The best men’s watches for under £500


Another year, another round of price hikes in the rarefied world of luxury watches. In the case of Rolex, make that two price increases in the space of less than 12 months. And while the latter half of 2022 might have seen a reduction in the price of certain ‘grail’ timepieces on the pre-owned market, second-hand watches from Switzerland’s pedigree watchmakers remain, by-and-large, inflated well above pre-pandemic levels.  

Not on a footballer’s salary? No problem. Because here’s the good news… You don’t need to turn to heavyweight horologists from the Jura Mountains to bag a serious watch. Nor do you need to ply your trade in the Premier League to score something stylish for your wrist. Some of the most interesting watches on the market today slide in under the £500 mark. Indeed, the most-talked about watch of the year – nay, decade, nay century – Omega and Swatch’s jointly-produced MoonSwatch costs just £218 (if you can find one).

From big-name brands to plucky independents, and from quartz to mechanical, we’re rounded up a selection of watches that punch well above their price tag (in this case, £500 or less).

Bamford Mayfair California Edition

An evolution of the ‘service watch’ Bamford used to give clients when their mechanical watch was in for maintenance, the battery-powered Mayfair is available in all manner of dial options. We think the mix of Roman numerals and numerical digits makes this dial particularly cool.


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Mr Jones Watches The Accurate

Mr Jones is on a mission to make you smile. The Accurate did that for us. So called because the watch is ‘accurate’ in a rather more fundamental sense than the traditional measurement of the passing of minutes.


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Marloe Watch Company Coniston

Thought you had to spend thousands to get your hands on a mechanical watch? The Marloe Watch Company is here to prove otherwise. The manually-would movement within comes courtesy of Citizen. A British watch that beats with a Japanese heart.


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Christopher Ward C3 Morgan Chronograph

From three-wheelers to five-handers, the dial on this collaboration between British watchmaker Christopher Ward and vintage motor company Morgan nods towards the dashboards of the trike manufacturer’s iconic Roadster. Designed in Blighty. Made in Switzerland.


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AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Classic Chronograph

Founded in 2012, AVI-8 is big into pilot’s watches (get the name now?). Early aviation and the RAF are big influences, as you might be able to tell by the retro styling, and red, white and blue, of this Hawker Hurricane. A Japanese quartz movement powers a stopwatch function and a date window at three o’clock. A decent amount of watch for the money.


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Timex Marlin® Automatic x Snoopy Easy Rider

Snoopy in sunglasses driving an easy-rider on the dial of a self-winding mechanical watch for less than £250. What’s not to love about that? The watch is fitted with a quick-release strap system, so you can switch up your look by swapping between straps. Oh, and the watch is water resistant to 50 metres.


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Casio Full Metal GM-B2100

Nicknamed the ‘CasiOak’ in reference to its similarities to Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak, Casio’s octagonal-cased GA2100 series has been around for a few years. But it wasn’t until 2022 that we got a full-metal stainless steel version. Cue hysteria from the online watch community. In this case, justified.


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Swatch Bioceramic MoonSwatch

The threat of the Apple Watch had some corners of the traditional watch sector panicked. Those corners needn’t have worried. Swatch’s collaboration with Omega on a low-cost, quartz version of the latter’s holy Speedmaster, the Bioceramic MoonSwatch, became the world’s most-hyped watch in well, perhaps, ever. Proof there’s still plenty of appetite among Generation Z for wearing time-telling devices on their wrists.


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Victorinox I.N.O.X

Thought Victorinox only made screwdriver-equipped pen-knives? Think again. The company tests its I.N.O.X watches by running them over with a tank. Because, well just because. They also stick them inside a washing machine at 90 degrees for two hours. Pretty nuts, Victorinox.


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Seiko 5 Sports SRPD79

For less than £300, Seiko’s 5 Sports SRPD79 gets you an automatic, manually-wound movement, a 41-hour power reserve, chronograph function, date and day display, a stainless steel case and sapphire crystal glass. Plus, it’s good to a depth of 100 metres. We make that an absolute steal.


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Baltic Aquascaphe Black Cream

Baltic is a French outfit heavily into vintage-inspired dive watches. There’s more than a sniff of Blancpain’s 50 Fathoms about Baltic’s Aquascaphe. It may not share the pedigree, but it does get you an automatic dive watch with a uni-directional bezel, screw-down crown and double-dome sapphire crystal glass. You can’t knock it for that.

Approx. £500

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Junghans Form C

German watchmaker Junghans traces its beginnings back to the 19th century. And while the brand may now be synonymous with its ultra-minimalist Max Bill watch of the 1960s, there are plenty of other design successes within its cache of clean-line timepieces. Such as this, the supremely elegant Form C chronograph.

Approx. £430

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