Best Watches for Under 500 Dollars for 2018
The humble wristwatch is far more than just a means to tell the time. It is a statement of identity, of style and taste. It tells the world that time matters to you and suggests precision, punctuality, and accuracy are traits that you value.
A good watch is an accessory for all occasions. You get wrist watches, pocket watches and even some that hang from your shirt using a pin or safety clip, such as nurses watches. Make no mistake, it is possible to get good watches sub $500 – and some of them come from the top watch brands.
Review of the Best Watches Under $500 this 2018
- 1. Tissot Heritage Visodate Watch
- 2. Rotary Skeleton Watch
- 3. Junkers Bauhaus Watch
- 4. Apple Smartwatch
- 5. Citizen Nighthawk Eco-Drive Watch
- 6. Garmin Forerunner 230
- 7. Seiko Prospex Diver’s Watch
- 8. Bulova Precisionist
- 9. Victorinox Infantry Watch
- 10. Seagull 1963 Watch
- 11. Garmin D2 Pilot Watch
Part of the style of a watch is the material the watch strap is made from and the material of the watch case (bezel). Then there is the size and shape of the hands and the markings on the dial. Finally, there are the additional functions that the watch does besides telling the time. Most watches include at least the day, date and month, whilst others have much more – ranging from alarms and countdown timers to stopwatches and depth meters. Whether your taste runs to Swiss watches or top watches from other great watch brands, you will find watches rated in 3 main categories: watches below $250 are regarded as fashion watches.
Whether you are looking for a Swiss watch, an automatic watch or a dress watch. Whether you are looking for a divers watch, pilots watch, or a watch that will give you access to technology there are a lot of good men’s watch brands that will suite your needs. So, selecting, buying and wearing a watch is about so much more than just the ability to tell the time. Now let’s take a look at some of the best watches under $500 out there:
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Best Watches under $500 Buying Guide
How should I care for my watch?
Tissot Heritage Visodate Watch
This is a stylish, robust, retro-classic designed, Swiss automatic watch from Tissot – a good watch brand. One of the best automatic watches under $500 on the market you cannot go wrong with the Tissot Heritage. This men’s dress watch is perfect for the man that is upwardly mobile, and going places. It is classy and elegant and lends a certain style to its wearer. The croc-embossed calfskin leather band, stainless steel bezel and automatic Swiss made movement and date window are just the icing on the cake for this great looking watch.
Rotary Skeleton Watch
A great looking, refined men’s dress watch with the added element of interest in the skeleton design which reveals the inner workings of the movement to all. Bound with a crocodile leather strap, finished in warm rose gold and topped with a sapphire crystal, this watch speaks to elegance and style. The wearer will not only get a timepiece that will serve its basic purpose, it will be sure to attract attention. Made by the oldest family-owned and run Swiss watchmaker you will not find a better men’s watch for the money. If you are looking for a watch that offers more than just timekeeping, you found it in the Rotary Skeleton Watch will is our Premium Choice.
Junkers Bauhaus Watch
The Bauhaus design tradition is full of clean, simple, classic lines – and the Junkers Bauhaus Watch delivers on this design aesthetic. To this design language, it adds the features of a power reserve indicator and a 24-hour time format display. It sports an automatic Miyomi movement and looks good on any wrist. A classic quality dress watch for men, the Junkers Bauhaus watch will provide you with the perfect accessory on your wrist. It is water resistant to 30m and features date display window for convenience. All in all, for the money this is one of the best men’s watches for the money and makes it our choice for great value.
How should I care for my watch?
Caring for your watch has two parts: cleaning the watch and general maintenance.
Cleaning your watch:
There are two parts to cleaning a watch; the watch case itself and the strap or bracelet.
The watch case:
- If the watch is not certified water resistant you should only ever use a soft brush and a dry or slightly moist damp cloth to clean the watch.
- If the watch is certified water resistant then you can use a slightly wetter, soapier cloth. DO NOT EVER immerse the watch in hot water.
The watch strap:
- If the watch strap is made of steel, other metals or plastic/rubber then you can also use a slightly damp cloth to clean it.
- If the watch strap is made from leather or fabric then steer clear of water as water can damage the appearance of the strap. Use a dry soft brush or cloth to wipe the strap down instead.
You should have your mechanical watch serviced every 3 – 5 years. This means a qualified watch maker/service technician opens the watch up and cleans the mechanism and inspects for wear and tear. If you have a quartz mechanism battery powered mechanical watch then the moving parts of the mechanism should be inspected when the battery is replaced.
The battery on your quartz watch should be replaced the first time the watch stops – or, if you have a watch with a battery level indicator, as soon as the power indicator show the battery is near the end of its lifespan.
Water resistant watches should have their seals checked and preferably replaced whenever they are opened for a service or when the battery is replaced.
Click here to see our reviews of the top watches for hiking.
If you swim in salt water or your watch is exposed to a lot of sweat, perfume or chemicals you should wipe down the watch with a soft dry cloth as soon as possible after the exposure (after your swim or at the end of the day when you remove the watch and place it on your nightstand). If the watch is water resistant rinse with cold water and then wipe with a soft cloth – especially after a swim in the sea.
Watch mechanisms are delicate and precise pieces of machinery and even a small speck of dust can cause them not to hold time accurately. Not servicing a mechanical watch properly, will likely result in the watch gaining or losing time, and this will lead to your watch not performing as well as it should.
Try to avoid sleeping with your watch on as this can result in the face or strap being scratched or damaged – especially if you are a restless sleeper and/or have a bedframe of hard material.
What do “chronometer” and “chronograph” mean?
A chronometer tells the time. A chronograph records the time. This means that all watches are chronometers. They can all tell you the time of day. Only watches with a built-in stopwatch function is able to record the time and so only these watches qualify as chronographs.
With mechanical watches, the mechanism design has to earn the right to be called a chronometer by passing strict precision and accuracy tests administered by the Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). These tests last 15 days and the watch is not allowed to gain more than 6 seconds or lose more than 4 seconds in a day. Passing this test means that a watch is very accurate and the watch manufacturer is allowed to display the word ‘chronometer’ of the watch face.
Any watch that includes a stopwatch function is allowed to call itself a chronograph.
How can I tell if I’m buying a quality watch?
The first and most obvious sign of the quality of a watch is the manufacturer’s name and tradition – the brand value of the watch. A watchmaker that has been in business producing precise mechanical watches for over 200 years must be doing something right.
Linked to the brand value is where the watch is made and the type of mechanism the watch uses. Legally, only a watch where the movement (the mechanism inside the watch) has been manufactured, placed in the watch casing and inspected in Switzerland is qualified to have ‘Swiss Made’ displayed on the watch face. If the movement is made in Switzerland but the watch is assembled and tested elsewhere in the world then the watch can display ‘Swiss Movement’. If the movement is made anywhere else then the watch is not legally to have ‘Swiss’ anything displayed anywhere on the watch. The Japanese also make high-quality movements – but here you need to check that the movement comes from a reputable manufacturer such as Seiko, Casio, and Citizen (or Miyota, part of Citizen).
Both these measurements are all good and well, but with the number of fakes and counterfeits on the market how do I tell if the watch is the genuine article – that it is likely to be a product of the famous brand and really earned that ‘Swiss’ label?
The first thing to check is the weight and feel of the watch. Quality shows in the materials used in the manufacture of the watch and top rated watches tend to have a weight and heft to them that cheap knockoffs lack. Don’t just glance at the watch. Take a close-up look at the materials. Compare it to other watches. Weigh different watches in your hand – and on your wrist. Comparing watches, though it takes time, will give you a point of reference on which to judge your choice.
The second step is to look at the way the movement operates. Take a good look at the second hand of the watch. If it only moves once a second and the watch makes a definite ‘tick-tock’ sound then you are likely looking at a cheap mechanism or a knockoff. Quality watch movements are precise and accurate things – and often move the second-hand multiple (up to 9) times a second, resulting in a smooth ‘sweep’ of the second hand around the dial of the watch rather than a staccato stop-start-jump every second.
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The ‘glass’ part of the watch that covers the face of the watch should be sapphire crystal. Sapphire is incredibly hard and scratch resistant and any watch over $300 that does not have a sapphire crystal cover is not likely to be all that it is made out to be. Glass and mineral crystal covers are just not good enough.
The final point is accuracy and is harder to measure. To check accuracy, you can visit the watch seller multiple times spread over days and check the time displayed on the watch. You can then compare the time displayed on the watch to what you know to be the correct time (if you have a smartphone you can visit one of the many atomic clock sites on the web that display the time accurately down to the nanosecond). If the watch loses or gains more than 10 seconds a day then you know that it is not a chronometer, no matter what is printed on its face!
The last, common sense thing to add to make sure that your watch is quality is to look at the dealer and the price of the watch. If the price is too good to be true, then it probably is – and you are likely buying a fake. And the thing about buying a fake is, no matter how good it looks on you, deep down inside you know it is a fake and that colors your perception of yourself and potentially taints the image you project in the world. Even an amateur horologist (watch lover) is likely to be able to identify the fake and see the faint taint of desperation and shabbiness that attaches itself to the wearer of a fake ‘brand name’ watch.
Watches are personal items that do far more than tell the time. They speak of your identity, your purpose, your tastes, and attitudes. Sure, your smartphone can tell the time – but it simply does not have the verve and pizazz of a top-notch wrist watch. It’s time that you started telling the time in style. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a high-quality men’s watch, there are many watches under 500 dollars that will look good on your wrist and meet your requirements in a watch, from a dedicated pilots watch to divers to an elegant men’s dress watch or just a gift for your teenager, watches are great for any situation.