Given the intricate nature of watches and the complex engineering during the making process, watches can range in price quite a lot across the spectrum. From cheap electronic wristwatches to high-end models made by reputable brands, watches are available in many designs and commanding ranging price tags. Considering how different they are from one another construction-wise, it kind of makes sense for some of them to cost more than others.
Having said that, let us point out that there is no real reason to overspend on a watch nowadays, not with all the rich variety the market has to offer. Regardless of your budget, you can definitely find a good watch at an affordable price, all you have to do is figure out what kind of a wristwatch you want. In this respect, it has to be said that simplistic electronic wristwatches may be somewhat cheaper but they are nowhere near as durable and reliable as their mechanical counterparts.
With this in mind, we should perhaps figure out what features to look for when buying a watch and what particularities to stay away from. Needless to say, there are a lot of seemingly valuable knock-offs out there, which is why you should take the time and learn about what makes a good watch before committing to buying one. To help you in that regard, we put together a list of the ten best watches under $200 the market has to offer along with a short guide to help you through.
Best Watches under $200 – Reviews
10Victorinox Swiss Army 241493 Chrono Classic
From the famous Swiss Army line, this is a quality, hypoallergenic stainless steel chronograph boasting gunmetal guilloche dial. Integrating a push-button safety clasp, its bracelet is made of stainless steel in its entirety. Also to its credit is a scratch-resistant, anti-reflective triple-coated sapphire crystal, and well cut luminescent hands. We should also point out that Victorinox Swiss Army 241493 is resistant to water 100 meters deep and thus ideal for snorkeling and swimming. Interestingly enough, the watch also incorporates a tachymeter, a calendar, applied minerals, a small second and 30 minute counter highlights.
9Bulova Men’s 96C105
The Bulova Men’s 96C105 is a multifunctional timepiece featuring a stainless steel case with a dome-shaped metalized crystal, retrograde day indicator, black enamel dial, 24-hour and date sub-dials along with a deployment closure. It is water resistant to 30 meters and features Japanese-quart movement with an analog display. Its bracelet is made of stainless steel, upon which clasp closure is integrated to boost the watch’s reliability long-term.
8Stuhrling Original 395.33U16
With up to 660 ft water resistance, the Stuhrling Original 395.33U16 is a reliable men’s watch you can go swimming or snorkeling or somehow diving with. Its stainless steel bracelet is adjustable for an ideal fit while the watch itself features quick set date functions, easy to read luminous hands, a rotating unidirectional bezel, and deep-sea blue dial in a durable surgical-class steel case. Other highlights include a scratch-resistant protective mineral crystal and Swiss quartz Ronda 515 movement, and a fold-over push-button clasp integrating a safety lock.
7Invicta Men’s 9211 Speedway
Made by Invicta, the Men’s Speedway conveys time with rare sophistication while still addressing the demands of the active sportsman. It is a journey-worthy choice that features a Swiss Chronograph movement, is 200 meters deep water resistant, and has Trinite radiant hands, screw-down case backs, and uniquely textured dials. An elegantly crafted timepiece, the Speedway is an asset to any sports or official activity, suiting both worlds perfectly.
6Timex Intelligent T2N932
The Timex Intelligent is a good performance watch made of stainless steel in great detail. It features 2 sub-dials, fourth-hand indicator, date window, Indiglo night-light, and fly-back chronograph functions. Featuring a quartz movement with an analog display, it has a thick stainless steel case with a mineral dial window, and a leather band integrating a clasp closure. The watch is also 300 ft depth water resistant, which is definitely something you want from a quality watch these days.
5Luminox Men’s 3051 EVO
Luminox Men’s 3051 EVO is a shiny black watch with a notched unidirectional bezel, contrasting white markers, as well as a date display positioned at the 3 o’clock spot. It has a quality polyurethane case and mineral dial window, a Swiss quartz movement, and analog display. The polyurethane band features an embossed logo and integrates a reliable buckle closure. Furthermore, the watch is water resistant down to 600 ft, a feature most high-end watches boast at this point in time.
4Invicta Men’s 6981 Pro Diver
Packing both high-tech features in an elegant style, the Invicta Men’s 6981 Pro Diver is guaranteed to deliver with its modern sleek gold and black color scheme with accents of a unidirectional bezel and trio of sub-dials. With an analog display, it features a Japanese quartz movement of the highest standard. It also boasts a protective mineral crystal dial window and has a 330-ft depth water resistance for good measure.
3Casio PAG240-1CR Pathfinder
From Casio’s Pro Trek line, the PAG240 Pathfinder is a watch with almost all the conceivable features a good model boasts. It is solar-powered and has a digital compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, world time feature, stopwatch, and a lot more. It also features a strong, elegant stainless steel case and quartz movement with digital display, including a backlight which functions manually or when it senses the light around your environment. Moreover, this watch is water resistant down to 100 meters which is no small feat.
This is a military-inspired watch made of stainless steel that incorporates a host of truly ingenious features. For instance, it has a round dial, a rugged green quality canvas band, and a red contrasting second hand. With an analog display and featuring Japanese quartz movement functions, this watch charges in normal sunlight or even indoor light sources. Other features include a date window, a protective mineral-crystal dial window, 3 sub-dials, light emitting hands, and a functional buckle closure. It also resists water down to 330 feet, which makes it ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Considered one of the most popular watch models in its category, the Seiko SKX007K is a high-quality Japanese automatic movement watch. This means you don’t need to wind it, nor does it require any batteries. It features a great, rugged design in a stainless steel case with black unidirectional bezel and dial, along with radiant white hour indices and hands. It also has a date/day window and a black rubber band for good measure. Overall, it is one of the most ingenious yet reliable watches the market has to offer at this point in time.
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What To Look For When Buying A Watch
Even though many people treat watches as a fashion accessory or akin to jewelry, a good watch has to serve a more practical function despite its aesthetics. Not to say that it shouldn’t be fashionable or interesting to look at, although you probably shouldn’t judge a watch on its look alone. Now, it has to be said that watches have become a lot more affordable over the years with the introduction of new technologies and manufacturing methods. Even so, a good watch can still command quite a price tag, especially if it’s made by a reputable brand. Given the sheer galaxy of choices one has to choose from nowadays, you should perhaps first figure out what type of watch best serves your needs.
Types Of Watches
While it may seem to the untrained eye that all wristwatches are somewhat alike, the mechanisms and internal engineering used in their making set them apart from one another. This isn’t just true of designer watches, although they are more prone to innovate, but to a large segment of the watches market. Seeing how you simply cannot make a truly universal watch, manufacturers prefer to focus on specific activities when designing a watch, which means that you may have to take quite a few aspects into consideration when buying one. Although newer watches incorporate more complex settings, here are the most popular types of watches the market has to offer:
Field Watches – These watches are built in the same fashion as the first wristwatches ever made, meaning they have a more practical purpose by design. Most if not all of these watches have analog displays and incorporate few features beyond basic time-keeping functions. As a result of their simplicity, they are usually very durable and easy to read. At the same time, they tend to use cloth or nylon straps for strapping purposes which renders them inexpensive by most standards. It is also common for these watches to be water-resistant and to boast a very sturdy construction.
Dive Watches – Like the name suggests, these watches are built for diving purposes, meaning that they have to handle rough conditions and a lot of water pressure. To some extent, a diving watch is more of an equipment piece rather than a way to tell time. We say this because divers have to keep close track of how much time they spend underwater, which is why they often rely on watches to keep themselves safe. For this reason, these watches are built with heavy cases made of stainless steel or some equally resistant material. Bear in mind that these watches have to perform at serious depths, sometimes up to 330 ft or more without compromising their internal mechanisms.
Aviator Watches – We refer to aviator or aviation watches when we talk about those watches equipped with large numerals or illuminated displays. These watches often boast an inner hour dial and an outer minute dial along with a series of more intricate features. Among them, chronographs, GPS systems, slide rule bezels, satellite radio distress beacons, and even altimeters. Needless to say, not all the people who invest in such a watch actually use all their comprising features, even though they definitely use some of them either for entertainment or work-related purposes.
GMT Watches – As you would have guessed from the name, GMT watches are equipped with a GMT hand that is set for the Greenwich Mean Time on a 24-hour bezel while the hour hand is set on the local time. This is supposed to tell you precisely what the GMT is regardless of where you are on the globe and regardless of the local time zone. Originally designed for pilots and distant travelers, GMT watches have a much wider appeal nowadays and understandably so.
Dress Watches – These particular watches are primarily designed as fashion accessories and thus share some pretty exquisite aesthetics. Due to the fact that they focus on looks rather than practicality, they are mostly seen as fashion accessories rather than stand-alone watches. For this reason, these watches tend to be thin, sleek, light in weight, and extremely fashionable to look at. As you would imagine, these watches don’t really boast too many intricate functions; in fact, many of them don’t even have a seconds hand. At the same time, these watches are designed to be proportional to your wrist, which means that they aren’t easily visible unless looked at from the right angle.
Banger Watches – We call ‘banger’ watches those run-of-the-mill watches that we wear at work or when we’re out performing labor-intensive tasks. Mostly made from cheap quartz or similar materials, they aren’t really designed to be sturdy or extraordinarily tough, but instead made to withstand the occasional nudge or scratch. They are usually very cheap and not worth fixing whenever they break down. In that regard, they are mostly designed to be used heavily until they inevitably break down; at which point they are usually thrown away and replaced with similar ‘bangers’ for practical reasons.
What To Consider
Once you have figured out what type of watch best suits your particular needs, you have to take a moment and figure out what exact functions would best meet your requirements. While some people prefer simple, casual watches for day-to-day use, others prefer complex, well-engineered models packed with all sort of features. Regardless of what you choose, make sure to take the
time and consider:
Weight and accuracy – If you’re thinking about spending at least $100 on a watch, then, by all means, make sure it is heavy and accurate. Most of the time a watch’s weight is directly indicative of its time-keeping accuracy due to its inner workings.
Casing – Good watches have sturdy and reliable cases that usually display information about the materials used in their making or other similar hallmarks. Either that or certifications to show that the watch meets international quality and control standards.
Legibility – You also want a watch with clear markings that are easy to read in all lighting conditions. As a rule of thumb, quality watches all have elegant, legible hour, minute, and second hands that cannot be confused with one another.
Strapping – Last but not least, bear in mind that you will likely wear the watch for hours at a time, which is why you want one that you can wear in a relatively comfortable fashion. In this respect, you want a watch with a wide strap that doesn’t gouge into your wrist, one that also doesn’t get caught up in your clothes or any objects in your working environment.