It’s summer break, the days are long and the kids are short. On patience that is. They aren’t going back to school for weeks. They’re pining for something to do.
They want to jump in the car or a plane and explore. It’s time to put away the expensive Rolex/IWC/Audemars Piguet that can and most probably will all too easily take a plunge in the unfathomable depths of the Santa Ynez river while white water rafting. It’s time to strap on something reassuringly cheap. These are the watches we call the Affordables. None of them cost over US$500. Most of them are considerably less. For as Aesop once said, it is thrifty to prepare today for the wants of tomorrow. Prices are in ascending order.
Cheap as chips and comfortable to wear despite being 45mm. Although at 50 meters water resistance the watch is merely splash-proof, it makes up for it with an Indiglo light up dial that glows after dark and makes it to easy to read any time of the day. How much? US$46.80
Version 4 of the wonderful automatic Bambino from Orient moves back to the Bambino roots, all the while taking inspiration from previous models along the way. For example, the F6724 movement, which allows it to be automatic, hand-winding and hacking. Unlike the original Bambino, the hour markers on the Version 4 are rounded and diamond shaped. The hands are quite a bit thinner and the second’s hand has been partially dipped with a red accent. The sunburst dial colors are striking as well: the midnight blue and emerald models feature an ombré-like transition which is most likely attributed to the domed dial. How much? US$120.00
Even better looking than the Timex Expedition, this 43mm desert military inspired Citizen watch offers a rugged styling with a comfortable fit. It has a black ion-plated stainless steel case, tan fabric strap and matching sand colored dial. Additional features include solar-powered movement, day/date and12/24-hour time. The watch is water resistant to 100 meters. How much? US$189.00
This 43.5mm Seiko Recraft series watch is a quartz chronograph with stopwatch functions (1/5 sec to 60 minutes with split time measurement), and a handy 24-hour sub-dial. The radiant silver and blue dial absorbs energy from the sun to power the watch. Most indoor lighting can provide a charge as well.
Complete with a 2-year warranty, and 100 meters water resistance, this watch can provide a 6-month power reserve once fully charged. The watch runs on a Seiko Caliber V175 Quartz (Solar Powered) movement. Perfect for carefree summer days where the only worry is what time is lunch. How much? US$262.50
A Swiss automatic watch from a brand with over 130 years of history. This 42mm three-hander has a date window at 3 o’clock. It runs on a Calibre IT20 automatic movement with a 36-hour power reserve and even has a transparent case back. How much? US$357.50
Finally, we offer this inexpensive understated beauty from Tissot. This piece is a tribute to the street in Le Locle, Switzerland where Tissot’s Head Offices have been located since 1907, known as the “Chemin des Tourelles”. Water resistant to 50 meters, the Tissot Chemin Des Tourelles Powermatic 80 is a precision, luxury, traditional and contemporary watch. This stylish 42mm watch also features a textured sunray silver tone dial with rose gold tone luminous hands and index hour markers along with an 80-hour power reserve and date display functions. How much? US$420
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.