Top 7 Best Automatic Watches Under $300 For Men – 2019

Watches are not only the time timekeepers but also great fashion accessories that would complement your style.

Here are my top picks for the best automatic watch under $300:

  • Seiko SNZG15 – The Best entry-level field watch
  • Orient Defender – The elegant military style watch
  • Seiko SKX007K – The best entry-level dive watch
  • Seiko SNZF17 – The Rolex Submariner homage
  • Orient Ray II – The Best classy dive watch
  • Orient Gen. Bambino Ver. 2′ – The best vintage dress watch
  • Bulova 96A135 BVA-SERIES 120 – The Best skeleton dress watch

Best Automatic Field Watches Under $300

Field watches are the watches that were used on battlefields. However, nowadays people wear field watches because of its practicality, toughness, lightness, and manliness.

The most important details that make a field watch different from other watches are the stainless steel/titanium/PVD coated rugged design, the readability under low-light conditions, the canvas or leather bands for easily swapped out if damaged, no polished parts to avoid undesirable glare under sunlight.

Seiko SNZG15 – The Best entry-level field watch

Seiko SNZG15
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Easy to read dial
  • Exhibition caseback

Cons
  • The dial is not so appealing

Seiko Men’s SNZG15 is a simple and affordable field watch. Despite the low price, Seiko Men’s SNZG15 doesn’t look cheap.

The militarily styled dial has a black matte face and big white numeral markers. The lime on hands and markers look great in dark environment. The day date display at 3 o’clock makes the watch less appealing but more functional, which is the purpose of a field watch.

The exhibition caseback makes Seiko Men’s SNZG15 more classic and luxurious. The 22mm width nylon strap looks okay and can be easily replaced with a cooler leather strap. Seiko Men’s SNZG15 can be mixed with various types of clothes.

The self-winding movement mechanism use wearer’s arm movement to wind the watch, which doesn’t need manual winding or batteries. Seiko Men’s SNZG15 also has an impressive waterproofing standard of 100 m (330 ft) under the water. The watch is suitable for swimming and snorkeling, but not scuba diving.

Product Specifications

Case diameter42 mm (1.65 inches)
Case thickness11 mm (0.43 inches)
Band width22 mm (0.87 inches)
Band materialNylon
Bezel materialStainless steel
MovementAutomatic self wind
Water resistance100 m (330 ft)

Seiko Men’s SNZG15 is an affordable field watch for entry-level watch wearer

Orient Defender – The elegant military style watch

Orient Defender
Pros
  • Very appealing and symmetrical dial
  • Highly functional with 2 subdials

Cons
  • Inconvenient time setting

Every watch has its own personality, and Orient Men’s Defender has a very special style. It is a classic military hand watch, which is sporty robust but still elegant in all four colors – Gray, Crème, Blue, and Black.

The dial is very symmetrical and the lume on top of the markers make the watch appealing in any environment. 22 mm width leather strap looks elegant, making Orient Men’s Defender a perfect watch for formal events – it’ll flatter the wearer’s manly.

Orient Men’s Defender has two subdials that show 24-hour time and days in a week, and a date display at 6 o’clock. The Orient’s in-house movement is a Japanese style self-winding mechanism, which is accurate and affordable.

The only drawback I can point out is that the time setting is quite inconvenient. You’ll have to turn the time around and around to get the right day as you can’t set the day and the time separately.

Product Specifications

Case diameter42 mm (1.65 inches)
Case thickness12 mm (0.47 inches)
Band width22 mm (0.87 inches)
Band materialLeather calfskin
Bezel materialStainless steel
MovementJapanese automatic
Water resistance100 m (330 ft)

Orient Men’s Defender is an elegant field watch, which is perfect for formal events

Best Automatic Dive Watches Under $300

Dive watches are favorited by those often go swimming and especially go diving. The crucial features of a dive watch are superior water resistance and the ability to withstand great pressure hundreds of feet underwater.

A true five watch will conform to the ISO 6425 standard, which is the series of tests designed to ensure a device withstand diving in water at depths of at least 100 m and possess a system to control the time.

Case and band material must be corrosion resistant as well. And bands are typically longer than usual in order to fit over bulky dive equipment.

Seiko SKX007K – The best entry-level dive watch

Seiko SKX007K
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Easy to read dial
  • ISO-certified dive watch with precise Caliber 7S26 automatic movement

Cons
  • The dial and the strap don't look so delicate

Seiko Men’s SKX007K is the most popular ISO-certified dive hand watch of Seiko. The watch has the water resistant to 660 feet (200 m), along with the Seiko’s famous Caliber 7S26 automatic movement, making the watch suitable for recreational scuba diving.

The dial and the rubber strap don’t look so delicate as you can’t expect something superior at this price. But, the overall design of Seiko Men’s SKX007K is good-looking enough. It’s versatile, which is easy for you to match with all kinds of outfits, either when you dress up or dress down. And the big markers with lume on top  are easy to read in dark environments.

Product Specifications

Case diameter42 mm (1.65 inches)
Case thickness13 mm (0.51 inches)
Band width26 mm (1.02 inches)
Band materialRubber
Bezel materialStainless steel
MovementCaliber 7S26 Japanese automatic
Water resistance660 feet (200 m)

Seiko Men’s SKX007K is the most popular dive watch for entry-level wearers

Seiko SNZF17 – The Rolex Submariner homage

Seiko SNZF17
Pros
  • The homage version of the reputable Rolex Submariner
  • Affordable

Cons
  • Low waterproofing standard compared with other dive watches

People call Seiko Men’s SNZF17 the poor man’s Rolex Submariner, however, this is not just a cheap copycat of the reputable watch. It does look pretty alike the Rolex Submariner with less delicate details. Seiko Men’s SNZF17 looks great with casual clothes.

Seiko Men’s SNZF17 has all the features that a basic dive watch has – Index markers, unidirectional rotating bezel with minutes on it, easy to read numbers, lume on the hands and markers.

The watch meets the ISO diver’s watch standard. However, it’s quite low compared with other dive watches – 100m vs 200m.

Product Specifications

Case diameter42 mm (1.65 inches)
Case thickness13 mm (0.51 inches)
Band width22 mm (0.87 inches)
Band materialStainless steel
Bezel materialStainless steel
MovementAutomatic
Water resistance100m (330 feet)

Seiko Men’s SNZF17 is a good affordable dive watch for desk diver

Orient Ray II – The Best classy dive watch

Orient Ray II
Pros
  • Catchy design
  • Suitable for serious water sports
  • Easy to mix with clothes

Cons
  • High water-resistant standard but non-ISO-certified

Orient Men’s ‘Ray II’ is a beautiful dive watch. With the 660 feet (200 m) waterproofing standard, the watch suitable for professional marine activities, serious surface water sports, but not diving. In general, there’s no watch for professional diving at this price.

However, for most of us, a decent dive watch with an appealing design will meet the need. And it’s the Orient Men’s ‘Ray II’. Orient Men’s ‘Ray II’ has the same design language as typical normal diver watches, but they made Orient Men’s ‘Ray II’ catchy on every detail. Especially, in blue color, it has a majestic sunburst metallic effect.

Orient Men’s ‘Ray II’ will match all styles of dressing, making the wearer look sporty and energetic.

Product Specifications

Case diameter41 mm (1.61 inches)
Case thickness13 mm (0.51 inches)
Band width22 mm (0.87 inches)
Band materialStainless steel
Bezel materialStainless steel
MovementJapanese automatic
Water resistance660 feet (200m)

Orient Men’s ‘Ray II’ is the dive watch for those focus on the design

Best Automatic Dress Watches Under $300

The only purpose of dress watches is to compliment a business suit or formal wear. So a dress watch must be elegant and simple.

A dress watch should be thin and properly proportioned to the wearer’s wrist, or it’ll draw all the attention of the dress. A dress watch should have no complications, the presentation should be simple, and the hour indexes should be small and minimal as well.

Orient Bambino Ver. 2 – The best vintage dress watch

Orient Bambino Ver. 2
Pros
  • Consistent classical design
  • Looks like a luxury watch

Cons
  • 21mm width strap is hard to find replacements

Orient Men’s ‘2nd Gen. Bambino Ver. 2’ is just simply a hand watch for the intellectuals from the early 20th century. All the details on this aesthetic and vintage-styled watch are consistently harmony. Every angle is attractive. Small, simple, and elegant.

The domed glass, the neutral color, and the thin faux croc strap make Orient Men’s Bambino humble that suitable for all kinds of formal dresses, but still catchy when it needs to be.

The watch doesn’t have lume for dark environments, doesn’t show day or 24-hour time. But that’s what a classical watch is. The Japanese automatic movement keeps the watch running precisely without any concern of manual winding.

Product Specifications

Case diameter40 mm (1.57 inches)
Case thickness12 mm (0.47 inches)
Band width21 mm (0.83 inches)
Band materialGenuine leather
Bezel materialStainless steel
MovementJapanese automatic
Water resistance330 feet (100m)

Orient Bambino is the the best vintage dress watch under $300

Bulova 96A135 BVA-SERIES 120 – The Best skeleton dress watch

Bulova 96A135 BVA-SERIES 120
Pros
  • Skeleton dial and exhibition caseback
  • Solid design

Cons
  • The dial window is not resistant to scratches

Gears, bearings, and winders are sometimes really attractive if you really love watches. The skeleton dial on BVA-Series 120 Bulova is not so impressive compared with thousands-of-dollar skeleton watches but is the best one under $300 you can find on the market.

The strap is made of black leather. The backcase is openly designed. The self-winding 21 jewel movement is visible through double dial aperture. All make Bulova BVA-Series 120 an interesting watch that can be mixed with any kinds of dresses, and suitable for any types of situations.

The watch has a subdial for 24-hour time display and a subdial for second display. The hour marks are luminous so that they’re easy to read in the dark environment.

Product Specifications

Case diameter41 mm (1.61 inches)
Case thickness12 mm (0.47 inches)
Band width22 mm (0.87 inches)
Band materialCalfskin
Bezel materialStainless steel
MovementAutomatic self wind
Water resistance99 feet (30 m)

Bulova Men’s BVA-Series 120 is the best skeleton dress watch under $300

How to choose a good auto watch under $300?

Best automatic watches under 300

Choose the type of your automatic watch

  • If you want a watch that would flatter your suits, you should choose a dress watch.
  • If you want an enduring and functional watch, a field watch is suitable for you.
  • If you often go diving, just go for a dive watch.

Consider these features

  • Easy to read dial
  • Lume on top of the hour makers
  • Appealing design
  • Exhibition caseback
  • ISO-certified dive ability

Best affordable watch brands under $300

There are hundreds of watchmakers. Among them, Seiko, Orient, and Bulova are my three favorite makers of the best automatic watches under $300.

Seiko

Seiko is a Japanese holding company that has subsidiaries which manufacture and sells watches, clocks, electronic devices, semiconductors, jewelry, and optical products.

Since being established in 1881, Seiko has been developing their brand as one of the most trusted watchmakers. Seiko’s watches have good quality and affordable price, which are suitable for all the segments.

Orient

Orient Watch is another Japanese watchmaker, which was founded in 1950. They are famous for their mechanical watches (self-winding & hand-winding). When it comes to the under-300 segment, Orient has a bulk of great automatic watches that you should have a look at.

Bulova

Bulova is an American watch brand founded in 1875 and currently owned by Japanese conglomerate Citizen Watch. Bulova is well-known for their Swiss-Made watches. They are a traditional watchmaker that make the best automatic watches under $300.

FAQs

Are automatic watches accurate?

An accuracy of +- 25 seconds per day is acceptable when it comes to automatic watches. Common automatic watches will meet this standard. If you seek an absolutely accurate watch, you have to spend more on a Chronometer-certificated watch.

Does an automatic watch need a winder?

No. A winder is not necessary. You arm’s movements are anything an automatic watch needs.

How long can an automatic watch run without being worn?

The self-winding movement mechanism use wearer’s arm movement to wind the watch. If you don’t wear the watch for a period of time, it won’t be winded and stop running. A common automatic watch will stop after 24 to 48 hours being unworn.

How often should you wind an automatic watch?

Your normal activities are enough to keep the watch running. If you wear the watch every day, you don’t have to think about winding it.

Is quartz or automatic more accurate?

Quartz movements are far more accurate than Self-winding movements of automatic watches. However, a normal automatic watch is precise enough that you won’t notice the differences.

Conclusion

Above are my full review of the best automatic watch under $300. Hope that the information in this article will help you find the suitable watch for you.

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