In this listicle, I’ll be compiling a list of affordable watch brands across various price points, from $100 to $7500.

The Casio Duro – my go-to recommendation to those who want a no-frills, affordable everyday watch. Photo credits: Hodinky-365

I frequently get Instagram DMs/emails asking me: “What watch would you recommend for a budget of $XXX?”. I have previously done a series of articles on this, but that was over 4 years ago, and based on the MSRP prices of the watches. As such, I’ve decided to do a complete guide of 21 watch brands I would recommend buying from $100 all the way up to $7500, based upon the market prices – as well as 3 to avoid. Let’s get into it.

Under $100:

Even if you don’t have much to spend – perhaps you’re a student – you can still get some very reputable brands.

1) Timex

Timex is a great starter brand for anyone who wants to get into analogue watches.

Recommendations: The Timex Weekender for those who prefer versatility, and the Timex Expedition for those who prefer a more rugged look.

2) G-Shock

Nico Leonard calls this the “God-tier watch” – and honestly, I can see why.

Recommendations: The G-Shock GA-2110 for those who want a “Casioak” feel, and the G-Shock DW5600 for those who want the OG look.

3) Swatch

The recent Omega X Swatch MoonSwatch collaboration put the brand in vogue, but Swatch actually has a ton of history in its own right – it arguably saved the Swiss watch industry from collapse during the Quartz crisis of the 1980s.

Recommendations: The Swatch “Singapore Tale” for patriots, and the Swatch Gent Bioceramic for those who want a more avant-garde look.

Under $300:

Perhaps you have saved up, and want to buy something nice for yourself that would last. In such a scenario, my recommendation would be to go with the Japanese – they seldom disappoint.

4) Seiko

Undoubtedly the king of sub-$300 watches, Seiko is the best starting point for enthusiasts.

Recommendations: The new Seiko 5 SRPD59K1 for those who want to stand out, and the venerable Seiko Samurai for those who don’t.

5) Orient

If dive watches aren’t your cup of tea, consider Orient for its wide range of dress watches.

Recommendations: The Orient Sun and Moon V3 for those who want a sophisticated look, and the new Orient Bambino 38mm for those who prefer something simpler.

6) Citizen

If Seiko and Orient are too mainstream, then Citizen is a great alternative.

Recommendations: The Citizen Fugu for those who want a robust everyday watch, and the Citizen Promaster for those who want a right-hand crown.

Under $500:

This is the point of entry-level luxury – time to step up to Swiss.

7) Tissot

Perhaps the best entry-level Swiss option out there, Tissot also has plenty of boutiques for you to try its watches before committing.

Recommendations: The Tissot Le Locle for those with dressier tastes, and the Tissot Seastar for those with more rugged tastes.

8) Hamilton

Another alternative would be Hamilton, which – though Swiss-made – boasts plenty of American heritage.

Recommendations: The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical for those who appreciate its titanium case, and the Hamilton Jazzmaster for those who prefer an automatic movement with a dressier look.

9) SevenFriday

I’ve disapproved of SevenFriday in the past, but that’s because it’s a bad value proposition at its MSRP of ~S$1.5K. At its market pricing however, it actually brings substantial visual interest for relatively little money.

Recommendations: The SevenFriday P1 for those who appreciate the iconic design, and the SevenFriday M2 for those who want a different way of time-telling.

Under $1500:

If you’re planning on commemorating an important occasion (e.g graduation, 21st birthday, etc) this would be a good place to start.

10) Longines

One of the most respectable brands in the business, Longines make value-packed, classical watches.

Recommendations: The Longines Heritage 1945 for those who appreciate a vintage look, and the Longines Hydroconquest for those who prefer a modern sports watch.

11) Nomos

If Longines’ vintage design isn’t your cup of tea, why not consider the Bauhaus aesthetic of Nomos’ watches?

Recommendations: The iconic Nomos Tangente for those who want a quintessential Bauhaus design, and the Nomos Club for those who prefer a more youthful look.

12) Oris

A highly underrated Maison, Oris has been growing from strength to strength in recent years with a string of strong releases.

Recommendations: The Oris Big Crown Pointer Date for those that desire the brand’s trademark complication, and the Oris Diver Sixty-Five for those who want something a little more casual.

Under $3000:

This is the point where things start getting serious – time to choose wisely.

13) Tudor

Perhaps the king of value in this price segment, Tudor offers rock-solid build quality – including in-house movements – for very reasonable prices.

Recommendations: The Tudor Black Bay Heritage 41 for those who desire a Submariner-lite, and the Tudor Ranger for those that don’t.

14) Breitling

Another brand that has had a resurgence in recent years is Breitling, which did well to revamp its entry-level collections.

Recommendations: The new Breitling Superocean 42 for those who like colour, and the Breitling Colt 41 for those who don’t.

15) Bell & Ross

If you want more wrist presence for your money, then the iconic square case of a Bell & Ross will definitely be up your alley.

Recommendations: The Bell and Ross BR03-94 chronograph for those who prefer complications, and the Bell and Ross BR03-92 Diver for those who don’t.

Under $5000:

Welcome to a taste of luxury watchmaking.

16) Omega

Perhaps the “Tudor” of this price range, Omega offers a variety of iconic yet relatively affordable options that boast both style and substance.

Recommendations: The iconic Omega Speedmaster Hesalite for those who appreciate its rich history, and the Omega Seamaster Professional for those that prefer a simpler, automatic watch (or fans of Bond).

17) IWC

If your tastes veer more towards aviation and dress, then IWC’s watches will do the trick.

Recommendations: The dazzling IWC Mark XVIII Le Petit Prince for fans of fliegers (or the book), and the IWC Porteguiser Chronograph for those with dressier or more complicated tastes.

18) Panerai

While Panerai – as a brand – is in somewhat of a decline, its watches still remain one of the most recognisable designs in modern watchmaking.

Recommendations: The Panerai Luminor PAM005 for those that like the iconic crown guards, and the Panerai Radomir PAM380 for those who don’t.

Under $7500:

We have now crossed into the realm of enthusiasts – it takes true passion (or foolery) for one to spend this much money on a watch.

19) Cartier

Though more known for its jewellery, Cartier is actually the third-largest watchmaker in the world, behind only Rolex and Omega.

The Cartier Santos Medium – undoubtedly the best modern Cartier watch in recent years.

Recommendations: The Cartier Santos Medium for those who like it square, and the Cartier Tank Americaine Large for those who don’t.

20) Grand Seiko

A hidden gem amongst those in the know, Grand Seiko offers watches with finishing that punches well above its price point.

Recommendations: The Grand Seiko SBGA413 “Shunbun” for those who want a Spring Drive, and the Grand Seiko SBGH271 “Rikka” for those who prefer the brand’s hi-beat movement.

21) Rolex

Last but certainly not least would be Rolex – perhaps the safest bet for your money. If you’re someone who cares about the residual value of your watches, then go for the Crown.

Recommendations: The Rolex Explorer 1 ref. 114270 for those into rugged tool watches, and the Rolex Datejust ref. 16234 for those with more classical tastes.

Watch Brands I would avoid:

I also often receive messages asking me: “Which watch brand should I avoid?”. While this is of course subjective, here are three watch brands I would personally not buy – even at their market prices.

1) Hublot

Hublot often gets made fun of (most famously by Nico Leonard on Youtube) – and it’s not without reason.

Why not: Most buyers of Hublot opt for the Classic Fusion, which has an MSRP of over S$10K and a market price of around S$6K. At its S$6K market price, the Hublot Classic Fusion pales in comparison to its competitors from Cartier/Grand Seiko/Rolex, or even cheaper options from Omega/IWC/Panerai. It’s not particularly well finished, has a (modified) Sellita movement, and lacks brand heritage. It’s more of an expensive fashion watch than an enthusiast watch. To be fair, the brand has interesting collab watches (Sang Bleu, Murakami, etc) but those command a staggering price tag and are far from affordable.

2) Franck Muller

It’s safe to say that Franck Muller’s heydays are in the past. The brand still releases watches today, but they are overpriced, gaudy, and a shadow of the classy tonneau offerings that put the brand on the map in the first place.

Why not: My reservations about Franck Muller are similar to those about Hublot. Franck Muller’s modern watches are too large, mechanically unimpressive, and lack the level of finish expected of their price point. The latest Franck Muller Casablanca Vanguard has an MSRP of over S$12K, though thankfully it trades for around S$7K on the resale market. Still, I can’t think of anyone that I’ll recommend the Casablanca Vanguard to over say, the Cartier Santos or the Rolex Explorer I – modern Franck Mullers look like a poor man’s RM. Vintage Casablancas were a beauty (I would know, I bought one) – but the same can’t be said for the modern counterparts.

3) (Entry-level) TAG Heuer

While I’m a fan of the brand’s pricier heritage chronographs (e.g the Monaco that I bought), I often see those starting out in their watch-collecting journey buying an entry-level Aquaracer or Carrera. That, in my opinion, is a mistake.

Why not: The above-pictured TAG Heuer Carrera has an MSRP of S$4K, and a market price of roughly half that. In my opinion, that’s way too much. I personally don’t think it’s better finished or more technically impressive than say, a $500 Tissot Le Locle or Hamilton Jazzmaster. The aesthetics of the $1500 Longines Heritage 1945 or the Oris Big Crown Pointer Date blow the Carrera away too. Entry-level TAG Heuer timepieces feel generic and lack the soul of some of its similarly priced competitors – there are definitely better places to start your watch-collecting journey.


I hope this listicle will serve as useful inspiration for those seeking to purchase their first timepiece, regardless of budget. Once again, do remember that these are my personal recommendations, based on my biased tastes – so please don’t send me angry messages if you happen to be a Franck Muller fanboy.

It’s almost 2023, which means another SOTC article/video will be coming out soon. Stay tuned for that!

P.S: Check out The Shiok Store here – it serves as a curation of my favourite products from my favourite brands.

P.P.S: Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!

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P.P.P.P.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.