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Buying a beautiful watch doesn’t have to break the bank. This statement can be hard to believe when we’re inundated with reports of rappers rocking six- or seven-digit watches, but the best watches under $ 200 prove that style, precision, and affordability can go hand in hand.
True watch collectors all respect – if not own – great, budget-friendly timepieces. Notable watch enthusiasts such as John Mayer and Tyler, the designer are both known to run Casios with their Rolex and Cartier. The late Steve Jobs, meanwhile, rocked a Seiko with its turtleneck and Levi’s. In short, cheap watches can be very cool regardless of your bank account. Plus, because affordable watches are easier to replace, you don’t have to worry about your watch getting damaged or stolen.
If you’re looking for an interesting and budget-friendly timepiece, you’re in luck: brands like Casio, Timex, and Seiko have some great watches these days, making it easy to find the right part. Below is a quick guide to buying watches, as well as some of the best watches under $ 200 to buy right now.
How to buy a watch on a budget
When it comes to watches, the devil is in the details. Different movements, materials, and millimeter variations in size can all make or break a timepiece. Here are some basic specs to check before making a purchase.
Cut: The most essential measurement on a watch is the diameter of the case, measured in millimeters. Men’s watches have gotten smaller in recent years, reverting to the slim figures of the 60s and 70s, so for most men we would suggest a watch with a diameter of around 38 millimeters. If you have big wrists or just want a voluminous look, go for something larger than 40 millimeters.
Movement: The movement of a watch refers to the internal workings of the part. The cheapest and most common movement is quartz, which uses a battery to operate. Quartz watches work fairly precisely and do not require a lot of maintenance except for replacing the battery every few years or so.
Automatic movements, which “charge” with the kinetic energy of your wrist’s movement, are standard among expensive brands such as Omega and Rolex. Automatic watches generally offer precise timekeeping with better quality parts that last a long time. Mechanical movements are similar to automatic ones but require manual winding approximately every two days.
Water resistance: The alleged water resistance of a watch can be a bit misleading. If a watch is rated at 30 meters water resistance, for example, it is best to keep it completely dry. Water resistance of 50 meters should be safe in the event of rain or splashing, and watches that are water-resistant over 50 meters should be safe for swimming. Over 100 meters of water resistance and your watch is ready for serious diving.
Style: Choosing a watch is similar to choosing a new pair of shoes – there is a ton of variety, and not all watches will work with your personal style. Before making a choice, it’s important to imagine how and where you would rock the watch, in addition to whether or not you like it as a stand-alone piece of art.
The best watches under $ 200
There are a ton of great watches that you can get on a budget. We’ve rounded up some of the best watches under $ 200 below (note: prices were under $ 200 at the time of this article’s publication)
1. Orient the 2nd generation Bambino
Stylish dress watches are some of the hardest watches to find cheaply, which is why we love the Orient Bambino. Boasting a clean stainless steel case, minimal black dial and black leather strap, the watch lends enough sophistication for offices, formal wear and even black tie events. The case is thin enough to fit under a shirt cuff and measures 40.5 millimeters in width for a substantial feel.
Inside is a reliable Japanese automatic movement with a 40-hour power reserve, meaning it will continue to run when stopped for 40 hours before needing to be reset.
2.Timex x Todd Snyder Mk1 Bootcamp
If you’re looking for something a little more casual (but still gathered), check out this Mk1 Bootcamp watch from the Timex x Todd Snyder collaboration. The watch is inspired by a military watch that Timex designed for the military in Vietnam. Thanks to a green nato strap, aircraft grade steel and a 24 hour Arabic numeral dial, the military inspiration shines through. However, because Timex and Snyder have stuck with the vintage look, the watch is highly wearable for modern civilian use, whether you’re traveling, going to the office, or just running errands.
3. Seiko 5 SNXS73
Easily mistaken for a Rolex, the Seiko 5 line not only nails classic looks, but offers a reliable automatic movement to boot. The stainless steel Seiko 5 comes in a few variations, but we have a soft spot for this silver-faced SNXS73. It features a clean design with hour markers, stainless steel throughout and a convenient day / date display at the three o’clock position.
With a size of 38 millimeters, it should look great on almost anyone. Additionally, the watch face is made of Seiko’s scratch resistant Hardlex which is better than the standard mineral crystal found on most budget watches.
4. Q Timex Pepsi Reissue
Divers are one of the most versatile styles of watches, both with a suit and with a swimsuit. If you are looking for an affordable dive watch, we think this Q Timex Reissue is your best choice. As the name suggests, the watch is a reissue of a Timex diver from 1979. It comes with all of the details of the original, including a rotating top ring, woven stainless steel bracelet, and luminescent paint. The interior of the watch departs from the original with a solid quartz movement. It’s also rated for 50 meters of water resistance, which means you can swim and shower safely while wearing the watch.
5. Screw Bread
Classic watches are great, but this Breda Visser is a case for the modern analog watch. It is named after Carel Nicolaas Visser, a Dutch minimalist abstract sculptor. Measuring 35 aerodynamic millimeters, the stainless steel case is subtly unique with a square shape and beautifully complemented by a smooth light brown leather strap. This case houses a robust Japanese-made Miyota quartz movement.
6. Casio MQ24-9B
Recently taken to new heights thanks to Tyler, the creator, this Casio MQ24-9B might be the coolest use for $ 15. With a resin case, 24 and 12 hour Arabic indexes and a yellow-beige dial, the watch is absolutely basic – and that’s why it’s great. The resin construction also makes the watch extremely light (1.6 ounces) and very comfortable on long days.
With a water resistance of 30 meters, it may or may not withstand swimming, but we say go ahead and beat it: you can always buy a new one for the price of a cheap lunch.
7.Apple Watch Series 3 GPS
Even serious watch enthusiasts are now accepting the truth that smartwatches are fantastic. For a hair under $ 200, you can get this Apple Watch Series 3 with built-in GPS. The Series 3 offers all the basic features that make Apple Watches great, including a heart rate monitor, full connectivity to your smartphone, and swim-ready water resistance. If you run or hike often, GPS is handy for tracking distance and elevation gain.