You may not realize it, but you don’t have to drop a bundle for a quality
Let’s jump right in!
Watch Brands: 10 Of Our Faves
Here are our picks for the best low-cost
A promising Hong Kong-based brand, Undone was established in 2014 with the purpose of creating custom timepieces that truly represent the wearer.
Did we mention that the founder is Michael Young, a foremost Rolex repairer?
Undone experiments with cool visual motifs that are playful, but are thoroughly and consciously designed. Some themes incorporate Arabic writing or Chinese characters, superheroes like Superman and The Flash, and unique construction combinations.
Undone is the perfect brand for that demo. They also have a fantastic selection of automatics in the $300 range, one of which is their Basecamp line!
Undone Basecamp Automatic Cali Blue
The Basecamp Automatic Cali Blue is an effectively stylish mix of textures and finishes. The diamond-textured dial complements the high-gloss bezel, all rounded off with a handsome leather strap. The half-Roman half Arabic California dial gives the Basecamp Cali its distinct and vibrant vintage aesthetic.
Skagen was started in 1989 by Henrik and Charlotte Jorst after moving to the US from Copenhagen.
Purchased by Fossil in 2012, there’s no denying their fashion
However, this doesn’t take away from their simple and fun offerings, and the thoughtful designs that go into each model.
Moreover, they offer budget automatics, titanium constructions, and even smartwatches, so they’re more ambitious than the average fashion
Skagen Aaren Colored Silicone
The Skagen Aaren is a slick and fun splash of color. It’s an excellent example of how Skagen balances vivid shades with classic minimalist design. Go for red, blue, or yellow for a bold approach, or light blue and white for a more sophisticated yet modern look.
Breda was founded in 2009 as a lifestyle label that wanted to put a modern twist on classic timepieces.
The result is a lively finger-on-the-pulse brand with a major cool factor. Breda makes fashion
They are known for their creative collaborations.
This means their timepieces can range from street style hip to vintage sophistication depending on who they’re working with on the given line.
Their collaborators are wide-ranging, and include model and Instagram influencer Taylor Lashae, art and design company Poketo, and even GQ magazine.
GQ and Breda went full-on vintage dress watch with the elegant Virgil, especially in the gold-black combination. The gold-toned brushed dial, indices, and 18k gold-plated case, along with the lizard-embossed leather strap is truly classic, as is the 26mm case size. It definitely looks like it costs more than its modest $120 price tag!
Vaer launched in 2016 with the goal of building
In just a few years,
After Vaer’s first year in business, they moved all of their
Their core product, however, is their popular C5 quartz, which we highlight here.
A handsome and retro timepiece, the Vaer C5 looks a bit like the original Submariner combined with the original Explorer. It’s built with 100m of water resistance, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and a US-made quartz movement. Choose between a stainless steel bracelet or a Horween leather strap to complete the utilitarian look of this reliable watch.
Started by business school friends Samuel Leroux and Alexandre Desabrais in 2014, Montreal-based Solios is a positively unique brand.
It focuses on environmental sustainability while creating impressively long-lasting
Solios is the first-ever
It’s not surprising then that their
Solios Solar Mesh Bracelet
The Solios Solar comes in different, polished colorway combinations, all with durable stainless steel and sapphire crystal constructions, and solar-powered cells. The rose gold case and blue mesh metal bracelet are two unique options that are especially striking when combined, while the black and silver shades provide a sleek adaptable shine.
One of the few American heritage brands still alive and kicking,
Of course, they’re also known for democratizing quality
Their collaborations with American fashion designer Todd Snyder are some of their most popular, and exemplifies
In the spirit of having fun with unconventional designs, let’s take a look at one of
Timex Todd Snyder Grey Mod 40mm
What really makes the Grey Mod delightfully unusual is its vintage bulls-eye dial, complete with a minute track, and Timex detailing. Practical and strong, this watch is strapped onto a military nylon bracelet and features a light-up dial with the Timex-invented Indiglo lume. If you’re looking for a fun, eye-catching, and uncommon timepiece, go for this guy.
Established in Tokyo in 1946 as an electronics company, Casio didn’t start manufacturing
Still, Casio timepieces have become a cultural staple. This is thanks to nostalgia and the graduation of Nintendo-era aesthetics from retro-outdated to retro-timeless.
Casio is, and has always, been ambitious when it comes to its
Even when it first started making them in the 70s, they experimented with calculator functions and a dictionary function. By 1983, they released their iconic G-Shock line, which took durability to the next level.
Casio is the godfather of digital wristwatches, and their AI68WA is an example of a model that’s stood the test of time.
It’s impressive how this $20 watch has earned its legend-status, often finding itself in the same collection as much more expensive pieces. It’s a fun and retro design, with a versatile 32mm grey case, plus blue, red, and black accents reminiscent of the original Gameboy. Functionally, it’s a straight-forward watch that’s easy to use and read.
Bulova began in New York City in 1875 and was acquired by Japanese company Citizen in 2008.
In that span of time however, Bulova invented the electronic
The Bulova Lunar Pilot was worn by Captain David Scott during the Apollo 15 mission.
Through Citizen’s efficient manufacturing, Bulova
They’re also subjected to the company’s infamously strict quality assurance standards. This, combined with the fact they often release reissues of fan-favorites, makes Bulova well-loved by old and young collectors alike.
One of their popular remakes is the Bulova Computron.
Simultaneously futuristic and nostalgic, the Bulova Computron is taken from the brand’s 1970s design archive. It boasts an all-gold toned Art Deco trapezoid case and a digital face, yet functions like a modern timepiece with dual time zone capabilities and day/date options. This watch looks like it's straight out of 2001: A Space Odyssey!
Szanto was founded by veteran watchmaker and owner of Luminox, Barry Cohen, in 1989.
He noticed a gap in the market for vintage authentically designed military timepieces at accessible prices.
Most models boast highly accurate quartz or 21-jewel automatic movements, water resistance, hand-finished leather straps, and 316L stainless steel cases.
Their Icons Signature Series is a unique line, each
Szanto Roland Sands Icon
Seiko is one of the best affordable
Seiko is famous for making all of its components in-house, including their mechanical movements.
They’re highly respected by the
Some include the first quartz timepiece in 1969, which changed the
They also own Orient, another popular Japanese brand worth looking into!
Seiko 5 SNK795
A classic sport watch that can be worn at work or during the weekend, the Seiko 5 SNK795 features a stainless steel 37mm case, a clean black dial, and glossy applied indices. It runs on the 21-jewel 7S26 caliber, which you can admire through the exhibition caseback. Not too shabby for under $100!
What’s The Best Affordable
Well, to put it plainly, the best
Looking for something clean but bright? Try searching through Skagen’s or Solios’s catalog. Opt for the latter if environmentalism is of the utmost importance to you!
Looking for a personalized automatic? Undone’s got your back on that front, though Seiko’s got a style for every guy.