As 2017 comes to an end, the WatchTime editors wanted to cover some notable watches of the year in a variety of price ranges. First up, here’s our guide to watches under $500 that you may have missed throughout everything that 2017 had to offer. — The WatchTime staff
Everyone loves a good bargain, even in the watch industry where prices can reach the unaccessible in the blink of an eye. While a lot of what we cover at WatchTime deals with watches in the four, five, even six figure range, we always keep an eye on timepieces that have more value to offer. And while there are thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of great looking new and vintage watches that can be found for under $500, we wanted to focus on what was introduced in 2017 with this list.
While I have a profound appreciation for the Seiko SKX (I’m wearing a Pepsi 007 while writing this), there’s a recent addition to the Seiko stable that I’ve had my eye on for the past few months: the Seiko Cocktail Time. My colleague Mark Bernardo recently wrote about his experience wearing one here, and as you can tell by his review, I’m not the only one thirsty for a Cocktail on the wrist. You can find them for $425.
Back in 2013, Swatch unveiled the Sistem51 which was hailed at the time as the “only mechanical movement ever made whose assembly is 100 percent automated.” Priced at a neat $150, the movement had 51 total components, no regulator, and a power reserve of 90 hours. It provided a lot of bang-for-your-buck and was an instant favorite among many of my industry friends. We’ve seen a few different Sistem51 variations since, but a few months ago, we got the first taste of the Sistem51’s mechanics in a different Swatch Group brand: the always-approachable Tissot. The Tissot Everytime Swissmatic has an automatic movement with a 72 hour power reserve that was developed off of the Sistem51. At 40 mm, it’s available in multiple variations, such as white or black dials, a variety of straps, and a PVD rose-gold-covered version. Prices start at $395.
If you’re a diving watch fanatic like I am, then a Citizen Promaster is an easy selection given its good looks and affordability. This specific diver is 45 mm and came out earlier this year. It’s powered by the Japanese brand’s famous light-powered Eco-Drive tech. The dark-blue bezel and dial are a real treat to look at in person — and so is the 200 m water resistance, meaning the Promaster can tag along on your most intense adventures. At $395, it’s a lot of watch for the money.
Almost everyone I’ve ever met that is passionate about watches owns a G-SHOCK and for a good reason: They’re affordable, unbreakable, and generally just funky timepieces. There’s a lot to love about Kikuo Ibe’s 35-year old invention. Last month, Casio rented out Madison Square Garden in Manhattan for a big party celebrating the G-SHOCK’s 35th anniversary. Amid the festivities (which included performances by A$AP Mob and Virgil Abloh), one of the new G-SHOCKS released to celebrate the anniversary caught my eye. This collaboration with Pigalle — a streetwear label out of Paris — is shockingly simple and brings a whole new level of appeal to the ever-classic G-SHOCK design. They’re limited to 1,800 total and cost $140.
Finally, my last choice for watches under $500 from this year goes to the always-affable Timex. This year, Timex introduced two super-cool new watches to its catalogue. First, a collaboration with New York City menswear-designer Todd Snyder, and second, a supremely-unique, mechanical reissue from the 1960s that has a whole lot of sex appeal for its age.
The Todd Snyder collection currently includes six different watches that encompass a variety of vintage styles. There’s three military-inspired watches that are inspired by military-spec watches from the 1970s, a Mod Watch with a bullseye dial, and a digital Ironman. My personal favorite has to be the “Blackjack,” which serves as a homage to the automotive glory of Formula One drivers in the 1960s and 1970s. The Timex Todd Snyder collection starts at $98.
Finally, we have the Timex Marlin, a curious watch if there ever was one. The hand-wound Marlin marks the first time in over three decades that Timex has made a mechanical watch. First introduced in the 1960s, it became recognizable across the country after a particularly noteworthy commercial in which the Marlin was attached to an outboard motor underwater and flung from a propeller. Of course, the Marlin kept ticking and was instantly an icon. And now it’s back. You can find it for $199.