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Tested: 8 Best Affordable Men’s Watches Under $150

  • May 8, 2024
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Tested: 8 Best Affordable Men’s Watches Under $150

Watch collecting can be an expensive hobby, but it doesn’t have to be. While luxury timepieces should only be purchased by the people who can afford it, there are plenty of magnificent brands doing some fine work in the sub-$150 range, and oftentimes without making you feel like you’re wearing a cheap timepiece at all. For those of you who are on a budget for your next wristwatch, we present you with our guide to the best men’s watches under $150, where we were able to test out our favorites.

How We Tested

Compared to the higher-end luxury watches, quality timepieces will become fewer and farther between the cheaper you get. Fortunately, we love our affordable beaters just as much as the next guy and have spent a considerable amount of time in this space. As such, many of the watches on this list were favorites of ours long before getting this assignment. Nevertheless, we still scoured the space to see if we missed anything, compiling together a short list of options that took into account aesthetic, case material, movement, and, of course, price.

From there, we acquired our units for testing and spent several days with each timepiece, looking at how each one fits, feels, and functions. The following guide highlights our favorites and details what we loved, liked, and didn’t love about each one.

Wrist Size: We should also mention that our tester has a wrist diameter of around 8″, so keep that in mind when comparing it to your own wrist.

A quick note on price point: While our guide is technically highlighting our favorite watches under $150, we focused specifically on the $100-$150 price point as we have other hands-on video guides dedicated to the best watches under $100 and our favorites under $200 as well.

Video Review: The Best Watches Under $150

Photos can only get you so far when it comes to showcasing these beauties. Take a closer look at our pared-down favorites in this 4K review of the best men’s watches under $150 currently on the market.

What to Look For

Aesthetic: When looking for a budget watch, aesthetic will be more of a determining factor than ever. Buy a watch that helps you express your style and that you’d want to show off on your wrist all day. Or you can opt for something a bit more understated. It’s up to you!

Case Size: Case size doesn’t just help sway wrist presence but can be a considerable factor in terms of comfort. Know what you prefer before shopping. If you have smaller wrists, anything over 40mm in diameter will be less comfortable than the sub-40mm options.

Material: Though your options might be limited at this price point, you’ll still want to stay away from cheap plastic material. However, sturdy resin like the one in a lot of G-SHOCK watches or stainless steel will be your best bet.

Water Resistance: You can still find watches with considerable water resistance at this price point, although it’s less common than your pricier divers. 50m or 100m should do the trick but don’t count out a good watch just because it’s merely splash resistant.

Movement: Another facet that may be a bit limited at this price range, the movements of your sub-$150 timepieces will largely be quartz or battery, but with a few automatic options still available. But don’t fear; quartz movements are more accurate than their automatic counterparts, and you don’t have to wind them up before using them.

G-Shock GA700UC-5A

Pros
  • Analog-hybrid time display syncs together
  • Very cool running seconds display
  • Incredibly rugged
Cons
  • Color options won’t be for everyone
  • Large, albeit lightweight

G-SHOCK has always been a reliable source for finding decent timepieces under $150, but this GA700UC can even be found under $100! Known for their incredibly rugged, often indestructible wristwatches, the Casio sublabel offers this analog-digital hybrid piece in a military-inspired case color and hyper-utilitarian layout that includes a running seconds display that’s among the coolest we’ve ever seen. The analog display and digital screens sync together to give you two ways to read the time. Other features include 200m of water resistance, a world time function, alarms, a stopwatch, a timer, and a quartz battery with 5 years of life.

Dating back almost a decade, the GA700 family blends G-SHOCK’s penchant for durable watches with its budget-friendly tenets better than anything else from the brand. Quite the presence at 53.4mm across, 18.4mm thick, and a lug-to-lug of 57.5mm, this watch is still only 2.4oz thanks to its resin case, making it among the lightest watches you’ll find, and at over 10mm wider than your average beater. It also sports a 5-button design with the 5th being a front-facing activator of the Illuminator LED below the dial for convenience.

Case Size: 53.4mm
Case Material: Resin
Movement: Quartz
Water Resistance: 200m

Seiko SNKL45

Pros
  • Automatic movement
  • Handsome style
  • Great proportions

You’ll notice a lot of Japanese options on these budget-friendly lists, and that’s because Japan’s early adoption of quartz calibers is credited with helping fuel the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s. However, Seiko has transcended these stipulations, making what we consider the finest budget automatic watches on the planet. While Seiko has been phasing out the SNK family, you can still find these affordable mechanical watches on secondary markets and even Amazon, such as this handsome SNKL45.

Featuring attractive styling with its 38mm stainless steel case, this timepiece has some great proportions for just about every wrist size and a compact lug-to-lug of 42mm. Underneath the ’60s-style Hardlex, the clean and simple glossy black dial sports metallic markers and framed Dauphine handset, beating with a 7S26 caliber which can be seen through the exposition caseback. If we had to change one thing it would be the bracelet, which is expectedly non-premium. However, it does offer a clasp with plenty of micro-adjustments and can even be easily swapped out with a third-party option.

Case Size: 38mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Movement: Automatic
Water Resistance: 30m

G-Shock GA2100BCE-1A

Pros
  • Features a Cordura strap in lieu of resin bracelet
  • Insanely rugged
  • Arguably G-SHOCK’s most stylish model
  • Bluetooth phone link
Cons
  • Case might be too large for some, albeit lightweight

You may know G-SHOCK for its incredibly durable tool watches but still, arguably, its most beloved model is the octagonal 2100, which balances ruggedness with style-forward streetwear in a way few other brands can consistently do. The model we looked at here is the GA2100BCE, which admittedly leans more into field watch territory with its hardwearing Cordura strap in place of the traditional resin bracelet. Here, it’s been given sleek metallic strap loops and buckle hardware.

Slightly more fashion-forward than the already-stylish 2100, this GA2100BCE brings you everything you love about the “CasiOak,” as fans call it lovingly for its similarities to AP’s Royal Oak. Like the standard 2100, you get an analog-digital hybrid display, the brand’s Tough Solar movement, Bluetooth smartphone integration, and a 45.4mm carbon-infused resin case, which might be a bit large for some but is extremely lightweight nonetheless. Durability-wise, this offers much of the same from G-SHOCK, with shock-resistant Carbon Core Guard Contruction and 200m of water resistance.

Case Size: 45.4mm
Case Material: Resin
Movement: Solar-powered quartz
Water Resistance: 200m

Bertucci #11201 DX3 Super

Pros
  • Lots of attention to detail
  • Premium NATO strap
  • Very lightweight case
  • Nice contrast with black case/dial and silver strap

A great way to stretch your dollar further while having a great daily beater is by opting for a field watch. Highly utilitarian wrist companions, these timepieces ooze traditional, rugged military influence against solid specifications from top to bottom. For this price range, Bertucci’s offerings are some of the best, such as this special-edition DX3, which commemorates the 10th anniversary of the American brand’s DX3 field watch and proves just how much attention they’ve given to every detail.

Although Bertucci was mostly known for its proclivity for titanium field watches, the DX3 was a new direction for the brand with its fiber-reinforced polycarbonate case. Due to the case material, this field watch is notably more lightweight than the competition while also being extremely durable. Despite the NATO strap between the caseback and wrist, the timepiece still appears quite thin on the wrist, in part thanks to the 11mm thickness and 40mm diameter. We love the matte silver offset crown, which contrasts the matte black case and matches the strap loops and hardware. Water-resistant to 100m and powered by a quartz movement, the watch also sports a 4 o’clock date window with a large cyclops to help it stand out. At this price point, the NATO strap is also one of the best we’ve seen.

Case Size: 40mm
Case Material: Fiber-reinforced polycarbonate
Movement: Quartz
Water Resistance: 100m

Casio A1100-1VT

Pros
  • Unique button layout
  • Great retro aesthetic
  • Quality link bracelet
  • Swaps stainless steel for original resin case
Cons
  • Small diameter but wears slightly larger
  • Standard feature set

Casio seems to be focusing a lot on vintage reissues in recent years, and we honestly can’t complain. These low-end watches are fun to wear and a great conversation starter when out and about. One of our favorites is the new A1100-1VT –– a revival of the 52QS-14B, featuring very minor changes for a faithful resurrection. The original was a quirky late-’70s design that’s bolstered the quality a bit by swapping in stainless steel for the case rather than resin with steel coating. Other changes include the full-metal buttons on the front and a new quartz caliber inside.

A lot smaller than your average men’s watch at 35mm across, the watch still wears slightly larger thanks to the almost integrated flat link bracelet (which we love!) that nearly extends to the lug-to-lug over the wrist. One of the unique features of the watch is the button configuration on the front, opting for this over a more traditional side-oriented button layout. Each button is labeled with fine central engraving, easing you into the watch’s features, including the stopwatch, alarms, calendar, and LED glow, which are all admittedly standard on your budget Casios.

Case Size: 35mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Movement: Quartz
Water Resistance: Unspecified

Citizen Garrison

Pros
  • Eco-Drive movement gets power from any light source
  • Cool contrast you’d find on pricier watches
  • Rugged yet simple
Cons
  • No NATO strap
  • Could use a secondary timing feature

Yet another Japanese watch brand with affordable prices, Citizen is one of the biggest watchmakers in the world for a reason. In 1976, it came out with the first-ever light-powered quartz watch and has continued to push solar tech further with its renowned Eco-Drive movements, which doesn’t just get power from the sun but any light source. After just 11 hours of exposure, you’ll get a whopping 6 months of use in total darkness. The tech is used here in the Garrison field watch, a rugged yet simple 37mm budget piece with 100m of water resistance thanks to the knurled push-pull crown.

Set against a deep velvety black dial are the bright white markers and Arabic numerals, providing fantastic contrast found on higher-end options from other brands. We do wish the dial sported a secondary timing feature along the likes of a pilot’s watch, but only because this piece reminds us so much of one. Likewise, unlike your average field watch, the Garrison doesn’t utilize a slip-through NATO strap, though there is a built-in stitched fabric strap with faux leather backing that’s not bad.

Case Size: 37mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Movement: Eco-Drive solar
Water Resistance: 100m

Timex Waterbury Traditional Day/Date

Pros
  • Case is impeccably finished
  • Great proportions
  • Premium leather band
  • Cool nods to the original Waterbury brand while remaining modern
  • Considerable dial depth

If you’ve been wondering where the other budget giant is, you’ll be happy to know that the remaining two timepieces in this guide are from the one-and-only Timex. First up is the Waterbury Traditional Day/Date, paying tribute to the brand’s American heritage when it was called the Waterbury Clock Company as early as 1854. One of the most handsome and underrated everyday wristwatches you’ll find, the model isn’t a reissue like many other Timex releases. On the contrary, this is a modern creation, albeit not without a few vintage homages. For instance, there’s the Waterbury logo on the second hand counterbalance, as well as below the 7 spot.

Accessibly proportioned at 39mm in diameter and 46mm lug-to-lug, the stainless steel case is our favorite aspect with its impeccable finish, blending a detailed blend of brushing and high polish. Likewise, the deep-set dial and brushed flange are nice touches, which pair with the raised Arabic numerals to give the dial considerable depth. Powered by a quartz movement, the watch is adorned with a beautiful leather band that also punches way above its price point here.

Case Size: 39mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Movement: Quartz
Water Resistance: 100m

Q Timex Reissue LCA

Pros
  • Unique pseudo-analog second ticker on the digital dial
  • Retro charm
  • Integrated case shape helps with size
Cons
  • Small case
  • Cheap Chinese-made movement and components

On the other hand from the modern-day Waterbury above are the Q Timex revivals, which are modern quartz re-editions celebrating the brand’s prowess and ingenuity during the Quartz Crisis in the ’70s and ’80s. Here, we’re talking about the Q Timex Reissue LCA (liquid crystal analog), a throwback to the late ’80s sporting a completely digital face with a pseudo-analog ticking seconds hand. Rivaling Casio’s similar gold-toned retro pieces, but lifting it to another level, this watch is unique, budget-friendly, and yet still feels premium.

The watch is just 32.5mm in diameter, which may be small for many wearers. However, the flat integrated case shape helps mitigate this smaller size a bit so that it wears larger. Operated with a set of four buttons on the side, the timepiece has dual time, an alarm, a timer, and a stopwatch for its functions. Unsurprising considering the price tag, the watch is powered by a Chinese-made quartz movement with a hefty amount of Chinese components as well, which all help keep costs down. But regardless, this is an impressive piece.

Case Size: 32.5mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Movement: Quartz
Water Resistance: 30m

Tested: The Best Automatic Watches Under $500

Best Automatic Watches Under 500 0 Hero
All Photography: HICONSUMPTION

If your budget is a little higher, then head over to our guide to the best automatic watches under $500 where we tested out our favorites.


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