These Are The 10 Best Affordable Watch Brands (From Classics to Under-The-Radar Options)

by   |  in Accessories

You may not realize it, but you don’t have to drop a bundle for a quality watch. In this article, we’re rounding up 10 of the best affordable watch brands. 

From fashion watches with artistic and cutting-edge design to horologically impressive timepieces at great values, each brand has something unique to offer. Some you’ve definitely heard of, while others tend to fly under the radar. 

Let’s jump right in!

watch against rose colored background
Photo by Anil kumar

Affordable Watch Brands: 10 Of Our Faves

Here are our picks for the best low-cost watch brands.

Undone

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. 

Many watch collectors, new and seasoned alike, are always on the lookout for a bespoke customization experience and limited editions.

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

UNDONE Basecamp Automatic Cali Blue
$335.00

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.

Check Latest Price
09/23/2021 05:49 pm GMT

Skagen Denmark

Skagen was started in 1989 by Henrik and Charlotte Jorst after moving to the US from Copenhagen.

Their watches are designed with Danish minimalism, slim profiles, and coastal colors in mind. As such, they’re exceedingly versatile, they suit most (if not all!) wrists, and they’re an overall fun brand to collect from on a budget. 

Purchased by Fossil in 2012, there’s no denying their fashion watch status, and that their low prices are mostly due to affordable Chinese manufacturing.

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 watch brand.

Their Aaren watches are one of their most affordable and beloved.

Skagen Aaren Colored Silicone 

Skagen Aaren Colored Silicone
$72.65

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.

Check Latest Price
09/23/2021 05:45 pm GMT

Breda

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 watches, but many are artistic, high-fashion watches.

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.

Speaking of… 

Breda Virgil

Breda Virgil
$120

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!

Check Latest Price

Vaer 

Vaer launched in 2016 with the goal of building watches with extreme durability, practical functionality, and tasteful style.

In just a few years, watch enthusiasts have come to love Vaer for their high-quality field watches. In fact, prototypes were subjected to all sorts of tests including boiling water submersions and even exposure in the Himalayan mountains.

After Vaer’s first year in business, they moved all of their watch assembly into the US, then started building some pretty excellent mechanicals.

Their core product, however, is their popular C5 quartz, which we highlight here.

Vaer C5

Vaer C5
$289

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.

Check Latest Price

Solios 

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 watches — we’re talking timepieces that will last for generations here!

Solios is the first-ever watch company certified as a B Corporation, which are businesses that meet the maximum standards of environmental performance and public transparency.

It’s not surprising then that their watches are solar-powered and use vegan leather. They’re also long-lasting, famously low-maintenance, and come in modern, versatile designs.

Solios Solar Mesh Bracelet

Solios Solar Mesh Bracelet
$275

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.

Check Latest Price

Timex

One of the few American heritage brands still alive and kicking, Timex was founded in 1854 in Connecticut’s Naugatuck Valley, once considered the Switzerland of America.

Today, Timex is famous for durable timepieces with boisterous ticks, and adding fun and modern twists to the original designs in their historic archives.

Of course, they’re also known for democratizing quality watches with their accessible prices. This allows collectors to fearlessly experiment with their wide range of models.

Their collaborations with American fashion designer Todd Snyder are some of their most popular, and exemplifies Timex’s design-forward approach to watchmaking.

In the spirit of having fun with unconventional designs, let’s take a look at one of Timex’s more unique Todd Snyder collabs!

Timex Todd Snyder Grey Mod 40mm

Timex Todd Snyder Grey Mod 40mm
$102.67

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.

Check Latest Price
09/23/2021 05:38 pm GMT

Casio

Established in Tokyo in 1946 as an electronics company, Casio didn’t start manufacturing watches until 1974.

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 watches.

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. 

Casio A168WA

Casio A168WA
$20.99

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.

Check Latest Price
09/23/2021 05:35 pm GMT

Bulova

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 watch, created an ultra-high frequency quartz movement that made the brand synonymous with precision, and also went into space.

The Bulova Lunar Pilot was worn by Captain David Scott during the Apollo 15 mission.

Through Citizen’s efficient manufacturing, Bulova watches are much more affordable.

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.

Bulova Computron

Bulova Computron
$269.00

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!

Check Latest Price
09/23/2021 05:31 pm GMT

Szanto

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.

Szanto watches fill this gap with classic masculine watches inspired by timepieces from as far back as 100 years ago.

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 watch model inspired by a sports idol. Here, you’ll find some really creative compositions and constructions.

Szanto Roland Sands Icon

Szanto Roland Sands Icon (Model IC-RS-2102)
$225.00

Famed motorcycle racer and designer Roland Sands applies his custom brawny style to this automotive-inspired vintage series. The easy-change spring bar makes strap customization simple, and also gives each watch a firm industrial look. Regardless of the colorway you go for, it has a powerful tough-guy aesthetic with its sporty dial face and Horween leather strap.

Check Latest Price
09/23/2021 05:42 pm GMT

Seiko

Seiko is one of the best affordable watch brands of all time, thanks to their core line and their entry-level Seiko 5 automatics. Founded in 1881, Seiko today has massive crossover appeal and is the 6th largest brand in the world.

Seiko is famous for making all of its components in-house, including their mechanical movements.

They’re highly respected by the watch community because of their countless and constant horological achievements.

Some include the first quartz timepiece in 1969, which changed the watch industry forever, and their innovative spring drive movement in 1977.

They also own Orient, another popular Japanese brand worth looking into!

Seiko 5 SNK795

Seiko 5 SNK795
$89.99

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!

Check Latest Price
09/23/2021 05:28 pm GMT

What’s The Best Affordable Watch Brand?

Well, to put it plainly, the best watch brand depends on what your needs and tastes are specifically.

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.

We hope this was helpful! What are some of your favorite affordable watch brands? Let us know by hitting us up on Facebook or Instagram.