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Top 10 Affordable Watches That Get A Nod From Snobs

Top 10 Affordable Watches That Get A Nod From Snobs ABTW Editors' Lists Mens Watches

You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money on a timepiece that will earn you respect or even praise from a dedicated watch snob. While most “lower-end” watches will not satisfy the particular attention to detail or value that serious enthusiasts are keen to notice, there are a number of superlative “everyman” watches that will nevertheless garner a nod from the horological elite.

Why is it, however, that watch snobs are hard to please? Are they merely measuring up other watch lovers by how much money they are spending? It often appears that way, but that isn’t the precise truth. More accurately, it would be safe to say that most of the timepieces available that have unique or very refined designs and excellent materials, as well as features, tend to be much more expensive. Timepieces are often an inherently expensive item (hence why they are in the luxury category), so it isn’t surprising that cost is often associated with how “nice” something is.

Everyone would love to enjoy deep pockets when it comes to purchasing watches, but the reality is that finding a good watch that is also a really good value takes some work. Fortunately, the aBlogtoWatch team has compiled this list of 10 affordable watches that get a nod from snobs so that you can mingle with the elite timepiece collectors of the world and not feel as though your choice of watch is being immediately dismissed.

Top 10 Affordable Watches That Get A Nod From Snobs ABTW Editors' Lists Mens Watches

1. Seiko Monster, Seiko Sumo and Seiko SKX007

That is quite the trifecta: three world renowned dive watches. In some sense, they all represent some of the best in the segment. With extremely competitive prices, solid build quality, and a manufacturer like few others on this planet, one or more of these have more than likely made it to the “must-have” lists of beginner – and seasoned! – watch enthusiasts alike. Neither the Monster, with its unquestionably unique looks, the Sumo, with its standard modern dive watch style, nor the SKX007 with its fantastic legibility could have been omitted from this list – so we put all three in here. Solid cases, reliable, workhorse automatic movements, and excellent lume are just some of the key features that make these pieces really stand out. With suggested retail prices of around $450-$550, these watches would already be a remarkable value proposition, but since they are often available at discounted prices, any one of these truly is a lot of watch for the money.

Top 10 Affordable Watches That Get A Nod From Snobs ABTW Editors' Lists Mens Watches

2. Swatch Sistem51

Although over two years have passed since its debut at Baselworld 2013, the Swatch Sistem51 still very much means a new dimension for mechanical watches – and for that, it must be held in high esteem by every watch enthusiast. Comprising 51 parts and completely assembled by robots, the Sistem51 brings the mechanical timepiece into the third millennium in a way no other ever has. With a price tag of just $150, and a selection of five new designs for 2015, the Swatch Sistem51 easily can – and perhaps should – be a part of any watch collection.

Top 10 Affordable Watches That Get A Nod From Snobs ABTW Editors' Lists Mens Watches

3. Victorinox Airboss Mechanical Black Edition

The Victorinox Airboss Black line encompasses three models, with the three-hander Mechanical Black Edition being the most affordable version, followed by two chronograph iterations. Despite its blacked-out design it offers exceptional legibility, made visually more interesting by a few splashes of red here and there – including the underside of the crystal. The Airboss proves why Victorinox Swiss Army is one of a handful of military-themed watch manufacturers: the Victorinox Airboss ticks most all boxes when it comes to judging a modern field watch – including legibility, build quality and modern, dare we say, trendy aesthetics – with a price tag of $995.

Top 10 Affordable Watches That Get A Nod From Snobs ABTW Editors' Lists Mens Watches

4. Dietrich OTC Watches

Dietrich’s Organic Time watches not only look highly unusual in their dial and case design – a respectable achievement for a brand’s first offering – but they are some of the most comfortable watches ever created, something one can only really tell when going hands-on with one of their creations. The special lug structure and case back design, paired with excellent strap materials, renders the Dietrich wearing experience almost like no other. Price for this complete package of unique design and wearability goes from $1,430 to $1,960 with a carbon case.

Top 10 Affordable Watches That Get A Nod From Snobs ABTW Editors' Lists Mens Watches

5. Tempest Viking Diver

Tempest is one of those modern indie watch brands who merge the vision, ideas, and taste of their founder with exceptional build quality. The Tempest Viking Diver features 2000 meters of (excessive) water resistance, thanks to a heavy-duty package that is complete with unique design elements. Its case, bezel, and crystal look and feel as solid as just about any dive watch manufactured today, while their design proves that no components are off-the-shelf, but rather crafted to meet the requirements and taste of the brand’s founder. With a Miyota 9015 automatic movement inside, the Tempest Viking Diver is priced between $740 and $870, depending on the case and dial color combination.

Top 10 Affordable Watches That Get A Nod From Snobs ABTW Editors' Lists Mens Watches

6. SevenFriday P-Series

What SevenFriday has achieved within just a couple of years was to create a virtually brand new market for more unusual, “designer” watches priced around or below $1,000. To say that it has spiced up the low-to-mid range segment of watches would be an understatement: SevenFriday brought to a much wider audience design elements and aesthetics previously exclusive to high-end, luxury watches. The SevenFriday P-Series proves that point perfectly, as its unique dial and large, lugless case design dress up a no-frills Japanese mechanical movement like we have hardly seen before. Average price for the SevenFriday P-Series watch is around $1,050.

Top 10 Affordable Watches That Get A Nod From Snobs ABTW Editors' Lists Mens Watches

7. Junghans Max Bill Series

The Junghans Max Bill series is inspired by the work of a Swiss architect, product designer, painter, sculptor, academic, and educator, Max Bill, who worked during the mid-20th century. In 1956, Bill collaborated with Junghans to launch the Max Bill Kitchen Clock which was an instant classic and an enduring success. Further collaborations followed, and a long, mutually beneficial relationship ensued. Today, the series features beautifully clean, sleek, and yet never boring designs that make for a most welcome alternative for those looking for a timeless dress watch that is, nonetheless, a bit more unusual. Prices for the three-hands versions range between $655 for the gents quartz, topped by the automatic version, which comes in at $1,050.

Top 10 Affordable Watches That Get A Nod From Snobs ABTW Editors' Lists Mens Watches

8. Autodromo Stradale

Driver’s watches may very well be popular today – as we see countless brands have a go at creating one or a few – but the ones who manage to successfully capture the unique styling of iconic vehicles and recreate the emotional connection one tends to develop with an automobile are few and far between. Autodromo is a brand that set out to dedicate itself to just that: creating exclusively automotive themed watches. It may just be this dedication that allowed the brand to create a variety of constantly improving and mostly vintage speedometer or tachometer inspired designs that successfully resemble some of the “vibes” of driving a vintage car. The Autodromo Stradale is one of their latest models, and while it reproduces the design of a cool tachometer with uncanny ease, it remains easily legible. With a Miyota 9015 automatic inside each of the numerous colorful versions, price for each is $875.

Top 10 Affordable Watches That Get A Nod From Snobs ABTW Editors' Lists Mens Watches

9. Orient Dress Watch Options

Late last year, we discussed in great detail how Japanese watch manufacturer Orient’s dress watch offerings are among the best budget options. Why is that? Well, Orient dress watches offer some of the best priced entry-level options out there – especially if you want something mechanical. A freestanding subsidiary of Seiko – but with its own history, heritage, and innovations – Orient is Japan’s largest producer of mechanical watches, and a true in-house manufacture. Everything on Orient’s watches – the case, the strap, and one cannot forget the robust movements – is created in-house, with typical Japanese quality control despite their affordable price point. The watch you see above is the Orient FER27002B0, priced at $235, with other models featuring power reserve indicators being priced at around $465.

Top 10 Affordable Watches That Get A Nod From Snobs ABTW Editors' Lists Mens Watches

10. Mondaine Stop2Go Swiss Railway Watch

On a white background, these incredibly legible watches have black hands and hour and minute indicators, along with a red seconds hand tipped with a large circle, bringing the design of tried and proven Swiss railway clocks to wristwatches. Mondaine wristwatches have for long been among the quintessential Swiss watches to get for their accuracy and extremely legible designs – more often than not, spiced up with a neat detail under the hood. The seconds hand of the Stop2Go, like Swiss railway clocks, measures 58 seconds and for the last 2 seconds, the hand stops, the minute hand advances, and the seconds hand catches up. All, to mimic how synchronized railway clocks work. The Mondaine Stop2Go goes for a price of $675.

In our top 10 affordable watches that get a nod from snobs list we actually showed you over a dozen different timepieces which, given their value proposition, build quality, and unique design, you can trust with being some of the best “safe,” or rather, “must” picks among all the timepieces that are offered for sale today. While the aBlogtoWatch team has discussed the nominees for this list in great detail before arriving at this final selection, we of course look forward to hearing your suggestions on what other pieces would be worthy of a spot in there.



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  • What? No Apple Watch and no Rolex? Just kidding of course.

  • Are the Dietrich and Seven Friday using the same movement and basic layout? Seems like it at first glance.

  • DG Cayse

    Nice collection.

  • LapYoda

    The majority of these choices are right on the money, and you can’t have a conversation about WIS-approved affordables without Seiko and Orient.  However, I think the notion of “affordability” is a nebulous one which needs to be defined more explicitly, not just on this site but across all watch-related media.  Really, the concept that a >$1000 timepiece is “affordable” is a bit dishonest – it may be “attainable” with savings for many people, but is hardly affordable to most.  The Affordables Forum on Watchuseek generally tries to showcase watches that are sub-$1000, which on this list disqualifies the Dietrich and SevenFriday, both of which I find to be markedly overpriced for their specifications, although they have strikingly unique aesthetics.  As alternatives, one might consider the Hamilton Intra-matic or the Seiko SARB065 “Cocktail Time” which both come in comfortably under the $1000 ceiling and are generally respected by WIS as honest, well-finished, and – yes – affordable.

  • silkhead

    Seiko and Orient have the price/value ratio locked for sub $500 watches imo

  • Grinnie Jax

    1. Japanese: Orient Star -> Seiko Mechanical -> Citizen+Casio
    2. German: Stowa -> Archimede+Defakto -> Laco.
    3. Swiss: Hamilton -> Edox -> Certina.
    4: Chinese: Fiyta -> BJWAF -> Sea-Gull.

  • Twinbarrel

    Each using the same Miyota caliber 82S7 movement. Good observation.
    I was going through a selection process to purchase a SevenFriday watch and stumbled upon Dietrich. I then took a bit more time and decided to buy the Dietrich OT-3. Very happy with the addition to my collection… but somehow still want a SF 🙂

  • If anyone actually cares what some douchey watch snob thinks, they have much bigger problems than affording a timepiece.

  • Fraser Petrick

    Consider Momentum (also marketed by Roots Canada) out of Vancouver. Solid, unpretentious, honest, clean, legible, comfortable, inexpensive and… accurate.

  • AndreBraz

    Tissot is the most Swiss affordable, should be included in this list

  • Akif Shoaib

    7 and 10

  • korbindallis

    If prices are hitting near 2000 dollar mark then you have to mention Nomos in this list at least the manual wind Nomos Tangente 38mm which would cost $ 2250

  • MarkCarson Ha, I think the Apple Watch is the one piece of wristwear that’s guaranteed to antagonize watch snobs…. which probably makes it worth wearing all by itself!

  • Adam Schick

    My SRP313 is my favorite watch~

  • Tim Siragusa

    Which snobs have you consulted?

  • Ukko Järvi

    Guess what, my $25 Q&Q watch shows time.

  • Wickets

    Good list except the orient…personally had a disastrous experience (ran minutes fast per day) which is a shame because word on the www is that theyre an excellent company

  • Grinnie Jax

    You must be joking: my Orient Star gained only 1 minute in 1.5 month and it is actually the most precise watch I have. Tried to service it?

  • Pascal Michel

    Thanks from France for the Airboss Victorinox Swiss Army In your Ranking ! Very happy as the french distributor!

  • Jorge Rodriguez

    Great article!

  • Wickets

    Grinnie Jax First of all, I spent most of my young life with automatic watches….there wasn’t quartz back then lol, and i dont ever remember having to reset the time every few months due to lost minutes so im not sure what you’re bragging about, and secondly it wasnt worth the aggravation to send back….there were other issues too… stopped working as well

  • Russ Schwenkler

    SuperStrapper No matter what I’m spending, the opinion of others who are neither paying for or wearing my watch never enters my mind. The premise of this article assumes quite a bit.

  • Grinnie Jax

    That’s something new for me. All Orients that I’ve had were superb for their price point. Even 40+ years Orient Kind Diver is still running fine, my fathers Orient from 90s same. I can say I find Orients to be ones of the most durable watches I had, no jokes. I don’t know what kind of extremely bad luck you’ve had with your piece, just wanted to balance your comment with my positive experience 😉

  • rclayton

    Even for those of us unworried by watch snobs, this is an interesting list.  As with all “Top Ten” lists, many will disagree.  I love my Mondaine, but another suggestion might be Deep Blue.  Solid construction and T-100 tritium or spectacular lume for well under $1K.  Just picked up a used tritium diver model (500 meter WR) on eBay for $330 in perfect condition.  Also, in the uber-tool watch category, Casio makes a model with atomic clock accuracy,solar power, altimeter, barometer, temperature, etc., with a titanium case and bracelet for under $300.  Cooler that a Rolex in the mountains.  We definitely live in a great time to be a watch lover.

  • rclayton

    Sorry – “cooler than”!

  • Mustapha Sabli

    There are plenty other brands that deserve the same status – hamilton with leather band, any eco drive citizen, the SARB series from Seiko, le locle from tissot, the tunas from seiko, the 5510 g-shock, and most probably some germans such as stowa and laco. But im guessing the list of the top 10 was meant for popularity and aesthetically pleasing.

  • Dimitrios Karavidas

    Don’t like watch snobs. If one can’t appreciate a Seiko 5; then certainly that person isn’t a watch enthusiast. That person therefore is all about status when it comes to watches. If I could afford a Patek, my $65 Seiko 5 would still be in my rotation because I truly appreciate watches.

  • Stephen McGuiness

    I’ve just recently got on Orient Mako newer 2014 model in blue. Great watch and value for the money so glad to see Orient on this list.

  • Randy Torres

    Aww Tim they didn’t consult you?

  • Randy Torres

    Great list!

  • Alexander Lukyanov

    Seiko monster!

  • FredSwanepoel

    I don’t think many people interested in watches will give the Apple thing a second glance. I will probably be proven wrong but I think it is going to be very slow to take off,

  • johnwithanh

    LapYoda I was just about to make the same point re: affordability. I would love to have the ABTW team come over to my place to convince my wife that spending nearly $2k on a watch is the “affordable” horological decision. I agree that once you start adding commas to the price you are (or should be) exiting the “affordable watch” category.

  • RipJJ

    I don’t own an Apple watch, but I have witnessed a phenomenon. The 12 to 20 something generation has their own idea of what makes up “new prestige”. To many of them, it is new tech, and $200.00+ sneakers. I couldn’t tell you what someone’s shoes are worth, in that category, to save my life. Most, in the that generation, however, can. Apple products have a cult like following because they have some great products, and have that “cool” factor that is intangible. Tech and shoes have risen to iconic status…with their own snobs. I’m still ticking at analog speed 🙂

  • SpazzCom

    I couldn’t disagree more with that second paragraph. The reason why watch snobs buy what they buy is because they’ve been brainwashed by advertising. There is no watch worth the asking price. Some get close but most fall way short.
    And they’re not friggin “timepieces”, they’re watches. There’s a reason why telling the time is not considered a complication and it’s because a watch is first and foremost a tool, not Jewellers and therefore not a luxury.
    We’ve been fooled into thinking they are because there are enough horologically ignorant people in the world, with far more money than brains that use and expensive watches as a way to measure and show off their affluence and would be dumb enough to buy tool watches like a dive watch in friggen gold.
    And they justify this absurdity by using generic phrases like its “all in the details” except that it’s never details of substance or that really matter.
    They instead focus on details like “underlines” and ridiculous “dial stamps” that are not only subjective at best, if asked not even the manufacturers themselves can authenticate 100% (I know cause I’ve tried).
    And the proof is that it never used to be this way.
    My advice, beautiful things really worthy of our praise and money do not ask for attention so be wary of those that do (advertising).

    • Gorga Naibaho

      Couldn’t agree more. I’m sure you hit a few nerves here and there with that comment, though. But yeah, the truth always hurts!

  • contrejour

    3. looks great. Victorinox finally arrived at properly designed watches but all the quartz are still overpriced.
    Is that the Orient Bambino ??

  • FredSwanepoel Apple’s not giving figures, but it may be selling the Watch pretty briskly.  Estimates have it moving about 30,000 per day, or about 2.7 million every quarter.  That’d put a lot of the luxury watch market to shame, I think.

    It’s a question of what your interest is in watches.  I’m mostly thinking about the sort who think that “real” watches must be mechanical and cost thousands of dollars, the ones who can’t imagine a true watch fan as anything other than a rigid traditionalist.  The truth is that many watch fans aren’t so inflexible., and I think it’s fun to talk about the Apple Watch as a serious option precisely because it challenges that definition of what a nice watch is.  Does it have to carry an elaborate Swiss movement to have value, or can you find that value in something that makes your life easier?

  • bichondaddy

    rclayton Totally agree with you about Deep Blue!  They make some awesome watches.  As for Casio’s G-Shock line…I don’t see how it was left off the list.  My older brother was in the middle east right after the first Gulf War…and almost everyone of the men and women under his command was sporting one of their solar/atomic clock watches.  He still wears one to this day…despite being able to afford a much more expensive, snob approved watch!!!
    As for watch snobs….I have never cared what anyone thinks about what watch I wear!!  If they get upset….I’ll gladly wear wear a watch they approve of….if they buy it for me!!!  I posed the offer to many an online watch snob…and have always gotten no response from them!!!  As for a watch snob coming up to me in person and making a disparaging remark about my watch….one has yet to be that foolish..  But I guess when you are 6’6″ tall and over 300 lbs….they covet their own health more than their disdain for my watch!!!  LOL  
    I say…to heck with what others think…wear what you like and what you can afford…and if you go overboard…in my case….make sure your wife doesn’t know how much you spent on the watch!!! LOL

  • Howie Boyd

    There’s my Black & Red Seiko Monster. Deal with it you watch snobs.

  • Shawnnny

    Very good article! I’d like to add a Hamilton Khaki 46mm pilot.
    A little suggestion. It’s very confusing to have the picture above the numbered title and text. The order should be title, text followed by the picture.

  • Fady337

    @contrejour its Orient symphony.MODEL NO. FER27002B0. See the

  • thornwood36

    Always loved the simplicity and styling of the Mondaine watches.

  • iamcalledryan

    They have them as the clocks for the Swiss train network – super

  • iamcalledryan

    So to you is the only difference between these watches and a Patek advertising? I could waste the best part of an afternoon explaining to you the tangible, measurable, objectively obvious differences.

  • sigp226

    I have a SKX007. 
    It rocks.
    Everyone disagrees with a top 10 list and with some much to choose from and no definition of “affordable” and “snob threshold” (might be by design), there will be disagreements, new designs, new brands that the discussion brings. Thanks for the sharing of ideas and comments..

  • iamcalledryan

    Yeah, I sometimes think ABTW is having an ID crisis – they seem to relish mocking watch enthusiasts, and have recently gone full guns trying to cover low cost watches. I find that the more people learn about watches, and these are the type of people that I meet and talk to about watches, the less snobby they are. Sure most of the high end are making their bread and butter out of people who simply only care about a label, but those people aren’t here reading these articles. To be honest I think the majority of readers here are the polar opposite of watch snobs – they are like watch-Marxists! “This watch is charging more than the raw materials, it’s a disgrace!”

  • sigp226

    So, I need a mechanical, sapphire crystal, > than 40 mm, under $800 watch that is durable, reliable, looks better than OK and wont 
    Pluses: date, day/date, and/or GMT (asking a lot),

  • iamcalledryan

    You’ll need to compromise or double your budget – can you sell the kid?

  • Tim Siragusa

    It’s just an oxymoron of an article and I am confused! Doesn’t read as snobbish at all. Pedestrian, more like it

  • Sevenmack

    And advertising. Definitely advertising. Any list missing the Seiko Cocktail Time, or any SARB, SARX, or SARG, is a list worth ignoring.

  • GinBhandal

    MattCockbill GinBerwick Some beautiful designs in there! The Mondaine is about to get some Google time

  • MattCockbill

    GinBhandal good choice. That and the junghans max bill are my favs

  • GinBhandal

    MattCockbill The Junghans looks brilliant too, classy. Unfortunately for Momma and Poppa B, I’ve got a birthday coming up!

  • DanW94

    Nice article.  A subjective list like this always seems to generate a lot of response. A  few brands that I think are affordable plus well respected are Mido and Frederique Constant.  I know that what constitutes affordable is again subjective but I think the Dietrich is inching out of that range.  1,000 dollars seems to be the upward limit of what “affordable is without skipping the monthly bills (for most of us at least).   And to echo what a lot of people are saying, you can’t go wrong with Seiko. So many choices at so many price points,

  • Sevenmack Wrong – advertising had ZERO factor in the list. I know ’cause I was one of the editors helping to decide on the list. And the list is not an all inclusive list of great affordable. Rather it was limited to 10 (actually 12 since David gave Seiko a triple entry) and was meant to represent a cross section of somewhat reasonably priced watches with cred. Cheers.

  • iamcalledryan This list was the ABTW editors trying to come up with a short list of 10 (OK, it ended up being 12) watches that we like and recommend. Hopefully we are not snobs but we are advocates and part of our job is to be a source of information for readers. Some of whom are new to the watch scene and may not know about some of the watches and brands on the list. And like all posts here, if it does not interest you, skip it and don’t worry more posts are always coming! Cheers.

  • David Douglas Gill

    My Sumo and Monster approve this article.

  • MediumRB

    Good reading. A number of those are always on my radar. Nothing bronze in there, though, and that might be an interesting pick…I would think the Steinhart or a couple of the boutique micro-makers (e.g. Magrette from NZ) could provide an alternative look in this list.

  • Sevenmack

    MarkCarson Still, given the high esteem for the Cocktail Time among many WIS, along with the fact that most of the watches on the list are over $600 (most would define affordable as being under that), the list is suspect, in my view.

  • CG

    gotta love the Autodromo offerings and the very reasonable Seikos but I always fall for the MotoGp Tissot inventory… what a cool helmet display box they have along with a colorful watch at a great price point

  • DanW94

    Also agree with your point on the affordability issue.   Affordable to me means, ” I want that watch, I’ll have to work it into the budget the next week or so” Attainable means, “I want that watch, I’ll have to put aside money every week for several months and cut expenses in other areas”  I have no patience so I usually go for the affordable route. 🙂

  • 24fanatic365

    Nice article. Another one is add to the list would be the Marathon GSAR. Built like a tank, and it has tritium to boot!

  • marbstiu
  • Jef_in

    Q&Q is Japan movement inside.  I forget if it is a Citizen brand or a Seiko brand.  Oh well.

  • DenesAlbert

    sigp226 : Your wish has just been granted: Steinhart GMT Ocean 1 is all you’re asking for and wil still leave you with some spare cash. Had one for three years, runs at +1 s/day and can take all the punishment you throw at it.

  • Grinnie Jax
  • 5803822

    sigp226 Buy something second hand with a Lemania movement — e.g calibre 5100. or 5012

  • Grinnie Jax

    sigp226 BTW, for GMT function you may take a look at Orient Star WZ0071DJ (it also has black and gray versions). Very handsome watch in person and built like a tank.

  • iamcalledryan given your reply, I realize I assumed too much of what others would understand and that I should have been more specific… I wasn’t actually specifically talking about *those* watches, but watches in general across the spectrum and the fact that the 2nd paragraph and thoughts like that are part of the problem (no offense, I know they mean well). And what I said applies to all price points… 

    Speaking of Patek, for example, how many “experts” will compare watches from Rolex and Patek as if they are equals? They are NOT equals. 

    I could waste far more than just an afternoon explaining to you and others in detail the “tangible, measurable, objectively obvious differences” between the two brands that puts Patek light years ahead of Rolex.

    But look at their respective advertising budget. Where would Rolex be (or not be) if they spent as little as Patek does? No where near Patek that’s where.

    And looking at Rolex models, did the Albino Daytona that sold for $1.3million a couple weeks ago, when a non-Albino would sell for no more than $100k (which is overpriced as is) make sense? There is absolutely no “tangible, measurable or objectively obvious difference” between the Albino and a non-Albino that could ever justify a $1.3 million dollar markup. It was just a different dial color that was considered a failure because no one could read it, so Rolex stopped making it, and that particular watch happened to be owned by Eric Clapton.

    Or, did you think spending $5million on the Patek 136 because “its so understated no one would ever know its anything special”, as one so-called “expert” used to justify its price tag make sense? Again, there is no “tangible, measurable, and objectively obvious difference” between the 136 and the hundreds and hundreds of far more beautiful and better all-round watches Patek has made that are worth about $5 million less. 

    The 136 is nothing like the Patek Supercomplication in other words. That happens to be one of mankind’s greatest marvels if you ask me and sold for only double what the 136 did.

    Wouldn’t you prefer a Datograph (and many other watches) for example, a watch often referred to as the greatest watch of all time, and that is a relative bargain at $60k-$90k a thousand times more than that 136? Certainly it has far more “tangible, measurable, objectively obvious differences” than the 136 does. At least thats what I look for when I spend my money, which a Datograph has in spades over pretty much all other watches. 

    But when marketing takes over, and these experts start telling us what *should* be worth $x or not, and whom obviously profit from the higher values, and are basically fulfilling a self- proclaimed prophecy, I’m sorry, it’s all crap!

    And yes, there are exceptions to the rule, and a solid discount can make all the difference, but in general, these absurd values, and MSRPs, that are at their highest levels in history (even when factoring inflation) is all due to advertising and marketing and the power of said advertising and marketing has over people with more money than brains.

    And let me leave you with a little anecdote from a great marketing teacher I once had in marketing school that I think sums up what I am trying to explain: 

    He was the creative director of Louis Vuitton San Francisco. And one particular year a new bag arrived that he said was absolutely hideous. The price was something along the lines of $750. And there was no way they were going to sell. Until he decided to display only one at a time and double the price.

    They literally flew off the rack.

    He understood that people with money will pay for, even if there is absolutely no substance to the rarity, or even if its absolutely false, just to show off their affluence. And unfortunately for us, it’s now infected the watch (not friggen *timepiece*) industry.

  • LapYoda

    iamcalledryan I would disagree with your sentiment.  ABTW covers a lot of high-end watches in addition to more reasonably-priced ones, and thus covers a lot of ground for watch enthusiasts of all stripes.  That’s why I prefer this to, say, Hodinkee, where I feel out of place since I don’t make the big bucks and don’t think it’s reasonable to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a vintage watch simply because of text on the dial.  We “Watch-Marxists” have no problems shelling out thousands for a watch, but it has to be worth our hard-earned dollars, and slapping a Valjoux 7750 or ETA 2824 into a generic-looking case and selling it for $6000 doesn’t really do it for us.  Many of us just ask for honest value – at least, as much value as one can expect from a luxury good – without obscene markup.

  • Jimxxx

    why on earth would you care about getting a nod from snobs in the first place ????!!!!!!

  • dahcd

    DenesAlbert sigp226

    Steinhart is right up there, have the ocean one and it is every bit as good
    a dive watch as my seamaster 300m, maybe better for the money.

  • Grinnie Jax

    Well said! I had watches 50 times more expensive, but still have this jem in my rotation. Bought it for 40 dollars but it keeps excellent time, looks great, so why to play a snob lol

  • RipJJ

    I agree with you, wholeheartedly! Well said sir. I actually own a PP, but seldom wear it. It was my grandfather’s, and will someday be my sons’ swatch. I wear, my VC, Victorinox, JLC, Mido, Seiko, Hamilton, Genta, Rolexes, Swatch…yes…I admit it 🙂 and so on…because I am a watch enthusiasts. Never a snob. I appreciate the mosaic of wristwatches that I am privileged to own. I like it when someone notices my watch, regardless of the brand, because it makes me feel good and strikes up a conversation. I applaud your attitude and wish you well.

  • iamcalledryan

    I think you and I would get along very well if we met. I can’t argue with what you have developed upon, not too much.
    I don’t think you should consider the PN Daytona market in any other context than an uber-niche collectors battleground. I do accept some of your broader comparison between Rolex and Patek, namely that they should not be compared!
    But I forgive Rolex for their advertising efforts and the attitudes of many of their clients – recent in depth articles about the Rolex manufacturing process impress me greatly and have turned me onto the brand. In the same way that you cannot compare Rolex and Patek, nor should you compare their advertising budgets – they have entirely different business models and as such will rely on advertising to differing extents.
    And as for the Datograph – there is little closer to perfection that a chrono can go. I have a very sweet spot for German brands, even Swiss brands from the North.
    The LV anecdote is cute, but very cynical and is getting alittle outdated. There are certainly rich idiots out there, but there is something legitimate that lay between MSRP and a general sense of worth – that tends to be the myriad costs that a company can avoid, cut corners on, or take head on – like developing new materials, in-house production, excessive finishing techniques, excessive quality assurance. And many of these things have changed WITHIN brands over the last 2 decades, and they go some way towards explaining why inflation is not the only bridge between the price of a Sub then and now. People buy pay these prices either because they undersdtand that fact and are happy to, or because they have been well advised, or because they are following the crowd – I don’t really care unless it is me that is doing the buying!

  • Omegaromeo

    johnwithanh LapYoda Ah yes, the “convince my wife” !  How many times have I tried to justify the absolutely unjustifiable when it comes to watch prices.  I last about 2 minutes before I realize how idiotic I sound!  Omega Planet Ocean or 2 weeks vacation with the kids…uh, but look at this orange bezel…lol.  My most expensive watch is an ebay Speedie for a little over 2k, and I saved a long time for that one!  My justification – to myself – is that it is definitely a watch my son will one day own, and hopefully, his son/daughter.

  • DG Cayse

    Not too many “snobs” here Mr. Boyd. As you can see from the comments, most are interested in a good value at a personally affordable price point.
    It’s Value for Money.

  • DG Cayse

    Grinnie Jax That is a nice looking watch.

  • Ayreonaut

    My thought exactly. Plastic junk. Who approves?

  • mondaine_watch

    aBlogtoWatch Thanks for the nod!

  • aBlogtoWatch

    mondaine_watch Try as we might – we are sorta watch snobs 🙂

  • mondaine_watch

    aBlogtoWatch Nothing wrong with that! 🙂

  • macdaddyjoshua

    mondaine_watch aBlogtoWatch I love my Mondaine Vintage Automatic, by the way.

  • iamcalledryan

    LapYoda ABTW does cover high end, but the comments are so utterly predictable. 

    I have never felt that Hodinkee requires that I afford the watches in order to be enthusiastic about them. I guess some people struggle to admire things they can’t afford – I have no problem with it! The articles are not “you need to buy this” articles, they are simply sharing the details, and I don’t really care about pricing on a watch I can’t afford even if they take a zero off the end.

    I think ABTW is starting to frame itself as that “honest value” source, and probably a good idea because Hodinkee are hands down more slick in their approach.

    And I still stand by the comment. Ariel and John spend about 90% of their time on their podcasts mocking the brands, mocking their readers. It’s about negativity, I guess I am just getting a little too old for it.

    As MarkCarson says, i can just move on – which is something I find myself doing more here now after about 6 years of avid readership.

  • mondaine_watch

    macdaddyjoshua Glad to hear it!

  • egznyc

    You just nailed my first three serious watch purchases since I started to give a very real damn about watches!

  • Boniface Chong

    Love my seiko 5 and my pasha seatimer

  • Brenden Hill

    There’s only one Monster!

  • egznyc

    LOL. Yeah, wives just don’t understand. I’ve heard it too many times that diamonds and the like are real stores of value while watches are just a bunch of people acting irrationally with regard to price.

  • marbstiu

    Ayreonaut but let’s tone down the insults. THIS IS A SWATCH GROUP SPONSORED BLOG!


  • egznyc

    Spazz and iamcalledryan, thank you for such a spirited discussion on a timely subject. It saves me the trouble of needing to add my two cents. Amen.

  • marbstiu And here I keep not seeing the ads for: Brequet, Harry Winston, Blancpain, Glashutte Original, Jaquet Droz, Omega, Longines, Rado, Hamilton, Mido, Tissot and Certina. So…how is it ABTW is Swatch sponsored again?

  • bichondaddy

    egznyc Yep…as we say in Texas….you’re preaching to the choir!!  
    Oh…also….besides diamonds…..let’s not forget about the $1000 plus pair of shoes that they just “have to have!”….you know the ones I am talking about…the ones with the red soles….and then there is the dozens of purses that they must have to match every outfit!!!  Yes…the three items were recently purchased by my wife…a new diamond ring, new shoes and a new purse….just because she was going on a business trip.  And I got the “look” when I mentioned that I needed to pick up one of my watches from the jeweler that I had dropped off to be cleaned! ( My jeweler cleans my automatics for a mere $100….a bargain!! )

  • David Bredan


    I, and I am sure I can speak for the entire ABTW team here, we truly appreciate your ongoing support.I am sure that as you have witnessed aBlogtoWatch grow into what today is the largest watch blog online in terms of traffic to the site, you have also seen in the comments section here (and also on all social media channels) how that exposure to watch enthusiasts around the world created an wonderfully diverse community that today comprises hundreds of thousands of individuals scattered around the world.When anyone on the team creates an article, when we see a watch hands-on, we meet brands personally, we visit manufactures or we cover the most important news of the industry, we do it for every single member of our audience, hoping that everyone will find something in the subject and/or in the article itself that fascinates them.And yet, we have to also accept the simple fact that we all like watches for different reasons and we all like different watches. It is for this reason that we cover watches of all sorts, including incredibly complicated timepieces (with matching price tags), as well as more affordable ones as well.The first couple of years when I was getting into watches, I was spending most of my time reading about high-end, haute horlogerie pieces, trying to learn more about who made them and how they functioned. It took me years to be able to understand how more affordable and simpler watches can be just as fascinating – and today I’m thankful for sites like ABTW who have showed me the entire spectrum. This also explains why I reached out to Ariel over two years ago, hoping to be given the chance to start working for this amazing site.

    To reflect on some comments on this particular article: we of course could have filled this list up with watches from large brands only. We didn’t, and the reasoning is that creating a list like that is something you could find on any lifestyle and/or less horology focused website. We know what we are talking about and we have insight into the industry like very few others do today, and that allowed us to include some options that others would likely would have not even considered – although these alternatives also fit the bill perfectly. The team has exchanged several dozens of emails, discussing what to include and exclude, and of course there were many other pieces from big (and small) brands suggested – but it came as natural for everyone on the team to have a healthy mix of timepieces from major, as well as small brands alike.

  • Dimitris Athanasiou

    I dont like copycat companies, advertising others inventions for theirs or bringing technology of non-sense and advertise it like breakthrough! Quartz, Kinetic, Spring-Drive and so on…
    I apreciate cheap value for money watches from Citizen, Casio, Victorinox and any, but not Seiko!

  • Dimitrios Karavidas

    Seiko is not a copy cat company. They are very innovative. Their quartz Grand Seiko’s are one of the most accurate quartz watches in the world, losing about 10 seconds a year. Spring Drive, though not 100% mechanical is amongst the most accurate watches of a mechanical nature. If anything Citizen and Casio copies from Seiko. Skase re malaka. 😛

  • egznyc

    LOL. I cannot believe the double standard imposed here – particularly as it was women who have had to endure their share of such discrimination over the years one would think they’d be more open minded. Rather, now that they have more purchasing power and independence than in the past, they think they should be telling their men how to spend their hard-earned dollars.
    And then you got “the look” … Wow. I don’t suppose you can very diplomatically, gently, mention that at least you’re not buying a new watch for every occasion (unlike her clothing and shoe habits), but are just taking care of an existing watch in your collection (it’s like darning one’s socks ;-)). Just be sure to make it playful/humorous or it’ll backfire!

  • DanW94

    bichondaddy egznyc
    Tread lightly my friends, the walls have eyes, and ears…

  • marbstiu

    MarkCarson marbstiu and somehow the sistem51 yet again appears in a “watch snob’s” top 10 affordable list and affordable staples like Sinn is almost never mentioned.

    Makes me feel that way though

  • marbstiu The Swatch Sistem 51 is only interesting to me as a marvel of production. But not one of much else. It would not be on my list if I was making this list myself. If the movement kept better time or could be used by 3rd parties or did not have plastic escapement parts, or… (well you get the idea). I don’t think its a great watch, even for its price point. It only claim to fame IMO is the price for a Swiss mechanical and that it is produced with so little human labor. I don’t care for the looks of the current Sistem 51 references, the plastic case or the erratic timekeeping. But I will keep an open mind as perhaps something worth strapping on my wrist will evolve from this plastic “see-what-I-can-make-for-a-buck-and-a-half” watch. Cheers.

  • egznyc

    Nice pic!

  • egznyc

    Thanks for your concern, but there’s no way my better half would spend a minute looking at anything posted on this blog – not that she’d be surprised in any way by my comment. She knows how I feel and we just agree to disagree.

  • Emperius

    Disagreed, snobs don’t nod on these, but logical people who know the bigger picture, regardless of their spending power. A Tag Heuer nut knowing that his/her watch runs on Sellita movement will still put off an Invicta with the same movement.

  • Emperius

    Jimxxx I’d say snobs would never look at these articles,let alone own one, lol. A PP/ALG/AP owner though, would still own any of these.

  • East Watch Review

    This $400 automatic with date and power reserve indicator is the East Watch Review June giveaway! Like the page, share the post, and you’re in!

  • mrbst

    David Bredan iamcalledryan LapYoda MarkCarson Thanks, David. Well said. While it’s true that we all have different tastes in watches, I do not think we vary in preference towards the factor of the accuracy of the movement.

    Most watch collectors turn away from the idea of a battery-operated watch, but we all know the point of the quartz movements was to IMPROVE on the accuracy of the mechanical timepiece.
    This is why I wanted to point out the the Sistem 51 would NOT receive a nod from hardcore watch “snobs”.
    The (plastic?) movement’s accuracy is even a downgrade from the current mechanical calibres such as ETA, Sellita, etc – yet it still appeared in a higher ranking than the mentioned seiko divers above.

    Perhaps a lot of casual watch fans would buy a sistem51 for the price, but it’s still weird that the swatch group would bank on this niche market when the Apple iWatch is already on the rise.

  • mrbst So I take it that you don’t subscribe to the theory that the Sistem 51 is “Baby’s First Mechanical Watch”, ha ha.
    I wonder what the market for the Sistem 51 really is. I’m assuming that the fact that it is mechanical is something of a minor feature for Swatch buyers. Are are they trying to sell it as eco-friendly since it never needs a battery replacement? And yeah, the emerging smartwatch market is something Swatch will have to address in the future. But fore sure you can buy a better mechanical watch but it will have just have a Chinese movement. Then again, it may have a metal case in the plus column.
    I wonder if Swatch built the Sistem 51 not because the market demanded it, but rather they built it because they could (and plan to make money from it). Cheers.

    • PeteNice

      Same market shared by all Swatches: kids and homosexuals.

      • sfpeanuts

        Odd categorizations. Homophobia and snobbery in one.

  • mrbst

    MarkCarson mrbst Not so sure about the eco-friendly thing since it doesnt need a battery. I’d like to thnk an automatic watch with dozens of parts would still have a much larger carbon footprint in terms of production and freight if u would compare it to quartz watches.

    Haha! The “baby’s first mechanical watch” sounds like “baby’s first iPhone” or MTV’s My Super Sweet 16.

  • Grinnie Jax

    MarkCarson mrbst A better mechanical watch for not a lot of money won’t necessary have a Chinese movement. I have Seiko 5 I bought for 40$, and it has their own 7S mechanical caliber. Running pretty well for 1.5 years already. Also I can name Orient watches – much more accurate and reliable calibers that Swatch Sistem51.

  • mrbst

    Grinnie Jax MarkCarson mrbst also, the seiko 7S movements are at least all metal and has ~20 jewels on it.

  • Grinnie Jax

    mrbst Grinnie Jax MarkCarson And not only the movement what is concerning me about the Swatch: I have had their diver watch for 125$ and it was worst watch I ever had: the lume was like a joke compared to my non-diver Seiko 5 for 40$, the NATO strap was extremely low quality, became covered with pellets after a month! The plastic bezel stopped functioning after 1 single bath in the sea… Later, when I was going home I found that the plastic buckle had cracked in a half. And the last: its quartz movement was by no ways accurate for quartz! It is funny to say, but my mechanical Orient Star gained only 1 minute in 2 month (I used some tip of putting the watch on the crown for night) – and quartz Swatch got same or more! I am very sorry to say that, but Swatch is the worst quality watch within ultra-budged segment. Even chinese watches like Parnis, Marina Militare, Sea-Gull are of better quality. However, many Swatches look not bad at all, designers work can be easily seen.

  • mrbst

    David Bredan Kinda really felt we lowered our standards and compromised just to include the sistem51 here

  • mrbst

    Grinnie Jax mrbst MarkCarson
    Agreed. And if swatch released the sistem51 to battle the price-point of the quartz watches, why would they allow such a stepback in timekeeping?

    Ur post can be summed up using a flowchart w/c starts with:
    1) “Is it better than a seiko?”
    No: Buy a seiko
    Yes: I bet it’s $5000

  • evvignes

    Various Hameltons and low end Oris.

  • Bert Kanne

    The Tempest Viking Diver is stunning in my eyes…

  • CortexUK the quitter

    Wait, no Hamilton Khaki Field Auto?

  • Philip D-g

    I Agree with some of these… although I have put together a list of Budget Watches to make the right impression, Glad to see a couple of repeats! even if it’s just the brand.

  • Grace

    I stumbled across Henry London, which are modern watches all inspired by a vintage watch. They are affordable but look more expensive than they are due to the luxury, classic feel.

  • Emrah Yüceer

    You should take a look at the Black Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) coated watches that we manufacture at

    • Nir Hason

      It’s out stock?

      • Emrah Yüceer

        The Essential black is in stock.

  • Dan B

    Great list although I would have made the only criteria that the watches must be sub $1,000 or even sub $500. That said, a few others worthy of recognition which fit this criteria:

    Christopher Ward Trident series

    Steinhart Ocean 1

    Helson (with my favorite being the Buccaneer)

  • John Ray

    Well the collection is great one. However most of people can not afford to have these in their collection. Rather Watch Shop 888 ( offers a great collection of men’s watches at very affordable rates. Well you can purchase 8 to 10 time pieces easily instead of the mentioned above to match your wardrobe and flaunt a new one everyday.

  • Li Wang
    • For Revenge Press Two Again

      It’s the other way around – check the dates of each article

      • Li Wang

        Great to know. Thanks for clarifying. Boy, the Times really ripped off this article then.

  • Spasmolytic

    For watches less than $1000 — I recommend the Citizen Skyhawk.

  • Adam

    Interesting that the Orient dress watches get in over the divers. Fair enough though, especially with the SKX series included in the list.

  • Levi Fodor

    Any possibility of updating this otherwise great list? I’m sure would be appreciated by many.

  • Laurenz M

    what about classy watches for ~200 – 400 USD?
    Is there any review – to my knowledge there is no proper review existing 🙁

    • ??????

      Look at Orient Star line – best value in that range IMO.

  • Lol

    I’m thinking a Squale 1545 is a good value.

  • Jason F

    This is a great list, but I wouldn’t call all of them affordable. Though, I guess affordability is relative. One place I can definitely recommend for affordability is I recently bought their Titan watch for about $200 and couldn’t be happier. I guess if you’re looking for brand over function/price/style – then they’re probably not for you.

    • Nir Hason

      Can you please give me some short review of the watch after using it for 2 months?

      • Jason F

        Sure thing! I bought the leather strap version and it feels really comfortable. At this price I’m sure it’s not a high-end leather but it feels and looks great. I still wear the watch to work daily and people often ask me about it (little do they know what I spent on it). It’s still running the same as when I bought it, and it keeps time really well, which is a good sign. So yeah, very happy with the watch. The Pulse8 support team was really great too. I contacted them before buying to make sure they were legit and to ask a few questions about their returns policy and they were very helpful. I definitely recommend!

        • Nir Hason

          Tnx Jason, that was fast haha.
          The movement is good?

          • Jason F

            To be honest, I’m not too sure about the quality of the movement, but so far it’s been working really well and runs very smoothly.

  • DJA71

    I think I could be considered somewhat of a snob; I have a white-gold Daytona, blue stainless/yellow gold Submariner and 1962 and 1942 vintage Rolexes. But among my favorite watches are my Seiko series 5 automatic, day, date; and my Swiss made Hamilton which is modeled after the watches Hamilton made for the US Military when they were an American company. I paid about $250 for the Hamilton, and -and I still cant believe this – $58 for the day/date function Seiko. I have no idea how they sell the watch at that price. I wear the Seiko when I’m doing work where the watch gets banged around a lot. I’ve had the for a while and I’ve never even adjusted the time. So maybe I’m not that much of a watch snob after all.

  • Julian Rowland

    The Christopher Ward Trident Pro 600 and GMT Models should have been included in this list.

  • josephhowards

    Can’t believe no one mentions the Casio Edifice. That is my everyday watch…cheap and cheerful…all under $100 and looks great

    • Simon_Hell

      Sorry pal, but casio doesn’t cut it. If there is a line between a joke and something even remotely respectable, casio is under it (maybe with the exception of gshocks). You just can’t have your name attached to 10 euro watches and be respectable brand at the same time, it simply isn’t possible.

      Which is a shame, because they do make some nice watches in the 200 euro range. But the name casio kills it. They should have used a different name for the toy garbage like citizen does, or create a new brand detached from casio for the upper line. This way the brand is spoiled forever.

      That said, the watch you linked is a cheap looking knock off a breitling aviator watch, and a pretty bad one at that. Id be embarassed to wear that. There are many more better looking and more original watches from casio.

      • Gary Ningkan

        and we’ve found the snob.

      • Ezi Cucit

        Casio may not ‘cut it’ for you – but you will go a long way to find a better value for money “RELIABLE” timepiece – i bought a Casio “utility” quartz watch for $20.00 and immediately opened it up for general evaluation – yes the whole movement is completely plastic (no jewels) BUT BUT – i know that plastic movement will give at least 50 years service if looked after – what more do you need out of twenty dollars???

  • Daz

    Thanks for the recommendation, Tom! Just bought one from there, the quality is great but I am no ‘watch snob’!

  • Bill

    Would have helped had you mentioned their movement and/or movement base.

  • Tom

    Incredible. Truly amazing to look at. Unfortunately entirely out of my price range. This place is great for very unique and affordable (sub £100) watches

  • Great list, pretty interesting collection. Check out this list of affordable watches and many other items:

  • OB94

    Orient make such great stuff but I just can’t get over that logo stuck in the middle of the watch and making it feel like some Chinese crap

    • Ezi Cucit

      Chinese crap ??? You need to wake up and see what time it is – Have you seen the quality of Parnis or Seagull – Its no longer the China of 30 yrs ago – besides making crap , they are also making high end products in all spheres.

      • Aleh’ks Dallen

        Don’t ever compare Parnis to Orient. Parnis is not a true brand, even if it’s now been trademarked by a guy
        in Guangzhou. It’s a group of cantonese factories and competing dealers
        making similar watches, implying questionable QA, hommage watches (more like copying Rolex, etc.).

    • Julian Chan

      Chinese crap lol, you clearly haven’t seen some of the higher end made watches. Also, you fail to understand how much stuff is actually made in China.

  • sfpeanuts

    That’s your company Tom. Pathetic marketing.

    • theoldsargesays

      then flag it as spam, like this….

  • sfpeanuts

    Tom is hawking his own company!!

  • heymedia

    I really love the design of Mondaine watch. The minimalist design and the fact that is exactly as the swiss railway station clock made me buy it straight away. i’ve found it on this list for cheaper than $250

    • Ezi Cucit

      Yes the Mondaine is a good one to own and wear – one speedy glance and you know the time- Less is definitely more, i have the Stop2Go model – great watch.

  • AreaMan

    I have the SKX007 as my anything-but-a-suit watch, and I’m about to pull the trigger on an Orient dress watch (Symphony or Bambino), but I have to give a shout out to the Tissot Visodate. It has history, style, an ETA movement, and can be had for 379 online.

  • theoldsargesays


  • Vance McAlister

    Another addition would be the Hamilton Khaki line. A lot of watch for the $600 or so you will spend.

    • Ezi Cucit

      I agree the Hamilton Khaki is a great value for money watch – i have had mine for 15 years without any problems and its a quartz movement – (as i am not a mechanical movement enthusiast) Its properly looked after – never been serviced since new but will probably last for many more years.

  • Michael Chua

    I would totally give a nod to the Orient, the Junghans, and the Mondaime, considering I have those 3, but would definitely shake head at SevenFriday. I think it’s nonsense to spend much brain power trying to figure out what the exact time is.

    • Ezi Cucit

      I love the name ‘Seven Friday’ and if the watch was “glance” legible would probably buy it – but having said that , i admit to not being a fan of square watches – so here is a challenge to Seven Friday – make a more legible round watch to appeal to a wider populace.

  • Carl Ward

    I just wish they would update it as same top 10 forever and most are crap! I would put a Steinhart and Christopher Ward and Farer and Fortis watches in above most of these. Heck even some recent Kickstarters like Stratton Chrono Curve are better. Only ones I like are Autodromo and Junghans.

  • Kevin Beard

    I don’t know that I’d agree on the Sistem51. While kinda cool, the movement has plastic parts. As a watch guy I can’t be into something that is built to break after a few years.

    • BahamasGeek242

      From what I have read Swatch says it should last 20 years. I am more concerned about the watch not being able to be serviced. I own one and love it

  • Louis Meluso

    I agree on the Seiko Monster (Dracula version, natch) but would add the SARB 017 Alpinist. Beautiful dial and case finish. The Hamilton Khaki King should be on the list as well as the Christopher Ward Trident. A high value watch with great specs and build is the Orient Mako II USA. And to those that look down on Casio, check out the recent vintage atomic radio-controlled, solar Oceanus with titanium case and bracelet.

  • Gabriel MacDonnell

    Vostok Amphibia; elegant engineering & accurate automatic movement, varied & fun aesthetics, made in Russia for under $70.

    • Garrett Hu

      Vostok is very nice and has a certain aesthetic to them but I wouldn’t trust it going diving…you’re likely to die. Or if you’re using it everyday, then set it 5-10 minutes fast because you’re going to start being late to meetings. I had one many years ago that had a huge deviation and despite getting it regulated, my watch maker just said the mechanical tolerances are just too wide for it to perform well.

      But…then again how many of use here actually dive and how many of use here don’t rely on our smart phones for meetings…it’d s fun piece tho…just my 2 cents.

      • Miguel Barrameda

        it’s a 70 dollar watch, and the newer series does use an NH35A seiko movement. i think opening the case back and adjusting the clock speed is not such a hassle if you want to clock it right. if its a more expensive automatic yes but, if its at this price point, i think its a good way to get cozy and personal with the internals of an automatic watch.

  • Lord Dunsany

    Hmm. Is it important that these get a “nod from snobs?” Isn’t “watch enthusiasm” already a form of snobbery, if we broadly define snobbery as elitism? Don’t “enthusiasts” simply want to be included in an elite, exclusive group?

    • Ranchracer

      While I agree with you in the sense that I could care less about what others think about my watches (I buy a watch based on how it speaks to me, not how I THINK others may react to it), I disagree in that not all “enthusiasts” are out to impress others or desire to be part of some distinct group or be noticed by others based on a material item. Nobody needs to wear a watch to tell time any longer, and if we’re honest, most people will notice the car you drive or the clothes you wear long before they notice (if ever) that piece of obsolete technology on your wrist. Many of us buy and wear watches because we’re simply fascinated by mechanical devices. I think you’ll find that many of today’s watch enthusiasts are also fascinated by firearms, engines, or any number of other intricate mechanical devices.

  • Jon Han

    Some of the watches here are nice but I’m not sure I’m willing to spend over $500 on a watch powered by a Miyota 9015 unless I really, really like the aesthetics.

    • Iron_Celt

      As a watch guy, there is literally nothing on this page that I would even consider buying.

      • Miguel Barrameda

        really? not even the seikos? or the orients?
        i understand everything else but, I think the seiko SKX and SRP series have insurmountable horological value, and lets not forget the SARB017, or in US spec the SARB033

        and orient since Orient does make in house movements too.

      • Bruce Cable

        I’m a watch guy too, owning Rolex, Chopard, IWC etc., and yet I couldn’t get along without my Max Bill Mechanical. The small, comfortable German made minimalist will never go out of style or favor, and people are constantly asking me about it. I still find it amazing that it is the most accurate timepiece in my collection, regardless of price. Meistersinger is another reasonable brand that is often overlooked, that should also be on this list……l

    • Ranchracer

      But you WOULD spend over $500 for something that has an ETA or Sellita? Interesting. I suppose I might understand your comment if we were talking about Chinese movements, but some of those manufacturers have even stepped up their quality massively in the last several years. Not saying I’m ready to take that step just yet, but when it comes to Japanese movements, I have several Miyota-equipped time pieces that put many of my ETA watches to shame in the accuracy department.

  • Forever Great

    Aside from the Viking there’s nothing really here. The Viking would be a nice watch to have on the job, waterproof and looks to be durable.

  • Karan Sharma

    Browse Our Luxurious Collection Of Men’s Watches Fit For Any Budget. Save 20% Off Your First Order AND Get Free Shipping!

  • Hmmm

    The snobbery in these comments is hilarious. And ironic.

    • Ranchracer

      Couldn’t agree more. All of these have something going for them. A SevenFriday and a Dietrich are both already on my short list, simply for their out-of-the-box designs. And to all of the self proclaimed “watch guys” in the comments section that say there’s nothing here, you sound much more like “watch snobs” to me. I’ve got some pretty expensive, big-brand watches in my modest collection, but your comments actually make many of these more affordable time pieces even MORE attractive to me.

  • Md Shanto
  • Dan Finch

    Only ones that appeal to me are the Mondaine and the Junhans! The swatch is cheap, but then its also “dressed up” junk. I wouldn’t say any are a particularly good value…

    Go to the source if you want the best value! Swatch owns ETA and passes the savings on, often under $500 through grey market. So anything from their Hamilton, Tissot or Mido lines will get you Swiss quality, reliable ETA movements, huge selection of great designs, and a respected brand.

    • Jimr1818

      The Sistem 51 movement boasts 90 hours of power reserve, an impressive achievement compared to the 42 hours of an ETA or a Soprod. A bidirectional transparent rotor (which will never hide the view of the technical elements, as the counterweight is located around the rotor) winds the single barrel. Once again, such a detail is usually only found in fine, expensive watches. Last but not least, Swatch states it has an accuracy of +/- 7 seconds per a day, a rate that is actually very close to COSC chronometer requirements (-4/+6 seconds per a day).

  • David, thanks a lot for Junghans Max Bill Series – this is my next 😉

  • Jimr1818

    The movement boasts 90 hours of power reserve, an impressive achievement compared to the 42 hours of an ETA or a Soprod. A bidirectional transparent rotor (which will never hide the view of the technical elements, as the counterweight is located around the rotor) winds the single barrel. Once again, such a detail is usually only found in fine, expensive watches. Last but not least, Swatch states it has an accuracy of +/- 7 seconds per a day, a rate that is actually very close to COSC chronometer requirements (-4/+6 seconds per a day).

    Sistem 51.
    Yes the Irony Sistem 51 watches can all be serviced.

  • Alex Marcok

    Good article! But I think that Brega Watches should have a mention Here.

    • noni8491

      It appears Brega Watches is merely a storefront for numerous Chinese watch brands — Benyar, Binssaw, Cadisen, Guanqin, Kinyued, Megir, Pagani Design, Parnis, Naviforce, Ontheedge, Reginald, Torbollo — which are hardly any brands of note to A Blog to Watch readers. Anyone familiar with Aliexpress (who offer all of these Chinese watch brands) will immediately realize that Brega places a 100%+ surcharge on all of these watches. I doubt any presentation box they could provide would merit such a surcharge, though I have been moderately happy with the watch purchases I’ve made through Aliexpress.

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  • Mike Brooks

    There is a lot of snobbery about watch movements; the “my watch is better because it has an in house movement” thing. Rolex were considered a top brand even when they were using ETA movements, which Omega were until comparatively recently. The Miyota 9015 is a fine movement, even if you would hope that paying over $1k for a watch, you would get a little bit more than mass produced bog standard movements. But then some of these watches are only brands, and of course the design is the thing.

  • Daniel Thomas There are so many watches on the market these days but my favorite right now is actually not one of the usual overpriced options everyone seems to run towards …

    A watch should be a conversation starter, a status symbol, an absolute must have accessory for every well dressed man. As such a watch will tell a story about you, who you are, your moral values and in what direction your life is heading. Godforbid you go anywhere without an appropriate timepiece – Crime!

    My favorite right now is the Ambassador Heritage 1921 (

    I find it stylish yet classic and modern yet chic.

    Ambassador watches exceed the standard. They are not mediocre, common, or antiquated. But instead, are testaments to exceptional craftsmanship that are instant classics which transfix everyone.

    Luckily this isn’t a watch that I spent loads of money and you can pick them up for a little under $250 which for a truly magnificent timepiece like this is an absolute steal!

  • Zaid Patel

    Came across this fantastic site with really great value for money watches. Check it out

  • HJK

    Perfect List! I agree with all included and excluded.

  • Tracy Mergenthaler Robinson

    Great resource. Im looking at used Cartier Panthiers. So, if the face does NOT have Cartier written in the X, and if it says “swiss” vs. “swiss made” at the bottom, it is a knock-off, correct?

  • oldclimber

    Realizing the necessary hyperbole of the heading, it’s still an oxymoron – the class bias inherent in snobbery demands the object cannot be within the grasp of the hoi polloi, either by exclusivity/scarcity, or price. An elite club’s symbolic tokens may not require high cost, but limited numbers only for members provide a built-in guarantee that ownership/membership cannot be bought, and the article alone does not certify entry. Affordable snobbery suggests only that you and several thousand other posers believe you are special, because you like less expensive items that read more luxurious than they cost, and the need to have it mistaken for a pricier object is essential to the attraction. A lot of folks will skip over the snob portion and just consider they got a real good deal in something they like, and do not become depressed, should no one notice their special adornment.

    • Rocco Colavito

      I have a dozen different Orient, Seiko 5, Citizen and Boccia automatics in every color and band style. I paid less than 1500 for the whole lot of them. They look great and I can switch them around depending on the occasion and dress. I’m not trying to impress anyone and would rather spend my money on other things. Maybe that makes me a poser, but I think it just means I’m smart with my money.

      • Ezi Cucit

        Rocco – absolutely agree with your sentiment – let the idle rich support the ugly shit that high end makers produce – after all you should wear what is eye candy and makes you smile.

  • Junghans Max Bill Series – perfect

  • Mark Kuykendall

    I think you could easily get away with a Marathon GSAR or a Seiko turtle.

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