It doesn’t take a genius to understand why those of us who want to look sharp and stand out might also want to find some more affordable watch brands.
As feats of both design and engineering, a good watch is easily one of the coolest and most stylish accessories you can own.
But some of the very best watch brands charge some pretty exorbitant prices, putting them out of reach for the vast majority of us.
(I’m looking at you Patek Philippe, Omega, Tag Heuer and Rolex.)
Fortunately, the traditional luxury brands are hardly the only game in town.
Whether you’re looking for fashion watches or something more casual, today there are plenty of places to find stylish, well made watches that will let you look baller on a budget.
In this post I’ve rounded up some of the absolute best affordable watch brands that make great, high-quality watches, but won’t require you to refinance your house or miss your next mortgage payment.
The Best Affordable Watch Brands for Men
Breaking Down the World’s Top Affordable Watch Brands
Watch Gang tops the list because it isn’t so much an affordable watch brand as it is an easy and cost-effective way to gain access to a wide array of watch brands at an almost-unbelievably affordable price range.
It’s a monthly subscription service that allows you to choose from multiple tiers, and then receive a corresponding number of cool, high-quality watches year-round.
In my first month they sent me two watches from brands I had never heard of, both of which I would have paid way more for if I had to buy them retail.
One was a limited edition P-51 Mustang, a cool automatic with a stainless steel case that came with two interchangeable bands (a stainless steel bracelet that matches the case, and a brown leather strap).
The second was a slick Aeromat chrono with a black satin dial, Japanese automatic movement and 100 meters of water resistance.
Both are among the best watches I own and have become staples in my rotation, which is great because they’re from brands that I had never heard of and probably wouldn’t have found otherwise.
Score a (Sweet) Deal:
Irreverent Gent readers can use code IR15 at checkout to get 15% off your first month when you sign up for a Watch Gang subscription.
Though its name sounds Italian, Vincero is an American brand that specializes in making high quality timepieces that look like luxury watches but cost a lot less.
They’re part of a new direct-to-consumer movement within the watch industry that keeps their prices low by bringing more of the supply chain and retail sales in-house.
In so doing, they’re able to cut out the middlemen who jack up the price along the way, and offer a great watch at a fair price.
I recently tried their flagship product, the Chrono S, a durable and hella stylish automatic watch with a lot of the same features you’d expect from a luxury watch:
Citizen Miyota Quartz movement, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal watch face, and (of course) enviable style.
Check out my in-depth Vincero watch review to find the full results of my experience with the Chrono S.
Undone Watches is a direct-to-consumer watch brand that’s in a similar vein as Vincero, but with a slightly different approach.
Unlike most watch companies, Undone offers a huge amount of customization options for their watches, providing you a bespoke experience that ends with a totally unique, custom watch.
I went through the entire customization process to conduct a thorough Undone watches review, and was quite happy with both the look and quality of the watch.
Easily one of the most affordable Swiss watch brands, with Jowissa you get the precision and high design you’d expect from Swiss watchmakers without the hefty price tag.
Jowissa offers four core watch styles of men’s watches (the Magno, the Lewy, the Lewy Chrono and the Tiro).
But each style comes in dozens of variations, meaning you actually have more than 100 options to choose from.
I recently had the opportunity to try their Lewy 9, a gorgeous 42 mm chrono with a blue dial, white date window, distinct red second hand and a polished stainless steel bracelet.
I was impressed by the design right out of the box – it really is a show-stopper – but have been even more impressed with the precision and quality it’s demonstrated over time.
Score a (Sweet) Deal:
Jowissa is offering Irreverent Gent readers 15% off the purchase of their first watch.
Just use the button below to visit Jowissa’s site, and the discount will be applied at checkout.
Where much of the watch world centers around Switzerland, Nordgreen is a Scandinavian watch company based in Denmark.
They make a wide range of both men’s and women’s watches in some really sleek styles.
A lot of Nordgreen’s designs remind me of watches that James Bond would wear if he were on a budget.
If you can’t shell out thousands for 007’s Omega, Nordgreen’s stylishly affordable watches make a great alternative.
MVMT is one of the more popular direct-to-consumer watch brands to spring in recent years.
They owe their fame and reputation both to the style of their modern and affordable quartz watches, and to the smart marketing campaign that’s targeted millennials and Gen Z through podcast ads and social media.
They’re a great option for anyone who wants a low-cost watch that looks a little more modern and “of the moment” than a lot of other players in the watchmaking industry.
(And if you don’t want to sort through their entire offering, I’ve put together a list of the most stylish MVMT watches for men that will help you narrow your search.)
Easily one of the most famous and well respected watch brands in the world, Seiko is a venerable Japanese brand that uses high-quality materials and is well respected in the watch community.
They famously offer a strong combination of both style and quality, without the huge price tag that usually accompanies comparable Swiss watches.
Casio is another Japanese brand that’s probably best known for their digital watches.
Digital watches have obviously lost a lot of ground to stylish and more powerful men’s smart watches.
But they’ve also carved out something of a cachet for themselves, and Casio is a great place to turn for an old-school watch that evokes the carefree cool of the ’80s and early ’90s.
Now owned by Epson (the same parent company that owns Seiko), Orient is another well respected Japanese brand that offers reliable timepieces at reasonable prices.
Before being acquired Epson, they were best known for making watches with mechanical movements (meaning they had to be hand-wound, rather than winding automatically), and at one point even made models powered by artificial light and solar power.
GQ once named them the king of sub-$500 watches, so they’ve got quite a bit of industry cred to go along with their decades of history.
Another brand that combines unique design with a savvy social media strategy, Daniel Wellington is a Swiss watch brand that tends to target younger buyers.
Though they’re aimed at a youthful demo, many of DW’s watches have a classic style that puts an updated spin on vintage and classic dress watches that evoke an earlier era while still looking totally modern.
Timex is well known for making cheap watches, and is often the first brand you’re exposed to when you get a new watch as a kid.
But make no mistake:
Fossil Group is an accessories company (and staple of malls across North America) that makes everything from leather goods to smartwatches.
Fossil has been making watches for years across a wide variety of styles, including field watches, sports watches and more.
In my opinion their watches tend to lean more casual than some of the other brands on this list.
But while they may not be luxury items, they’re still stylish and well made watches that often look great with casual get ups.
Japanese-owned Citizen has been making well crafted watches for a long time:
It was co-founded by Japanese and Swiss investors in 1930.
Today the brand is known for its popular collections of both men’s and women’s watches, all of which come at an accessible and affordable price point.
Now owned by Citizen, Bulova was originally founded in New York back in 1875.
They make a range of watches, clocks and other accessories, but are best known (at least in my opinion) for making some of the best affordable luxury watches on the market.
Their dress watches are sleek and sophisticated, but don’t carry the hefty price tag you’d expect from other luxury watch companies.
In fact, I wore a gorgeous black Bulova with a silver case and rose gold arms and dial on my wedding day, and I can honestly say that my wrist has never looked so well adorned.
You Know the Best Affordable Watch Brands
Now learn how to optimize the rest of your appearance
Now that you know which watch brands offer the best and most affordable wristwear, you’ll be able to find some stylish timepieces without breaking the bank.
But while a good watch can help you stand out, the truth is that accessories are only one small part of your overall appearance.
If you really want to look sharp and stand you, you need to know how to put your best face forward by nailing all the small – but crucially important – details.
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