You don’t have to spend several thousands of dollars on a great automatic watch if you don’t want to. Instead, you could take the time to sort through hundreds of similar alternatives until you find a bargain. Alas, we decided to make our contribution to the research efforts of those with no time for such tedious tasks. We did all the hard work and selected the best automatic watches under $1500 available today.
That price limit seemed like the ideal range to get the best value to price ratio. The evaluation was thorough and extensive, with a lot of automatic watch brands taken into consideration. We also kept diversity in mind, trying to find watches to match anyone’s style.
Choosing an Automatic Watch
Other factors were crucial to find the best automatic watch. We asked hardcore watch enthusiasts to set us down the right path. In their opinion, you should be mindful about the following things when shopping for watches, and automatic ones, in particular:
Quartz or mechanical?
A watch price will increase significantly depending on the mechanism it relies on to measure time accurately. It’s referenced as the watch’s movement, and the most common types are:
- Mechanical movement, manual winding
- Mechanical movement, automatic winding
- Quartz movement, no winding required
The first decision to be made is choosing between quartz or mechanical watches. Although quartz watches are accurate, they’re still regarded as the cheap alternative. Some people would argue that they should even be called “true” watches. Purists tend to prefer mechanical watches due to their heritage and longevity.
Deciding between manual watches or automatic ones is a matter of practicality. If you don’t want to worry about manually winding your clock every once in a while, you don’t have to. Finding the best automatic watch under $1500 will ensure that you don’t need to. Automatic watches self-wind when the wearer moves around, saving your precious time and effort. They’re a bit pricier, but worth it in the long run.
The watch’s case
It’s the most prominent piece of your timepiece, along with the bezel and the strap. Depending on your stylistic choices, you can either have a watch with a big case or something more discrete. However, if you have small wrists, big cases will likely be uncomfortable to wear.
Another thing to keep in mind about your watch’s case is the materials used to make it. The most frequently used materials are:
- Aluminum alloy
- Stainless steel
- Precious metals
Each given material has its own set of faults and benefits. You will usually find Aluminum in cheap watches due to its shiny appearance and low weight, but it breaks and scratches easily. Titanium and stainless steel rely on protective coatings to keep them from scratching, and both are sturdy and light alternatives.
Other materials such as gold and platinum are often used due to their value and unique gloss. Nonetheless, they aren’t the most practical alternatives for several reasons. Both are rather heavy, and gold is particularly prone to scratching., for instance.
Watch’s a crystal material
The crystal, as you may have guessed, is the thing that protects the dial and the hands from the elements. They can be made out of many different materials, mainly:
- Acrylic glass
- Mineral crystal
- Sapphire crystal
There are two main things to be cautious about when deciding on a watch’s crystal. You need to consider scratch and shock resistance first and foremost. This is more important when you plan on spending a considerable amount of money on your timepiece. If your watch’s crystal breaks, replacing it can be difficult and expensive, besides the risk of damaging the dial.
Acrylic glass is a refined assortment of plastic materials used in cheap and old watches. Nowadays, most watches use mineral crystals because they’re harder to break than acrylic. However, both acrylic and mineral crystals scratch eventually. Sapphire crystal, on the other hand, doesn’t scratch, besides being significantly harder than acrylic. Out of the three of them, sapphire is the most expensive one and it’s used in most high-end watches.
Watch’s strap or bracelet
Along with the crown, the strap is the most prominent element in any watch. These straps or bracelets are often interchangeable with compatible models. Most of the time, changing the bracelet will require the assistance of a professional. Common alternatives for the material of the bracelet are:
- Rubber bands
- Nylon straps
- Leather straps
- Stainless steel
- Precious metals
Each of these materials has its set of advantages. Rubber is rather inexpensive and durable, while nylon breathes better and looks great. Stainless steel is stronger, but it’s more expensive and heavier. For many people, leather bracelets are the most comfortable ones. However, you are likely to feel more comfortable wearing a particular bracelet depending on your preferences.
The usual materials for non-luxury watches are either rubber of nylon, although some casual watches have leather bracelets. Nonetheless, metallic bracelets aren’t limited to luxury watches. There are plenty of alternatives available at reasonable prices for anyone’s taste. Even if you don’t like your watch’s original bracelet, you can nearly always replace it with something better.
Watches for men are known for their great resistance and durability. However, not every watch can withstand the rough treatment of a very active lifestyle. To grant true reliability, automatic watches need to be:
Among the waterproof watches, some are well-suited for swimming and diving, while others barely keep the elements at bay. Rain and occasional splashes won’t be an issue with a water resistance of any degree. However, deep submersion is likely to provoke malfunctioning in any watch not specified as a diving one.
Shock-proofing is a quality often reserved for the bulkiest watches, most made with the sole purpose of being durable. Nonetheless, there are very sturdy automatic watches out there. Many alternatives provide a fair deal of protection against damage using materials like stainless steel.
One of the most useful features you can find on a watch is some degree of scratch-resistance. Either on the whole crown or just the crystal, this will keep your watch looking pristine despite constantly wearing it.
Many watches come with useful features that increase their functionality to impressive levels. Not every watch includes these functions, often called “complications”, but the best automatic watches under $1500 do. Some of the features found in watches are:
- Greenwich meantime
By far the most common feature in watches is the tachometer or tachymeter. This function allows you to calculate the speed of a moving object. The bezel includes a set of scales to determine the speed based on the traveled distance over time. With some arithmetic operations, you can also calculate distances using a tachometer, although the process can be rather complicated.
Chronographs allow you to use the watch as a stopwatch, measuring the elapsed time between two events. The elapsed time will show on the smaller circles inside the dial. Likewise, some watches include a way to keep track of the time in the Greenwich time zone. If you know the time difference of a time region relative to the GMT, it also works as a “world clock”.
If you’re looking through mechanical watches, you can easily find watches made by suspicious vendors at alarmingly low prices. Often, these manufactures cut too many corners to save money on the production of the watches. Most of their claims of durability are fraudulent, a bait to lure uneducated buyers into closing the sale.
Traditionally, Swiss-made watches are the preferred choice of watch enthusiasts. The precise timekeeping that the Swiss mechanisms allow is mostly unmatched in terms of reliability. This puts pressure on any Swiss-made watch to rise to those high standards.
However, Japanese watches are similarly praised for the reliability of their mechanism. Both Swiss and Japanese movement watches are common choices for high-end mechanical watches. Either of them is an acceptable alternative if you’re looking for the best. As a rule of thumb, you will find that Swiss-made watches are slightly pricier than their Japanese counterparts.
Quartz movement, despite being completely reliable, it’s often less valued by watch aficionados. Mechanical movement watches, either manual or automatic, are the most sought after kind of watch from a collector’s perspective.
Best Automatic Watches Under $1500 Review
To find the best watches under $1500, we reviewed many alternatives. Most watches under the $1500 threshold were downright disappointing. However, some gems stood out among the rest. The best automatic watches for the price, in our opinion, were:
Marathon Military Diver’s Automatic
This Swiss-made watch checks all the boxes to be considered one of the best automatic watches under $1500. Its military heritage translates into a strong and reliable construction that can withstand an apocalypse. If you’re looking for durability, this is one of the best automatic watches under 1500 dollars in existence.
The case and strap are made of stainless steel coated with anti-scratching agents, showcasing a black dial with white numbers. If you take a closer look, you’ll notice the syringe-style handset containing luminescent tritium tubes. These tritium tubes can be found in the hands and hour markers, so you can read the watch under low-light conditions. Fortunately, unlike illumination methods used by other brands, these tritium tubes don’t need to store light beforehand to glow.
Besides, the sizing on this watch is adequate for most wrists. It’s big enough to make an impression, but not enough to become a nuisance. Overall, it’s a great watch that can be worn by anyone, and that’s something we appreciate.
This Military Diver’s automatic watch is a well-constructed timekeeping machine that won’t let you down. After thorough consideration, we concluded that the most appealing things in this automatic watch were:
As its name implies, this design caters to the needs of the military forces. A benefit of this functionalist approach is the prolonged lifespan of this sturdy watch. It’s hard to break and easy to take care of, which makes it a reliable alternative for a classy man.
If you take proper care of it, this is a watch that will last a lifetime’s worth. Considering that, it’s an amazing value for its price.
Sturdy and durable
The military approach also means a stronger built and harder materials to grant durability. Besides, it’s Swiss-made, which is a good sign when you’re looking for quality. Marathon didn’t cut any corners when it came to this watch’s construction and overall endurance.
The Diver’s automatic watch also withstands deep submersion up to 1000ft under favorable conditions. Its stainless steel body prevents corrosion, so water isn’t an issue. For such an elegant timepiece, it’s surprisingly resistant to adverse circumstances.
Comfortable to wear
This watch is smaller than you would think based on the pictures. It comes at just the right size to keep being lightweight despite the fair amount of stainless steel. If you have a rather small wrist, this watch is likely to be an adequate fit for you.
You can pick your bracelet, either stainless steel or a rubber one. Both are comfortable enough to avoid disturbing any physical activity you engage in.
- Appealing price
- Unmatched water resistance
- Great fit for most wrists
- It’s a bit heavy for diving
Marvin Pro Dive Automatic
Marvin offers another great diving watch that deserves some recognition. The Pro Dive comes as a lighter alternative for those looking for a watch capable to withstand deep submersion. The colorful design and upstanding quality granted a place among the best automatic watches under $1500 to this watch.
The watch comes in various colors, being red the most attractive to us in particular. This red version comes with a black case that contrasts beautifully with the colored details. Nonetheless, the other alternatives offer a chromed steel finish in the case that looks equally appealing, but not as elegant. Besides, the case doesn’t take that much room, nor does it hurt your wrist when you move around. Its nylon fabric band matches the color of the bezel, making it stand out as a fashion statement.
As you would expect from a diver’s watch, this model is also unmatched in terms of water resistance. Up to 300m underwater, the Marathon Diver’s watch will grant you precise timekeeping in the most practical way.
It’s great quality at a great price, a watch that catches the right kind of attention. This watch comes as an attractive choice for an alternative style. Among the biggest selling points of this watch are:
The most notable element of this watch is its characteristic design. It’s a fresh take on the classic black dial watch, with bold lines and a flashy nylon strap. However, the sizing is discrete enough to keep it from looking pretentious or tacky.
The color of the bracelet stands out, contrasting the dark case in a flattering manner. Besides that, the white details on the hands and markers are both aesthetically pleasing and easy to read.
Another outstanding feature of this watch is the sheer durability of the materials used. With its stainless steel case and anti-scratch sapphire glass, you can be confident about taking it anywhere.
It’s also Swiss-made, a stamp of trustworthiness among clock enthusiasts. With the right materials and the best engineering, quality is a given. You can feel it when you’re wearing this watch like it’s going to take a lot to break it.
Appealing price point
For such a durable and handsome timepiece, the pricing is very reasonable. Despite not being technically cheap, it’s still under the threshold of what could be considered inexpensive for an automatic watch.
You give up on having things like a steel bracelet, but that’s about it when it comes to downsides. You can replace the bracelet for a better one and it would still be a bargain.
- Withstands submersion up to 200m
- Fits comfortably
- It’s not suited for small wrists
Mido Multifort Automatic
If you’re looking for something elegant but casual enough to wear every day, we got you covered. This watch is an all-black leather and steel timepiece designed to match any outfit. For that versatility alone, it would be deserving of a place among the best automatic watches under $1500. However, this watch brings a lot more to the table.
It’s packed with some interesting features like a tachymeter and a chronograph. On the front, three sub-dials preset the chronograph at 60 seconds, 30 minutes and 6 hours respectively. On the back, however, you can see through the back-case and get a glimpse at the watch’s mechanism. You don’t need to be a fan of clocks to see the beauty in the precise ticking and turning gears of a good watch.
In general, we were pleasantly surprised by this alternative from MIDO. It may be on the expensive side of the spectrum, but it does deliver on every one of its promises. This is an item that we would buy again.
Looking in-depth into it, we found a lot of things to love about this watch. Most notably, it stood above the rest due to:
Easy to read
The great thing about the color scheme in this watch is that it provides a nice balance to improve readability. This palette is reminiscent of a neon sign standing against the dark of the night. Its orange numbers and hands are laid out in front of a dark background that makes the figures pop out.
Likewise, the display is simple yet comprehensive. It includes a calendar and three chronographs, with a tachometer surrounding the outer rim.
Beautiful skeleton case
A skeleton case is one that showcases the watch’s inner workings. This one in particular is an endearing example of the craftsmanship behind a good Swiss-made watch. Its clear back allows us to steal a glimpse at the clock’s machinations.
If you were looking for automatic watch gift ideas, this could be a worthy candidate. Its design will likely make it very attractive to any watch enthusiast. This watch would be a valuable addition to any collection.
Classic leather strap
Some people prefer the leather’s texture and feel over that of any other material. The embrace of a good leather strap is tighter and comfortable than steel or rubber bands allow. This watch is slightly big, so the tight grasp is a smart choice to guarantee a good fit.
Besides, leather is a classy yet versatile alternative, matching any outfit you choose to wear. Two straps are included and are easily interchangeable without special equipment.
- See-through back-case
- Tachometer and chronograph
- Leather band
- It’s a bit expensive
- The clasp can be a hassle
Mazzucato RIM Reversible
This might be the boldest alternative among our picks for the best automatic watch under $1500. Catching some amount of attention is inevitable while wearing this watch for many reasons. First off, it’s big and flashy, with thick lines to accentuate a sturdiness worthy of praise.
Secondly, there are some details in the design that make this watch unique. Namely, you can turn this watch into a stopwatch by turning the case upside down. You release a lock and rotate the case to change the watch’s functionality. Only a couple of movements are required to make the switch, making it a simple affair. Once the case is in place, simply lock it back and now you have a dedicated chronograph.
The overall design is heavily inspired by the world of motor racing. These influences are notable in the dial, which resembles a tire with numbers and colors matching those of a speedometer. On the chronograph side of the watch, these influences are more pronounced.
We gave this one a test run and find it worthy of recognition. Among other things, this interesting watch was a pleasant surprise due to:
Original reversible chronograph
This watch’s main selling point is its unusual reversible feature, acting both as a watch and chronograph simultaneously. By turning the case upside-down, we have a solid stopwatch at our disposal. To keep the case in place, a safety lock completes this timepiece’s transformation.
The creativity behind this design is worthy of praise, resulting in a watch that looks and works outstandingly. However, it could be unappropriated for formal clothing.
Unique style and function
The design is heavily inspired by elements from the motor-sports’ realm. Both aesthetics and functionality are equally influenced by this thematic choice. Its turning case loosely resembles a high-performance tire, and this mimic is more notable in the back-case/chronograph.
These features came together nicely, leading to a bold and impressive timepiece that easily catches the eye. The opulent shapes and tight angles scream “high-performance” right at your face.
An important thing to consider when buying an automatic clock is reliability. These watches aren’t cheap and you need a sturdy timepiece like this one to protect your investment. For that reason, we think this is one of the best automatic watches under 1500 dollars you can find.
The case is surgical-level stainless steel coated with anti-scratching elements and special K1 glass. Breaking this automatic watch isn’t an easy task by any means.
- Reversible design
- Strongly built
- Points for creativity
- It’s rather expensive
- Silicone band
Davosa Swiss Automatic
This is an alternative for those who love a luxury watch. Davosa is known for its good taste and attention to detail, and it shows on this watch. It loosely resembles the Rolex GMT-Master II with its ceramic bezel that shows you time in the GMT zone.
The deep blue dial with no numbers matches the bezel stupendously, giving a sophisticated feel to it. It’s all protected by an anti-glare sapphire crystal that’s been further treated to avoid scratching. Durability is also a given with its top-grade stainless steel case and bracelet. Altogether, these characteristics provide a high-end experience unrivaled by any other watch at that price.
It might be the best automatic watch under $1500, but it’s also one of the most expensive watches between our picks. We recommend it because it’s worth it, though. You spend a little extra, but get a premium watch that won’t break your bank. If you’re into fancy things, it doesn’t get any better than this.
This watch exceeded our expectations by a long shot, a true gem in disguise. Among the factors that sealed the deal for us were:
The Ternos from Davosa includes an interesting feature that allows you to have the Greenwich Merideam Time in your wrist. Rotating the ceramic bezel around the dial, you can precisely adjust your timezone to determine the current GMT. You can also calculate the time at any other location in the world knowing the timezone.
Having this watch can come in handy when you’re traveling a lot. International flights can mess up your schedule, but this watch will stand by your side wherever you go.
Silky ceramic bezel
Ceramic bezels are usually reserved for higher-end watches, so it came as a welcome bonus on this watch. This bezel is a proper example of the benefits of ceramics in watchmaking. The material feels soft yet durable, with vivid colors and a nice feel.
It also provides a somewhat warmer sensation at the touch, giving the watch a more welcoming texture. Likewise, the different tones of blue across the bezel are harmoniously blended with the overall design.
Elegant stainless-steel design
This is a luxury watch, so it needs to look and feel just right to be worthy of that name. Thankfully, this watch doesn’t disappoint in terms of aesthetic appeal and design. A mixture of great materials and the wonders of engineering created this durable yet reasonably-sized watch.
To complement this watch’s high-end design, a carefully crafted stainless steel case holds the entire artifact in place. On top of it, the deep colors of the dial and bezel stand proudly in their simplicity.
- Fits great on any wrist
- All stainless steel body
- GMT timekeeping
- It’s a bit pricey
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best watch for under 1000?
When shopping for watches, there are several great alternatives under $1000. The best watches under that threshold are:
- Marathon Military Diver’s Automatic
- Marvin Pro Dive Automatic
Both alternatives are equal in terms of quality and accuracy but take different aesthetic approaches.
What is the best watch for the money?
For those looking to buy a watch with a great price to value ratio, the Davosa Swiss Automatic is the best choice. It’s closer to luxury watches than it is to other alternatives at the same price range. The quality and beautiful design are way beyond its price tag.
How many years does an automatic watch last?
Automatic watches, and mechanical ones in general, tend to have a very long lifespan. Depending on the watch’s quality and maintenance, their longevity ranges from a couple of decades to a lifetime. For that reason, buying an automatic watch is a long-term investment.
Is it worth buying an automatic watch?
Mechanical watches (both automatic and manually-winded) usually have a longer lifespan than quartz watches. However, if you choose a manual watch, you need to wind it constantly. Automatic watches, on the other hand, don’t require any effort on your part to keep working.
What’s an automatic watch?
An automatic watch is different from a manual watch because the latter requires constant winding to keep operating. An automatic, or self-winding watch, relies on the wearer’s movement to store potential energy. The mechanism inside the watch uses that energy to wind the watch, eliminating the need for manual winding.
Watches are a symbol of status and style, being worn by men since the days of old. A good watch can make or break an outfit, so choosing wisely is of utmost importance. It was our purpose to guide you through a sea of alternatives to find the best match for you. Now, you have all the tools at your disposal to make an educated purchase. Select only the best items because that’s what you deserve. Not good, nor great, but the very best.
In the end, it’s up to you to make the final decision and compliment your style with the best automatic watch. Hopefully, you will find something appropriate in our selection of fine watches for fine men.