Wearing the right watch can take an outfit up a notch – it’s that final touch that has you looking fantastic no matter what event you are attending. Finding the right watch means taking a variety of factors into consideration, such as design and function, but also price.
You should always set up a budget for yourself before you initiate your search for the best automatic watches, or for the type of watch you want, as this will narrow down the options and make it easier to find the perfect timepiece.
Here, we have had a look at the best automatic watches for less than $500. This may seem like a low budget for a quality timepiece, but there are many watches below where the price that will be everything you hoped for and more, without costing you a fortune.
View The Best Automatic Watches Under 500 Below
1. Seiko Prospex Stainless Steel Automatic Watch
This beautiful automatic movement watch has a luxurious feel with its large 43.5mm stainless steel case and bracelet. It has a push-button foldover clasp, an impressive 41-hour power reserve, and 21 6000 vibrations per hour. The hour markers are gold-toned, and there is a convenient date window at 3 o’clock, to help you keep track of both time and date.
It is one of the best watches for men and women who are looking for an automatic movement watch that will last a lifetime. There is something very alluring about the green and gold details that contrast the stainless steel, and it’s an exquisite watch you wouldn’t expect to cost under $500.
+ Luxurious stainless steel
+ 43.5mm case diameter
+ 21 600 vibrations per hour
+ 41-hour power reserve
Why We Like It – The color of the dial and the gold hands make this automatic movement watch stand out instantly, and the 41-hour power reserve is a big plus.
2. Orient ‘2nd Gen Bambino Japanese Automatic Watch
The delicate leather band is what sets this stunning automatic Japanese Quartz movement watch apart from others! It gives it that classic look that goes with any style, meaning you can wear it both to a fancy event, a business meeting, or on a regular day. Combining it with whatever you choose to wear is simple and practical.
The automatic movement makes it highly reliable. It has a fashionable domed dial and crystal window that turns it into so much more than just a simple watch. It’s a stylish timepiece you will feel proud to wear. The large white dial with Roman numerals is stunningly classy, and the dial is also available in black and cream.
+ Analog display with Roman numerals
+ Domed crystal and dial
+ Exclusive brown leather strap
+ 100ft water resistance
Why We Like It – A nice watch like this simple timepiece works just as well as a dress watch or for casual everyday wear. The domed crystal window is a welcome feature to increase the allusiveness of these affordable watches further.
3. Invicta Pro Diver Quartz Watch with Stainless Steel Strap
Invicta dive watches are some of the lowest-priced timepieces you can get if you want something for under $500, but that looks anything but cheap! They are made from stainless steel with a matching bracelet, creating a classic look that works with any outfit! You can get it in a few different designs and with several dial colors, to easily combine it with your personal style and look.
It has a central clock position with a unidirectional bezel function, date window, screw-down crown, deployment clasp, and a flame fusion crystal window, which all comes together to form a simple yet stunning timepiece. It’s one of the best watches men and women can invest in when wanting something for under $500, and the automatic movement guarantees accuracy and reliability.
+ Durable flame-fusion crystal window
+ Water resistant to 200 meters
+ Unidirectional bezel function
+ With screw-down crown
Why We Like It – You deserve the best automatic watch you can get for under $500, and this classic timepiece is an excellent option where you choose the color of the dial and the design of the bracelet.
4. Seiko Solar Recraft Stainless Steel Watch with Leather Strap
Are you on the hunt for something a little different? This square-shaped automatic dress watch is like a breath of fresh air in a world of round-dial watches, and it has a stunning green dial color with gold details. It’s a mechanical watch with an automatic movement that adds something unique and modern to an otherwise classic design.
It’s water resistant to 50 meters, has a transparent case back, a Hardlex crystal window with anti-reflective coating, and a calfskin leather strap. This all comes together to form a watch unlike any other! The gold-colored hour markers are easy to see when the light is dim, with a separate hand for hours, minutes, and seconds. It also has a 41-hour power reserve.
+ Unique square dial shape
+ Transparent case back
+ Calfskin leather band
+ 41 hours of battery life
Why We Like It – The best thing about this watch isn’t that it’s under $500, but the gorgeous square shape and the contrast of the green dial and the gold details. It’s a power watch you won’t be able to resist.
5. Eco-Drive CA0649-06X Citizen Watch
This water resistant automatic movement watch is one of the best watches that men’s magazines are often seen raving about. It is, without a doubt, the best watch for a man that values class, uniqueness, and a good price. It has a tachymeter, chronograph, Japanese Quartz movement, black stainless steel bezel, mineral dial window, large and easily visible hands, and a leather bracelet that fits most wrists.
The tang buckle clasp on the band is durable and reinforced to keep the watch safely in place, and it’s the perfect quality device for both telling the time and showing off as part of an outfit.
+ Japanese Quartz movement
+ Tachymeter and chronograph
+ Stationary bezel function
+ 49mm case diameter
Why We Like It – The combination of leather, stainless steel, silver, and black creates an incredible watch that is both visually attractive and functional, and it has everything an affordable watch needs.
6. Seiko SNK805 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch
A watch like this is a perfect timepiece for under $500 that you can use daily, as it has a casual feel to it thanks to the durable nylon strap. The design is military-inspired, and it’s a watch that’s suitable for all kinds of adventures, as it’s both water-resistant and overall durably constructed.
It’s surprising that you can get such a nice automatic movement watch for such a low price! It’s an Amazon Services LLC Associates favorite with a 37mm case in stainless steel with a military green dial and band, and a date window at 3 o’clock.
+ 37mm case diameter
+ Military-inspired design
+ Comfortable Nylon strap
+ Resistant to 30 meters
Why We Like It – If you want a watch that will make you look a little bit cooler than your friends, this military-style timepiece with a green dial and off-white hands and markers is one you won’t be able to say no to.
7. Orient ‘Mako XL’ Japanese Automatic Dive Watch
For the watch-bearer that wants something more classic and timeless to tell time, this water resistant automatic movement dive watch is a showstopper! The black dial with silver hands and markers are features that make this dive watch pop, and the black goes beautifully with the silver-colored stainless steel wristband.
It’s perfect to use as a dress watch thanks to it being discrete and tastefully designed, but it’s still the kind of dive watch that will make someone stop and look twice. The bezel-function is unidirectional. It is water resistant to 200 meters, and it’s shock-resistant so that you don’t have to worry if you accidentally drop it or bump it into something.
+ Unidirectional bezel-function (120-Click)
+ Large and classic black dial
+ 200-meter water resistance
+ Shock resistant for ultimate durability
Why We Like It – Nobody wants to purchase a nice watch only to have it break if you accidentally drop it, and this luxurious timepiece is both water-resistant and shock-resistant to prevent that from happening.
8. Bulova Men’s Automatic Collection Water-resistant Watch
These affordable watches look anything but cheap, and they are made from stainless steel with black plating, which adds that extra feel of luxury and class. This automatic movement watch helps you keep track of time while also looking great sitting there on your wrist. You can use it as a dress watch or to check the time and the date whenever needed.
The inner skeleton dial is beautifully designed and it makes this watch stand out also in a crowd. The self-winding movement makes it so timeless that you will want to pass it on to your children, and they to theirs. Purchasing this time piece is an investment in a watch model you are unlikely ever to get tired of.
+ Luminous time markers and hands
+ Luxurious black dial and plating
+ 23mm stainless steel band
+ Self-winding automatic movement
Why We Like It – The first thing you notice about these watches is the inner skeleton dial, where you get to see the mechanical movements, and it’s one of those watches you will fall in love with right away.
9. Invicta Pro Diver Japanese Automatic Watch
Some prefer a discrete timepiece that isn’t too eye-catching, but then others would rather wear a watch that draws attention to itself the second it’s put on display! That is the case with these gold Invicta dive watches, which come with Japanese Quartz movement, an 18K gold Ion-plated 40mm case, analog display, a bracelet with buckle closure, mineral dial window and a 3 o’clock date window. It is a great automatic watch to buy for someone you love, and a services LLC Associates Program favorite you won’t be able to resist.
+ Analog display and Japanese Quartz movement
+ 18k gold ion-plated case
+ Triple-link stainless steel bracelet
+ Luminous hands on a round dial
Why We Like It – The 18k gold ion-plated details is what makes this watch such an incredible automatic product, as it looks a lot more expensive and exclusive than it is.
10. Seiko Silvertone Stainless Steel Water-resistant Watch
Simple, stylish, and absolutely stunning. These stainless steel automatic movement watches feature a large round dial with luminous hands and markers, a 22mm band that fits most wrists, 40mm case diameter, date function, and Kinect movement. This means it can function without the need for a battery.
The Hardlex crystal used to protect the dial is highly durable and prevents scratching, similar to how Sapphire crystal would perform. Its 100-meter water resistance makes sure that a little bit of water won’t stop it from running. Seiko is a brand you can trust when it comes to their products, and this stainless steel creation is no exception.
+ Battery-free Kinect function
+ Protective Hardlex crystal
+ 100-meter water resistance
+ Great size for most people
Why We Like It – Watches like these, featuring water resistance, a durable Hardlex crystal window, and Kinect function, are some of the best on the market, designed to fit most eager watch shoppers.
Automatic Watches Under $500 Buyer’s Guide
The wonderful world of automatic watches is big and diverse, and it’s important to learn to navigate through the many options to find the watches that are best for you. Automatic movement watches are great as you don’t need to wind them up manually, most of the time. Many will wind themselves up as you move your wrist naturally while wearing it.
This saves you the trouble of manually winding it, the way you would a different watch type of timepiece. There are surprisingly many automatic watches for less than $500. You can get anything from a Sapphire crystal watch and to a Victorinox Swiss Army watch, as long as you know where to look and what to look for. This guide is designed to help you find the best automatic movement watches for less than $500.
Before you start looking for that perfect automatic watch, you should probably have a solid idea of what this type of timepiece is. A mechanical watch can be either manual or automatic. The automatic watch does not need to be manually wound up to function, which saves you the hassle of having to remember to wind it, and of the inconvenience of suddenly realizing that your watch has stopped.
It’s a timepiece that is easy to maintain and manage, regardless of whether you are someone who has owned quality watches their whole life or someone new to it. There are many great (and surprisingly affordable) quality options out there.
Case & Caseback
The case and the caseback of a watch is a lot more important than most watch buyers realize, as it affects not just how it looks, but also how it feels to wear it. Back in the days, the standard case diameter was significantly smaller than that of many modern watches, and it’s not uncommon now to see diameters over 45mm and such.
Size matters, as a very large case could become uncomfortable to wear due to being heavy, but potentially also because it might end up digging into your wrist and causing discomfort. Make sure you get watches that fit your wrist properly and follow size guides and recommendations if you are unsure.
The caseback of a mechanical watch can sometimes be either fully transparent or partially transparent so that you can see the watch movement with your own two eyes. Quartz watches, however, rarely have a see-through caseback, as there isn’t much to see, hence why a watchmaker would make the caseback see-through.
The most high-end type of watch glass is Sapphire crystal, which is very scratch-resistant, clear, and durable, but Sapphire crystal is usually only found on more expensive watches, so don’t be surprised if watches for less than $500 don’t have it. Not getting Sapphire crystal glass isn’t a disaster either, as there are a few other great alternatives, such as mineral crystal and acrylic plexiglass.
All these are preferable to plastic, something that is usually used on cheap (often low-quality) products, but also on some older watches. A plastic glass will scratch easily, and it might become difficult to see through it properly with time, so aim for some type of a crystal window when shopping for your next timepiece.
Complications & Functions
A term you are likely to come in contact with when shopping for a quality timepiece is “complications,” which essentially refers to the various functions a watch may (or may not) have. A general rule is that the more complications a timepiece has, the more expensive it is likely to be, but there are a few exceptions out there.
Commonly found watch complications are date windows, alarms, chronograph, tachymeter, dual time zones, tourbillon, moonphase and more. If you are looking to save money or stick to a budget, then you might be better off looking for watches with as few complications (functions) as possible.
Bracelets & Straps
The strap (also known as a band or a bracelet) is what keeps your watch on your wrist, and here you most definitely have quite a few types to choose from! We have the classic stainless steel band, which is loved by many due to combining with most outfits and being very versatile. It can be silver-colored or come in another color like rose gold or gold. The potential downside is that it weighs more than other types of straps, and it can feel cold or warm against your skin, depending on the temperature.
Another strap type is the leather strap, which is sometimes made of cowskin, and other times of crocodile or similar. This is another favorite that tends to look great when worn both with casual outfits and something a little fancier. A leather strap is almost always very durable when made of real leather, but it can be a little tricky to keep clean and smell-free. Leather bands could begin to omit a smell if having gotten wet. This is avoidable, though, and a professional can usually help clean it if you find yourself struggling.
Other straps include nylon and resin straps. These are both great for casual watches and sports watches, and they’re one of the most comfortable bands to wear for a longer period. A good idea is to have various different straps for your favorite watch so that you can change things up as needed, to almost feel like you have a brand new watch again.
There was a time when most people would have never considered purchasing a quality watch online, but this has changed drastically, and it is now more common to shop online rather than at a physical store in many parts of the world. The benefits of shopping for a dream timepiece online is that you get a much bigger selection to choose from.
You can browse and compare products and prices, and you can take your time to make the correct decision without feeling pressured by a store cleric. Knowing what you want, how to find it, and what to avoid is important when you go on the hunt for a new watch, and this guide will have hopefully provided you with the tools you need to choose wisely.
Pay attention to the size of the watch, especially if you plan to wear it for nicer events, as a watch that is too large or too small could end up looking like it doesn’t belong to you, as it doesn’t quite fit.
Did You Know
A Brit named John Harwood is officially recognized as the man who invented the automatic self-winding wristwatch in 1923.