In an era where the watches people wear resemble more of a computer than anything else, it’s nice to throw it back to an era when your watches weren’t quite as smart. A traditional timepiece is something that never goes out of style. But you don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot.
Forget a Rolex; investing in a stylish watch can be done for under $500. You can still get something that looks just as polished as an expensive watch but for a fraction of the price. And they arguably have more compelling backstories than the standard watches people reach for over and over again.
No matter what you choose, we’ve rounded up 12 of the best watches under $500 for men to buy right now from brands like Timex, MVMT and more. Our picks, below.
1. Timex Q Reissue Stainless Steel Watch
We’ve noted on this site before how much of a roll Timex has been on in recent years, mostly because their designs are inherently timeless (no pun intended). Take this Timex model Q, for example; made from stainless steel and powered by a quartz movement, the two-tone bezel pops with just the right amount of character. Plus, the day/date functionality lets you look at key information with just a glance.
2. Baume Cork and Stainless Steel Watch
This minimalist-style watch from Baume is all about the subtle details. Hints of green run through the dial and the soft cork watchband to give the watch just the perfect amount of character without completely overwhelming the watch. There is no need to color-coordinate, as the overwhelming black color will pair well alongside any look you can imagine. Plus, there’s a handy date window and even a seconds dial on the interior for when you need it.
3. MVMT Bourbon Rose Watch
With its rich caramel leather band, coffee-colored face and rose gold accents, the aptly-named “Bourbon Rose” from MVMT is a great watch for those who love bourbon or those who don’t! The alternating hues of brown come together to create a decidedly striking timepiece that’s bolstered by a stripped-down design approach to the watch face itself. An included date window only adds value to an already fantastic piece.
4. Tissot Everytime Swissmatic Watch
With a vintage-inspired look and feel, the Tissot Everytime Swissmatch watch is just a sharp-looking watch. The rounded face feels formal without being overly dressy, thanks in part to the crocodile-style embossing on the band, while the gold accents offer a nice pop of color. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal helps to prevent dings and scrapes, while Swiss construction ensures it’ll keep you on time, well, every time.
5. Shinola Detrola Silicone Strap Watch
Shinola’s assembled-in-the-USA craftsmanship ensures you’re getting an extremely quality-made product that will last and last. This particular version is a striking, all-black number that’s both sporty and trendy thanks to its silicone strap. The silicone material will also ensure your wrist doesn’t feel uncomfortable should you start to sweat, which means you can wear this all year round with no issue.
6. Timex x Peanuts Marlin Automatic Beagle Scout Watch
In celebration of Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the gang, Timex made a handful of different watches featuring everyone’s favorite beagle. This model features Snoopy in his Beagle Scout gear, getting ready to head off on another adventure in this striking black face watch that’s bound to be a great conversation starter. The rest of the under $500 watch is really polished and boasts a sleek design that looks great.
7. Waldan Heritage “Professional” Racing Green Watch
Waldan’s Heritage “Professional” Racing Green watch is a fantastic option based on the strength of its face alone. Larger numbers make it simple and easy to read, accented by an incredibly trendy forest green interior color. The silver face contrasts nicely with the light brown leather strap and altogether provides a really fantastic package.
8. Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Watch
With an interior face and bracelet that look similar to higher-end watches for a fraction of the price, the Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver Watch is a diver-style watch that’s just at home on land as it is underwater. Illuminated details help you tell time at night or during a dive. Simultaneously, the solar-powered, eco-drive battery ensures you’ll never need to replace the battery, making this already compelling option even more so.
9. Timex Navi Watch
A hybrid of designs, the Timex Navi Watch is actually based on the brand’s dive watch and is paired with an automatic jewel movement (which means as long as you’re moving, so is your watch). The rotating top ring is a fun thing to fiddle with and allows you to power the watch should it lose any of its stored 40 hours of life from your movement. Additional features include a date window and an interior military time-teller.
10. Hamilton Khaki Field Watch
With its military-inspired design, the Hamilton Khaki Field Watch is a great all-purpose watch that’s both functional and stylish. The durable NATO strap can withstand just about anything you put it through, while the interior dial glows to provide easy time-telling ability whenever you need it. As included on the dial is military time, to harken back to the watch’s Vietnam-era design.
11. Seiko “Mockingbird” Cocktail Watch
Inspiration can come from just about anywhere, but a cocktail bar might not be the first place you’d turn to for design advice. Yet Seiko’s Cocktail line of watches is influenced by your favorite dark and vibey cocktail lounge. The slim, shining makers on the interior are meant to evoke the steam of a cocktail glass. This “Mockingbird” version includes a showstopping green face that’s great to wear when you need an extra bit of swagger to your formalwear.
12. Marathon Watch Company x J. Crew Pilot Navigator
Originally developed for pilots and parachuters in the late 1980s, the Marathon Watch Company developed the Navigator watch with clarity and function in mind so those aviators could tackle their day-to-day with ease. But now, you can get a stylish upgrade at your local mall as J. Crew teamed with Marathon for an exclusive collaboration, yielding a striking option that looks good no matter when and where you choose to wear it. And best of all, like the rest of the options on our list, this watch is under $500.