You are looking for a cheap watch so here’s a question. Are there any cheap watches out there that are good quality? Ummm, okay let’s look at this. Firstly, if you’re asking are there any cheap watches out there, then most certainly there are many cheap watches that can cost next to nothing. The second part of the question asks if they are any good, and again a resounding yes is the answer, but hold the phone for a second.
Both these things are subjective so need to be qualified before they make any sense out of them. First, we need to understand what is meant by cheap, and for the purpose of this article I am going to put a price on cheap, and that price is $100.
The second part is the quality of the timepiece and for this, I am going demand the movements are either Swiss or Japanese, and the build quality is guaranteed through brand association.
Investing in a quality timepiece is a privilege not right so for those of us who can afford to splash out of an expensive piece be happy and understand how blessed you are. For the rest of us who have the unfortunate mixture of good taste but limited bank account, we have to find a different way achieve or goals without buy fakes or street corner rubbish.
Buying the best is expensive, but buying the best inexpensive watch can be rewarding and fulfilling provided you know what you are looking for. Okay, so a watch that set you back $50 isn’t going to be as good as one for $500 but if you take care of it, you should see a long life out of it.
Let’s take a look at some alternative to the $500 pieces and concentrate on the $100 and see where it takes us, not forgetting we want good quality build and a real movement from Switzerland or Japan if possible but not China because the Jury is still out on the quality of movements coming from China.
Looking at this Seiko 5 Blue dial put me in mind of the Omega Seamaster with NATO strap the new James Bond has been sporting in the last few movies. That’s’ not to say it has any of the features or the kudos that goes with it, but it does have a lovely clear modern look and feel, but more than that, it has an air of honesty about it.
This piece isn’t hiding of attempting to trick us into thinking it’s anything other than a well built inexpensive watch, but what do you get for your money?
Well, right off we see the blue face and canvas strap, the markers are white Arabic with minute markers and luminous hands making it an easy read. The complications are date and date window protected under scratch resistant Hardlex crystal giving a water resistance to 100 meters.
The 37 mm Stainless steel case has a skeleton case back giving visual access to the Automatic movement with a 40-hour power reserve. That’s right. at this price point, you are getting and brand name with an Automatic movement.
Best price found: $59.99
Here comes another success based on our criteria of a quality build with trusted movement for $100. Citizen has always been known for its quality and attention to details, as well as offering affordability.
This classic design looks like any other high-end classic watch with no way to distinguish it from a higher end model, and why should they be any. This cheap and cheerful piece has everything you need including the Japanese Eco-Drive movement meaning no battery required.
The 40mm Stainless steel case on a classic black leather strap is resistance to water to 10 meters. The dial is white with gold tone Roman markers and hands, with a Date window at 3 o’clock. Topping the face is a scratch resistant mineral crystal.
Best price found: $87.99
Casio and in particular G-Shock are the go to brand and model for rugged affordability and this one is no different.
This 55mm Red resin case on red resin strap encases the Black analog-digital dial with red and white-tone hands, and index hour markers that really pops in spite of the busy nature of this design.
There is no way around the hectic design when you consider everything it offers from simple day and date functions to shock and magnetic resistance. Under the dial beats the Japanese Quartz movement capable of running all these features protected by scratch resistant mineral crystal giving it a water resistance up to 200 meters.
shock and magnetic resistant
4 daily alarms
Best price found: $69.00
The Take Away
We were asking if there are cheap watches out there and are they any good. The simple answer is yes, so long as you understand the market. If you want a reliable watch at bargain prices you can choose to do one of two things. 1. visit your local market and buy a cheap fake
1. Visit your local market and buy a cheap fake because you like the look of it.(then regret at your leisure)
2. Buy a reputable brand that has a cheap entry level with good build quality and reliability
The way to do this is to buy Japanese because they lead the market in producing affordable quality from their entry level all the way up the food chain. Even if you are spending a few hundreds of dollars the Japanese still beat the Swiss market hands down when it comes to features and costs, together with reliability and affordability.
As a general rule the entry level Citizen, Seiko, and Casio use the tried and tested Japanese Miyota or Hattori movements.
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For more information about where to look for your favorite watch brand why not read my watch store reviews to get a better idea where to look?
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