Swiss watchmaking has a legacy of fine craftsmanship. The excellence of Swiss-made watches is so universal most people associate Swiss watches with luxury [R].
However, this doesn't mean you can't get a well-made Swiss timepiece on a budget. There is always a Swiss watch brand for your lifestyle.
Read on to find out the best affordable Swiss-made watch brands for you.
Certina is one of the affordable brands under the Swatch Group. Certina is as Swiss-made as they come. Certina was founded in 1888, first as a movement and supplies factory for other watchmakers.
Certina started producing its own watches much later when it developed on the movements they produced for other companies. Its specialty in making self-winding mechanical watches in its early years makes Certina a great watchmaker.
The Certina brand isn't as popular as other watches made by the Swatch Group because it isn't as heavily marketed as Hamilton, Tissot, and others. But Certina is actually quite popular in the European market.
Certina watches tend to be sportier than other Swiss-made selections. Certina is a great brand to choose watches for sportier people focused on function and durability.
Our Recommendation: Certina DS Action Diver Powermatic 80
The Certina DS Action Diver is a versatile diver's watch that can be used for a variety of occasions.
It comes in a black dial with silver-tone arrow-shaped hands. It has a 43mm stainless steel case, which is a good all-around size for any wrist.
Inside, you'll find the ETA 2824 automatic movement, with an 80-hour power reserve. This is a seriously impressive movement for below 1000 dollars. The movement is precise and dependable.
Overall, while it's not the flashiest watch around, I think that the no-nonsense style of the Certina DS Action Diver is versatile.
If you're the kind of person who wants a watch to wear everywhere, you can't go wrong with the Certina Action Diver.
Tissot is a Swiss brand that was founded in 1853 in Le Locle, Switzerland. It has a good reputation for making quality timepieces, especially for women, at prices more affordable than more popular luxury brands.
Tissot made plenty of innovations in the Swiss watchmaking industry. It made the first anti-magnetic watch in 1929 [R].
Tissot is one of the brands that truly prioritizes quality. With materials like gold, sapphire, and mother of pearl in its timepieces, you'll get your best value for money.
Tissot is also one of the more respected watch brands for enthusiasts. It's a surprise that the Tissot is as affordable because it truly makes quality timepieces.
Our Recommendation: Tissot Men's Seastar 1000 Powermatic 80, T1204071704100
The Tissot Men's Seastar is a beautiful automatic watch for an unbelievable price. It has a blue gradient dial that matches the outer bezel, enclosed in a 45.5mm stainless steel case.
The dial is easy to read, with reliable luminescent hands that work any time of the day. It is water-resistant to 300 meters, which is perfect for swimming.
The Swiss Powermatic 80 movement gives reliable and accurate timekeeping. The Powermatic is a 23-jewel automatic movement with an 80-hour power reserve. This is impressive for a watch at this price range.
Overall, though the Tissot is slightly higher on the budget scale, it is worth every penny (and still cheaper than a luxury Swiss!). You can't get a better Swiss watch than the Powermatic 80 for under 500 dollars.
It's impossible to make an affordable Swiss watch brand recommendation without mentioning Swatch. Swatch started the fashion watch revolution in the 1980s by making plastic analog watches that would fit any season [R].
Swatch isn't meant to be an everyday carry. Back when it started, Swatch marketed itself as the "Second Watch," the one that fits your style on a particular day. These days, Swatch is a trusted budget Swiss brand.
Even though Swatch is known for affordable watches, Swatch still pays attention to quality watchmaking. As more and more watch brands are outsourcing their manufacturing to China [R], Swatch is still Swiss-made [R].
Swatch has a timepiece for every kind of wearer. There are the Swatch trademark plastic watches and the Swatch Irony line of watches for those who desire a more heavyweight kind of watch.
Our Recommendation: Swatch Classic Quartz Silicone Strap SUOB705
The Swatch Classic Quartz with the silicone strap is a good watch to get your feet wet with the Swatch brand. It has an understated black look, but Swatch always has plenty of color options to choose from.
The Swatch Classic has a white dial with large Arabic numeral time displays and a date/day window. The time is easy to read with this one.
The Swatch Classic has 100ft of water resistance, comes in a 41mm round case with a push/pull crown.
The Swatch Classic runs on Swiss quartz movement. Though it might not keep the most accurate time, the Swatch is dependable and is a good option for anyone doing dirty work. After all, it won't hurt to buy another one.
Overall, the Swatch Classic is a great watch to buy on a budget. It's simple, understated, and extremely handy.
The great thing about the Swatch Classic is it has an international warranty for 2 years, in case yours suddenly breaks apart. Not bad for a watch under 50 dollars!
Founded in 1951, Mondaine Watch Ltd. is a brand heavily inspired by Swiss railway clocks designed by Hans Hilfiker [R].
Mondaine is known as an affordable Swiss quartz watchmaker, known for making simple yet reliable watches at its price range of around 200-300 dollars.
The watch movement was unique at the time because it spreads 58 seconds over the 360-degree dial so that when the clock reaches the 60-second mark for 2 seconds, it gives the illusion that time has stopped.
If you think that the Mondaine watches look familiar to you, you wouldn't be wrong. Apple's iOS6 design is inspired by Mondaine watches.
Later on, Mondaine and the Swiss Federal Railways licensed Apple to use their watch design [R].
Mondaine's watches are simple but reliable. If you're looking for a simple, affordable watch that lasts a long time, Mondaine is one of the few excellent watch brands to choose from.
Our Recommendation: Mondaine Men's A667.30314.11SBB Classic Gents Day-Date Leather Band Watch
The Mondaine Men's Classic is a simple and understated timepiece for those who simply want a watch that doesn't require a lot of maintenance.
It has a white dial with dashes as its time indicator, looking like the classic Swiss railway clocks. The signature red second-hand makes the watch unique and quirky. The date/day window is simple and easy to read.
The Mondaine is sleek and lightweight with a 36mm stainless steel case and a mineral crystal. The Mondaine runs on Swiss quartz movement, which is actually quite reliable.
I love the leather strap on this wristwatch. It gives the Mondaine a classic look that doesn't scream "cheap."
The Mondaine is a straightforward watch, but its simplicity is actually its biggest draw. I love how reliable the Mondaine is for timekeeping, and it goes well with any casual outfit.
Hamilton is a brand with a rich history. Hamilton has been in the watchmaking business since the turn of the 20th century. Originally an American watch brand, Hamilton was acquired by the Swatch Group, making Hamilton a Swiss brand [R].
Hamilton Watches is responsible for many innovations in the watchmaking world, from making some of the world's first electric battery-powered watches to its Pulsar LED display (leading to the world's first digital watch) [R].
Hamiltons are classified as mid-range watches, so they don't have the prices of luxury Swiss watches. Watch enthusiasts still find Hamilton a good brand, on par with luxury Swiss watches.
Hamilton Khaki Automatic Titanium Men's H705753733
The Khaki Black Titanium runs on a Swiss H-10 automatic movement with an 80-hour power reserve. The Black Titanium model has a vintage look, with the numbers on the dial matching the fauxtina of the hour and minute hands.
Like other Hamilton watches, the Black Titanium also comes with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.
The reliability, classy and elegant looks, and durability of the Hamilton Black Titanium make it a great affordable Swiss timepiece that will outlast plenty of other watches.
And the best part is, the Hamilton Khaki Automatic is actually very affordable for all the features it offers.
Glycine is another Swiss-made watch brand that became popular during the war era.
Its claim to fame is the Airman wristwatch line, which the brand supplied to US soldiers in the 1950s. Since then, the Glycine Airman became popular with pilots who needed a GMT hour hand as a reference.
Though Glycine was acquired by the Invicta Watch Company, an American company, in 2016, Glycine still makes their watches in Switzerland. Invicta just takes charge of the worldwide distribution of these fine watches [R].
These days, Glycine designs wristwatches that appeal to masculinity. It makes watches with large dials and heavy-duty stainless steel cases.
Though Glycine isn't a very popular brand around the world, I believe that Glycine is still great to own. It is one of the more affordable Swiss watch brands that have a lot to offer for its price range, compared to luxury options.
What better way to try the brand than through its most popular watch line?
Our Recommendation: Glycine Airman 42 Automatic Blue Dial Steel GL0064
The Glycine Airman GL0064 harks back to the wartime Airman watches. This watch, with a 42mm stainless steel case, is water-resistant to 100m and has a heavy masculine appeal.
Like the Airman's standard feature, it has a GMT hand that keeps GMT as a handy reference, especially for those who enjoy traveling. This is even more useful for pilots because GMT is the time standard referred to in air traffic control.
The Airman 42 looks classy, with a blue dial featuring 24-hour time and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal dial window.
Inside, you'll find the Swiss craftsmanship in the GL293 automatic movement with a 42-hour power reserve.
Overall, the Airman is a good watch for anyone with bigger wrists and wants a more masculine style.
Founded by Edouard Heuer in the 1880s, TAG Heuer is a popular Swiss brand around the world. Though it has a variety of fashion products in the market, it is still most known for its quality watches, especially its chronographs.
TAG Heuer watches aren't "budget" by any means. In fact, TAG Heuer can be considered a luxury watch. However, its entry-level offerings are still more affordable than other luxury Swiss watches.
Because TAG Heuer is compared with luxury brands, it could be a good entry to luxury watches. A TAG is a good investment if you want to buy a watch of Swiss origin.
Our Recommendation: TAG Heuer Formula 1 Men's WAZ1010.BA0842
The TAG Heuer Formula 1 is not the cheapest one on this list. For a little over 1000 dollars, you get a timepiece that's on par with other Swiss-made luxury watches.
The Formula 1 model is a beauty. It comes in a blue dial with a matching blue outer bezel. It is enclosed in a silver-toned stainless steel case and a matching stainless steel band.
While this particular TAG Heuer wristwatch runs on quartz movement, that doesn't make this one any less reliable. The quartz movement on this timepiece keeps accurate time, more than the others I’ve tried.
The Formula 1 is water-resistant to 200 meters, so it can take a few splashes. The dial is protected by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, which makes it that much more durable.
Overall, the Formula 1 is a great watch to own if you're interested in getting into TAG watches. While it's definitely not one of their premier offerings, it offers a lot of value for its entry-level price tag.
Are Swiss Watches Worth It?
In the era of smartwatches, it seems like Swiss-made watches don't have a place on our wrists anymore. But watch collectors don't just wear watches to tell time.
Watches are a symbol of engineering and craftsmanship. They're a fashion statement, but they're also a piece of history. And unlike smartwatches, well-crafted watches don't have an expiration date [R].
In the world of watches, "Swiss made" is a label that symbolizes heritage, attention to detail, and quality craftsmanship [R].
With its history as the world's watchmaking capital, it's no surprise that watches from Switzerland are still regarded as the finest watches to own.
What Makes a Watch Swiss?
For watches to be considered Swiss-made, Swiss law [R] requires that either:
- The movement of the watches are Swiss
- The movement is encased in Switzerland
- Final inspection by the manufacturer took place in Switzerland
- At least 60% of the manufacturing costs are generated in Switzerland.
If brands do not follow the Swiss government's guidelines, it cannot be called a Swiss watch.
With the Swiss-made label, you can be sure of the highest quality and manufacturing standards.
Swiss timepieces are good investments for anyone who wants to get started with collecting wristwatches. The quality and craftsmanship of Swiss brands are still unmatched.
With our selection of affordable timepieces at lower price points, you wouldn't have to worry about getting your feet wet with quality watches.