Best Analog Watches Under $500
First let’s answer the question, “What is an analog watch?” Well, before digital watches came along, analog watches were simply called watches. So analog here just means a watch with a traditional face, with hour and minute hands, and no computer works under or on its face. That’s a pretty wide field, but let’s try to narrow that down to analog watches you can get for under 500 bucks.
Seiko is a great name to go to when looking for affordable watches that outperform their price tags. The Japanese watchmakers have over a century of history under their belt. And as the name implies, “professional specifications” sums up this watch. Dubbed the “Seiko Tuna‘’ because its big stainless steel case resembles a tuna can, the Seiko Prospex SNE 498P9 is a hefty piece with a 47mm diameter. But it doesn’t wear so big, as its size is downplayed by angled lugs and an eye-catching rotating bezel. While it is water-resistant to 200 meters, it wears well on land, especially the black-and-gold model on a sturdy black silicone strap that exudes a retro 80s vibe.
Another great rough-and-ready watch from another great Japanese watchmaker, the Citizen Men’s BM8180-03E revels in military style. With a no-nonsense black dial, basic Arabic numerals and white indices, the design harkens back to the classics turned out by Italian and Swiss manufacturers during World War 2. But the round stainless steel case, coming in at a moderate 37mm in diameter, has a modern feel. You can dress it up on a leather strap, but this is a watch that cries out for an Army green woven strap to bask in its military heritage.
There’s a question that constantly arises in the watch world. What’s the best affordable dress watch? The most common answer is the Orient Bambino. Which one? Well, with so many iterations of the Bambino, with varying designs, dials, and functions, it’s hard to say which you’ll choose. Which is pretty awesome, along with the fact that they all come in at under $500. What they all also have in common is a clean simple style and elegance that matches watches in much higher price ranges.
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical
Continuing the theme of great military-inspired watches, who better than Hamilton? The Swiss watchmakers have been making military watches for nearly a century and can take a big share of the credit for creating the design. While the latest Field Mechanical is an ode to watches worn by U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War, it has a modern feel with a 38mm case of matte stainless steel, and luminescent indexes and numerals. This is another watch that yearns to display its military style on a ready-for-action NATO strap.
Tissot Tradition T-Classic
Tissot lives in a limited space as a luxury Swiss watchmaker that doesn’t slap luxury price tags on many of its offerings. One such affordable watch is the T-Classic. As its name suggests, it has classic looks with a minimalist lean, a dress watch that doesn’t put on a big dressy show. Its simplicity gives it enormous versatility, perfect for casual weekend wear with a link bracelet, or on a fine leather strap with a suit. Or vice versa. It wears large with a 42mm diameter, and if you’re going for something that goes super casual this isn’t the watch for you. But for a touch of elegance for under $500, the Tradition T-Classic is hard to beat.
Invicta Pro Diver
Much like Tissot, Invicta is another luxury brand that can claim deep roots in Swiss watchmaking with prices that put their timepieces within reach of most consumers. You can’t go wrong with any of the Pro Diver references that come in at under $500. Including the big, bold, blue chronograph. Another beautiful blue offering, the Reference 8928ob just oozes nautical luxury with a two-tone design, notably in the three-link stainless steel bracelet with a 23 karat gold strip down its center. The gold plating continues around a 40mm case with a striking blue bezel and deep blue dial. Detractors may say the watch tries too hard to be a Rolex Submariner. But many more would say that’s a good thing, as the 8928ob is a big classy watch that fares well when compared to much pricier dive watches.
Of course, nobody is saying that you shouldn’t go out and invest in a fine Rolex, TAG Heuer, or Omega. The higher-end brands make amazing watches and are worth the extra cost, especially when you consider resale value. But affordable options are out there, and you can certainly put some stunning watches on your wrist for under $500.