The automatic self-winding watch has long been regarded as the pinnacle of prestige timepieces. When someone says automatic, you typically think of watches by Constantin Vacheron, Rolex, Tudor, Tag Heuer, or Bell & Ross. Unfortunately, these watch brands are beyond the means of many of us mere mortals. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t own automatic watches. There are plenty of affordable automatic watches. In fact, my first automatic watch only cost $50. It was developed and sold by Walmart for a short time a few years ago. I believe that they created the $50 automatic to pressure their suppliers to meet low price points.
|My First Automatic – The Walmart $50 Automatic|
Men’s Automatic Watches for Less than $100
Some luxury watch magazines regularly run articles on inexpensive automatic watches. Those articles make me laugh and then they make me cry. Unfortunately, most of the “affordable” watches they cite start in the low thousands of dollars. As an alternative to those heartbreaking articles, here are three truly affordable automatic watches from respected and well known brands that start at less than $100.
1. The Armitron Automatic Skeleton watch. Today, you can find attractively priced automatic watches from Armitron at price points similar to my first automatic. While I haven’t compared the Armitron automatic to my Walmart automatic, I strongly suspect that there might be a common heritage. The cool thing about these transparent dial skeleton watches is that you really can see a lot of the inner workings of the movement. So, if you really like automatic watches for their intrinsic mechanical interest, you really can’t go wrong.
2. Invicta Pro-Diver Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Watch. Of course, if you want an automatic watch, you are going to want to a taste from the fountain of Rolex. The company set the standard for high performance automatic dive watches and made the automatic dive watch into the prestige timepiece it is perceived to be today. Unfortunately, Rolex ownership remains an elusive goal for most of us. That’s where Invicta comes in. Invicta makes a nice Rolex Submariner homage dive watch with similar lines and solid construction. If you love the Rolex look, you can typically find an Invicta Automatic Pro-Diver for less than $100. With 200 meters of water resistance, you can even take the Invicta to a beach and get it wet. Plus, the Invicta has an exhibition caseback that allows you to see the movement.
3. Seiko 5 Automatic. Finally, an inexpensive automatic can still be respected for its form and its function. The venerable Seiko 5 Automatic watch has long been highly regarded by collectors as an excellent timepiece in its own right. It works well and it is quite affordable. The only drawback for the Seiko 5 Automatic Field Watch is the rather small 37.5 millimeter diameter case size.