The 30 Best Affordable Watches Under $1,000

One of the biggest misconceptions about buying a watch is that it needs to be expensive to be nice, when, in fact, many watches under a grand prove just how wrong that notion is. Admittedly, finding them amongst the many other budget timepieces that are cheaply-made or chintzy can be difficult, which is why we went through the trouble to round up the best examples at three different price points: $150, $500 and $1,000.

Under $150

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There’s just something to be said about a cheap watch with a solid build and some character. Admittedly, purchasing a timepiece in this price range can be tricky — it’s littered with junk. On the flip side, plenty of examples out there have garnered cult followings, made up of everymen and horology nerds alike. Some are from respected Japanese brands — Citizen, Seiko — others young innovators. But they all go to show that the affordable watch need not be marked by a plastic case or hands that fall off after a month’s use.

Timex MK1 Aluminum

Though any number of great Timexes could’ve made this list, we’re particualrly enamored with the newly reissued MK1 — a recreation (of sorts) of a short-lived 1980s military-issue watch. While the original was meant to be disposable and had a mechanical movement inside and a plastic case protecting it, this version swaps both with a more reliable quartz engine and a higher-quality case made from anodized aluminum.

Movement: Quartz
Case diameter: 40mm
Water resistance: 30m

Pirce: $79

Orient 3 Star

Using an automatic movement based on an old caliber originally from Seiko, the Orient 3 Star is a simple, utilitarian automatic akin to the Seiko 5. While there’s not much in the way of fit and finish, it does have a well-proportioned 37mm case, a stainless stell bracelet and a colorful dial. Its as simple of an automatic watch you can get, but therein lies its charm.

Movement: Orient 469 automatic
Case diameter: 37mm
Water resistance: 30m

Pirce: $79

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