Back in the 1970s, $500 could get you two Rolex Submariners. Even taking inflation into account, the same amount won’t get you a Rolex today, but a budget of $500 can still get you a good watch. High-quality brands are still making affordable watches, meaning you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars just to get value or quality.
For $500 or less, you aren’t going to get anything that will increase in value in the same way as a Patek Phillipe, but there are some great options for every style. Here are a handful of our favorite watches in this price range.
Tianjin Seagull 1963
The Chinese aren’t necessarily known for their watchmaking, but the Seagull could persuade a lot of people otherwise. It is a modern version of the Chinese Aircraft Chrono from 1963.
With a vintage look, a silver dial, and a slim 38mm size, it is certain to turn a few heads. The color accents are subtle, and we appreciate the mix of blue and red hands with gold numbers. It’s not going to break the bank and is available for under the $400 mark.
Skagen Jorn Steel-Link Watch
Although their hybrid smartwatch tends to get a lot of attention, for us, the Jorn Steel-Link watch is what gets us excited. The simplicity of the design is obvious, and pretty much everything you see on the outside is made from stainless steel.
It’s outfitted in black and white to complement the traditional design. When you see that the price is around $100, you will love it even more.
Tissot Heritage Visodate Automatic
Here’s another of the best dive watches under $500 and a real favorite for many. The display, which shows the date and day of the week, can be worn to suit any style.
A classic look combines with the modern looking Tissot name inside the 40mm stainless steel case. A brand name that is as impressive as the watch is handsome, the Tissot Heritage Visodate Automatic is hard to beat in this price range.
Seiko Mechanical x Shinobu Ishigaki SARB065
Seiko is a popular brand in this price bracket, and this model is arguably one of the most impressive dress watches going. The Japanese market kept this watch for themselves until not so long ago. It’s now available to the wider market, and we for one are grateful for it.
Upon closer inspection, the patterned dial is a real showpiece. The date display is a bonus, but this is just one aspect of an impressive all-rounder. It can be found around the $450 range, so it is well worth considering.
Victorinox Swiss Army INOX
If you are a fan of a blue watch face, this solid-looking watch represents great value. Built to withstand a lot of punishment, it survived multiple tests of strength to ensure its durability.
The sapphire crystal is striking, it’s Swiss made, and it is even water resistant up to 200 meters. It is also reasonably priced at around the $250 mark.
If you do a little searching, you’ll find that well-made and attractive dive watches are available at prices that don’t break the bank.