Due to how complex the mechanisms inside a watch can be, the good ones are always expensive by most people’s standards. That said, you don’t necessarily have to spend an awful lot of money for a decent watch, not as long as you have a good idea of what’s out there. You see, good watches come in all shapes and sizes, the differences between mid-range and high-end watches being rather small as long as you buy a reputable brand.
We should point out, however, that even among mid-range watches, some are definitely better than others. While a cheap, run-of-the-mill watch might be enough for some, you should really invest in a decent one if you can afford it. Fortunately for you, the price of good watches has come down over the years and you can nowadays get quite a good one for less than a couple hundred bucks. In fact, here are the ten best watches under $200 the market has to offer right now.
Best Watches under $200 – Top List
10Timex Intelligent T2N932
The Timex Intelligent T2N932 is an imported stainless steel watch that features fly back chronographic functions. Designed with a 43MM stainless steel outer casing with a mineral dial window, it comes with two subdials, a date window, an Indiglo night-light, and a 4th hand indicator. Crafted with an analog display with quartz movement, it is constructed with a durable leather band with a deployment clasp and closure. Resistant to water up to 330feet only, this watch can be worn while snorkeling or swimming but not while scuba diving.
9Bulova Men’s 96C105
Made from premium grade 40MM stainless steel, the Bulova Men’s 96C105 is an imported watch that features metal rim, a large black dial with 3 subdials and a 24-hour functionality. Designed with a stainless steel outer case with a domed mineral dial window, it comes with the latest Japanese quartz movement with an analog display. The bracelet is made from robust stainless steel with a heavy duty deployment closure that offers optimum durability and reliability. Although the watch is waterproof and can withstand 99ft of brief immersion into water, or splashes, it is not suitable for utilization while swimming.
8Victorinox Swiss Army 241493 Chrono Classic
Featuring a gunmetal guilloche dial and a bracelet made from stainless steel, the Victorinox Swiss Army 241493 Chrono Classic is a high-quality Swiss made 41MM watch. Equipped with a push-button safety clasp, this watch comes designed with hypoallergenic premium grade stainless steel, triple coated, scratch resistant, anti-reflective sapphire crystal with glow in the dark hands. Thanks to its waterproof feature, it can be worn while snorkeling or swimming at 330ft but should not be worn while scuba diving. It is also equipped with a tachymeter, small second, and a 30 minute counter, applied numerals, and with a date calendar.
7Luminox Men’s 3051 EVO
The Luminox Men’s 3051 EVO is a Navy Seal high-quality Colormark watch that is specially designed for marine activity and surface water sports. Resistant to water, this watch can be immersed up to 660 feet only. Featuring a unidirectional bezel that is textured, it comes designed with white markers and a date display at the 3 o’clock point. Crafted with a luminous black outlook and a 44MM polyurethane casing, it comes equipped with a mineral dial window and features an analog display with Swizz quartz movement. Known for its durability, it features a damage resistant polyurethane band with a buckled closure and an embossed company logo.
6Invicta Men’s 9211 Speedway
Invicta Men’s 9211 Speedway is a durable stainless steel chronographic watch designed with a wide set of functions. Featuring the Invicta logo at 12 o clock, it comes designed with Tritnite glow in the dark hands and 3 subdials including 60 second, 60 minutes, and 24-hour functionality. Designed with a high-quality stainless steel case with a mineral dial window, this 40MM watch is resistant to water and can be immersed into 200 meters without any issues. The bracelet is made with robust stainless steel and is designed with a triple row pattern. Equipped with a screw down crown, it comes with a clasp that folds over for added security.
5Stuhrling Original 395.33U16
The Stuhrling Original 395.33U16 is a premium quality stainless steel analog, sports watch that is designed with a set of great features. Resistant to water, this watch can be worn while swimming or snorkeling and is uniquely crafted for divers with the added ability to be worn 660 feet deep underwater, owing to the crown sealed with durable rubber gaskets. Constructed with a triple row, stainless steel link bracelet that can be adjusted according to your size, it features an outer brushed link and a polished center link along with a 316L, 42MM case made from surgical grade steel. Other features include quick date settings, luminous hands, a rotating bezel, deep-sea royal blue dial, and a folding button clasp with a safety closure.
4Seiko 5 Black Dial Automatic Mens Watch
Equipped with Japanese auto-movement capabilities, this watch can function by just the movements of your arm, with no need for any batteries. Featuring a Hardlex crystal and a durable stainless steel case with a diameter measuring 42mm, a black dial, a robust rubber strap and special day and date windows, this watch is suitable for scuba diving, much thanks to being waterproof and able to withstand immersion up to 660 feet or 200 meters.
Made from military-inspired, high-quality stainless steel, the Citizen AT0200-05E is a top notch watch designed with a round dial, a band made from green canvas and a second hand that is a vibrant red and highly visible in poor lighting conditions. Featuring an analog display with Japanese quartz movement, this watch comes with the special ability to automatically charge when in the sun or in indoor light. With a case size measuring 39mm, it comes equipped with a mineral dial window, luminous hands, three subdials, a buckled closure, and a date window. Resistant to water for up to 330ft, this watch can be utilized for snorkeling and swimming but not for scuba diving.
2Casio PAG240-1CR Pathfinder
The Casio PAG240-1CR Pathfinder is a triple sensor, solar powered watch, designed with a variety of features and functions. Including a digital compass, a thermometer, barometer and altimeter, it also comes with a resistance to low temperatures, an EL backlight, 5 alarms, world time for up to 31 time zones, a city code display, 12 and 24 hour formats, a 1/100 second stopwatch, a countdown timer, an automatic calendar, a battery life indicator, and a power saving mechanism. Designed with a 51MM stainless steel body with a mineral dial window, it features a digital display with quartz movement. Unlike others, this watch can go up to 6 months on a full charge.
1Invicta Men’s 6981 Pro Diver
Popularly known for its high-end style and features, the Invicta Men’s 6981 Pro Diver is a premium grade watch that boasts a sleek black and gold outlook and accented with 3 subdials and a bezel that rotates both ways. Featuring an analog display with Japanese quartz movement, it comes designed with a mineral crystal dial window that is protected. With a case size measuring 48mm and a band with length 240mm, this watch is waterproof and can be used for swimming and snorkeling for up to 100m but not suitable for scuba diving.
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What To Look For In A Watch Under $200?
Although you might not get a Rolex or a diamond-studded piece, the market has many variables and options to offer that are stylish, elegant, reliable, and available for less than $200. You do, however, have to take the time to figure out which of the many available can be expected to meet the high operational standards most people expect from a high-end watch. Let us then find out what characteristics to consider when buying a decent watch.
A watch is worthless if it does not tell the right time. The elements and inner components of the watch are what keeps the ticker ticking and should be durable and extremely reliable. The internal mechanism of a watch is extremely complex, hence a good reliable and dependable piece is one that would provide accurate time and also work for longer time spans. In this price range, a Japanese movement or Swiss quartz movements are the best options that should be considered. That said, most watches can generally be split into three common types:
- Mechanical – This type of watch requires the wearer of the watch to wind the piece manually in order to create energy to power the watch.
- Automatic – This type of watch collects energy with every movement made by the wearer, in turn delivering that power to the mechanism of the timepiece.
- Quartz – This type of movement is powered by dual sources including a quartz crystal and batteries.
Many popular brands tend to cut costs by using cheap cases for their watches. These could include cheap alloy cases with a plain stainless steel back, making it seem the whole watch is covered with stainless steel. It is important for you to determine the quality and durability of the case, ensuring the inner mechanisms are properly protected from outer damage. The ideal choice would be 316 – 316L stainless steel which is a premium grade metal known for its durability.
The glass on a watch plays an important role and may look clear and smooth for a while, but when it tends to get scratched too easily, you realize you have purchased a cheaper version than what you initially thought. Most of these cheap watches are made with mineral glass which is not all that resistant to scratches. In this respect, sapphire crystal is perhaps the best as it is hardy, reliable, and scratch resistant.
Pressurizing a watch is extremely important as it keeps out dust, water, humidity, and other dirt particles out and away from the mechanism of the watch. The standard pressurization method includes 3 different atmospheres of pressure or the 3 ATM. Most brands and sellers claim that their watches have undergone the 3ATMs. Furthermore, waterproof watches are generally between 5ATM and 10 ATM but may not be available for less than $200.
If you are looking for a good quality, reliable watch, it is important to ensure the strap of the watch is durable and made from premium quality materials. Genuine leather or a premium stainless steel piece would definitely last longer than others. A better quality strap would not only last longer but would also look more classy and stylish. Common strap types include:
- Carbon Fiber – More durability, sleek and generally dark in color.
- Leather – Most high end watches come with this type of a strap and it is usually worn as a fashion statement.
- Gold – Offering elegance and class, this type of strap is the oldest and most widely used.
- Nylon – Ideal for outdoor watches, this type of strap absorbs water and is extremely durable.
- Plastic/Rubber – Much more durable than leather straps, this strap type offers a high standard of comfort.
- Stainless Steel – Steel straps are generally sleek, stylish, modern, and durable.
- Platinum – Along with adding a bit of elegance and class, this type of strap is also very durable and comfortable.
- Titanium – Perfect for the active type of person, this strap type is strong and extremely robust. Often made with a special protective layering, it is scratch and damage resistant.
A watch would not look good if not properly fitted according to the size of your wrist. A larger watch on a small wrist would look too bulky, hence it is important to select one that matches the size of your wrist, also keeping in mind your desired comfort levels. The size of your watch also matters depending on the occasion you are wearing it for. A bulky watch may not look good with a suit, the same way an elegant, sleek watch would.
Like it or not, popular manufacturers control a large segment of the market and for good reasons. While you may, indeed, find a decent, reliable watch in the low-range part of the spectrum, you are much better off buying a reputable brand. Not just for the engineering, mind you, but also for the customer support and the widely available replacement parts.