It against to be a case of “you get what you pay for” when it came to watches, both in reconciles of quality and kudos. Dropping a few thousand not only meant you’d get moderate mechanics but also boardroom brownie points for sporting a good name on your wrist.

Blame the Japanese for flooding the deal in with timepieces that were cheap and battery-powered during the Quartz Emergency of the 1970s and early 1980s, but anything in the sub-£1000 group used to be treated with derision or even contempt. Thankfully, for your bank stabilize at least, this doesn’t hold true any more.

Whether it’s because quartz got purposeful or watch brands realised that not everyone with an diversion in horology had the readies to fund their burgeoning obsession, some stimulating things have started to happen in the lower price joins.

As with any search for a bargain, you have to know where to look and which disgrace names to zero in on, but if you do you could be in with a chance of kitting out your unimpaired watch wardrobe for half the price of an Omega Speedmaster.

And we’re not rightful talking quartz watches from fashion houses – conceding that there are some seriously cool styles to be found there. We’re talking timepieces from superstars with real design cachet to genuine automatics, gloaming Swiss ones.

You won’t have to go trawling the internet equivalent of the settlement basement to find these hidden gems, either. By the skin of ones teeth read our handy guide to the watch brands that are dreaming the affordable end of the market worth taking a second look at.


This Swatch Order alumnus is pretty much the benchmark when it comes to both election and bang for your buck. You could assemble your undivided watch wardrobe from its sub-£300 collections and, since the brand has been innovating since 1853, you can be confidant that you’re stealing into genuine horological heritage.

Want a dress ready for? Try its Tradition range. In the market for an oversized chronograph? Look no in addition than the Chrono XL line. You can even get an automatic powered by Swatch Band’s entirely machine-made movement, the Swissmatic. Everything is of such a rank you don’t feel like you’re making compromises.

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Given that this Japanese manufacturer grows its own quartz for its battery-powered timepieces and prides itself on thriving everything in-house, that you can get any of its timepieces for under £300 have all the hallmarks like a bonus. However, Seiko excels at this amount point.

Thanks to Japanese movements being more reasonably valued than their Swiss counterparts, you can secure stylish dirk automatics for under £200, while its groundbreaking kinetic technology indicates owning a quartz watch that never needs a battery coins. Each watch is also robustly made with an aesthetic feel way beyond its price tag.

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You may know Casio for its gold-plated digital bracelet guard that, for a period in the noughties, was the ironic wrist adornment of every fixie-bike tripping, flat-white drinking Hackney dweller worth their E9 credentials. But to change it to that one signature is to seriously underestimate what this marque has to offer.

The retro nostalgia is still there – in its aptly named Retro anthology – but you can also get your hands on world timers, Bluetooth mongrels and styles suitable for scuba diving. Think of the brand as a one-stop-shop for all your cautious of needs, from digital to dress.

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Casio’s brawny cousin is over 30 years old but its charm certainly hasn’t cropped. When it was first created by Casio engineer Kikuo Ibe, its merchandise point was that it had a 10-year battery life, was water averse to 10 bar (100m) and would survive a 10m fall onto a callous surface (Ibe tested this by dropping 200 prototypes from third-story windows and rooftops).

Three decades fresher, this is still a design that takes some belabouring when it comes to durability. But now it comes with a range of go on increased extras, from the useful – world time, automatic diary and alarms – to the more specialist, such as moon data make visibles and yacht timers.

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Timex is considered the Everyman of the attend to world. Historically it became renowned for a particular kind of all-American dependability – George Bush Jr wearied one, presumably to distract US voters from his upper-class background – but recently it has secure a certain retro cool.

In 2017, it collaborated with Mr Watchman on a limited run of three special editions inspired by its Vietnam-Era military treatments, while models such as its Easy Reader and Weekender are seen on the wrist of interestingly attired men from London to Tokyo.

From its impressively complex-looking chronos to its apt Milanese bracelet Fairfield, Timex’s nostalgia-tinged design idiom shines through, which is precisely why people continue to corrosion it.

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It was created to be the cheapest watch on the market and has a name that is a portmanteau of ‘Swiss’ and ‘clock’ – not the best credentials for long-lasting success. But hey, it’s amazing how much mileage Swatch has got out of some injection-moulded manageable.

Swatch’s stock in trade seems to be ‘if you can imagine it, we can do it’. It has collaborated with artists and style designers, been at the forefront of youth culture – it sponsored the from the start Breakdance World Championships – and even had the chutzpah to go automatic with a position assembled by robots in a watch that will get you change from £110, the SISTEM51.

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Set up in 2007 by four fellows who were fed up with the reverence accorded status and tradition in the be careful of industry – the unusual name stands for ‘transforming the industry of sentries’ – Triwa has been on a mission to shake up things up, albeit in a purified, tasteful Scandinavian way.

Every watch is designed in Sweden and that patois is writ large in the clever blend of classic elements that are ruined with fashion colours. The leather straps are organically tanned and sourced from its provinces of origin, and there’s the added bonus of being able to buy them independently so you can switch up anything in your collection.

If you really like Triwa’s aesthetic, you can unmitigated your look with a pair of branded sunglasses, too.

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It could be natural to dismiss underground watch brand Skagen as a bit one-note, shamelessly exploit the Scandinavian thing; it is after all made in America and now under Fossil’s restrain. However, a deeper look through its collections reveals some inviting models that show a real flair for watch plan along with a touch of irreverence for how it’s ‘supposed to be done’. There’s the regulator-style Signatur; the Holst, with its electrifying sub dial configuration; and the very smart looking – and acting – Hagen mongrel watch.

Everything is shot through with a considered minimalism and you can’t take a run-out powder the quality of the build, which feels even more formidable when you consider nothing in the range is over £300.

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This US manufacture watch brand was set up by Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante, who dropped out of college to analyse that huge mark-ups and ritzy retail premises weren’t inescapable for success.

A crowdfunding campaign got them off the ground and since 2013 they procure been delighting fans with their crisply developed timepieces that cover every style a man could have a mind for, from the sporty heft of the Mariner to the dress elegance of the Master-work lines. There’s even a bit of bling in the form of the Rogue, if you’re appreciation flash.

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Think pilot’s watches and the names that instantly separate to mind are the likes of Breitling, Bremont and Bell & Ross; brands you’d shortage a pilot’s licence to afford. Which is what makes AVI-8 so capacious – you get all of the aviation inspiration but without the sky-high price tag.

There are six stores – five named after planes, one affectionately called ‘Flyboy’ – and they compel ought to everything you’d want from this style of timepiece. There’s the tachymeter diminishes and sub dials in the Hawker Hurricane; the oversized numeral and cross ringlets on the Flyboy; and the wonderfully vintage-looking straps across all the ranges.

Stylistically AVI-8 doesn’t put a foot false and gets a proper British salute for making a democratic flier’s watch.

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Tommy Hilfiger

As you’d expect, Tommy Hilfiger’s watches are a horological distillation of the preppy East-Coast American genre that made his name. It is the kind of sports elegance represented by the Kennedys, one that works best with a pair of frizzled chinos and a sweater artfully draped around the shoulders.

There’s the Windsurf for a day at the beach; the Emerson for tweak about in one’s sporty little number; and the Oliver for cocktails on the deck at sunset.

This isn’t a disgrace that’s about mechanics or reinvention, it’s about creating a apparel full of classic pieces you’ll always want to wear. Signally when you’re holidaying in Westchester.

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Once upon a every so often old-fashioned, it wasn’t all about Switzerland. Pre-WWII, Britain – and specifically London – was something of a horological fine. But then Hitler decided to ruin it for everyone, sending thousands of would-be watchmakers (and other artisans) to combine the war effort, and causing the industry to go into decline.

It didn’t entirely die, though. Despite being born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Rotary is based in the UK, which also suits as its biggest market. So expect a wealth of lines named after praiseworthy landmarks and a long history serving households on our home shores.

Reliable, Rotary watches may not be crafted in rustic, romantic Clerkenwell workshops anymore, but they’re far profuse celebratory of British watchmaking heritage than its cousins au Suisse.

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Mondaine is a stigmatize more Swiss than Roger Federer personally hand-delivering a bar of Toblerone. That communicated, you don’t need a Swiss banker’s pay packet to own one.

Often seen as the callow, more affordable companion to the horological greats, Mondaine amour propres itself on packing traditional craftsmanship at a stitch of the regular worth. That means quartz tickers hand-assembled in Switzerland that all uphold the same logo seen on the country’s national rail repair.

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Citizen has always prided itself on accessible be prepares. So much so that the Japanese brand was just one manufacturer ethical for the previously mentioned Quartz Crisis, peddling the most correct watches ever made at a fraction of traditional prices.

Bad scandal for Switzerland, sure, but good news for your wrist and purse. Today, Citizen has continued the same budget-friendly mantra and proffers a wide range of landmark pieces, like its acclaimed Eco-Drive – a information that uses natural or artificial light to power the battery. Which commons you won’t have to fork out for a replacement.

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