Best Watches Under $500 – AskMen

Add to Your Wrist Rotation: 14 Statement Watches Under $500

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With additions by Brian Scott Lipton

Accessory or necessity? For over 100 years, there was little debate about men owning a wristwatch — or two or 10 (guilty as charged). Now, of course, one can live without one, but should one? Not really, according to Durand Guion, vice president of Macy’s Fashion Office.

“A watch is the ultimate accessory for guys. Even in the age of digital time-telling, it adds a finishing touch to the well-dressed man,” he says.

RELATED: 10 Best Rolex Watches You Can Buy Right Now

For a lot of guys, watches are like wine: the perceived learning curve intimidates many who assume you can’t get anything good for a reasonable price. That’s not the case, however, timepiece-wise; in fact when just starting out in the horological universe it’s a good idea to begin with something relatively modest and acquaint yourself with the way it wears, works, looks and feels, as a prelude to acquiring a piece you’ll wear for the rest of your life.

With that philosophy in mind, you’re probably persuaded that the time has come to buy your first (or second) watch. However, you may still need to know what to look for — an especially daunting task in an increasingly crowded market. Functionality or fun? Substance or style? Classic or contemporary?

Our Picks: 14 Best Watches Under $500

  1. Movado Museum Classic Watch
  2. Bulova Stainless Steel Chronograph Watch
  3. Citizen Blue Angels World Eco-Drive Watch
  4. Tissot V8 Quartz Chronograph Watch
  5. Hamilton Khaki Field Watch
  6. Seiko Padi Automatic Diver’s Watch
  7. Shinola Detrola
  8. Tissot Swiss T-Sport Automatic
  9. Citizen Promaster Nighthawk
  10. Victorinox Forcefield Chrono
  11. Eone Bradley X Dezeen
  12. Timex Waterbury Traditional
  13. Original Grain Alterra Brewmaster Chronograph
  14. Fossil Defender Archival Series Watch

At this price you can and should go for real watch brands as opposed to fashion brands who are merely branding cheap timepieces usually made in China. Watchmakers such as Bulova, Tissot, and Hamilton, all founded in the 1800s, have passed the hundred-year mark and withstood the test of time, so to speak, and are well worth investing in. Look for deals on discontinued models on Amazon, where sale prices can be 40 percent off or more, and you can end up scoring a real deal.

The man who overspends before he knows the worth of what he’s buying does nobody any favors, least of all himself. And not wearing a watch because you’re waiting to afford something expensive is a foolish economy, leaving you bereft and bare-wristed. Buy wisely and you won’t be wasting money on a starter model; take good care of it and there will even be some residual resale value to put towards your next purchase.

Another reason not to pay more than $500 for a watch is the amount of punishment you plan to dole out. If you work with your hands or just don’t want to worry too much about damaging an expensive timepiece, it’s better to buy something that won’t break the bank if it ends up needing to be replaced sooner rather than later. That said it’s better just to take the watch off if there’s any danger of it getting damaged.

RELATED: The 7 Best Pre-Owned Rolex Watches You Can Buy At Walmart

Don’t think of it as a “cheap” watch or something you’re compromising on however; do the research (actually we did it for you), spend as much as you possibly can and take satisfaction in something that’s worth more than you paid for it. There’s no shame in shopping around or wearing a less expensive watch than the loudmouthed guy in the next cubicle who probably still owes money on his.

Price should in any case be a secondary consideration when buying a watch. Look for a design that pleases you, in a size you’re comfortable with, that has the functions you want, and then consider what’s it’s worth. Perhaps you prefer a metal bracelet to a leather strap, but be aware that for a minimal extra investment you can get both. Nylon straps available in a host of colors are another way to change up the look of your watch.

1. Movado Museum Classic

Sometimes less is more, and that couldn’t be put into practice with more elegance and integrity than the Movado Museum Classic. Minimal design, clean lines and refined sophistication is what you can expect from this formal version of the iconic style. Stainless steel frames the 40mm black face while a black calfskin leather straps finishes off the streamlined design. Dressed up, for sure, but not limited to formal occasions. No wonder it’s our Editor’s Choice. It elevates any look from basic boardroom to boss status quicker than you can say “what time is it”?
$495 at

2. Bulova Stainless Steel Chronograph

Bulova Stainless Steel Chronograph

Bulova resonates with timeless style, quality craftsmanship and affordability. This water-resistant model is crafted in stainless steel and features a bold black dial, luminous hands and Japanese quartz movement ensuring impeccable accuracy.
$180.95 at

3. Citizen Blue Angels World Eco-Drive

Citizen Blue Angels World Eco-Drive

This racy chronograph from Japan’s underrated Citizen is a technological wonder with atomic timekeeping in five time zones (North America, the UK, Europe, Japan and China) and automatic time in 26 world cities. It’s named after the Blue Angels, the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration squadron, and would not look out of place on the wrist of a stunt pilot. Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology harnesses the power of light — from any natural or artificial light source — and converts it into energy, which is stored in a permanently rechargeable solar cell, and can literally run forever.
$487.50 at

4. Tissot V8 Quartz Chronograph

Tissot V8 Quartz Chronograph

The handsome V8 45mm chronograph is water resistant to 100 m (330 ft) and won’t break the bank. Most people will assume you paid a lot more. Chronographs are a good buy in general as they offer more bang for the buck, hold their value better, and look more expensive to boot.
$400 at

5. Hamilton Khaki Field Watch

Hamilton Khaki Field Watch

Hamilton, founded in Pennsylvania in 1892, belies the common belief that only Swiss watches are worth investing in. The field watch is a classic design that may not be dressy enough for the opera but can handle most situations with aplomb. It’s an American style statement that goes perfectly with your L.L. Bean and Filson gear, and has been widely imitated though usually without concomitant quality. The 38mm size is fairly uniformly flattering and the automatic movement is usually reserved for pricier pieces.
$421.98 at

6. Seiko Padi Automatic Diver’s Watch

Seiko Padi Automatic Diver's Watch

Many precious Swiss diving watches never see any underwater action. Seiko’s classic “Pepsi” (i.e. red and blue) diver is designed to be used, and is rated to 650 feet. The 44mm piece has the iconic rotating bezel that allows you to keep track of how long you’ve been underwater. This is the only other watch on the list with an automatic movement, and would normally cost considerably more. The Pepsi coloring makes a bold and sporty statement but the watch has the chops to back it up.
$393.75 at

7. Shinola Detrola

Shinola Detrola in blue

Casual, fun and thoroughly modern, the Detroit-based watchmaker’s new Detrola collection of 43mm watches features a flexible, quick-release silicone strap, a lightweight case made of high-grade resin and a watch dial covered in a transparent yet super-durable and scratch-resistant crystal. Like its wearer, the Detrola is a triumph of both strength and style.
$395 at

8. Tissot Swiss T-Sport Powermatic 80

Tissot Swiss T-Sport Powermatic 80

Our second Tissot on the list, your heart will be racing when you first set your eyes upon this stunning timepiece, which takes vintage racing-inspired details to a new level. It boasts a robust 1960s steering wheel shape, a powerful and precise Swiss automatic movement, a sporty ceramic bezel and dial and a rose gold strap that all combine to make sure you’re clearly ahead of the pack.
$279.97 at

9. Citizen Promaster Nighthawk

Citizen Promaster Nighthawk

An appealing mix of the old and new, the antique styled Citizen Promaster Nighthawk uses Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology which allows it to be powered by any light source. Adding to its practicality, the Nighthawk features world time in 26 time zones and a perpetual calendar, a big plus for men who travel the globe in pursuit of their dreams (or just for business).
$316 at

10. Victorinox Field Force Chrono

Victorinox Field Force Chrono

From the woods to Wall Street, this indelible watch fits in wherever you may be. It boasts striking red second hands with a Swiss Army Knife-shaped counterweight, a red cross and shield on the dial, superb day and night visibility, as well as chronograph functions and a tachymeter scale. You’ll have a field day (or night) with this watch on your arm.
$495 at

11. Eone Bradley X Dezeen

Eone Bradley X Dezeen

This is extremely unique timepiece is designed for the wearer to tell time by both sight and touch, making it the perfect watch to have when you find yourselves in situations where you have to discreetly check the time without the obvious bright light of a smart phone or watch. Just simply run your finger over the watch face to feel the raised hour markers and then locate the traveling ball bearings that circle the watch on a magnet to pinpoint the exact time. Easy as 1-2-3.
$285 at

12. Timex Waterbury

Timex Waterbury

What’s better than an old favorite? An old favorite with a new movement. Ticking inside this classic watch, with its of-the-moment stainless steel case, is a 21-jewel automatic movement designed to make the Waterbury an even more accurate, longer-lasting timepiece than ever before. That’s what we call a win-win.
$269 at

13. Original Grain Alterra Brewmaster Chronograph

Original Grain Alterra Brewmaster Chronograph

Yep, it’s time to roll about the barrel once you see this stunner. This 44m timepiece is made from reclaimed authentic German oak beer barrels — paying tribute to the German brew culture — and features brushed silver stainless steel, sapphire crystal glass and wood inlays throughout the design. Drink it in.
$379 at

14. Fossil Defender

Fossil Defender

You won’t have to defend yourself against getting bored with this box set, which features three interchangeable top-rings, each with their own unique design and finishing, and two 22mm strap options: a NATO field strap and leather strap with rubberized backing. Of course, the watch itself — and update of a 1990s model by the company — simply stands on its own, thanks to its classic field- and dive-inspired details and excellent performance.
$195 at

These watches won’t set you back that much cash, but they will instantly add equity to your style. We have tons more watch coverage for any style and any price.

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