Best Automatic Watches Under 500 Dollars


Not everyone has thousands of dollars to build their watch collection, but that doesn’t mean compromising quality is necessary.

Consider one of these Orient Sun & Moon watches with a day/night indicator that mimics moon phase complication – you won’t spend over $500 and get a respectable mechanical movement watch.

1. Seiko Prospex Samurai

The Seiko Prospex Samurai is one of this price range’s most elegant and reliable dive watches. The Samurai represents excellent value as part of Seiko’s Prospex line – meant for professionals whose job requires them to wear reliable timepieces in aquatic, airborne, or mountain environments.

The Samurai shares many characteristics with other Prospex dive watches in its price range, such as the Turtle, Monster, and Pepsi; its most striking difference lies in the design of its dial. Its combination of brushed and polished surfaces is sleeker and more refined than most dive watches while still exuding an aggressive vibe; furthermore, its 22mm lug diameter makes wearing this tool watch more comfortable than most others; plus, its crown has a knurled texture for added tool watch flair!

Samurai watches stand out from their Seiko counterparts with their unidirectional bezel, featuring familiar samurai ticks in the 0-15 section, followed by 10 tick increments until reaching a triangle pip area. As with other Prospex dive watches, this bezel also comes equipped with an integrated lume easily visible in low-light environments.

As for its movement, the Samurai is powered by a Seiko 4R35 automatic movement with hacking and hand-winding functionality – an upgrade over Seiko 7S25 movements used in some cheaper dive watches. This movement features 41 hours of power reserve with an accuracy of +/- 35 seconds per day but may not match up with more expensive watches on this front.

Prospex dive watches in this price range typically feature hardlex crystal, 200m water resistance, and a screw-down crown. Additionally, its hands are thick and easy to read while its dial features a sunburst hulk green hue that changes with lighting conditions; there’s plenty of lume on hour markers and hands, making this watch visible and legible in nearly any light situation.

2. Nodus Sector Dive Automatic

Nodus’ Sector Dive Automatic watch is one of its most versatile field watches, featuring a military time track with 24-hour military timekeeping capability and an ultra-rugged construction suitable for rough wear and tear. Furthermore, this beauty boasts Seiko NH38 movement (or without date NH35 movement) regulated to four positions within four positions – truly impressive for sub $500 automatic dive watches!

Nodu’s watches are crafted using exceptional materials and feature simple yet stylish designs, yet this model stands out with its innovative dial. In particular, this watch’s use of sectors makes an impactful statement: Wes and Cullen have long been fans of classic military-style watches, as evidenced by their designs.

Sector dials pay homage to vintage skin diver watches from years ago that had shallower depth ratings but were popular with everyday wearers due to their refined look and superior legibility. The Sector Dive takes this concept further by featuring a three-dimensional Swiss Super-LumiNova X1 grade lume and a flat-top sapphire crystal with a domed underside, providing visibility from all angles and depths.

Nodus’ patented locking crown and screw-down bezel help safeguard this timepiece against damage in the field, while its bead-blasted finish provides a comfortable experience without sharp edges or sharp points – perfect for everyday wear and work use!

One drawback of the Sector Dive watch is its lack of a helium escape valve or decompression limit scale – something some divers might find limiting; nonetheless, this shouldn’t detract from its capabilities as a compelling dive watch.

At less than $500, this automatic dive represents excellent value. It is ideal for daily driving use, and its versatile nature makes it perfect for any outdoor adventures you might be planning this summer. Get one now, and you won’t regret it!

3. BOLDR Odyssey Freediver

Singaporean microbrand BOLDR is no stranger to great designs, and at ZULUDIVER, we’re delighted to introduce their bold addition to ZULUDIVER’s selection of adventure watches. Drawing inspiration from freedivers who hold their breath underwater for extended periods, this demanding diver was built for extreme conditions – featuring a 14 mm thick by 40 mm wide case that can withstand 300 meters of water resistance thanks to features like its helium escape valve and screw-down crown; additionally, its waterproofness is increased further by using sapphire crystal, Swiss Superluminova Superluminova light sources as well as diving-friendly unidirectional bezel.

The Odyssey Freediver’s eye-catching design is an exercise in postmodernism with sharp angles and facets. Each watch made by this brand uses at least 80% sustainable materials and comes on an EPDM rubber strap; alternatively, it can be swapped out with an FKM rubber strap featuring quick-release spring bars; its custom case back also depicts Kraken from folklore, symbolizing fearless diving and confronting deep waters.

Underneath its affordable mechanical movement from Japan’s Miyota comes an ultra-affordable mechanical movement called caliber 9075, which runs at 4Hz with hacking seconds and date complications. Like many automatic GMT watches on our list, this one features a 24-hour subdial at 9 o’clock for easy reading; hands and indexes coated with Superluminova add extra legibility in low-light settings.

The striking feature of this Odyssey watch is its dial, which incorporates fragments from the four billion-year-old Muonionalusta meteorite directly into its slate-like texture for an eye-catching slate-like texture. Available in three vibrant colors – Citrus Orange, Mint Green, and White Frost – The Freediver offers 300m water resistance along with a domed sapphire crystal and stainless steel bracelet. At the PS1329 price point, it provides excellent value as an innovative dive watch that exudes adventure while nodding modernism.

4. Seiko 5 Sports

If you love the aesthetic of Prospex Samurais but can’t justify spending that kind of cash, the Seiko 5 Sports can be an excellent alternative. Though it doesn’t have the same reputation as accurate diving watches, it still comes close.

The 5 Sports is a classic choice for mechanical watches without breaking the bank. Even though they have made certain unique variations to draw more attention (including collaborations with streetwear brands), this series still provides a wide selection of styles and finishes to meet every taste.

Hardlex crystals, more resilient than sapphire used on luxury watches but won’t cost an arm and leg to replace if it cracks or chips, are used in most models from this family of watches. Furthermore, their stainless steel cases undergo numerous rigorous tests to ensure they can stand up against whatever life throws their way.

Seiko watches have always been known for taking risks with their dial designs, and this SRPD71 “suit style” model is no different. It features a matte metallic blue surface set against cream-colored indices and a vibrant blue bezel insert, giving this watch its distinctive aesthetic that blends style and ruggedness.

The SRPD71 stands out with one of the most impressive movements available at this price range – its in-house 4R36 caliber movement provides 41 hours of power reserve, making this watch suitable for everyday wear, while its case back contains an expansive window so you can watch its activity at work.

As the 5 Sports has become so popular, other watchmakers have taken notice and begun offering alternatives at similar prices. You’ll find that both Citizen and Orient offer ISO-rated divers in this category; microbrands like Dan Henry, Kanno, and more also provide comparable watches at even reduced costs compared to 5KX models. Unfortunately, none can match its diversity or quality offerings!