Having a visually aesthetic timepiece is an essential part of the modern gentleman’s style, whether you’re dressed for weekend leisure activities, or for a busy day at work. These watches are not only functional but will give a certain aura of importance to the wearer.
Expensive brand names like Rolex receive the majority of the attention, and it can be a relatively intimidating world to dive into as not everyone has thousands of dollars to spend on a watch. Luckily for us though, you don’t have to break the bank in order to get a great watch. If you’re looking to add some more style to your outfit, or simply need a new functional wristwatch, the list below for what we think are the best watches for men under 500 USD is a great starting point.
What to look for in a watch?
When browsing some of the best watches for men under 500 dollars, you will be presented with quite a lot of different features and materials. As it’s unlikely that you will understand the importance of each one, we have compiled a short guide so that you can understand what qualities you should be looking out for, before you start reading our reviews. If you think this information won’t be helpful to you, feel free to skip past.
The transparent cover over the face of the watch is called the watch crystal. These crystals are created using different materials, but there are only a few that are widely used in the market currently. Most watches that you will find will either be made of mineral glass or sapphire crystals. Mineral glass is the most common and is a lot cheaper than sapphire. It won’t shatter if struck with force, but they can crack. Sapphire crystal is a little weaker, but still, takes a lot of force in order to shatter. The benefit of sapphire crystal is that it’s incredibly scratch resistant and are generally more desired than glass crystal. In fact, it’s stated that only diamonds can scratch sapphire crystal glass!
Although it may seem like an obvious thing to state that you should purchase a watch that is made out of solid metal, you would be amazed at how some companies will cut corners in order to produce a cheaper watch. High-quality steel watches should be made from 316L grade stainless steel, and the watch case and bracelet links should be solid pieces of metal. The better quality the watch is, the fewer pieces are used to create it.
Swiss or Japanese movement
Although Switzerland is the most famous country for making high-quality timepiece movement, Japan also makes movement that’s almost on par. However, it’s important to note that not all movements are created the same. At the price range we’re looking at, it’s best to try and buy a watch that uses the movement closest to its creation destination. Therefore, if you buy a Japanese watch, check that it uses Japanese movement, as it will likely be a lot more accurate than a Japanese watch with Swiss movement. Again, this information is only applicable for watches in this price range.
You want to purchase a watch that feels like it is solid and well made, and will not fall apart at the first knock. If it has rotating bezels, then you should try and make sure that they are not easily twisted, as that means that your watch will likely become inaccurate as you toss and turn during the night, if you were to wear your watch to bed. It’s worth noting that Swiss companies generally make better metal bracelets than other countries. So if you are dead set on having a metal bracelet, then be on the lookout for Swiss brands.
Choose a watch designed by watchmakers
It’s important to remember that there are two types of people who design watches. The first are watchmakers, who are obviously the experts in the field. The second, are “fashion” watchmakers, who simply design mechanically bad watches which will only look good, and not function at an acceptable level. The best watches are those that are not only aesthetically pleasing to you but also have all the functions and robustness that you require. Having a watch that has a few chronographs, where the dials start to fall off after a month, is no use to anyone. Therefore when purchasing a watch, it’s imperative that you make sure you are buying one from a genuine watchmaker. All of the watches that we have reviewed are genuine and worth purchasing.
Watch weight is something that we cannot really give guidance on, and is your personal taste. Some people love the feel of a heavy watch, as it confirms and ensures the durability and technology that’s inside of it, whereas others prefer more subtle and lightweight watches that won’t interfere with everyday tasks. However, it’s important to note that weight really is not an indicator of quality, as the more expensive watches will often be made from titanium. Titanium is significantly lighter than steel. Although you will be able to get titanium watches under $500, they will not be of the same quality as if they were made from steel, due to low-grade titanium being used. That doesn’t mean that you should avoid titanium at this price range, as we have reviewed some titanium watches below, but it’s important to understand what your money is buying.
Good watchmakers are usually proud of their creations and will sign their watches with either their own graphic or logo. These can be found on either the back of the watch, on the Crown, or on the clasp or buckle. At this price range, you’ll usually find light laser engravings, whereas very expensive watches can have raised logos on the metal. Cheap watches usually have no such customization and is a good indication of low quality.
Although not all watches are expected to have illumination properties that aid you in viewing them during low light, it’s important that you look for this quality if you plan on using your watch outside of daytime hours. Formal watches will generally not have any illumination, but casual and sports watches will most likely have some sort of light or illumination. Japanese watches are known to have the best hand and face illumination available, although that doesn’t mean that the Swiss variants are not worth considering. A good sign to show illumination quality is if it looks like it’s raised, which means that a lot of illuminates have been applied.
Daniel Wellington Men’s 0107DW Classic Sheffield
Can’t help but fall in love with this watch, due to its beautifully simplistic design. A genuine leather black strap blends nicely with the rose gold casing and the large white face. Daniel Wellington was established in 2011 and has hit the watch scene by storm by becoming one of the most popular affordable brands available.
The Daniel Wellington Men’s 0107DW has a high-end glass lens, which is something you would expect to find in a watch of this price range. This mineral glass is an affordable way of providing a scratch resistant surface. It is more shatter resistant than sapphire glass, which is usually a lot more expensive. This should always be taken into consideration if you are someone who is prone to knocking or dropping their watch.
The watch casing has a diameter of 40 mm, which is a highly popular size at the moment as larger watches are a lot more in demand. The case thickness is 6 mm, which is fairly thin. This gives the whole watch a nice substantial feel, but it also feels sleek and not bulky.
Due to the simplistic design, this watch has no date feature or a hand for the seconds. The strap for this watch is made out of a fairly soft genuine leather, that fits nicely and is comfortable. It uses a standard buckle clasp.
Hopefully, you can now understand why this brand has become so popular in its short existence. I am quite a fan of this watch as I like simplistic rose gold watches. It has a great design and is a great price, and I am sure you’ll be pleased if you purchase one.
|Daniel Wellington Men's 0107DW Classic Sheffield Watch with Black Band||172 Reviews||View on Amazon|
Withings Activité Steel
Fitness trackers are incredibly popular at the moment, but none of them have a very subtle design. Withings is one of the first companies to create a stylish fitness tracker that looks and feels like a regular watch. This watch will track your steps, sleep, distance traveled and calories burned. It also comes with a well-made smartphone app.
Out of all of the fitness trackers available, this watch is certainly one of the most aesthetically pleasing. It has a polished stainless steel case and hands, with a matte black watch face and wristband.
The watch face is 36.3 mm and weighs just 1.3 ounces. The minimum amount of steel that is used in this watch makes it far smaller and lighter than most fitness trackers. While some people often prefer chunkier watches, especially if they are activity related, the small size of the Withings Activité Steel allows it to be much more comfortable when wearing during the night.
The watch is water-resistant up to 165 feet. Not only does this allow you to go swimming without worrying about damaging your watch, but it will also record your strokes too.
As I mentioned previously, this watch comes with a specially designed smartphone app. This app allows you to view your stats in a well-presented way. The health data will show your weight, activity, sleep and heart rate. If you set up specific goals, it will help you to track your goals with ease as the data will change color the closer you get to your goals. Unfortunately, this app will only show daily and weekly information, and there is no way to view your progress after a month or year’s worth of use.
The Withings Activité Steel makes use of a three-axis MEMS accelerometer, which allows it to be as accurate as most other fitness trackers. Although it is fine for casual use, for serious runners it’s likely that you will want a GPS watch for better accuracy. It will, however, accurately record sleep automatically. The first couple of days the data will likely be a bit off, but after the algorithms have got used to your sleeping pattern, it will start to present credible data. This watch uses standard coin cell batteries, which allows it to work for at least eight months. This is a massive plus, as a lot of fitness trackers need to be recharged regularly.
If your primary concern is to have a fitness tracker that doesn’t actually look like a bulky sports watch, then the Withings Activité Steel is a solid choice. Considering it’s very low price, it looks to be the same quality level as watches that are three times its value. The app works well, and can be linked with other apps in order to collaborate as much data as possible.
|Withings Activité Steel - Activity and Sleep Tracking Watch||147 Reviews||View on Amazon|
Invicta Men’s 8932 Pro Diver Collection
This watch is one of many from Invicta’s pro diver collection, which is a release of expensive looking watches at affordable prices. Although a lot of these watches look very similar and have almost identical features, the 8932 uses Japanese source quartz movement, rather than Swiss.
The watch’s case is completely made from stainless steel which makes it very durable. The case diameter is 37mm, which makes it slightly smaller than the most popular 40mm styles that we have seen recently. The stainless steel is all brushed, with the exception of the polished bracelet links. Considering it’s marketed as a diving watch, it’s no surprise that this watch is water resistant up to 200m. The watch face also has an unidirectional black bezel. Although it’s not a coin edge, which is generally preferred by professional divers, it can be still used as a functional elapsed time tool.
Most expensive watches will use scratch resistant sapphire for the watch face, but this one uses crystal. There is a benefit of using crystal though, as although it is a little less scratch proof than sapphire, it’s actually a lot more resistance to knocks and bumps. There is also a magnifying window on top of the date dial, to allow you to see it better.This timepiece utilizes standard luminous technology on the hands, as well as all of the information on the watch face.
The 8932 is one all the best value for money watches that Invicta currently have on the market. It’s durable, accurate, stylish, and affordable on a very tight budget. Functionality wise, if you were an actual diver then there are far better watches that you should be spending your money on. If you just want watch that can tell the time but looks like it’s very expensive, then this watch is perfect.
|Invicta Men's 8932 Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Watch||2,071 Reviews||View on Amazon|
Casio Men’s G-Shock GD-120
The G-Shock GD-120 has become one of the most popular G-shock watches that are available currently. This watch can come in either a camouflage design or completely black. Both are suitable for military activity, which is what the watch was originally designed for.
The amount of dial space that has been used on the watch face is quite limited, which is an odd choice considering how large the face is. The whole watch looks very militarized which is likely one of the reasons why this watch is so popular. The case is made from stainless steel and has a thick resin surrounding, which adds durability and size. If you are looking for a small subtle watch, this is not the watch for you.
Mineral crystal glass protects the dial. This glass is extra resistant and specially hardened in order to make it more robust against scratches and knocks. As it is built to be shockproof, the glass is also shatter resistant.
Just like all G-shock watches, this one uses Japanese quartz movement. This is reasonably reliable and accurate, and requires minimal maintenance. What’s impressive, is that the battery should last approximately seven years.
Again, like all G-Shock watches, this one definitely feels oversized. The diameter of the casing is 51mm and is 15mm thick. This makes it a very chunky watch, but this is mainly due to the protective casing engulfing the watch. The strap is made from a comfortable thick durable rubber.
There are quite a few extra features that this watch has, which you may find useful. It includes a world time display, automatic calendar, five separate alarms, countdown timer, stopwatch, and strong LED lights. It’s also water resistant to 200 m, which allows this watch to be suitable for diving activity, or any other water based event.
The G-Shock GD-120 is a great addition to the G-Shock range. This watch is best suited for those who are often doing outdoor activities, due to their robust and oversized design. That doesn’t mean that it is exclusive to those sort of people, but there are certainly better watches to have for office and home life only use. Either way, if you are interested in this watch style then you will not be disappointed.
Casio Men’s GA110RG-1A
Here we have another watch from Casio’s G-Shock series. The GA110RG-1A comes in an overall black design, with rose gold highlights. This enhances the visuals of the watch, in order to make it look a little less bland.
Although this watch looks more metallic than other models, Casio has made sure that it has increased magnetic resistance. As long as you are not near industrial strength magnets, you can be certain that nothing will interfere with your watch’s timekeeping capabilities. The stopwatch is also accurate to a 1/1000th of a second, which is the accuracy that they use for the Olympics. It is also able to be used to measure the speed at which you are running if that is something that you need.
The watch’s band is made out of resin, which is very scratch resistant and complements the display nicely. Scratch resistant mineral glass is also used, which is shatterproof.
Like all watches of this range, this timepiece is 200-meter water resistant. This allows it to not only be swimming pool friendly but means that you can use it while diving if that is an activity that you partake in.
This watch is perfect for those who wish to have a military style G-Shock protection and durability, but want something that looks a little bit more interesting. The rose gold really does bring out the watch face, and can even mask it as a non-outdoor watch. Therefore, if you are keen on the G-Shock series but want something that is aesthetically pleasing, then this watch will suit you perfectly.
Seiko Men’s SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch
The Seiko Men’s SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic Green Canvas Strap Watch is a perfect timepiece for adventurous outdoorsmen, who also don’t want an oversized watch. The durable fabric band that this watch comes with can help it blend into your outfit, regardless of the occasion.
The case is made from non-polished stainless steel and is a great color. This is a fairly standard design idea for field watches, as things that are shiny are generally bad. The case is 37mm which is perfectly suitable for men who are not that keen on big wristwatches. Overall, it feels light and small.
The face visuals that this watch has are refined, giving a very classic look. The hands have luminous markers and are thin. The dial colors contrast against the face, which enables you to read the watch face very easily.
This watch uses Japanese design movement. Although the watch is accurate, it can sometimes be approximately five seconds fast per day. This is fairly acceptable, though because this watch is not quartz or digital. This watch is charged via movement, if you do not move around for 35 hours, it will stop working.
Unlike most expensive watches, the strap has no leather. It is instead made of nylon. It’s likely that this strap will not be comfortable to wear if you are doing an activity that will make you sweat a lot, but the strap is very solid. The holes are spaced very closely and it is 18mm in width.
Seiko is a very well established and popular watch manufacturer. They are known for making high-quality watches at affordable prices. This watch is no exception and is perfect for those who are looking for a minimalist style watch. The design is very classical, and it is very light. Usually, automatic watches are quite expensive, but this one is incredibly cheap in comparison. Great value for money if this is the style that you’re looking for.
|Seiko Men's SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch with Green Canvas||2,299 Reviews||View on Amazon|
The Citizen BL5250-02L is a popular watch from Citizen’s Eco-Drive series. This technology allows the watch to be charged via natural or artificial light. It means you never have to worry about changing your watch battery again.
The calendar feature that this watch has is something that quite a lot of watches do not offer. You just have to set the date once, and it will automatically adjust the number of days that are in each month, depending on the year that it is. The days of worrying about whether the month ends on the 28th, 29th, 30th, or 31st are over. It’s also incredibly accurate, and users have found that even after a year of continual use, they haven’t had to make any time adjustments. This is perfect for those who pride themselves on being prompt.
The case is made from titanium. This is generally more expensive than stainless steel, but it does have its advantages. The main reasons are that titanium is a lot lighter than stainless steel, but also it is as tough and durable. In fact, it’s so light, that you may actually forget that you’re wearing a watch sometimes. Although people have different preferences on this matter, and some may like to feel the weight of the watch on their wrist.
The diameter of the watch is 43mm, which is close to the ever popular 40mm size a lot of watches are going for at the moment. It’s not too big, and it’s not too small, and should look proportionate on most men’s wrists.
The alarm that is inbuilt in this watch isn’t very loud, and it’s fairly short. So if you are a heavy sleeper, then you will certainly need to find something else to help you wake up in the morning.
The leather strap that comes with this watch is of a very high quality, and will not wear or fade easily. This makes it perfect for casual use, although probably not very suitable if you are a very active person.
The use of the eco-friendly technology makes this a great watch. Although a lot of people may not like to pay the extra money for titanium, I believe it’s definitely worth it. Having a completely self-reliant watch, that’s incredibly durable, as well as being light and stylish, is the perfect combination in my books. If that is what you’re looking for as well, then you should thoroughly enjoy this watch.
|Citizen Men's Eco-Drive Titanium Chronograph Watch with Perpetual Calendar and Date, BL5250-02L||935 Reviews||View on Amazon|
Tissot T0636171603700 Tradition Men’s Chrono
Tissot is known for producing high-quality watches that give a bit of nostalgia to watch collectors. If you are looking for a new watch that has the appearance of something designed over a hundred years ago, then this watch will likely suit you.
For a watch of this style, it’s unusual for it to have the chronograph features that it does. It also has the ability to measure short amounts of time without having to reset the watch in between each event. It has 30m of water resistance, so while you definitely should not be wearing this if you were to go diving, it won’t get damaged if you wear it in the shower or go to a swimming pool.
The case is 42mm wide and 11mm thick and is made from premium grade stainless steel. This is another watch that is close to the popular sizing of approximately 40mm. This is a good size for the average man, and will not look too big. This watch uses sapphire crystal for the glass, which can only be scratched by diamonds. Sapphire glass is only found in the highest quality watches. The 12 o’clock position on the dial is marked with Arabic numerals, and the minute markers are found on the outer rim.
Quartz movement is used to accurately preserve the timekeeping of this watch. It is perfect for any social or business situation and will look good with any outfit. The band is made from brown calfskin leather and is of a very high quality.
The authentic classical look that this watch has is one of the main selling points. It has fantastic timekeeping due to quartz movement, and is of a good size. The leather strap adds to the stylishness of the whole watch, and the whole timepiece is perfect for any casual or professional situation. The main drawback is that it definitely should not be used alongside any sporting activities, especially those that have water present.
|Tissot T0636171603700 Tradition Men's Chrono Quartz Silver Dial Watch with Brown Leather Strap||65 Reviews||View on Amazon|
Bulova Men’s 96B104
The Bulova Men’s 96B104 is ideal for those who are looking for a nice classic look, without all the unnecessary chronographs that a lot of people don’t even utilize. If you’re looking for an incredibly cheap watch that actually looks ten times it’s worth; then you should definitely consider this timepiece.
The watch has a stainless steel case and bezel which is polished to a high degree making it look classy and expensive. It has a black leather band that will provide comfort and is secured with a regular buckle clasp. It also has the date displayed in the usual place, at the 3 o’clock position.
The Bulova 96B104 uses Japanese quartz movement in order to keep the watch accurate. The dial window is made from scratch resistant mineral crystal, and is shatterproof. It’s also water resistant to 30m, so it’s advisable that you do not do water sports or diving while wearing this watch. However, wearing it in the shower will not be a problem.
This timepiece is 37mm in diameter, which is a little smaller than the popular 40mm. If you like big watches, then this smaller size may put you off. Due to its slim profile, it can easily fit under a cuff.This is useful for those who don’t want to have their watch on show permanently. It’s also very lightweight, due to being so slim. Although the strap is of adequate quality, a lot of people will usually swap it out for something a little more durable.
This watch is quite often on sale, so not only is it one of the nicest watches under $500, but it can also be occasionally found under $100. If you’re on a budget, and this is the sort of style of watch that you like, it seems like a no-brainer that this should be added to your watch collection.
Seiko Men’s SSC017
The Seiko Men’s SSC017 is another high quality solar powered timepiece. If you are looking for a watch that is specifically designed to be durable under water, as well as being stylish enough for everyday use, then you will fall in love with this watch.
The case and bracelet of this watch is made from stainless steel, and the whole thing is powered by sunlight, or artificial light. This means that as a whole, this watch is incredibly durable and self-sufficient. It does weigh a lot, so you will definitely be aware that you are wearing it. The glass is made of hardlex crystal which makes it scratch resistant and bump prove. Although the display is analog, there is a lot of information present due to the additional chronographs.
The markers and hands are illuminated, which will help you see during low light hours or deep underwater. It’s also water resistant up to 200m. The bezels don’t turn with ease, which means that you won’t accidentally change any of the display information from knocking into something.
This timepiece comes with a metal band, which a lot of people may not like. Although it is high quality, more comfort will likely come from swapping to a leather strap. If the metal isn’t a problem, then you cannot really fault this watch at all.
Being that this watch is solar powered should be one of the biggest incentives. You will never have to worry about changing batteries ever again. It’s a very big and heavy watch, that will stand out when you’re wearing it and is durable enough that you won’t damage it when wearing a full-time. Even if you are not a watersport enthusiast, this watch will suit anyone who likes this overall style. Undeniably one of the best dive watches under 500 dollars that we have found.
|Seiko Men's SSC017 Prospex Analog Japanese Quartz Solar Stainless Steel Dive Watch||504 Reviews||View on Amazon|
Summing up the best watches for men under 500 USD
Hopefully this list has given you more insight into the range of stylish timepieces that are available to you for under $500. There’s absolutely no need to purchase Rolex’s for thousands of dollars, when something as cheap as under 500 will look and feel just the same.
If you know of a watch that you feel must be on this list, please let us know in the comments below!
If you’re looking for cheap smartwatches as an alternative, check out our best smartwatches under $100 list!
Last update on 2020-03-29 at 13:37 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API