The Best Automatic Watches Under $500
If you are looking for a quality automatic watch but don’t want to spend over $500, then you have come to the right place.
In this post I will go into detail on ten different automatic watches that are well worth your consideration. From the classics from Seiko and Orient, to a few lesser known watches from some affordable manufacturers.
Here are the best automatic watches for under 500 dollars on the market right now.
1. Seiko SKX009 Pepsi Diver
A classic and much loved Seiko, the SKX009 Pepsi is the perfect automatic dive watch for those looking to get a big bang for your buck.
Featuring Seiko’s workhorse movement the 7S26B automatic, this self-winding watch is super-reliable and well protected in this stainless steel case. It comes with a screw-down crown, and reaches 200m of water-resistance, so can be safely taken diving. The protected offset crown is also a trademark of many of Seiko’s dive watches, as is the highly visible lume on the hands and hour markers.
You have the choice of either a rubber band or metal bracelet with this watch. One of obviously meant for diving, the other as a dress piece, more or less.
2. Seiko Alpinist SARB017
Another classic from the huge collection of Seiko’s automatics is the Alpinist. Not as easy to come by these days, but still as popular as ever.
This is more of a dress watch featuring a unique green dial with gold hour markers and hands. There is also a handy compass ring around the boundary and a stylish brown alligator leather strap to top it all off.
Seiko have also added a quality sapphire crystal to this watch, something you rarely see at this price point. As well as 200m of water resistance, so you can certainly get this wet. Although, with a leather strap, I would not take it for long in the water!
3. Orient Mako II
At under $200, the Orient Mako is perhaps a little too affordable for this list, but it still deserves to be here.
Long a contender for the most affordable and feature-rich automatic diver on the market, Orient rarely fail to deliver. This watch not only has an in-house automatic movement, but it has hand-winding and hacking too.
Of course, as a diver it also comes with 200m of water resistance, so can certainly stand up to the test. They have added a screw-down crown and case-back to make sure of that!
This is a classic, affordable, renowned automatic dive watch that is loved by many. It also comes in a range of colors, and Orient also have a close sibling, the Ray you might also want to check out in this comparison post I wrote.
4. Orient Bambino
The Bambino is such an extensive collection from Orient, that I have covered the whole collection before.
It is a super-affordable series of dress-watches, and they are actually all automatic. You can choose from a super simple white dial with silver markers, like the one pictured here. Or go more extravagant and have a sub-dial that is named “small seconds”, or an open-heart that is partially skeletonised to show the inner workings.
Orient continue to extend this collection having added another two dial options this year alone. So, if an automatic dress what is what you are after, you might not have to look much further.
5. Orient President
If a watch with a little bling is what you want on your wrist, but without affording a Rolex that Trump would wear, then the Orient President is the go. It is very much like the Rolex that it takes its cue from (of which there are many homages I have covered here).
The president is quite obvious to spot once you know it, with the fluted bezel and full day window at 12 o’clock. They are also typically all stainless steel in either silver, gold of a combination of those. Orient offers most of them.
This model also comes with a sapphire crystal and crystals for hour markers, just to give it a touch more bling!
6. Hamilton Khaki King Automatic
Hamilton is a brand that not many people are familiar with, but they produce stand-out quality automatic watches over the $500 mark. This particular model comes around that price, depending on where and when you buy it, you can grab it for under 500.
The first feature most people notice is the day/date windows at 12 o’clock which contrast neatly with the black dial. The thick stainless steel case is also a very modern twist to an otherwise quite timeless design.
Hamilton have added two rings of hour markers as well, so if you like, or work in 24hr time then you will love this bonus feature. And there is a neat crown-guard as well, something you normally see on dive watches.
The in-house H-40 automatic movement is a quality piece of craftsmenship and has 80 hours of power reserve, something you almost never see. Especially in this price range. And of course, being Hamilton, you also get a sapphire crystal and a quality stitched leather strap.
7. Victorinox Swiss Army Maverick
Yes, Victorinox are the brand that created and still make the Swiss Army Knife. But, they have long since expanded their offering in both travel gear and watches.
The Maverick is one of their more popular automatic watches that has a few models that are around or under the 500 mark. It has many of the traits of a dive watch, particularly the bezel and the crown-guard.
However, it has a distinctive look with the cleaner dial and inner ring of 24hr markers. Victorinox have also chosen to place their date window at 6 o’clock, and surround it with a silver border so you don’t miss it.
8. Bulova Automatic Dress Watch
Bulova also produce very affordable watches, but rarely something with an automatic movement. So, it is surprising to see such an affordable automatic dress watch from them
It has a clean black dial with slim, rectangular hour markers and hands. There is a slim day/date window, which is still easy to read. There is a stainless steel case and jubilee bracelet, giving it a very classy look. And Bulova have included a Swiss Automatic movement, which is a bargain at this price point.
If you like what Bulova has to offer, you can also dive deeper into their collection here.
9. Stuhrling Original Dive Watch
Stuhrling are another brand that is always worth exploring when you are on a budget, and this very classically styled dive watch is a great buy.
There is not much original in terms of design on this watch, as is the case with most dive watches (Rolex set the standard with the submariner decades ago!). But this watch is great for anyone not having a wad of cash burning a hole in their pocket.
And when you take a look at what you get for the money, it’s impressive. Swiss automatic movement, 200m water resistance and their in-house Krysterna Crystal which is quite scratch resistant.
10. Invicta Men's 8926 Pro Diver
The last automatic and yes, another dive watch for this list, is this one from Invicta. It is not my top choice for an affordable automatic. I would always go with Seiko or Orient myself. But it’s worth checking out nonetheless.
It comes with a Swiss automatic movement and 200m water resistance too, so quite a bargain all in all.
11. Tissot Automatic III (Ref: T0654301603100)
If you are after something more inline with a dress watch, the Automatic III from a classic Swiss watch company like Tissot is absolutely unbeatable. It has a clean white dial, with elegant silver hands and hour markers. The strap is a classic alligator leather in brown, which matches the face perfectly.
Of course, it comes with a Swiss made automatic movement you can rely on, and the dial is covered with an anti-reflective sapphire crystal, which at under 500 dollars is a bit of a bargain.
This is certainly not a watch you want to get wet very often, with only 30m water resistance, but given it is a dress watch, that should be no big deal.