For a guide on the reasons why these watches were chosen, please see the Watch Buying Guide below.

For Women’s watches, please see Best Women’s Automatic Watches.

Budget Automatics $80-$130

Lowest priced automatics that are still quality.

Vostok Amphibia (Russian divers) ~$80 [eBay, Meranom, Chistopolcity, Vostok USA]

Sekonda ~$80 [eBay] (Another Russian watch but classy, only cheap if bought used)

HMT (Indian classy ultra-cheap automatic) $30-$80, find them on Ebay, ie Sona, Janata (both better than Pilot)

Seiko 5 SNK series smaller classic size ~38mm $70-$100 ie SNK795 (modern) [black Amazon, white SNK789, blue SNK793] looks more classy than the older looking SNKL series (45, 41, 43). Hard to find:

Seiko 5 SNKK 40s-50s (Patek Philippe Nautilus or Audemars Piguet Royal Oak homage): $60 (but are smaller size 36mm instead of 42mm of the official models, hard to find)

Seiko military field style: SNZG13 [Amazon] (get this over a Hamilton Khaki King or Khaki Field)

Seiko SUP Series (Cartier Tank homage): Seiko SUP880 Solar $100 [Amazon]

Orient Union Day Date $100 [Amazon] or Orient Oyster Classic $300 [Amazon] for a Rolex Oyster Datejust or Day-Date homage (Orient is 40mm similar to the 41mm Datejust II and Day-Date II, better than the too small 36mm Seiko SNXJ series which is similar to 36mm Rolex Datejust and Day-Date or 34mm Rolex Air King)

Orient $130-$190, some classy models are: Orient Goldeneye / Open Heart / Esteem [Amazon] or Orient Bambino [Amazon] (preferred over the Symphony due to Bambino’s more unique domed crystal)

Sea-Gull Rodina: (Bauhaus style, Nomos Tangente homage, sapphire, seagull movement) $120 [Seagull]


Flieger Aviator Watches (German WWII Pilot) $200-$500

A Flieger is the classic German WWII aviation watch. Compared to other options, it is more casual and toolish than classy, especially with its classic riveted brown strap (one can switch it out with a metal bracelet or black leather). Titanium isn’t worth the extra money and is more prone to scratches (although it’s “lighter” for the real pilots). A dial is the more historically common variant (B dial was produced in small quantities), for some the B dial is “too busy” (especially for the smaller Poljot $100-$200 Russian aviators [eBay])

Because of the style’s simplicity you could go budget ie an Orient/Poljot. Cheaper than a Hamilton Khaki, Seiko SNK809K is too small 37mm (better than the miyota $200 Ticino or slightly more modern miyota Maratac $290 CountyComm or bad Parnis). For more quality, go ETA movement Steinhart $400 [A dial 44mmA dial 47mmB dial 44mmB dial 47mm] (note the titanium ones not listed here are $469 with vintage-yellow font), OR Laco Augsberg/Aachen miyota $400 for its historical signification (100% true to history). [Amazon A-Dial AugsbergB-Dial Aachen]. Other ETA: Aristo ~$425 at [LongIslandWatch Discount]. Archimede is pricey.

Classically-Styled Divers $150-$500

Steinhart Ocean 1 Black Submariner homage James BondTraditional diver styled watches which are best value buys for their quality. Includes homages to the iconic Rolex Submariner, superb in that they are both super classy and super tool-ish (for “diving”) at the same time. Which means they are versatile to work with any outfit!

Orient: (not sapphire glass though) Orient Ray $140 [Amazon] (classic round hour markers), Orient Mako XL (aka Mako II, Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean homage, markered dial / bigger size / worse lume than Mako) $140 [Amazon, Orange bezel – classic Planet Ocean style], Orient M-Force Beast $285 [Amazon]

Seiko SNZH Series (Blancpain Fifty Fathoms homage): $300 with FiftyFive Fathoms dial (50 Fathoms + Seiko 5 = 55), Personal opinion: gold trim SNZ57 looks the best [eBay] (SNZH series also similar to the Breitling SuperOcean, especially if adding a numberless bezel insert).

Seiko SKX007 $200 [Amazon SKX007K2, Amazon SKX007K2, Ebay] or for more retro squarish hour markers: [Amazon SKX173]. Better quality (ie 7S26 movement) than SNZF17. Upgrade the bracelet with the superb Super Oyster Evo S (solid end links) $70 from (email [email protected]), or the Type 2 from [WJean eBay], or a Snapcode [Amazon].
SKX007 is the newer version of the Seiko icon 6309-7040, which you can still buy used $150-$300 [eBay] (better than the 6306, can’t trust integrity of watertightness unless fully restored and pressure tested) Other substitute: $300 [Amazon SNE437P1]

Seiko SRP700 Series $300-$400 ode to the older Seiko classic diver 6309-7040 model style. $329 [Amazon SRP777 – black but rubber strap – better than the subtle Navy SRP773 and weird gold bezel lettering on SRP775, Amazon – great sunburst color but pricier at $437, Amazon – blue red “pepsi”)

Squale 20 ATMOS 1545 Classic (200 m) ETA $490 from [GnomonWatches]. It’s slightly smaller than the Steinharts (40mm vs 42mm). Squale is a micro-watchmaker with a solid history from the 1950s (was making cases for other brands such as Tag Heuer, Doxa, Blancpain).

Steinhart Ocean (Rolex homages):

Ocean 1 Black $400 with Ceramic Option (Rolex Submariner 16610 homage, most famous dive watch) [Steinhart]
Ocean 44 $440 (bigger, Rolex Deepsea Sea Dweller 116660 homage, flat bezel, also a solid substitute for Seiko Marinemaster SBDX017 MM300) [Steinhart]
Ocean 1 Vintage Red $400 (more sporty color, Rolex 1680 Red / Rolex 5513 Red homage, most famous military-issued dive watch, as seen in the classic James Bond 007 movies) [Steinhart] – a better homage than Ocean One Vintage Military (OVM) [Steinhart]
Ocean One Vintage $470 (Rolex 6200 homage) [Steinhart]
Others: Aviation (Bell & Ross BR01 homage) [Steinhart, Chronograph], and Ocean 1 Premium Blue [Steinhart]

Non-Traditional Styled Divers $150-$400

Irreantum MagellanSome good value unique diver watches:
Seiko Tuna “Tuna Can” diver look, get an SRP637 baby Tuna $300 [Silver Bezel Amazon, Black Bezel Amazon SRP641] – better than the old quartz $900 Tunas SBBN015 and SBBN017 or $200 Tauchmeister
Hard to find: Seiko Monster (i.e. Black Monster SRP307 2nd gen, SRP313 “Bloody Tooth” or the more popoular Orange Monster SRP309, 1st gen is SKX779 and SKX781 had square hour indices, Seiko 5 Mini / Neo / Baby Monster is not as preferred because not as rugged look and crown isn’t screw down)

Solar Diver Chronographs: Seiko SSC015 $205 [Amazon], Seiko SSC017 $205 [Amazon], Citizen VO10-6771F ALTERNA Eco-Drive Chronograph [eBay]

Makara Bronze Diver: great value bronze $400 (usually bronze have high premiums for no reason, albeit Seiko auto) [Makara Hawksbill Sea Turtle]

Tudor Snowflake homages (ie Black Bay): Borealis Sea Hawk 1500m $350 (albeit Seiko auto, Tudor Pelagos homage) [BorealisWatch], Dagaz Ultra-Flake SKX Mod $300 (seiko auto, sapphire) [dagazwatches], or Seiko SKX173 [Amazon]. Other Borealis divers: Sea Dragon $290 [BorealisWatch] and Scorpionfish [BorealisWatch], Seiko Black Bay homage [eBay]

Sporty Chronograph homages $150-$300

Rotary Breitling Navitimer homageAffordable automatic chronographs are difficult to find. Navitimers have the slide-rule bezel, which allows for metric to standard conversions, fuel consumption, air speed and distance calculations, etc. Tachymeter on “racer” watches is solely for speed.

Breitling Navitimer homages:
Quartz: Seiko SNA413 [Amazon], Casio Edifice EF-527 $87 [Amazon]
Automatic: Julian Kampmann Poljot24 Russia. Make sure to get only Poljot 3133 movements (3017 redesign made by MakTime, faithful copy of swiss Valjoux 7734).
Solar $200: Seiko [SSC009 black, SSC013 white], Seiko SSC289 [Amazon rubber, eBay SS261 metal bracelet], more contemporary Citizen Nighthawk (GMT but no chrono) [Amazon], Citizen chrono $300 [BL5400-52A Silver/White, BL5403-03X Gold/Black]

Rolex Daytona Paul Newman/Omega Speedmaster Professional homages:

Quartz: Casio Edifice $60 [Amazon1, 2], Seiko SSB Series $120 [Amazon SSB073, SSB033, SSB031, SSB025], Also Invicta Speedway (many models) [Amazon All Models] ie Speedway 9211 [Amazon], Citizen AN8070-53E [eBay], Quartz 7a28 [eBay] or 7a38 [eBay] (hard to find), Alpha Daytona Paul Newman – chronograph automatic Seagull mvmt $215 [Alpha]

Automatic – Absolute Best: Steinhart Ocean One Vintage Chronograph $1k [white, black]

Automatic Sporty Chronographs:

Russian Automatic Sporty Chronographs: Strela $600 or other 3133 models [eBay (best value), Julian Kampmann Poljot24 Russia] Note: 3 similar quality Strela brands: Strela, Poljot International, Sturmanskie. Like above, get only Poljot 3133 movements (3017 redesign made by MakTime, quality copy of swiss Valjoux 7734), ie Poljot Chronograph “Classic”

Active Duty Military Watches $50-$300

G-Shock RangemanNote: ABC watch means Altimeter (altitude tracking), Barometer (predict rain), Compass. Atomic means its time is corrected by radio tower
Cheap Beater: Casio G-Shock DW-5600E $41 – digital/quartz

Most Iconic G-Shock: Casio G-Shock GW-5000 $320 solar [Amazon] (the modern version of the older DW-5000C)

Size/Some Features/Mudproof Combo: Casio G-Shock G-9300 “Mudman” $129 [Amazon or Yellow – Amazon] is more mud/dirt/dust resistant, big and mudproof like GX-56 King (not quite as big but easier to press buttons), compass, has moonphase (Rangeman doesn’t), No altimeter/barometer/sunrise-sunset/atomic

Feature Rich / Bang-ability: Casio G-Shock G-9400 “Rangeman” (new version of GW-9200 Riseman) $180 [Amazon GW94001CR, GW9400J-1JF, GW9400BJ-1JF black negative display]. Solar, ABC, temp sensor, auto light by turning wrist towards your face, but no mud-resist (can take mud but not operate buttons). Compared to Riseman, the Rangeman is larger/heavier, newer sensor/module, added compass, slightly less comfortable, and illuminated by LED (though people say LED is uneven and too bright vs EL). The J (Japanese models) have the more expensive/stiff carbon fiber strap, not necessary as the regular rubber resin strap is super durable and soft/comfortable. Negative display is generally not recommended, looks cool but more difficult to read the time.

Most Features: Suunto Core All Black $260 [Amazon], Alu (aluminum) Deep Black $280 [Amazon], Brushed Steel (Stainless Steel model with sapphire glass) $350 [Amazon]. All the features and most precise sensors (ABC, storm alarm, sunrise/sunset indicator). Quartz – battery lasts 1 year but only takes 2mins to swap and weather-seal yourself

Best: Casio G-Shock Rangeman $180 for lots of bang-ability or Suunto Core for higher sensor precision and less rugged/bulky. DON’T get Casio Pro Trek (new version of Casio Pathfinder): bigger screens but not as resistant to bumps and scratches (you can actually replace the bezel on G-shocks). Seiko (ie SBEB001) and Tissot may be working on ABCs.

Mid-level Classy Automatics $200-600

Steinhart Marine Chronometer II RomanSea-Gull $220+ Classy automatics and skeletons [US Seagull, Seagullwatchstore, Amazon] ie D58

Tissot PR 516 GL (old world sporty feel) $415 [Ebay] or newer Tissot Visodate $375 [Amazon, eBay] (albeit black has a white day/date). Tissot Le Locle [Amazon – Black, White]. Other popular recommended models: Powermatic 80 [Amazon, eBay], PRC 200

Hamilton popular solid American brand and great value ETAs (however sometimes known for poor lume and strap/band quality and no anti-reflective coating) Note that they are on sale often. Classier models include Jazzmaster Viewmatic $500 [Amazon, eBay], Intra-Matic $600 (best value Bauhaus style) [Amazon, eBay], Thin-O-Matic $600 [Amazon, eBay]

Steinhart Marine $430 [Marine Chronometer II Roman, Marine Chronometer II Arabic] Super classy and great value for the quality (IWC Portuguese homage), only gripe is that they might be too classy for everyday watch. Roman (Roman numerals) is more classy than Arabic (regular numerals). Better value than the double-the-price Stowa Marine Original.

Seiko Spirit (SARB) is a super classy series including the $390 iconic green Alpinist SARB017 [Amazon], the black dial SARB033 [Amazon, eBay] or white SARB035 [Amazon], SARB065 Shinobu Ishigaki “Cocktail Time” [Amazon, eBay]. Don’t believe the extra $200 is worth it for the $570 SARB021 or SARB023, Secondarily: Orient Vintage Power Reserve $200 [Amazon] or Orient Star Classic $400 [Amazon]

Seiko Skeleton Eye (SSA) [Amazon] or Coutura [Amazon]

Perpetual Watches: Superb beautiful watches at good prices (albeit Seagull movement). Sold out frequently, unfortunately. Models include: Chronograph C-0 $380, Chronograph C-05 $500 (Patek Philippe 3970P homage)

Rolex Explorer homage: Smiths Everest $400 [Timefactors], Bernhardt Binnacle Anchor Miyota movement $259 [Bernhardt Anchor Black], Seiko SNKM77 can look similar with $50 worth of dagaz hands and possibly also dial (but only 32mm compared to 39mm Rolex)

High-Level Classy Automatics $600-$1k (all ETA movements)

Stowa Marine ChronoPrecista PRS-20 $580 is a good value Panerai Radiomir homage [Timefactors]

Certina DS-1 Powermatic 80 (ie 3 hands) $655 [Amazon]

Stowa Antea $850 beautiful Bauhaus [StowaShop], Stowa Chronograph $1500 [StowaShop]


Squale 50 ATMOS (500m) Shiny and beautiful, coin edge bezel $830 [GnomonWatches]

Longines Hydroconquest (diver) $1k Modern submariner, 80 years of horse racing history [eBay, Amazon]

Christopher Ward C65 ~$750 tad expensive [CW] and Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro (semi Omega Seamaster homage) $850 [CW] – Could get a blue wave dial like the classic discontinued Seamaster

Certina DS Action Diver $700 (Note: little hard to find even though big brand in Swatch group) [eBay]

Mido Multifort $800 [eBay, Amazon Multiforts], or Mido All Dial $800 [eBay, Amazon All Dial], or Mido Baroncelli Chronograph [eBay, Amazon]

Beautiful but Slightly Overpriced $500-$2k

Junghans Max Bill ChronoscopeMagrette Regattare $545 beautiful but Miyota movement [Magrette] or Vantage Bronze [Magrette]

Halios unique divers made by a small Canadian company, beautiful but Miyota movement like Magrette, but I’d be more inclined to get a [Halios]. Delfin and Tropik SS models unavailable. Order with metal bracelet.

MKII [MKIIWatches] great but $800+ (and the Vantage or Kingston are no longer for sale)

Prometheus [PrometheusWatch] (not sure of quality, and overpriced even with lower quality seagull/sellita movements, Baiji and CR1 models look good though)

Seiko Prospex Marine Master Professional 300m Diver SBDX001 or SBDX017 (MM300) the ultimate diver $1800, with a movement at in-house Swiss movements / Grand Seiko level. Might be too high profile to fit under dress shirts. [Amazon, eBay]

Junghans Max Bill Automatic (classic Bauhaus, but plexiglass, $850, $1800 for chronograph “Chronoscope”) [eBay]

Longines Column Wheel Chronograph L688 (inhouse) movement [eBay]

Other Value In-house Movement Watches: Nomos, vintage Rolex Datejust II (bigger than Datejust I) / Rolex Oyster Perpetual Airking, vintage hand wind Hamilton 770

Popular but Not My Style

Oris (ie Aquis Date $1k) and Glycine $800+ both widely known to be great quality/resale value, but I don’t find their lower-end watches awe-inspiring. Oris uses Sellita movements (just as good as ETA). Glycine Stratoforte chronograph is discontinued. [eBay]

Sinn ie 556 $1.1k [SinnWatches]. This is unpopular opinion but Sinn (reminiscent of IWC), is very simple style at high price point, even if it looks super clean.

Citizen BN0000 (solar eco-drive) $200 [Amazon]. Solid quality and great value but cartoonish bezel numbering.

Citizen Ecozilla BJ8050 $200 (Solar) [Amazon, eBay] (a classic, big, similar size to Seiko Tunacan, however you need $70 adapters to switch the strap out). Big and ugly looking.

Android (Seiko or Sea-gull or Miyota ~$200 is well priced but ETA expensive at $600+). Larger watches and lots of colorful styles, albeit non-classic. [Amazon, Amazon miyota, eBay], ie Divemaster 200, Octopus, Mechanical Chrono

GMT/World Time Watches

Citizen AT9010-52E [Amazon]
Steinhart GMT-Ocean 1 Black (Rolex GMT Master II homage) [Steinhart], Steinhart Vintage GMT $440 [Steinhart]
Citizen Skyhawk A-T [Amazon BL5400-52A Silver/White, Blue Angels World A-T, Other Promaster Sky eBay]
Orient Worldtimer $300-$500 Automatic [eBay, Amazon All Models]. Orient Star GMT (Star Seeker) would be another one.

Holy Grail Watches $10k+

While personally not condoning these for most budgets (i.e. average / median income) the acquisition of “Holy Grail” iconic watches, and disagree with them being investments, as they get scratched up and lose value as daily wears, the below is a ranking of holy grails, for those who want iconic watches and not their homages. A preference would be towards gold (if available for the model), as even though they get scratched more easily, there is value in the metal, not to mention the classic styling.

  • Rolex Daytona is the top holy grail
  • Omega Speedmaster
  • Fluted Rolex Day-Date or Datejust with diamond markers
  • Omega Seamaster (wavy dial discontinued)
  • Breitling Navitimer.

Would not recommend: Rolex Submariner (too many great homages), Patek Phillippe (does not have as unique or flashy style for the $, Nautilus is sleek but doesn’t look special same as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak), Jaeger-LeCoultre (reverso is gimmicky), Cartier Tank (boring), Panerai Radiomir (boring), IWC (boring), Breguet Tourbillon (get the Perpetual).

Conclusions & Favorites

After all the watch styling, branding, and market pricing research, we have concluded: Watches aren’t investments because 1) scratches cause loss of value and 2) expensive timepieces entail high maintenance costs (ie $500 for a $10K Rolex). For best quality to value, go for automatic, don’t spend much more than $600 for an ETA Swiss or much more than $300 on a non-Swiss movement because one could get a decent-condition gold watch on eBay or a used high-end brand for $600, ie Omega (both of these options will better hold their value). If you plan to have only one, choose a versatile style (or have two: one professional and one casual). Regarding homages, buy only from a quality company ie Steinhart (that looks a little different) instead of cheap Chinese copies that look the same as the real thing.

  • For ultra-budget class @$200: Orient Bambino ie $200 [Amazon], a Perpetual $200 [SC-01 or SC-02] (currently sold out), or the classic Seiko SKX007 $200 [Amazon] then add Super Oyster bracelet $80 (see above for sellers).
  • For quality class @$400, SARB033 [Amazon, eBay], Steinhart Marine [Marine Chronometer II Roman], a Steinhart Ocean (Rolex submariner homages) ie Steinhart Ocean 1 Black $400 [SteinhartWatches] with Ceramic. For one-of-a-kind with high finish quality, you’ll have to go pricier such as the Squale 50 ATMOS Blue $830 [Squale] (beautiful sunburst color).

Watch Accessories

Best Watch Winder: WOLF Viceroy (2.7) Single $235 [Amazon], or Triple $750 [Amazon]. Only buy the Wolf brand, as cheaper ones are worthless. However, I’d say these are an optional luxury, as the only benefit is to have multiple automatic watches but not having to worry about setting their time when you switch them up.

Best Brands for Watch Straps / Bands / Bracelets

Nato vs Zulu: For straps / bands, recommend Nato type over Zulu, as Nato runs thinner, has a watch keeper strap, and thinner squared metal hoops instead of rounded. With its thick nature and more numerous hoops, Zulu looks more rugged than sporty.

  • Leather Strap Brands: Da Luca – highest quality leather (shell cordovan) but expensive $100+)
  • Nato / Zulu Strap Brands: [CheapestNatoStraps] (22 lug width)
  • Don’t get: Hadley Roma (doesn’t seem high quality)

Best Watch Spring Bar Tool for changing out bracelets/straps

Bergeon 6767-F Watch Spring Bar Tool (F-tool) $25 [Amazon], which is an F-tool is for metal bracelets. The Bergeon 6767-S (S-tool) [Amazon] is for leather and rubber straps (the F tool can too easy accidentally damage a leather strap because it is more fine). If you have watches with both bracelets and straps, you either need to purchase both tools or buy the other tip at $8-15. Bergeon (Swiss repair tools) is much better than the cheaper non-branded ones

Best Watch Repair Tool Kit

Best Value: Mannesmann M11760 $65 [Amazon]
Value Substitute: GTU 20 pcs $35 [Amazon]
Best Premium: Bergeon 7812 $275 (full set) [eBay], Bergeon 2819-08 $175 (just the wrench for removing casebacks) [Amazon], Bergeon 55-605 2868 Set of 5 Chrome Plated Brass Screwdrivers Watch Repair Kit (screwdrivers) $90 [Amazon]

Best Thread Locker Glue

In the case that the screw-in pins on your bracelet pop out, it is good to lock them in with Loctite Purple 222 glue $9 [Amazon]

Watch Buying Guide

Desirable Watch features:

  • Movement type – Watchphiles most recommend Automatic: no battery replacement required, seconds hand moves smoother (higher bpm – beats per minute), and holds value due to the craftsmanship and tradition of a complicated movement. Mechanicals are either Automatic (winded by wrist-movement) or Manual (winded manually) and charges last ~40 hours (recommended servicing every 5-10 years). Quartz is most accurate, powered by battery (lifetime ~2 years). Some quartzes self-recharge (hold ~6 months charge, lifetime ~10-20 years), ie Kinetic (Seiko) recharges with wrist movement but not recommended (battery weakens if let fully discharge), and Solar (Seiko Solar, Citizen Eco-Drive, Casio Tough Solar) recharges with light.
  • Automatic Movement brands – ETA (highest quality, Swiss-made – non-chronograph watches start at $400+ and ETA Valjoux chronographs start at $1k), Miyota (Japanese-made great/reliable with watches $250+), Seagull (okay quality Chinese, $100), followed by cheap unnamed Chinese movements ($50+). Some movements are made in-house, ie Seiko or top model Rolexes.
  • Hacking is a movement feature that stops the seconds hand for better time setting
  • Quality of the finish, Quality of [metal] bracelet. Bracelets usually worth more than a leather band/strap
  • Sapphire Crystal glass (scratch resistant and prettier than Mineral), Seiko uses Hardlex which is decent
  • Brand: Don’t buy a fashion-brand watch (ie Michael Kors, Kenneth Cole): usually quartz and overpriced for their contracted-out quality. Buy from a watch-maker for better quality/price and resale value.

Note: Take your time shopping as there are many styles and tastes change. For more “lifelike” pics, look them up on Google Images or Youtube. ~38mm size is more classic while 42mm+ is more sporty.

Watch Diagram:

rolex Watch Diagram

Watch Straps/Bracelets:

Common Metal Bracelet Types: (there is also Mesh)

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Hey. Like the article. I agree with most of your conclusions. I own a Steinhart GMT with ceramic bezel and and a CW C60. Future purchases will be Steinhart OMV, Hamilton Lord Jazzmaster. Also like the look of Sekio SKX007, great value.
    I know what you mean about Rolexs, but that GMT II keeps calling 🙂
    I’m also keeping my eyes open for a new dress watch. Top of the list so far are either a new Tissot or Hamilton, or a second hand Omega from eBay. Just not sure on automatic movements that are 40 years old.
    Ps. I also looked at the Prometheus dress watches – also very nice.

    1. Wow you have two amazing watches already! Not sure if I would need the OVM or Jazzmaster after those 🙂 Yes I like the Tissots for a dress watch (maybe Le Locle or Visodate) or for a better “investment” a used solid gold Omega De Ville on eBay. You’re right the Prometheus Dress Watch looks amazing!!! I’m too much of an ETA or upscale Seiko movement fanboy to accept the Sellita movement in it though 🙁 But I didn’t know that was out there, thanks for mentioning it 🙂

      Thank you for commenting!

  2. Thanks for a refreshing article. A good balance to many other watch articles online. But, seriously, “Note: Real pilots wear titanium because it’s lighter!” We are talking 30-50 grams difference. And you’re right, most quartz watches use batteries. You need to change the battery normally every 3-5 years. It takes a minute and costs a few bucks. A mechanical watch needs service at the same interval. A service takes from a day to several weeks. And cost hundreds of dollars. Those who know the difference and prefer mechanical watches will buy that. To everyone else, I recommend quartz

    1. You’re welcome and thank you for the appreciation! I was kidding about the Titanium. I wouldn’t say mechanicals need service at the same interval (much less frequently) and servicing shouldn’t be hundreds of dollars unless we’re talking expensive parts (ie Rolex). Then again, quartz is just as reliable but automatic is still higher valued in the watch community! Thank you for your opinion 🙂 Hope to maybe add more quartzes in future, if I find more with great styles. Best

  3. So the best value automatic WITH ETA is ?

    1. There is no absolute best. It’s in the eye of the beholder, but check out my Conclusion for my personal favorites 🙂

  4. I have had a few nice watches.  Nothing super fancy but  Glycine Combat (regret selling it) Hamilton Below Zero 1000m diver (regret selling it)  St Moritz Superstorm (regret selling it)  St Moritz Storm (regret selling it) Wenger Chrono 77009 (twice) (regret selling both times) haha oh and a Rolex sub homage (if thats the right term) it was an Ollech & Waj auto.  Plus a limited edition Seapro World Racer swiss auto black pv with red carbon fiber face.   Plus many more I forget.   Now I wear a 25 dollar digital I use at the gym and have a Dreyfuss & Co Rose Gold PV 1925 series auto.   Maybe someday if I win the lotto (hard since I have never bought a lotto ticket) I will buy a Ball or a Fortis.  My 2 fav watchmakers.  Nice article.  Cheers

    1. Looks like you’ve had quite a collection over the years! And damn, those St Moritzes look unbelievable. Similar in style to Seiko Tuna and they’re Miyota! I wish they were still sold so I could pick one up (if it was a reasonable price ie ~$200-$300)! Even the Wenger has a great chonograph look. How come watchmakers stop making these amazing looking styles?!?! (Now I see St Moritz is called Momentum Watches but they don’t have as cool unique styles as before!) The Dreyfuss & Co looks beautiful also, I’ll look into that brand! What makes Ball and Fortis your favorites? Thank you for your appreciation! Best

  5. Hi
    What do you think of Swisstek watches? Looking a a men’s Sk12630G with an ETA and sapphire crystal for under $400.

    1. Hello! I’m surprised you were able to find a nice Automatic for that affordable by Swisstek. They seem to be selling even Quartzes at high premiums ($300-$500)! That watch you found looks like a modern curvier Cartier Tank!

  6. Great article by the way!

    1. Thank you for the appreciation 🙂

  7. Hi,

    This is one of my most visit webpage to look (re-look) for affordable watches advices. Very good recommendation. Since then, I have been ‘dived’ into many new watches, i.e. Steinhart(s) for diver & pilot watch (still keep looking forward for my budget to come… LOL!); & other like Seiko & Orient too.
    I hope to see more update & refresh content, especially on World time & GMT & other segments too. Recently Orient have 2 new world time models. First Orient Star & 2nd is ‘non-star’ FA06003Y, include some review (not by me, of course) links below.

    Thanks man!

    1. Hello! Thank you for visiting and appreciating my content. I see that you like cream-colored complicated GMT watches and I definitely approve of the fantastic value that Orient prices its watches at. The second one seems to be more reasonably priced for an Orient at $300, while the first is $840. That’s a little high! Happy hunting for the perfect watch that fits your tastes 🙂

  8. What do you think of the Raymond Weil maestro automatic?

    1. Very classy style! Skeleton / Tourbillon watches are not my personal style (I enjoy divers more), and it’s a smaller size than I’d like (39mm). I’d be sure to check out other brands, as the Raymond Weil is pricey and I’m skeptical of the quality. Check out Seagull or Orient (Goldeneye) if you want a more affordable but superb quality Tourbillon!

  9. Hi, thank you very much. A very helpful review. In regards of Steinhart.
    The bezel from the NEW 840 Euro PAN AM Homage is a BIG FAT joke when it comes to print quality and is really not premium build as it should be. But they have found a new great calibre with outstanding accuracy I hope that the aftermarket will cover this issue.
    Again, thank you very much. LG, Tom

    1. You’re welcome! And thank YOU for visiting my humble site. Thanks for your opinion on that Steinhart homage, I hope it helps out a fellow reader, as I have not had the chance to look at that homage!

  10. Great great site thanks for providing this resource!

  11. Many thanks for such a well-curated list. I’ve been reading a lot of forums to narrow down my choices for two watches to replace my cheap, scratched quartzes. I found the perfect dress watch for me, the Tissot Visodate Heritage (black) before finding this page. I’m also looking for a stainless steel Submariner homage with a reliable automatic movement at 300 or less, but I’m afraid to go any bigger than 40mm diameter because I have a wrist that is 6.75″ in circumference and more round than flat. I had the Seiko SKX007 on my list originally, but the size is the issue. I plan for these to be my dress watch (Tissot) and work/everyday wear watch (stainless bracelet), but can’t seem to find the latter in the right size.

    1. Sorry this reply is 2 years late but may still be useful. I also have small wrists so I opted for the Seiko SKX013, which is the mid-sized (38mm) version of the 007. The handset is slightly different but I prefer them. Some people have commented on forums that it is too thick for its size but it hasn’t bothered me. The SKX007/9 does wear smaller than its size suggests so it may be fine for you, nothing beats trying one on.

      In terms of classic mid-sized dress watches take a look at the Seiko (again 😊) SARB033 (black dial) or the SARB035 (cream). They are 38mm so should be just the right size. These were originally Japanese Domestic Models (JDM) only but they are available on the web.

      Happy hunting!

  12. Thanks I really enjoyed the piece very much. I agreed with some of what you said and disagreed with otherspoints…but isnt that the point. Where do you rate Alpina as a brand I really like and find it a fair value for the money. More over what I found very helpful was was the review of watch tool sets and accessories as I need to upgrade the quality of my watch tool. It is time to put quality ahead of price in that area now. Thanks again

  13. Interesting list, thanks. Small correction: HMT from India did produce some automatic watches (Kanchan, Rajat, etc) but the HMT watches you named (Sona, Janata, Pilot) are all handwinders, they’re not automatic. HMT Sona, Janata, Pilot come with HMT standard handwind movement (HMT 0231) that was made as an ebauche of Citizen Caliber 0201 (as found in 1960’s Citizen Homer). I have an HMT Sona so I’m quite sure of that. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the details!

  14. Just starting my watch education. This has opened up many possibilities. Thanks for sharing your watch expertise, and thanks to all the commenters.

  15. Hi,

    Great site! Just wanted your opinion on a very classy dress watch. I’m looking at a 38-39mm white dial, automatic, not more than 10mm thick, date only dress watch. Any suggestions? I really like this Longines Elegant watch (, but am a bit put off by the price. My budget is under $1000.

    Also I see you have Junghans Max Bill as an ‘overpriced’ watch. Why do you say its overpriced? This is also a watch I’m considering (but would rather get something classic first, like the Longines watch)

    1. Neil! Hello – The Longines looks fantastic, elegant indeed! Very classy look but I’m sure other brands make similar looking faces, so I’d still shop around.

      Junghans Max Bill is $500 for quartz (I’d only pick up a quartz for max a couple hundred if I really liked the design), and the chronograph automatics are $1300+. I’d say $1k is a super value for a swiss chronograph (and $500 for non-chronograph swiss automatic i.e. Steinhart), but $1300 is not that bad I would say, so only it’s slightly overpriced in my eyes. If you’re in love with it over all others, get it!

      1. Thanks. Do you update this article? Because there are new watches coming out every year

  16. Fantastic list! Easily the most comprehensive of anyone looking to spend between $200 – $1000 on a watch. Its a super tough area to buy in since there is so much value but also so much garbage.
    I would love to get my hands on the steinhart marine officer bronze but the duties and taxes for delivery to Canada scares me. Whats your experience with getting steinharts delivered?

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