While wearing a wristwatch in today’s world is often more of a fashion choice than a necessary means by which to gauge the passing of time, we still believe every man should own at least one — if not more. And there is a myriad of reasons as to why: they’re quick in a pinch, they can bring an outfit or your everyday carry gear together, and they give a positive impression of preparedness and togetherness to the people who surround you.
Of course, getting a decent timekeeper used to be difficult, if you didn’t have very deep pockets. Fortunately, technology has given horologists the ability to manufacture and sell solid watches for a wide range of budgets. In fact, it’s possible to wrap a respectable wristwatch around your arm for less than it would cost you to stock your kitchen for one week. All you need to know is where to look. Of course, this is a great place to start because we’ve rounded up the 20 best watches you can get for $300 or less.
Timex MK1 Watch
When it comes to quality watches on an extreme budget, nobody is quite as tried-and-true as Timex. And their especially handsome MK1 timepiece is certainly no exception. From its sturdy and lightweight aluminum case, its durable and comfortable fabric band and the military-inspired styling, the MK1 is likely the best watch you can get for a price this low.
Bertucci 12122 A-2T Titanium Field Watch
Though most timepieces in the sub-150-dollar price range often come with the caveat that they’re made with budget materials, it’s not always the case. Take, for instance, the Bertucci A-2T Field Watch. Its case is made from titanium — making it lighter than steel without sacrificing on strength. That case is mated to a scratch-resistant hardened mineral crystal and nylon band. Plus, the whole thing is water-resistant to 330 feet. At this price, you can’t really ask for more.
Withings x Nokia SmartWatch
There was a time when a watch with any measure of smart features would cost you upward of $500 or more. But time has been kind to consumers interested in imbuing their carry with things like fitness tracking and Bluetooth connectivity. Now, courtesy of Withings and Nokia, you can wear this remarkably handsome smartwatch for less than $150. And that will get you fitness and sleep tracking, eight months of battery life, app connectivity, and more.
Braun Classic Chronograph
Handsome and minimalist in its styling, yet remarkably comprehensive in its functionality, Braun’s Classic Chronograph actually won the Red Dot Design Award back in 2012. And, wouldn’t you know it, it’s still as good-looking and effective as ever. The only thing that’s changed: it’s far more affordable now. And it’s still water-resistant to 165 feet, built from stainless steel, and available with a leather strap.
Horween Timex Weekender Chronograph Watch
Based on a timekeeping classic, the Timex Weekender Chronograph from Form Function Form manages to improve upon this iconic watch by equipping it with a gorgeous Horween leather strap — complete with a handsome and easy-to-use button stud fastener. It’s a simple alteration to an iconic watch but it helps elevate it greatly — making for a stylish end result that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
Orient Mako II Automatic Dive Watch
Believe it or not, you can actually get a supremely solid automatic watch for less than it would cost you to go out on the town for a night. That is, so long as the watch you’re interested in is the Orient Mako II. And it’s not just automatic, it also boasts a sturdy stainless steel case and link band, 200m water-resistance, a unidirectional bezel (it is a dive watch, after all), and more.
Citizen BN0150-28E Eco-Drive Promaster Dive Watch
If you want a quality timepiece, you’ve got a strict budget, and you spend a lot of time outside, then you should definitely consider picking up the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Dive Watch. Powered by solar energy, you’ll never have to wind this watch or replace its batteries. And you also get 660 feet of water resistance, a scratch-resistant mineral crystal, a sturdy stainless steel case, and a handsome and comfortable silicone band.
Jack Mason F401 Camp Watch
Not all watches need a half a dozen bells and whistles complicating them. Some, like the Jack Mason F401 Camp Watch, serve much better as uncluttered and beautiful minimalist timepieces. If you want to add a stunning wristwatch to your repertoire, you could do a lot worse that this one, which boasts a quartz movement, 60-second sub-dial, mineral crystal, leather strap, and 100m water-resistance.
Tissot Tradition T0636101603800 Watch
Though a wide variety of watches are suitable for the likes of the tactical and outdoor crowds, not everyone wants something that looks like it did two tours in Vietnam. Some gentlemen prefer styling with a bit more elegance. Of course, that can be hard to find on a budget — unless you’ve got your eye on the Tissot Tradition Watch. About as beautiful as they come, this dignified wristwatch features a quartz movement, an uncluttered silver dial, and an alligator-embossed leather band.
Armogan E.N.B. Chronograph Watch
There’s an inextricable bond between the world of watches and that of cars, trucks, and SUVs. We imagine a part of that comes down to the fact that both are mechanical marvels in their own way. Whatever the case, it’s that bond Armogan has paid homage to with their E.N.B. Chronograph Watch. Inspired by vehicular racing, this gorgeous watch is powered by a Japanese Miyota quartz movement, comes with a perforated suede strap, and boasts (amongst other complications) functionality as a stopwatch — so you can time your laps.
Tsovet JPT-NT42 Watch
Designed to showcase the original purpose of a wristwatch — to tell time quickly and efficiently — Tsovet’s JPT-NT42 watch is deceptive in its styling. That is to say, it appears minimalist at first glance but a closer inspection reveals a lot more functionality. For starters, the 12-hour dial boasts subtle 24-hour sub-markings. It also boasts luminescent touches on the dial and hands. And, to top it all off, it’s also water-resistant to 200 meters and has a unique matte finish to its stainless steel case.
Seiko SKX009K1 Automatic Dive Watch
Boasting an iconic ‘Pepsi’ blue and red diving bezel, Seiko’s SKX009K1 Automatic Dive Watch is probably the brand’s most popular model to date. And that’s definitely not just because of its desirable styling, as it also boasts a sturdy stainless steel case, 200 meters of water resistance, a comfortable and durable silicone strap, and an automatic movement. As far as watches under $300 go, this one may very well be the most revered one on our list.
Techne Instruments Merlin 296 Chronograph
Inspired by the legendary P-51 Mustang fighter plane from WWII, the Techne Instruments Merlin 296 Chronograph has some very impressive features you might not expect at first glance — like anti-magnetism and anti-shock properties. The retro styling also hides a modern Calibre ISA 9238/1970 quartz movement which includes a 32-month battery. And the throwback details aren’t just limited to the dial and case, either, as the strap is made from ballistic nylon and closely mimics those used by the Ministry of Defense during WWII.
TID Watches No.1 36 Black Edition
While a killer colorway doesn’t necessarily make or break a great watch, it definitely doesn’t hurt and can elevate it above being a simple want and into the realm of must-haves. The TID Watches No.1 36 Black Edition is a perfect example of just that. Done up in a limited edition black on black (everything is better in black), this watch is powered by a Miyota quartz movement, boasts an ion-coated stainless steel case, and is waterproof to 50 meters.
Jack Mason D101 Diver Watch
When it comes to men’s style, the iconic dive watch is definitely a long-time staple — one which every man should own. And you could do far worse than this gorgeous take from Jack Mason. The D101 Diver Watch has a stainless steel case done up in a classic black and silver colorway, which hides a reliable Japanese Miyota quartz movement. It’s also good for depths of up to 300 meters, has a scratch-resistant mineral crystal, a rotating dive time bezel, and an incredibly handsome nylon strap.
Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X. Watch
The Victorinox name is certainly synonymous with Swiss Army Knives, they also offer a formidable catalogue of wristwatches. And one of our all-time favorites is the I.N.O.X series. This model, in particular, is made from stainless steel, comes with a comfortable and durable rubber strap, and boasts one of the toughest constructions we’ve ever seen — it’s even withstood a drop of 10 meters and survived being run over by a 64-ton tank. This wearable timepiece has beauty and brawn in spades.
Void Watches The V03W-365
There are plenty of watchmakers out there who would have you believe that the busier the watch face, the greater the timepiece’s overall value. We’re here with the Void Watches V03W-365 to tell you the opposite is often the truth. Magnificently rendered in a minimalist style, this limited edition watch features a sparse dial design that’s both easy to read and pleasant to admire. And it still manages to include a calendar window, both 12-hour and 60-minute markings, and a Miyota quartz movement. Plus, only 365 of these watches will ever be made, so you better act quickly.
TRIWA Nevil Chronograph Watch
Designed in Sweden and housing a reliable Japanese movement, the TRIWA Nevil chronograph watch is a stunning international timepiece dripping with high-class styling. From its beautiful silver dial (including twin sub-dials) to its Swedish-made organic leather band, there are few wristwatches that look this good for the price. Of course, it’s not without other features either — it’s also water-resistant to 50 meters and has a scratch-resistant mineral crystal.
Apple Watch Series 3
When it comes to smartwatches, the Apple Watch is still miles ahead of its competitors. And now that the Series 4 is out, you have the opportunity to get your hands on the previous models for a deep discount. Of course, just because it’s an older model, that doesn’t mean it isn’t plenty capable, as it still features water-resistance (enough that you could take it swimming), has onboard GPS and GLONASS navigation, features built-in Bluetooth connectivity, and so much more.
MWC Submariner Military Dive Watch
Originally manufactured for a specialty order, the MWC Submariner Military Dive Watch was built to rigorous mil-spec standards. And that makes it very special, as it’s one of the toughest, most capable watches you can get for under $300. In fact, it’s water resistant to 300 meters, built from super tough stainless steel, and has an ultra-reliable 24-jewel automatic movement. No fuss, no weakness, loads of style — this watch has it all.
25 Best Luxury Watch Brands
If your finances are a bit more fluid, you might want to opt for a timepiece that’s a bit pricier. And you can find some of the best available via one of the best luxury watch brands.