Nine Great Watches You Can Get for Under $500

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Watches are some of the most interesting accessories to shop for, occupying a space between fashion, art and engineering. In the past, prospective watch enthusiasts had two choices: spend a small fortune, or buy something cheap and poorly-made. Now, things are changing. Respectable watches can be had for less than $500, allowing almost anyone to treat their wrist to something nice.

A stylish, well-engineered watch was, is, and always will be a sophisticated statement. As proof of this, consider the rise of the smartwatch (which we’re all buying, by the way). Many watch connoisseurs feared that smartwatches spelled the end of artful, meticulously made timepieces. The opposite seems to be true. People are still buying watches with an understanding that watches are more than simple time-tellers. As proof, brands such as Timex are releasing (and selling out) throwback watches with mechanical movements and attainable price tags.

In This Article

The Best Men’s Watches Under $500

What to Know Before Buying a Watch

The Best Men’s Watches Under $500

If you’re looking to invest in a watch that will be appreciated by connoisseurs (and your wallet), read on. We’ve rounded up some of the best watches under $500 (starting at less than $120), plus some brief tips on watch-buying to help guide the way.

Editor’s Pick: Tissot PRX

Best Dive Watch: Timex M79 Automatic

Best Chronograph: Dan Henry 1962 Racing Chronograph

Best Value: Seiko Series 5 Automatic

Best Field Watch: Marathon Navigator

Best Dress Watch: Orient Bambino

Most Rugged: Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Dive

Classic Look: Tissot Le Locle

Best Casual Pick: Hamilton Khaki King Series

1. Tissot PRX


Somewhere between a dress watch and a sports watch, the Tissot PRX is a favorite of budget-conscious watch lovers. It’s clean and elegant, but the stainless steel bracelet and 40-millimeter case balance things out for an undeniably handsome piece. You’ll see a few dial colors across the internet, but we love this blue — which is conveniently available on Amazon right now for less than $350.

Buy Tissot Men’s PRX $336.59

2. Timex M79 Automatic


With a classic diver look and an automatic movement, this Timex M79 is probably the best men’s watch under $500 (and a great Rolex Submariner alternative). Like all of Timex’s current vintage-inspired watches, the M79 features a level of build quality that punches way above its price tag. At 40 millimeters, the case also has some nice heft to it, but not so much as to dwarf smaller wrists.

Buy Timex M79 Automatic $199.00

3. Dan Henry 1962 Racing Chronograph

Dan Henry

Founded by an avid watch collector, Dan Henry offers the throwback watch styles we all want at a price that most of us can actually afford. One of our favorites from the brand is this 1962 Racing Chronograph which takes inspiration from the iconic racing watches of the Sixties, like the Omega Speedmaster. Inside the vintage-inspired 39-millimeter case is a reliable Seiko movement, and the watch is water-resistant to 50 meters.

Buy Dan Henry 1962 $280

4. Seiko Series 5 Automatic

Courtesy Jomashop

The Seiko 5 is a budget-conscious watch lover’s dream for two reasons: it’s automatic and it’s often priced around $100. For a watch enthusiast, an automatic movement at this price is like having your cake and eating it too. Add good looks and a respected Japanese brand and you get a truly great timepiece. It also comes in a good range of colors and styles so you have some options to choose from. The only slight downside is a hardlex crystal, which lies between mineral and sapphire in terms of scratch-resistance, but that’s easily forgivable at this price.

Buy Seiko Series 5 Automatic $112

5. Marathon Navigator


We’re big fans of military-inspired watches right now, and this Navigator from Marathon nails the look. And it’s not surprising: the Canadian-based, Swiss-made brand has been making military timepieces since the Forties. The Navigator features a thick, rugged case with a small, easy-read face. It’s also water resistant to 62 meters and boasts a sapphire crystal face for top-tier protection against scratches and cracks.

Buy Marathon Navigator $480

6. Orient Bambino


In need of a classy dress watch? Pick up this Orient Bambino (model: 2nd Gen, Ver. 2) on Amazon for less than $200. The affordable Japanese brand is beloved by budget-conscious watch enthusiasts thanks to its reliable automatic movement and old-school good looks. Plus, despite its clean-cut look, the watch is surprisingly water resistant to 30 meters.

Buy Orient 2nd Gen. Bambino Ver. 2 $159.00

7. Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Dive


Another great Japanese watch is the Citizen Promaster. Citizen has been a pioneer of the watch industry for over 100 years and currently holds a place in watch lovers’ hearts for their Eco-Drive movement. This movement is solar-powered, and Citizen claims it’ll keep accurate time for up to 10 years. The Promaster model is also incredibly adventure-friendly — and looks the part. It’s rated at 200 meters water-resistant and features a rugged polyurethane strap.

Buy Citizen Promaster Dive $281.25

8. Tissot Le Locle


Futuristic smartwatches might be all the rage, but classic dress watches such as this Tissot Le Locle still have a place in every watch enthusiast’s arsenal. The watch’s name, Le Locle, refers to the Swiss town where Tissot was founded in 1853. Like the name, the watch’s quality is a testament to the brand’s long-running expertise. The watch showcases a timeless look with a stainless steel case, black dial, Roman numerals, and a black leather strap. As you’d expect from a classic watch, Le Locle also uses an automatic movement for authenticity.

Buy Tissot Le Locle $394

9. Hamilton Khaki King Series

Courtesy Jomashop

If you’re looking for an everyday watch that goes with casual outfits as well as office attire, check out this Khaki King Series from Hamilton. It features a classic, no-frills look with a stainless steel case, black dial, and brown leather strap, combining for a handsome yet understated effect. It also has a sapphire crystal, ensuring that it’ll stay scratch-free, as well as 50 meters water resistance to protect against splashes and accidental submersion. Plus, an exposed skeleton back scores some clout points.


Buy Hamilton Khaki King Series $459

What to Know Before Buying a Watch

Picking watches is a full-time hobby for some enthusiasts, but you don’t need to be a horologist to find a great watch. However, there are still some key features that every watch-owner-to-be should consider before making any purchases.

Movement: A watch’s movement refers to the actual functioning of the watch. The three main watch movements are automatic, mechanical and quartz.

Automatic watches essentially “charge” themselves with the movement of the wearer’s wrist, making it the most desirable and reliable movement (used by big brands such as Rolex and Omega). Mechanical watches require hand-winding (usually every couple of days), and have seen a comeback recently for their vintage charm. Quartz, the most common movement today, uses a battery that needs replacing (typically every few years).

Brand: A watch’s brand is a stamp of quality – or lack thereof. The brand really does matter when selecting the best watch, especially when you’re looking for affordable watches. We’ve chosen picks from reliable sources (mostly Swiss and Japanese) to ensure that your new watch lasts as long as possible without any maintenance.

Water-resistance: Even if you don’t plan on showering or swimming with your watch, it’s always a good idea to be protected against water damage (say, rain or getting pushed in a pool). Generally, if a watch has less than 50 meters of water resistance, it’s only reliable against rain and occasional splashes. Over 50 meters of water resistance is safe for swimming, and over 100 meters is diving-ready.

Crystal: The ‘crystal’ on a watch refers to the dial cover. Sapphire (or synthetic sapphire) is nearly scratch-proof and glare-reducing, making it the most desirable watch crystal. Less expensive watches use a mineral crystal (specially treated glass) or an acrylic crystal that’s similar to plastic.

Style: It can be tempting to pick a watch just because it looks cool on its own, but it should also work with your personal style. Be sure to assess your own look and consider how well a watch will upgrade your style.