Watches under $300 aren’t usually anything to write home about. They can typically get the job done, but they don’t tend to have the same heirloom quality that more expensive watches have. However, there are some budget watches out there that can compete with even the most expensive watches on the market. We made it our mission to find those watches, and have shared our results here. The following watches are the best watches under 300 dollars. They’re accurate, fashionable, and they’re built to last for a very long time.
Some of these watches will appeal to a select few, and others are valid options for everyone. Take some time to read each of our reviews to find one that suits you. If you can’t figure out what you need, we’ve included a buyer’s guide at the end of this article that will give you all of the information that you need to find a suitable watch for you.
TL;DR - Best Watches Under $300:
- Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Watch
- Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X. Watch
- Seiko Men’s SNK809 Seiko 5 Automatic Watch
- Orient Men’s Ray II Automatic Watch
- AVI-8 Men’s Lancaster Bomber Pilot Watch
- Citizen CORSO Eco-Drive Dress Watch
- Stuhrling Original Luxury Dress Skeleton Watch
- Seiko Men’s Prospex Radio Sync Solar Watch
- Orient Men’s Sun and Moon Version 3
- Samsung Galaxy Watch
- Invicta Men’s 8926OB Pro Diver
- Tissot Mens Chrono XL
1. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Promaster Watch
A solar-powered timepiece ideal for aquatic activities
Citizen's Eco-Drive watches are all nice men's watches, but the Promaster is one of the best models currently available in the Citizen product line. The Eco-Drive Promaster is powered by sunlight, and it runs on Japanese quartz. The bezel is a fairly basic simple design, and it's made from stainless steel. The band is made from a ribbed strip of polyurethane.
One of the most impressive features of the Eco-Drive Promaster is its water resistance. Most dive watches tend to be suitable for walking in the rain and other basic activities, but the Eco-Drive Promaster is waterproof up to 660 feet. That makes it very suitable for people who love to participate in aquatic activities.
2. Victorinox Swiss Army I.N.O.X. Watch
A very smart model built from sturdy and attractive materials
The I.N.O.X line of Victorinox watches is one of the most respected watch lines in the world. This particular model is a stainless steel variant, and it has a jellyfish-shaped bezel. It's built to be tougher than the majority of watches while maintaining a traditional appearance. The I.N.O.X uses Swiss quartz just like every other watch that Victorinox makes, and it's waterproof for up to 660 feet. The bezel is polished to make it more easily visible in low-light conditions.
With all of the features and the astounding amount of quality this watch has, it's hard to think of anyone who wouldn't benefit from owning it.
3. Seiko Men’s SNK809 Seiko 5 Automatic Watch
Affordable and easy-to-read with premium Japanese build quality
The Seiko SNK809 is an easy-to-read watch, and packs in the same quality as every other Seiko product. The 21-jewel movement system is accurate, and it moves the watch's luminous hands around a black dial with Arabic numerals. The dial is protected by Seiko's Hardlex mineral glass, all encased in a solid piece of stainless steel. The band is a simple yet effective strip of black canvas. The minimalist design makes it a lighter watch to carry, and it's incredibly durable.
The Seiko SNK809 is also very affordable, costing less than $150. That's a lot cheaper than most Seiko automatic watches. This makes it the perfect way to introduce yourself to Japanese craftsmanship.
4. Orient Men’s Ray II Automatic Watch
A hand-winding model made from premium and attractive materials
The Ray II is the first of the hand-winding watches that we'll be covering in this guide. The hand-winding mechanism sets it apart from other watches in this price range, and it's a fairly advanced take on a classic design. The power reserve can last for up to 40 hours, and the hacking movement system can keep time accurately for the full duration of its use. The Ray II is made from stainless steel, and the steel is polished to a high shine on every visible part of the watch.
The dial is protected by mineral glass, and it has extra-large hour markings and hands to make it easily readable. The only downside to the Ray II is that the watch has to be wound back up every 40 hours. If you're used to wind-up watches, that's not an issue, but it'll catch a lot of new users off guard.
5. AVI-8 Men’s Lancaster Bomber Pilot Watch
A historically-rich pilot watch designed with the average consumer in mind
The Lancaster Bomber is one of the many pilot watches that are available in this price range, and it's a great choice for anyone that likes a watch inspired by the rich history of World War II pilots. Instead of having the traditional chronograph that pilot watches usually have, the Lancaster Bomber has four different dials that depict the date.
The layout of the calendar is stylish, and it's more practical for the average person than traditional pilot tools would be. The bezel and case are made from marine-grade stainless steel, and the band is made from genuine leather. It closes via a simple buckle system.
6. Citizen CORSO Eco-Drive Dress Watch
The CORSO is one of Citizen's more budget-friendly Eco-Drive watches. It isn't made from luxury materials, but it's a great way to introduce yourself to Citizen's watch lineup. Like all of Citizen's Eco-Drive watches, the CORSO is charged by the sun's rays. This means that it will never require a battery replacement. However, the band is made from faux leather, which can easily melt in extreme weather conditions. We therefore don't recommend that you buy this watch if you intend to wear it in very hot climates.
The other materials are all great for the price, though. The bezel is made out of steel, and so is the buckle that holds it together. Sadly, the high-quality construction still isn't enough to fully waterproof it. It can handle splashes and rain, but you'll want to watch it around anything worse than that.
7. Stuhrling Original Luxury Dress Skeleton Watch
Skeleton watches aren't for everyone. Their appearance is bold and out of the ordinary. With a skeleton watch, there isn't anything blocking your view of the watch's inner systems, so you can watch each movement that the watch makes. This Stuhrling skeleton watch is no different, and it's an impressive piece of equipment for anyone who likes the skeleton design style. The case and inner systems are made from stainless steel that has been polished to a mirror-like shine, and the band is made from 100 percent real American leather.
The watch is automatic, so you won't have to worry about winding it by hand. A calendar and a separate clock for other time zones are included on the watch face. Stuhrling also offers an international warranty that promises free repairs from their Boston headquarters.
8. Seiko Men’s Prospex Radio Sync Solar Watch
The Seiko Prospex is one of the few solar watches that Seiko makes. It provides an opportunity for solar watch enthusiasts to enjoy the quality that Seiko has to bring to the table. The Prospex is reminiscent of many old military watches, but it's tame enough to fit the same roles as other men's dress watches under 300 dollars. The band is made from rustic-looking brown leather, and the case is a darkened stainless steel.
Besides its appearance, the Prospex also has an advanced radio system built into it. The system picks up radio signals to automatically adjust the time and calendar on the Prospex. You can manually adjust it, but the radio system makes it a lot more convenient.
9. Orient Men’s Sun and Moon Version 3
Moon phase watches aren't commonly used. They tend to be popular with fishermen and hunters, but their main bonus feature doesn't tend to appeal to the majority of people. The Orient Sun and Moon might be a little different, though. This automatic watch is suitable for outdoor use, and it's classy enough to wear to a nice dinner. It uses a Japanese movement system to keep time extremely accurately, and it's protected by a stainless steel case and sapphire glass window.
The band is a beautifully embossed strip of black leather. As far as function goes, the Sun and Moon has the basic capabilities expected of a typical watch, as well as a calendar and moon phase tracker. The moon tracker will only appeal to a limited group of people, but the watch does everything else so well that it is still a viable option for the average consumer.
10. Samsung Galaxy Watch
You won't find many smartwatches that have a traditional appearance, but the Samsung Galaxy Watch is one of the few options available. Unlike most smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch can last for several days on a single charge, so you won't end up with a useless piece of tech on your wrist just a few hours after putting it on.
The Galaxy Watch also uses its dial in a unique way. It has traditional faces, but each face keeps track of a different health stat. Due to the Galaxy Watch being a smartwatch, it can keep track of your health at all times, and it'll display your statistics in a way that is similar to traditional chronographs and compasses. If you want a digital experience, you can also check the complimentary smartphone application for the same statistics.
11. Invicta Men’s 8926OB Pro Diver
The Invicta Pro Diver is one of the best men's watches for under 300 dollars. It's affordable, accurate, and durable. It doesn't have many bonus features, but it's a watch that will appeal to a lot of different users. The band and case are both made from polished stainless steel. It therefore has a luxurious appearance despite its budget price tag. Like all Invicta watches, it's incredibly accurate thanks to its Japanese quartz movement system.
To keep its intricate machinery in the best shape, the dial is protected by an extremely durable mineral glass. Since the Pro Diver is made to serve divers above all, the band has a special safety clasp to hold it together. With a waterproof rating of 660 feet, it's bound to be taken to depths where losing it can be dangerous.
While the dial doesn't have a backlight, it does have luminous hands to make it easy to read in the dark. There aren't many extra features to talk about, but that's part of the charm with the Pro Diver. It focuses on providing a solid timepiece, and it doesn't have a lot of extra features that just drive up the price.
12. Tissot Mens Chrono XL
The Tissot Chrono is the only watch with a chronograph on this list. It has a rugged appearance that is reminiscent of a pilot's watch, and it's built to last. The case is a darkened version of stainless steel, and the band is made from a thick slab of brown leather. The crystal that protects the dial is made from sapphire glass.
The Swiss quartz movement system powers three separate dials, and it keeps them accurate at all times. The chronograph can maintain an accurate measurement for up to 35 minutes at a time.
Best Watches Under $300 Buyer’s Guide
For most people, buying a watch is as simple as walking into Walmart, picking up whatever is affordable, and slapping it on their wrist. If you actually care about what you’re wearing, or if you want something that is a little fancier, it’s a lot more complicated than that, and newer watch enthusiasts might have a hard time figuring it all out.
That’s the purpose behind this guide. We know that it can be difficult to tell which watches are which, and we want to help give you the best start in your search. The next few sections will go over the basic features of a watch, and they should teach you more than you need to know to delve into the world of watches.
A watch’s movement style is how it keeps time. There are three main movement systems that are used, and each one has its own pros and cons.
Quartz is the most common type of movement system in modern watches. It’s also the most affordable. Watches that use quartz to keep track of time are battery-operated. The battery sends a quick jolt of electricity through a tiny piece of quartz, and it causes the quartz to vibrate. The vibrations are then measured, and the second-hand is made to move along the face of the watch.
Quartz systems are cheap to produce, and they’re more accurate than other watches. They’re a great way to get hold of a good watch without spending a fortune. However, the movement isn’t anywhere near as smooth as it is on mechanical and automatic watches. It also doesn’t have the same charm that traditional mechanisms have. Both of those cons are mostly superficial, but they’re worth noting.
Mechanical watches are the ones that you have to wind up every once in a while. They’re not as accurate as quartz watches, and they often add or lose track of time by a few seconds. A mechanical watch’s accuracy has a lot to do with how much effort was put into making it. The inner mechanisms are extremely intricate, and they have to be made properly.
That’s why people still buy them. Mechanical watches are rich in history, and high-quality mechanical watches are the pinnacle of craftsmanship. These tend to be very expensive, but they’re the type of watches that you pass down to your children.
Automatic watches are almost exactly the same as mechanical watches. The only difference is that they wind themselves when you move around. They’re not as accurate as mechanical watches or quartz watches, but the difference is very subtle. If you already read the section covering mechanical watches, there isn’t much more to talk about here. They have just about the same pros and cons. You just don’t have to wind automatics.
The materials used in a watch’s visible parts are just as important as its inner mechanisms. They protect those inner mechanisms, and they impact how comfortable and durable a watch is.
If you’re looking at classy watches, the band will probably be made from leather, steel, or precious metals. Leather is obviously cheaper to manufacture, and it’s a solid material for a watch band. A lot of pilot’s watches and dress watches use leather.
Steel is a little bit harder to manufacture, but it’s a lot more durable than a strip of leather. You can find stainless steel watches that are inexpensive, but they still tend to be a little more expensive than watches with leather bands. You also have to keep in mind that steel watches will weigh a little more.
Precious metals are used in the bands of luxury watches, which does little more for the watch than to drive up the price. These are the fanciest bands that you can find, and the price is reflective of that. If you want to wear a watch that makes you look like a rich person, this is the type that you’ll want. However, you’ll want to be very careful with a band made from precious metals, as it probably won’t be as durable as steel.
The case of a watch is vitally important, as it protects the mechanisms that are hidden within the watch. For this reason, we only recommend that you buy watches with stainless steel or high-quality polymer cases.
Unless a watch is digital, it will typically have a glass window. Most materials used for these windows will do the trick, but they aren’t all made equally.
Sapphire crystal is commonly found in most price ranges, and it’s one of the best materials that a manufacturer can use. It’s scratch-resistant, glare-resistant, and extremely tough.
Mineral crystal is great, too. You can find windows made from mineral crystal in every price range, and it’s extremely durable. Mineral crystal isn’t as resistant to damage as sapphire crystal, but it’s usually good enough for most people.
Some manufacturers also have their own window materials. The best example of this is Seiko’s Hardlex. Proprietary window materials vary in quality drastically, but you can safely assume that a renowned watch manufacturer will use quality materials in their watches. As long as you don’t buy generic watches with their own window material, you should be okay.If you liked our article on watches under $300, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.