We all want a Rolex or Patek Philippe, but it’s not our time yet. Keep saving up and you will get there eventually.
It’s always good to have your watch of choice as an inspiration, a motivation to help you get shit done and achieve what you want – mine is the Patek Philippe Nautilus, but I’m going to need at least £30K. But you can always pick up some cheaper watches for your collection along the way. I’ve already reviewed the top men’s watches under £4000 and under £1000 – now it’s time to go a little lower.
For those looking for a high quality watch on a budget (Under 500), I have put together a list of the best men’s watches under £500. Note, the ‘best watch’ is a highly subjective topic, but you are bound to like at least one of the watches on this list. I don’t like bling-style watches like Gucci or anything with diamonds. If this is you style, there’s nothing to see here…move along.
Best Men’s Watch Under £500 Overall – Victorinox INOX
The watches I review here are generally Swiss made and waterproof or suitable for diving.
(Note: I own one of these, so might be a bit biased)
The Victorinox company was established in Switzerland in 1884 by Karl Elsener. He first started making cutlery then went on to supply knives to the Swiss army.
Victorinox are well known for quality manufacturing, if you have ever owned Swiss Army Knife you know they basically last until you lose them, and I have lost many over the years!
Victorinox are known for their Swiss Army Knives, but over recent years they have expanded their range to bags, clothing, travel gear and watches.
The Victorinox INOX watch (under£500) burst onto the watch scene with some great marketing, promoting the toughness of the watch with some awesome videos: Like driving over it with 8 tonnes of pressure.
The INOX is made of 43mm of stainless steel along with a super-tough sapphire crystal glass face.
The watch is water resistant to 200m, which is seriously deep if you are into diving.
The watch also comes with a 3 year warranty.
The main thing I don’t like about the watch is having to change the battery, which is a pain and expensive. The battery on mine needed changing within the first year of purchase, but it could have been sitting in a warehouse for months. The battery cost me about £40 to replace and the shop had to send it away, expect to wait 1-2 weeks to get it back. You can usually get batteries fitted cheaper, but the water proofing will not be guaranteed. It has not needed a battery for 2 years now though.
If you can stretch to the £600 mark, I would buy the mechanical version. This means is ‘automatic’ (self-winding) and will never need a battery like with high end watches like Rolex.
You can choose from a range of straps, mine is the hypoallergenic stainless steel which I love. You can also buy the watch with the parachord strap, which can be unwound and used to abseil down buildings when required. Higher spec products include the titanium case and recently a lightweight carbon case.
You can also buy accessories for the INOX like a protective bumper case.
– Great at time keeping
– Good price
-Changing battery is expensive
Luminox is an American company with their manufacturing base in Switzerland, so all parts on their watches are Swiss-made. The company was started by Barry Cohen and Richard Timbo in 1989 after the discovery of a self-power watch illumination system. This system can keep Luminox watches visible at night for up to 25 years.
Luminox supply watches to the US Navy SEALs after they were approached in 1992 to build a dedicated watch for night missions.
“As research, development, test and evaluation officer for the Navy SEALs I was asked to find a dependable watch for night missions. After testing a variety of brands in the most arduous conditions, Luminox was the only one still functioning at the end of the evaluation”
Nick North (Retired Nay SEAL)
Luminox watches are divided into three categories: Sea, Air and Land. I have chosen a watch from the dive collection as I do go scuba diving 2-3 times per year.
The 3500 series watch (under £500) features time/date functionality with a Swiss quartz movement. The case is made of an ultra-light carbon compound (they call Cabonox) which means the watch only weighs 71g. If you don’t like the feel of heavy watches like the Victorinox INOX, then this watch is perfect for you.
The watch has a rubber strap which is comfortable and uses a CR2 battery.
-Used by Navy SEALS what more can you ask for?
-Automatic model would be great if you to buy for under £500
Best men’s watch under £500 with a mechanical movement (No batteries required)
Seiko are a much under-rated Japanese watch company founded in 1881 by Kintaro Hattori. He started selling and repairing watches and clocks until 1924 when he produced his first watch.
The Prospex range is Seiko’s latest range. Seiko formed a partnership with PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) to become the official supplier, which is why you will see ‘PADI’ on the dial.
This watch movement is mechanical, which means no messing about with expensive battery fits every couple of years. The watch caliber is 4R36 which means it has an accuracy of +45/-35 seconds per day. Note, if you are buying a mechanical watch, you may want to also invest in a watch winder box if you are not wearing it every day.
The watch can be used to dive to up to 200 meters (660ft), which is deep – the average scuba dive depth worldwide is around 40M.
The watch casing is made of stainless steel with a thickness of 13.4 MM with a tough crystal glass front. The hands and hour nodes are coated with lumibrite, which is Seiko’s patented luminous paint. It uses radioactive substances to produce the ‘afterglow’
-Serious dive depth
Best Men’s Chronograph Watch Under £500
Charles-Félicien Tissot started making pocket watches in 1853, producing his own watch movement by 1917. In 1930 they joined forces with Omega to form the first Swiss watch association and started offering guarantees, which was previously unheard of. Tissot joined the Swatch Watch group on 1983 and pushed forward to become the official time keeps in many sports, Tour de France being one.
The Tissot watch I have chosen as the ‘best under £500’ class is the PRS200. It’s a beautiful looking chronograph made of stainless steel with a smooth rotating bezel.
The Tissot PRS200 is suitable for diving with a maximum depth of 200m like the Seiko Prospect above. Like high-end watches, the PRS200 has a screw-down crown which feels exactly like my Rolex Explorer 11, which is about five grand more. The watch ways 152g, as measured on my digital kitchen scales.
The watch comes with a 2 year warranty and Tissot watch care kit.
-Amazing watch for the price
-Feels quite heavy. If you prefer lighter watches then consider changing the strap to a rubber one.
Verdict- What is the best men’s watch under £500?
This is a real tough choice. As I already own the Victorinox, my next purchase would be the Seiko Padi due to it’s manual movement. But, if I did not own any of the watches above, there would be only one choice…
Best Men’s Watch Under £500 Overall – Victorinox INOX
You might also like these watch articles: