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Best Men's Watches for the Money Under $300 2017
I used to think dropping good cash on a watch was just a waste of money. But after years of having bands break and watches with scratched faces, I decided investing in a good wrist piece might be worth it.
I now own three different watches that cost between $200 and $300. Why do I have three watches, you ask? It's simple: I have a varied wardrobe and many different hobbies that require different styles of watches.
It's easy to find watches that fit your own style and personality, and having more than one won't necessarily bust your budget - but doing so will make it easier to accessorize!
Before discussing some of my personal favorite watches, I'll talk about what to look for when watch shopping. As with anything, the more you know about it the easier it will be to find the watch that's right for you.
Finding the Perfect Watch
As with any accessory, a watch must fit the occasion. Just as you wouldn't wear a Rolex to do yard work, you also wouldn't wear a cheap Timex to a black-tie event. Here are some of the different kinds of watches for different occasions.
Luxury and Class
A luxury watch doesn't necessarily say you are a snob. It can let people know that you care about your appearance and that you like to pair a high-quality watch with a great business suit.
I wear my higher-end watches at work when I'm dealing with clients or when I'm at a formal event, such as serving as a groomsman at a wedding. A nice-looking watch can really help you stand out in a sea of black tuxedos.
One thing to keep in mind, though, is that buying an expensive watch with a brand name does not guarantee anything about the watch's quality. Likewise, you can easily spend $300 or less and get a really beautiful, well-made watch.
If you're interested more in craftsmanship than brand name, you should only look for watches that have gold plating, or even titanium on the bands and faces.
Latest styles do not include a rotating bezel, or a bezel with markings on it. Instead, look for thick markings and hands with lots of tritium.
Fashionable watches tell people that you keep up with trends and like to be stylish.
Granted, fashion changes from season to season so it might be wise to pick a fashion watch with more of a generic look so it will stay "in" for longer.
Hip and Trendy
Hipster watches are probably the most unique you're going to find on the market. At one end of the spectrum, you can find very simple watches with a few unique features, while at the opposite end there are time pieces that bear only the faintest resemblance to the typical watch.
A watch like this tells people that you are a multifaceted person with a very colorful personality.
If you want a hip and trendy watch, look for one that has unique shapes and/or bright colors. These watches will also have uniquely shaped faces, often not even looking like a watch at all. A watch like that is a definite conversation starter!
For the Sports Guy
Sports watches tell people that you take your physical activity very seriously. Made to be very rugged, sports watches are designed to withstand a lot of abuse.
These watches are typically scratch resistant, come with hardy, durable bands, and have the best water resistance. They also come with unique features like GPS, heart monitors, and stopwatches.
Those shopping for a sporty watch should look for ones that are a bit larger than others and have prominently marked bezels. Sports watches usually have very thick and luminous hands and markings.
Pricing and Fitting the Watch for You
Finding a watch with a good fit typically isn't too hard, nor is finding a good deal on watches, if you look online. However, as far as getting a good fit is concerned, I wouldn't recommend buying a watch sight unseen. Instead, try on the watch in person and, if you like it, then find it online. When you're looking for fit, you should keep the following in mind:
- Look for adjustability. You want to make sure that the band has enough room for your wrist with plenty of options to adjust.
- Watch out for arm hair. If you pick a watch with a band that has links in a bracelet, make sure that as the watch moves around on your arm, it won't pull on your arm hair.
- Measure the watch face. Trying on watches will also give you a good idea of how big or small of watch face you need to look good on your arm.
How to Care for Your Watch
Since you are spending a good deal of money on a nice watch, make sure you take care of it. The maintenance required depends on how the watch is made and how it runs.
- Mechanical watches, which run on gears and springs, need manual winding. You'll also need to service and clean the mechanical watch according to the manufacturer's guidelines—usually every three years.
- Quartz watches usually need new batteries every two to five years, depending on the watch.
- Lithium iodine (LID) batteries have a lifetime of 10 years and need the least amount of maintenance.
The 4 Best Men's Watches Under $300
1. Extra Normal Grande
My pick is the Extra Normal Grande because I love to wear a watch that people comment on. With a black mesh band and solid black face, the white hands stand out beautifully.
This quartz watch has a stainless steel band and some amazing details that make it a truly unique timepiece. Rather than have an hour hand traveling around the clock face, this watch has its face covered by a black disc with the hour-hand reverse silhouetted. So the disk rotates, revealing the numbers through the reverse-silhouetted hour hand.
1. Extra Normal Grande
Calling all sports dudes! This Swiss quartz watch was made to take a beating. It’s a very simple piece without a lot of extras, but with stainless steel parts and a rubber band, you can easily take it with you to the gym. It's also waterproof for depths of up to 300 meters. The hands and numbers are also really easy to read at night.
2. Nixon October Black
3. Nixon 5130 Chrono Watch
Check out this Nixon 51-30 Tide Watch for a fashionable addition to your wardrobe. It is housed in a stainless steel case with large numbers at the 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 spots. It’s got good weight to it and catches the eye nicely.
The face is pretty large, clocking in at 52 mm in diameter. It's also waterproofed up to 300 meters, making it an excellent choice for all but the most experienced divers. This analog quartz watch is also made from scratch-resistant stainless steel.
4. "The Guide" Stainless Steel Digital Watch
Finding a watch for an outdoors type of person can be difficult. Especially if you want to find a good looking watch. This watch looks good and is very lightweight.
This Japanese quartz watch is made with stainless steel and comes with enough features to satisfy even your most sporty friends, including a digital altimeter, a barometer, a 24-hour stopwatch, a backlit display, an LCD contrast that makes it easy to read in the dark, and water resistance up to 100M.
Best Men's Watches Under $300 - The Specs
Extra Normal Grande
Nixon October Black
Nixon Watches 5130 Chrono Watch
Vestal Men's GDEDP01 "The Guide"
How much would you spend on a watch?
More Affordable Watches for Men
- 5 Good and Unique Men's Watches Under $200 2016
If you want to find a good watch, you don't need to spend too much money. I have a couple of watches and they are only for looks. I don't even use them for the time.
- Best Cheap Men's Watches Under $150 for the Money 2016
If you're willing to spend around $150, then you'll get a good casual or dress men's watch that should last you a long time. Here's a look at my personal favorites in this category.
© 2013 JC Heppler