A quick history on watches has them dating back to the 16th century, fast forward a bunch of decades and the invention and popularization of the quartz watch in the 1960’s was a major contributing factor to the acceleration of watches as they became more affordable.
Today, the idea of a traditional wristwatch might be considered polarizing for two reasons:
Why do you need a watch to tell time?
Why wouldn’t you just wear a smart watch?
Why do you need a watch to tell time?
With nearly a decade of experience in corporate American and working for a small business, I can confidently say that you still need to be wearing a watch. Yes, we all have watches on our phones and on computers, but when running between meetings, during meetings or just in your every day life there’s no faster and more efficient way to tell the time than just by looking at your wrist.
I also find it comforting to separate a quick glance at a watch to get the time compared to taking out my phone to check the time. I know I'll start reading my notifications and get distracted by who else knows what...likely Instagram.
Why wouldn't you just wear a smart watch?
Wearing a regular watch is a decision that you have to make compared to wearing a smart watch. I know that the world is moving in the direction of smart-everything, but for me the point of a traditional wrist watch is NOT to have technology in your face all the time.
Similar to having your phone out in a meeting or checking your phone during a conversation, checking a smart watch is the same, distracting way to be connected. While there are a lot of benefits to these watches and the notifications are easy to adjust, I still prefer the traditional watch.
Top 10 Men's Watches Under $100 on Amazon
Now that you have decided wearing a watch is a good idea, there are so many options available today for such a reasonable price. Personally, I have a watch for just about any occasion, but you only need one that can last forever! However, being a massive-Amazon shopper myself, I wanted to put together a hand-selected top 10 lists of watches on Amazon under $100. Not everyone can and wants to spend several thousand dollars on a high-end timepiece, so here are the best options.
It’s really important to keep in mind as you’re selected the watch to think about the difference between an automatic watch and a quartz watch. An automatic watch is a self-winding watch with an internal mechanism that powers the watch with the natural movement of your wrist. A quartz watch is powered by a battery that you will need replaced. High-end automatic movement watches need to be serviced after years of wear, which keep them going for a lifetime (e.g. Rolex). An automatic watch under $100 will not be worth getting serviced, so after many years it might start to ‘lose’ more and more minutes each day or eventually stop working. However, at that point you would have already received more than your money’s worth! To put this in perspective, I’ve had my Seiko 5 (mentioned below) for over 8 years and it still keeps time fine!
I always recommend automatic watches. There’s just something about the construction that I really appreciate and value. That’s why the automatic watches I’m providing below are solid movements from reputable companies. There are many brands offering super cheap automatic watches with fancy open cases, but they will not last as long as the automatic watches I’ve provided for you below.
Being under $100, I also wanted to provide quartz (e.g. battery) powered options. There is nothing wrong with these watches and they will keep more accurate time, automatic watches are just a personal preference of mine.
I’m first providing the full list of the top 10 watches on Amazon under $100 in the order that I would recommend them. The more detailed sections below include the watches categorized into three categories to help with your selection: dress watches, casual watches and sport watches. While the dress watches can most certainly be worn for casual settings the sport watches should definitely not be worn in a dressy or professional setting.
The goal is to save you the hassle of having to do all the searching your self because I’ve already picked the best of the best for you.
My passion for watches can also be explored in my more specific Rolex post, click here to learn about my daily watch.
Here is the list of the top 10 watches on Amazon under $100:
Seiko Men's SNK807 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch
My number 1 watch recommendation for an automatic watch under $100 is the Seiko Men's SNK807 Seiko 5 Automatic. It's actually not under $100 anymore, but I had to keep it in the number 1 spot since I still think $145 is worth it for this watch. I absolutely love this watch and have been wearing mine and recommending this watch for many years. My brother and many of my close friends own this watch!
The first thing I recommend doing when you buy this watch is to remove the strap and to purchase nato straps that you can rotate to match your outfits. Once you remove the links and place them back on the watch, you can add nato straps just by sliding them on and off (you only need to use the tool once). When you’re looking to buy nato straps make sure you buy the 18mm size.
I love this watch because of the 37mm size (slightly understated), the 40-hour power reserve, the 330 feet of water resistance and the day/date function. Since Seiko is such a powerhouse of a watch brand, this is their own automatic movement. The see-through case back makes it fun to show others as well. My only caution to recommending this watch is if you’re looking for a bold fashion watch that sits really large on your wrist, then this is not the right watch for you.
In recent years I found myself wearing this watch as my go to for travel and general day-to-day. I love my Rolex and nothing will replace it anytime soon, but when it comes to a daily wear with kids, this is an easy selection.
Top Dress Watches on Amazon for Under $100
Bulova Men's Quartz Stainless Steel Dress Watch
The Bulova men’s quartz stainless steel dress watch is a classic selection with an understated design aesthetic. The Bulova brand is a great watch brand in what’s typically a higher-priced dress watch, so with this model they are clearly targeted consumers looking to spend less. It’s an ultra-thin case and with a watch diameter of 41mm. A watch diameter of 41mm will fit most wrists very nicely without being too small or too big. The watch band itself provides extreme comfort given leather strap. This is the watch for someone looking for a classic, streamlined watch that doesn’t try to be something it’s not.
The classic roman numeral markers also help to really elevate the look. I know it's $110, but again, price increases are making it hard to find the best watches under $100. In the latest price check of this watch it is now $190.
Ethan Eliot Classic Minimalist Men's Quartz Watch
Ethan Elliot classic minimalist watch for men is a great classic watch option with a genuine leather watch strap. The croc embossing on the leather watch band is a great detail to give this watch an elevated look. The minimalist watch face and overall look and feel strongly resembles the Daniel Wellington watch brand. The one major advantage to this particular watch is you’re not paying 2x the price because of the brand name.
Skagen Men's Holst Stainless Steel Quartz Watch
The Skagen Holst stainless steel watch pushes forward on the design front compared to the minimalist dress watches from the prior two recommendations. Skagen is a very well respected watch brand made famous for their ultra-slim, sleek designs. This watch was selected because while it has the sleek design and strap that Skagen is famous for, however the watch face is slightly bolder and has a day and date function. The watch is also thicker than their main watch offering, which is actually why I like it more! Skagen is one of those brands that if you see someone else wearing it you can say “hey, great watch”. They offer many sizes and colors, but I’d recommend going with their stainless steel strap compared to their leather strap.
Fossil Men's Grant Stainless Steel and Leather Chronograph Quartz Watch
Going to the aggressive end of the dress watch category is this Fossil chronograph watch for under $100. There are many options for colors and straps, but I personally like the stainless steel on stainless band combination. Fossil has always been a fashion-forward watch brand. In fact, my very first watch was a fossil watch. They make a great watch. This particular watch is 44mm in diameter, so it’s 4-5mm larger than the other dress watches on this list. If you’re looking for a bolder and bigger dress watch that’s still under $100, this is a great option.
Top Casual Watches on Amazon for Under $100
Timex Men's Weekender 40mm Watch
This Timex men’s weekender watch is essentially the 40mm, non-automatic version of the Seiko 5 I’m recommending above. I personally recommend the Seiko 5 over this watch, but if you love the look of the Seiko 5 and you want it to be larger without caring that this watch is battery powered, then this is the right option. Timex did a collaboration with J. Crew a few years back that brought the Timex brand back into popularity among many fashion enthusiasts. It’s a very sleek looking watch that’s perfect for many casual occasions.
Invicta Men's 8926OB Pro Diver Stainless Steel Automatic Watch with Link Bracelet
The Invicta men’s pro diver watch makes the list for being the best dive watch option for under $100 on Amazon. Invicta has always made bold watches at an affordable price, using both quartz and automatic movements. I like this particular watch because it has an automatic movement with a clear case back. This dive watch lives up to the name with 660 feet of water resistance. It’s a 40mm case as well and it’s going to sit large on your wrist, which is consistent with dive watches in general. They are larger. One very important consideration for this dive watch is that it was clearly inspired by the famous Rolex Submariner. So, if you purchase this watch and you start noticing people giving it a second look, it’s not because it’s an Invicta it’s because they are checking to see if it’s a Rolex.
Top Sport Watches on Amazon for Under $100
Swatch SUOK157 Black Stripe Bold Watch
Swatch is a famous watch group in Switzerland known for owning many mid-tier watch brands. In more recent years they began launching their own watches with their own movements. This particular watch style is very “Swatch”.
They released the display quartz and display automatic watch. This type of watch is a bit more unique and bold, so it takes someone looking for a conversation watch. This watch is making the list because it’s a super unique sports watch that can also be considered a casual watch if dressed up. It has a larger face with a very slim case. It’s not for everyone, but I happen to like the look!
Casio Men's G-Shock Quartz Watch with Resin Strap
Can you have a list of watches under $100 without the G-Shock? No. This watch makes it on most watch lists under $100 because it’s unique, recognizable, is built to take a beating and has great features for actually working out with a watch on. You buy this watch knowing you’re going to beat the hell out of it and if it happens to break, then you buy a new one. Shock resistant, water resistant, black lighting and all the stopwatch functions you could need!
Casio Men's Classic Quartz Resin Casual Watch
Do you want to look and feel of the G-Shock without it being more on the obnoxious end of the spectrum? Then look no further than the slim down, ‘classier’ version of the G-Shock watch. It has many of the same features and functionality just with a much slimmer profile. Let’s call it ‘dressier’ compared to the bigger brother G-Shock watch. I have a good friend who wears this as his all around watch for work and for weekend events. It has definitely become part of his attire and I respect it.
Questions and Comments
After reviewing my top ten lists of watches under $100 on Amazon, don't hesitate to contact me by clicking here. Selecting a watch can be a complicated and confusing process and I hope this list helped to simplify the process for you.
For even more fashion inspiration and to try and guess what watches I wear on a daily basis, be sure to check out my Instagram profile @DapperProfessional.