Top 8 Best Affordable Dress Watches For Men – 2019 Update

best dress watches for menThe misconception that only the expensive watches are nice and worth the buck is usually the reason behind many men’s hesitation and doubt when shopping for dress watch.

However, it is totally possible to find durable and stylish dress watch that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. In spite of that, we do acknowledge that the quest to find a good and affordable dress watch is a lot easier said than done.

Especially when there are thousands of models available on the market, you obviously don’t have the time and effort to browse through every single one to find a hidden gem.

In order to spare you the trouble, we have put together a list of the “Best affordable dress watches for men” at three different price points: under $300, under $500 and under $1000.

The list was developed based on our personal experience and customer reviews taken from popular shopping sites and prestigious online communities.

AFFORDABLE DRESS WATCH RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE GENTLEMEN

Our Top Picks
Best Dress Watch under $300
Read Our Review
Orient Bambino Gen 2
  • Movement: Orient 24-jewel F6724 Automatic
  • Diameter: 40.5mm
9.6 Outstanding Read Our Review
Read Our Review
Orient Esteem Open Heart
  • Movement: Orient 21-jewel 46A40 Automatic
  • Diameter: 41.5mm
9 Outstanding Read Our Review
Read Our Review
Stuhrling Original Men’s Legacy Anatol 371
  • Movement: ST-91011 Automatic
  • Diameter: 47mm
8.8 Great Read Our Review
Best Dress Watch under $500
Read Our Review
Seiko Cocktail Time SARB065
  • Movement: Seiko 23-jewel 6R15 Automatic
  • Diameter: 40mm
9.6 Outstanding Read Our Review
Read Our Review
Seiko SARB033
  • Movement: Seiko 23-jewel 6R15 Automatic
  • Diameter: 38mm
9 Outstanding Read Our Review
Read Our Review
Orient Polaris GMT
  • Movement: Orient 40P51 Automatic
  • Diameter: 42mm
8.6 Great Read Our Review
Best Dress Watch under $1000
Read Our Review
Seiko Alpinist SARB017
  • Movement: Seiko 23-jewel 6R15 Automatic
  • Diameter: 39.5mm
9.6 Outstanding Read Our Review
Read Our Review
Citizen Signature Grand Classic NB3010-52A
  • Movement: 26-jewel caliber 9184
  • Diameter: 43mm
8 Good Read Our Review

Best dress watches under $300

 1. Orient Bambino Gen 2 

 PROS:

  • Eye-catching domed mineral crystal
  • Intricate yet neat-looking dial
  • Great price for such a timeless piece
  • Vintage-inspired design with onion crown, domed crystal, thin hands and Roman numeral markers
  • Orient automatic in-house movement with hand-winding and hacking
  • Works well with both casual and formal attire

CONS:

  • Glossy and stiff leather bands

Orient Bambino II Specifications

Case Size40.5 milliliters
Case Thickness11.8 millimeters
DialMineral
Band MaterialLeather
Band Width21 millimeters
Movement24-jewel Orient automatic movement, caliber F6724
Water Resistance100 feet
Special Feature40-hour power reserve
The Model Year2017

Orient Bambino Gen 2 Ver. 2 Review

 If you are looking for a high-quality dress watch with a classic vintage feel, this watch proved itself as a strong contender.

Orient Bambino Gen 2 Ver. 2 has stunning design that pays tribute to the watches from the past with elegant details such as onion crown, domed mineral crystal, Roman numeral markers, thin hands and a train track chapter ring. The watch has an average case size of 40.5 millimeters and a case thickness of 11.8 millimeters.

Thanks to Orient’s exquisite craftsmanship and smart arrangement, the dial remains sleek and polished despite carrying a great number of details. This model is powered by an excellent 24-jewel Orient automatic movement, caliber F6724 with an accuracy of +/-10s to +/-15s a day and a 40-hour power reserve.

This watch has been one of the top fan’s favorites from the Bambino line for a while and judging on the design, quality and functionality; it’s definitely here to stay. However, many are not fans of the glossy and stiff leather bands so feel free to replace them if you think it’s necessary!

2. Orient Esteem Open Heart

PROS:

  • Unique and intriguing dial design that resembles an open heart
  • Practical yet classy design
  • High level of wearing comfort
  • Orient automatic in-house movement

CONS:

  • Glossy and stiff leather bands
  • The automatic wind can make some mild noise

Orient Esteem Open Heart Specifications

Case Size41 millimeters
Case Thickness12 millimeters
DialMineral
Band MaterialLeather
Band Width22 millimeters
Movement21-jewel Orient automatic (self-winding) movement, caliber 46A40
Water Resistance165 feet
The Model Year2015

 Orient Esteem Open Heart Review

The Orient Esteem Open Heart is a watch for those who love to dress casual but also want to stand out. The watch has a simple and practical design that is enriched by a dial featuring a unique open heart view into its mechanical system.

The slightly domed crystal magnifies the beauty of the dial and protects the watch from scratches. The case is 41 millimeters in size, which is pretty normal and 12 millimeters in thickness.

The Orient Esteem Open Heart features a 21-jewel Orient automatic movement, caliber 46A40 and has a 40-hour continuous operation time along with an accuracy of +/- 20s a day. The automatic wind can cause some mild noise but don’t worry because most of the time, you can barely hear it.

The watch is versatile enough for you to pair it with a formal suit or just jeans and a plain T-shirt. Orient actually paid a lot of attention into the design to create an easy-to-wear watch that doesn’t have many details yet still has something really interesting to force people to look at.

3. Stuhrling Original Men’s Legacy Anatol 371

PROS:

  • Bold skeleton style
  • Luxurious design
  • Comfortable and high-quality leather bands

CONS:

  • The size may be too big for certain customers

Sturhling Original Men’s Legacy Anatol 371 Specifications

Case Size47 millimeters
Case Thickness15 millimeters
Band MaterialLeather
Band Width24 millimeters
MovementAutomatic self-winding movement, caliber ST-91011
Special featuresDual-time display
Water Resistance165 feet
The Model Year2014

Stuhrling Original Men’s Legacy Anatol 371 Review

Thanks to the bold & intricate skeleton dial that gives you a peak into the watch’s inner workings along with dauphine-style hands, transparent back and fancy color combination; the Stuhrling Anatol 371 is for individuals with a larger-than-life personal style who wish to make a statement with their fashion choices.

This watch features an automatic self-winding movement, caliber ST-91011; which means it uses the natural motion of your arm to wind itself without relying on any other power source. This element will for sure appeal to customers who are into eco-friendly, self-sufficient products. You can also manually wind the watch if you want to.

The only thing you have to keep in mind before purchasing is that the watch may be too big for some customers because of its case size of 47 millimeters and case thickness of 15 millimeters.

Best dress watches under $500

4. Seiko Cocktail Time SARB065

PROS:

  • Great price for a minimalistic & gorgeous watch
  • Magnificent sunburst dial
  • Domed Hardlex crystal
  • Exhibition back for you to see the movement inside
  • Lower beat rate for longer service interval and longer power reserve (up to 50-hour)
  • Can be used for both formal and casual settings

CONS:

  • Shiny leather bands
  • The lack of color contrast on the dial may make it hard to tell time

Seiko Cocktail Time SARB065 Specifications

Case Size40 millimeters
Case Thickness13 millimeters
CrystalDomed Hardlex
Band MaterialLeather
Band Width20 millimeters
MovementSeiko 23-jewel automatic movement, caliber 6R15
Special featuresDate display & 50-hour power reserve
Water Resistance165 feet
The Model Year2010

Seiko Cocktail Time SARB065 Review

A collaboration between Seiko and Shinobu Ishigaki – a top bartender of Japan, the Seiko Cocktail Time SARB065 is simply a perfect mix of style, engineering and functionality.

The case size is 40 millimeters and the case thickness is 13 millimeters. The watch has minimalistic and classy design with the stunning sunburst dial as the focal point.

The dial is filled with extremely fine silver lines starting from the center to the edge of the watch, making it highly light-reflective. However, according to some customers, the lack of color contrast on the dial can make it a little bit difficult to tell time.

The Seiko Cocktail Time SARB065 is equipped with a 23-jewel automatic self-winding movement, caliber 6R15. Hand-winding and hacking are also available. The caliber 6R15 has 6 beats per second, allowing the watch to achieve an incredible 50-hour power reserve.

The accuracy is advertised as +25/-15s a day. According to general reviews, customers are very satisfied with the automatic movement, durability and accuracy of the watch.

Overall, the Seiko Cocktail Time SARB065 is universally praised for its beautiful design, high quality and reasonable price tag. The great amount of attention paid to every single detail of the watch along with Seiko’s exquisite craftsmanship for under $500 is definitely a bargain no one can say no to.

5. Seiko SARB033

PROS:

  • Affordable price for such luxurious design
  • Silver tone on a black dial surface, a classic combo for the gentlemen
  • Sapphire crystal
  • Exhibition back for you to see the movement inside
  • Remarkable automatic movement, caliber 6R15

CONS:

  • Limited stock since the model has been discontinued
  • Lack of micro-adjustment on the metal straps

Seiko SARB033 Specifications

Case Size38 millimeters
Case Thickness11.2 millimeters
CrystalSapphire
Band MaterialMetal
Band Width20 millimeters
MovementSeiko 23-jewel automatic self-winding movement, caliber 6R15
Special features50-hour power reserve
Water Resistance330 feet

Seiko SARB033 Review

At first glance, the Seiko SARB033 seems very simple and traditional in design. However, this is the kind of watch that slowly captivates you when you take the time to look at it and appreciate its beauty.

The case finishing is extremely well-made while the indices, hands & the window cut-out are highly polished. The silver tone on the black dial surface acts as a cherry on top, helping the watch exude a solid and luxurious feel that makes you think this must cost way more than $500.

Some may find the watch a little bit small since the case size is only 38 millimeters and the case thickness is 11.2 millimeters.

The Seiko SARB033 is equipped with a 23-jewel automatic self-winding movement, caliber 6R15 with an accuracy of +25/-15s a day and a remarkable 50-hour power reserve. Hand-winding and hacking are also available.

In general, the Seiko SARB033 is a classic watch that will survive the test of time thanks to its sleek and polished design. On top of that, the watch can definitely compare to other high-end, expensive options in terms of quality and durability.

Sadly, the model has been discontinued by Seiko in early 2018 so it can be pretty difficult to get your hands on this amazing watch. So take your chance now if it’s available!

6. Orient Polaris GMT

PROS:

  • GMT capability, ideal for travelling
  • Classy and sharp design with polished surface and smooth edges
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
  • Orient automatic movement with hand-winding and hacking
  • Power reserve indicator

CONS:

  • Bands are stiff and too long for many customers

Orient Polaris GMT Specifications

Case Size42 millimeters without crown
Case Thickness11.98 millimeters
CrystalSapphire
Band MaterialLeather
Band Width22 millimeters
MovementOrient automatic movement, caliber 40P51 with hand-winding and hacking
Special features40-hour power reserve & GMT capability
Water Resistance165 feet

Orient Polaris GMT Review

The Orient Polaris GMT has the design of a luxurious and classic timepiece from the past. The center of the dial is filled with elegant diamond patterns while the power reserve indicator at 12 o’clock is decorated with a wave pattern, creating a stunning contrast.

The beautiful dial is protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Every single detail were planned and polished carefully to deliver an overall opulent feel that makes the watch seem much more expensive than it really is. The watch size is 42 millimeters without the crown and the case thickness is 11.98 millimeters.

Many customers chose to replace the straps because they found the leather straps too stiff and too long for their liking.

The Orient Polaris GMT is powered by Orient’s in-house automatic movement, caliber 40P51 with a 40-hour power reserve. The watch can be hand-wound as well. It also allows hacking for better time setting. The fourth GMT hand is a great feature for those who travel a lot.

This model is a fine example of what Orient does best: creating a seemingly simple & modest watch that is filled with exquisite features and intricate details. You have to take a closer look at the Orient Polaris GMT to fully appreciate its beauty.

Best dress watches under $1000

7. Seiko Alpinist SARB017

PROS:

  • Stunning & timeless design with luxurious color scheme (green & gold)
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and inner rotating compass ring
  • Beautiful crocodile-grained leather straps to emphasize the classic vibe
  • Seiko automatic in-house movement with hand-winding and hacking
  • Up to 50-hour power reserve
  • Can be paired with both formal and casual look
  • Water resistance up to 200m
  • Diashock absorber for more protection

CONS:

  • The size maybe too small for certain customers
  • Simple buckle instead of the anticipated deployment clasp

Seiko SARB017 Specifications

Case Size39.5 millimeters
Case Thickness12 millimeters
CrystalSapphire
Band MaterialLeather
Band Width20 millimeters
MovementSeiko 23-jewel automatic self-winding movement, caliber 6R15
Special features50-hour power reserve & inner rotating compass ring
Water Resistance660 feet
The model year2006

Seiko Alpinist SARB017 Review

The Seiko SARB017 was created to honor the Yamaotoko – the Japanese mountain explorers who devoted their time and effort to conquering the famous Japanese Alps.

It was designed with the sole purpose of timekeeping and manually locating points of the compass. The stunning combination of a sunburst green dial and golden details delivers a unique classical and luxurious feel. The hour hand’s design is similar to the Mercedes logo while the minute hand is shaped like a sword.

Keep in mind that the watch may be a little bit small for some customers since the case size is only 39.5 millimeters.

Powered by the premium 23-jewel automatic self-winding movement caliber 6R15, the Seiko SARB017 has a generous 50-hour power reserve and an accuracy of +25/-15s a day which will get a lot better when worn regularly. The watch also allows manual winding.

As a watch created for mountain climbers, this model also includes Diashock absorber to further protect the watch from damage caused by drops, falls or impacts if used in rough environments.

Overall, the Seiko SARB017 is a durable and beautiful watch that feels very luxurious and timeless but not overwhelming and unnecessarily flashy.

If you enjoy outdoor activities and hardcore sports, this watch is definitely a fine choice considering it was created to survive the harsh environment in the mountains.

8. Citizen Signature Grand Classic NB3010-52A 

PROS:

  • Eye-catching color scheme with silver textured dial and blue hands
  • Sharp design with metallic accents
  • Exhibition case back to see the movement inside
  • Scratch-resistant and anti-reflective sapphire crystal
  • Citizen automatic movement, caliber 9184

CONS:

  • The lume can be too overwhelming for certain customers

Citizen Signature Grand Classic NB3010-52A Specifications

Case Size43 millimeters
Case Thickness13 millimeters
CrystalSapphire
Band MaterialStainless steel
Band Width20 millimeters
Movement26-jewel automatic movement, caliber 9184
Special features40-hour power reserve, date display, power reserve indicator, 12/24-hour time display
Water Resistance330 feet

Citizen Signature Grand Classic NB3010-52A Review

The Citizen Grand Classic NB3010-52A has a sleek and polished design with a stunning off-white/silver textured dial, enhanced by the luminous markers and hands. The blue hands create a nice contrast to the silver tone, making the watch look more stylish and luxurious.

It also has a power reserve indicator, date and 12/24-hour time display; improving the functional aspect of the watch. The case size is 43 millimeters and the case thickness is 13 millimeters.

The Citizen Grand Classic NB3010-52A is powered by the 26-jewel automatic movement, caliber 9184. This model has a 40-hour power reserve. The watch is highly praised for its accuracy and durability.

Many have dubbed the Citizen Grand Classic NB3010-52A as one of the best dress watches under $1000. The only drawback according to some customers is that the luminosity of the hands can be a bit overwhelming, lowering the overall value of the watch.

FAQs

best dress watch for men

What is a formal watch?

A watch can tell a lot about its wearer. That’s why we need to select watches to wear on different social occasions carefully. On formal events and social encounters, it is better to go for a dressy watch.

Traditionally, men didn’t wear a watch with a formal suit because it was considered rude to keep checking the time. However, we have lived in a new era where wearing watches are accepted and sometimes regarded as a must-do. The thing is not every watch can go well with a tuxedo or formal clothing.

This is when a formal watch or a dress watch become necessary.

The only function of a formal watch is to elevate its wearer’s elegance and class. The watch will complement your formal wear and act as an added element to the whole.

As you can see, formal watches focus on simplicity. Most of them come with simple features and shapes so that they don’t steal the highlight away.

When it comes to formal watch, people do not concern much about accuracy. That’s why many formal watches don’t bother to have second hands.

Most importantly, a formal watch should be in proportion with the wearer’s wrist, so that it can slip in and out quickly. Usually, you need to pay attention to the rules of matching between shoes, belt and watch as well.

How big should a dress watch be?

A dress watch shouldn’t be an oversized model. The last thing you want is to draw people’s attention to your watch rather than your elegance as a whole. So, your dress watch shouldn’t be too big.

There are several elements to determine the right size of a dress watch.

Case size

The case size is the most significant element you should look for when it comes to a dress watch. The typical case size ranges from 38mm to 46mm for men. Anything under 38mm is generally used for women’s watches.

However, you can always find vintage watches with a case size of 34 or 36mm. I would not recommend choosing a watch with a case size of over 46mm as a dress watch since it is not appropriate for formal wear.

The thickness

The typical thickness of a watch largely depends on its case size. A watch with small case size will likely adopt 7mm thickness, and watch with larger case size will have 9mm in diameter. You can find lots of ultra-thin watches as well.

Watch bandwidth  

Last but not least, the watch bandwidth is essential too. Typically it will be half the case diameter.

All in all, a formal watch should have case sizes ranging from 38 to 42mm, so that it stays proportional with your wrist and match harmoniously with your outfit.

Does a black watch match everything?

The answer is no. A black watch seems to be a comfortable choice for many people due to the popular belief that black goes well with everything.

It is true that black color can be complimented in most cases. However, there is a better choice of colors to match with different outfits. For example, if you wear a black or navy suit, you should go with gold or silver watch.

The only exception here is the black strap. It certainly matches with most watch colors and outfits.

Can you wear a watch with cufflinks?

With formal wear, cufflinks are often an essential part. With suitable dress watch, you can nail your outfit. The key is to look for a thin and simple dress watch, so it doesn’t outshine our formal outfit.

Also, it is the standard rule not to bring a watch after 18:00, because it is a sign that you want to keep track of time and leave early. If you wear a dinner jacket or white tie, some people advise you shouldn’t wear a watch.

How loose should a watch fit?

I assumed that this question is too easy; however, it seems everything needs to be answered well when it comes to dress watches. Of course, regardless of dress watches or casual ones, you need to wear it most comfortable for you.

Technically, you shouldn’t let the watch too loose; it can easily slide down your wrist. A watch should be tight enough so that it doesn’t leave any imprint afterward.

If you wear steel bracelets, you can easily adjust the fit via pins in the clasp. Otherwise, a striped strap would allow you to choose the suitable size whenever you wear it.

VERDICT

best affordable dress watches for men

Above is our full list of the best affordable dress watches for men based on our research and personal experience. We included watches from different price points to make sure you find the one that best fits your budget.

We mentioned watches that have different styles and different target customers to make sure you find the one for you no matter who you are and what you like. However, keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect watch. What works for you may not work for others.

The watches recommended by us may have some flaws but at the end of the day, they are still some of the finest options you can find with a tight budget.

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Best Affordable Skeleton Watches 

Best Automatic Watches Under $500

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