The Best Affordable Watch Brands For MenSeptember 15, 2018
It used to be a case of “you get what you pay for” when it came to watches, both in terms of quality and kudos. Dropping a few thousand not only meant you’d get decent mechanics but also boardroom brownie points for sporting a reputable name on your wrist.
Blame the Japanese for flooding the market with timepieces that were cheap and battery-powered during the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s and early 1980s, but anything in the sub-£1000 bracket used to be treated with derision or even contempt. Thankfully, for your bank balance at least, this doesn’t hold true any more.
Whether it’s because quartz got cool or watch brands realised that not everyone with an interest in horology had the readies to fund their burgeoning obsession, some interesting things have started to happen in the lower price brackets.
As with any search for a bargain, you have to know where to look and which brand names to zero in on, but if you do you could be in with a chance of kitting out your entire watch wardrobe for half the price of an Omega Speedmaster.
And we’re not just talking quartz watches from fashion houses – though there are some seriously cool styles to be found there. We’re talking timepieces from names with real design cachet to genuine automatics, even Swiss ones.
You won’t have to go trawling the internet equivalent of the bargain basement to find these hidden gems, either. Just read our handy guide to the watch brands that are making the affordable end of the market worth taking a second look at.
This Swatch Group alumnus is pretty much the benchmark when it comes to both choice and bang for your buck. You could assemble your entire watch wardrobe from its sub-£300 collections and, since the brand has been innovating since 1853, you can be confidant that you’re buying into genuine horological heritage.
Want a dress watch? Try its Tradition range. In the market for an oversized chronograph? Look no further than the Chrono XL line. You can even get an automatic powered by Swatch Group’s entirely machine-made movement, the Swissmatic. Everything is of such a quality you don’t feel like you’re making compromises.
Given that this Japanese brand grows its own quartz for its battery-powered timepieces and prides itself on making everything in-house, that you can get any of its timepieces for under £300 seems like a bonus. However, Seiko excels at this price point.
Thanks to Japanese movements being more reasonably priced than their Swiss counterparts, you can secure stylish steel automatics for under £200, while its groundbreaking kinetic technology means owning a quartz watch that never needs a battery change. Each watch is also robustly made with an aesthetic sense way beyond its price tag.