Best Watches For Men Under 500
If you’re looking for a top watch that won’t cost you a fortune, then you’ve come to the right place.
While it’s worth investing in a high quality watch, you don’t need to break the bank to get one. It’s possible to get a lot of value for your money, and still get exactly what you want from a watch at a fraction of the cost of top-end models.
There are a whole host of excellent watches, both analog and digital, that you can get your hands on for less than $500.
Let’s dive into our top watch picks. Here they are…
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Top Watch Picks for Men
- Our Top Pick: Fossil Grant Leather Watch
- Runner Up: Sekio Alpinist SARBO17
- Best Budget: Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel
Reviews: Best Watches for Men Under $500
Fossil Grant Leather Watch (👑 Top Pick)
Our top pick for men’s watches under $500 is the Fossil Grant leather watch.
If you’re looking for a striking design which will impress your friends and colleague, but don’t fancy spending upwards of $500 to get it, then this could be the perfect watch for you. This is a watch which will look great as part of a formal outfit, and can also elevate a more basic one to strike that smart casual balance.
The sleek leather band and classic Roman numerals on the face of the watch combine well for a sleek aesthetic. Plus there’s a Fossil Grant watch for every preference as it’s available in a wide range of colour combinations. Whatever the occasions you need this watch for, you’ll be able to find the perfect colour scheme.
As for features, this watch is water resistant up to 50m and has stopwatch functionality. As a result, it’s a great option not only for city life, but for rural adventure too. Whether you like to time your workouts and runs, or go for a quick dip in the water, you’ll be satisfied with this watch.
- Genuine Leather strap
- Available in different colours
- Roman Numerals
- Quartz movement
- Water resistant up to 50m
Seiko SARBO17 (🥈 Runner Up)
The SARB017 from Japanese watchmaking manufacturer Seiko is both rugged and elegant.
The authentic calfskin leather is the first thing you’ll notice with this watch. Just like a top leather belt or pair of shoes, this strap is made of the best quality material and it shows. Combine that with the sapphire crystal watch face and you have a gorgeous design which demands respect.
The standout feature of this watch though isn’t its style, but its water-resistance. Unlike most watches in the sub $500 price range, this model from Seiko is fine to use at a staggering depth of 200m. This makes it perfect for casual aquatic activity like surface sports and swimming. While you won’t be able to dive with this watch, you can pretty much do everything else in the water with it.
As a result of this feature, if you’re someone who spends a lot of time in and around water, this is the watch for you. It also makes this Seiko watch a fantastic option for those days when you get caught out in the rain.
- Calfskin leather strap
- Automatic movement
- Water resistant up to 200m
- Green dial
Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel (💸 Best Budget)
Tommy Hilfiger isn’t known for its affordable products, so it may come as a surprise to see this watch as our best budget pick of the lot.
As a brand that deals mostly in high-level designer gear, it’s a pleasant surprise to see this watch from Tommy Hilfiger available at such a low price. What’s even better though is it isn’t a watch they just dialled in. No, this is one of those budget watches that looks every bit as good as a premium model.
The genuine leather strap is nice, but the round face of the watch is what steals the show. The bold metal ring and blue dial make this watch a real showpiece, especially with the iconic Hilfiger logo sitting dead centre. It also features minimalist Arabic indices and three attractive chronograph sundials to give it a high-tech feel to it.
As an analog watch you would probably want to wear this one more for social events and everyday use than you would for any kind of rigorous outdoor activity or sports.
- Genuine leather strap
- Quartz movement
- Three chronograph subdials
While the decision will ultimately fall into your hands, it’s good to know what some of the more important factors are to consider.
If you don’t know what you should be looking for in a watch, then you might end up investing in one that you don’t like in the long run.
Even if you’re just interested in a budget watch that doesn’t cost too much, you’ll still want it to serve the purpose you intend to use it for.
The first thing to bear in mind before you get carried away with all the bells and whistles of various watches is what you need one for in the first place. This purpose might be as simple as having a new watch to wear with a suit, or while on an outdoor adventure.
Whatever your reason for wanting to invest in a new wrist accessory, you should make sure the watch fits the bill.
So if you need a watch that will look great in formal settings, you should ask yourself what features make a watch look more classy?
Maybe a metal strap is preferable, and maybe a classic analog style watch would look better. Or if you want a relatively cheap watch that you can wear on all of your outdoor adventures, then what would make the watch more durable? In this case you should consider the weather-resistance of the materials used, as well as how easy they might scratch or take damage from shocks.
Just like a plan always helps to create a better essay, figuring out the purpose of buying a new watch will ensure you make a more informed decision.
As I’m sure you’re already aware, watches are available in two main types: digital and analog.
So the question is which type of watch is best suited for your preferences?
The analog watch is probably the one most people think of, purely because it’s been around much longer than its digital counterpart.
This type of watch uses a mechanism that creates a ticking motion to move the hands.
The numbers aren’t always displayed around the outside of the watch face, as sometimes Roman or Arabic numerals are used in their place.
You’ll find that analog watches are much better suited to formal wear, as they retain a classic aesthetic which holds up well.
They’re not as well suited to outdoor activity since it isn’t as easy to get an immediate read of the time at a glance.
The digital watch displays the time in the form of digits on an LED screen.
This type of watch will run on batteries and can require charging every now and again.
Digital watches are best suited to outdoor activity since you can get an easy read of the time in an instant.
They aren’t considered to be as attractive as analog watches for the most part, so they typically aren’t worn with formal attire.
Mechanical, Automatic, or Quartz
You also want to pay attention to whether a watch is mechanical, automatic, or powered by quartz.
The mechanical watch is the most traditional, and relies on cogs and springs. You have to wind these watches up manually every day, which can either be a mindful morning activity or a pain in the neck.
Automatic watches work much the same way, except you don’t need to wind them up. This is a more convenient option favoured by many.
Finally, quartz watches use battery power, so you’ll need to buy replacements every year or two. They are the most accurate though, which is a big plus if you pride yourself on punctuality.
When we talk about material with a watch, we are usually referring to the strap.
This is the part you will wear around your wrist, so it has to fulfil a variety of criteria.
First, it needs to be comfortable the whole time you are wearing it. So if you know that you’re going to be in especially hot or cold weather a lot, then seek out a strap with a material that does well in that temperature.
Second, it needs to be stylish. There’s no point in investing in a watch if you don’t like how the strap looks. Some find metal chain straps to be ugly, while others can’t get enough of them. This is largely a matter of preference.
Finally, it needs to be durable enough. By enough, I mean it has to survive whatever you expect to put it through. It doesn’t need to be ultra durable if you just plan on wearing it out with your friends, but if you go on long walks in nature then maybe it does.
Now, to the materials most commonly used for watch straps. There are 3 materials you will come across more than anything else, and they are leather, metal, and some form of synthetic material like rubber. Let’s take a look at each in more detail.
The leather watch strap is classy, and gives you the formal aesthetic if that’s what you’re looking for.
As any accessory, like belts and shoes, leather when done well can be one of the most stylish options for a watch.
However, if you live in a warm climate, it might not be the best option. Leather is quick to get hot, and any perspiration can wear it down and ruin the aesthetic.
The synthetic watch strap is a versatile one.
Usually made from rubber, this strap likely won’t win any awards for looking stylish. However, you can get this type of strap in a variety of colours, so it can provide a pop of personality to an outfit if you do it right.
This type of strap can be quite durable, so it’s a great option for outdoor use.
The metal strap is usually characterised by a series of links, which make for an interesting visual style.
It’s a great option to wear with a suit, and a go-to business casual look.
This type of strap will react a lot to high and low temperatures, so that’s something to bear in mind depending on the climate where you live.
The features of any watch should provide functions that you will actually benefit from, otherwise they’re more or less worthless.
Sure, it’s fun to have all kinds of barometers and altimeters on your watch, but if you never actually use them then what is the point?
The worst thing you can do is pay more money for extra features that you won’t end up using.
With that said, some features can be incredibly useful in the right circumstances. It all depends on your lifestyle, and whether or not you’d prefer to use your watch rather than your phone for some functions.
Since we’re talking about the best watches under 500, you’re not going to find too many of the fancy features you might expect from a top-end watch.
For that reason we’re going to exclude features like barometers, weather forecasting, and other special outdoor extras.
An alarm is one of the most useful features you can have on a watch.
Because it can reduce your dependence on your smartphone for everything.
While it might be easy and convenient enough to have your phone act as a messaging device, social media browser, and an alarm device, it isn’t the best idea to look at a screen 24/7.
It’s even less advisable to do so first thing in the morning, since you want to start the day with a clear head.
So if you’re looking for a different way to wake up in the morning which doesn’t involve staring at your phone screen, then an alarm should be something you look for in your next watch.
A stopwatch is another handy feature to have for your watch, since it can again reduce your reliance on your smartphone and provide extra utility.
If you do a lot of sports or outdoor activities, you probably find that a stopwatch is quite useful for tracking personal bests and time spent doing certain activities.
It can even be a good way to sneak in a few minutes of meditation or mindfulness before a big social event or interview.
Having access to a stopwatch on your wrist makes it a lot easier to do things spontaneously, without needing to unlock your phone and navigate to the stopwatch app.
A feature that only those who swim will appreciate, water resistance can be a game changer for some.
Watches that are water resistant will often state how far you can go under the water without ruining the watch.
Though we must stress this is for a short period of swimming or showering, not full-on diving or snorkelling.
You will usually find that in this price range you can expect water resistance at a depth of between 30-50m, though some like the Seiko SARB017 are safe up to 200m.
If you spend any time at all in the water, then this is a must-have feature. Though exercise caution and don’t jump into the water with the watch on at every opportunity, since it will take a toll over a period of time.
When it comes to the best watches for men under $500, there are some brands which will consistently come up as you search.
While you don’t always need to pick the big brand or the designer brand, it can be a reliable way to know you’re getting the best value for money.
Here are some of the best brands we found for men’s watches under $500.
Seiko has some great affordable watches, especially the SARBO17 which is our runner-up option.
A Japanese electronics manufacturer, Seiko is generally considered to be a producer of luxury watches. You’ll struggle to find one for less than $500 (the SARBO17 excluded, of course).
That makes this brand a fantastic choice if you want luxury and designer style without spending bucket loads of cash.
Fossil is an American brand known for its watches and men’s accessories.
Its Grant stainless steel watch is our top pick for under $500 and it oozes class.
What’s great about Fossil the brand is its commitment to creating top accessories which overlap with huge fashion brands like Emporio Armani and Diesel.
Citizen is a very reliable brand for watches based in Japan.
The watches from this brand are consistently excellent, and are widely praised for their high technical quality and craftsmanship.
There are a whole host of Citizen watches available for less than $500 if that sounds good to you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Watches for Men
What is the best watch under 500?
The best watch under 500 in our view is the Fossil Grant leather watch.
This watch from Fossil has everything you could want in an affordable watch. It’s a very attractive watch, and comes in a variety of different colour combinations so you can find the one which best suits your preferences.
It also has a built-in stopwatch and water-resistance of up to 50m, making it perfect for outdoor activity as well as social settings and everyday use.
It’s ideal for formal settings too with its pleasing analog style movement, and classy Roman numerals around the outside of the dial.
What is the best men’s watch for the money?
The best men’s watch for the money has to be the Tommy Hilfiger stainless steel watch.
It’s hard to believe this stylish watch from a top designer brand is available at such a low price, but it is.
This watch does the basics well, and shines as a result.
It has the genuine leather strap and a striking blue dial that includes three chronograph subdials and the iconic Hilfiger logo in the middle.
If you’re looking for style on a budget, then it’s hard to look much further than this offering from Tommy Hilfiger.
What are the best affordable watches?
The best affordable watches are the ones which betray their low price tags, and look every bit as good as the expensive top-end models.
We particularly like the Tommy Hilfiger stainless steel watch for this very reason. They could even call it a stainless steal watch with how much of a bargain it is.
The attractive style of this watch immediately draws the eye, and the $100 price tag should appeal to your frugality.
It’s one of those watches that goes to show that you don’t always need to spend a lot to get a great-looking accessory.
A Final Word
Finding the right watch for less than $500 doesn’t have to be difficult.
Simply know what it is you’re looking for, and choose a watch accordingly from one of the most reliable brands.