The Best Looking Watches Under $100 (that are also dependable)
Okay watch snobs… hit the bricks. We’re going to spend some time on timepieces that don’t require you to spend more than $100 to get. There’s an enormous population of men who don’t find it prudent to wear their rent (or more) on their wrists, yet still like the looks of wearing a watch, while also appreciating their real functionality.
Nothing is a sure bet, but what follows are those sub $100 watches that walk the line between looking good, and also being relatively dependable. Lotta quartz, lots of the same brands, but they shouln’t (shouldn’t) let you down in the all important keeping-of-the-time department.
Comes on a canvas strap, but should be relatively easy to swap out if you choose. Takes 18mm bands, and is just 37mm in diameter. Not big. But that’s welcome for those with smaller wrists as well as those who prefer watches with a more traditional diameter (i.e. not oversized). Big fan of the hands and the red dipped seconds hand. Dependable Seiko 5 automatic movement.
If you like watches with a good solid feel and size, then these chronos will be right up your alley. One of the better looking releases Timex has come out with in a while. 42mm in diameter with a 22mm watch strap. A terrific, good sized watch to match the thicker fabrics and bigger textures of autumn. Full review here. *Use the code SCOOP20 to get the 20% off price that’s reflected above. (Meanwhile, it looks like they’ll soon be releasing a blue Waterbury Chrono, with white contrasting sub-dials? Someone get me one of those on a rally strap, stat.)
Inexpensive elegance on a sporty, easy to wear, blue and white strap. That simple watch face with thin hands and indicies? That’s what Daniel Wellington does. Easy to wear with everything from a t-shirt and jeans all the way up to smart casual stuff. If you want to sport it with a suit, just swap out that band for a leather option.
A bit of a legend in the introductory-automatic department. Look, Invicta can make some… sorta sketchy watches. But for $85, you get 200m in water resistance, classic diver looks, a rotating bezel, and a movement that even hacks and handwinds. Looks great on a striped NATO strap too. An Orient Mako or Ray will probably be more dependable (minus the hacking & hand-winding), but those will be tough to find for under a hundred.
A newer arrival from Timex with a classic Expedition layout, a sharp arrow second hand, and a singe-contrast edged suede strap. 40mm in diameter, but might wear just a touch larger. A warning: For those with sensitive ears, this one does have that Timex audible “tick.”
All right, so the brown/beige option isn’t under a hundred bucks. But maybe with an upcoming 20% off code or something it could get that low? Regardless, both are fantastic values. 40 mm case diameter wears maybe just a touch larger, but it’s not overly huge or clunky thanks to the slim bezel. Chronograph movement, great font to the arabic numerals, and a look that’s retro without being costumey.
Brilliantly simple, classic design, with a (unfortunately all too rare) blue & black color scheme. 37 mm in diameter, so perfect for the smaller wristed fella, or for someone who just wants a dress watch and not a wrist-clock. Luminous dots above the hour indices help you tell the time in the dark.
You best like em’ busy, because this thing has it all. 12-hour Chronograph, Tachymeter, and Military Time. And for under a hundred bucks, the stainless steel band is surprisingly nice. Satin brushed, matte links keep the shine down, and their width is big enough to keep it from looking too delicate or jewelry-ish. Another watch that would also look just fine (if not awesome) on a leather or NATO strap. 41mm in diameter.
Kenneth Cole has been making this watch for years now, and here’s to hoping they don’t stop anytime soon. For those that like dress chronos, the styling is spot on. Looks like something that could have appeared at a World’s Fair during the roaring 20s. The leather strap is pretty shined up, so if you want something less glossy, you’ll have to find a replacement. No date window on this thing, which some will hate, while others will appreciate the increased symmetry. In terms of dependability, this one seems to be the riskiest one on the list. Some reviews have reported duds. So make sure you order from somewhere with an easy and customer friendly return policy.
You know how the famous slip-through Timex Weekender watches can feel kinda… flimsy? That’s not the case here. This thing is a beast. Super solid black brass case with a sueded leather strap. Really glad they decided to make the date a dark background with white numerals, instead of punting and just going with the standard black font on a white background. Really does a lot for the look of the watch. Comes with a Chronograph and Indiglo. Has been mentioned before. Will be mentioned again. As long as they keep making it (fingers crossed).
BONUS: F.F.F. Button Stud Limited Timex Sets – $77 ($154)
Big fan of what FormFunctionForm calls the “Minute-Man” model from Timex. It’s sturdy, and the crown is a good size and easy to operate. Each watch comes with the original Timex band, plus three pre-selected FFF button stud bands (which watch comes with which bands is in the description). Guess they’re not going to stock these at FFF anymore, so they’re blowing them out for $77.