Affordable Swiss Made Watches in 2018
Swiss made watches like Rolex, Omega and Philippe Patek are renowned throughout the world for their quality, longevity and luxury. However, most of us cannot afford the thousands of dollars require to buy one.
That leaves less rich people like you and me with the question: what are the most affordable Swiss Made watches on the market today?
Well, the good news is, there are quite a lot of options. From super cheap and replacable, to the more luxurious but not over the top priced brands.
So, in this detailed review I will show you, starting from the cheapest, what your options are.
Swatch has only been around since the 1980s, but they sure made a huge mark on the watch making industry. Super affordable, ultra-reliable and durable watches for everyday use. These watches normally range between 50 and 100 dollars.
I gave my mother one for a present a number of years ago. It was a watch intended to be used when she goes Dragon Boat racing (so it gets wet & not well treated). She showed it to me a few weeks ago and said it just “keeps on going”. It also looked like new.
Sure, these watches are mostly made of plastic and rubber, but the quartz movement inside runs like clockwork, literally. It keeps time well, runs for years and might even outlast you.
Swatches come in a huge range of shapes and colors and are very suited for casual and sports.
Other Swatch Models
2. Victorinox Watches
Originally world-famous for their Swiss Army Knives, which many of us have somewhere in a drawer at home, Victorinox have rebranded themselves over the last decade as a producer of rock solid, quality travel gear and watches. If you come through Zurich airport you will see one of their branded stores on the way out of the arrivals and you can see the huge range of products they now produce.
Their watches range from the very simple and minimalistic, to the more classic diver and dress watches. They also have a range of watches called INOX which are built to be almost bullet proof. They have undergone so many crazy tests that it became part of the Victorinox advertising for the watches. You can see some of the videos here.
Victorinox Swiss Army Maverick Watch
Perhaps the most popular model they have sold, the Maverick is a unique diver’s watch that you can wear almost anywhere. It has some great features including an inner 24 hour time marker ring, a date window at 6 o’clock and a battery life indicator, which is a lifesaver I find.
Victorinox might not have been originally a watch making company, but they have quickly caught up with the big guns and are now producing top-notch watches you can keep wearing with pride for years to come.
Other Victorinox Models
Absolutely oozing Swiss Watch history, Tissot have been around since 1853 (the date is even on their watches). They were founded in Le Locle, which is about as quintessentially “Swiss Watch” as you can get. It is the center of Swiss watch making in the Jura mountains.
Tissot are renowned for their elegant yet affordable Swiss watches, and they make a broad range of models from the simple white face with silver markers, to the more complex and sporty with chronograph. No matter which one you choose, these are the kind of watch that look stunning, yet don’t break the bank.
Tissot Couturier Black (T035.617.16.051.00)
Focusing on a popular Tissot Chronograph, this model blends their ability to create stunning, elegant watches with a modern brushed steel/leather combination and a chronograph.
With the typical 3 sub-dial (hour, min, sec) chornograph, but dominating the dial, this watch also has a subtle tachymetre on the bezel. It’s all black and steel coloring lends itself to almost any style- casual, work or a night on the town.
Other Tissot Models
Not a name most people outside of Europe know, but Certina have been in the watch making game since 1888 when they opened their first factory, making movements, in Grenchen. They since expanded to a full watch maker and became part of the Swatch family in 1983.
Certina make a huge range of watches from quartz to automatic, and sporty to dress watches. They are more focused on sports watches since the introduction of the DS range (extreme shock and 200m water resistance). Of course, not all their watches have this rating or are intended for sports, but it is something they have become known for.
Certina DS Action Blue Dial
A classic mix of style and Certina’s DS rating, the Action Blue will certainly not disappoint. The stunningly radiant blue face will stand out in a crows, yet the simplicity and elegance of the triangular hour markers with the date window at 6 o’clock ensure this is a watch that you can wear out or to work as well.
It comes built to last with a stainless steel band and case are of course made of medical grade stainless steel, a quartz movement that will run for years, and a face that is protected by sapphire crystal.
Other Certina Models
Originally an American owned company based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Hamilton is now a part of the huge Swatch brand of watches. That also means that their watches are now assembled in Switzerland and can bear the “Swiss Made” tag on their watches.
Hamilton have associated themselves a lot with both Aviation and movie stars over the years and have a few iconic watches that everyone seems to know. These include the Jazzmaster and the Khaki Field watches, both of which you would be happy to have in your watch collection.
Hamilton Khaki Field
Hamilton’s Khaki Field is a watch you will see mentioned a lot in the watch world. It is a solidly designed watch made with quality materials. What more can you ask?
It is the kind of watch you can wear as a daily beater that is reliable, affordable and will stand the test of time. It can be compared to it’s far cheaper counterpart the Timex Expedition, but let’s face it, this is Swiss quality.
Featuring an Swiss Automatic movement (on a sub-500 dollar watch!), scratch resistant sapphire glass, 100m water-resistance and a comfy brown leather band, this is a keeper for sure!
Other Hamilton Models
A relative newcomer on the market, and certainly not bearing the tradition and history of the likes of Tissot and Hamilton, Torgoen is still a brand worth checking out. They are actually a US based company founded by two aviators with 20 years of watch making experience. They decided to use Swiss movements in their watches, but, on top of that also make them there. So, they are are “Swiss Made”.
Their focus is on Aviator style watches, with easy to read faces that have a style that you will rarely see on watches today. So, for many people, including Richard Branson apparently, Torgeon’s style helps them stand out.
Torgoen T16 Swiss Chronograph Pilot Watch
A typical Torgeon style watch with the large arabic hour markers every 3 hours, this is a watch that looks absolutely stunning and unique. It is also a little on the large side for some at 44mm, so if you wrist is small, check out some of the other options from Torgeon instead.
It also features a 3 dial chronograph and a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock, so it is packed full of features.
Other Torgoen Models
7. TAG Heuer
Heading into the slightly more expensive brands, TAG Heuer watches are one of the more luxurious brands in this review. In fact, a few well known celebrities like Brad Pitt and Leonardo Di Caprio have been known to wear these watches, so you know these watches are worth their weight in gold. Even Adam Savage of Myth Busters has a TAG Heuer (ahem, copy) and Walt was given a classic (the Monaco) as a gift in Breaking Bad.
TAG Heuer is another of those brands that has also pushed the envelope in many areas of watch making in the past, and continues to do so today. They also heavily support the Formula 1 sport, which is obvious from their most popular watch below.
Tag Heuer Formula 1 Stainless Steel
Tag Heuer might not be as cheap as some of the other Swiss watches in this review, but they are top-notch luxury watches that are affordable. Most watches, including this popular Formula 1 model are just over one thousand dollars. Compare that to a Rolex which starts at 7000.
The only thing this watch is missing is an automatic movement, but for the rest it has 200m water resistance, a 3 dial chrono, a date window and a tachymetre. The black and sliver combination also exudes style with the matching large buttons, including the protected crown. The brushed steel band just tops it all off.
Other TAG Heuer Models
Another truly Swiss watch company dating back to the early 1900s, Oris was founded in the small town of Holstein near Basel.
Being away from the other main watch making areas in the French part of Switzerland, Oris seems to always come up with their own ideas, parts and inventions. It got them into some trouble in the early years of watches, but today it is allowing them to push the boundaries of mechanical watches with such models as: an Aviator with mechanical altimeter and a dive watch with patented depth gauge, along with many others.
They may not be as renowned as Rolex, but Oris has some noteworthy watches that would make a great, and affordable addition to your watch collection.
Oris Aquis Date
One of Oris’ most popular watches is this stunning simple, yet elegant dive watch. Sure, it is “just another dive watch” but Oris have put their own touches to the watch. The date window is at 6 o’clock for starters, and it is rated to 300m water resistance, which is a great standard to see for a dive watch (read more about water resistance here). And, the face is very clean and easy to read.
There are quite a few options for this model including various bands (rubber and steel) as well as slight color variations (blue, black, black with red).
Other Longines Models
Another Swatch group company that has a long watch making history, dating back to 1832 in the Jura region of Switzerland. Longines is all about luxury, and they are not cheap, but like TAG Heuer you will find a lot of their models around (above and below) the one thousand mark, so quite affordable for Swiss made watches.
This brand is known for the elegance and high quality engineering, so you will find quite a few watches in the thousands. However, on the lower end of the scale, some of these watches almost seem like a bargain. One such example is one of their classic dive watches pictured below. But, it is not the only one. Further down are some more of their affordable watches you can check out.
Longines Sport Collection Hydroconquest
Very reminiscent of the Rolex Submariner, the Hydroconquest is a very able divers watch with a 300m water resistance, something you won’t find very often.
The dial is classic black with sliver and white markers and hands, well lumed so they are visible in the dark. It is driver by a Swiss made automatic movement with 38 hours power reserve. The crown is also screw down, which is classic dive watch material, and well protected from accidental opening.
The all stainless steel body and band with a mostly brushed appearance finish off this masterpiece from Longines.