As much as we’ve learned about watches from NBA tunnel fits, Drake diss tracks, and Justin Bieber’s IG, the kind of five- and six-figure grails favored by the A-list are only one side of the celebrity watch equation. While not as high profile as Drizzy’s Richard Milles, there are are affordable watches that celebrities love, from Timex cult classics to Casio G-Shocks designed to survive the apocalypse. You won’t find tourbillons, diamond-set bezels, or turquoise Tiffany dials here, but you’ll find a ton of style on a budget, plus a timely reminder that a cool watch doesn’t have to cost thousands.
Pete Davidson’s Casio Classic W735H-1AV Watch
From extremely baggy Y2K jeans to goofy jewelry to sleek tailored tuxedos, Pete Davidson’s personal style is all about embracing the unexpected. So it follows that his current timepiece of choice is this Casio department store, which looks like a G-Shock but costs a lot less, and includes a nifty vibrating alarm.
Tyler, the designer’s Casio MQ24-9B watch
It’s no surprise that GQ’s Most Stylish Man of 2021 also has an excellent eye for watches. When not altering his collection of vintage Cartiers, Tyler, the designer proves that a budget Casio looks as good as any of the most expensive watches in its rotation, with or without a big furry hat.
Barack Obama’s Actively Black x Teleport watch
Obama favored a $400 Jorg Gray watch during his tenure, but New Year’s Eve ’44 showed a collaboration between two black-owned businesses and helped put this sporty (and affordable) chronograph on the map. Designed by Teleport Watches and Actively Black, it combines the look of a classic sports watch with a comfortable silicone strap.
Casio G-Shock Mudmaster GGB100-1A John Mayer Watch
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In addition to his coveted range of rare Pateks, Rolexes and Audemars Piguet, John Mayer also has a soft spot for the G-Shock, so much so that he has collaborated with Casio on two separate limited editions. Mayer has a few G-Shocks in his personal rotation, but he particularly likes the Mudmaster, one of the beefiest (and most indestructible) G-Shocks around.
Bill Murray’s Timex Easy Reader watch
The Easy Reader is a simple three-hand watch with large, modern numerals designed for maximum readability (even at the movies, thanks to Timex’s famous Indiglo nightlight). That’s about as far from a typical grail watch as you can get, but as Bill Murray proves here, it’ll look great just about anywhere you wear it, and no matter how much the watch costs on your other wrist.
JJ Redick’s Seiko x Rowing Blazers watch
This limited-edition collaboration proved what many Seiko fans (and GQ readers) already knew: the Seiko 5 is one of the most stylish entry-level mechanical watches on the planet. If you didn’t manage to copy one when they were released last year, keep an eye out: given the popularity of the style, we suspect another drop is just around the corner. Luckily, there are plenty of equally cool Seiko 5 variants to choose from while you wait.
The Movado Museum Classic watch by Steph Curry
Priced under $600, the Movado Museum Classic isn’t the most affordable watch on this list, but it’s certainly the most historic. Designed in 1947 by American architect Nathan George Horwitt (and now housed in MoMA’s permanent collection), the museum remains one of the most cutting-edge watch designs of the mid-century era. Almost 80 years later, it’s still one of the finest watches you can buy for less than a grand.
Bernie Sanders’ Citizen Eco-Drive watch
Not only does this understated watch come with a sleek case and brushed titanium bracelet, it also features a light-powered Eco-Drive movement that will run on a powerful battery indefinitely. And unlike those mittens, you can wear this guy all year round.
Casio G-Shock x BAPE x Kid Cudi Watch by Kid Cudi
Kid Cudi’s three-way collaboration with G-Shock and his pal Nigo has resulted in a watch that, like all of his best cuts, is as stylish as it commands attention. This particular model sold out a long time ago, so you’ll have to hunt for yours on the aftermarket, or pick one with a similar vibe from the brand’s analog-to-digital GMA-S140 series.
Tony Parker’s Tissot XL NBA Special Edition Watch
Collaborative sports league watches can sometimes be brand heavy, but this NBA tribute hits the sweet spot with its matte black case, orange accents, and basketball grained leather strap.
Casio G-Shock by Ed Sheeran Ref. John Mayer x Hodinkee 6900 Watch
G-Shock super fan John Mayer was inspired by the Casio keyboard he had as a kid when he started dreaming up this limited edition design. Other G-Shock fans picked up the original series in no time, but you can still find a handful of options on the aftermarket. Or you can skip the hassle and just buy the original 6900, then keep an eye out for Mayer’s next G-Shock drop.
Jack Nicholson’s Timex Easy Reader watch
The clean lines and sleek design of this Timex mean it will fit just about anywhere, including on the Lakers game field, where Timex’s stretchy strap adds a sporty appropriate vibe.
Kristen Stewart’s Casio LA11WB-1 watch
Kristen Stewart’s Casio LA11WB-1 vies with Tyler the Creator’s Casio for the most affordable celebrity-endorsed watch on this list. It has a digital display, a waterproof case and some serious 80s energy, a lot of value for a watch under $20.