September8 , 2023

    The Ultimate Guide to Affordable Automatic Watches: All You Need to Know

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    If you’re looking for a watch that is stylish, durable, and doesn’t need a battery, you might want to consider an affordable automatic watch. Automatic watches have a long history and are admired by many watch enthusiasts for their craftsmanship and complexity. 

    In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know before you buy an affordable automatic watch.  By the end of this guide, you will have a clear idea of what kind of affordable automatic watch suits you best and how to get the most out of it. 

    Choosing an Affordable Automatic Watch

    Choosing an affordable automatic watch can be a daunting task, as there are many factors that affect the price and quality of an automatic watch. However, if you know what to look for and what to avoid, you can find a great automatic watch that suits your budget and style.

    Here are some of the factors that you should consider when buying an affordable automatic watch:

    Movement

    The movement is the mechanism that powers the watch and determines its accuracy and reliability. There are two main types of movements: Japanese and Swiss.

    Japanese movements are generally cheaper but still reliable and accurate, as they are mass-produced by well-known brands such as Seiko, Orient, and Citizen. Swiss movements are more expensive but offer higher precision and prestige. Some of the renowned manufacturers of Swiss movements are ETA, Sellita, and Ronda.

    Some Swiss movements are also certified by the COSC. The certification guarantees their accuracy and quality. Depending on your preference and budget, you can choose either a Japanese or a Swiss movement for your affordable automatic watch.

    Size

    The size is the diameter and thickness of the watch case, which affect the comfort and appearance of the watch. The size should match the size of your wrist and your personal preference. 

    Generally, smaller sizes (less than 40 mm) are more suitable for formal or dressy occasions, while larger sizes (more than 40 mm) are more casual or sporty. 

    However, there is no hard and fast rule for choosing the right size, as it also depends on the shape and design of the watch. You can try on different sizes and see which one fits you best.

    Design

    The design is the appearance and style of the watch, which reflects your personality and taste. There are many elements that contribute to the design, such as:

    • Dial: The dial can have different colors, shapes, textures, indices, hands, etc. You can choose a dial that is simple and minimalist, or complex and detailed, depending on your preference.
    • Case: The case can have different shapes, finishes, and materials. You can choose a case that is durable and resistant to scratches and corrosion, or a case that is lightweight and comfortable to wear.
    • Bezel: The bezel is the ring around the dial that can rotate or be fixed. The bezel can have different functions. You can choose a bezel that is useful and practical for your needs, or a bezel that is decorative and attractive for your style.
    • Crown: The crown is the knob on the side of the case that is used to set the time and date. The crown can have different shapes, sizes, and positions. You can choose a crown that is easy to use and operate, or a crown that is distinctive and unique for your watch.
    • Crystal: The crystal is the glass or plastic cover that protects the dial. You can choose a crystal that is clear and legible under different lighting conditions or a crystal that is strong and durable against impacts.
    • Strap: The strap is the band that attaches the watch to your wrist. You can choose a strap that is comfortable and adjustable for your wrist size or a strap that is stylish and versatile for different occasions.

    Further reading: How Accurate Are Automatic Watches?

    Water Resistance

    Water resistance is the ability of the watch to withstand water pressure. Water resistance is measured in meters or atmospheres (ATM). The higher the water resistance, the more suitable the watch is for swimming diving or other water activities 

    However, water resistance is not a permanent feature and can decrease over time due to wear and tear You can choose a watch that has a water resistance rating that matches your lifestyle and needs. 

    For example, if you are a casual swimmer, you might need a watch that has at least 50 meters or 5 ATM, of water resistance If you are a professional diver, you might need a watch that has at least 200 meters or 20 ATM of water resistance

    Warranty

    A warranty is the guarantee that the watch manufacturer or seller provides in the event of defects or malfunctions. It can vary in terms of duration, coverage, and conditions. 

    A longer and more comprehensive warranty can indicate higher quality and confidence in the product. You can choose a watch that has a warranty that gives you peace of mind and protection for your purchase.

    Additional resources: Unlock the Secrets of Automatic Watches: A Beginner’s Guide to Movement

    8 Affordable Automatic Watches You Should Own

    If you are looking for some examples of affordable automatic watches, you are in luck. There are many options available on the market, from different brands and styles, that can fit your budget and preferences. 

    Here are our picks for the best affordable automatic watches that you can consider, with brief reviews and recommendations:

    Seiko 5 Sports SRPD93

    Affordable Automatic Watch - Seiko 5 Sports SRPD93
    Image: Seiko 5 Sports SRPD93 (Source)

    This is a sporty and versatile automatic watch from Seiko. It features a blue dial with luminous hands and indices, a unidirectional rotating bezel with a 60-minute scale, a day-date window at 3 o’clock, and a stainless steel case and bracelet.

    The movement is the Seiko caliber 4R36, which has a power reserve of 41 hours and hacking and hand-winding functions. The size is 42.5 mm in diameter and 13.4 mm in thickness. The water resistance is 100 meters or 10 ATM. The warranty is two years from Seiko.

    Pros: Reliable and accurate movement, attractive and functional design, durable and comfortable case and bracelet, good water resistance, reasonable price.

    Cons: Slightly large and thick for some wrists, hardlex crystal (not sapphire), no screw-down crown.

    Orient Bambino Version 2

    Affordable Automatic Watch - Orient Bambino Version 2
    Image: Orient Bambino Version 2 (Source)

    This is a classic and elegant automatic watch from Orient. It features a white dial with Roman numerals, blued hands, a small seconds subdial at 6 o’clock, and a domed mineral crystal. The case is made of stainless steel with a polished finish, and the strap is made of brown leather with a buckle clasp.

    The movement is the Orient caliber F6222, which has a power reserve of 40 hours and hacking and hand-winding functions. The size is 40.5 mm in diameter and 11.8 mm in thickness. The water resistance is 30 meters or 3 ATM. The warranty is one year from Orient. This affordable automatic watch comes with a price tag of $120 to $365.

    Pros: Beautiful and refined design, smooth and continuous seconds hand, domed crystal for a vintage look, easy to read dial, affordable price.

    Cons: Low water resistance, mineral crystal (not sapphire), no date function.

    Citizen NJ0100 Automatic

    Affordable Automatic Watch - Citizen NJ0100 Automatic
    Image: Citizen NJ0100 Automatic (Source)

    The Citizen NJ0100 Automatic is a minimalist and modern watch that features a Japanese-made automatic movement with a power reserve of 40 hours. The watch has a stainless steel case with a diameter of 40 mm and a thickness of 11 mm. The average price of this affordable automatic watch is $147 on the private sales market.

    The dial is black with silver-tone hands and markers, and a date window at 3 o’clock. The bezel is smooth and polished, and the crown is signed with the Citizen logo. The crystal is sapphire, which is scratch-resistant and anti-reflective. The strap is black leather with a buckle clasp. The watch has a water resistance of 50 meters and a warranty of five years.

    Pros: Sturdy and durable, scratch resistant, reliable self-winding movement, 100 meters water resistance, convenient, and functional.

    Cons: no handwinding feature, simple and basic, leather strap might wear out over time.

    Orient Sun & Moon Automatic

    Affordable Automatic Watch - Orient Sun & Moon Automatic
    Image: Orient Sun & Moon Automatic (Source)

    The Orient Sun & Moon Automatic is a unique and stylish watch that features a Japanese-made automatic movement with a power reserve of 40 hours. The watch has a stainless steel case with a diameter of 42.5 mm and a thickness of 14.1 mm. The average price range for the timepiece is between $380 and $450.

    The dial is white with blue hands and indices, and three sub-dials for day, date, and sun and moon phase indication. The bezel is smooth and polished, and the crown is signed with the Orient logo. The crystal is sapphire, which is scratch-resistant and anti-reflective. The strap is brown leather with a deployant clasp. The watch has a water resistance of 50 meters and a warranty of one year.

    Pros: Unique and stylish design, accurate and smooth automatic movement, scratch-resistant and anti-reflective, sun and moon phase function

    Cons: Relatively high price, thick and bulky size, complicated and difficult to set up

    Hamilton Khaki King

    Affordable Automatic Watch - Hamilton Khaki King
    Image: Hamilton Khaki King (Source)

    This is a military-inspired automatic watch from Hamilton, a Swiss-American watch brand with a rich history and heritage. It features a black dial, luminous hands and markers, a day-date window at 12 o’clock, and a sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating. The case is made of stainless steel with a brushed finish, and the strap is made of brown leather with contrast stitching and a pin buckle clasp.

    The movement is the Swiss-made ETA caliber 2834-2, which has a power reserve of 38 hours and a hacking function. The size is 40 mm in diameter and 11 mm in thickness. The water resistance is 50 meters or 5 ATM. The warranty is two years from Hamilton. The timepiece is priced between $400 and $600.

    Pros: High-quality and precise movement, sturdy and robust case, clear and legible dial, day-date function for convenience, sapphire crystal for scratch resistance.

    Cons: Higher price than Japanese watches, no hand-winding function, leather strap might wear out over time.

    Citizen Promaster Dive Automatic

    Affordable Automatic Watch - Citizen Promaster Dive Automatic
    Image: Citizen Promaster Dive Automatic (Source)

    The Citizen Promaster Dive Automatic is a sporty and rugged watch that features a Japanese-made automatic movement with a power reserve of 40 hours. On private sales market, this affordable automatic watch is priced around $595.

    The watch has a stainless steel case with a diameter of 42 mm and a thickness of 12 mm. The dial is black with luminous hands and markers, and a date window at 3 o’clock. The bezel is unidirectional and rotating, with markings for diving time measurement. The crown is screw-down and protected by crown guards. The crystal is mineral, which is scratch-resistant but not as much as sapphire. The strap is black rubber with a buckle clasp. The watch has a water resistance of 200 meters and a warranty of five years.

    Pros: Sporty and rugged design, reliable and self-winding movement, Eco-Drive technology, scratch-resistant, 200 meters water resistance, five-year warranty.

    Cons: Large and heavy, no handwinding feature, mineral crystal, lack any extra features and complications.

    Tissot Gentleman Powermatic

    Affordable Automatic Watch - Tissot Gentlemant Powermatic
    Image: Tissot Gentlemant Powermatic (Source)

    The Tissot Gentlemant Powermatic is a classic and elegant watch that features a Swiss-made automatic movement with a power reserve of 80 hours. The watch has a stainless steel case with a diameter of 40 mm and a thickness of 10.64 mm. This affordable automatic watch is priced between $500 and $1,100, depending on the model.

    The dial is black with silver-tone hands and indices, and a date window at 3 o’clock. The bezel is smooth and polished, and the crown is signed with the Tissot logo. The crystal is sapphire, which is scratch-resistant and anti-reflective. The strap is black leather with a butterfly clasp. The watch has a water resistance of 100 meters and a warranty of two years.

    Pros: Can match any outfit or occasion, long power reserve of 80 hours, transparent case back, scratch-resistant and anti-reflective sapphire crystal, water resistance of 100 meters.

    Cons: Relatively higher price, too simple and heavy, leather strap might wear out over time.

    Don’t miss this: 9 Best Entry Level Automatic Watches: The Ultimate List

    Omega De Ville Prestige Co-Axial

    Affordable Automatic Watch - Omega De Ville Prestige Co-Axial
    Image: Omega De Ville Prestige Co-Axial (Source)

    For our last pick, we included this one to cater to those with a higher budget. With a price tag of around $8,000, the timepiece is much more expensive than other models on our list. The Omega De Ville Prestige Co-Axial is a luxury watch that features a Swiss-made automatic movement with a co-axial escapement and a power reserve of 48 hours.

    The watch has a stainless steel case with a diameter of 39.5 mm and a thickness of 10 mm. The dial is silver with blue hands and Roman numerals, and a date window at 3 o’clock. The bezel is smooth and polished, and the crown is signed with the Omega logo. The crystal is sapphire, which is scratch-resistant and anti-reflective. The strap is blue leather with a tang buckle. The watch has a water resistance of 30 meters and a warranty of five years.

    Pros: Luxurious and prestigious design, innovative and accurate Swiss-made automatic movement, scratch-resistant and anti-reflective sapphire crystal, five-year warranty.

    Cons: Very high price, low water resistance rating, fragile, and sensitive to shocks or magnets.

    Find out more: 7 Most Accurate Automatic Watch Models You Should Consider

    Conclusion

    In this article, we have covered everything you need to know before you buy an affordable automatic watch. Automatic watches are not only functional and accurate, but also stylish and elegant. They are a great way to express your personality and taste, and to enjoy the craftsmanship and innovation of watchmaking.

    However, buying an affordable automatic watch is not enough. You also need to take good care of it and maintain it properly. By doing so, you can extend the life span and performance of your affordable automatic watch, and enjoy its beauty and functionality for a long time.

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