best automatic watches under 500

6 Best Automatic Watches Under $500

If you live an active lifestyle, opting for an automatic watch will be your best decision when planning to get a new watch. Automatic watches are handy and convenient because it generates natural movements to wind the watch’s mainspring.


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

An automatic watch is my go-to watch when I plan to have outdoor activities. They can be a little expensive, though. That’s why I gathered the best automatic watches under $500 to narrow down the choices.

Best Automatic Watches Under $500

Hamilton Khaki King

Best Field Watch

HAMILTON MEN’S KHAKI KING H64455533 AUTOMATIC WATCH

Price: $$$

Owns a rugged look with excellent features that makes it your potential best travel companion. 

Rated by Nicholas 

Seiko SKX173

Best Dive Watch

SEIKO MEN’S SKX173 AUTOMATIC DIVE WATCH

Price: $$$

All the complicated functions of a dive watch are made simple by this watch with its fair price. 

Rated by Nicholas 

Seiko Mechanical Alpinist

Best Dress Watch

SEIKO MEN’S SARB017 MECHANICAL ALPINIST AUTOMATIC WATCH

Price: $$$

Perfect for special occasions, this watch has the right combination of class and functionality. 

Rated by Nicholas 

Dive Watches

Seiko Men's SKX173 Automatic Dive Watch

For dive watches, one of the best automatic watches under $500 is Seiko's SKX173 Automatic Dive watch.

The fair price of this watch made all the complicated functions of a dive watch simple.

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

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

Despite being styled simply, the functionality of the SKX173 Automatic Dive 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. This makes 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.

PROS

  • Can be worn with any outfit
  • LumiBrite technology
  • Water-resistant to 200 meters

CONS

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

Seiko Men's SRP777 Prospex Automatic Dive Watch

It seems like Seiko is on a roll here as one of the best automatic watches under $500. Seiko features its very own SRP777 Prospex Automatic Dive watch.

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

Its combination of stainless steel case and changeable rubber band makes its design simple.

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 mark.

Perfect for the moderately-sized wrists, the SRP777 Prospex is your best companion when it comes to 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 good quality timekeeping. Aside from being water-resistant to 200 meters and its ISO 6425 certification which makes it very suitable for diving, this classic timepiece can also be worn on any occasions. All of these features make me realize one thing — this is not bad for a dive watch that’s under $500.

PROS

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

CONS

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

Dress Watches

Seiko Men's SARB017 Mechanical Alpinist Automatic Watch

I feel like Seiko is taking over the world of automatic watches. The best dress watch around is still coming from them.

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

At first glance, you can already tell that this watch is worthy of your money because of its timeless style. This is perfect for special events and formal gatherings.

A shade of green lined with golden markings represents the dial. Created at a moderate size, everyone can easily wear this timepiece.  

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

I think one of the likable features of the SARB017 Mechanical Alpinist is its unique design. Its color combination is attractive and well put together. Boasting its great design and features, you can wear the SARB017 Mechanical Alpinist automatic watch on almost any occasions and trips you desire.

PROS

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

CONS

  • Low quality strap
  • Can be too simple
  • Less functions

Seiko Men's SARB035 Automatic Watch

Seiko is at it again with its SARB035 Automatic watch. This watch is a runner-up of the best automatic watches under $500.

Flaunting its sleek and classy style, you’ll feel fancy wearing this timepiece without having to break the bank. Style your formal as well as casual attires with this watch.

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

You can see that its back case have 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. It 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 sumptuous dress watch will give you that.

PROS

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

CONS

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

Field Watches

Hamilton Men's Khaki King H64455533 Automatic Watch

Known for its unique and historic timepieces, Hamilton creates Khaki King. Its rugged look and high-quality materials make it worthy of applause.

Aside from its elegant appearance, this watch also offers various features. A brown leather band 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 a 38-hour 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.

PROS

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

CONS

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

Marathon WW194003 GPM Field Watch

Producing quality watches since 1939, Marathon exceeded our expectations with the WW194003.

Owning exceptional durability and functionality, the Hamilton WW194003 GPM field watch is definitely money-worthy. It has a small wristwatch size which makes the movement of your hands hassle-free.

A strong sapphire crystal can also protect the dial. Its gray case is made of high-impact fiber shell which makes this highly tolerant for outdoor adventures.

Featuring a 24-jewel movement from its NH35 caliber, the WW194003 provides an accurate reading. It uses a dual-winding movement making the watch accessible manually or automatically. Timekeeping is also made easy because of the tritium tubes that are at the hands of the watch.

PROS

  • Very durable
  • 41-hour power reserve
  • 24-jewel movement from its NH35 caliber

CONS

  • Size may be too small
  • Design may be too basic
  • Water-resistant to only 50 meters

Factors To Consider When Buying An Automatic Watch

Now that we’re done justifying the best automatic watches under $500, it’s time to get to know some factors when buying one. Along with the watch’s price, you need to make sure that you snagged the best one of your choice. It’s not enough that you buy it from trusted manufacturers, though. There are also other considerations to take note before you lock up the deal.

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

Style

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 an automatic watch.

Style

Metal strap or leather?

Decide on whether you want a metal strap 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. Do you prefer a gold strap? A silvery stainless steel? Or a plain black leather band? Choices, choices, choices.

Dial

There are a lot of dial options to choose from. You also need to consider the placing or style of the date, secondhand sub-dials, chronographs, time zones, and so on.​

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

Automatic Watch Dial

Busy dial or something minimal?

Determine if you want a busy dial with a lot of viewable functions, or something minimal. A chronograph has three sub-dials, while a simple date complication keeps it light.

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

However, if minimal pieces are not your type, opt for a more advanced one. Usually, this means a complicated with different visible physical properties.

Price

Obviously, this guide is for automatic watches under $500. However, there are watches that you can purchase for a low price but has the quality you are looking for. Sometimes, price and quality go hand in hand. Know your money’s worth by knowing the quality of your potential watch first. There are many watches that are for $200 only. However, the question is "are they made to last long?"

Reliable seller

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

Reliable Seller

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 vintage watches at an affordable price. 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.

Verdict

Different categories mean different watch specifications and features. We have categorized the best automatic watches under $500 on this list for different purposes.

For a dive watch, it’s best to get a Seiko SKX173 Automatic dive watch. Its simplicity and versatility rolled into one will sweep you off your feet. Featuring the LumiBrite technology, this watch has you back in dark situations.

When it comes to Dress Watches, Seiko is still reliable with its SARB017 Mechanical Alpinist Automatic watch. It boasts off 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 your best option. It owns a rugged look with excellent features that make it your potential best travel companion. It features a 25-jewel movement ensuring a high level of accuracy in timekeeping. 

Overall

Choosing the best 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 features you desire and style you prefer. From there, allocate a budget before placing your purchase. You can easily spot the best automatic watches under $500 if you look at the right places.