The truth about the watch industry is that the majority of advertising dollars go towards selling ultra-luxury products. While there are a handful of consumers out there who can realistically spend $10K on a watch, most cannot. That being said, if you fit into the latter category, you don’t need to shy away from the entire market. In fact, there are a variety of great brands out there that don’t break the bank. I go through the best affordable watch brands in the section below.
1. Michael Kors
If you’re into fashion, then Michael Kors needs no introduction. This luxury fashion brand specializes in leather bags, shoes, ready-to-wear, accessories and, of course, watches. In 2004, Michael Kors launched its watch collections, to the delight of its fans. And staying true to its DNA, Michael Kors watches are stylish, luxurious, and competitively priced. As a globally-known fashion brand, Michael Kors watches immediately became a favorite among fashionistas and watch aficionados alike. With an array of collections from minimalist to studded, you can get a Michel Kors watch for every style, preference, and budget.
This Japanese powerhouse is the king of affordable brands. The reason is that Seiko is 100% devoted to delivering an incredible amount of value in each product that they manufacture. So, whether you’re spending $75 on a basic watch or $500 on a more luxurious piece, you will know that you’re getting one of the best deals on the market. The history of this brand makes them even more charming, as they have played a significant role in the story that is the evolution of horology.
If price is your number one concern, then Casio might be your top option. On the lower end of the spectrum, they offer products for as little as $10. You won’t be getting the most exceptional quality out of that purchase, but the price tag is unbeatable. The value Casio delivers gets even better as you reach more expensive watches in their catalog, too. As far as analog watches, they have dressy pieces, divers, and everything in between. Their claim to fame, though, is their ultra-tough G-Shock collection, so I would look there first when considering Casio.
Orient is a lesser known Japanese brand that is actually owned by the Seiko group, which gives them an added layer of quality assurance. Still, they operate as their own company and bring a unique flair to the products they manufacture. The most popular of them are the Ray, Mako, and Bambino, but the rest of their catalog is full of excellent choices too. When it comes to discussing the best affordable watch brands, Orient is hard to beat.
Citizen is best known for two things. The first is their Eco-Drive movement, which makes almost all of their watches tick. It is unique because it is powered by solar energy, rather than a battery. This feature makes your watch function for much longer than a typical quartz movement. The second thing they’re known for is how much value they pack into each timepiece. While not up to the standard of luxury brands, Citizen delivers more watch for your money than just about anyone.
Hamilton has a story that is quite a bit like other manufacturers. They began as a pocket watch company, but when the World Wars came along, the brand turned their attention to wristwatches. Of course, they thrived in this domain, and the rest is history. One thing that people love about Hamilton is their roots, as a brand founded in the United States. While they have since moved to Switzerland, that heritage is still charming.
You cannot leave Tissot out of any discussion regarding the best affordable watch brands. Two factors make this brand unique on this list. The first is their rich history, which goes back to the 1800s. The second is that they’re a classic Swiss brand, rather than being Japanese. While some of you will not care about the origin of your watch, others will enjoy having a piece of Swiss heritage on their wrists. Those in the latter group should definitely check out Tissot.
While Hamilton began in the United States and then moved to Switzerland, Timex has been in the US since the beginning. All that time, they’ve produced affordable watches with a surprising amount of quality. They are workhouse pieces for many people around the country and are one of the best buys on the market. This company also has a range of products that they sell. On the one hand, you can purchase their cheapest models for under $50. On the other, they also sell some really great products in the $100-300 range. Ultimately, no matter what you’re looking for, Timex will deliver.
Let me be the first to tell you that getting a great watch doesn’t have to require more than $1,000. Instead, you can spend a more realistic sum of money shopping with the best affordable watch brands on the market. If you decide that this is the route you want to go, sticking to the names on this list is a smart strategy. Each of them is beloved in the watch community, has a rich history, and is sure to deliver you a fantastic new watch. Those factors combined mean that you really can’t go wrong when choosing between these best affordable watch brands.