5 of the Best Smooth-Sweep Automatic Watches Under $500 in 2024

Written by – Updated on June 22, 2024

Opting for an automatic timepiece will be your finest bet when planning to get a new watch.

They can be a little expensive, though, which is why I gathered top-performing automatic watches under $500 to narrow down the choices in this watch review.

Automatic timepieces are handy and convenient because they utilize natural movements to wind themselves. Timepieces with automatic movement are my go-to when I plan to spend a day outside.

If I have the time, I like to jog around my neighborhood to get good exercise. It’s also an excellent way to give myself some much-needed peace of mind.

1. Seiko Men's SKX007K Automatic Movement Watch

For dive watches, one of the finest automatic chronographs under 500 is Seiko's SKX007K. The fair price of this watch made all the complicated functions of a diver watch simple.

The watch screams simplicity through its color scheme, which is of its stainless steel and a black synthetic band. Its minimal hour markers design is perfect for any casual events.

On its dial is a small window allocated for the date. It also offers water resistance up to 200 meters, so you can safely wear this if you plan a diving activity.

Despite being styled simply, the functionality of the SKX007K is not forgotten. This watch is assembled so as to make it easily readable.

Featuring Seiko’s LumiBrite technology, its markers have strong and bright light. The markers make timekeeping in a dark area very possible. And if you’re worried about the watch’s protection, it has a sturdy Hardlex crystal that safeguards the entire dial.


  • Can be worn with any outfit
  • LumiBrite technology
  • Up to 200 meters water resistance


  • Slightly uncomfortable resin band
  • Style can be too simple
  • Limited features

2. Seiko Men's SRP777 Prospex Automatic Dive Watch

It seems like Seiko's collection is on a roll here as one of the top auto-wind watches under 500. Seiko features its very own SRP777 Prospex Automatic Movement Watch for diving.

With its sporty appearance with a touch of class, you’ll be hooked. It’s one of the go-to watches for sports enthusiasts and athletes.

Its perfect combination of stainless steel case and changeable black rubber band for your hand makes its design simple and classic.

The black dial of the Automatic Dive watch is combined with markers for the time. It also has a tiny day/date window at the 3 o’clock position.

Perfect for the moderately-sized wrists, the SRP777 Prospex is your greatest companion when it comes to watches for long trips. Just like the above-mentioned watch, it features Seiko’s LumiBrite technology and Hardlex crystal.

As a successor to the well-known Seiko 6309-7040 Dive watch, this guarantees top-quality timekeeping. Aside from being water-resistant to 200 meters and its ISO 6425 certification, which makes it very suitable for diving, this classic watch can also be worn on any occasion. All of these features make me realize one thing — this is not bad for a dive watch that’s this affordable.


  • Simple and classic design
  • Water resistant to 200 meters
  • LumiBright technology


  • Can be a bit heavy
  • Watch may be bulky
  • Uncomfortable resin watch band

3. Seiko Men's SARB017 Mechanical Alpinist

I feel like the Seiko brand is taking over the world of automatic timepieces. The most perfect dress watch around is still coming from them.

The SARB017 Mechanical Alpinist is the front-runner, and you’ll know why.

At first glance, you can already tell that this timepiece is worth your money because of its timeless style. Its elegant green color and vintage design are perfect for special events and formal gatherings.

A shade of green lined with gold markers represents the dial. Created at a moderate size with a brown leather strap, everyone can easily wear this top watch.

Featuring its 50-hour power reserve, you can use it for a long time. Surrounded by synthetic sapphire crystal, this timepiece has an interior bezel that you can also use as a compass.

I think one of the nice features of the SARB017 Mechanical Alpinist is its unique design. Its color combination is attractive and well put together, which can look good in your hand. Boasting its perfect design and features, you can wear the SARB017 Mechanical Alpinist on almost any occasion.


  • Elegant color scheme
  • Water resistant to 200 meters
  • Sapphire crystal makes it scratch-resistant


  • Low-quality strap
  • Can be too simple
  • Fewer functions

4. Seiko Men's SARB035

Seiko is at it again with its SARB035. This watch with an affordable price is a runner-up and one of the finest and most affordable movement-powered watches under 500.

Flaunting its sleek and classy style, you’ll feel fancy wearing this popular Seiko watch without having to pay a high price. Style your formal as well as casual attires with this link-style bracelet watch.

With its perfect size of stainless steel exterior and creamy white dial, the Seiko SARB035 achieves an expensive-looking appearance.

You can see that its back case has a transparent glass that allows you to have a good look at its inner accessories.

The SARB035 is not only big on styles but also on functionality.

Aside from its incredible 50-hour power reserve, it also features the 6R15 caliber, a 23-jewel movement. This element is responsible for the accurate timekeeping of the watch. Its synthetic crystal makes it scratch-resistant. If you want to look posh and functional at the same time, this luxurious dress watch will give you that.


  • Shows simplicity and elegance
  • Accurate timekeeper
  • Scratch-resistant


  • Can be hard to read
  • Does not have defined or labeled markers
  • Less-preferred because of its simplicity

5. Hamilton Men's Khaki King H64455533

Known for its unique and historical watches, Hamilton creates Khaki King. Its rugged look and high-quality materials make this one of their watches worthy of applause.

Aside from its elegant and vintage appearance, this stainless steel watch also offers various features. A brown leather strap with attractive stitching and its unique dial layout give out a striking and brilliant design.

Made to last through rough adventures, the watch features a non-reflective sapphire crystal.

The crystal is scratch-resistant, hence, capable of outdoor trip usage.

Run by Swiss Made movement, the Khaki King is powered by the ETA Cal. 2834-2. It is a 25-jewel movement ensuring a high level of accuracy that still makes it operational even during long trips. It also features 38 hours of power reserve that guarantees you that you have enough power for the rainy days. It has a 50-meter resistance, and a day/date function located on the dial of the watch.


  • Rugged
  • Durable for outdoor activities
  • Swiss-made movement


  • Simple bezel design
  • Water resistance to 50 meters
  • Case may be too big for its band

Worst Under $500 Automatic Wristwatch - Zodiac Sea-Chron Automatic Chronograph

Zodiac Sea-Chron Automatic Chronograph in silver wristband.

The Zodiac Sea-Chron Automatic Chronograph has garnered a mix of admiration and some critique for its features and design elements. Here are the things that some people might not appreciate about this watch:

  • Substantial Case: The Sea-Chron's 42mm width and 16.5mm thickness give it a bolder presence on the wrist. The heft can be overwhelming for some, and its high center of gravity might not suit every wearer's comfort​​.
  • Bracelet Concerns: The tab-style pushers of the deployant clasp on its five-link bracelet are on the sharper side. Some users might yearn for softer edges and a more refined finish on the bracelet and case bottom​​.
  • Conservative Design: While the dials feature a handsome multi-level design and good legibility, those seeking fresh, innovative aesthetics might find the Sea-Chron's homage to its 1960s roots a bit too traditional and lacking in novelty​​.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Premier Automatic Timepieces Under $500

Now that we’re done justifying, it’s time to get to know some factors when buying a watch. Along with the watch’s price, you need to make sure that you snagged the one of your choice. It’s not enough that you buy it from trusted manufacturers, though. There are also other considerations to consider before you lock up the deal.

To make things easier, apart from automatic movement, there are four main factors to consider before purchasing an automated watch. Getting to know each factor after factor will lead you one step closer to your dream watch.

Style of the Watch

Just like buying a piece of clothing, style is very important because it’s a reflection of your personality. Your choice of style could also dictate the type of materials used in a self-winding watch.

An automatic watch with various wristlet colors.

Metal strap or leather? Decide on whether you want a metal strap (link bracelet) or the one made from leather. NATO straps are also available.

After deciding what type you want, then you can check the color of the watch and if it fits your wrist. Do you prefer a gold strap? A silver stainless steel bracelet? Or a plain black leather band? Does it need to come with a stainless steel case? Choices, choices, choices.


There are a lot of dial options you can check out. You also need to consider the placing or style of the date, secondhand sub-dials, chronograph, time zones, fashion trend, and so on.

Choosing a specific dial may be critical, so you need to determine the purpose of why you’re buying a watch. If you’re like most people, looking at the dial’s design is the dictator.

Automatic Watch Dial

Busy dial or something minimal? Do you want a chronograph watch? Determine if you want a busy dial with a lot of viewable functions, or something minimal. A chronograph (you can find the leading chronograph watches here) has three sub-dials, while a simple date complication keeps it light.

If this is your first time buying an automatic timepiece, it helps if you start with a minimal feature and design. This means the watch displays a sleek style that is wearable for any occasion or event.

However, if minimal pieces are not your type, check out the more advanced ones. Usually, this means a complicated with different visible physical properties.


Obviously, this guide is for the greatest affordable watches under $500. However, there are some that you can purchase for a low cost but has the top quality you are looking for, unlike Tissot. Sometimes, the price range and quality go hand in hand.

Know your money’s worth by knowing the quality of your potential watch first. Many classic watches are sold for a price of $200 only. However, the question is, "are they made to last long?"

Choosing a Reliable Seller and Brand

Once you've settled all the other factors, including the price, the last thing to think of is where to buy it. The perfect way to accomplish this is to purchase it straight from your chosen official physical store.

Seiko Watch Store

Only buy from authorized and reputed sellers. If your chosen model is currently unavailable, try your luck on their official online store if they have one. However, if that resource is not available, check if the brand has authorized re-sellers near you.

If you are planning to buy a vintage watch, the resale market will solve your dilemma. They sell affordable wristwatches with vintage (classic) design. However, keep an eye out on fake sellers as they are scattered everywhere. So, it’s really important to get to know the watch you’re hoping to get. Only buy from authorized and reputed sellers, so you’ll know you’re in the safe zone.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are frequently asked questions answered.

How Do Self-Winding Watches Work?

Self-winding timepieces work without the need of batteries because of how its rotor is designed.

Mechanical watches have an off-center wheel (also known as "rotor"), which reacts to gravity when your arms are moving.

Since most of the weight is concentrated on one side of the rotor, it rotates when movement takes place.

This rotor is connected to the watch’s mainspring along with its gears, and with continuous movement of your arms, that watch will wind up.

If you’re an active person wearing the oscillating watch, you can fully wind up this watch in roughly 3 to 4 hours.

How Long Does an Automatic Timepiece Last?

An automatic timepiece lasts a lifetime if you maintain it properly.

It is recommended that its gears and springs are cleaned and lubricated by a watchmaker every 5 years or so.

It functions as long as it’s on your wrist and continuously involved in every arm movement you make.

How to Wind Up Movement-Powered Watches?

A movement-powered watch with a self-winding function winds itself as you move your hands naturally. If it stops working, winding the watch is as easy as shaking it left to right until it starts moving again.

You may also consider buying a watch winder, which is a box for your watch that keeps it moving automatically without you having to shake it. A watch winder helps wind your watch effortlessly overnight or if you don't wear it daily.

Just like hand-winding timepieces, most automatic timepieces come with a crown you can turn clockwise to wind it manually. Periodic manual winding is recommended to keep the mainspring tight.

How Accurate are Automatic Chronographs?

How accurate automatic timepieces are depends on their brand and model. It can also be affected by certain factors like temperature.

Most of the popular mechanical watches are relatively accurate with time, losing or gaining only 5 to 10 seconds difference each day on average.

However, quartz watches and high-end self-winding watches, especially those with a high price point, can have only a 1-second margin of difference each day.


Different categories mean different watch specifications, features, and prices. We have categorized the most excellent kinetic watches under 500 on this watch review for different purposes.

If you want to search for a diver watch, check this Seiko SKX007K out. Its simplicity and versatility rolled into one will sweep you off your feet. Featuring the LumiBrite technology, this great watch collection has your back in dark situations.

When it comes to Dress Watches, the Seiko brand is still reliable with its SARB017 Mechanical Alpinist (if you like that watch, check out our Seiko 5 SNK809 review). It boasts an elegant and classy appeal while still giving you the function you need. This watch has the right combination of class and functionality, which is perfect for special occasions.

Lastly, for field watches, the Hamilton Khaki King is a great choice. It owns a rugged look with excellent features like a generous power reserve that make it your potential perfect travel and navigation companion. It features a 25-jewel movement ensuring a high level of accuracy in timekeeping.


Choosing the premier military watch that passes your qualifications may be a long process, but it doesn’t need to be hard. Each watch is created differently and engineered for a specific purpose.

However, it is still important to decide what feature you desire, the hours of power reserve you need, and the style you prefer. From there, allocate a budget before you place your purchase. You can easily spot outstanding movement-powered watches under 500 dollars if you look at the right places.