Best Mechanical Watches for 2020

Best Overall

Seiko Men’s SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch

Seiko Men’s SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch
  • Bold green face with white numerals
  • Includes a day and date window
  • Luminous accents for reading in the dark
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Premium Choice

Oris Divers Heritage Sixty-Five Automatic Mens Watch

Oris Divers Heritage Sixty-Five Automatic Mens Watch
  • One of the handsomest automatic watch designs we've seen
  • Luminous hands and hour markers
  • Dial protected by sapphire glass
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Great Value

Orient Men’s “Sun and Moon Version 4” Automatic Stainless Watch

Orient Men’s “Sun and Moon Version 4” Automatic Stainless Watch
  • Very cool sun and moon dial
  • Displays the day and date
  • A bold art deco inspired design
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If you want a watch that’s built to last for a good long time without the need to replace the batteries, a manual watch provides one of the best alternatives. Since they get their power from the movement of your wrist, you never have to worry about your battery running out on you (just so long as you keep your mechanical watch in regular use).

If you’re looking for the best mechanical watches of the new year, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled a list of 10 of the best models you’ll find anywhere. We’ve also included a dedicated guide to the specifications and features you should pay attention to when shopping for the best mechanical watch.

10 Best Mechanical Watches

Best Overall

1. Seiko Men’s SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch

Seiko Men’s SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel WatchHotRate Editors Choice

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The SNK805 from Seiko takes the functional design of a field automatic watch, strips out all but the essentials, and delivers it for a great price. The result is one of the best mechanical watches for consumers who are working on a tighter budget. Green dominates everything from the face to the comfortable nylon strap, and the military style design utilizes Arabic numerals that are easy to read in any environment. That's further accentuated by the presence of bright luminous accents for reading it in the dark. And while you shouldn't go swimming with this watch, you can wear it in the shower or in the rain without worrying about it taking any damage thanks to being water resistant at depths of 100 feet.

Key Features
  • Bold green face with white numerals
  • Includes a day and date window
  • Luminous accents for reading in the dark
  • Buckle closure supports different wrist sizes
MovementJapanese automatic, caliber 7S26B Water ResistanceYes, to 100 feet Case Dimensions37 x 11 mm MaterialsStainless steel (case), nylon (band)
Premium Choice

2. Oris Divers Heritage Sixty-Five Automatic Mens Watch

Oris Divers Heritage Sixty-Five Automatic Mens Watch

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The Oris Heritage doesn't look like your traditional automatic movement dive watch, but that's part of its charm. Gone is the traditional blue and white color scheme in favor of the distinct contrast of black dial and case and white numbering. Of course, with a price tag approaching $1500, this watch is as much a status symbol as it is a way to keep track of time underwater, but divers can definitely count on it to serve them in a pinch. Since it's water resistant to a depth of 330 feet, it's a suitable choice for swimming and diving, and it also includes a top of the line unidirectional bezel for more safely tracking your time underwater.

Key Features
  • One of the handsomest automatic watch designs we've seen
  • Luminous hands and hour markers
  • Dial protected by sapphire glass
  • Durable unidirectional diving bezel
MovementOris automatic Caliber 733 Water ResistanceYes, to 330 feet Case Dimensions40 x 8 mm MaterialsStainless steel (case), rubber (band)
Great Value

3. Orient Men’s “Sun and Moon Version 4” Automatic Stainless Watch

Orient Men’s “Sun and Moon Version 4” Automatic Stainless Watch

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If you're looking for watch brands that will combine elegance with functionality, there's no better choice than Orient. And for our money, there's no cooler looking Orient watch than the Sun and Moon. With a style that evokes art deco sensibilities, it stands distinctly apart from all the other automatic movement watches on the market. And despite the presence of three chronograph dials, the face isn't overly crowded. These dials tell you both the date and the day of the week, but the coolest inclusion is a sun and moon dial with some expertly crafted symbols. This watch is certain to be a conversation piece everywhere from the office to the street.

Key Features
  • Very cool sun and moon dial
  • Displays the day and date
  • A bold art deco inspired design
  • Available in gold, rose gold, and white
MovementSwiss automatic Water ResistanceYes, to 165 feet Case Dimensions42.5 x 14 mm MaterialsStainless steel (case), leather (band)

4. Timex Marlin Automatic Black/Silver One Size

Timex Marlin Automatic Black/Silver One Size

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There's a simple elegance to the Timex that will be appealing to a lot of men, and we can't think of many mechanical watches that have the bold sense of style that this model does. Stripped of numerals and fitted with a dark black dial, this watch removes all but the most basic essentials in favor of a timepiece well suited to more professional situations. The one extravagance packed in to the face is a date dial that keeps you up to date clearly without sticking out like a sore thumb. As a nod towards these intentions, Timex has even included a display case with every watch they deliver. And it's a reliable choice too, thanks to the high-quality automatic movement built in.

Key Features
  • Available in three styles
  • Soft and comfortable leather band
  • Date window built into the black dial
  • High quality Timex craftsmanship
MovementAutomatic Water ResistanceYes, to 100 feet Case Dimensions40 x 19.8 mm MaterialsStainless steel (case), leather (band)

5. Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Watch

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Watch

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Like the Seiko SNK805 watch design for man, the Hamilton is a timepiece that draws inspiration from military field watches. But in lieu of the army green design, Hamilton has instead opted for a sleek black and white aesthetic. The printed Arabic numerals display both traditional and military time, and they're bold and bright enough to read at just a glance. The silver tone hands are even luminescent so you can read them more easily in the dark or while underwater. And this is a sturdier watch than the SNK805 as well thanks to the inclusion of durable and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that protects the dial. And the smaller design means this is a watch that both men and women can wear comfortably.

Key Features
  • Displays regular and military time
  • Brightly luminescent hands
  • Protected by sapphire crystal
  • Decent level of water resistance
MovementMechanical hand wind Water ResistanceYes, to 165 feet Case Dimensions38 x 9.5 mm MaterialsStainless steel (case), NATO nylon (band)

6. Zodiac Men’s Olympos Stainless Steel Swiss-Automatic Watch

Zodiac Men’s Olympos Stainless Steel Swiss-Automatic Watch

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Switzerland watches represent the pinnacle of watchmaking for many customers, but the Olympos by Zodiac takes things to the next level. The gold face adds a level of opulence that we haven't seen in many watches, and it's further complemented by a pretty unique trapezoid design that adds some heft, weight, and elegance to the overall look. And rather than opting for a traditional stainless steel bracelet, this mechanical watch employs a soft, comfortable, and appealing genuine black leather band. This watch bears an asking price of about $800, but for those with discerning tastes, we think the automatic movement here is worth every cent. Zodiac has been producing these watches since 1961, but they're as gorgeous now as they were decades ago.

Key Features
  • Gold tone case and dial
  • Comfortable black leather strap
  • Legacy dating back over half a century
  • Date window at the 3 o'clock marker
MovementSwiss automatic Water ResistanceYes, to 165 feet Case Dimensions45 x 10 mm MaterialsStainless steel (case), leather (band)

7. Dan Henry 1970 Automatic Diver

Dan Henry 1970 Automatic Diver

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Dan Henry is a legend in the world of watch collecting. If you want to check out watches by brand, he's built a collection of thousands and created one of the most thorough resources for watch collectors available. And now he's got his own brand of watch in the 1970. This is an undeniably cool watch that takes clear inspiration from racing watches. The combination of peach, black, and silver may be a bit unconventional, but it creates an aesthetic like no other, especially with the larger, blocky designs of the indices. Just keep in mind that this vintage style timepiece with automatic movement is a limited edition, so you could find fierce competition for a copy. And the 41 hour power reserve means you can go almost two days without wearing it.

Key Features
  • Designed by legendary Dan Henry
  • Bright peach chapter ring
  • Date window at the 3 o'clock marker
  • Offers a 41 hour power reserve
MovementJapanese automatic Water ResistanceYes, to 656 feet Case Dimensions44 x 14.8 mm MaterialsStainless steel (case), rubber (band)

8. Junghans Max Bill Max Bill Hand-Winding Watch

Junghans Max Bill Max Bill Hand-Winding Watch

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While we've featured a lot of minimalist timepieces on this best of list, none of them can match the Max Bill by Junghans in terms of cleanly minimal sophistication. Both the indices and the hands are razor thin, and the bezel itself is incredibly slim, letting the face here really shine. And the absence of any additional windows or subdials results in a clean look that will appeal to a ton of modern consumers. Both the markers and the hands are luminous for easier reading in the dark. The Max Bill is produced entirely in Germany, and it's unisex in design. And the material craftsmanship is great across the board. The band is made from soft calfskin leather and the case from durable and scratch resistant stainless steel.

Key Features
  • A masterpiece in the Bauhaus style
  • A thin and lightweight design
  • Appropriate for both men and women
  • Illuminated hands and hour markers
MovementMechanical hand winding caliber J805.1 Water ResistanceYes, to 100 feet Case Dimensions34 x 9 mm MaterialsStainless steel (case), calfskin leather (band)

9. TAG Heuer Men’s CAU1111.BA0858 Formula 1 Stainless Steel Watch

TAG Heuer Men’s CAU1111.BA0858 Formula 1 Stainless Steel Watch

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This Formula 1 model from Tag Heuer is a lot of watch for a lot of money, but it's easily one of the best luxury options available anywhere. Rather than lean into the minimalist design that's become so popular for dress watches, Tag Heuer has taken the effort to pack as much information as possible into the face here. A tachymeter bezel helps you make the most out of the already meaty three chronograph subdials built into the face. And with a quartz movement fully crafted in Switzerland, you can count on this timepiece to continue to serve you for years to come.

Key Features
  • An appropriate choice for water sports
  • Three chronograph dials built in
  • Includes a tachymeter bezel
  • Date dial at the four o'clock marker
MovementSwiss quartz Water ResistanceYes, to 660 feet Case Dimensions42 x 11.6 mm MaterialsStainless steel (case and band)

10. Tissot T Classic Le Locle Automatic Black Dial Black Leather Mens Watch

Tissot T Classic Le Locle Automatic Black Dial Black Leather Mens Watch

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For a lot of brands, watches are priced largely according to the popularity of the brand, but Tissot has made a name for themselves delivering visually arresting watches with reliable functionality for a decent price. The Tissot T Classic Le Locle is one of our favorites by them. A minute chronograph and a date window are great watch features in any model, but Tissot brings a lot of life to the dial thanks to the textured face and the elegant combination of rose gold and black that makes up its larger design. And Tissot has opted for more classical Roman numerals that are bold and easy to read.

Key Features
  • Date marker at the 3 o'clock marker
  • Sixty second chronograph built in
  • Gorgeous black and rose gold design
  • Offers a 42 hour power reserve
MovementSwiss automatic Water ResistanceYes, to 100 feet Case Dimensions39 x 9 mm MaterialsStainless steel (case), leather (band)

Mechanical Watch Buyer’s Guide

There was a long time when mechanical watches were treated like a bygone relic, but as more and more customers look back to the past, the appeal of mechanical watches are being rediscovered. The craftsmanship and care that go into a mechanical watch makes it not just a way to tell time but also a fashion accessory and a personal statement. Finding the best mechanical watches often involve personal preferences. We can’t help you decide whether you want a silver dial or blue dial, but we can provide you with advice on more tangible things. Keep reading to learn more about the type of mechanical watch you want to wear.

Movement

When discussing the best automatic movement, one word appears more than any other: Swiss. And there’s a reason for that. To truly qualify as a Swiss watch, the manufacturer must meet certain standards. A majority of parts must be made in Switzerland, and the movement itself must pass certification. Considering the sorts of expectations that Swiss mechanical watches entail, that’s a pretty solid standard of quality. Just make sure that the automatic movement a manufacturer promises is actually legitimate.

That being said, Swiss watches aren’t the be all and end all. There are some truly impressive Japanese movements available, with the Miyoto movements being some of the most prolific and popular. All of the movements on our list are quality, but if you’re really meticulous, you may want to research the specific movements of any watches you find that aren’t on our list.

Water Resistance

If you don’t plan on taking your watch swimming, just about any watch will do, but water resistance becomes significantly more important if you’re looking for a watch you can take with you to the ocean or go diving with. We generally recommend a watch with a waterproof rating of 660 feet, or 200 meters, if you plan to use your watch while diving. Half of that will be fine if you’re just going to go snorkeling or swimming in shallower waters.

Materials

Almost all of the watch cases on the market today are crafted from stainless steel. It’s a fairly affordable material that has a nice smooth finish and is resistant to damage and scratching. Copper is also a material that’s relatively prevalent, but it’s more prone to damage. If you want the most damage resistant watches on the market, you should look for models that are made from titanium. Similarly, most cases are protected by mineral glass. More heavy duty ones will offer a screen of Hardlex or sapphire glass.

The form your band takes is more a matter of personal preference. Whether you want a stainless steel bracelet, leather band, or rubber strap depends on where you’ll be wearing it. Rubber obviously isn’t the best choice for wearing around the office, but it’s a great option if you want a sports watch you can wear around the gym.

Features

The right features for any different watch are going to be contingent on what you plan on using it for. If you want to wear your watch around the office, all you really need to worry about is the form. Consider how it looks on your wrist, how well it will coordinate with your various outfits, and whether or not you can see yourself wearing it for a long time. A watch brand like Rolex or Victorinox often offers a way of flexing your status, and that allows manufacturers to charge a premium on watches that would otherwise cost far less.

If you need something more pragmatic, you’ll have a whole selection of other features to consider. Diving watches will obviously need a high water resistant rating, but serious divers will tell you that yo need a unidirectional rotating bezel as well. Without a mechanical way to track how long you’ve been underwater, you could be putting yourself at risk. Regular business travels, meanwhile, can really take advantage of a display that shows off the world time and a GPS system that syncs up with whatever time zone you’re in. Ultimately, consider why you need your watch, and you can narrow down the features that matter from there.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Mechanical Watches Worth it?

That really depends on what you want from a watch. They aren’t as accurate as most modern quartz watches, but their meticulous design makes them a work of high craftsmanship. The amount of moving parts that go into a mechanical watch are astonishing, and we highly recommend one if you want to display your discerning sense of taste.

What is the Best Brand of Watch?

We don’t like to pay too much attention to what brand is “best”. Your needs will play a large part in what sort of watch you should look for, and there are simply too many quality manufacturers to name just one. If you pay attention to the features and specs you need, you’re bound to find the top brand for you accordingly.

Why are Mechanical Watches Expensive?

They don’t have to be. While mechanical watches are generally a bit more expensive than their battery powered contemporaries, the price range they cover is vast. You can find a decent mechanical watch for less than $100, or you could find yourself spending thousands for the most outstanding models on the market.

How long does a Mechanical watch Last?

In terms of overall life, a mechanical watch could hypothetically last forever. Unlike a watch, there’s no shelf life on the gears that make up the inside of a mechanical watch. That said, a watch with a mechanical movement does need to be wound regularly. Typical mechanical watches will need to be wound ever 24 to 48 hours, but some can last a week or more on a single wind.

Final Thoughts

We hope you’ve found our guide to the best mechanical watches of 2020 informative. We think any watch on our list is worthy of your attention, but we’ve also tried to provide you with the information people need to shop with discretion. Whatever your price range or your taste, HotRate is always working hard to find nice and affordable products for our readers. Be sure to come back whenever you’re in need of shopping advice.