From luxury brands to fashion labels, there are a ton of watch brands to choose from. But, if you have limited funds, this list has the best watch brands to take a look at.
I’ve compared all the major watch brands and quite a few microbrands to build this list. I selected these because they offer affordable models with specs in line with their prices.
Watch bands made this list due to one or more of the items listed below:
- The materials they use
- The movements they use
- Their brand heritage
- The price for what you get
The price ranges I’ve included include online retailers and brand websites.
You won’t see brands here that are overpriced with subpar specs.
If you’re new to watches and watch specs, you might want to learn about watch movements before digging into this post.
No worries, though. You can’t go wrong with a watch from any of the brands on this list.
Alpina is a Swiss brand owned by the Citizen Group, a Japanese watch conglomerate.
The watches are made in Switzerland, and the brand has a rich history dating back to 1883. Many of their timepieces feature in-house movements and a rugged yet refined design.
You won’t get their mechanical movements in the low end of the price range, though.
Budget-minded buyers can find a watch with a Swiss quartz movement, anti-reflective sapphire crystal, and 100-meter water resistance.
Because of this, Alpina is an excellent entry into Swiss-made timepieces.
Sales Price Range: $145-$3,000
AVI-8 has been producing aviation-inspired watches since 2012. They take pride in leveraging the history and design of airplanes to create modern pilot’s watches.
The company offers a nice variety of chronograph watches at affordable prices. They use either Japanese automatic or quartz movements.
All their models have stainless steel cases and sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coatings. They are on the larger side, though, with case sizes starting at 42 MM.
Sales Price Range: $80-$435
Bulova has a rich American history, having started watchmaking in the 1930s.
During WWII, they were the watch supplier to the military, creating field and aviation watches. Today the company is still based in the U.S. but owned by the Citizen Group. Most of its wristwatches are manufactured in Asia, with some made in Switzerland.
In the lower price ranges, the watches tend to have low-end Japanese movements.
The high-end models feature high-quality quartz or Sellita brand Swiss automatic movements. They also have better build quality.
Bulova is a solid brand with history and definitely worth a look.
Low-end Sales Price: $65-$1,900
Cadisen is a Chinese brand that came on the scene in 2013.
They offer very affordable watches with some pretty good specifications at the upper end of their price range (which is still very low-priced).
The brand uses popular and well-known Japanese movements, sapphire crystal, and stainless steel casings in most of their $100+ models.
This price to value ratio makes Cadisen a tremendously affordable option, and it has many in the watch world talking.
Sales Price Range: $30-$400
This is an iconic Japanese brand that was founded in Tokyo in 1946. In 1957, Casio developed the first personal calculator, and in the 80s, they popularized the famous calculator watch.
Today they manufacture a wide variety of affordable and durable digital and analog wristwatches.
Yes, you can still buy the calculator watch if you’d like, or you can choose one of the company’s durable and water-resistant digital models.
The G-Shock line from Casio are some of the most durable watches available and offer specialized electronics.
If you’re looking for an affordable analog diver watch, Casio’s Duro is a very popular model; even Bill Gates has been spotted sporting one of these.
Sales Price Range: $25-$1,700
Certina’s heritage goes back to 1888 as a swiss watch brand that pioneered shock and water-resistant automatic watches.
From Himalayan expeditions to motocross and rally car racing, Certina watches have been at the forefront of exploration and extreme sports for decades.
Today the Swatch Group owns the brand. It offers a wide selection of affordable men’s and women’s watches to choose from. Certina provides well-made Swiss quality with a history of durability.
Sales Price Range: $170-$2,100
The Citizen Group is one of the largest watch companies in the world, with a history dating back to 1918.
This Japanese company now owns many brands and its own watch movement company, Miyota.
It pioneered the solar-powered analog watch with its Eco-Drive watches. Eco-Drive allows these watches to harness any light to power the watch.
Today you can find a wide array of very affordable Citizen watches with classic designs for men and women.
You get what you pay for, though, and their very low-end models tend to have low-cost movements and construction.
Sales Price Range: $60-$6,400
8. Dan Henry Watches
This brand was launched in 2016 by renowned watch collector Dan Henry. It offers watches made from quality materials and inspired by classic designs.
Dan Henry (the collector) spent 30 years acquiring more than 1,500 watches. He even created the site Timeline.Watch for watch lovers to explore his collection.
The company’s watches are named after the years that inspired their designs. They use sapphire-coated mineral glass and Seiko or Miyota movements, which, combined with their designs, provide excellent value for the money.
Sales Price Range: $200-$350
Glycine is a Swiss brand that has been around for a long time.
Founded in 1914, the company has a significant military following and was worn by astronauts in the U.S. space program. The company was recently bought by Invicta, which has led to the brand being more affordable.
With Swiss quartz and automatic mechanical movements, this brand is a solid entry into the Swiss watch world.
Sales Price Range: $160-$1,850
Hamilton is another brand on this list with American history. It was founded in 1892 in the U.S.
For decades, it was the premier American watchmaker in the country, with its art deco, electric, and futuristic watches. Hamilton eventually started incorporating Swiss movements in their watches, ultimately being bought by the Swiss Swatch Group.
Today the company is headquartered in Switzerland and is known by watch lovers as a great entry point into Swiss mechanical watches.
The most affordable models are the company’s Khaki field line, with quartz, manual and automatic models.
Sales Price Range: $240-$2,000
Known for their oversized and flashy designs, Invita offers decent value for the money.
Founded in 1837 in Switzerland, the company is now based in Florida.
The brand can be polarizing with its original and sometimes over-the-top designs. Still, it offers so many models that most people can find something they like.
You’ll want to keep an eye on size, though. Many of their watches are big and may not look good if you have a slender wrist.
Sales Price Range: $40-$3,000
12. Jack Mason
A relative newcomer to the watch industry, Jack Mason started in 2015. Based in Dallas, TX, the company offers watches with clean, classic designs at affordable prices.
At the upper end of their price range, you’ll see water resistance up to 984 feet, Japanese automatic movements from Seiko or Myiota, and sapphire crystal.
Every model offers a different combination of specs, though, such as acrylic crystals, Swiss quartz movements, and solar power. You’ll want to take a look to see what the watch you like is packing.
Depending on the model, these watches can match the specs of tried and true classics from Seiko and Orient.
Sales Price Range: $200-$500
Junghans is a German watch and clockmaker with a history dating back to 1861.
They’re known for their Bauhaus-inspired designs. Its most popular line of watches is the Max Bill collection.
Max Bill was a Swiss-born, Bauhaus-influenced designer and a co-founder of the Ulm School of Design. He brought his clean, elegant, practical designs to Junghans in the 50s and 60s.
These designs have made Junghans a sought-after brand among watch enthusiasts. They’ve also inspired the minimalist designs of the many fast fashion watch companies popular today.
If you want a minimalist design, in a quality package, from a brand with prominence, a Junghans might be for you.
Sales Price Range: $375-$4,025
The German brand Laco is renowned for its pilot watches. The company once made watches from the German Luftwaffe. It was decimated by WWII, with most of its home city of Pforzheim being destroyed.
After a turbulent history of being acquired, sold, and filing for bankruptcy, the company has remerged to create pilot watches true to its aviation roots.
Its entry-level line includes automatic mechanical movements, sapphire crystals, and quality craftsmanship.
Sales Price Range: $350-$4,200
Luminox is an American company that makes hard-core swiss watches. Their customers include the Navy SEALs, U.S. Coast Guard, New York City Police Department, and special forces worldwide.
Luminox watches incorporate advanced illumination technology and are made to be extremely durable.
The lum technology (hence the name Luminox) uses tritium, which doesn’t require an initial light source. That means the watches can be read at all times regardless of conditions.
These watches are truly built to handle anything you throw at them.
Sales Price Range: $160-$3,250
This Swiss company makes watches inspired by the 1944 design of the official swiss railway clock, which it licenses from the Swiss Federal Railway.
The design is simple, minimalist, and easily recognizable. Their lineup offers an affordable entry to swiss watches. They have swiss movements and classic, time-honored design.
Sales Price Range: $110-$1,150
Known for its iconic dial design with no numerals and only a dot at twelve-o’clock, Movado is a watch and jewelry brand based in New Jersey.
The company’s roots date back to 1881, and it is well regarded for its history in the watch industry.
That simple dial is from its Museum collection, so named because the New York Museum of Modern Art acquired it for its design collection in 1960.
Their entry-level watches have swiss movements, scratch-resistant K1 crystal, and world-recognized minimalist design.
Movado is a historic brand with modern appeal.
Sales Price Range: $180-$6,500
Orient is a Japanese brand founded in 1950. The company makes very affordable watches that have arguably the best value for the money.
It uses in-house movements in its mechanical watches and classic designs.
From dress to dive watches, Orient offers popular, well-made timepieces respected in the watch world.
Sales Price Range: $55-$2,855
Parnis is a Chinese brand that has begun marketing its watches to the American and European markets in recent years.
The company has started to drive chatter among watch fans because their watches have the specs of much more expensive brands.
Sapphire glass, stainless steel cases, and automatic movements are included in even their most inexpensive models.
Definitely worth a look for budget-minded buyers.
Sales Price Range: $100-$265
Rotary, founded in 1895, was originally a Swiss company that produced watches for the Swiss and German markets.
Rotary eventually moved its headquarters to the U.K. and became the watch supplier for the British Army during WWII.
This heritage made the company a famous brand in the U.K. and laid the foundation for the company’s continued success.
Today, Rotary makes a wide selection of watches for men and women, with many being under $500. Specs vary from model to model, but the company is known for its value for the money you’ll spend.
Sales Price Range: $90-$2,065
In the affordable watch world, Seiko is probably the most popular brand.
The Japanese company has built a solid reputation for providing incredible value over the years. It offers in-house movements, proprietary scratch-resistant crystal, and quality construction.
For many enthusiasts, Seiko is their introduction to mechanical watches. Notability, the company’s 5 and 5 Sport lines have been the most affordable.
Whether you spring for a high-end Seiko or one of the more economical models, you can rest assured you’ll be getting great bang for your buck.
Sales Price Range: $75-$725
Swatch is the iconic Swiss watch company that brought affordable and fashionable watch styles to the masses in the 80s.
The name comes from “second watch,” a nod to the brand being a fun, inexpensive alternative to more traditional swiss watchmakers.
They say that there is a Swatch for everyone; from bright colors to out-of-the-box designs, there are many models to choose from.
All include either Swiss quartz or Swiss mechanical movements and can be had at a super budget-friendly price.
Sales Price Range: $40-$255
Timex is a classic American brand that produces a wide selection of digital and analog watches.
The company started in Connecticut as Waterbury Clock Company in 1854. It created wristwatches for those serving in WWI and made the iconic Mickey Mouse watch in the 30s.
The Timex brand came to the market in the 50s and was hugely popular, with its “it takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin'” slogan. In the 80s, it created the Ironman digital watch and it released its Indiglo illuminated watch dials in the 90s.
These releases cemented the brand’s popularity. Today, the company offers durable and budget-friendly watches for men and women.
Sales Price Range: $10-$495
This Swiss brand is often the entry point for watch owners into the world of Swiss watches.
Tissot is part of the Swatch Group now, but it started back in 1853. Its long history includes making watches for the Russian Czars and pioneering anti-magnetic watches.
Tissot is a brand with a rich heritage, quality construction, and affordable automatic swiss movements. Offering classic styles for men and women, Tissot might be your first Swiss watch.
Sales Price Range: $110-$3,200
Undone has brought customization to the watch world with their affordable line of men’s and women’s watches.
The company gives you the option to change the dial, hands, case color, band, and even add your initials to the watch.
They include Seiko brand quartz or automatic movements, K1 scratch resistance crystal, and stainless steel construction.
Undone offers a customized wristwatch with solid specs.
Sales Price Range: $270-$500
Vaer is an American watch brand that was started in 2016.
They began with a ~$200 line of American assembled quartz watches. The company has since expanded to offering mechanical watches with either Swiss or American assembly.
Even the lowest-priced models have stainless steel cases, anti-reflective covered sapphire, and 328 feet of water resistance.
If you’re looking for an American brand that also assembles its watches in the U.S., a Vaer might be your next watch.
Sales Price Range: $160-$900
Victorinox is the swiss brand that makes the iconic red Swiss army knives.
Founded in 1884, the company supplied the Swiss army with its blades for over a hundred years before launching its watch line in 1989.
Since then, they have cornered the market on extremely durable watches with classic designs. Its I.N.O.X. line is built to withstand anything you can throw at it and able to withstand being run over by a construction excavator.
Sales Price Range: $100-$2,425
Vostok is a Russian brand that has a large fanbase of collectors. They’re known for their durable construction, interesting history, and fun designs.
The company is named after the Russian Vostok space program and supplied watches to the Ministry of Defence of the Soviet Union.
The most popular models are the Komandirskie and Amphibian. The Amphibian is a 200-meter automatic dive watch usually featuring a scuba diver on the dial.
Vostok watches are simple, functional, and super affordable.
Sales Price Range: $50-$200
All these brands offer a variety of watch models. To figure out the type of watch that best suits you and your lifestyle, check out my affordable watch buying guide.