Maybe you wear a watch every day, maybe just for special occasions or like most guys, maybe you are somewhere in between. Either way, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a great watch. Even if you can only spend up to $100, there are a lot of great options and if you haven’t seen my video about the best watches under $100, I’ll link to that one down in the description. In this video, we’re going to look at some of the best watches that cost less than $500. And we’re not looking at fashion watches or watches that are just marked up because of a brand name or fancy marketing, we’re looking at watches from time-tested brands that offer a lot of value for the price tag.
This list will include both mechanical and quartz watches and a lot of different styles and sizes so there’s something for everybody. Before we get into it. Quick word from today’s sponsor, Shoptagr.
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Then you’ll get notifications whenever those products go on sale, or when they’re back in stock. For example, you could create a wishlist that has all of your favorite watches, maybe even some of the watches from today’s video will end up on your list. Even if you’re not ready to buy them yet you put them on this list and then you get notified if the price drops. Plus when you are ready to buy Shoptagr will automatically research the whole internet to find any active discount codes and it will try to apply them to your cart so you don’t have to go hunting around for those promo codes yourself. Shoptagr will do it for you.
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I’ve personally been using Shoptagr for a while now, especially to find any active promo codes before I buy something online. You can click the link in the description down below to check out Shoptagr and start using it for free today. And big thank you again to Shoptagr for supporting this channel by sponsoring this video. Okay, let’s get into the list of the best watches under $500.
We’ll go by category, starting with casual and field watches. First up the Seiko Alpinist. This watch is just under 40 millimeters in diameter.
It’s an automatic watch priced at $475. Now, you’re gonna find this watch on most lists of the best watches under $500.
It’s the SARB017, knowing lovingly as The Alpinist. And this is kind of a divisive watch. Some people don’t like it, but a lot of people are obsessed with it. It’s a kind of squat, chunky, green and gold field watch and I think it’s one of the coolest looking watches out there. It’s also chock-full of features.
It’s got a 50-hour power reserve, sapphire crystal, a rotating compass which is really cool. 200 meters water resistance, see through caseback, lumen bright hands and markers, so it is a real field watch despite its kind of unique looks.
Now, the dressy calfskin leather strap seems like an odd choice for an Explorer’s watch, but you got to admit the green, gold and brown look really nice together. I’ll link to this watch and every other watch on this list down below in the description. Next up, we have the Filson Field Watch.
This is a 36-millimeter watch so it’s a little bit smaller by today’s standards. It’s a quartz battery-powered movement price at $350. This watch definitely leans more casual like most field watches and it’s a little bit on the smaller side, so it’s suitable for guys with smaller wrists but it’s gonna look great with any casual or smart casual outfit. This watch has a stainless steel case that protects the dial and the quartz movement from any dust or moisture. It’s stylish, it’s sturdy, and it’s from a respected longtime brand and I think it’s a great choice if you liked the field watch aesthetic and you have an average or smaller size wrist.
Speaking of great field watches, next up, we have the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical. This is a 38-millimeter watch. It’s got a mechanical movement, so it’s hand-winding, and it’s priced at just under $500. Now, I definitely have a thing for field watches and I’ve actually been wearing the first version of this Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical on my wrist for a few years now. There’s a new version that’s slightly different.
The dial is a little bit different. It doesn’t have the date window, but they’re both great. Hamilton is originally an American brand. It’s got a lot of heritage, making watch for the US military and now it’s owned by a Swiss company, so it’s got a Swiss movement inside and I actually think it’s one of the best watches you can buy for under $500. Since it’s a hand-wound movement, not an automatic movement, it’s a very thin watch.
It’s about 9.5-millimeters thick so it’ll just slide under the cuff of any shirt. Some people complain about the stock canvas strap this comes on, but I personally really like it. Note: I did have to poke an extra hole in the strap. My wrists are about 6.
25 to 6.33 inches around and the strap was a little too big for me. But this watch looks good on a NATO leather or really any other type of strap that you want to put it on. Okay, well let’s move on and look at some sport and dive watches under 500 bucks. All right, next up we have a legend of a watch — the Seiko SARB033.
This is a 38-millimeter watch powered by an automatic movement and you can usually find it online for about $425. This is arguably the best watch under $500. And if someone has a $500 budget and they want to buy their first automatic watch, this is usually the one that I recommend.
This watch is sporty but it can be worn with pretty much any outfit. The stainless steel bracelet and the black dial is going to look as good in 50 years as it looks today and this watch will still probably be ticking in 50 years if you take care of it.
This classic Seiko is powered by an automatic Japanese movement with a 50-hour power reserve. So that means it’s going to keep ticking even if you don’t wear for a day or two. Complicated only by a subtle date window at three o’clock, this watch is a timeless masterpiece. It’s understated, it’s versatile, and I think it’s one of the best choices for $500 or less. Next up, we have the Orient Mako USA II.
Slightly larger with a 41.5 millimeter diameter, this is also an automatic watch priced at $450. For the price, this Orient Mako II has some of the best features for any dive watch under $500. It’s got a rotating bezel, 200 meters water resistance, screw-down crown, fold-over push button bracelet, day-date complication, automatic movement, hand-winding, hacking, you get the point.
Plus Japanese watchmaker Orient makes every part of their watches in-house.
I really think this is one of the best dive watches you can get under $500 especially if you want a mechanical movement. Speaking of automatic dive watches our next watch is the Dan Henry 1970 Automatic diver. This is available in a 40-millimeter or 44-millimeter size so something for everybody. It’s an automatic watch and it’s priced at just $290. Like all Dan Henry watches, this one is Inspired by vintage pieces and it was designed by a total watch nerd.
It’s powered by a Seiko automatic movement with 200 meters water resistance and it’s available in two different sizes with or without a date window. It features some details that are typically only found on more expensive divers like a rotating inner bezel and applied indices. So if you are into micro brands, I think that the Dan Henry 1970 Automatic diver is definitely worth checking out if you like the way it looks. Next up, no surprise here, the Seiko SKX007.
This is a 42-millimeter automatic dive watch.
It comes in at about $315. Despite the fact that I’ve never been scuba diving, for some reason, I’m just kind of enamored by dive watches. And the SKX007 is one of the most classic dive watches you can buy. You can get it on a rubber strap or a Jubilee bracelet. You can replace it with a NATO or an aftermarket oyster bracelet but whatever you wear it on, you really can’t go wrong with this classic diver.
This watch has a ton of history, almost a lore behind it and it’s also very modifiable, so if you’re into modifying your watches, this is a good one to start with, because there’s a lot of aftermarket parts available. And if you love the way this watch looks but you need something smaller, check out the SKX013 instead. That’s a watch that I’ve owned for a few years. I did a full review on it which I will link down below in the description.
Next up, we have the Brew Retrograph.
This is a 38-millimeter watch with a meca-quartz movement priced at $350. So most of the watches on this list are made by companies that have been around for decades or longer. But there are a couple of micro brands and, you know, I want to give credit where credit is due because some of these newer smaller brands are doing some really cool things and I put Brew in that category. This watch from New York-based Brew has been raising some eyebrows with its rectangular case and the meca-quartz movement. This basically means that it’s going to have that nice sweeping second hand even though it’s a battery-powered watch.
So unlike other quartz watches, it’s not gonna tick, it’s going to look like an automatic. It’s also got the chronograph complications, so you can basically use it as like an analog stopwatch and at 38 millimeters, I think it’s a universally pleasing size. Okay, and finally, let’s look at some more minimal dressy watches under $500. First up, we have the Timex Marlin Automatic. This is a 40-millimeter watch.
It’s automatic, hence the name, and priced at $260. This watch is dripping with vintage charm but the size is more contemporary. The Timex Marlin Automatic is much loved. It’s a somewhat recent release from a brand that’s been around forever. Available in a silver or gold finish, this watch gets an extra character from it mesh band and acrylic crystal.
Both are kind of vintage details that a lot of people are gonna find very charming. The small date window at three o’clock is a subtle complication. It’s very practical in my opinion. I love having the date window. But this watch is otherwise very minimal and appropriate for dressy occasions.
Next up, we have a Vintage Omega Seamaster. So this isn’t one specific model, but kind of a category and I think once you’re at that $500 or less budget, it definitely makes sense to look at the vintage market a little bit. If you are going to go pre-owned and you have a budget of $500, it makes a lot of sense to look at Omega because they have some of the best pre-owned vintage watches out there at that price point, and the Seamaster is widely available in a bunch of different varieties and if you like the brand and you don’t mind the idea or you like the idea of going pre-owned, then the Seamaster is a great choice.
It’s a slightly different buying process. It takes a little bit of patience.
I recommend doing some research, finding the exact model or couple of models that you really like and then keeping your eye on the forums and making sure that you find the exact one you like and just kind of holding out until you do versus just saying, “I want any Omega.” and buy the first one that’s available. I recommend monitoring sites like Crown & Caliber, Chrono24 and Reddit’s Watchexchange community. These vintage Omegas are popping up everywhere. They’re widely available so it shouldn’t take too long to find the perfect watch for you.
Going back to new watches, next up, we have the Junghans Max Bill. This is a 40-millimeter watch powered by a quartz movement and it’s usually priced around $359. A quintessential Bauhaus-inspired wristwatch, this German-made Max Bill is much loved among watch enthusiasts but also students of design. This watch features minimalist design elements, a large dial, a thin bezel, a matte finish on the dial and a generously domed plexiglass crystal. The quartz version is very thin at about 7.
9 millimeters, so it’s going to sit very close to your wrist and just slide under the cuff of any dress shirt. If you prefer a mechanical watch, I recommend checking out the 34-millimeter “unisex” version of this watch instead. You can also look at the higher end automatic version of the larger men’s watch, but it’s going to cost more than $500. Another great dress watch under $500 is the Tissot EVERYTIME Automatic. This is a 40-millimeter watch automatic movement.
It’s priced around $395. This is an average size minimal dress watch from a long-established Swiss brand.
In fact Tissot was founded in 1853 which is pretty crazy. It’s now owned by the Swatch Group. This is a pretty simple watch.
It can be worn with casual outfits but it’s really best suited for I’d say smart casual, business casual and formal outfits. It does have some flair with its date window, subtly domed sapphire crystal and see through caseback. So if you like the minimal look and you only want to own one or two watches, I think that the EVERYTIME Automatic is a great choice. And last but certainly not least, we have the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time. This is a 40-millimeter automatic watch that comes in just under our $500 mark at around $475.
This watch is a favorite among Seiko enthusiasts and it’s part of the brand’s slightly higher end Presage line.
The Cocktail Time is an automatic watch with hand-winding and a hacking second hand. It has a 41-hour power reserve, so if you skip a day wearing it, it will still be ticking. And it’s available in a wide variety of dial color and strap combinations. If I had to choose one, I’d probably go with the blue sunburst dial and steel bracelet.
And that is it. That’s my list of some of the best watches under $500 in pretty much every category. But there are so many more. This is a really interesting price point. There’s a lot of great options under $500.
And I would love to hear from you. What is your number one favorite pick, favorite watch for under $500 right now today? Let me know down in the comment section.
If you have any questions for me, feel free to ask. Thank you as always for watching and until next time.