When you wear a watch, you’re making a style statement and a statement of purpose. But if it’s price that’s scaring you off from building your ultimate watch collection, we’ve got just the solution for you: Strap on one of the best cheap watches to make any ensemble look like a million bucks — all without spending an arm and a leg, of course.
There are specific watches out there that fill a certain need, like one of the best left-handed watches, for instance. But we’ve got a few more ideas in mind when shopping for cheap watches. Let’s talk price: What makes a watch one of the best cheap watches in terms of your hard-earned cash? We’re aiming for under $100, with plenty of brands in the mix that you know and love (or will grow to love). And let’s talk functionality: The best cheap watches are going to be much simpler than, say, the most expensive watches on the planet, and that’s not a bad thing.
Cheap watches should, of course, be affordable. They should tell the time well, they should be able to withstand repeated wear (and perhaps a few seasonal adventures), and they should be versatile enough to work with most ensembles. There are even watches that look like duplicates of much more expensive timepieces, like a Rolex, for instance.
But where to begin? Our guide to the best cheap watches will have your wrist game amped up in no time at all.
1. Timex Easy Reader Bold Leather Watch
To say that Timex has been knocking it out of the park consistently in terms of affordable watches is an understatement, and the Easy Reader is one of the brand’s best-known and most well-loved models. It’s a simple, subtle watch, given a bold upgrade here (literally) with larger numerals, and the brown leather strap contrasts nicely with the white dial. It’s the kind of watch you can wear to the office with an Oxford shirt, or out on a date night with a casual, unstructured navy blazer. Best of all? It retails for under $60.
2. Skagen Signatur Three-Hand Minimalist Watch
BEST AFFORDABLE LEATHER WATCH
Shopping around for the best cheap watches doesn’t have to mean cutting corners, even if you’re on the lookout for a sharp, sleek leather watch. Skagen nails the minimalist vibe with its Signatur timepiece, using a distinctive dial to play nicely off the rich tan leather. The 40mm case diameter is nicely sized for most wrists, and the design can be dressed up (Think: A knit tie and a chambray shirt for high-low style) or dressed down (a simple pocket tee and light wash jeans ought to do the trick).
3. Citizen Stainless Steel Watch
BEST STAINLESS STEEL
A stainless steel watch naturally tends to be pricier than leather or fabric strap watches, all owing to the materials and construction, of course. Luckily, Citizen found a way to make this stainless steel number both highly affordable (it clocks in at under $100) and highly stylish (note the contrasting blue dial). The quartz movement also helps to make this watch more budget-conscious, while small touches like a day and date window add some nice utility.
Read More: Best Citizen Watches for Men
4. Timex Expedition Scout Chronograph
BEST FABRIC STRAP WATCH
Watches made with a durable fabric strap (in this case, hard-wearing nylon) are an excellent option as you scour the market for the best cheap watches. The strap design is made for just about anything — it can get wet, it can withstand abrasions and scrapes on day hikes or camping trips, and it’s an easy option to pair with casually rugged style ensembles (like beat-up canvas sneakers, a breezy pocket tee and stretch chino shorts). Wear this hard-working chronograph for the right balance of functionality and style.
5. Casio Classic Resin Digital Sport Watch
BEST DIGITAL WATCH
Casio nearly stands alone when it comes to producing some of the most affordable, downright useful digital watches on the market, and this classic option is no exception. It’s the standard among OG digital sport watches for a reason, with plenty of functionality built right in, plus a shockingly low price tag. It’s also water-resistant and includes a stopwatch timer down to 1/100th of a second — how’s that for utility on a budget with one of the best cheap watches?
6. Swatch Sir Red Watch
Although every watch on this list is a terrific value (in our humble opinion), there’s something special about this watch — it’s got an eye-catching red and black color combination going for it, for starters. Plus, you’re getting Swatch’s legendary mix of durability and great design, with a price tag that’s much lower than the relative quality and style on offer here. The silicone strap is easy to wear both on land and in the water, too. Is there anything this Swatch timepiece can’t do? Find out for yourself, we say.
7. Bulova Retro Two-Tone Watch
BEST SPORT WATCH
Bulova’s Retro Watch — aptly named for its throwback, two-tone, blue-and-orange color scheme — nearly defies convention. You’re getting all the quality and heritage of the Bulova name, at a shockingly low price (not too far above $100 when not on sale). Plus, it’s reliable and well-designed, so it can function at a high level for all manner of sporting pursuits — bear in mind that it’s water-resistant to 50 meters. And be sure to wear this watch on your next road trip or casual maritime outing.
8. Invicta Automatic Pro Diver
BEST ROLEX DUPLICATE
It can be a tall task to find a watch that gives you that distinct dive watch look done so expertly by Rolex, but Invicta gave it quite the shot here with the highly affordable Automatic Pro Diver. It’s available in a wide range of dial and bezel color combos, some of which look quite close to Rolex’s two-tone watch options, yet the price tag is remarkably lower (try under $100). It’s a hard-wearing stainless steel watch you can rock with casually rugged looks, like a henley and blue jeans, or in dressier situations, too.
9. Seiko 5 Stainless Steel Watch
If you want a subtly stylish watch you can rock day in and day out, it’s hard to go wrong with this stainless steel number from Seiko. The dial design is crisp and clean, not too dressy and not too casual. Plus, the stainless steel construction is sturdy and wears well, despite the sub-$100 price. And because of that very same design, this watch is highly versatile — you can even use watch tools to swap out the stainless steel links for a fabric strap, and that’s like getting two watches (or more!) for the price of one.
10. Lacoste Japanese Quartz Watch
BEST RUBBER STRAP WATCH
Rubber strap watches are another ideal style to keep in mind when looking for cheap watches, all owing to the fact that the strap design is rugged and sporty, yet still versatile enough to dress up slightly (as in: With a Lacoste polo and tan cotton shorts, for instance). Here, this price-conscious timepiece also happens to be powered by a Japanese quartz movement, and the textured rubber strap adds some nice visual interest — as does the classic Lacoste logo on the dial.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you haven’t figured it out by now, Timex makes highly stylish, incredibly affordable timepieces every guy can appreciate. And while every Timex watch is versatile in its own way, the iconic Weekender has a few other things going for it. For starters, there’s the clean grey dial, which pairs up with any other color combinations in your wardrobe. Beyond that, you can easily swap out fabric straps with the included option to give yourself plenty of choices when wearing this watch on the daily.
12. Casio 10-Year Battery Watch
The name of the game when shopping for the best cheap watches really does come down to getting the most bang for your buck in matters of utility, performance and style — and what’s more utilitarian than a watch with a 10-year battery guarantee. right? It’s resistant in water down to 100 meters, and when the company says 10 years, they really mean it — this is one watch made to last and last.