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Watch Insider’s Top 10 Affordable Watches for Men

Longines HydroConquest ChronographThere is a lot of discussion about what constitutes “affordable watches” and “affordable luxury” when it comes to watch brands. For me, it means watches under $5,000, with mechanical movements, from trusted watch brands. From my blog, Watch-Insider.com, here is my list of the top 10 affordable men’s watches that represent the most excellent value for price.

The watch brands represented here are all well-known for their price-to-value ratio. (The most expensive watch on the list, the Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue, is priced at just $4,425.) Please note that I have chosen just one version of each watch; most of the affordable watches described here are, of course, available with different colored dials, bezels and types of bracelets. All of the watches on the list have steel cases. You can find more detailed information about nearly all these affordable watches — as well as many that are, shall we say, less affordable — at my blog.

Alpina Sailing Yacht Timer: The company, which stakes its reputation on making inexpensive watches with Swiss mechanical movements, has added an in-house regatta countdown module to an automatic Sellita SW 500. Excellent readability and top quality. The price: $4,129.

Alpina Sailing Yacht Timer

Top 10 affordable watches: Alpina Sailing Yacht Timer

Baume & Mercier Clifton GMT: A fully functional GMT watch for traveling and/or displaying a second zone time; attractive and equipped with an ETA 2893-3 caliber. The price: $3,000. (Click here to read more about the Clifton collection.)

Baume & Mercier Clifton GMT

Top 10 affordable watches: Baume & Mercier Clifton GMT

Frédérique Constant Slimline Manufacture Moonphase: A stunningly good-looking automatic watch with a classical moon-phase indication, equipped with the automatic in-house caliber FC-705. The price of $3,500 places it solidly in my “affordable watches” category. More details here.

Frederique Constant Slimline Manufacture Moonphase

Top 10 affordable watches: Frederique Constant Slimline Moonphase

Hamilton Khaki Navy Sub Auto Chrono: A 300-meter water-resistant sports chronograph equipped with an ETA 7753 caliber. Top quality, and a lot of lovely design details to discover. The price: $1,995 on a rubber strap.

Hamilton Khaki Navy Sub Auto Chrono

Top 10 affordable watches: Hamilton Khaki Navy Sub Auto Chrono

 

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About Alexander Linz

Alexander Linz is an Austrian watch journalist, watch collector and blogger (www.watch-insider.com). He belongs to a small group of European journalists who have been covering the Swiss and Japanese watch industry for decades. Alexander writes on a regular base for the Austrian daily newspaper "Die Presse", Austria's leading watch and jewelry trade magazine "Uhren-Juwelen" and the leading watch magazines in Germany "Chronos" and "Uhren Magazin". His interviews and features appeared in many of the world's leading watch forums and are frequently being shared by watch experts and journalists.

Comments

  1. Alan says:

    Affordable? lol

  2. stuart says:

    I\'ve owned many beautiful (and expensive watches Breitling, Baume Mercier, Tag\'s, Cartiers etc) Recently prurchased a beutiful Ball Watch Trainmaster Roman (crystal back, saphire, automatic) for abput 1,700 bucks and in my opinion represents a great value for a quality watch. I\'ve also owned Brera watches (italian) which look great, Officina de Tempo (also Italian, very nice) and Luminox 3150 series which you can get with stainless steel band for around 400. Also Victorinox (Swiss Army) has some nice watches reasonably priced. Tissot makes nice watches although I don\'t personally care for watch faces that are too busy. Citizen tends to overdo it. There are many nice Seiko\'s for those looking for a decent watch for the money)

  3. Mike Kennedy says:

    I am very interested in trying to get a what I think is a high end watch around 800 to 1000. Does anyone on here have one they could spare for an up and coming business man. Thanks please email me at mikek843@gmail.com.

  4. C.Jin says:

    I dropped my Rolex into the water when I was on my Yacht, and I recently had to buy another car for my wife so I\'m glad I could find some affordable options to replace my watch!

  5. Ishma Narag says:

    Huh? No Seiko?

  6. Ben Clark says:

    Well one out of nine falling in to an affordable category does not a good article make. Anything more than $500 is moving in to high end territory, more than $1000 is not affordable for most people.

  7. manivardhan reddy darooru says:

    thanks

  8. someguy says:

    Affordable?? Really??

  9. Ken says:

    Great watches but I am afraid I wont be able to afford it ! ! I am planning to buy a watch from Skagen, any suggestions pls!!

    • Peter says:

      I have had two Skagens. I initially purchased one because it looked like a very cool design, and the price was very, very reasonable (purchased online). The other one is chronograph watch which works fine.

  10. brss3 says:

    Affordable watches in my book arein the sub $500 category. For my money Fossil is a bargain brand. for $100 you can get a stylish watch that keeps accurate time for 10+ years. I own 3. As for the \"better\" brands I love Citizen, Tissot, Hamilton, Invicta, Oris, Tw Steel, and used a used Tag( which is possible, but hard to find for sub $500) I own a used Tag, Invicta, Citizen and Fossil.

  11. brss3 says:

    Affordable watches inn my book are sub $500 category. For my money Fossil is a bargain brand. for $100 you can get a stylish watch that keeps accurate time for 10+ years. I own 3. As for the \"better\" brands I love citizen, Tissot, Hamilton, Invicta, Oris, Tw Steel, and used a used Tag( which is possible, but hard to find for sub $500) I own a used Tag, Invicta, Citizen and Fossil.

  12. raymond says:

    Breitling superocean 44

  13. raymond says:

    Breitling superocean 44 (around €3000,-)

  14. Noe Munoz says:

    I\'m surprised there was no Invicta watch. The watches look really nice, much better than almost all of the watches you showed in my opinion, I like the Invicta diver pro series, some cost 400 but there are some under 100 and they look the same to me. If anyone is interested they cheapest dealer I\'ve seen for Invicta watches is worldofwatches.com.

    • C.Jin says:

      It\'s pretty much unanimously agreed upon that Invicta\'s are to be avoided at all costs.

  15. Krishna says:

    how will be the watch brands?
    1. brernherd h.mayer
    2. chairos
    3. j.r mayor watch brands

  16. BST says:

    Here is my top 10 list:
    1. Ulysse
    2. Breguet
    3. Patek
    4. Rolex
    5. AP
    6. IWC
    7. Cartier
    8. JL
    9. Omega
    10. Hublot

    Lucky to have 6/10 of these and working towards acquiring all.

  17. Joseph Young says:

    On dive watches rubber bands may be necessary, because salt water is corrosive, but rubber has never been and never will be a quality material. Rubber wears out quickly, looks cheap and makes one\'s wrist perspire. To evaluate any manufactured product, one should probably ask a designer for assistance. Name brands don\'t always live up to their hype, their price, their advertizing or their reputation. You must see things in person and you must touch them and look very carefully at the overall fit and finish. You\'ll then see differences, but it takes a practiced eye and a lot of experience, because manufactured goods are multiples and thus are far different than one-of-a-kind oil paintings. There are very few things that come close to perfection, but certain watches, cameras and musical instruments are superb. Realize one thing, it takes far more advanced skills to design and build a high quality product to sell well at a low price than it does to make ridiculously expensive baubles only meant for extremely wealthy individuals.

  18. Joseph Young says:

    Mr. Linz, Why are you afraid to print my letter? I thought it was a fair evaluation of two interesting brands, Seiko and Tissot.

  19. Patrick warren says:

    A friend recently returned a Rolex perpetual oyster day date, 12 year old watch that cost 12k, damp had appeared under the glass, Rolex returned the watch saying the repair would be £4650 . I returned my 22 year old Casio 200m diving watch for new battery and waterproofing they returned the watch saying it was too old to repair as no new seals, but offered me a 50percent discount on any watch in their diving collection, with out hesitation I took them up on it, to my mind the best value watch there is

  20. Joseph Young says:

    I bought a heavy bulky Omega Flightmaster in Switzerland in 1972, and it\'s seals disintegrated not long after I took it home. That mechanical watch would cost too much to repair today. I now wear a quartz Seiko with a brown face and strap that cost $140 and a beautiful quartz Tissot for $250 that has a cream color face that matches the color of the sails on my classic sailboat. Both are quite striking to look at. The pushers on the Tissot are of a higher machined quality than the Seiko, but the Seiko face is easier to read. Rolexes in 1972 were fairly reasonable. If you\'re in the market for a quality Swiss timepiece, you should never overlook Tissots. If you want a lower priced watch, I would suggest Seikos. Rolexes should have the option of a skeletonized back for those who don\'t or wouldn\'t dive with them, their movements are so exquisite, they should be seen by the owner, not just the watch repair people.

  21. laureen says:

    3000 USD affordable??????????????????????????

    • Todd says:

      Exactly! Not one of the watches mentioned falls into the \"affordable\" category.

  22. Raul Vazquez says:

    Is Oris under this category as a good affordable under budget watch? i bought one online, seems really nice, but its the second time i have to send it back for repair. The model is C3 Advanced Day Date Black Rubber Strap Watch. I am a little frustrated with this one. it falls under the 1000 usd category, and i never thought it would present a service failure. Compared to Oris, what other brand can be taken into account?

  23. Ronen says:

    The easiest way for someone to get into ownership of a luxury watch or fine watch is to call reputable jewelry stores. Another option is calling high end pawn shops that deal with luxury watches, estate jewelry, etc. These shops buy pre owned watches and typically have them properly cleaned and repaired (if necessary). For the buyer this means the opportunity to have a luxury watch for far less money than buying a new watch. If you take some time and stay in touch with 3-4 shops you will eventually find a great deal. Our store does this and it\'s made a lot of customers happy throughout our time in business.

  24. Michael R. says:

    For me watches are functional pieces of art. The worth of a piece of art is what you are willing to pay. I have a collection of 25 watches and growing. When I see a watch that I like I must decide if I want it for my collection. Then I decide if the price is reasonable and can I presently afford to spend the money. As for watches that are good buys at or under $1000, there are more than I can possibly own. It\'s all about deciding which watches are in my collection or out of my collection. I should add that any watch in my collection must be an automatic and it must be a reliable time keeper. Since we are discussing watches under $1000, pilot watches offer a wealth of pieces having a purity of design, classic looks, with excellent mechanics. Dive watches are another sub class, but for me the pilot watches are more compelling. Remember that for me watches are pieces of art so my preferences are not about which watches are better, but which watches speak to me.

  25. Ds says:

    Doing some research before buying my first luxury watch - why is Cartier not on here . That was my favourite before reading this? Thanks.

  26. Ds says:

    Doing some research before buying my first luxury watch - why is Cartier not on here . That was my favourite before reading this

  27. Matt J says:

    I bought the Tissot Squelette about 2 months ago before reading this article and I will admit that it is my favorite of all my watches... I have a 50th anniversary green bezel Rolex Submariner, 2 Breitlings and an Omega Seamaster and the Tissot still visually knocks them out of the park!
    I will say that I wish they made it automatic because I do have to wind it all the time whitch gets annoying but it wasn\'t a deal breaker for me!
    Also if you shop around or pay with cash you can usually get the price down around $1500.00 instead of $1950.00... I paid out the door $1425.00 so remember the price he lists up there is a manufacturer suggested retail price, not it\'s true value or end all be all price!

  28. CCN 1410 says:

    Recently purchased a Citizen Eco-Drive - 10 ATM -
    Perpetual Calendar with sapphire crystal - Luminous hands - Insufficient Charge Warning for only $ 300.
    The watch is beautiful, practical and very good.

    If i were to buy an expensive watch about eight or ten thousand dollars, I would buy a Zeitwinkel 88º.

    • CCN 1410 says:

      Zeitwinkel 188º, sorry!

  29. Martin says:

    HI
    In last year I bought anyhing from used Breitlings to Rolex watches most of which i sold as new and more exciting watches are coming out with bigger sizes, ceramic bezels and all blacked out watches.
    I managed to find some nice watches like Edox with ceramic bezel and automatic movement for $500 new.
    Montres De Luxe Thunderbird Chronograph with Valjoux 7750 for $1000 new
    Glycine Airman Chrono 08 very nice large watch on leather with 3 timezones. This one gets the most comments as it has 4 nice screwdown buttons.
    Perrelet Seacraft which is insanely finnished in steel and comes with the coolest box and for such a large watch wears very nicely and puts Omega and Rolex to shame with the quality of the steel.
    Another addition is Armand Nicolet S05 Chronograph ,which is vey interesting to say the least with very busy looking dial. I think my new fauvorite although quality is something to question.
    All these new and well under retail price due to economy in Europe I guess, but I love the whole underdog feel of those smaller companies.
    I would love to own a Rolex GMT with blue/black ceramic bezel which is well out of my price range.
    I do think that watch industry is getting a bit like buying a new car. You want that sporty yellow or red but end up buying grey due to resale value..

  30. Colin Agar-Rea says:

    Still nothing big, bold and interesting in there! I agree with the Oilers fan..do your research, search the web and if on a tight budget consider used options there\'s plenty out there and some bargains to be had..Colin

  31. Friggs says:

    We live in different worlds. I get excited when I see articles titled \"affordable\", \"budget \", etc.... But I am always disappointed. Affordable price is relative I know. But I am in a different world unfortunately. My most expensive watch is $300. So all but one of your Watches are dreams for me. And I wonder what people are really saying when they say no watch under $1000 is a quality product. I have a couple of Orient Watches. Yes they are made in Japan, but are house movements and are accurate and they hold up well. To me that is quality. And for what you can buy them for is amazing. Maybe that is why people don\'t take them seriously. I challenge you to buy one and check it out. Sure it is not a $3000 watch and not up to that same quality. But for money spent their quality is amazing.

    • Pawel says:

      But here is where you differentiate - you think in terms of value-for-money, which doesn\'t exist for luxury watches (even in the affordable segment). A $50 Citizen quartz will keep time better than a Breguet, but you still would like a Breguet if you could afford one.

      • kjonyou says:

        The reason that guy is thinking in terms of Value for the Money is the title of the article, \"Affordable Watch Brands\". If it was title \" High End Luxury Brand on a Budget\" then it would not be so misleading.

        Statistically, most men do not spend more then $200 on a watch. That is the statistical average. So for the word budget to apply, it really would men less then that to the general public. For watch snobs of coarse, that is unthinkable.

        I also disagree with your assumption that everyone would want a Breguet if they could afford one. That is about as simplistic as saying everyone wants a gold plated Rolls Royce if they could afford one. Let me tell you I know half a dozen people in the financial success category none of which own anything fancier then a stock BMW. The richest one of them all sees that kind of spending as wasteful. He only buys used cars, shops at Costco and Target and his net worth is probably close to 100 Million range. I think he wears a Timex.

  32. Orient classic automatic says:

    Thanks for this post.Lovely design of watches.I have Hamilton Khaki Navy Sub Auto Chrono watch from this list.That one is amazing and the colour is awesome.

  33. Leo Sitorus says:

    My top watch brands are:
    1. PP
    2. AP
    3. Rolex
    4. JLC
    5. IWC
    6. Panerai
    7. Omega
    8. Breitling
    9. Tudor
    10. Longines

    The watch brands that I ever have are Rolex (5 pcs), Panerai (3 pcs), Breitling (1 pce), Tudor (1pce), Longines (1 pce).

  34. Tim says:

    The best value Swiss Mechanical I have found is the Golana Advanced Pro 200. This watch is a stuuner.Very robust and heavy with the metal bracelet. Similar looks to Tag Carrera or Ball Storm Chaser.
    7750 all Swiss and cost me new £325.

  35. Virgil Howarth says:

    Hey how about the Omega Speedmaster Professional moon watch? Talk about a iconic watch, this is it. And it sells for about $3500. This is the same watch NASA still uses.

  36. George Michael. vlassis says:

    my.top 10.swiss watches brands 1 zenith.2 perrelet3 omega 4 zeno 5 revue thommen 6..Maurice.lacxoix. 7 longines 8 raymond.weiil 9.edox10 ebel . Thanks . George from Sydney Australia

    • ioancio alex says:

      revue is my favourite too
      it is very underrated and it does not deserve it.
      It would be nice if the list contained 30 watches because the price range is very very competitive. Cheers

  37. Ray says:

    I challenge you to find a cooler watch than the Alexander Shorokhoff Babylonian for $2650. Also Schaumburg Watch deserves a mention.

  38. Jonathan W. Fink says:

    Here\'s my list of the top watch brands for the money:

    1. Zenith
    2. Omega
    3. Pre 2011 EBEL before they sold their proprietary movement
    4. Longines
    5. Grand Seiko
    6. Citizen Campanola/Signature
    7. Hamilton
    8. Seiko Premier
    9. Seiko/Citizen
    10. Casio
    10. Timex

  39. Rudo says:

    I agree with the list of 1000 but for the exorbitant prices of some watches, I would agree on a list of 2500. Sure it is still a high price for most people but few watches below 1000 are great in terms of quality. Maybe if we could base our list in the real cost of a watch, that would be a more realistic even if the sell price is 5 or 10 times more expensive.

    • Oilers Fan says:

      Really?? I can think of tons of great quality watches for under $1000. Maybe do a little research before such a bold statement.

    • CCN 1410 says:

      Rudo,

      I agree with you.

  40. Randy Torres says:

    Nice list, but a shame the author showed his Euro-centric bias by leaving Seiko off the list. Seiko has several watches throughout its Seiko, Ananta and even Grand Seiko lines that meet the criteria of the article. And, unlike all but 2 or 3 watches on this list, all Seiko movements are in-house.

    The author makes a big deal of the Swatch System 51, but the Seiko 5 has been around for a very long time and some models can be bought for LESS than $100. Likewise, the author raves about the Oris Depth Gauge and while rightly so since it is a tremendous watch, compare and contrast with Seiko\'s 130 Anniversary Ananta Diver. Yes, that watch is $1,000 more expensive but it is a chronograph and a limited edition work of art featuring hand painted lacquer dials by Isshu Tamura, who has done dials for Swiss makers like Bovet costing multiples of the Oris or the Ananta. The movement, in house of course, is Seiko\'s superlative 8R39, no off the rack Valjoux 77xx here, which has, among other unique features, a column wheel and vertical clutch system, unlike the aforementioned Valjoux 77xx.

    At the end of the day there is nothing really wrong with Mr. Linz\'s list as all the watches on it are excellent and any list of this type is subjective opinion. I would submit, however, that any article that lists watches that offer value for price and omits to include Seiko at the expense of an almost all Swiss line up (the German Nomos the lone exception), is glaringly incomplete.

  41. breza says:

    Great article, but in a spirit of today\'s economy it would be great to see some watches with bigger value and much nicer price. I love watches, but for four grand I\'m looking for 30 years old Alpina... BMW!

  42. Jim Knotts says:

    I\'m considering selling one of my watches to get one nice new one. It\'s a 72 Rolex Daytona Choreograph...Paul Newman black face w/yyguwite complications. Any suggestions?

    • BIG CHRONO says:

      This is a major iconic watch I would not part with, unless you desperately need food & shelter. Save your shekels until you have enough to get the new one you\'re looking for.

  43. Bespoke says:

    Great selection and description Alexander.

    So much value to be found at all price points, nobody needs to feel disappointed looking at the big boys.

    The Oris and Tissot Squelette are compelling buys..

  44. angelo matto says:

    I agree with you but I would include the Tissot Navigator 160th anniversary. I really enjoy your article. Congratulations.

  45. tony waterman says:

    great article, its the nomos for me understated and elegant. Unfortunately its about $3000 to much for me. Agree with mark, a list of the top 10 for under a $1000.

  46. MrTissot says:

    Obviously it\'s the Tissot for me

  47. Fredric Ruvel says:

    The only one I would wear is the Baume Mercier. It is beautiful. Tudor has to prove itself.

    • Steve Thibeault says:

      Tudor is a well established Rolex brand. I don\'t think that they need to prove themselves...

  48. Mark Elias says:

    Alexander,
    I really enjoyed your article, \"Watch Insider\'s Top Ten Watch Brands,\" and I would love to have every one of the examples you have mentioned. But how about a listing of the \"ten must have watches under $1,000 USD for the rest of us.\"

    It might be a challenge but I bet it would strike quite a chord!

    Thanks for your great articles.

    • sunil Mittal says:

      For value point of view,a watch under $1000, will be great.

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