Finding the best watches under $500 doesn’t require compromising on quality or style. We know it’s possible to wear a timepiece that combines functionality with aesthetic appeal, all while staying within a sensible budget.

In this market, $500 can deliver remarkable value, often with similar attention to detail that you’d find in higher-end models around $2000. Our top picks come with reliable movements, sturdy materials, and craftsmanship that belies their price.

Our Top Pick
Premium Powermatic
Best Luxury Feel
Our Top Pick
Premium Powermatic
Best Luxury Feel
02/19/2024 01:04 am GMT

What to consider

Whether for everyday wear, professional settings, or even the occasional formal event, we’ve found the perfect watches that suit every preference without breaking the bank.

With years of experience navigating the intersections of men’s lifestyle, business, and luxury, founder and creative director Chris Starkhagen guides high-value men and those aspiring to elevate their status. Adhering to stringent editorial guidelines, we ensure our recommendations uphold the highest standards of quality and relevance, and our commitment is to authenticity and delivering content that resonates with what you’re searching for. Discover our ethos and the vision driving us forward on our about page.

We’ve meticulously sifted through the landscape of the best watches, focusing on those that stand out for their quality, functionality, and alignment with what our audience wants to know. Our selection process combines comprehensive watch knowledge, real luxury watch experience, and prioritizing watch brands we personally use or feel confident recommending.

We also get insights from industry experts and customer feedback that form the cornerstone of our reviews. This approach ensures that our recommendations are informed, credible, and beneficial to you.

When purchasing a watch, size plays a role in comfort and style. A watch’s case diameter is typically listed in millimeters and ranges widely. Men’s watches generally span from 38mm to 46mm. Anything under 38mm leans towards a subtler, vintage aesthetic, while over 46mm may be considered bold or oversized.

Wrist Size – Inches (cm)Case Diameter (mm)
6 – 6.5 (15 -16.5 cm)38 – 42
6.5 – 7 (16.5-17.8 cm)40 – 44
7 – 7.5 (16.5-19 cm)42 – 46
7.5+ (19+ cm)44 – 50

Quartz movements often allow for thinner cases, whereas mechanical watches might be thicker due to their more complex internal structures. Strap width is relative to case size. A balanced look is achieved when the strap or bracelet complements the case diameter. For a 40mm case, a standard 20mm strap width works well.

SEIKO 5 Sports (SSK001)

A watch with a nostalgic appeal that is both practical and timeless. Pairs well for casual and formal settings.

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What We Like

  • Inspired by the iconic SEIKO SKX series for a nostalgic appeal
  • Equipped with a GMT function, which is rare at this price point
  • High customer satisfaction with its timekeeping accuracy and style

What We Don’t Like

  • Does not have a screw-down crown for better water resistance
  • The automatic movement lacks an auto-reset feature

Enthusiasts will immediately recognize the homage to the renowned SEIKO SKX series in the design of the SSK001 5 Sports. The classic case and bracelet shape, combined with the modern GMT capability, creates a practical timepiece for those keeping track of multiple time zones and wanting a touch of historical significance. It’s a versatile watch that seamlessly transitions from casual outings to formal settings, in other words, a classic!

On the wrist, the 5 Sports commands attention without trying too hard; it’s a SEIKO, after all. The subtle art deco from the beloved dive watch series pairs nicely with the robustness of SEIKO’s build quality. Customers appreciate the comfortable fit and the nostalgic yet refreshed aesthetic that this model brings to their collection. In short, customers simply love the watch, so much so that they also buy the SSK003 in dark blue while they’re at it!

Case MaterialStainless steel
Bracelet MaterialStainless steel
Case Width42.5mm
MovementAutomatic with manual winding – 4R34
Water Resistance100m (10 bar)
Typical Price (USA)$475

Cons but not dealbreakers: The absence of a screw-down crown might deter some from buying this watch, but if you’re not a certified pro diver heading for the depths, this won’t be a problem.

Tissot Chemin des Tourelles
$875.00 $597.99

The Tissot Chemin des Tourelles is a worthy investment for Swiss craftsmanship without an exorbitant price tag. Grab it while it’s below $500!

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02/19/2024 01:04 am GMT

What We Like

  • Swiss heritage and design
  • Powermatic 80 automatic movement
  • Premium materials

What We Don’t Like

  • Some issues with strap comfort

The Tissot brand has been on the rise in conversations I’ve had with high-value men while enjoying a cigar; you often hear Tissot as a brand worth looking into. The Tissot Chemin des Tourelles reveals a timepiece that upholds this reputation, heritage, and design with roots in the cradle of horology, Switzerland.

The Powermatic 80 movement is a standout feature, proposing a remarkable 80 hours of power reserve for convenience and reliability usually found in higher-priced watches. Aside from the mechanical excellence, it’s crafted using premium materials that lend a feel of luxury and durability.

Tissot’s stellar watchmaking philosophy is evident in this watch, making it a solid choice within its price bracket below $500 for a slice of luxury to the everyday enthusiast.

Case MaterialStainless steel
Bracelet MaterialStainless steel with rose gold PVD coating
Case Width42 mm
MovementPowermatic 80, Swiss origin
Water Resistance50m
Typical Price (USA)$875

Cons but not dealbreakers: We noted feedback suggesting the watch strap may present discomfort for some, and its sharp edges could cause skin irritation. Despite these concerns, the watch’s appeal remains strong.

Citizen Sport Luxury Titanium
$795.00 $441.82

A high-tech and stylish watch with Titanium for below $500? We’ll take it!

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02/18/2024 10:01 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Crafted from durable and sleek titanium
  • Utilizes eco-friendly solar power
  • Equipped with advanced atomic timekeeping

What We Don’t Like

  • Complex features may require a learning curve
  • High-tech functions can be overkill for some users

Citizen have long been revered for their craftsmanship and technology, which are proudly on display in the Eco-Drive Sport Luxury PCAT Watch. Those familiar with the brand will appreciate the robust build and the convenience of solar charging. It’s clear that this timepiece is built for longevity, with a titanium case and sapphire crystal that is supposed to resist scratches and wear.

The watch comes loaded with features! Atomic timekeeping so you’re always on time, and the perpetual calendar means you never have to adjust the date. Whether you’re in one of the 43 world cities it recognizes or not, this watch aims to provide precise time wherever you are with its built-in alarm.

Case MaterialSuper Titanium
Bracelet MaterialTitanium
Case Width42mm
Water Resistance200m
Typical Price (USA)$795

Cons but not dealbreakers: While some may find the 42mm case perfect for a statement piece, others might be discouraged if they prefer more understated watches. Additionally, the watch’s sophisticated functions could be daunting to those who prefer simplicity. However, for a watch enthusiast interested in a conversation-starting piece packed with function, the Citizen Eco-Drive Sport Luxury PCAT is definitely worth considering.

Citizen Promaster Air Skyhawk
$625.00 $267.23

The fusion of functionality and classic design makes the Citizen Eco-Drive Skyhawk a no-brainer for under $500.

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02/18/2024 04:16 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Versatile timekeeping across 26 time zones
  • Environmentally friendly Eco-Drive technology
  • Water resistance up to 200 meters

What We Don’t Like

  • The leather strap requires a break-in period
  • Mineral crystal may not be as scratch-resistant as intended so handle it with care

We love the Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Air Skyhawk for its sleek silver-tone stainless steel case paired with an appealing blue dial. It’s also elevated by the brown leather strap that makes it stand out on your wrist. Its versatility is further enhanced by the atomic timekeeping feature for precise timekeeping no matter where you are, ideal for men traveling frequently across the globe.

The Eco-Drive technology embedded within allows the Promaster Skyhawk to charge itself using ANY light source, meaning you’ll never need to replace a battery in your life. This innovation not only saves you the hassle and cost of maintenance but also aligns with a more sustainable approach to watch ownership.

Oh, did we mention its water resistance up to 200 meters? There’s a lot to love about the Promaster Skyhawk, but as with any leather accessory for men, it’s not the most durable material in saltwater conditions if you decide to frequent the waters.

Some may find the watch initially complicated to set, but rest assured that once it’s adjusted, it offers unparalleled accuracy across timezones. Integrating a perpetual calendar adds to its appeal by eliminating the need for manual date corrections at the end of each month—particularly helpful for those with a busy lifestyle.

Case MaterialStainless Steel
Bracelet MaterialLeather
Case Width42mm
Water Resistance200m
Typical Price (USA)$625

Cons but not dealbreakers: Despite its many benefits, we felt compelled to mention that the mineral crystal dial window is susceptible to scratches, even though it’s not supposed to be. Nonetheless, the deep blue dial remains legible and visually striking. We’re proud to include a timepiece on our shortlist for a harmonious blend of “tech” and fine aesthetics within an accessible price range.

Casio G-Shock GW-5000U-1JF

If steadfast durability and the convenience of solar power appeal to you, this watch is an excellent contender by the trusted Casio.

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03/08/2024 03:11 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Resilience against impacts, suitably rugged for vigorous activities
  • Eco-friendly solar charging eliminates the need for battery replacements
  • Enhanced readability by the LED backlight feature

What We Don’t Like

  • May appear bulky on smaller wrists due to the case size
  • The aesthetic might not suit those preferring a traditional watch design
  • Some may find the abundance of features overwhelming

As connoisseurs of timepieces, we appreciate the G-Shock series for melding toughness with technological sophistication. The GW-5000U-1JF is no exception, featuring an impact-resistant structure and a hearty solar charging system. This watch performs reliably and is great for those of us who indulge in high-energy endeavors.

The watch’s watertight capability ensures it can accompany you on aquatic adventures without the slightest hiccup. Combined with the automatic radio reception function, it keeps timekeeping accurate across various time zones.

Case MaterialResin
Bracelet MaterialResin
Case Width42.8mm
Water Resistance200m
Typical Price (USA)$299

Cons but not dealbreakers: Admittedly, some find its outward appearance less than subtle. Yet for us, the trade-off is the assurance that daily wear and tear won’t phase it, and I’d take this on my wrist any day while out on adventure, climbing mountains, or jet-skiing with the bros. In sum, the Casio G-Shock GW-5000U-1JF is resilient, resource-conscious, and loaded with features for the modern adventurer.

Bulova Marine Star

This Bulova watch is elegant, a treat for the eyes, and durable, making it a top pick for the best watches under $500.

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03/08/2024 03:31 pm GMT

What We Like

  • It exhibits a striking design that earns compliments.
  • The chronograph feature adds a practical elegance.
  • Water resistance up to 200 meters supports aquatic adventures.

What We Don’t Like

  • Some may find the 45mm case size overly large for smaller wrists.
  • The weight might feel heavy to those not used to it.

We recently tried the Bulova Men’s Marine Star ‘Series C,’ and we’re impressed by its artful balance of style and functionality. With its quartz movement, the watch keeps time accurately and consistently. The stainless steel construction gives it a premium feel while ensuring durability. We appreciate the rose gold-tone accents against the blue dial—it stands out without being overbearing.

In our experience, the fold-over clasp secures the watch comfortably around the wrist, providing peace of mind during daily wear. The chronograph is intuitive to use, perfect for timing events or for adding a touch of sophistication to the watch’s overall appearance. It’s a reliable piece that complements both business attire and casual wear seamlessly.

In terms of aesthetics, this timepiece draws attention, yet its functionality isn’t just for show; it supports an active lifestyle with finesse.

Case MaterialTwo-tone stainless steel
Bracelet MaterialStainless steel
Case Width45mm
MovementQuartz (Japan)
Water Resistance200m
Typical Price (USA)$625

Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive
$425.00 $318.75

Classic appeal with a manly and robust design, this reliable timepiece marries functionality with style!

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02/19/2024 12:01 am GMT

What We Like

  • Eco-Drive technology eliminates the need for battery replacements
  • Exceptional water resistance suits all aquatic adventures
  • Striking blue dial complements the classic diver design

What We Don’t Like

  • The watch’s size might be substantial for those with smaller wrists
  • Stainless steel band might not appeal to all preferences

The Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver’s stainless steel body has excellent water resistance and is dependable down to significant depths. Its Japanese Quartz movement demonstrates precision, a core element for any diver or avid timekeeper.

We’ve found the blue dial to be more than just visually appealing; it offers exceptional readability. The unidirectional bezel functions precisely, allowing you to track time efficiently. The convenience of the Eco-Drive technology means not worrying about battery life, as any light source will keep it charged.

This watch is remarkably versatile, and the sleek design transitions smoothly to everyday wear. 

Case MaterialStainless Steel
Bracelet MaterialStainless Steel
Case Width45mm
MovementJapanese Quartz
Water Resistance200M
Typical Price (USA)$425

Cons but not dealbreakers: Those who prefer leather or lighter materials might not favor the heft of this stainless steel band, but we think its professional look and enduring build are hard to surpass, especially within its price range.

SEIKO Prospex Solar Chrono
$675.00 $499.98

The SEIKO Prospex Solar Chronograph is an impeccable choice below $500, truly a marvel with its white and black finish.

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03/08/2024 03:16 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Solar-powered, negating the need for battery replacements
  • Versatile style suitable for both casual and formal wear
  • Robust construction with stainless steel offering durability

What We Don’t Like

  • Some may find the chronograph and date display small
  • Bracelet micro-adjustment could be limited for some wrists

SEIKO’s Prospex Solar Chronograph triumphs with its solar charging capability, sparing users the hassle and expense of battery replacements. The watch admirably serves both as a daily wearable and a statement piece for more dressed-up occasions, thanks to its versatile aesthetic. With a durable stainless steel body, this SEIKO watch is crafted to withstand the tests of time and activity, making it a reliable partner for the long haul.

Considering the SEIKO Prospex’s features, we like its solar charging and build quality, it stacks up favorably against much of the competition within its price bracket. Despite minor niggles like bracelet adjustability and luminosity, we find this timepiece to be a smart acquisition for anyone looking to own a sophisticated yet practical watch without going over their budget.

Case MaterialStainless Steel
Bracelet MaterialStainless Steel
Case Width39mm
Water Resistance100m
Typical Price (USA)$675

Cons but not dealbreakers: As mentioned, the watch’s luminosity isn’t its strongest trait, which might leave those who value nighttime legibility wanting more. If you have experience with having a peculiar wrist size, you might find the bracelet’s adjustability a bit lacking. Moreover, for fans of larger displays, the watch’s chronograph and date window might come across as slightly undersized, though we don’t find this is to be a deal-breaker.

Michael Kors Slim Runway Black
$200.00 $162.00

This Michael Kors watch is a beautifully minimalistic watch in all black that goes with any outfit.

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03/08/2024 03:00 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Elegant, minimalist design
  • Lightweight and comfortable for daily wear
  • Water-resistant to a depth of 165 feet

What We Don’t Like

  • Band and dial window may show wear and tear over time
  • Basic timekeeping

The Michael Kors Slim Runway is sleek and modern, and the practical pricing appeals to a budget-conscious shopper. It’s an accessory that won’t go unnoticed, with its chic black stainless steel band that wraps comfortably around the wrist, matching seamlessly with casual and formal attire.

This timepiece’s water resistance is decent and makes it ideal for daily wear without worry about water. The quartz movement is a reliable choice for those who value precision in timekeeping. Since it’s lightweight, it promises to be a watch that doesn’t impede day-to-day activities with bulky discomfort.

BrandMichael Kors
Case MaterialStainless Steel
Bracelet MaterialStainless Steel
Case Width44mm
Water Resistance100m
Typical Price (USA)$365

Cons but not dealbreakers: It’s necessary to consider the longevity of the watch’s appearance; stainless steel is prone to showcasing wear over time. The mineral window, while clear and robust, doesn’t offer the same resilience against scratching as sapphire options do.

Tissot Seastar

A fantastic homage to the Rolex Pepsi bezel original GMT Master ref. 6542, but with Swiss precision and a MUCH lower price, so worth it!

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What We Like

  • Solid build with a luxurious feel
  • Clear and legible dial under various lighting
  • Exceptionally water-resistant, suitable for diving

What We Don’t Like

  • Heavier weight may not suit all preferences
  • No automatic movement

Being an affordable Swiss watch, the Tissot Seastar 1000 stands out with a commanding presence on the wrist. We’ve noted its sapphire crystal and the unidirectional bezel merge form with function elegantly, while the insane 300m water resistance delivers on its name as the “SeaStar”.

The Swiss Quartz movement is precise, and the chronograph function provides added utility. Small details, like the date display and the luminescent hands, are thoughtful touches that enhance overall usability. And, of course, we can’t help but comment on the tribute to the Rolex Pepsi bezel while still crafting its own identity with the dark blue/purple dial. As a happy customer commented, it’s an absolutely stunning “Pepsi” watch, and the Tissot brand doesn’t disappoint.

Case Material316L Stainless Steel
Bracelet MaterialStainless Steel
Case Width45 mm
MovementSwiss Quartz
Water Resistance300m (30bar)
Typical Price (USA)$595

Citizen Eco-Drive World Chronograph
$725.00 $461.95

For those who seek reliability and style then, this Citizen watch is an excellent choice, given its advanced features.

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02/18/2024 09:49 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Charges in any light, eliminating the need for a battery
  • Automatically keeps time across 26 world cities
  • Water-resistant and rugged for everyday use

What We Don’t Like

  • Can be complex to configure initially
  • Maybe bulky on smaller wrists

Citizen’s history as a pioneer in watch innovation is highlighted by their Eco-Drive technology, which harnesses any form of light to power the watch. This model embodies that spirit of innovation with functionality that appeals especially to global travelers, featuring time synchronization in 26 world cities and radio-controlled accuracy, hence the name “world” of the watch.

The Blue Angels insignia on the caseback adds a touch of elegance and exclusivity. Its non-reflective and durable sapphire crystal is ideal for adventure and daily wear. At this price point, we find that this model balances luxury and practicality without compromise. It’s packed with features, such as the perpetual calendar and chronograph function, a prime choice for anyone looking to invest in a watch that endures.

Case MaterialStainless steel
Bracelet MaterialStainless steel
Case Width43mm
MovementEco-Drive, Japanese origin
Water Resistance200m
Typical Price (USA)$650

By Benyar Elegance

This watch is a solid budget pick with an amazing match of leather and dark details for an elegant look. Perfect as a gift to loved ones!

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What We Like

  • Affordable and a high-end look for those on a budget
  • Accurate quartz movement

What We Don’t Like

  • Limited water resistance and is not suitable for all water activities
  • The brand is less recognized, which might concern prestige-conscious buyers

The moment we laid eyes on the By Benyar Elegance, it struck us as a watch that could take the rigors of daily use in stride. A fresh departure from the expected, this timepiece has a leather band that adds a touch of class to any outfit, though we found that it needed a bit of wear to achieve that bespoke fit.

It’s a nice and cheap watch which you don’t have to be afraid of using due to the low price. It won’t wow any watch enthusiast but works well for daily wear when you only need a watch to do it’s job without any status being attached to it.

The chronograph function provides a delightful tactile engagement beyond mere timekeeping, and the date function, subtly nestled into the watch face, imparts a convenient glance at the calendar without needless complexity.

BrandBy Benyar
Case MaterialStainless Steel
Bracelet MaterialLeather
Case Width45 mm
Water Resistance30m
Typical Price (USA)$49

Bulova Marine Star Series A
$595.00 $399.99

The Bulova Marine Star Series A is a stylish, affordable, and luxurious timepiece that makes a real impression.

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02/18/2024 09:58 pm GMT

What We Like

  • Utilizes precise quartz movement
  • Robust water resistance up to 100 meters
  • Features a chronograph and calendar for added functionality

What We Don’t Like

  • Potential difficulty in reading the time under low light conditions due to dark dial
  • Silicone band may require more frequent cleaning than metal counterparts

This Bulova watch has a black silicone band paired with a striking two-tone gold and black color scheme for a unique design you won’t find readily elsewhere. The stainless steel case is great for long-lasting wear, while the stationary bezel adds to the overall aesthetic without compromising the watch’s practicality.

The Marine Star Series A also features a day-date-month calendar and a chronograph, adding layers of functionality to its already impressive design. And living up to it’s name Marine Star, it has 100m water resistance for both professional and casual aquatic activities. Its 44mm case diameter also provides a prominent visual presence on the wrist, while the mineral glass protects from scratches.

Case MaterialStainless steel
Bracelet MaterialBlack silicone strap
Case Width44mm
Water Resistance100m
Typical Price (USA)$495

SKMEI Digital Sports Watch

Ultra cheap, LED lights, big numbers, and water resistant, what more do you need?

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What We Like

  • Ultra cheap
  • Impressive water resistance for aquatic activities

What We Don’t Like

  • The all-digital format may not appeal to traditionalists
  • Don’t expect lasting quality

The SKMEI digital sports watch’s rubber bezel and band contribute to a sturdy build that can handle most daily rough and tumble. We appreciate that it includes robust features like a day-date-month calendar and an LED backlight that makes it easy to read in dim conditions.

If you want to spend as little as possible on a watch but still have an active lifestyle and love snorkeling in the sea, then consider this SKMEI digital sports watch.

Case MaterialRubber
Bracelet MaterialRubber
Case Width4.7 centimeters
Water Resistance100m
Typical Price (USA)$19

It can be confusing to know what type of watch to buy as so many variations are available. Below, you’ll find the most popular categories you’ll come across.

Field Watches

Field watches are durable and easy to read. We find that the best models typically feature a stainless steel case, quartz or mechanical movements, and a simple, legible face with a 24-hour military time scale.

Dive Watches

Dive watches are designed to withstand underwater pressure. They have distinctive features such as a unidirectional bezel, water resistance, luminous hands, and markers. Often, these watches use quartz or automatic movements.

Dress Watches

Dress watches exude elegance with their slim profile and minimalist design. They aren’t overpowered with features, focusing instead on sophistication. Mechanical movements are common, but we find plenty of quartz watches in this category as well.


Chronographs serve as both timekeepers and stopwatches. These watches usually feature sub-dials and are found with quartz and mechanical movements. They cater to those who appreciate multifunctionality alongside traditional time-telling.

Digital Watches

Digital watches are defined by their LCD or LED display that shows time in numeric form. These are battery-powered and include features like alarms, stopwatches, and sometimes backlighting. They offer practicality and are favored for their precise timekeeping.

Yes, there are many watches under $500 that offer quality comparable to luxury watches. Several brands, including Seiko, Citizen, and Tissot, offer timepieces with high-quality materials, reliable movements, and attractive designs within this price range. For example, the Seiko 5 and Citizen Promaster are known for their excellent quality and are priced under $500, hence they find themselves on our list!

What are some of the best-looking watches under $2000?

Some of the best-looking watches under $2000 include:

  1. Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium
  2. Junghans Max Bill Automatic
  3. Tissot Seastar 2000 Professional Powermatic 80
  4. Seiko Prospex 62MAS (SPB143)
  5. Mido Ocean Star Tribute
  6. Seiko Presage Sharp Edged GMT
  7. Tag Heuer Formula 1 Quartz 3-Hander
  8. Rado DiaStar Original
  9. Sinn 556
  10. Nomos Glashütte Club Campus 38
  11. Christopher Ward C65 Chronograph
  12. Baltic Tricompax
  13. Monta Atlas GMT
  14. Mido Ocean Star GMT
  15. Seiko Sharp Edged Presage GMT (SPB217, SPB221, & SPB225)

What are the best luxury watch brands to know?

Some of the best luxury watch brands you’ve probably heard and need to know about include:

  1. Rolex
  2. Omega
  3. Patek Philippe
  4. Jaeger-LeCoultre
  5. Audemars Piguet
  6. Cartier
  7. IWC
  8. Tag Heuer
  9. Breitling
  10. Vacheron Constantin

These brands all have a rich history and iconic designs. They are highly regarded for their craftsmanship and precision engineering and retain a lot of their value.

Which watch Brands hold the best value?

Luxury watch brands that hold the absolute best value include:

  • Rolex
  • Patek Philippe
  • Audemars Piguet
  • Jaeger-LeCoultre
  • Omega
  • Cartier

These brands are known for their prestige, precision, and heritage and have consistently held their value over time, making them attractive investments for watch enthusiasts and collectors.

Please note that the value of a watch is not solely determined by its brand but also by its quality, rarity, and popularity. That’s why Rolex is so sought after and always beats inflation due to the low supply vs the high demand.