Help me find an awesome watch!
March 3, 2010 8:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm a girl but I like mechanical chronographs & the like, e.g. the Swiss Army collection. Sadly I don't have $500. What are your favorite watches (mens or non-girlie womens) for under $150?
posted by media_itoku to Shopping (24 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a fan of Fossil watches, they've always served me well, they're not too expensive, and (at least in my neck of the woods) they're not on everyone's wrist. Here's a link to their mechanical watches page.
posted by dnesan at 8:24 PM on March 3, 2010

It's a teensy bit over $150, but I've had this Hanowa watch for almost 2 years now, and I love it. I never take it off. No chronographs, but it's sturdy, classic, and no-frills.
posted by oinopaponton at 8:31 PM on March 3, 2010

Response by poster: Nice! Some more details: I'm allergic to nickel. And I like leather straps.
posted by media_itoku at 8:32 PM on March 3, 2010

pmwf for all your cheap, great watch needs. Thank me later.

(I've bought from the store, got very good service for a watch still on my wrist three years later).
posted by smoke at 8:37 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Seiko 5.
posted by Etaoin Shrdlu at 8:37 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Check out Skagen, they make affordable watches that are really nice.
posted by applemeat at 8:41 PM on March 3, 2010

Nixon. Awesome quality.

I've had the Princess for years. Looks great professionally and casually.

Most Fossils I've had (2? 3?) fell apart after a year or 2.
posted by k8t at 9:02 PM on March 3, 2010

This Timex is on my wrist right now. It's kind of fun because it is self winding. Leather band and the face is not so large that it looks overly bulky on your wrist.
posted by Edward L at 9:09 PM on March 3, 2010

and it looks like Timex has a number of choices in their "automatic" collection.
posted by Edward L at 9:14 PM on March 3, 2010

I've been lusting over this swatch for some time now.
posted by kch at 9:28 PM on March 3, 2010

2nding Seiko. Many of the chronos and diver watches have metal bands -- it would be harder to find a leather band. If you like the Swiss Army watches you should try all the various swiss army brands: Swiss Army, Victorinox, and Wenger. I'm sure that I've purchased a Wenger watch that sounds like what you would like for $80 ten years ago. They must have something like that still. this is $131
posted by fieldtrip at 9:49 PM on March 3, 2010

I like the looks of these, which are currently on sale
posted by Jahaza at 10:08 PM on March 3, 2010

I'm also a big Seiko fan. Here are some of their chronographs in your price range.
posted by cazoo at 10:49 PM on March 3, 2010

You sound like me. Girl but not girly, allergic, etc. This is my watch.
Tissot chronographs run around 200 bucks, less used, and you can find deals. They absolutly do ones with leather bands, but I have had no reaction to the strap.
The face-size on this is perfect, it's somewhere between a mens and a womans, I wish I had a photo for you of it on.
posted by Iteki at 11:52 PM on March 3, 2010

You could always look for a Soviet-era Poljot or Vostok or Raketa/Sekonda. There was a period some years back when they seemed to get very expensive -- probably because all the older ones being sold in post-Communist Europe had been bought up. And there are lots of fakes about these days.

I still sorta kinda like my Invicta Dragon Lupah, though it feels a bit chunky, and Invicta has a certain cheesiness (and a ridiculous number of models) which makes it a Marmite brand on watch forums. I'd probaby look to Seiko now, though.
posted by holgate at 12:00 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I really like the look of Stauer watches, but they get mixed reviews. Good prices though.
posted by lekvar at 1:26 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Generally "mechanical" means not quartz and "chronograph" means stopwatch functions. So if that's what the poster really wants, most of these suggestions don't fit that bill. Unfortunately it's very hard to find an inexpensive non-quartz watch with stopwatch. Just too many gears and stuff for a $100 watch.

For inexpensive automatic watches that aren't chronographs, I am a big fan of the low-end Seikos 5 series. For $70-150 you can get an excellent watch with some very nice designs. Unfortunately they don't sell them in the West, so you need to order them on eBay from Singapore or Hong Kong. One seller.
posted by smackfu at 5:55 AM on March 4, 2010

Check out the Watch U Seek forums. They have forum specifically for affordable watches.
posted by dzot at 6:43 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm just like you: a girl who likes Swiss Army/Victorinox watches with a similar budget. Have you tried watching Ebay? I have two Victorinox watches that I bought off of Ebay a couple of years ago for roughly $100-125 although they were were in the $300-400 retail range. They were either overstocks or discontinued models. I've never had a problem with either of them other than replacing the battery as needed. I just made sure to keep an eye out for a month or so until I found the watch I really wanted at the right price and jumped on it.
posted by Coyote at the Dog Show at 3:55 PM on March 4, 2010

Have you looked at Orient's offerings? They're great, cheap watches. The movements are all made by Seiko, and if you look around you can generally find a 50% off coupon code.
posted by nulledge at 4:19 PM on March 4, 2010

Mondaine, but particularly these.
posted by webhund at 4:46 PM on March 4, 2010

nthing Seiko. BTW, when you say "mechanical", or do you mean "analog" (as in not digital), or do you actually mean mechanical (no batteries)? If the latter, Seiko 5 is probably your best bet, but they don't sell mechanical chronos in your price range.
posted by kenliu at 5:22 PM on March 4, 2010

The CWC G10 is an attractive, high quality timepiece. Black leather straps are available via eBay from Germany IIRC. CWC make other attractive UK military issue watches but prices climb swiftly.
posted by Dr.Pill at 4:32 PM on March 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

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