The world of watch enthusiasts is split between those who share the love for watchmaking and timepieces, no matter their annual income or how big is their watch collection, or if they’re even collectors at all, and those watch snobs who consider you need to spend a fortune just to get a decent watch.
The truth is that a good watch doesn’t have to be expensive at all. There are luxury brands out there that go as far as putting precious metals and diamonds into their timepieces only to justify their sky high price and fame, but is it really necessary?
Sure, you might look to hand wound or automatic movements, because they’ve got all that history and craftsmanship behind, but the truth is quartz movements are more practical and more accurate.
So, all in all, if you need a robust timepiece that you don’t need to worry about and is both affordable and looks good for your taste, look no further.
We’ve put together a list of some of the most affordable quartz watches on the market that we think are worth their money. For this article we only looked for watches that are generally priced below the $200 mark.
Here they are:
20. Casio World Time
To the majority of people, the Casio World Time is downright ugly. But for the few that love the style, it’s the most charming watch in the world. And when you think it only costs around $30, there’s nothing more you could ask from it.
Hell, it even comes with more features than most other watches. There’s day, date, month, LED light, stopwatch, timer, alarm – 5 of them to be precise, 100 meter water resistance, 10 year battery life, and time display in different time zones.
Convinced now? We sure are.
19. Casio G-Shock
Another ugly one you might say, but the Casio G-Shock is a tough one. Law enforcement and militaries all over the world wouldn’t love it so much if it wasn’t so good, would they?
It’s one of the most rugged watches around, perfect for those demanding environments like battlefields or… you know, going grocery shopping on a Sunday morning.
Jokes aside, it’s one of the best quartz timepieces around, affordable too at around $50, and with almost the same functions his sibling above has. Water resistance is 200 meters for the G-Shock, though, so you can even go diving with it.
18. Skagen Titanium
The Skagen Titanium is a unique take on minimalist watch design. It features a bold dial, with hints of sophistication. Overall it’s a quality timepiece, one that will attract quite some views, especially with that comfortable and stunning mesh band.
The titanium body is thin and light, the dial brings a nice and elegant element into play, a blue inner circle inside the dial for seconds that contrasts with the rest of the watch.
The price of the Skagen Titanium is also attractive, costing less than $100, which is a good price to pay for such an interesting watch.
17. Citizen Garrison Eco-Drive
Citizen makes quality timepieces, and the military inspired Garrison Eco-Drive AT0200-05E is one such example. Priced at $177, it’s a little bit more expensive, but it’s well worth it.
It’s a good choice for the outdoor enthusiasts, so rock climbing, running, biking, this watch can do them all.
The durability is its strength, but other features such as the clear, simple, and easy to read dial with good contrast, the chronograph that measures up to 60 minutes, and the Eco-Drive technology that recharges in light and requires no battery change are important as well for those who spend more time outside than at home.
It’s a very good overall watch on par with some more expensive timepieces, so it might be a very good investment for the given price.
16. Seiko Prospex Solar Chronograph
With probably one of the most crowded dials of all, the Seiko Prospex Solar Chronograph with black dial is a watch that can do everything, from calculating distances and speeds to keeping track of your workout time left, and much more.
Of course, for that you’d have to learn how to use its slide rule bezel, the chronograph, and all the other functions. It’s not for everybody, but James Bond fans will surely love it. Even more when they find out that the model code is SSC007.
Despite all that clutter on the dial, it’s surprisingly easy to read. The bezel is smooth to rotate and firm when set in position, the chronograph is well designed and high quality, making the watch well worth those $200 it costs.
15. Stuhrling Specialty Grand Regatta
Stuhrling’s Specialty Grand Regatta looks a lot more playful than the previous entry, with a lively blue colored dial and bezel, that’s a lot less cluttered as well. The watch is all stainless steel, including the bracelet, which has triple row links.
The watch is a bit heavy, but has a high quality construction. Contrast is very good between the white numerals and the deep blue background of the dial. It’s a charming timepiece and fits well to most situations, including as a dress watch. And considering the $90 price, it’s a bargain.
14. Skagen Aaren Naturals
This is one of the most minimalistic watches on the market. The Skagen Aaren Naturals comes with a superb blue dial, with white numerals, markers and hands providing amazing contrast, all in a thin and sleek black stainless steel case made from 50% recycled materials and beautifully paired with a black mulberry strap.
Coming from a Danish watchmaker, you can expect nothing but high quality and the Scandinavian design they’re well known for. And all of that in an affordable timepiece that sells for $89.
13. Seiko Titanium Black Dial
The Seiko Titanium Black Dial is among the few watches that use titanium instead of the much more common stainless steel.
The piece is well made, functional, lightweight and practical, and comes without any flaws. It’s simple, yet elegant, with high legibility, and a day and date window at 3 o’clock. It’s a thin timepiece that makes for a great dress watch.
And the price of only $105 makes it even more valuable.
12. Fossil Machine Smoke
Coming in a unique gunmetal finish, the Fossil Machine Smoke is a rare animal. It features a nice and balanced dial that is bold enough without being too much and elegant enough to be worn at more fashion sensitive events.
The watch is very legible thanks to the distinctive white hands and indices on the dark dial. It’s got probably the most subtle date window we’ve seen on a watch, placed at 6 o’clock, in perfect symmetry to the brand name. The bezel is beautifully made, with a superb Clous de Paris pattern.
Both sporty and elegant, the Machine Smoke from Fossil is a great watch to wear every day no matter the environment. The price is also a decent one at only $93.
11. Seiko Solar SNE039
The Seiko Solar SNE039 is another wonderful watch made by the Japanese company, one of the most cherished by watch enthusiasts all over the world.
It’s a little more expensive at around $195, but if you can still find it, for less than that sum, on the used market, it’s a very good addition to your affordable watch collection.
It’s versatile, it’s handsome, elegant, and it offers high quality craftsmanship for a good price.
10. Orient Flight
The Orient Flight comes in stainless steel and it’s a great tribute to the pilot watch from the second world war. The dial has all the pilot watch features you’d expect, plus some of its own embellishments, like the baton hour markers at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock.
In addition to the usual features of a pilot watch from that era, there’s a date window, which is a very useful thing in our world.
It’s a very good watch that’s worth its value of around $150 on the used market.
9. Casio Edifice
Remember the Seiko Prospex Solar Chronograph at #16? Well, the Casio Edifice EF527D-1AV is something very similar. And coming from Casio, you know for sure you’re getting a high quality timepiece that’s worth every last of the $120 it costs.
These sport watches are rugged, built to endure the worst of conditions, very well designed, and full of some of the most impressive and useful features.
The only downside, for some, it’s the 45 mm case, which is way to big for smaller wrists. But the size is justified when you think of all the functions this watch has, among which a 12 hour stopwatch, and the slide rule which can be used even as a currency conversion or fuel consumption tool among other calculations.
8. Swatch Dirigent
The Swatch Dirigent is a Swiss made timepiece that makes for a very good and affordable dress watch. The 37mm is a perfect fit for just about any wrist out there, and the elegant design makes it look good no matter the occasion or your outfit.
The blue sunburst dial is simply beautiful, and makes for quite a show in various lighting conditions. And since it’s only $105, there’s no reason not to get it if you like it.
7. Bulova Classic
The Bulova Classic is exactly what its name implies, a classic. It features a simple but stunning dial, with a silver sunburst background and simple stick hands and hour indices, subtle date window at 3 o’clock, a perfectly round case, straight lugs, and a leather band that compliments and contrasts the rest of the watch.
It’s a versatile timepiece, functional, elegant, stripped down of all the clutter, and makes for a wonderful dress watch. It costs around $169, so it’s on the very affordable side as well.
A superb watch with a very special design is the Timex Navi Harbor with a 38 mm case. The black dial has a military retro style, with 24 hour time display, luminescent hands, geometric shaped hour markers a very handy bi-directional rotating bezel, and a matching army green nylon strap.
The stainless steel case has a water resistance of 100 meters, and is rugged and durable, as you’d expect from a military watch. The price of $140 is also a very good one.
5. Bertucci A-1R Field Comfort
Another military styled watch, the Bertucci A-1R Field Comfort, priced at only $51, is a very good and super affordable option for those who love field watches.
This all black timepiece is handsome, simple, reliable, and comes with a 36 mm reinforced plastic case that makes it small and lightweight. The size and price make it worthy contender for outdoor enthusiasts.
4. Citizen BI1045
The all black Citizen BI1045 is another high quality and super affordable watch from a respectable Japanese watchmaker. Priced at $155 or less, this is as affordable as it can be.
It’s a fit for bold dress watch, but makes perfect sense in the outdoors as well. The 42 mm stainless steel case comes paired with a good looking and comfortable polyurethane strap.
The watch looks like a diver, but the 100 meter water resistance rating betrays it. But at that price, the 100 m rating is more than enough, as it can handle swimming without issues.
3. Seiko Solar Black Dial Beige Nylon
Though discontinued, this marvelous Seiko Solar SNE331 can be found on the used market for around $112. It comes with a 43 mm stainless steel case, fixed bezel, and a superb black dial with big and bold beige colored Arabic hour numerals and indices, making it one of the most legible dials ever made.
The day and date complications are wonderfully integrated in the hour numeral at 3 o’clock, and there’s a superb and simple yellow inverted triangle at 12 o’clock that makes for a very interesting visual detail. The beige canvas strap completes the amazing field watch look.
If you can find one, don’t hesitate. It’s one of the best looking field watches out there, and a very affordable one nonetheless.
2. Timex Weekender
If you want something with a more playful look to it, the Timex Weekender is unbeatable. It’s got a simple and classic design, but so well thought out that many watch enthusiasts all over the world appreciate it despite being a $33 quartz.
It’s a watch that can be enjoyed for many years as it will never go out of style. The 38 mm stainless steel case matched with a colorful strap makes it look simply amazing.
1. Timex Expedition Scout Chronograph
The Timex Expedition Scout Chronograph is one of the most impressive mixes of elegance, sportiness, and functionality. And it’s among the most affordable timepieces on the market, at $129.
As features, there’s 100 meters of water resistance, 1/20s chronograph function, date complication, Indiglo luminosity for checking the time in complete darkness.
The dial is nice and clean, and comes in several colors, with green being the most interesting of them all. Especially paired with a light brown leather strap.
These are some of the most affordable quartz timepieces on the market. Some are discontinued, but can still be found on the used market for very, very good prices.
There’s no need to go for something more expensive, especially since these picks do their intended jobs just fine.