Best Watches Under $500 in 2020: 20 Stylish Timepieces

Best Overall

Citizen Eco Drive Promaster Diver Watch

Citizen Eco Drive Promaster Diver Watch
  • Top in class battery
  • Incredibly reliable across the board
  • Backed by a five-year warranty
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Premium Choice

Bulova 96B251 Men’s Moonwatch

Bulova 96B251 Men’s Moonwatch
  • Comes with two interchangeable bands
  • Great implementation of moon landing theme
  • Better than average quartz movement
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Great Value

Michael Kors Slim Runway Watch

Michael Kors Slim Runway Watch
  • Comes with a two-year warranty
  • 11 different color schemes to choose from
  • Slim and lightweight form factor
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There’s an argument to be made that $500 represents the lower limit for an entry-level luxury watch. We think there’s cause to disagree. Whether you’re looking for a state of the art smartwatch, a timepiece to impress around the office, or a tactical watch to take with you on the trail, you can get a whole lot for less than half a grand. You just have to know where to look.

While there are plenty of super cheap watches on the market, spreading your search to include the best watches under 500 dollars gives you more opportunity to get a truly high-quality and specialized timepiece. Before spending your hard earned cash, check out our comprehensive list.

20 Best Watches under $500

1. Citizen Eco Drive Promaster Diver Watch

Still the World's Preeminent Dive Watch

Citizen Eco Drive Promaster Diver Watch

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Every feature that a serious diver could want is available in the Promaster, and they're all expertly handled. But the coup de grace is the phenomenal Eco-Drive technology powering this watch. Just expose it to light -- natural or artificial -- and it will automatically charge for its entire life. It's easily the top solar battery in use on a watch, and it offers an incredibly impressive power reserve of six hours.

Pros
  • Top in class battery
  • Incredibly reliable across the board
  • Backed by a five-year warranty
Cons
  • Not the flashiest dive watch around
Face ColorBlack Case Size44 x 12 mm MaterialsStainless steel, plastic MovementEco-Drive (solar) Waterproofing200 meters

2. Bulova 96B251 Men’s Moonwatch

Pilot Watch Essentials, Elegantly Displayed

Bulova 96B251 Men’s Moonwatch

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Bulova's Moonwatch takes the vast amounts of information available on a pilot watch and repackages it well. All the information is here, but Bulova's exceptional sense of style shines through as well. The use of textured surfaces, simple indices, and a color scheme of black, silver, and white makes all the information accessible without being ugly or overwhelming.

Pros
  • Comes with two interchangeable bands
  • Great implementation of moon landing theme
  • Better than average quartz movement
Cons
  • Backlighting is a little dim
Face ColorBlack Case Size45 x 13.5 mm MaterialsStainless steel, leather/nylon MovementQuartz Waterproofing30 meters

3. Michael Kors Slim Runway Watch

Matte Black is the New Black

Michael Kors Slim Runway Watch

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Michael Kors provides entry-level luxury, but the sensibilities of this designer watch suggest something that goes well beyond the price tag of around $200. The simplicity here really works, and while our favorite is the completely black on black model, there are nearly a dozen bold choices to pick from here. Its slim design means it can fit a variety of different wrist sizes, and it can fit comfortably under the sleeve of your suit jacket.

Pros
  • Comes with a two-year warranty
  • 11 different color schemes to choose from
  • Slim and lightweight form factor
Cons
  • No advanced features
Face ColorBlack Case Size42 x 21 mm MaterialsStainless steel MovementJapanese Quartz Waterproofing50 meters

4. Nixon A105 Sentry Quartz Movement Watch

Traditionally Casual but Catered to Your Personality

Nixon A105 Sentry Quartz Movement Watch

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The baseline A105 Nixon Sentry is conservative with its simple white and gray color scheme with red highlights, but that's just one option of over two dozen. Regardless, there's a nice sense of consistency to every watch in the line. This isn't going to be the watch that grabs the attention of the entire office, but it's a steady and reliable timepiece with a quartz movement that can provide you good performance for a modest price and the means to express your personal style.

Pros
  • Wide variety of color options
  • Date and day window
  • Simple but expressive design
Cons
  • Crown feels a bit flimsy
Face ColorWhite Case Size42 x 11 mm MaterialsStainless steel, leather MovementJapanese quartz Waterproofing100 meters

5. Samsung Galaxy Watch smartwatch

A Feature-Rich Smartwatch, Fairly Priced

Samsung Galaxy Watch smartwatch

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The Apple Watch may be the most popular smartwatch around, but the Galaxy gives Apple a run for their money for a reasonable price. But this particular model is in touch with its roots. It includes dial choices that look absolutely analog while providing you with all the best men watches features from a smart device. That more stripped-down design approach also allows these wristwatches to stay charged for days at a time.

Pros
  • Top of the line smart features
  • Realistically analog dial
Cons
  • Mild difficulty with text syncing
Face ColorBlack Case Size46 x 33 mm MaterialsStainless steel, rubber MovementSmartwatch Waterproofing50 meters

6. Tissot PR 100 Swiss Quartz Dress Watch

The Definition of Boardroom Luxury

Tissot PR 100 Swiss Quartz Dress Watch

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The Tissot PR 100 may look like some of the best mens watches on the market, but it doesn't demand the same prices. The band is loudly silver and makes use of some meticulous links, but the dial is as reserved as can be. That helps rein back what otherwise might be gaudy design choices, but it also makes the dial easier to read than most watches, even accounting for the three chronograph subdials. And holding it all together is Swiss design praised from all over the world.

Pros
  • Bejeweled but not overwhelming design
  • Precise Swiss engineering
Cons
  • May be too flashy for some
Face ColorBlack Case Size41 x 11 mm MaterialsStainless steel MovementSwiss quartz Waterproofing100 meters

7. Seiko 5 Sports Automatic Watch

A Watch For True Sportsmen

Seiko 5 Sports Automatic Watch

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The Seiko 5 has been a constant presence in entry-level mens best watches lists for a year, and the latest entry is just as solid as ever. This is an outdoor watch through and through and tough enough to handle even the most extreme activities. A Seiko automatic movement is designed to last a lifetime, and the Seiko 5 includes both Hardlex crystal protection and a water-resistant level appropriate even for the most enthusiastic beach bums.

Pros
  • Incredibly durable design
  • Easy to read light-up display
Cons
  • Not built for serious divers
Face ColorBlack Case Size43 x 22 mm MaterialsStainless steel MovementAutomatic Waterproofing100 meters

8. Fossil Men’s Nate Stainless Steel Quartz Watch

For Men Who Love Black

Fossil Men’s Nate Stainless Steel Quartz Watch

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The entirety of the Nate's body may just be variations on black, but Fossil has managed to create some serious distinctions in the spaces in between. This is largely accomplished through textured and raised lettering, but it's a bold design choice that's easier to read than you might imagine and certain to draw eyes just about anywhere. And for sports enthusiasts, there are subdials on this quartz timepiece for the second, minute, and hour.

Pros
  • Distinctly monochrome design
  • Chronograph and date window
Cons
  • Black dial difficult to read in the dark
Face ColorBlack Case Size50 x 13 mm MaterialsStainless steel, metal MovementQuartz Waterproofing50 meters

9. Seiko SNKN37 Automatic Self-Wind Watch

A Blast From the Past

Seiko SNKN37 Automatic Self-Wind Watch

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The SNKN37 is a watch your grandfather might have worn, and we mean that as a compliment. It's classic without being nostalgic and retro without being kitsch. More importantly, it's reliable. The self-winding automatic movement ensures that you never have to worry about losing time, just so long as you keep wearing it. The leather strap feels soft and comfortable on the wrist while also expressing a uniquely textured surface.

Pros
  • Stylish, comfortable leather strap
  • Self-winding automatic movement
Cons
  • No luminous indices
Face ColorBlue Case Size44 x 11 mm MaterialsStainless steel, leather MovementAutomatic Waterproofing50 meters

10. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Chronograph

Highly Functional and Powered by Light

Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Chronograph

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The Citizen AT2141-52L takes dive watch design and updates it without making everything cluttered. Three subdials and a date window all share space without getting too crowded, and a large part of that comes down to the muted but outstanding gradient of the blue dial. But the coolest inclusion is Eco-Drive technology - a "solar" battery that lets you charge Eco-Drive watches in both the sun and artificial lighting. and the stainless steel case is sturdy enough for rough use.

Pros
  • Stainless steel case protected by sapphire crystal
  • Impressive Eco-Drive battery
Cons
  • Brightness is a little weak
Face ColorBlue Case Size42 x 11 mm MaterialsStainless steel MovementJapanese quartz Waterproofing100 meters

11. G-Shock GG-1000 MUDMASTER Watch

The Standard for Rugged Performance

G-Shock GG-1000 MUDMASTER Watch

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G-Shock watches are designed for the roughest of use, but the Mudmaster is specifically designed for people who like to play in the dirt. It's entirely mud resistant and makes use of some complex sensors that let it double as a thermometer, a compass, or a stopwatch. And the bright LED means that this watch is easy to read even in the dark. And in case something fails, there's both a digital and analog display built-in. This Casio G-Shock is a great watch strong enough for the military but budgeted for the average consumer.

Pros
  • The most rugged men's watch around
  • Broad assortment of sensors
Cons
  • Not meant to look pretty
Face ColorGray Case Size56 x 15 mm MaterialsStainless steel, resin MovementQuartz Waterproofing200 meters

12. Orient Japanese Automatic Diving Watch

Perfectly Executed Dive Watch Essentials

Orient Japanese Automatic Diving Watch

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Orient recognizes that "ornate" and "attractive" aren't always synonymous. This watch is focused on the dive essentials of dive watches: durability, water resistance, and accuracy. They excel in every aspect while still managing to put their own spin on the aesthetics of dive watches. There's a nice layer of depth to the shades of classic blue in the face, and the indices and hands both have unique personality without straying too far from a formula that works.

Pros
  • Date and day window
  • Power reserve of 40 hours
Cons
  • May stick too close to tradition
Face ColorBlue Case Size42 x 13 mm MaterialsStainless steel MovementJapanese automatic Waterproofing200 meters

13. Citizen AW1361-10H Eco-Drive Avion

A Sublimely Easy to Read Pilot Watch

Citizen AW1361-10H Eco-Drive Avion

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Pilot watches may not be the necessity they once were for aviators, but Citizen makes a convincing argument for their continued value. The "Type B" dial this watch uses is both fun to navigate and incredibly functional, and all three arrays of numbers are easy to parse thanks to the clear lettering and the thoughtful spacing. It also comes with a phenomenal feeling leather band with some exquisite stitching holding it together.

Pros
  • Fun and function Type B dial
  • Clearly displayed pilot information
Cons
  • Poor functionality in the dark
Face ColorGray Case Size45 x 13 mm MaterialsStainless steel, leather MovementJapanese quartz Waterproofing100 meters

14. Seiko SSC139 Excelsior Solar Watch

Looks Like It's From Another World

Seiko SSC139 Excelsior Solar Watch

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The Excelsior doesn't look like any other Eco-Drive watches on the planet. It doesn't look like any other watches on the planet, period. But its futuristic design definitely transforms it into an instant conversation piece, and it manages to pack in a lot of utility to boot. That includes a functional three-dial chronograph and a four-piece step motor. These wristwatches are even water-resistant enough to take with you snorkeling.

Pros
  • Truly one of a kind design
  • Automatically resets to current time
Cons
  • Slightly bulky form factor
• Face ColorBlack Case Size43 x 12 mm MaterialsStainless steel MovementJapanese quartz Waterproofing100 meters

15. Michael Kors Lexington Chronograph

Fashion and Functionality For a Budget

Michael Kors Lexington Chronograph

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Michael Kors is a fashion house, not a watch manufacturer, and that's to their benefit with the Lexington. These are black dial timepieces under $500, but they look like they cost significantly more. There's a nice balance of flash with substance thanks to the combination of ostentatious gold accents and a chronograph that puts those bright accents to more practical use. And if you find yourself not liking the traditional black and gold design, there are over a dozen variations to choose from.

Pros
  • Highly stylish design
  • Fully functional chronograph
Cons
  • Not practical for general use
Face ColorBlack Case Size45 x 13 mm MaterialsStainless steel MovementQuartz Waterproofing100 meters

16. Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle Touchscreen Smartwatch

A Fashion-Forward Approach to Smartwatches

Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle Touchscreen Smartwatch

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The Wear OS is a notoriously finicky smartwatch operating system, but Fossil does an incredible job making the most of it. Beneath the steel case is a battery that can keep pace with the big boys and a processor that won't slow down even during more complex operations. But while Fossil's biggest strength might be what they've done with the OS here, they've also created a clean interface that evokes Apple Watches while still maintaining its own personality.

Pros
  • Up to two days of battery life
  • Simple swipe-based navigation
Cons
  • A little light on features
Face ColorVariable Case Size44 x 12 mm MaterialsStainless steel, silicone MovementDigital Waterproofing30 meters

17. Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Watch

The Standard For Field Watches

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Watch

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The Hamilton Khaki field watch isn't the cheapest watch on this list, but its unobtrusive stainless steel case belies a watch that's built for reliability. The numbering is bright, legible, and backed by some serious luminosity. But the real appeal will be to collectors. This is a watch that was designed to mimic the look of the original field watches to every painstaking detail, and that's reflected in the self-winding mechanical movement. The only concessions they've made for the sake of modernity come down to durability and precision.

Pros
  • Highly authentic field watch design
  • Very bright face
Cons
  • Too simplistic for some customers
Face ColorBlack Case Size38 x 9 mm MaterialsStainless steel, nylon MovementMechanical Waterproofing50 meters

18. Seiko SSA346J1 Presage Cocktail Watch

Seiko's Most Elegant Budget Watch

Seiko SSA346J1 Presage Cocktail Watch

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Seiko may be most known for their sports watches, but they can get dressed up too. The Presage Cocktail evokes art deco sensibilities and the romance of the Jazz Age, and the dial devoted exclusively to tracking the date is a refreshing change from the simple numerical windows packed in so many timepieces. This is a special occasion watch, and that's reflected in the relatively long power reserve.

Pros
  • An ideal choice for parties
  • Cool date tracking dial
Cons
  • Limited circumstance for wearing
Face ColorOff-white Case Size40 x 14 mm MaterialsSteel, leather MovementAutomatic Waterproofing50 meters

19. Swatch YVS444G Irony Night Flight

A Modern Spin on the Pilot Watch

Swatch YVS444G Irony Night Flight

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Pilot watches are often designed through the narrow expectations of nostalgia, but Swatch is blazing new territory with their Night Flight model. It reads bright in day or light and displays all the information you need in an easy to parse format. The three chronographs are fairly easy to read and accompanied by a small but legible date window. And the tachymeter, a crucial necessity in pilot watches, is a real delight to use.

Pros
  • Accurate adjustable tachymeter
  • Full chronograph and date window
Cons
  • Only water-resistant to 30 meters
Face ColorBlack Case Size43 x 13 mm MaterialsSteel MovementQuartz Waterproofing30 meters

20. Seiko Men’s SRPA21 Prospex X Padi

A Legendary Dive Watch With an Earned Reputation

Seiko Men’s SRPA21 Prospex X Padi

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The Seiko Prospex line is one of the most praised sports watch lines in the world, so it's worth paying attention to when they partner with PADI (the Professional Association of Diving Instructors). This is a diving watch that takes its intent seriously, from the responsive but solidly unidirectional click of the bezel to the strict water resistance regulations. Even the emblematic blue and red coloring scheme serves a useful purpose of tracking elapsed time in less than clear waters.

Pros
  • Produced entirely in-house by Seiko
  • Designed in close partnership with PADI
  • Stylish but functional color choice
Cons
  • Can be hard to find in stock
Face ColorBlue Case Size45 x 13.5 mm MaterialsStainless steel MovementAutomatic Waterproofing100 meters

Wrapping Up

If you’re looking for the best watch for mens, there are only so many hours in the day and so many options to pick through. But whether you’re looking to kick it old school or find the latest and coolest timepiece around, we can help you find the top watches under $500. And if you’ve had the chance to test out any of these wristwatches yourself, we encourage to share in the comments below.