Time certainly is money, but telling the time by a device strapped to your wrist doesn’t have to set you back a ton of cash. And even though these watches clock (hey-ooo) in under $100, that doesn’t mean they lack in the looks department either. Have a tip on a watch that looks great and costs less than a Benjamin? Send those tips in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still almost certainly the best bang-for-the-buck watch on the market today. For $45 you get 200m of water resistance, a stainless steel case and rotating bezel that feels much more expensive, and classic looks that at a glance look like this thing cost a heck of a lot more than a quick trip to the ATM. Even the stock rubber strap that it comes on is decent (soft-ish, not rigid plastic). Throw an aftermarket strap on there to boost its already good looks to the next level.
Really outperforms the price tags. Black on black is sharp and absolutely suit worthy. The cream/beige dial sets off that retro-inspired font. Feels solid and well made. Chronograph function. 100m water resistance. Easy to wear 40mm case diameter. Prices seem to fluctuate on Amazon, but they’re often under $100.
Timex has had a full blown renaissance in the last half decade (as you’ll see as you progress through this post). What used to be a forgotten junk brand finally got some purposeful style. The prices have remained cheap, but the looks? A heck of a lot better. That dark blue dial with the tan strap? That’s the wristwatch equivalent of a blue suit and cognac shoes. That combination works. And then some.
A nice, simple, clean dress watch that’ll look good dressed up for job interviews, or, out on the town with a suit. Quartz movement of course. 40mm in diameter for the men’s styles. Seems like I get a PR email every other day from a new watch brand that’s launching on Kickstarter, and all they’re trying to do is mimic Daniel Wellington’s success. Yet, there’s no reason to stray from DW.
Impressive at this price point, the SNK805 features a reliable Japanese automatic movement, so there’s no need to ever change a battery. It also features both the day and the date, which is a very practical thing to have, and the watch allows you to use a quick-set feature so you don’t have to spin the crown a million times to set the date or day. It also has an exhibition caseback. If you (or the fella you’re looking for a gift for) have never owned a mechanical or automatic watch, this is a great watch to get your feet wet. A complete classic.
A seemingly perpetual high-style for a low-price favorite. Modern and minimalist, without being too modern and minimalist. Big fan of how they ditched the traditional date window at 3 o’clock, and instead transmit the day and date via sub-dials at six and twelve. Available in a couple different strap & dial combos, but it’s hard to beat the lean and mean looking silver dial on a black strap. 40mm case size. Nice and slim. Full review here.
Simple. Clean. The band is super flimsy, but the watch itself feels decent enough for the price. Just 37mm in diameter, so best for guys looking for something with a (very) classic size, or, happen to have smaller wrists. They used to put the undeniably cool tuning fork logo at 12 o’clock on these, but a few years back they switched that out for a basic looking “BULOVA” badge.
Timex Red Wing 40mm – $84.15 w/ TS15 ($138)
The Goldilocks of the Todd Snyder Red Wing collection. Not the big honkin’ chrono, not the tiny option either. Right in the middle. Beautifully domed crystal. Strap is made from Red Wing’s boot leather.
Shades of a Rolex Oyster Perpetual. Okay, not super close, but dead simple, classy as hell, and well proportioned thanks to the logo at noon and the small date window at six. Blue seconds hand is a nice touch. Sadly, not eco-drive, so battery replacements will be necessary every so often. Big fan of the basic, brushed links. No chromed up inserts here.
Secret Agent looks on a cubical worker’s budget. Good feel and solid, 200m water resistance too. Nice stainless steel band and case. Automatic movement. Exhibition case back. 40mm case dial. Also looks great on a rubber/silicone or leather strap. High end Swiss watch makers? They should subsidize Invicta’s production of this particular watch. This son-of-a-gun is a gateway drug if there ever was one.
BONUS: The Gone but Not Forgotten: Casio Edifice EF503 Chronographs
Nicknamed “The Poor Man’s Speedmaster” over on threads. Was made with either a black or white dial. Stock bracelet outperformed for the price. Solid good looks and fine performance. Looks great on a leather strap or NATO too. Too bad they don’t seem to make them anymore…