Do you live an active lifestyle?
Opting for an automatic watch will be your best bet when planning to get a new watch.
They can be a little expensive though, which is why I gathered the best automatic watches under $500 to narrow down the choices in this watch review.
Automatic watches are handy and convenient because they utilize natural movements to wind themselves. Timepieces with automatic movement are my go-to watches when I plan to spend a day outside.
If I have the time, I like to jog around my neighborhood to get a good exercise. It’s also an excellent way to give myself some much-needed peace of mind.
Don't have time to read my whole review? In my opinion, the Hamilton Khaki King is the finest watch you can buy in this price segment.
Seiko Men's SKX007K Automatic Movement Watch
For dive watches, one of the finest automatic watches under $500 is Seiko's SKX007K. The fair price of this watch made all the complicated functions of a diver watch simple.
- Quality Japanese Automatic movement; Functions without a battery; Powers automatically with the...
- Hardlex crystal
- Case diameter: 42 mm
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 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
Seiko Men's SRP777 Prospex Automatic Dive Watch
It seems like Seiko's collection is on a roll here as one of the top automatic watches under $500. Seiko features its very own SRP777 Prospex Automatic Movement Watch for diving.
- Day and Dat
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 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 occasions. 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
- Overall watch may be bulky
- Uncomfortable resin watch band
Seiko Men's SARB017 Mechanical Alpinist Automatic Watch
I feel like the Seiko brand is taking over the world of automatic watches. The best dress watch around is still coming from them.
- Automatic Movement with 50-hour power reserve
- Sapphire Crystal and Inner Rotating Compass Ring
- Japanese-automatic Movement
The SARB017 Mechanical Alpinist Automatic watch 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 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, which can look good in your hand. Boasting its perfect design and features, you can wear the SARB017 Mechanical Alpinist automatic watch on almost any occasions and trips you desire.
- Elegant color scheme
- Water resistant to 200 meters
- Sapphire crystal makes it scratch-resistant
- Low quality strap
- Can be too simple
- Less functions
Seiko Men's SARB035 Automatic Watch
Seiko is at it again with its SARB035. This watch with an affordable price is a runner-up and one of the best and most affordable automatic watches under $500.
- Automatic Movement with 50-hour power reserve
- Japanese-automatic Movement
- Case Diameter: 38.4mm
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 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.
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 sumptuous dress watch will give you that.
- Shows simplicity and elegance
- Accurate timekeeper
- Can be hard to read
- Does not have defined or labeled markers
- Less-preferred because of its simplicity
Hamilton Men's Khaki King H64455533
Known for its unique and historic watches, Hamilton creates Khaki King. Its rugged look and high-quality materials make this one of their watches worthy of applause.
- Stainless steel watch featuring round black dial with day/date display at 12 o'clock, sword-shape...
- 40 mm stainless steel case with anti-reflective sapphire dial window
- Automatic self-wind movement with analog display
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.
- Durable for outdoor activities
- Swiss-made movement
- Simple bezel design
- Water resistance to 50 meters
- Case may be too big for its band
Marathon WW194003 GPM Field Watch
Producing quality timepieces since 1939, Marathon exceeded our expectations with the WW194003.
- MIL-SPEC: Built to Government specifications for use by military personnel. Fulfills Nato Stock...
- TRITIUM GAS TUBES: Self illuminating tritium gas tubes glow with no need to be charged by an...
- FIELD WATCH: Designed for general infantry. Features a lightweight high impact fibreshell case and...
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 wrist or 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. Along with its incredible power reserve, 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 (you can find the best tritium watches here). It doesn't come with a stainless steel case.
- Very durable
- 41 hours of power reserve
- 24-jewel movement from its NH35 caliber
- Size may be too small
- Design may be too basic
- Water resistant to only 50 meters
5 More Best Automatic Watches Under $500 That Didn't Make it into the Main Review
These didn't make it into the main product round-up, but they're decent watches with reasonable prices regardless!
- Round watch featuring corrugated unidirectional bezel, luminous hands/markers, and magnified date...
- 40 mm stainless steel case with mineral dial window
- Japanese automatic movement with analog display
- Military-inspired timepiece featuring green dial, luminous accents, and day/date functions.Case...
- Automatic movement with analog display; Hardlex crystal
- Features green nylon strap with buckle closure. When setting the minute hand of a quartz watch,...
- A WINDOW INTO TIME: Skeleton style allows you to visually watch your timepiece mark the time
- GENUINE LEATHER BAND: Alligator embossed, premium Made in U.S. real leather band, 24 mm wide
- STUNNING STYLE AND COMFORT: Luxury design is eye-catching and comfortable enough for daily wear
- Versatile stainless steel watch featuring brown dial with two subdials and date window at 6 o'clock
- 42.6-mm stainless steel case with hardlex dial window
- Japanese quartz movement with analog display
Factors to Consider When Selecting the Best Automatic Watches 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 take note 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 an automatic watch.
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 why you’re buying a watch. If you’re like most people, looking at the dial’s design is the dictator.
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 best chronograph watches here) has three sub-dials, while a simple date complication keeps it light.
If this is your first time buying a mechanical watch, it helps if you start with a minimal feature and 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, check out the more advanced ones. Usually, this means a complicated with different visible physical properties.
Obviously, this guide is for the best 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. 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.
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 watches 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 Automatic Watches Work?
Automatic watches work without the need of batteries because of how its rotor is designed.
Automatic watches have an off-center wheel (also known as "rotor") which basically 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 mechanical watch, you can fully wind up an automatic watch in roughly 3 to 4 hours.
How Long Do Automatic Watches Last?
Automatic watches last a lifetime if you maintain them 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 Automatic Watches?
An automatic 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 watches, most automatic watches 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 Watches?
How accurate automatic watches 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 automatic watches, especially those with a high price point can have an only 1-second margin of difference each day.
Different categories mean different watch specifications, features and price. We have categorized the most excellent automatic 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, Seiko brand is still reliable with its SARB017 Mechanical Alpinist (if you like that watch, check out our Seiko 5 SNK809 review). 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 a great choice. It owns a rugged look with excellent features like 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 best 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, 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 the best automatic watches under $500 if you look at the right places.
Links, prices and images pulled from Amazon Product Advertising API. Last update on 2020-09-18.