Watches are great for the mind, body, and soul. They create a sense of accomplishment, achievement, and add to your wardrobe at the same time. There is just one kicker, these things can be expensive! With my experience in the watch industry and collecting watches myself I have gathered a list of the top 5 watches one can really get for under $500 USD from mainstream brands. These watches can be found at most brick and mortar shops or online at ease.
HAMILTON KHAKI FIELD AUTOMATIC 38MM $400
The Hamilton Khaki Field automatic is my number one pick and a watch I own as well. It features everything you need on a daily basis and is super reliable/affordable at the same time. The watch is Swiss Made by Hamilton and features an automatic Swiss ETA movement which has a whopping 70 hour power reserve. The watch also features lumed arabics, 100M of water resistance ( safe to swim ) , and a very comfortable bracelet with a secure clasp. If your just getting into watches and want a truly decent watch that can hold its' own in the crowd of watch enthusiasts and collectors, this is the one to buy.
Tissot Visodate automatic Mens Watch $375
The second watch I chose is more of a dressy watch and is made by Swiss company TISSOT. Tissot has an extremely long and rich history in Swiss watchmaking and is respected worldwide by watch lovers. This model features a nice 40MM case equipped with a Swiss automatic ETA 2836-2 25 Jewel movement, holding around 42 hours of power reserve. The watch also comes with a Sapphire crystal, genuine leather band with easy slide adjustment clasp. Its all around a well built, simple, no nonsense stand out watch to wear to work when you are in a suit or more proper attire. The watch is not water resistant at only 30M, but don't be afraid to wash your hands with it.
SEIKO ALPINIST SARB017 - $500
The Seiko Alpinist SARB017 automatic compass watch produced by powerhouse SEIKO in Japan is definitely one to purchase. This model was just discontinued and the prices are soaring rapidly as collectors grab them by the dozen. The watch is currently selling for around $475 USD and can be found from various online outlets. Anyway, it is an extremely good looking watch with a great movement. This watch features the 6r15 Seiko In-House movement which is one of the better Seiko movements. The compass feature also can be useful when camping, hiking, or just to play around with. A green dial with gold applied markers and lumed marquelle style hands really top it off for me. It is definitely a watch you can keep in the collection for more than a decade.
Seiko Turtle SRP777 Automatic Dive Watch
At around $300 the Seiko SRP777 is a compelling offer to any watch collector. The history behind the watch goes back to the Vietnam War where the original Seiko Cushion cased dive watch was utilized by US Troops. This is in fact a re-issue of that model , only it is a bit different in terms of the actual watch. What do we get? Well, the watch has a automatic in-house 4r36 movement with hand winding and hacking capability. The watch also features a buttery smooth uni-directional dive bezel along with 200M of water resistance. Lume is also a key factor in picking a dive watch and this one puts high end watches to shame with its' lumibrite. At 44MM it might be too large for some folks but remember it is a cushion case so it kind of just sinks into the wrist and fits a bit smaller in diameter. Pictured above is my beloved Seiko Turtle on my 6.5" wrist.
TISSOT PRS516 AUTOMATIC DIVER - $500
My fifth and final watch ( these watches are in no order ) is the TISSOT PRS516 automatic 100M dive watch. Tissot really produces a great product all the way down to the packaging of the actual watch. Each Tissot watch comes equipped with a full book outlining the complete history of the company. This watch is certainly a good looking watch with its red "T" accent on the counter balance of the seconds hand, along with the bold applied indices. Inside this watch is the reliable and trustworthy Swiss automatic ETA movement with a day and date feature. It is not truly a "DIVE" watch as generally most dive watches need to be at least 200M water resistant, but you can definitely take this one on your next vacation to the Bahamas and play around in the ocean or pool with it.
Thanks for taking the time to read my list and I have left some links below where you can purchase these 5 watches for the BEST and LOWEST price on the web. Remember, if purchasing from an Authorized Dealer you will definitely pay more money and receive the same exact product. The only difference is you will receive a manufacturers warranty when paying that steep price. From my experiences with $500 watches all the way too $10,000 watches if you buy from a trusted dealer and site you will be fine.