The watch is one of man’s most iconic peripherals, adorning the wrist of many a prolific individual. Not only is the watch a sign of status, but it’s also a testament to the life-long pursuit of fashionable enlightenment. It shows the world that, aside from being punctual, stylish, and cultured, you’re also an avid proponent of functional lineage. But, not every watch has to be a sign of status or an accomplice to your statement of style; sometimes, a watch just needs to be… a watch.
Cryptic language aside, we’re trying to implant the idea that, while high-end watches might be a tasteful choice for the status-oriented guy, there are plenty of affordable options that are equally as enticing. Not only do you get to show off your own unique style, but you also get to save a few bucks in the long run, allowing you to spend your hard-earned cash on the things that matter most, like food, or shelter. Below, we’ve compiled a handful of our favorite watches. And the best part? They’re all under $200. So stop looking at that ultra-expensive Rolex, and dive right into our guide on the best men’s watches for the frugal buyer.
Nokia Activity & Sleep
Nokia probably isn’t the first name that comes to mind when speaking on aesthetically-pleasing wristwear, but the company’s health division (now Withings) has created a notable silhouette with the aptly-named Activity & Sleep. This unique watch boasts 24/7 seamless tracking, calorie monitoring, sleep monitoring, and automatic synchronization with the company’s Health Mate app for instant access to data and visual trends. Better yet, the device offers up to eight months of battery life, allowing you more time to focus on getting, and staying fit.
Skagen’s Horisont is a minimalist offering that perfectly blends the brand’s Bauhaus-inspired designs with that of a modernized watch. An attractive 40mm case, sandblasted dial, and short linear/dot indexes reference the moon’s orbit around Earth, while subtle intricacies like a brass disc and single-hand serve to annotate the time. Each of these special-edition watches come with a 20mm strap and commemorative engraving on the rear, demarcating their iconic lineage.
Bertucci 12122 A-2T
Bertucci’s 12122 A-2T is part of the company’s “Original Classics” line, and as such, it sports one of the most sought-after designs in the industry. This well-made field watch features a 40mm sandblasted matte finish, a lightweight titanium construction, and a patented two-ply nylon band that references the genre’s most prolific variants. If you’re looking for a watch that’s capable, affordable, and still looks the part, the 12122 A-2T might be one of the best options on the market today.
Timex Weekender Chrono Horween
This Timex Weekender Chrono was created by Form Function Form and features a tasteful Horween leather band for the ultimate in fashionable utilization. Inside, a dependable and durable Timex movement pairs with the watch’s timeless chronograph function, providing an always-accurate depiction of the time. On the exterior, you’ll find a handsomely-adapted, nickel-plated brass case, accented by the Weekender’s vegetable-tanned Dublin Ale leather strap. At 40mm, the watch is certainly an eye-catching peripheral, made all the more influential due to its premium materials.
Casio’s MTPS120L-3AV watch is a silhouette that harkens back to diving’s most influential platforms and boasts a solar analog composition for dependable, all-day use. While you’re out and about, the MTPS120 is charging, ensuring that you’ll always have access to the watch’s various features. A simplistic field-inspired design, complete with durable mineral glass, a day/date display, and 100-meter water resistance places this watch well within the realm of essential, all-encompassing wristwear.
Timex x Todd Snyder Military Field
Both Timex and Todd Snyder are no strangers to the realm of fashionable menswear, and the pair’s iconic Military Field watch is a perfect representation of their timeless pedigree. Drawing inspiration from Timex’s most influential field silhouettes from the ‘70s, this 40mm timepiece features a mineral glass lens, Arabic dial markings, and a dependable quartz analog movement, bridging the gap between modern styling, and contemporary implementation. Each example boasts retro artwork on its dial, giving wearers a glimpse into the company’s nostalgic past.
Orient Men’s ‘Bambino’
Orient has a knack for creating some of the most nostalgic timepieces in the industry, but with the newest iteration of the company’s iconic Bambino, they’ve decided to take a step into the future. As the third version of Orient’s second-gen flagship, they’ve upgraded the watch to feel much more contemporary, offering clean, vertical lines, a beautifully-implemented sunburst dial, and symmetrically mirrored hands to set it apart from its colleagues. Underneath the watch’s domed mineral crystal, you’ll find an ORIENT Cal. F6724 Automatic movement, stainless steel bezel, and case, complemented by the implementation of a tasteful, premium leather band.
Seiko 5 SNZF17
Seiko’s transcendental watches have become a staple in the menswear industry, and the company’s 5 SNZF17 is no different. The watch’s tasteful stainless steel case houses the brand’s dependable automatic movement, while a push-button band, outfitted with a bespoke deployment clasp and safety lock feature, ties everything together. Behind the glass, you’ll find a well-placed day/date display and illuminated markers, accented by the watch’s unidirectional bezel.
Tissot Everytime T109
Tissot is a recognizable name for many watch aficionados, and while they’ve imprinted themselves onto the wristwear world due to their high-end offerings, the affordable Everytime T109 isn’t anything short of commendable. It features an accurate analog quartz movement, a synthetic sapphire crystal, and tasteful 42mm case, giving it plenty of presence on, or off or your wrist. The watch’s stainless steel case, classic dial, and elegant attributes make it one of the most beautiful on our list — but, thanks to a 100-foot, 3ATM water resistance, it proves that aesthetic prowess isn’t always shortsighted.
Citizen’s watches are surely understated; though, for connoisseurs of wristwear’s most iconic variants, they’ve become a household name. The brand’s Corso BM8240-03E, for instance, is one of the most aesthetically-pleasing variants on our list and features a subtle, 36mm stainless steel case, black dial, and Arabic numerals to help it stand apart from its competition. On the Corso’s dial, you’ll find a tasteful day-date window complemented by three reflective hands — a testament to the watch’s innovative Eco-Drive technology.
Braun’s BN0021 doesn’t have anything to do with the brand’s industry-leading shaving equipment, but it does carve its own path through minimalist design principles, classic styling, and an unadulterated commitment to Bauhaus’ timeless influence. The BN0021 boasts a simple dial face, leather strap, and matte stainless steel case, gifting wearers with an aesthetically-pleasing silhouette, overall. To complement its refined features, an accurate quartz movement is housed within, creating a dependable, and easily recognizable timepiece that’s as affordable as they come.
Nixon has made some of the most lauded watches available, and thank’s to the brand’s Sentry timepiece, the trend is sure to continue. This classic-looking variant features an essential three-hand movement, day/date window, and custom molded hands to bring it into modernity. Inside, applied indices, a printed seconds track, and luminous fill provide the perfect aesthetic accents to the Sentry’s 23mm leather strap. If you’re looking for a watch that will shine in every niche of wear, Nixon’s classically-inclined timepiece should be right up your alley.
Armogan’s E.N.B Chronograph is the next step in race-inspired design and boasts a beautiful silhouette that was named after Belgium’s celebrated formula one team during the 1950s. A 316L stainless steel case constitutes the watch’s exterior, while a Miyota Japanese quartz movement, dual-dial chronograph, and day/date window keep you accurate, and fashionable. This vintage example also features top-of-the-line peripherals, including a perforated suede strap, wheel rim etching on the case back, and a sleek black composure that personifies stealth application.
Tsovet’s minimalist offerings have taken the watch world over by storm, and the brand’s SVT-SL37 is a testament to the company’s simplistic design terminology. This timeless variant boasts cutting-edge internals, thanks to its Swiss quartz lineage. An accurate Ronda 505 movement is housed within the SVT’s stainless steel, gunmetal case, where it’s protected by a hardened mineral crystal, gunmetal bezel, and standard push/pull crown. Aside from the watch’s matte black dial and applied rose gold markers, the addition of rose gold hands, polished accents, and a tastefully applied tan strap give the SVT a decidedly classic appearance.
Jack Mason F401 Camp
Jack Mason’s F401 Camp watch is a perfect example of a nostalgic style, offering wearers an efficient glimpse into the world of the all-original field watch. Much like the variants that were worn on the battlefield during WWII, this handsome platform features a slew of dependable components, including a Japanese quartz movement, SuperLuminova markings, and a simplistic dial that’s defined by exaggerated numerals. A durable stainless steel case and mineral crystal protect the watch’s inner workings, ensuring that this stylish, aesthetically-pleasing example will remain on your wrist for years of time-tested wear.
Seiko’s SNE039 is a sophisticate solar watch that’s affordable, to boot. It boasts a 10-month power reserve, an aesthetically-pleasing day/date window, LumiBrite hands, and a subtle 37.5mm case diameter, allowing it to wear inconspicuously on your wrist. A durable stainless steel case and bracelet keep the watch in perfect operational parameters, no matter the conditions; and, thanks to its light-powered silhouette, you’ll never have to worry about swapping out depleted batteries while you’re on-the-go.
Swatch YIS404 Sistem 51
Swatch’s YIS404 Irony Sistem 51 watch is a modern classic and a personal favorite. Not only does the YIS404 exude an err of timeless appeal, its polished stainless steel case and openwork case back house one of the most dependable movements in the industry. A groundbreaking SISTEM51 automatic orientation and self-winding mechanical movement provide accurate readings, day in and day out, while a premium leather strap, blue sun-brushed dial, and alligator skin pattern serve to keep you at the top of your game as time moves onward.
Timex’s Marlin watch is a true gentleman’s watch, offering buyers a handsomely-realized rendition of one of the brand’s most stylish 1960s silhouettes. A hand-wound mechanical movement, fashionable design, and polished stainless steel case pay homage to the era’s most prolific watch types, while Arabic markers, an acrylic crystal, and chrome hardware serve to demarcate the watch’s finer details. If you’re not sold on the Marlin’s timeless style, the fact that Timex is at the helm of this world-renowned flagship might make you feel otherwise.
TRIWA’s Klinga watch pays homage to many of the industry’s most simplistic styles, but, in the midst of an ever-growing market of competitors, it finds a way to remain unique. A mineral glass cover provides a window into the watch’s detailed inner workings, to include a stunning Ivory White dial, polished 316L stainless steel case, and Citizen Miyota Japanese Quartz movement. To complement the Klinga’s dependable components, a Swedish-sourced 20mm wide organic leather strap, silver hands, and polished buckle enclosure are provided, rounding out the timeless watch in dramatic fashion.
VOID’s PKG01 brings up the tail-end of our affordable watch list and boasts one of the most simplistic design principles in the industry. Drawing from over 50 years of watch design, the brand opted to create an ultra-slim variant that was also proportionally-balanced, thanks to its acutely tapered crown. Minimalist red accents provide a stark contrast against the watch’s white dial, while an analog display, Japanese Miyota Quartz movement, and mineral crystal enclosure keep the PKG01 operating smoothly. No matter where you are, this watch is sure to turn even the most stubborn of heads.
What's The Difference: Mechanical vs. Quartz Movements
One of the most important determining factors in choosing a watch is deciding what kind of movement you want. Find out the difference between two of the largest categories in our quartz versus mechanical movements article.