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Best Quality & Cool Watches for Men Under $500 Dollars

Updated on October 30, 2013
Issey Miyake Trapezoid
Issey Miyake Trapezoid

Finding Cool Men's Watches

There are many different types of wrist watches to choose from.

Maybe you are in the market for your first watch, or perhaps you are buying one to add to your collection.

You need to decide where you will be wearing your watch the most.

A sports watch will not accessorize as well with a business suit, just like you wouldn't wear a formal watch to go swimming.

Isey Miyake Twelve 365
Isey Miyake Twelve 365
5 stars for Issey Miyake Twelve 365 Watch

Things to Look for in Men's Watches


The case of the watch can be made of many different things. The case is what protects the movement and the dials, and most cases are made of metal.

Stainless steel is probably the most widely used and you will find them most often in higher ended watches. Stainless steel is attractive and timeless; it also resists tarnishing and discoloration.

Titanium is a popular choice because it weighs less than stainless steel; it is also just as durable. Then you have gold cases which are the pinnacle of class. These are typically made in 14 karat, 18 karat, or 22 karat gold that ranges from yellow, to rose, and even white.


Watch bands also vary greatly. However, there are two types of bands to choose from. Some feature a band that is more like a bracelet, and then others are like a strap. The bracelet type consists of interlocking metal links which most often make it easy to add or remove links to get a better fit.

Strap bands are made from materials such as leather, fabric, rubber, synthetic materials, nylon, or fabric. I personally like leather and fabric straps because they are very comfortable and look nice as well.

Nixon Diplomat SS
Nixon Diplomat SS

How a Watch Moves

Believe it or not, not all watches get their power in the same way. Quartz watches are probably the most popular and are powered by a vibrating quartz crystal that moves the motor and hands.

An electric current passes through the crystal and keeps it oscillating over 32,000 vibrations per second. Quartz watches are the most accurate timekeepers. Batteries typically need to be changed about every year and a half or so. If you're lucky, you can find some solar powered rechargeable batteries.

Mechanical movements consist of gears and springs and they must be wound by hand. These are not quite as accurate as quartz powered watches, but these can last for many years, even generations.

Automatic moving watches use mechanical movements that do not require you to manually wind a watch every day. It is recommended that you adjust the time about once a month since these watches can sometimes gain or lose a few minutes every 30 days.

Since you are investing a good amount of money into your watch, it is wise to store them in watch boxes when you are not wearing them.

Most manufacturers will send you a beautifully crafted wood or leather box for presentation purposes.

However, these can easily be used for storage. The interiors are padded which will help protect your watch from getting scratched.

Also, many boxes feature automatic watch winders. This feature will keep your watch movement ticking even when you haven't worn it for a few days.

Which watch is your favorite?

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Welder K38
Welder K38

Features to Look For

Most watches feature a chronograph and the date, but you can often find watches that have lots of other varied features. Most watches are also water resistant up to a certain amount of feet.

Most common is 330 feet, but there are some that are not water resistant at all, or for more shallow depths. It is still recommended that you don't go swimming with a watch that is not rated for swimming, but you won't need to worry about ruining it while washing your hands, or being out in the rain.

Common features also include a window that shows the moon phases, and some have a continual calendar that does not ever need adjustment. A tourbillon is a device that is used to counter the effect of gravity and it is said to improve accuracy in a watch.

Sports watches often have very handy features such as a heart rate monitor, and even a GPS System. There are some watches on the market that even have a digital camera in them.

Make sure to note how large the watch face is that you are considering for purchase. The size of watch faces can vary greatly, and if you are more of a thin boned man, you will not want a watch with an overly large face. Also, if you have larger wrists, a small based watch would look a bit silly.

Issey Miyake Midsize SILAT002 Blue Trapezoid: AL Collection Chronograph Watch
Issey Miyake Midsize SILAT002 Blue Trapezoid: AL Collection Chronograph Watch

The Trapezoid has one of the most intriguing designs in a watch. On the watch, there are numbers going around with make up a tachymeter, you can use the scale on the bezel and the chronograph hand to calculate the average speed of a vehicle in km. Though this is something that you probably won’t use. I think that it sets it apart from other watches. Another thing I like about this watch is that it’s supposed to look like a cockpit panel instrument. Some of the numbers are written upside down to make it easy to read.

Welder by U-Boat K38 Oversize Chronograph Black Ion-Plated Steel Mens Watch K38-702
Welder by U-Boat K38 Oversize Chronograph Black Ion-Plated Steel Mens Watch K38-702

With all of the technological advancements, there doesn’t seem to be a watch that is trying to be very futuristic. The Welder K38 does just this. You have the feel of being inside of a car. I really like how it has a gas and engine temp gauge. This is one watch that you will not find on very many people.

Nixon Men's A277-1421 Diplomat SS Black/Silver/Green Watch
Nixon Men's A277-1421 Diplomat SS Black/Silver/Green Watch

One thing that I like most about watches is the little details that most won’t recognize. Simple things like having a minute hand that has a cut out and you can see through and the ability to tell you two times at ones. It’s not like your normal watch that shows you more than one time; this one has two hour hands that will give your two different times. One is on a 12 hour clock and the other a 24 hour. Many people would notice the two times because the 24 hour clock is slightly hidden on the walls of the watch. If you like the 51-30, you’ll love the feel and design of this watch.

Issey Miyake Men's SILAP007 Twelve 365 Collection Watch
Issey Miyake Men's SILAP007 Twelve 365 Collection Watch

In my mind, having something that is simple adds uniqueness to a watch that will show your personality. Many watches have so much going on that sometimes it takes you a week to figure out what time it is. The Twelve 365 is a simple watch that has little going on but gives you all you need. Supposedly, the hands are supposed to show expressions of a human face.



What other watches would you recommend under $500?

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      Steve 4 years ago

      You really have put together an amazing list of watches. I would agree that unique watches are the best. Some of these watches are so good looking. I'll have to get one when I have some money saved up.