Nothing elevates your style quite like a watch. It can transform a casual T-shirt and jeans into something sophisticated, and upgrade your average suit into an unforgettable look. And while you can certainly spend a fortune on one (or several), buying quality men’s watches doesn’t have to be a major investment. You can get a great timepiece without breaking the bank. In fact, some of our favorite men’s watches come in under $500.
From sleek and simple quartz timepieces to classic mechanical watches and more, there’s an ocean of stylish tickers to choose from. Here, we’ve rounded up 11 picks from brands like Hamilton, Timex, and Skagen to match every style and budget. Give your style a boost and put something nice on your wrist.
The Best Men’s Watches Under $500
1. Praesidus M-38-MB-LB
The Praesidus is a recreation of the famed A-11, the standard watch issued to Allied troops during World War II. This simple, rugged timepiece quite literally set the standard for military watches. It had to resist dust, water, and temperature swings; maintain accurate time within 30 seconds per day; and have at least a 30-hour power reserve—requirements that military watches have had to meet ever since. The Praesidus is available in 38mm and 42mm case sizes, as well as white and black dial colors. No matter which you choose, you’ll get a handsome, dependable mechanical watch with a storied history to match.
2. Seiko SRPD95
The SRPD95 is part of Seiko’s famed 5 Sports line of watches, which traces its history back to the Seiko Sportmatic 5 released in the 1960s. Today, 5 Sports offer eye-catching looks and features like a day/date window at very reasonable prices. They come in a wide range of styles, but the combo of the black unidirectional bezel, black sunray dial, and black silicone strap give this model a refined and sporty look we love.
3. Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical
Another military-inspired watch, the Khaki Field Mechanical is based on the standard-issue military timepieces of the ’60s, and its utilitarian charm makes it a great everyday accessory. The white dial with an inner ring of 24-hour markers and the “radium color” Super-LumiNova indices are subtle references to the watch’s military pedigree, and the fabric strap makes it comfortable to wear, too.
4. Timex Giorgio Galli S1 Automatic
Designed by and named after Timex design director Giorgio Galli, the S1 Automatic offers an understated, elegant look—plus some unique details you won’t find on many other watches. The 41mm case features brushed and polished accents, unique cutouts along the sides, and the silver-colored dial displays a single synthetic ruby that stands out boldly on the watch’s face. Flip it over, and the see-through case back gives a full view of the inner workings of the watch’s automatic movement.
5. Casio F91WM-7A
Prefer something digital? Casio has plenty of options to choose from. This classic pick is a great way to add a retro element to your outfit. With its alarm and calendar functions, it’s highly practical, too.
6. Skagen Holst Automatic
Danish brand Skagen offers a deep lineup of minimalist watches and accessories, but the Holst Automatic is a standout. It’s made with an automatic movement that’s exposed through the open dial, so you can see the watch working while you wear it. It’s complemented by Roman numeral indices and a simple stainless steel case. The watch comes in a variety of dial colors as well.
7. Timex Marlin
Another ‘60s classic, the Marlin has long set the standard for men’s watches and its design is straight out of Mad Men: Domed crystal glass, robust hand-wound mechanical movement, and a simple stainless steel case. For an upgrade, check out the Marlin Automatic, which has more color and strap combos, and offers a day/date window.
8. Hamilton Jazzmaster Thinline Quartz
Hamilton’s Jazzmaster offers a similar mid-century style to the Timex Marlin above, but with the addition of a day/date window, a sleek black dial, and a matching alligator leather strap for added sophistication.
9. Swatch Rinse Repeat Black
This quartz watch from Swatch, part of the Swiss brand’s ever-changing lineup of one-off designs, is clean and sophisticated. The white dial with fluorescent yellow second hand and indices is bright and easy to read. If you flip it over, the translucent case gives a view of the colorful components that make the watch tick.
10. G-Shock GA900-1A
There’s no mistaking a G-Shock watch. The characteristically chunky look has made these watches streetwear icons, but there’s more to it than just aesthetics: G-Shock watches are designed to perform in the most rugged environments on Earth. They come in a huge variety of designs, but we like this version, which combines analog and digital timekeeping in one dial.
11. Seagull 10mm Thin Sapphire Crystal Automatic Watch
Seagull traces its roots to 1958, when the company was founded in Tianjin, China, and it’s been cranking out mechanical timepieces ever since. This model, with its simple indices, broad white dial, and small date window at six o’clock, is particularly striking—and refreshingly affordable among our list of men’s watches under $500.
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