As the name implies, an automatic wristwatch uses an automatic movement. Automatic watches are ideal for everyday use since regularly wearing them keeps them wound.
This type of watch is very popular since it eliminates batteries or the hassle of hand-winding. While many people think automatic watches are by definition expensive, there are many affordable models on the market and many reputable brands produce quality automatic watches that even budget shoppers can afford.
On this list, we’ve included a wide range of watches from dressy to divers to hopefully help you find a watch that matches your personal style and taste. The term “affordable” is a bit hard to pin down since everyone has their own budget. Because of that, we’ve recommended everything from the budget Timex Marlin Automatic to luxury Tag Heuer Formula 1.
You’ll also find excellent mid-range models on our list, like the classic military-inspired Hamilton Khaki Field King Auto.
Below you’ll find our full list of top affordable automatic watches including choices from American, Swiss, and Japanese watchmakers.
Best Affordable Automatic Watches for Men
Timex Men’s Marlin Automatic 40mm Watch
When it comes to affordable watches, Timex is one of the top brands that comes to mind.
The Timex Marlin is an example of how the brand has continued to deliver watches that offer value for money. This two-tone watch looks fantastic with the gold bezel, gold, and luminous watch hands set against a black background.
The Timex Marlin is a recreation of Timex’s 1960s Mid-century watch design. The simple date window display gives it the elegant look of a classic dress watch. Domed acrylic crystal to protect the watch dial, and water-resistant to a modest 30m.
Apart from the sleek design and vintage vibe, the watch is well built with reliable Timex watchmaking utilizing a Japanese Miyota caliber 8215 automatic movement with a power reserve of 40 hours and accuracy of -20～＋40 sec per day. This is a perfect fit if you’re looking for a refined automatic dress watch from a trustworthy American watch brand.
Hamilton Unisex Khaki King Automatic Watch
The Hamilton Unisex Khaki King field watch features similar designs to Hamilton’s previous military-style watches. Of course, they’ve tweaked the design enough for it to stand on its own. Think of this as a perfect blend of military and modern formal and casual design.
As you would expect from a wristwatch that has its root from a military watch, the Hamilton Khaki King features durable and heavy-duty stainless steel designed to withstand the roughest of environments. The 40 mm diameter with an 11 mm thickness is a perfect match for average wrist size and avoids the overly bulky look of many field watches.
Another change from its predecessor is with the bands. Instead of using the Nato straps, the Khaki King uses a leather strap-on instead. The syringe hands and a touch of style stand out well against the black dial.
The Hamilton Khaki King brings some of the favorable features from its military watch days into a more casual, friendly aesthetics. The Khaki King is powered by Hamilton’s H-40 automatic Swiss-made movement based on the ETA 2834-2. The movement has 25 jewels, 21,600 VPH, and an impressive power reserve of 80 hrs.
Victorinox Men’s Maverick Swiss Automatic Stainless-Steel Casual Watch
The Victorinox Maverick is an automatic watch designed for divers who do not skimp style.
The Victorinox Maverick utilizes the ETA Caliber 2824-2 system, a very accurate Swiss-made automatic movement. This mechanism is also found in some of the brands’ more affordable watch series. The movement system has a 38 hours power reserve and features 25 jewels.
The Maverick’s movement system also clocks in 28,800 vibrations per hour or eight beats per second, giving it impressive accuracy.
The case has a 43 mm diameter and an 11 mm thickness. Thanks to the durable and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass, this is also an ideal choice for outdoor activities.
It also features a unidirectional rotating bezel with minute markings designed for diving, although its water-resistance comes up short at 100m, so while it has the aesthetic of a classic dive watch it’s a bit lacking. However, the reality is that most enthusiasts like the ever-popular look of a dive watch for the style – rather than being serious divers.
The Victorinox Maverick is an exceptional automatic wristwatch that is stylish and reliable making it a good choice for any occasion, everyday use, and any outdoor activity.
Orient Bambino Version IV Japanese Automatic Stainless-Steel Watch
When it comes to budget automatic watches, the Orient Bambino collection is hard to ignore – as it is one of the bestselling in its price range. With the wide variety of this Orient collection, from minimalist models like the one above to skeletonized Sun & Moon variation, Bambino models can be worn for all types of occasions, from formal to just everyday casual activities.
The Orient Bambino Version IV is a sleek and classical iteration of the series. It uses a stainless-steel case and a leather dress to provide that sophisticated yet casual appearance. The leather bands are designed to fit perfectly around your wrist while still offering absolute comfort.
The watch has very modest water-resistant of 30 meters (100 feet), but as a budget dress watch, it’s really not designed for rugged use.
Invicta Pro Driver Stainless Steel Automatic Diving Watch (Model: 3044)
Invicta is Latin for invincible and it truly shows here with its high-quality construction and impressive durability. While Invicta does sometimes get a bad rap among watch enthusiasts for its discounted pricing strategy you can’t deny that the Pro Diver series is still one of the top-selling dive watches in its class.
Although you can often find The Invicta Pro Diver for under $100, it comes with a screw-down crown, luminous hands, a unidirectional stainless steel bezel, and an impressive 300-meter water-resistance making it a functional professional dive watch – this is a rare achievement in this price range.
Invicta uses the automatic movement is the NH35A Japanese automatic movement. Made by Seiko, this movement is the workhorse behind many quality watches, both from Seiko and many other brands that rely on it.
Additional features include a magnifier and flame fusion crystal as well. This is a classy and durable watch designed to accommodate divers’ needs, professional or not.
Swatch Sistem 51 Irony Automatic (YIS400)
While many people associate Swatch with plastic 80s watches, many shoppers underestimate the quality of and reputation of Swatch, a top-quality yet affordable Swiss wristwatch.
The Sistem 51 Irony Automatic is a sleek, modern, minimalist-inspired automatic wristwatch.
The classic retro dial, coupled with the minimalist design, makes this a popular choice for the younger generation of watch collectors.
It is water-resistant for up to 100 feet and uses luminescent hands for better visibility during low-light environments.
The case diameter of the Swatch SUT400 Sistem measures 42mm with a thickness of 14. Additional features include a date display that is located at the 3 o’clock position.
Fossil Men’s Modern Machine Automatic Self-Wind
The Fossil Modern Machine Sport wristwatch has a unique design that helps separate it from the pack. First off, it uses an ion-plated stainless-steel casing which greatly improves durability. The premium-grade leather strap is also a nice addition to its overall appeal and quality.
This analog-style wristwatch features luminous silver hands and index hour markers and minute markers located around the outer rim. Its defining feature is the transparent back case which gives you a nice view of the inner working of the watch.
The case measures 45mm in diameter and 14mm thickness. The band’s width is at a comfortable 24mm, giving it durability while also being flexible enough to provide comfort on the wrist.
The Modern Machine Sport wristwatch has a water resistance rating of up 165 feet. Not for deep-sea diving activities, although realistically, we’re selecting Fossil for its style and price point, not diving capabilities.
Seiko Men’s SNK809 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless-Steel
When it comes to quality automatic watches at a reasonable price, the Seiko 5 deserves attention. Seiko is well-known for value, and as mentioned above, the brand’s movements are used by many other brands. The Seiko 5 SNK809 uses Seiko’s Caliber 7S26 automatic movement with 40 hours of power reserve.
The Seiko 5 collection has a sporty and casual look. However, do not let this first impression appearance fool you. The construction of this watch checks all the boxes.
Seiko wristwatches feature their patented Hardflex material, considered more durable than standard mineral crystals used by most wristwatches. The case has a matte finish which helps improve its resistance against scratches. The Seiko 5 Automatic is designed for everyday use and is built to last. If you’re looking for a practical sports watch, the Seiko 5 line delivers quality at an affordable price and is backed by the long-standing reputation as one of the top Japanese watchmakers.
Orient “Sun & Moon Open Heart” Japanese Automatic
This second Orient on our list is perfect for the man looking for a bit of wrist flair with an “open-heart” dial for that eye-catching factor you are looking for. The day and night indicator, perfectly portrayed here with a sun and moon display, accentuates the open-heart dial.
Having a peek inside the intricacies of the Orient caliber F6L24 movement is almost hypnotic with the perpetual ticking of each integral gear inside. This high-precision watch movement also comes with a 40-hour power reserve.
The Orient Sun and Moon Open Heart is a premium-grade dress watch featuring a transparent back case that gives wearers a full view of the watch’s in-house movement to add to its charm.
Seiko 5 Sports Automatic Black Dial Stainless Steel
The Seiko 5 Sports series is back in the list as we felt it deserves another mention.
This chunker model features an all-stainless steel design giving it that premium look and feel. It incorporates luminous hands for better visibility in low-light environments, Arabic numeral markers, and minute markers located around the outer rim.
The date display is located on the 3 o’clock marker. The case diameter measures 42mm with a thickness of 12mm. As with the last Seiko entry, this watch is also water-resistant for up to 330 feet with a fold-over and release clasp.
The Seiko 5 Automatic Dila Wristwatch is an elegant choice for both formal, casual, and everyday attire. Its water resistance is quite impressive and will surely be a nice companion for individuals who frequently participate in outdoor activities.
Bulova Men’s Automatic Stainless Steel Watch
The Bulova Men’s Automatic Watch certainly captures a top-quality smartwatch’s premium and high-end appearance. While the price range puts it at the higher end of the spectrum, it is still relatively affordable all things considered.
Features include the new gunmetal IP stainless steel case. The Bulova has a 46 mm diameter case and has a water resistance rating of up to 330 feet. The skeleton dial is made with extreme attention to detail, accentuating its sophisticated style. One aspect of Bulova watches is their impressive skill in crafting truly eye-catching wristwatches. If you are looking for a watch that is reliable and made to impress, Bulova is a good watch brand to consider.
Vostok Amphibian Scuba Dude Automatic Men’s Wristwatch
The Vostok Amphibian Scuba Dude features casual and vintage aesthetics that make it popular among dive watch enthusiasts.
The dial is available in a variety of designs, with the default being the green and teal Red Star Paratrooper dial which is protected by an acrylic crystal dome.
The strap that comes with the Vostok Amphibian Scuba Dude is not quite impressive though, and it does appear that the band is where the manufacturer made cost-cutting decisions.
It is recommended that you look for an aftermarket bracelet to pair up with the Vostok as the standard bracelet it comes with is lacking compared to the watch.
As for performance, the Vostok uses their 2416 Caliber mechanism. This affordable automatic wristwatch is an ideal companion for the beginning collector looking to satiate their hobby with an affordable wristwatch from a Russian brand with a long history.
Alpina Men’s AL750N4E6B Alpiner Swiss Automatic Silver Watch
The Alpina Alpiner Watch uses Caliber AL-750 automatic movement with a 46-hour power reserve. This allows its impressive levels of accuracy at a more affordable price. The stainless-steel case measures 41 mm in diameter and is 14 mm thick.
The silver luminescent hands accentuate the blue dial. It also features a second sub-dial located at the 9 o’clock position and a date display that you can see at the 6 o’clock position. It also comes with a 30-minute counter located at the top and a 12-hour counter positioned at the bottom.
The Alpiner has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, an anti-shock system and making it quite durable considering the dressy aesthetic.
If you want to learn more about Alpina watches, check out our brand overview here.
Tag Heuer Formula 1 Caliber 5 Automatic Watch
Tag Heuer is among the top industry names in the world.
The Formula 1 Caliber 5 watch is an eye-catching watch. Depending on your budget and the type of watch you’re looking for you may or may not call it “affordable“.
However, considering that Tags go up in the price range of several thousand dollars, this more entry-level Swiss-made automatic is considered by many to be an affordable investment.
The sports watch uses standard punctured straps. The case measures 41 mm in diameter and is 12 mm thick. The case is made from highly durable titanium material, and it also features a synthetic sapphire crystal making it highly scratch-resistant.
This watch also uses the Swiss automatic movement system with an analog display. The watch is water-resistant for up to 660-feet, the highest in this list. Because of this, the Tag Heuer Formula 1 is designed for serious outdoor marine activities.
Victorinox Clous de Paris Automatic Stainless-Steel
Another Victorinox series makes a back-to-back appearance in this list, the Ambassador Clous de Paris is a nice little addition to your collection with its simple, practical, business-casual design.
The Clous de Paris delivers a Victorinox brand of quality with its extremely precise Swiss automatic movement system.
Features include a chronograph, date window, and luminescent hands set against a black dial. It utilizes a high-quality stainless steel case and a comfortable premium-grade leather strap.
It also uses the tried and true sapphire crystal, which is highly scratch-resistant, making this watch an ideal accessory for outdoor activities.
As you expected, the Victorinox Ambassador Clous de Paris has a water resistance rating. What is pretty impressive, though is that it is water-resistant for up to 330 feet.
This makes it an ideal watch for casual snorkeling and swimming. I’ll think twice about using it for any serious diving activities though.
Top Buying Considerations:
Since you’re looking for affordable automatics, it may be stating the obvious but the top buying priorities we used to select these watches are the movement itself, focusing on the accuracy, reliability, and power reserve.
Brand: one of the main considerations is the brand’s reputation. All of the brands mentioned in the list are know for their long watchmaking history and/or established reputation in the market.
Movement: The list includes half a dozen swiss automatics such as the AL-750 by Alpina or the ETA Caliber 2824-2 with 38 hr power reserve as well as many other models with Japanese movements such as the Orient caliber F6L24.
Price: The second part of the equation is price, the main challenge to researching and compiling this list is deciding what people consider “affordable“, this is very subjective depending on your budget, but we’ve included many options in the sub-500 range working our way up to affordable-luxury options by well-respected watch brands.
Style: We’ve included a wide variety of styles from dive and dress to everyday casual and some specialized dials, including full skeleton dials and more subtle “open heart” models.
If you wish to learn more about various types of specially made watches in the market, please check out our other interesting articles on Pilot watches, Nautical watches, or even watches worn by a fictional super-spy- James Bond in the films.
Among all the different types of watches on the market, automatic watches are a great choice for everyday use. While there are very expensive automatic watches on the market, we’ve managed to find several on this list that are affordable for almost any watch buyer. While they will stay wound just by wearing them, you can also store them in a watch winder to keep them accurate when you are not wearing them, although they are not really necessary unless you have a watch collection with several automatic watches.