When looking for affordable watches for men, many people simply don’t consider mechanical watches. Not at first, at least. They first think quartz, mainly based on price. And sure, there are lots of great quartz watches out there at great prices. But there are also some wonderful mechanical watches in the same affordable price range as quartz. Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the best mechanical watches exclusively for the dashing gentlemen out there.
Seiko 5 for Military Style
Military inspiration is on full display with the Seiko SNK805 from the Seiko 5 line. A no-nonsense matte-finish face keeps things simple with an inner ring for hour markings. The outer indices for seconds, as does the round steel case that’s basic in the best possible sense. Lightweight and on the unassuming side with a 38mm diameter, this ready-to-go watch feels right at home on a casual nylon strap. And Seiko’s trusty 7S26C movement offers reliable accuracy that performs beyond the low price tag: under $100!
Beyond Bambino with the Orient TriStar
When people ask about an affordable mechanical dress watch, the Orient Bambino is often the first response. And, no doubt, the Bambino is great! Both its elegance and its affordability are praise-worthy. But the often-overlooked TriStar (also referred to as 3 Star or Three Star) is impressive in its own right. Branded by three stars on the face, the TriStar has a history stretching back to the 1970s. Orient says they made these affordable mechanical watches as alternatives for those living in developing countries with less access to the replacement batteries needed for quartz watches.
Orient has kept the watches old school in style, under 40mm. It has a classic stainless steel bracelet and a day-and-date window on its retro face. While some models in the TriStar line creep up in price to the $200 range (still a great bargain), you can find a new TriStar for about $100.
Invicta Pro Diver for a Rolex Feel
Okay, fine, most of us know that Invicta dive watches have been derided as the alternative for a Rolex. And, sure, there is some justification in that, as Invicta has mimicked the looks of Rolex (most especially the Rolex Submariner) to create lower-end timepieces. But that doesn’t make Invicta watches bad, just not Rolexes.
And let’s just consider the fact that you can get one for about 100 bucks! So, for that price, the Invicta Pro Diver 8926 is a pretty nice selection, both in terms of looks and functionality. The 40mm stainless steel case has solid machining and a fine finish. The aluminum bezel is equally substantial. It’s water-resistant up to 200 meters and the NH35A automatic movement is reliable. While the movement is non-branded, that’s actually Seiko handiwork in there behind the display case back and it’s as dependable as most everything the time-honored watchmakers produce. Sure, it’s not a Rolex, but still, it’s a nice option if you’re looking for an affordable alternative.
Get Seriously Sporty with the Citizen Promaster
While the Invicta Diver 8926 is a great bargain, you can take a serious step up in dive watches for not all that much more money with a Citizen Promaster. The Citizen NY0040 is a true ISO-certified dive watch with a depth rating of 200 meters and a high-visibility dial. Mixing brushed and high-polish stainless steel finishes, the case is rugged and looks super sporty on a formidable rubber strap. Inside you´ll find the in-house 21-jewel Miyota 8200 movement. With a 46mm diameter and 12mm thickness, this is a watch that wears prominently and really wants to get noticed. That’s all pretty nice for the price of under $300!
Mid-Century Style with the Timex Marlin Mesh
This watch might remind you of a timepiece that would be on the wrist of an up-and-coming executive in the 1960s. The Timex Marlin Mesh is a re-issue of a dress watch we first met over half a century ago. Going seriously old school with a hand-wound movement, it oozes sophistication with a silver-on-silver design scheme. The watch, which was made with input from fashion designer Todd Snyder, boasts a Milanese mesh band. While the 34mm stainless steel case is muted enough to feel understated, eyes will be drawn to the silver sunray dial with mid-century-style indices. Priced at just over $200, it’s an elegant choice with a big dose of throwback charm.
History and Heritage with the Hamilton Khaki
Hamilton is always a great choice when you’re looking for something with deep ties to America’s watchmaking history, as the company dates back to 1892 in Pennsylvania. And their Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical watches offer a homage to that heritage, albeit nearly a century later with a re-issue of a military field watch we first saw in the 1960s. It doesn’t feel formidable at first, as its 38mm diameter is on the smaller side. But it more than compensates for its diminutive dimensions with a classic style that adheres to the US military specs of days gone by. Swiss made today (Hamilton was sold back in the 70s), the Field Mechanical watches has ETA 2801-2 hand-wound movement with a 42-hour power reserve. On a green NATO strap, it positively exudes classic military style and is nicely priced within the reach of most at under $500.
Now, nobody is saying you shouldn’t splurge on a Rolex. Or that a fine Omega isn’t worth the price. Luxury timepieces come with luxury costs because they have a value that justifies the investments. You can put a fine mechanical watch on your wrist without having to shell out big bucks.