Aug 30, 20166600 views

Best value watches

There are tons of companies making excellent watches that offer high value per dollar to the buyer. This doesn't always mean the watch itself is “cheap”; more that it greatly outperforms its price. Examples include watches like the Orient Bambino, Seiko SARB033, Nomos Tangente, and more.
What are some of the best values in watches today?
Archaeocat, JebKermin, and 30 others

I own this watch and love it. It's very classic in design, yet not in the sub 36mm range that a lot of vintage watches are. Depending on what strap you put on it, it can be very casual or dressy. It hand winds and the crown is easy to grip. It hacks and is very accurate.
I'm super happy with my Orient bambino
However for the money I think the Steinhart is exceptional, keeps excellent time, the bezel clicks more solidly than my seamaster professional and it just looks far more expensive than it actually is. So many things I like about this watch. Only complaint is the lack of applied indices or even logo just to give it some depth
The Waldhoff Multimatic, powered by a Miyota 9100 movement (power reserve, calendar) with Sapphire crystal. Made in Germany $449 USD

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Thanks for the feedback! Got your point about the index, some people like it, some dislike it, we will have to find something less controversial on the next one. Cheers
Hello, sorry for the delay. It is still available on Indiegogo
This is my first Orient watch, Sun&Moon Version3 with hand winding and hacking and I couldn't be happier with it. The detail in the dial is one of my favorite features.
No love for Edox? Clean & simple Swiss autos for $250-300 right now on Ashford, with some more elaborate models for a bit more.. I've been happy with my $120 quartz Les Vauberts from a few years ago.
I know I'll probably get strangled for this one, but apart from the usual suspects you guys already mentioned, I'd like to add Invicta to the mix, specifically their Pro Diver line. Yes, I know, it's a sub-ripoff, but then again, Invicta isn't exactly subtle in its branding.
As said, value depends on taste, but if you like divers and can get over the similarities to the Sub, the stigma of the brand and the weak tritium, it's one heck of a bargain: Mine costs 69€ on amazon, has a hackable, windable movement with a custom rotor and a screw-down crown. And it runs at - 7s/day.
Just be prepared for some QC issues, just as with Vostok.
One of my recently acquired watches is the unimatic modello due. ~500$ great craftsmanship, i switched it with a nato strap, looks great. miyota movt. great customer service ( i emailed them cause i wanted the green color which was out of stock on their website, and they helped me locate a retailer in paris who had one watch left! i ordered and i had it in New york overnight! no joke!) they are all limited editions. mine is 146 of 150. sorry this color is out of stock everywhere! but there are newer versions, other color out there
This sounds like the beginning of an auto vs. quartz discussion lol
For automatics, Orient and Seiko are hard to beat. Some great deals can be found from certain micro brands though.
Value is based on what you are looking for and what you have to work with
I believe a great argument could be made for solar watches, as they do not require constant wear to ensure accuracy, batteries last MUCH longer than a traditional quartz, and they can even be designed for high accuracy designs if you want to pay for it!
For great value and accuracy don't forget the Bulova Precision range, which also gives you the great aesthetics of the beautifully smooth sweeping second hand. My own watch collection contains a price sensitive range of different styles and movements. This includes Seiko Baby Tuna, Orient Bambino 4, Casio edifice EQW-M710, Sunto Core all black and others. Some for work, some for everyday, some for going out and some just because I like the look. Yesterday I bought a watch that I would not have given the time of day But On the wrist this watch is stunning. Of course this is down to personal preference. The watch is a Bulova 262khz model 96b230. I managed to pick this up new for £99. Great value for amazing accuracy and once again it looks fantastic on the wrist.
I definitely want to add a Bulova to my collection in the near future.
Zeppelin (makes solid watches w a good dollar.vs design, quaity, etc ratio.
One of the best watches is don kylne. They offer so muck more than what would you expect for 400$: First of all, its an automatic watch with an open case back with a beautiful rotator, it has a classic design that no watch looks like. It has sapphire glass, and a butterfly clasp which is realy good for this price.
agreed. elegant and unique designs. reliable movements. great value, only wish production numbers were higher so a used one could be snagged up more easily. 400 is good for a new watch but i believe at about 180-225 used in good shape they would be much better value
Has anyone got a opinion on jaguar watches? I bought one for 250€ and it's swiss made with sapphire.
I just purchased a watch from Helgray, the Helgray Silverstone. It's a MeccaQuartz which runs on a Quartz battery but utilizes an automatic movement for the chronograph so you get that nice sweeping hand. Comes with both a leather strap and metal bracelet as well as a sapphire crystal. I'm very happy with it.
I love the Seiko Presage series, as well as Orient. Many German brands are excellent (Stowa, Laco, Tourby, Steinhart, Domasko,...). The Sinn 104 is also quite good. Squale is probably the only Swiss, and perhaps Oris. Of course vintage is great, but prices are so high now. I sold my collection a few years ago (bankruptcy), and I thought I had made a killing (lot's of 14k and 18k bought when gold was $400 per ounce or less). Now I look and all those watches are even more money.
Seiko Presage watches probably entire me the most, although the German Marine watches and the Tourby enamel dials keep calling me.
I just wish that Seiko (and Orient and Citizen) would hire some designers from outside the company, or outside of Japan, or use project industrial designers (Casio does this, I know a guy who designed a G-Shock on contract), or set up overseas design studios, like the Japanese car makers do.
Japanese watches are great tech, boring looks, except for a few solid lines.
A couple of things...
A couple of years ago I took my Orient non-Bambino to their HQ in Tokyo. It was painful to change dates and was running slow. They said that they had revised that model to add a button to help make date changing quick. As for running slow, they gave me their official specs for their in-house movement... as I recall, it was > 30 secs a day max, so mine at 25 secs a day was "in spec".
I also found the Panzera Breuer 44 auto (with lume unlike Ken Wang's) and mesh strap for about $250 here to be a great price performer. Please request this drop back as I missed out by a day last time:
I've mentioned this in another thread, but Jules Breting brand are excellent inexpensive value watches
I wonder if they are related to the Jules Rulex line of watches?
The company's home page relates the company history: Founded in the 1840s (under a different name) the company lasted until 1876. Then in 2015 a mysterious "we" "revived" the brand using the name of one of the long-dead founders (similarity to Breitling merely coincidental).
Who is we? What continent does we operate on?
sounds "ify" to me...
Taking quartz out of the equation for simplicity's sake...
It's difficult to argue with the value proposition that is Seiko. From their automatic movement 5 Series at under $100 usually, to their $300-1000ish SARB, SARG, Presage, Brightz lines, their SKX and MM divers, and even luxury Grand Seikos really offer a ton of watch for the money imo. They have something for everyone and are competitive at all price points. Orient, as a subsidiary of Seiko, pretty much fits this model as well tbf.
I also happen to think that there are some other 'less popular' or just smaller companies that make some great entry level pieces at affordable prices. In Germany, you've got the Sinn 556, Junghans Max Bills, Laco Fliegers, Used Looks and Vintages, and just about anything from Stowa (Partitio, Antea, Marine, Flieger) or Nomos depending on your tax bracket (I think their Club is a super cool little watch! and their Tangentes, Orions, etc. are no secret either). Coming out of Switzerland, I really enjoy independent brands like Oris (check out the Big Crown ProPilot and that Diver Sixty-Five!) and BALL (serious adventurers' watches at great values), the Glycine Combat 6 and Alpina Startimer are neat watches, etc.
And yes, Hamilton (under the umbrella that is Swatch Group) seems to be doing things the right way as well. Putting to use all of the might of their parent company's mass production process, coming in at around the $500ish price point for the finished article, their Intra-matic and Khaki Field Automatic watches are quintessential entry-level modern Swiss pieces for me. They look great, good proportions and well-built, with reliable ETA movements and very decent finishing indeed. The bracelets and leathers are appropriate for the price point, they don't feel cheap (which is often a complaint with entry level watches), they use sapphire crystals (not that there's anything wrong with acrylic but sapphire is more expensive so just noting it for value-sake), offer decent water resistance, are pleasant to most eyes, etc. Hard to see a downside, I could recommend them to just about any friend looking to pick up a value mechanical timepiece to start their journey into the wonderful world of watches.
Special mention, I think Vostok is a company that doesn't get a whole lot of exposure to the general public and really deserves a look. For under $100 (usually closer to $50!) you can get a really unique and groovy looking diver with Russian or other quirky stylings, 200m water resistance, screw down crown, automatic hand-windable movement and rotating bezel. I'm convinced that the metal bracelets they come on are just for show, throw that in the trash straightaway and pick your favourite nylon or leather (or rubber as I did) and enjoy! It's not the best watch in the world but it's definitely value for money...
+1 for mentioning Vostok for value. Gotta love the Amphibians! (well, some of the not-out-there designs at least, especially the vintage-inspired ones :) )
Do people here have much experience with microbrands? The only one I have personal experience with (and love, as I've mentioned a million times, sorry) is Aevig. I've been wanting to try Halios for a very long time, probably my next purchase. Steinhart is also well loved in the community, I think, but I don't know if that would be considered a "microbrand" or not.
Love the Vostok Europes... wasn't aware there was a value line...
Agree with most of the models others have mentioned.
Some watch brands which consistently deliver value way beyond their price, imho.
<$500 brands: Seiko, Orient, Citizen, Sea-Gull, Casio <$500,>$3,000 brands: Nomos, Seiko, Citizen, Oris, Alpina, Junghans >$3,000 brands: Glashütte Original, Grand Seiko, Tudor
There are other brands with specific models that punch above their weight class, but not generally across the product lines. I've left most of these out. Two examples: Montblanc with their recent models, and Bulova with their 2010+ models.
I also don't have experience with a ton of the brands out there and am looking forward to hearing what others have to contribute!
So I have the Orient Bambino (my first Massdrop purchase that made me apply to the company!) which I am a huge fan of. I get a good amount of compliments on it and I love almost everything about it.
One nitpick is mine runs about 2 minutes fast after a week of use - which is a bummer.
Recently I've been wearing my Rodina a bit more and I've really been enjoying it. The fake "shell cordovan" strap aside, the movement is fantastic and it's been pretty accurate.
Honestly would recommend both!
Seiko, of course, notorious for making excellent value for money watches. I LOVE my SARB017.
I've also fallen head over heels in love with Aevig -- Chip's watches are extremely well designed, and he has extremely good customer service. My recent acquisition (Aevig Huldra blue) is definitely one of my two favorite watches (the other being the SARB017).
The Huldra blue with Seiko SARB017 (Alpinist):

Could NOT capture the beautiful sunburst dial in the photo for the Alpinist, though.
Other favorites of mine: Maratac mid pilot with the Aevig Valkyr bronze model.
Beautiful watches. Now I really want a Huldra blue. Too bad they seem to be impossible to find.
In higher end Swiss brands, there are also 'premium-affordable' brands. Hamilton has some incredibly well designed and produced watches, using premium components similar to Tag, Omega, etc., at a quality rivaling the bigger premium brands, but at a much, much more affordable price point. Many of their watches are priced well below $700 and look like $7000 watches. Tissot also has some very nice, relatively affordable watches, in the premium-affordable space.
Smaller boutique brands such as Steinhart and MKII Watches, also offer tremendous value, with high quality watches that can rival the highest luxury brands, at a fraction of the cost.
Disclosure: I am a watch aficionado with Omega, Rolex, Tudor, Damasko, Tissot and Sinn in my permanent collection, and many, many other brands over 20 years.
Shinola makes / assembles excellent watches in Detroit (from a lot of imported parts) and some are really affordable compared to other premium brands.
My daughter loves her Havok timepiece; very very affordable (although to be honest, her first one stopped working after 7 months, was promptly replaced on warranty, but the new one has a slightly misaligned dial indicia; I guess you have to OCD like me to notice these things).
You don't have to be OCD to notice -- Shinola is not rated very highly in the watch community for a reason. Their finishing is lacklustre and their "American Made" business model is misguiding at best and deceitful at worst. Your tale of needing to activate warranty to replace a piece, of poorly executed components, etc. is not all that uncommon. They are a good example of a company folks shouldn't bother too much with as there are way better values for your money out there. Some of which I'm sure are listed on this conversation thread.
All about the Bambino! Everytime I wear that watch I'm impressed with how awesome it is for the price!
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They have that as their Orient Star Classic range. It is basically a smaller bambino at 38mm, comes with a case back and hand winds (better movement than bambino). Multiple color ways and SS bracelet option. However they are around 300-400 in price range.
I really want an Orient Star Classic! The Urban Gentry reviewed it on YouTube and was blown away by the value for the price. Another that caught my eye was the Orient Polaris GMT.
I picked up the Citizen AT0200-05E for under $100 and I think it retails for under $200. I'm no watch expert, but for what I was looking for it's been a champ. I'm especially fond of eco-drive since I know myself well enough to know I'll never replace a battery or keep it wound. I have gone through several straps over the years however.