Top 11 Best Affordable Dress watches [List & Guide]

Top 11 Best Affordable Dress watches [List & Guide]

Top 11 Best Affordable Dress watches

If you are looking for a sleek, elegant, and classic timepiece that works well on formal occasions, a dress watch is what you should opt for. Dress watches have a few key criteria they should live up to, but there are no real strict criteria it needs to meet in order to be classified as one. With that said, there are plenty of watches that fit into the dress watch spectrum with different styling, designs, and executions.

What is a dress watch?

A dress watch is, at its core, a watch that is suitable for formal occasions. As mentioned, there are no fixed criteria for a watch to be classified as a dress watch, however, there are a few things that most dress watches tend to have in common. With that said, there are sporty dress watches, elegant dress watches, and more versatile dress watches that work well on formal occasions, but also for everyday wear.

Some common traits of dress watches are:

  • Usually has a leather strap
  • Has a slim case
  • Is simple and discreet
  • Often (but not always) has a diameter of less than 39mm

Dress watches can have both quartz and mechanical movements can be in different case materials and can have different dial colors. The most classic and traditional dress watches, however, have a diameter of less than 36mm, a white or black dial, and a minimalistic dial with no additional functions apart from the time, or at the very most, a date function.

Depending on your criteria and what you are looking for in a dress watch, and regardless if you are looking for a versatile dress watch or something much more traditional, there is a watch for you.

So without further ado, let’s look at the best affordable watches. Since both the terms ”affordable” and ”best” are relative, we will focus on the watches with dress watch styles that have received the best reviews and ratings.

Best affordable dress watches

Below, we go through the best and most popular affordable dress watches.

Orient ‘Bambino Open Heart’

Orient 'Bambino Open Heart' Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel and Leather Dress Watch


The Orient Bambino model line is one of the most popular affordable dress watches/elegant watches on the market. Orient is known for making high-quality timepieces with great build quality and attention to detail and is powered by a robust and durable automatic movement.

Because of its movement, it is also popular amongst watch enthusiasts who enjoy mechanical technicality. The Bambino has a sleek and elegant design which makes it fit into the ”dress watch” category. At the same time, it also has a touch of sportiness that makes it more versatile. What stands out about this exact watch is that it has an ”Open heart” meaning the dial has a cutout that enables you to see the movement beating inside through the dial. In addition to this, the watch also has a see-through case back. If you enjoy mechanical and automatic movements, you’ll also likely appreciate this model.

The watch has a stainless steel case of 40.5mm which is not too big for a dress watch, nor too small. Generally, a full-on dress watch has a smaller case, but the slightly larger case helps make it more versatile. At the same time, in terms of design, the case is polished and has a simple and clean execution that ensures it remains discreet. On top of the case, it has the signature domed mineral crystal.

It is water-resistant to 30m/100 feet which means it can withstand water splashes, but it’s not one you’d go diving with.


  • Diameter: 40.5mm
  • Water resistance: 30m/100 feet
  • Crystal: domed mineral glass
  • Movement: automatic F6T22
  • Thickness: 12mm

Tissot Steel Dress Watch T1274101604100

Tissot mens Gentleman Stainless Steel Dress Watch Brown T1274101604100


If you are looking for a versatile watch that is dressy, but also a bit sporty for everyday wear, the Tissot T1274101604100 may be a good choice. This watch has a stainless steel case with a diameter of 40mm and a thickness of 8.52mm.

Inside beats a Swiss quartz movement and on top of the case is a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Some people will dislike the quartz movement, but if you are wearing it for business, being on time is crucial, and a quartz movement can help you with that. The watch has a beautiful blue dial which is very appropriate for more elegant timepieces. It is also presented on a brown leather strap. It is water-resistant to 10bar/100m/330 feet which means it can be worn when swimming, but since it has a leather strap, it’s perhaps not ideal.


  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Lug width: 21mm
  • Thickness: 8.52mm
  • Movement: Swiss Quartz
  • Water resistance: 10 BAR/100m/330 feet

Bulova 98H51 Stainless Dress Watch

Bulova Men's 98H51 Stainless Steel Dress Watch With Croco Leather Band


If you want something truly classic that is essentially the definition of a dress watch, the Bulova 98H51 is a great choice.

This watch is presented with a 37mm rose gold-tone case. The thickness is a mere 5.9mm, meaning the case will sit extremely slim on the wrist and slide under any cuff without issues. 

The watch has a water resistance of 30m and is powered by a Japanese quartz movement.

Its white dial allows it to remain sleek, and discreet, yet stylish. The dial has a date window at 4 o’clock and a beautiful pattern. The dial has pen-shaped rose gold hands and applied rose gold hour markers.

This watch does exactly what a dress watch should – it complements your style without stealing the show.

As a dress watch should, it is presented on a crocodile-embossed leather strap.


  • Diameter: 37mm
  • Thickness: 5.9mm
  • Water resistance: 30m/100 feet
  • Movement: Japanese quartz

Tissot Stainless Steel Dress Watch T1224101604300

Tissot unisex-adult Carson Stainless Steel Dress Watch Blue T1224101604300


Another sleek and elegant watch that is designed to be a dress watch is the T1224101604300. This watch has a case size of 40mm and a thickness of 6.97mm. With that said, the watch will slide under a cuff without any issues and complement your style perfectly without being ”too much” or stealing the show.

The case is presented on a crocodile-embossed leather strap and has a sapphire crystal on top. It is powered by a Swiss quartz movement which can actually be a nice thing in a dress watch since it will ensure you are on time. The water resistance is 50m/165 feet.

The watch has a stunning blue dial with large Roman numerals around it. It has a circular brushed finish at the center and a sunburst finish around the outer edge. Positioned at 6 o’clock it has a date window for convenience.

With its stunning dial and simple and clean profile, this is a great dress watch that makes a perfect match together with a suit.


  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Thickness: 6.97mm
  • Water resistance: 5 bar/50m/165 feet
  • Crystal: scratch-resistant sapphire

Citizen Quartz Stainless Steel BI5000-01A

Citizen Men's Quartz Stainless Steel and Leather Casual Watch, Color:Black (Model: BI5000-01A)


The Citizen BI5000-01A is a great choice if you want more of a modern dress watch, yet still want to remain classic, minimalistic, and simple.

The watch features a 39mm stainless steel case with a mineral crystal. The size is a good balance as it is not too big nor too small for most male wrists, making it suitable for formal as well as casual occasions.

The dial has been made simple just like the case of the watch. It is white and has applied metal hour markers as well as sword-shaped hands with a luminescent coating which helps improve the legibility. It is powered by a Japanese quartz movement which is accurate and ensures that you are always on time.

The watch is water-resistant to 50 m (165 ft).

All in all, the watch is elegant and classy, but at the same time has a design that is not too formal, making it also suitable for everyday wear.


  • Diameter: 39mm
  • Water resistance: 50m/165 feet
  • Movement: Japanese quartz

Bulova 96A133 Dress Watch

Bulova Men's 96A133 Dress Watch


If you are looking for an elegant and classy dress watch with a unique and appealing design that isn’t too formal to be perceived as boring. The watch has a stainless steel case with a diameter of 41mm and a funky design with curved and sharp-angled lugs. The watch has a beautiful steel sunburst dial with large black Roman numerals which complements the black embossed leather strap very well. The design is executed to ensure it remains discreet on the wrist on formal occasions, but it also works great for everyday wear. On top of the case, it has a flat mineral crystal.

It is powered by a quartz movement and has a water resistance of 30 M (99 feet). It is a classy dress watch that has lots of traditional design lines which also, thanks to its size, will slide under a cuff with ease.


  • Diameter: 41mm
  • Crystal: flat mineral
  • Water resistance: 30m/100 feet

Bulova Dress Watch 96B312

Bulova Dress Watch (Model: 96B312)


The Bulova 96B312 has a simple and classic stainless steel case which is often found on vintage dress watches. The watch has a diameter of 40mm and a thickness of 6.5mm. With that said, it is a minimalistic case design that is discreet and complements the dial perfectly, with small, thin rectangular lugs. The watch is water-resistant to 30 meters. On top of the case sits a mineral glass.

The watch features a silver-white dial with Roman numeral markers and a date window. As a true dress watch, it is presented on a black leather strap. The dial has applied metal Roman numerals which enhances the watch’s appearance and makes it appear more luxurious. It is complemented by thin and elegant metal pencil-style hands.

This watch is most suitable for formal occasions and is perhaps not ideal for everyday wear, but with its design, it complements your look rather than stealing the show, just like a dress watch should.


  • Water resistance: 30 meters
  • Thickness: 6.5mm
  • Crystal: flat mineral glass
  • Movement: quartz

Seiko SUP880 Quartz rectangular

Seiko Men's SUP880 Analog Display Japanese Quartz Black Watch


If you want a rectangular dress watch with an elegant style, this watch may just be for you. Rectangular watches were more common back in the day, and therefore, a rectangular design works rather well for dress watches since they have a different fit on the wrist and also sit very well and discreetly on the wrist. The case of this watch has a yellow-gold finish and a diameter of 28.5mm. The water resistance is 99 feet.

Another nice feature of this watch is that it has a Japanese quartz movement that is solar-powered. This means that the watch is powered by solar and ambient light, which removes the need for replacing the battery. The movement has a power reserve of 12 months when fully charged.

The dial is simple yet elegant and works perfectly for its purpose. The watch has a white dial with a striped pattern and black Roman numerals.

It is presented on a black leather strap with an alligator-embossed strap.


  • Diameter: 28.5mm
  • Water resistance: 30m/100 feet
  • Movement: quartz, solar-powered

Orient ‘2nd Gen Bambino Version III’

Orient '2nd Gen Bambino Version III' Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel and Leather Dress Watch


The Orient 2nd generation Bambino Version III is one of Orient’s most popular watches on the market because of its great finish, high-quality, affordable price, versatile elegant style, and durable movement.

The watch has a sleek design with a touch of vintage inspiration which gives it a classic look. It is presented with a stainless steel case with a diameter of 40.5mm with a water resistance of 30m/100 feet. On top of the case, it has a domed mineral crystal.

Inside the watch is a Japanese automatic movement which is appreciated for its durability and robustness.

The dial is slightly domed and is both beautiful and minimalistic. At 3 o’clock, it has a date window. The watch is available with different dial designs, either polished flat or with a brushed sunburst finish. As a dress watch should, it features a leather strap.


  • Crystal: domed mineral glass
  • Diameter: 40.5mm
  • Water resistance: 30m/100 feet
  • Movement: Japanese Automatic

Citizen Eco-Drive AW1236-03A

Citizen Men's Eco-Drive Stainless Steel Watch with Date, AW1236-03A


The Citizen AW1236-03A is a versatile and elegant watch with a sleek and classic design, but it is also designed to work great for everyday wear.

The watch has a stainless steel case with a diameter of 40mm and on top of the case, it has a mineral crystal. The case is discreet and has a classic design with a polished finish. Inside, it has a Japanese quartz movement. The water resistance is 30m/99 feet.

The dial goes well with the watch’s elegant design which is beautiful and minimalistic. Citizen has also paid great attention to the detail of the dial. First and foremost, it has applied rose gold-colored metal hour markers and elegantly designed sharp metal hands. At 3 o’clock. It has a date window which is convenient for everyday wear. It is powered by a quartz movement and also incorporates Citizen’s solar-power function, meaning it is powered by ambient and solar light, which removes the need for replacing the battery.

Around the outer edge of the dial, it has a striped pattern and at the center of the dial, this striped pattern is contrasted by a sunburst finish.

The watch is presented on a black embossed leather strap which enhances its elegant appearance.


  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Movement: Japanese quartz
  • Water resistance: 30m/99 feet
  • Crystal: Mineral glass

Timex TW2R63900 Southview

Timex Men's TW2R63900 Southview 41mm Tan/Silver-Tone/Blue Leather Strap Watch


Last but not least, we have the Timex Southview TW2R63900 which is a simple and minimalistic watch that works great as a dress watch. When it comes to dress watches, minimalism is often the best answer for a great dress watch.

It is presented with a 41mm brass case with a polished finish. The bezel is thin and lugs short which puts all the focus on the dial. The watch is presented with a simple dial with applied metal markers. The hands have a pencil-style design luminescence applied to them. It is water-resistant to 30m/100 feet and is presented on a leather strap.

If you just want a simple and minimalistic watch at an affordable price, this Timex is definitely a great choice.


  • Water resistance: 30m/100 feet
  • Diameter: 41mm
  • Crystal: Mineral glass

Dress watches buyer’s guide

When buying a dress watch – and any watch for that matter, there are a number of things you want to take into consideration in order to find the perfect watch for your needs, wants, and preferences. Let’s take a look at the most important things you should consider.


The diameter is a rather important aspect of a dress watch. Since you wear a dress watch mostly on formal occasions, a dress watch should be slim and slide under a cuff easily. But as you can see above, different watches have different thicknesses. Some are ultra-slim whilst others are bulkier. How slim your watch needs to be depends on your preferences. If it is important for you that the watch is really slim so it sits discreetly on the wrist, this criteria is definitely more important. But still, the most important part is that you keep it in mind.


The diameter is always one of the most important factors when choosing a watch since you want it to fit your wrist size well. The size of the watch also has an effect on how it looks. The more traditional and classic dress watches tend to be smaller to match the sizes of vintage watches, often around 34-39mm. But for those with larger wrists and a preference for larger watches, there are also watches with a  diameter of 40mm upwards of 45mm.

With this said, think about your own wrist size and what diameter will work best for you. Then, also consider the style and look you’re trying to achieve. If you want to have a dress watch that is more versatile, you can look for a larger diameter.

Movement – quartz or mechanical?

Dress watches are available with both mechanical or quartz movements. Quartz watches offer the benefit of having great accuracy, durability, and low maintenance costs. Mechanical watches, on the other hand, tend to be more popular amongst watch enthusiasts that appreciate the complexity of a nice mechanical movement. Mechanical watches offer a greater sense of craftsmanship and thus come with added appeal for a lot of people.


As discussed, dress watches are meant to be simple. But that doesn’t mean that all they can have is timekeeping (although this is usually the most classic form of a dress watch). But if there are any specific functions you want and need in a watch, you could definitely consider this when choosing a dress watch, Now, naturally, we’re not talking about sporty functions like a unidirectional bezel or a chronograph function, but other practical functions that are relatively common in dress watches are the date function, day function, and moon phase.

Case material

As stated by Hodinkee, a dress watch is probably although not necessarily gold. With this said, the most classic dress watches are always associated to be in gold since it adds a level of elegance that pairs perfectly with a formal outfit. Dress watches are generally available either in yellow gold, steel or rose gold. Naturally, if we are talking about affordable watches, they will be in gold color, but for luxury watches, this is done in solid gold.

Because gold cases are more elegant and flashy, they’re not for everyone, and they don’t tend to be as versatile as steel options due to their flashy and more elegant nature.

Which dial color?

Since dress watches are meant to be elegant, discreet, and refined, you’ll find most dress watches with white, black, silver, or dark blue dials. But obviously, there are dress watches with all kinds of different dial colors as well for all tastes and preferences.

Your dial choice will come down to your own preferences but also your style and outfit. For a discreet look, a silver, white, or black dial will work best. But if you want something more striking and appealing, a watch with a dark blue dial and perhaps also a sunburst finish can look really amazing.

Dressy or sporty?

As mentioned, dress watches come in all kinds of different styles and designs, affected by factors such as size and dial colors. But in addition to this, it also depends on their overall style and design. If you want a watch that does not only work with a suit or tuxedo, you can opt for a more versatile and sporty dress watch that works both on formal and more sporty occasions.

If you plan to only have one watch in your collection, this can be a suitable option as it allows you to wear it on all kinds of occasions and not just on the super formal ones. A question we receive quite often is “Can a dress watch be an everyday watch?” and this answers that yes, it certainly can. Whilst the most elegant and classic timepieces are not suitable for other occasions than formal, versatile variants of dress watches tend to work on many different occasions.

Just remember that dress watches are in general not as durable and rugged as everyday or sports watches, so you should leave the most demanding situations and occasions to other types of watches.

When should you wear a dress watch?

As discussed, dress watches are mainly meant to be worn on formal occasions. In essence, that means together with a shirt and suit, or even a full-on tuxedo. For the most formal occasions – think tuxedo and lacquered shoes, an ultra-formal and classic dress watch is most suitable. But if you have a dress watch that is a little more casual, you can really wear it for a lot of different occasions.

But in general, dress watches tend to work best on formal and semi-formal/business casual occasions, for example when you’re just wearing a shirt, or a shirt and a blazer.

Which is the best affordable dress watch?

As always, there is never one “best watch” as it depends on your budget, style, wants, and preferences. Some of the most popular affordable brands for dress watches are, however:

  • Seiko,
  • Casio
  • Bulova
  • Citizen
  • Timex
  • Orient
  • Junghans
  • Longines
  • Tissot
  • Nomos
  • Hamilton

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