A question I get frequently is what my favorite watches are for the guy on a budget. While social media may make it seem like everyone owns a Rolex these days, there are plently of great watches for those not looking to spend thousands of dollars.
Brands such as Daniel Wellington, MVMT and Vincero claimed to have "revolutionized" the watch game and bring massive value. While I have respect for Daniel Wellington, as they were one of the first brands to work with me, I will have to admit all three brands sell subpar watches for the price. The build quality and movements used are not reflective of the price at all in my opinion.
What is a guy to do then? Let's get into my four recommendations for affordable watches, under $250.
We will start with the cheapest, the Timex Weekend Chronograph. This watch can be found from anywhere between $60-$80 online and even cheaper if you get a used one. The watch comes in at 42mm and is great as a casual watch. I have owned this watch for over a year and have really come to love it. Its clean chronograph design(which takes cues from the Shinola Runwell, at $500+ watch) goes great with a denim shirt and your favorite beer. For well under $100 this watch is a steal.
My second recommendation is the Frederique Constant Slimline with a quartz movement. This is a watch I found on Amazon for a little under $200 a few weeks ago. Depending on the specific dial and strap combination this watch ranges from $180 to $300 on Amazon. I would highly recommend this over a Daniel Wellington for two reasons. First, the brand. Frederique Constant is a fairly renowned brand and being able to buy into the Swiss brand for under $200 is a steal. Second, you can purchase this watch on a nato, buy a leather strap and come out with the same price as a typical Daniel Wellington, which wouldn't have a seconds hand. The watch to me is visually more appealing and takes elements from Patek Phillip and Ralph Lauren, making it appear far more expensive than it is. My only drawback on this watch would have to be the quartz movement. In a perfectly quiet room, if you put it about 6 inches away from your ear, you can hear the faint ticking noise of the second hand, but in normal conditions, it isn't something you will hear. Other than that, the watch is incredibly thin and works great for both dressy and casual outfits. The watch is 37mm, which I love. It gives it a very vintage feel on the wrist.
My third recommendation is the Seiko SKX009. This diver watch brings design cues from Rolex, without coming off as a knockoff. The watch can take a beating and has been my go-to watch for the majority of the year. The automatic movement makes it a great watch for only around $200. The only potential downside is the standard metal bracelet that it comes on is a bit cheap feeling, but for less than $100 can be replaced by a nicer bracelet. For me, this a tool watch I have hiked with and worn in the ocean without fear of hurting it. Short of using the face as a hammer, this watch can take just about anything.
Lastly, I want to touch on vintage watches. Here, we have my Longines Les Grandes Classiques. This is a funky watch, I found on therealreal.com for $230 several months back. It's 25mm width and odd oval shape make it a conversation starter. Most guys don't want what would appear to be a lady's watch, but I love it. It is a very retro design, but there are more modern versions that can be found on ebay in the sub $300 range if you dig. It's a great watch and yet again, you are buying into a Swiss brand that has lasted the test of time.