The Best Affordable Watches under $250

There’s something special about purchasing a watch for less than a day’s work and being absolutely amazed by it. You don’t need to spend thousands to enjoy a watch and brands like Seiko, Casio & Timex prove that. The affordable segment is full of gems and in today’s post, I’m talking about some of my favourites.

1. Seiko SNA411

If you’ve been around the circuit, then this watch needs no introduction. From its bidirectional slide rule bezel, yellow chronograph hand and domed hardlex crystal, Seiko have some how created yet another cult favourite. And the thing with cult favourites, is that they are often undeserving. On paper, a sub $200 quartz Seiko chronograph isn’t going to turn many heads, even the 21mm lug width is annoying, but there’s just something about this piece that’s special and it’s evident the moment you put it on.

The most striking element of the watch has to be the dial. It’s a deep gloss black that sinks right back into the case, giving a sense of three dimensional depth to the wearer. This watch looked completely different to me when I saw it in person. I just remember having a sense of awe at all the markings and scales Seiko managed to fit on 42mm.

Amazingly the watch has a water resistance rating to 200m, thanks to the screw down pushers and crown, so its truely versatile and fits many use cases. For a while there, prices skyrocketed due to rumours of the watch being discontinued. I have no proof for or against, however prices have come back down and you can find them trading under $250 USD on eBay.

Manufacturer: Seiko
Model / Reference: SNA411
Case size (not including crown): 42mm
Lug to lug: 47mm
Lug width: 21mm
Caliber: Calibre 7T62 (quartz)
Crystal: Domed Hardlex
Lume: LumiBrite
Strap / Bracelet: 21mm Seiko Bracelet, solid end links, branded fold over clasp
Price: $200 – $250 USD

2. Tisell Flieger Type A / B

This is a watch I’ve written about before and I wanted to give it a special mention. When I really got into watches a few years back, this was the first watch that I purchased. At the time I couldn’t afford much and I was looking for a bit of an all rounder. I wanted an automatic and it had to have sapphire crystal.

As far as flieger’s go, this is one of the most affordable. But that’s not to say it’s cheap. For the money you’re getting a Miyota 9015 automatic movement, sapphire crystal, an iconic and legendary design and an absolute strap monster. It has a lovely matte black dial and the hands are actually heat blued, which is incredible at this price point (not even Laco’s entry level fliegers have heat blued hands).

This is a fantastic first watch for someone just starting out, or for those wanting to explore fliegers but aren’t keen on splashing out $1,000 Euros.

Manufacturer: Tisell
Model / Reference: Flieger Type A / B
Case size (not including crown): 40mm
Lug to lug: 49mm
Lug width: 20mm
Caliber: Miyota 9015, self winding, hacking, 28,800 vph
Crystal: Sapphire
Lume: BGW9
Strap / Bracelet: 20mm brown leather strap, tang buckle
Price: $209 USD

3. Seagull 1963

I’ve had a real love hate relationship with this watch. I couldn’t recommend a vendor to purchase from, because I’m still unsure on the best place to buy. Set aside the quality control for a moment though. Even with all the issues I’ve had, I’m still in love with this watch. I don’t know if it’s the champaign dial, or domed acrylic crystal. Maybe it’s that red seconds hand, or the writing on the dial? Whatever it is, I want one in my collection at all times. And everyone should have at least one manual wind!

The 1963 is incredibly charming and represents amazing value. My review on the piece can be found here.

Manufacturer: Seagull (assembled by various vendors)
Model / Reference: 1963
Case size (not including crown): 38mm
Lug to lug: 47mm
Lug width: 18mm
Caliber: Seagull ST19 manual wind chronograph movement
Crystal: Acrylic
Lume: n/a
Strap / Bracelet: Various options available. Usually comes on a khaki NATO strap
Price: Various. Starting from $189 USD

4. Q Timex

Now that the hype has settled, we can discuss this watch for what it really is: a vintage reissue with a hell of a lot of charm. To be clear, this is not a quality watch. It’s finishing and execution won’t wow you. Just setting the time makes you nervous. But you don’t buy the Q Timex for its craftsmanship – you buy it because who doesn’t love a sense of nostalgia, right?


You don’t need me to go over the details again, but just in case, the watch is a 1979 reissue, back when quartz was all the rage and the Swiss were freaking out. This was Timex’s “diver inspired” quartz offering and this reissue is almost 1:1 to the original. From the bezel to the woven stainless steel bracelet, its true to era and bound to put a smile on your face.

Manufacturer: Timex
Model / Reference: Q Timex 1979 Reissue
Case size (not including crown): 38mm
Lug to lug: 45mm
Lug width: 18mm
Caliber: Seiko Quartz PC33
Crystal: Acrylic
Strap / Bracelet: Woven stainless steel bracelet
Price: $179 USD

5. Casio GA-2100

When Casio released the GA-2100, I don’t imagine they anticipated the attention it received. It is After all, not g-shocks finest. Its no triple sensor, or even an iconic reissue… It just very slightly reassembles a far more expensive watch based on the octagonal shape of its face. Its been called the G-Oak, Casi-Oak, and to be honest, I can see why. It’s clearly nothing like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, but there’s a hint of it in its design and that was enough to infiltrate our watch boxes.


Truely though, I absolutely adore this watch and it’s a great addition for those looking for a cool little beater that you can wear with shorts to the beach.

Manufacturer: Casio
Model / Reference: GA-2100
Case size (not including crown): 45.4mm
Lug to lug: 48.5mm
Features: World time, 1/100 second stopwatch, timer, 5 alarms, hourly time signal, full auto calendar, double LED lights (Super Illuminator with afterglow, 1.5/3 seconds, with LED backlight for LCD display), and estimated 3-year battery life
Crystal: Mineral Crystal
Lume: Neo-Brite luminous hands
Strap / Bracelet: Black resin
Price: $99 USD