been a great seller in the Seiko 5 family.

Seiko SBDY033 Prospex Monster Vintage

Specifications: Price: $450, Case Size: 42.4mm, Thickness: 13.4mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49.4mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko 4R36, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: HardlexRiding along with many iconic Seiko divers, the Seiko Monster Vintage is a cult classic that might not capture most of the people’s heart and attention out there, yet it is a striking and aggressive looking dive watch that has an instantaneously recognizable design. The watch features a sunburst blue dial with applied markers filled with tons of Lumibrite with a shade of vintage patina. Compared to its predecessors, this latest iteration of the Monster features elongated cyclops for ease of view on the day and date function of the watch. The Monster is nicely priced under $500 and it is one heck of a value proposition for something as serious looking as this.

Nodus Retrospect II

Specifications: Price: $450, Case Size: 40.5mm, Thickness: 13.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko NH35, Regulated in four positions, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: SapphireAs featured in one of my videos, the Nodus Retrospect II comes with a great punch of build quality for the price. The watch features a Seiko NH35 movement, and a favorable design, it quickly became one of the leading reasons Nodus captured the microbrand market and propelled them forward. With the Retrospect restock in the very near future, it is certainly a contender among watches under $500 among many mainstream brands out there.

Timex Navi XL Automatic

Specifications: Price: $259, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 13.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Auto Miyota 8215, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: MineralShop HereThe Navi XL Automatic took inspiration from its archive dated back in the year 1970s in its diver form. While the Navi XL Automatic is far from a certified diver, it does offer 100 m of water resistance, looks to match the style, and certainly has enough to get you through the everyday. The featured Navi XL Automatic here is a full IP-coated stainless steel variant, as it separates from its other color variant with a date wheel with a black background that complements the watch as a whole with its stealthy look while doing it at an attainable price.

Orient Kamasu

Specifications: Price: $280, Case Size: 41.8mm, Thickness: 12.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46.3mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Orient Caliber F6922, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: MineralIn the same market space as the famed and discontinued SKX, the Kamasu presents itself as the successor of the previous diver line-up: Mako II and Ray II. Although the Kamasu sports basic specification as a diver, it quickly has become one of the best value propositions in watchmaking with its solid movement, sapphire crystal, wearable case, and pleasing looks. I made a video of the piece earlier this year.

Orient Kano

Specifications: Price: $425, Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 12.9mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Orient Caliber F6922, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: MineralShop HereA larger size diver from Orient, the Kano captures the market with its much dominant case sizing and different design element that separates itself from the Kamasu. The Kano has a streamlined and simple design with its markers and handset while offering a middle of the road presence despite its larger case size. The broad hour and minute hands give somewhat better legibility and ease of time reading in any condition and is a great looking diver for the money.

Dufrane Barton Springs

Specifications: Price: $499, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 12.85mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.6mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Sellita SW200-1, Power Reserve: 38 Hours, Crystal: Domed SapphireShop HereFeatured in my buying guide of the 40 Best Microbrands (2020), Dufrane watches are certainly a cool boutique brand that is based in Austin Texas. Their first splash on the scene was with their Barton Springs  656, a minimalist diver that is priced very aggressively and offers a fun aesthetic with a solid Swiss movement within. Their watches are hand-assembled in the USA by another great microbrand in Lum-Tec who are some of the best in business for regulation.

Dan Henry 1970

Specifications: Price: $290, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 14.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.7mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko NH35, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: MineralThe brand Dan Henry was founded by, you’ve guessed it, Dan Henry himself, a well-known collector of vintage watches and founder of the website Timeline Watch. Dan Henry offers watches that scream value of money, and with their 1970, it is no exception. It features a Seiko NH35 movement in the vintage compressor diver style casing which has been sold out once with their previous iteration of color. It also comes with two sizes, both 40mm and 44mm.

Spinnaker Bradner

Specifications: Price: $290, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 15mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 180m, Movement: Auto Seiko NH35, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: SapphireAnother compressor-style vintage-inspired dive watch offered by Spinnaker. The brand Spinnaker offers a wide range and variant of dive watches as their name suggests a nautical theme. Among the rest, the Bradner is well priced with its unique hour hand that sets itself apart from your regular compressor dive watches.

Raven Solitude

Specifications: Price: $480, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 300m, Movement: Auto Seiko NH35A, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: SapphireDon’t be fooled by the looks of the Raven Solitude. For its price, it packs a punch of specification features and a great build overall build quality for a diver watch that looks fun and equally serious. For the price, you’ll be getting a 300m water resistance and a well-regulated movement within. Raven was one of the pioneers in the microbrand community and have respect from many of their peers in the scene.

Glycine Combat Sub

Specifications: Price: $500, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto ETA 2824, Power Reserve: 38 Hours, Crystal: SapphireNow when I mentioned the concept of there being a few exceptions to the rule regarding retail price. So when looking at the retail price of the Glycine Combat Sub, it is well over $500. That said, with them recently being acquired by Invicta, we have seen many of the same practices that Invicta does constantly, the heavy discounts and abuse of the MSRP price, so these commonly can be found for under $500. Despite my previous comments, I think when these watches are found under $500 you are getting one of the best values in watchmaking. With a swiss movement, well-finished case, and nice dial design, this is a winner if your wrist is large enough to accompany the larger case size.

Traska Freediver

Specifications: Price: $400, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 12.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko NH35, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire crystalThe Traska Freediver with a mint dial is probably one of the most interesting takes of an affordable diver using an unconventional dial color.  In addition to its unique color, it has great dimensions, including a slightly oversized crown without the crown guards to give owners a taste of vintage-inspired design. The Freediver too and perhaps most importantly, features a scratch-resistant coating on its watches, making it reach hardness levels of 1,200 HV.

Citizen Promaster Dive Automatic

Specifications: Price: $400, Case Size: 44mm, Thickness: 13.1mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Miyota 8203, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire crystalThe Promaster Dive Automatic is one of the leading dive watches in the range while delivering professional specifications. The Citizen Promaster Diver range has been building upon their relationship with the Italian Marina Militare with the watch lineup’s predecessors. Though it sports a larger case size, it sits extremely well on the wrist thanks to its total lug to lug length, and also its price point.

Vostok Amphibia

Specification: Price: $88, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 15mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Vostok 2416, Power Reserve: 31 Hours, Crystal: Domed AcrylicKnown and loved by legions of value-thirsty diver’s watch enthusiasts, the Vostok Amphibia is a cult classic. For quite a bit less than $100, the Russian made Vostok, which runs on an in-house movement, comes in hundreds of different case and dial variations and is the subject of a busy aftermarket modification scene. Famously worn by Bill Murray in the hipster favorite film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, the Amphibia is the least expensive legitimate automatic diver’s watch you can get, full stop.

Dress Watches:

Seiko Presage Series SRPB41 ‘Cocktail Time’

Specifications: Price: $450, Case Size: 40.5mm, Thickness: 11.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko 4R35, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: HardlexThe Seiko Cocktail Time are some of the most compelling dress watches for the money on the market.  Being members of the Presage family, the SRPB41 has been a staple and one of the prominent faces that represent the forefront of the Presage series. The Cocktail Time series are all inspired by unique cocktails that are the point in which the dials begin to take their shape.  The dials come in a fine finish in a variety of colors to offer something for everyone. To put it simply, not only does it check off the boxes from a specification perspective, but it looks well beyond its price in terms of its looks.

Seiko Presage Series SARY055 or SARY057

Specifications: Price: $450, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko 4R36, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: SapphireWhen thinking of the best everyday watches from Seiko just above $500, there are perhaps no better options than the SARB033 and 035. They are versatile, work with a variety of third-party straps, and offer a classic wearing experience at 38 mm. As a result of their success, there are models like the SARY055 and SARY057 that are greatly overlooked. These models on the surface share many of the same characteristics as the sarbs mentioned, however, they separate with their larger cases, a different movement, an absence of lume, and an added day-date function. These two will never get the same love as the typical SARB033 and 035, but with a slightly lower price tag and a larger case, they are a great option for a dress watch for those with larger wrists.

Seiko Presage SSA405 ‘Blue Moon’

Specifications: Price: $475, Case Size: 40.5mm, Thickness: 11.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko 4R38, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: HardlexHere we have a design within the Presage collection with an open heart to further captivate the audience’s eyes. As if the dial from the previously mentioned Presage models was not enough, the open heart present serves as a window into the exposed beating balance of the watch. As the name suggests, the SSA405 is inspired by the cocktail ‘Blue Moon’ found in Star Bar at Ginza, Japan. The dial features a deep blue color that reflects light depending on the angle and delivers a great package for those with a liking for open-heart designs while avoiding the typical struggle of executing this in a cheap way.

Sternglas Naos Automatik

Specifications: Price: $445, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 43mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Miyota 821A, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: SapphireThe young brand Sternglas started off from a Kickstarter campaign, and it has catapulted them into today’s success, however, unlike many brands that use Kickstarter to make uninspired watches, Sternglas has a unique approach to design that certainly has notable influences, but also is taken in a direction that is very much their own. The Naos Automatik was one of their first steps into the world of mechanical watches, and despite perhaps not killing it in the value for money department, the design of these pieces are some of the best in the category, offering a more attainable approach to Bauhaus design.

Bulova American Clipper

Specifications: Price: $280, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 11.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto Miyota 8205, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: Mineral
The New York based company and member of the large Japanese conglomerate, Citizen Watch Co., has a storied catalog of watches to always refer to given their history. The American Clipper is a nod to the brand’s roots in America and comes in with a very attractive price tag, a reliable Miyota caliber within, and solid minimalist looks that will be appealing to the masses.

Timex Giorgio Galli S1

Specifications: Price: $450, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug-to-Lug: 49.75mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Miyota 9039, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: K1 CrystalDesigned by Giorgio Galli of Milan, this piece was one the better releases from Timex in their busy last couple of years. With a newfound priority on mechanical watches, Timex made a great leap with the design of this piece. The S1 features a clean aesthetic and a Miyota 9000 series caliber with the 9039 which is a nice step up from the typical 8215. This one has been hard to keep in stock but let’s hope we see more of these becoming available again soon.

Orient Bambino Version 5

Specifications: Price: $185, Case Size: 40.5mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto Orient Caliber F6724, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: Domed mineral glassShop HereOf the many Orient Bambinos that have been mentioned in the past, the 5th version of Bambino takes the cake with its Arabic numerals and clean dial that makes it ever so dressier than the previous versions. While it sits on the slightly thicker side of the dress watch, thanks to its domed crystal and size, it sits rather well on the wrist. It’s hard to fault this watch with its basic movement from Orient, especially at this exceptionally affordable pricing under $500.

Orient Sun and Moon

Specifications: Price: $321, Case Size: 41.5mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.3mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Orient Caliber F6B24, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: Mineral
The Sun & Moon is an offering from Orient’s Classic lineup with a day & night indicator that resembles the highly coveted yet typically expensive moonphase complication. It sits at the larger side of the spectrum for a dress watch due to its complications on the dial, the Sun & Moon great amount of fun, and wow factor as a dress piece at this price.

Orient Bambino Version 4

Specifications: Price: $185, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 11.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48.5mm, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto Orient Caliber F6724, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: Domed mineral glass
With all that wasn’t mentioned with the Bambino Generation 5, it’s all here with the version 4. This version executes a simpler form of the dress watch with applied indices, sharp hands, and a vignette style dial that greatly elevates its look. This particular variation with blue dial compliments most of the formal wear given its accommodating color palette, and in typical Orient fashion,it all comes in at a price tag under $200.

Everyday Watches:

Boldr Venture Sand Storm

Specifications: Price: $299, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Auto Seiko NH35A, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire crystal
Boldr has come a long way starting out from their home ground in Singapore to the international microbrand scene. With the Venture Automatic, they’ve created an attractive new case design and balanced dial with its font sizes compared to the previous iteration. On top of that, the Venture is now available with automatic movement, which makes it essentially compulsory to be on this list of best automatic watches under $500.

Nodus Sector Field

Specifications: Price: $400, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 12.75mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 150m, Movement: Auto Seiko NH35, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire crystalThe Sector series is the latest lineup from Nodus and is a great change from the popular traction that typically comes from their diver releases. The Sector Field is the brand’s take on modernization of the Sector dial design in an everyday wearing format. It features a unique handset and a striking case design with a mix of blasted and polishing method. A few versions of the sector will be introduced in the coming months so certainly something to look out for.

Undone Cali Basic

Specifications: Price: $315, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 15mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Auto Seiko NH35A, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: PlexiglassUndone Watches have grown in popularity greatly in the past few years as a result of their customizable watches. With some of their watches coming off a built over the top for my taste, there Basecamp collection has been the one that has managed to separate from the bunch in my eyes. This variant comes in a California style dial that can be polarizing, however, for $315 bucks and a Seiko movement within, it is a worthy watch to add to the list.

Marathon General Purpose Mechanical

Specifications: Price: $360, Case Size: 34mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug-to-Lug: 40.8mm, Lug Width: 16mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto Seiko NH35, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: SapphireMarathon Watch has roots back to the early 1900s and began really dipping its toes into the world of Military issued timepieces in 1941, producing watches and timing instruments for the Allied Forces. In years since they have continued to develop watches for military personnel and have a variety of designs depending on the job. For a field watch style piece that can be worn on the ground, look no further than the General Purpose Mechanical. Available in both an ETA hand winding movement as well as an automatic Seiko NH35, while providing tactical looks with its tritium tubes, this is a great cost-effective option for an everyday watch in this price range.

Laco Aachen

Specifications: Price: $410, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 11.55mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46.5mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Miyota 821A, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: SapphireShop HereThe German brand Laco has a long history which dates to 1925, with them being mostly known for supplying timepieces to pilots during World War 2. Today, Laco is under new ownership but retains its heritage by offering a great lineup of pilot watches to the masses. At the higher end, they offer the more traditional spec pilot watches, but Laco also offers perhaps the best entry door into the world of fliegers with these two featuring Japanese movements and also being offered in both 39 and 42 mm. The Miyota 821A is modified and now features hacking in all of Laco’s watches featuring the movement.

Laco Casablanca

Specifications: Price: $490, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 11.75mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Miyota 821A, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: SapphireOther than Flieger design watches, Laco also offers some more daring designs that deviate tastefully from the original plot. The Casablanca takes the inspiration of classic timepieces from the mid 20th century and takes in the direction of a modern twist. Its legibility is greatly emphasized both in the light with its great use of contrast, but also in the dark given its fully lumed dial.

Baltic HMS002

Specifications: Price: $400, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Miyota 821A, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: HesaliteFrance based microbrand Baltic has been on a roll lately with their releases. Earlier this year they developed a limited edition sector in a salmon dial that was met with essentially universal applause.  The HMS002 featured here knocks it out of the park with its silver dial and blue hands. It features very accommodating dimensions and a no nonsense movement that positions this piece as perhaps the best looking sector under $500.

Lorier Falcon Series II

Specifications: Price: $499, Case Size: 36mm, Thickness: 9mm + 2mm glass, Lug-to-Lug: 44mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Auto Miyota 90S5, Power Reserve: 42 Hours, Crystal: PlexiglassA passion made a reality by a humble husband and wife team, Lorier has been improving over the years, and with the introduction of Falcon Series II. This latest release from the brand was a great addition to their collection of tastefully designed pieces with vintage proportions. Coming with a smaller case, a striking waffle dial, a Miyota movement, and retro looks, this a piece that just another hit for this small but mighty brand.

Timex Marlin Day-Date

Specifications: Price: $259, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 13mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Miyota 8215, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: AcrylicShop Here
After the success of the Timex Marlin reissue, it was only a matter of time before Timex offered more within the range. In the past couple of years, we have seen plenty of developments when it comes to adding to the Marlin catalog. First, it was with the traditional automatic and then thew Marlin Day-Date shortly to follow. The Marlin features a day-date complication executed in an unobtrusive way making this easy to wear and pair with a variety of outfits.

Timex M79

Specifications: Price: $279, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 14.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46mm, Lug Width: 18mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Miyota 8215, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: AcrylicThe same story as the Marlin, Timex M79 was introduced with an automatic Miyota movement after the success of Q Timex reissue, with the ‘M’ signifies mechanical movement, and ‘79’ is the year Q Timex was introduced. It features a case size slightly larger than the Q Timex, but despite that, it has a great 46mm lug to lug length that helps accommodate the majority of the wrists out there.

Swatch Sistem51 Irony

Specifications: Price: $200-$255, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: 13.8mm, Lug-to-Lug: 50.6mm, Lug Width: 25mm (proprietary), Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto Sistem51, Power Reserve: 90 Hours, Crystal: Plexiglass
The Sistem51 is a revolutionary watch by Swatch with its 1-screw only movement that has a power reserve of a whopping 90 hours, and it all costs at only less than $250. The lineup features a variety of youthful designs that cater to newer watch enthusiasts. Swatch was created to counteract the devastating effects of the quartz crisis on the mechanical watch industry during the 70s and 80s, and much of that ethos remains here. The Irony series offers an elevated use of materials in comparison to the plastic models and feature movements that are possible to service. These are fun and cheap pieces that can be a great place to start or revisit on your watch collecting journey.

Seiko SRPE53K1

Specifications: Price: $275, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44.6mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Auto Seiko 4R36, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: HardlexThe new bezel-less Seiko 5 Sports has caused some waves in the community following the release of the dive bezel variant. The SRPE53, or often referred to as the DressKX by enthusiasts, has been dominating the affordable price market of watches with its clean design and wearability. For $275 this one has quickly jumped near the top of the list for being one of the best everyday watches you can find for a watch in this price range.

Orient Maestro

Specifications: Price: $185, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 45.8mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Auto Orient Caliber F6722, Power Reserve: 40 Hours, Crystal: MineralShop HereAs featured in one of my videos, the Orient Maestro is a no-nonsense watch that is one of the best options at an affordable price.  It features more bang for your buck specification with its 100 meters of water resistance and a reliably performing in house caliber within. It does lack a bit of soul with its dial design, but on the contrary, given its simple looks, it is going to be suitable for essentially any scenario while being a great place to start for those coming from the world of fashion watches.

Tissot Everytime Swissmatic

Specifications: Price: $395-$495, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.6mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto Tissot Swissmatic, Power Reserve: 72 Hours, Crystal: SapphireA simple design watch by Tissot, namely the Everytime Swissmatic. The Everytime Swissmatic is a unisex watch with its simplicity, and it is a feature-rich watch at such affordable price range for a Swiss Made watch including its Swissmatic movement with a lengthy 72 hours of power reserve, and a sapphire crystal on the top. This movement is going to need to be sent back to Tissot when service becomes necessary years down the road, however, it is more than affordable and given its universal appeal makes a great deal of sense to look in the direction of this one.

Just Missed the Cut:

While this article focuses on the best automatic watches under $500, we would like to give a mention to a few of the watches out there that just missed the cut with the price but are unquestionably great options to go for.

Hamilton Khaki Field Auto 38mm


Specifications: Price: $575, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Hamilton H-10, Power Reserve: 80 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire crystal
The beloved Hamilton Khaki Field unfortunately has missed the cut as it retails slightly above the $500 price tag and the Khaki Mechanical features a hand-wound movement.  This considered, putting the criteria for this list aside for a moment, there is no question that the Hamilton Khaki Auto with its wearable case, lengthy power reserve, and versatile looks is one of the best watches out there when it comes to value for money.

Hamilton Khaki King

Specifications: Price: $575, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto Hamilton H-40, Power Reserve: 80 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire crystalSimilar to what was mentioned with the Khaki Field Auto, the Khaki King has been highly raved about as a result of its shared traits with other Khaki models with the added use of a day-date complication.

Tissot Visodate Heritage

Specifications: Price: $650, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.6mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Auto ETA 2836-2 Power Reserve: 38 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire crystalOne of the most classic Tissot watches that is often compared as a rival of the SARB033 and 035 due to their simplicity and practicality. Although the Visodate features a less water resistance of only 30 meters, it is definitely a great dress watch for its price from a great entry-level Swiss manufacturer.

Seiko Presage SRPD39

Specifications: Price: $525, Case Size: 41.7mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 50m, Movement: Auto 4R35, Power Reserve: 41 Hours, Crystal: Sapphire crystal
The Presage SRPD39 is a stunning watch that is just above the $500 price point. This model is often referred to as the Zen Garden. It features leaf hands and a dial finish that does not truly show its full effect until close inspection.