best automatic watches under 200

Top 11 Best Automatic Watches Under $200 That Look Like a Million Dollars

⌚ Last updated October 8, 2019

Today, I’m gonna share with you my favorite affordable automatic watches.

When you think about automatic watches, you typically think expensive watches.(around $500 or more).

And while it’s typically true, there are some gems that don’t break the bank and still look incredible. I’ve picked 11 great options, between $80 and $200.

So without further ado, here are the best automatic watches under $200 :

Seiko SNK805

seiko snk805
Size37 mm
WR30 m
Price Range$

Our rating: 94%

View on Amazon

You’ll see more than one Seiko watch in this list. For a reason: Seiko manufactures a lot of great affordable automatic watches.

And this one being part of the affordable Seiko 5 line, it certainly is. But you would never think that is one is the cheapest of this list.

And that probably comes down to the attention to detail that went into creating this design:

  • simple, yet striking sword hands – probably the most precise hand set available ever
  • big Arabic numerals in 5 minutes increments
  • hours indices on the inner part of the dial

When it comes to the design, everything just works.

And this is no accident: this is a full-fledged pilot watch, complete with a super legible dial, no-nonsense case… and a small 30 m of water resistance.

Sure 37 mm is not huge, but that’s actually something I would list as a pro.

Most pilot watches have a case size of 42+ mm. Being smaller, this one will fit any wrist up to 7.5 inches in circumference.

The movement can’t hand-wind or hack, and you’ll probably want to change the strap for something more substantial – like a leather strap for example.

But there’s no denying that, given the design and cool factor of this watch, the value proposition is simply through the roof.

Read the customer reviews on Amazon

Pros

  • great case size for any wrist
  • the cheapest option in this list

Cons

  • no hacking or hand-winding
  • only 30 m of water resistance

Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB

invicta pro diver 8629ob
Size40 mm
WR200 m
Price Range$

Our rating: 96%

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This design will probably ring a bell… that’s because this Invicta Pro Diver is an affordable homage to the Rolex Submariner.

Sure, you won’t get the same quality as the Submariner. I mean, this watch only costs 1/100th of the price of the real deal after all.

But having experienced both in the metal, I can assure you that you’ll get at least 80% of the enjoyment!

You might not like the brand engraved on the side of the case – but seriously, this dive watch is as good as it gets, with:

  • 200 m of water resistance (and a screw down crown)
  • a fully aligned 120-click bezel (you don’t always get this on affordable dive watches)
  • a hacking and handing winding Seiko movement

Now, to provide so much value with such a low price, they had to cut some corners – like using a rattly bracelet or sub-par lume.

But this is no deal-breaker to me, because the build quality and value for money is excellent.

Now, don’t take my word for it: check out the thousands (!!!) of 4+ stars reviews on the Internet. It really is that good.

There’s something exhilarating about wearing such a great piece for such a low price… you’ll know what I’m talking about the moment you put it on your wrist!

Read the customer reviews on Amazon

Pros

  • 200 m of water resistance
  • screw-down crown

Cons

  • poor lume
  • rattly bracelet

Vostok Amphibia Scuba Dude 710059

vostok scuba dude 710059
Size41 mm
WR200 m
Price Range$

Our rating: 94%

View on Amazon

On to something completely different: a Russian dive watch.

Call it funky, quirky, or downward weird… but you can’t call it boring.

This Vostok Amphibia 710059 is affectionately called the “Scuba Dude” because of the drawing on the dial.

To me, the most striking feature of this dial is that beautiful turquoise color – something you almost never see on dive watches.

Now, it certainly doesn’t look like your typical diver, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one – in fact, it features:

  • 200 m of water resistance
  • a screw-down crown with…
  • a safety and shock-absorbing mechanism when unscrewed

Maybe you’re not too impressed with these features, but remember this watch costs less than $100 – which is very affordable when you consider the military history behind this piece.

Obviously, with such a low price, it’s not perfect – the finishing is not the greatest and the bezel is bi-directional, for example.

But if you’re looking for something different yet pretty sturdy (the servicing interval for the movement is around 10 years), then this Vostok Amphibia might do the trick just fine!

Read the customer reviews on Amazon

Pros

  • proper dive watch
  • military history

Cons

  • not the best finishing
  • bi-directional diving bezel

Seiko SNK355

seiko snk355
Size37 mm
WR30 m
Price Range$$

Our rating: 98%

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When it comes to sheer value for money, you just can’t beat Seiko 5s – specifically their smaller 37 mm models.

And even if the Seiko 5 range literally has hundreds of models, the SNK355 (along with its other color variations like blue or black) is actually in my top Seiko 5 watches.

Not, this watch doesn’t seem like a big deal at first.

After all, it only has 30 m of water resistance, a rattly folded metal bracelet and a movement that doesn’t hack or hand-wind.

But look closer, and you’ll see just how great it is:

  • the case size and shape is one of the best case you can have for the money – it’s well finished, it looks great, and it hugs the wrist whatever your wrist circumference
  • it has an understated and timeless design – you’ll be able to dress it up or down no problem, making for a perfect everyday watch
  • the dial has a textured pattern made of small Seiko 5 logos throughout

It’s great to see this kind of detail on such an affordable piece.

And even if you miss the textured dial at first glance, once you spot it, you’ll want to check the time over and over again.

If sports watches are not your thing and you’d rather get something that you can wear every day all day, from the beach to the board room (and even to some formal events), this SNK355 is an excellent choice.

Read the customer reviews on Amazon

Pros

  • probably the best case in this list
  • timeless design, great for everyday use

Cons

  • movement doesn’t hack or hand-wind
  • only 30 m of water resistance

Orient Mako II

orient mako ii
Size41.5 mm
WR200 m
Price Range$$

Our rating: 98%

View on Amazon

The Orient brand may not ring a bell… but it’s actually part of the Seiko Epson Corporation.

So you immediately get a watch from a serious, reputable brand, while still flying under the radar for the vast majority of people (which I always like).

Now, with the Mako, you’re getting a lot of watch for the money.

Not only is it somewhat of a Rolex Explorer alternative.

But it’s also packed with great specs, which is pretty impressive for the price:

  • 200 m of water resistance with a screw-down crown
  • a hacking and hand-winding in-house automatic movement
  • a 120-click bezel with a lumed pip

Add the small lug to lug distance and curved case shape, and you have a watch that wears incredibly well on a large range of wrist sizes.

Yes, it’s a 41.5 mm watch. But I know from experience it wears more like a 40 mm watch, thanks to the recessed bezel and overall case design.

This watch is so incredibly well-priced for the specs and design that I’m totally forgiving the lack of sapphire crystal or solid end links.

It’s a no brainer really…

Read the customer reviews on Amazon

Pros

  • in-house automatic movement
  • screw-down crown

Cons

  • no sapphire crystal
  • crown sometimes hard to unscrew

Seiko Recraft SNKP27

seiko recraft snkp27
Size40 mm
WR50 m
Price Range$$

Our rating: 94%

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It’s funky time!

The case shape and color of this incredible Seiko is a super refreshing throwback to the 70s – you just don’t see this kind of design around all that much.

The Recraft series from Seiko is full of vintage-inspired designs, but I think the best of the bunch is this SNKP27.

Not for the specs – after all, it has very average features like:

  • 50m of water resistance
  • a non-hacking and non hand-winding movement
  • a pretty bland (albeit suiting) leather strap

But the dial and overall design is something you just can’t ignore. It looks amazing!

The green sunburst dial plays with the light like crazy. And it’s perfectly complemented by the gold-plated hands and hour indices.

Vintage-chic at its best!

But 2 small design details hide in plain sight, which makes it a very interesting watch: the outer part of the dial with converging rays, and the 10-sided day and date window frame.

How many times do you see this?

Now, don’t be fooled by the 40 mm case and short 46 mm lug to lug distance.

Because of its square shape, this watch wear a little bigger than a traditional round watch.

But if you have 6.5-inch wrists or more, you should have no problem wearing this funky beauty.

Read the customer reviews on Amazon

Pros

  • dat dial…

Cons

  • movement doesn’t hack or hand wind

Fossil Privateer BQ2210

fossil bq2210
Size44 mm
WR50 m
Price Range$$

Our rating: 92%

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Most Fossil automatic watches have skeletonized dials – calling them busy and illegible is an understatement.

And being labeled as a fashion brand, Fossil doesn’t get a lot of love from watch enthusiasts either.

But to me, the Privateer is an exception. It’s full of interesting design details that make this watch very desirable:

  • there is no seconds hands, but rather a seconds disk. The bridge securing the disk has a red tip indicating where to read the seconds, pretty neat
  • most of the movement is concealed behind a dial with Côtes de Genève – a movement decoration you never see on affordable watches
  • the hour and minutes hand live in a simple yet striking subdial – again, something you can only get with high-end pieces
  • the bezel features a Clous de Paris pattern that you don’t often get to see on a sub-$200 watch (making this watch ride the fine line between casual and dressy)

Now, if you look closely at the chapter ring, you’ll see the most enjoyable design feature this watch has to offer.

The 5 minutes increments don’t seem to be aligned the proper way – notice how the 60 and 30 minutes marker are off center.

That is until you realize they are an extension of the hour markers of the subdial, and that they’re actually perfectly aligned. How cool is that?

Pay attention: it’s a 44 mm watch and it won’t suit wrists smaller than 6.75 inches.

But if you have average wrists, then you’ve probably found the coolest automatic Fossil out there.

Read the customer reviews on Amazon

Pros

  • cool subdial
  • great decorations with Clous de Paris and Côtes de Genève patterns

Cons

  • black coating on the case might scratch easily
  • too large for small wrists

Swatch Sistem Clouds SUTA401

swatch sistem clouds suta401
Size42 mm
WR30 m
Price Range$$$

Our rating: 94%

View on Amazon

I bet you didn’t think of Swatch for a list of automatic watches, did you?

And I can’t blame you: Swatch is famous for their affordable and fun quartz watches – with designs ranging from classic to pop.

Now, thanks to their ETA brand, Swatch makes and sells automatic movements to other brands.

But when they create an automatic movement for themselves, they built it with a twist (just like their watches).

The Sistem51 movement featured in this Swatch is actually full of innovations:

  • the entire movement (displaying the hour, minute, second and date) only needs 51 parts – hence the name
  • it’s the first and only mechanical movement to be fully assembled by robots
  • all the parts are held together by a single screw
  • it has a crazy long 90-hour power reserve

Cool fact: the red dots on the dial actually show the location of the jewels inside the movement.

Now, it’s not all perfect.

The water rating of this watch is pretty poor at 30 m. And the movement is sealed, meaning it can’t be regulated or serviced.

But that’s what it took Swatch to create such a dramatic take on an (in-house) automatic movement.

There are plenty of cool colorways available in the Sistem51 series. But my pick is this simple and timeless black.

Read the customer reviews on Amazon

Pros

  • 90 hours of power reserve!!!
  • lightweight

Cons

  • only 30 m of water resistance
  • movement can’t be serviced

Citizen NH8388

citizen nh8388
Size46 mm
WR100 m
Price Range$$$

Our rating: 94%

View on Amazon

I’m not gonna lie: it was pretty hard to find a Citizen watch for this list.

Almost all their sub-$200 automatic watches feature the Eco-Drive technology – a solar quartz movement. But while I love the practicality and accuracy of a quartz movement, they simply didn’t qualify.

The NH8388 is a hidden affordable stunner in Citizen’s catalog.

Now, it’s not a pure dive watch, as it only has 100 m of water resistance.

But even if you swim in a pool, you don’t need more than this. So if you’re willing to let that go, then take a closer look at this beast:

  • the large arrow on the hour hand, the bright orange minute hand and the simple hour markers make reading the time a breeze
  • it has a fully functional uni-directional rotating bezel
  • the crown at 4 o’clock won’t poke in the back of your wrist

That last point doesn’t look like something you need… until you realize this is a 46 mm watch – yes, it’s big.

But if you have large wrists and are looking for an affordable automatic piece with a tool watch esthetics, this Citizen is a great pick.

Read the customer reviews on Amazon

Pros

  • great for large wrists

Cons

  • no sapphire crystal

Orient Bambino v5

orient bambino v5
Size40.5 mm
WR30 m
Price Range$$$

Our rating: 98%

View on Amazon

Orient manufactures so many Bambinos the series could be a brand on its own. Read: there are dozens of colorways and dial combinations available.

In my opinion, the one I picked is the one that has the cleanest and most elegant design of them all.

When it comes to the main feature, it sports an in-house automatic movement that hacks and hand-winds, complete with a date function.

And at 40.5 mm, it’s great for wrist sizes from 6.5 inches and above.

Now, I really want shed the light on the design of this watch. I think Orient absolutely nailed it:

  • the subdued blue dial makes it a perfect casual and business watch – it’s a perfect everyday watch you can easily dress up or down
  • it’s a great Seiko Cocktail Time alternative (if your budget is limited) or Daniel Wellington alternative (if you don’t want to get a watch from a fashion brand)
  • the simple hand set and hour markers make for a great combination that will never go out of style

While I love most Orient Bambinos, I think there’s nothing quite like a simple, straightforward dial (with no numerals, gold plating or useless complication).

Because of that, this watch literally goes with everything. Its timeless design could very well serve you for a lifetime.

So if you want an affordable automatic watch to wear every single day, look no further.

Read the customer reviews on Amazon

Pros

  • timless, understated design

Cons

  • only 30 m of water resistance

Timex Marlin

timex marlin
Size34 mm
WR30 m
Price Range$$$

Our rating: 94%

View on Amazon

If you’re more into vintage watches, you’ll love this one.

This is the Timex Marlin reissue.

And it has a lot of what could be found in the original one:

  • a small 34 mm case – great for small watch lovers and small wrists down to 5 inches in circumference!
  • Arabic numerals every 2 hours, with a very interesting font that you don’t get to see often
  • it’s a simple 3-hander, with no date – keeping the overall design clean thanks to the symmetric dial

Now, this reissue is not an automatic watch.

It’s a mechanical hand-winding watch, so you’ll have to wind it yourself at regular intervals to keep it running.

If you’d rather get an automatic watch, check out the Timex Marlin Automatic (on Amazon, it’s larger and slightly more expensive).

Back on this hand-winding version : while I think the watch could be upgraded with a better leather band and a higher water resistance, the true star of the show is the dial.

It doesn’t show too much in the picture, but it has a magnificent champagne sunburst dial. It was born to play with the light, and it’s surprisingly versatile.

So if large sports watches are not your thing, and you like the appeal of a vintage watch (without its quirks), then this Timex Marlin is a great pick for you.

Read the customer reviews on Amazon

Pros

  • great for small wrists
  • beautiful champagne dial

Cons

  • 30 m of water resistance