Top 17 Best Affordable Mechanical Watches [List & Guide]

Top 17 Best Affordable Mechanical Watches [List & Guide]

Top 17 Best Affordable Mechanical Watches [List & Guide]

The market is filled with all kinds of different watches. Not only in terms of style, but also in terms of functions, and of course, movements.

Mechanical watches are particularly appreciated by watch enthusiasts who enjoy and find appeal in fine and complicated watchmaking.  In this article, you’ll learn more about mechanical watches, how to choose one, and of course, look closer at some of the best and most popular affordable mechanical watches on the market.

What are mechanical watches?

Simply explained, mechanical watches are watches that are powered by mechanical movements. What is a mechanical movement?

Well, without getting too technical, a mechanical watch has either a manual or automatic movement. In these movements, energy is stored in a so-called mainspring. The mainspring gives energy to the movement and allows it to operate. A manual movement needs to be manually wound via the crown in order to be charged with energy but automatic movements are built with a rotor inside that rotates when wearing the watch, thus winding the mainspring.

With this said, automatic movements are today more popular than manual movements. As a result, most mechanical watches, particularly affordable, are automatic. Whilst manual watches are still made, they are primarily popular by true watch enthusiasts who want to get a connection and interact with their mechanical movement on a regular basis due to their appreciation for watchmaking and complicated mechanisms.

Because automatic movements do not need to be manually wound to function, they are convenient and practical for everyday wear.

There are plenty of good reasons to choose a mechanical watch over quartz (battery-powered watch). The primary reasons include:

  • Appreciation for watchmaking and fine mechanics
  • More traditional
  • Makes a better impression

What is interesting is that although quartz has become more popular than mechanical watches due to their affordable price and reliability, mechanical watches have continued to be greatly popular. This also goes to prove, in some way, that humans are not always 100% rational (or perhaps it does, depending on how you see it?). We may choose a mechanical watch even if it is more expensive and is less accurate than a quartz, but because emotionally, it gives us a better feeling. But if we consider the fact that humans are, to a large extent, emotionally driven, it makes perfect sense.

There is just something special about wearing a mechanical watch as a man that gives a better impression than wearing a quartz watch.

Because of the added complexity that a mechanical movement involves, they are known to be expensive and luxurious, reserved for luxury brands like Rolex and Omega. But the good news is that this isn’t completely true. As a matter of act, there are plenty of watch brands that specialize in making high-quality, well-made, and robust mechanical watches at affordable prices. With that said, it gives you the best of both worlds of being able to enjoy fine mechanical timepieces, but without having to spend thousands and thousands.

How to choose a mechanical watch

As when choosing any watch, there are a number of things you want to think about and take into consideration. First and foremost, you obviously have the basic criteria including:

  • The size – do you want a large or small watch?
  • The style – do you want a pilot’s watch, dive watch, field watch, etc?
  • The purpose – are you going to wear it every day? Are you going to wear it in a suit?

In addition to this, you need to know that not all mechanical watches are made equal. There are quite a few affordable mechanical watches to choose from, but not all of them are great. Some watches contain cheap mechanical movements that will break or perform poorly.

The good news is that affordable doesn’t have to mean cheap, and there are as a matter of fact a number of brands, as mentioned, that specialize in making affordable mechanical watches with movements that are robust, accurate, and actually last.

Without further ado, let’s have a look at our top picks for the best affordable mechanical watches.

Best Affordable Mechanical Watches

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Orient ‘Sun and Moon Version 2’ Automatic

First up is a highly popular affordable watch powered by a mechanical movement, namely the Orient Sun and Moon Version 2. And it’s quite easy to see why this watch is so popular.

The watch has a 42.5mm stainless steel case with slim and elegantly curved lugs. Since it is designed primarily as an elegant dress watch, it features an overall simple and elegant case design with a thin, polished bezel.

What stands out about this watch is not the fact that it has an automatic movement, but the fact that it incorporates a number of features that you mostly see in much more expensive watches. This timepiece has a sun and moon indicator, a day function, as well as a date function – all presented beautifully on the dial. The dial is black (but there are also other versions) and has Roman numerals to achieve a more classic look.

The hands are made in metal and have a leaf/dauphine design which is yet another classic design feature that you often find in traditional watches. In addition to this, the watch has nice details and decorations to the dial which are integrated in a subtle yet stylish way. The crystal is sapphire which is uncommon to find in watches that cost around 200 dollars.

Of course, it is powered by a mechanical movement, specifically an automatic movement. The water resistance is 50m/165 which is decent, but this isn’t a dive watch anyway.

Specifications

  • Diameter: 42.5mm
  • Water-resistance: 50m/165 feet
  • Movement: automatic
  • Crystal: sapphire

Invicta Automatic Pro Diver

Next up, we have the Invicta Pro Diver Automatic which happens to be one of the most popular mechanical watches on the market, and also one of the most affordable mechanical watches with a price tag of around 80 USD. With that said, this is a watch that seriously impresses in terms of quality considering its extremely low price.

The watch has a 40mm stainless steel case with a thickness of 14mm as well as a see-through case back which allows you to see the automatic movement inside. Overall, the case design is classic and remains true to traditional dive watches, equipped with a black unidirectional rotating bezel. It has a black dial with applied metal hour markers filled with luminescence and a mineral crystal with a cyclops on top which helps improve the legibility of the date at 3 o’clock. For added sportiness and versatility, it is presented on a three-link Oyster-style stainless steel bracelet with a fold-over safety clasp.

The water resistance is 200m/660 feet which is even more impressive. Yes, this is a dive watch, but many dive watches at this price point do not offer the same water resistance as one. This means that you can go diving and swim with no issues.

Overall, this is just a stylish and sporty affordable mechanical watch that can be worn for many different occasions and can even work as your everyday watch.

Specifications

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Thickness: 14mm
  • Movement: automatic
  • Crystal: mineral

Timex Marlin Automatic

If you’re looking for a more classic and dressy mechanical watch, the Timex Marlin may be an interesting choice for you.

The Timex Marlin is a mechanical watch that is designed to be minimalistic and contemporary. Whilst it can be used as an everyday watch, it is primarily suitable for formal and more dressed-up occasions. At the same time, it is available in several different iterations, so you can find the one that suits your taste the best. With a price tag of around 200 dollars, it also offers a great balance between quality and affordability.

This version has a 40mm stainless steel case with a rose gold finish to enhance its elegance. To contribute to the traditional look, it has a domed acrylic crystal on top. The dial is simple as well with a black background applied metal hour markers, and thin, pencil-shaped hands. At 3 o’clock, you also have a date window.

Powering this watch is a 21-jewel automatic movement that has a 40-hour power reserve. The water resistance is 30m/100 feet – not the best, but as mentioned, it is primarily a dress watch, so water resistance isn’t really crucial.

Last but not least, to go with its elegant theme, it is presented on a leather strap.

Specifications

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Thickness: 13mm
  • Movement: automatic
  • Water-resistance: 30m/100 feet
  • Crystal: domed acrylic

Seiko 5 SNK805Automatic

The Seiko 5 collection is known for being affordable, qualitative, and for always using mechanical movements. In addition, the Seiko 5 SNK805 is one of the most, if not the most popular of them all. And really, it’s easy to see why. This watch is priced at less than 100 USD, has an automatic movement that has proven to be a robust workhorse, and has a nice and versatile design that makes it suitable for everyday wear.

This watch has a military-inspired design, reminiscent of classic field-and military watches, making it particularly suitable for sporty occasions. It is presented with a completely satin finish 37mm steel case with the crown positioned at 4 o’clock. The smaller size of the case makes it suitable for many different wrists sizes but also stays true to the smaller size of the original military watches. It has a matching military-green dial with 12-hour and 24-hour markings on the dial, as well as a day and a date window positioned at 3 o’clock. To go with the green theme, it is presented on a green nylon strap. On top of the case, it uses Seiko’s signature Hardlex crystal.

Powering this watch is the automatic Seiko caliber 7S26B. It’s not the most accurate, but it is known for being robust and long-lasting.

If you want a mechanical watch that is not only extremely affordable but also versatile, good-looking, and qualitative, the Seiko 5 collection is one of the best choices out there for an impressive balance between price and quality.

Specifications

  • Water-resistance: 30m/100 feet
  • Crystal: Hardlex
  • Movement: automatic
  • Movement: automatic
  • Diameter: 37mm

Fossil Townsman Mechanical

Fossil also makes some good affordable mechanical watches and one of those is the Townsman automatic. The watch has a 45mm stainless steel case with a classic case design meant to make it slightly more elegant. To give it a traditional look, it is also presented on a brown leather strap.

The watch has a black dial, but what stands out about its dial is the so-called ”open heart” design, meaning you can see parts of the automatic movement inside. This is a detail that is particularly appreciated by watch enthusiasts as it works as a reminder of the complex craftsmanship that powers it. Apart from the open heart design, it has two sub-dials which indicate 60 seconds and the date. The dial also has applied metal hour markers and elegantly beveled sword-shaped hands.

For the crystal, Fossil has opted for a mineral crystal. Since this watch is focused more on elegance and not sports, it only has a water resistance of 50m/165 feet.

For someone who appreciates a traditional style, but doesn’t want just a plain and boring dress watch, this Fossil could be a suitable alternative.

Specifications

  • Diameter: 45mm
  • Water-resistance: 50m/165 feet
  • Crystal: mineral
  • Movement: automatic

Seiko Mechanical SZSB013

The Seiko SZSB013 is another popular automatic watch from Seiko. With a price of close to 400 dollars, it is more expensive than some of the other mechanical Seiko watches, but the increase in price is certainly reflected in the quality and finish.

The watch is designed as an everyday watch with a touch of sportiness, making it suitable for all kinds of different occasions. It has a stainless steel case with a reasonable size of 39.9mm which fits most men’s wrists. The case has nice finishing with brushed lugs and polished sides with neatly integrated crown guards. Seiko has also made this model available in several different versions so you can pick and choose the one you like the most.

It is powered by Seiko’s in-house automatic caliber 4R35 which operates at 21,600 vibrations and has a power reserve of 41 hours. This particular watch has a beautiful blue dial with applied metal hour markers and beveled metal hands. The applied metal hour markers are just one example of how Seiko has paid more attention to the details as they have beautifully beveled edges and are really well-executed compared to many of Seiko’s more affordable timepieces that don’t have the same level of details.

At 3 o’clock, it also has a date window with a metal frame around it.

As an everyday watch, the water resistance of 100m/330 feet is quite good, and for added versatility and sportiness, it is presented on a stainless steel bracelet with a tri-fold push button release clasp.

Specifications

  • Diameter: 39.9mm
  • Power reserve: 41 hours
  • Movement: automatic
  • Water-resistance: 100m/330 feet
  • Diameter: 39.9mm

Seiko 5 SNK793 Automatic

Affordability, versatility, and sportiness are words that best describe the Seiko 5 SNK793. This watch has a smaller case size of 36mm which makes it suitable for both men and women, and particularly men who enjoy slightly smaller watches. At the same time, it is presented on a stainless steel bracelet for a touch of sportiness.

In traditional Seiko fashion, the crown is positioned at 4 o’clock. Like most Seiko’s it has a Hardlex crystal on top.

This watch is powered by a mechanical movement, specifically an automatic movement. The movement can also be viewed through the see-through case back which is a nice detail.

Still, the dial is the highlight of this watch with its dark blue sunburst finish. At 3 o’clock, it has a day and date window, and for the hour markers, it has applied metal markers.

The water resistance of this timepiece is 30m.

All in all, it’s easy to see why this watch is so popular. It is priced at around 100 USD yet still has a beautiful, versatile design, an automatic movement, and certainly looks much more luxurious than what its price tag would suggest. As an everyday watch, this could be a suitable choice, as long as you donate mind the smaller case size.

Specifications

  • Diameter: 36mm
  • Crystal: Hardlex
  • Water-resistance: 30m
  • Movement: automatic

Tissot Gentleman Automatic T1274071105100

Priced at around 600 dollars, it is one of the most expensive watches on this list. But what it has to offer still makes it affordable in my eyes or at least great value for money.

First and foremost, it has a 40mm stainless steel case with a classic design that adds to a versatile look. The case has a nice combination of brushed and polished elements with subtle bevelings on the lugs which add to its elegance. For the crystal, it has a sapphire crystal. The thickness is also kept at a relatively reasonable 11.5mm. It is also presented on a nice three-link stainless steel bracelet with polished middle links and a nice combination of sportiness and class.

One of the key value propositions of this watch is the mechanical Powermatic 80 automatic movement. This watch uses a silicon hairspring and has a power reserve of an impressive 80 hours. Another nice feature is that it has a see-through case back, allowing you to view the mechanical movement inside.

For an everyday watch, the water resistance of 100m/330 feet is also quite good, making it suitable for swimming.

Formal or casual, this watch is suitable for most occasions.

Specifications

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Movement: Swiss automatic
  • Thickness: 11.5mm
  • Water-resistance: 100m/330 feet

Seiko 5 Automatic SRPD55K1

The Seiko 5 SRPD55K1 is the successor of the iconic and highly popular SKX. It is known for being a robust, durable, and reliable automatic sports/dive watch.

Of course, already at first glance, you’ll notice its dive-watch-inspired design. It has a 43mm stainless steel case equipped with a unidirectional rotating bezel and a black aluminum insert. As a distinct Seiko design feature, the crown is positioned at 4 o’clock and is also protected by crown guards.

As for the dial, it has everything you’d expect from a dive watch, including large applied hour markers filled with luminescence and large hands. At 3 o’clock, it has a day and date window which is a signature trait of the Seiko 5 watches.

For sportiness and versatility, it is presented on a stainless steel three-link bracelet.

Since this is a mechanical watch, it is powered by an automatic movement with a power reserve of 41 hours – specifically the in-house Seiko caliber 4R36. The movement can also be seen through the see-through case back.

Whilst it is a watch with a dive-inspired design, the water resistance is ”only” 100m. This means that it is suitable for swimming but not diving. Whilst the previous version was suitable for diving, Seiko likely realized that most owners wore it not for diving, but as an everyday watch, hence dive-watch performance wasn’t really necessary. Either way, for the price of around 200 USD, it’s still great value.

Specifications

  • Diameter: 43mm
  • Thickness: 13mm
  • Water-resistance: 100m/330 feet
  • Movement: automatic caliber 4R36
  • Crystal: Hardlex

Seiko 5 SNK809 Automatic

We have already looked at the green version of this model, but due to the great popularity of it, and the impressive value that it offers, I just had to include the black one as well.

I won’t go into the nitty-gritty, but with a 37mm satin-finished case, it suits most wrists and gets a traditional military-inspired look. The black dial has a day and date window and printed 12 and 24-hour markings in the dial with large sword-shaped hands for good legibility and a sporty appearance. The case is quite slim too at 11mm, allowing it to sit comfortably on the wrist.

Powering this timepiece is the mechanical automatic Seiko caliber 7S26 with a power reserve of approximately 40 hours. The water resistance, is, as familiar, 30m/100 feet.

As an affordable sporty and versatile timepiece that can work on many different occasions, this is a timepiece that ticks a lot of boxes. 

Specifications

  • Crystal: Hardlex
  • Thickness: 11mm
  • Diameter: 37mm
  • Water-resistance: 30m/100 feet
  • Movement: automatic

Bulova Men’s Watch

This is a watch that stands out from the ordinary and is sure to catch people’s attention with its rose gold-tone case and size of 46mm. With a price of roughly 400 USD, it still offers nice craftsmanship and attention to detail. The watch has a bulky and sporty case with an integrated design where the strap integrates nicely with the case and the case doesn’t have any traditional lugs. The crown is also positioned at 2 o’clock and protected by crown guards. As a contrast to the rose gold case, it has a black smooth bezel.

What stands out about this watch apart from its gold is the skeleton dial with black ”bridges” which enables you to view the automatic movement inside, making for a striking and sporty look. Contrasting the black elements of the dial, we also have applied rose gold hour markers and rose gold hands. Not only does the skeletonize dial look good, but it will be particularly popular amongst watch enthusiasts. If you want an even better view of the movement, it also has a see-through case back.

The water resistance of this timepiece is 100m/330 feet which is quite decent and for the crystal, Bulova uses sapphire.

With its larger size and distinct dial design, this is perhaps not for everyone, but if you don’t mind a timepiece that has a unique design and a striking appearance, of course with a mechanical movement, this watch is sure to make you stand out.

Specifications

  • Diameter: 46MM
  • Water-resistance: 100m/330 feet
  • Movement: automatic
  • Power reserve: 40 hours
  • Crystal: sapphire

Bulova Classic Automatic 98C130

This is another watch from Bulova, with a vastly different design. Whilst the previous watch was sporty, masculine, and bulky, this one is discreet, elegant, and classic.

It has a 42mm case with a thin yellow gold bezel and classic straight lugs. These elements are signature design elements of many dress watches. Also, worth mentioning is that it is available in several iterations. This particular version has a white dial, a combination of yellow gold and steel, and is presented on a gold and steel bracelet.

Naturally, the dial design is kept simple and minimalistic with a white background and slim applied yellow gold markers with slim pencil-shaped hands. The only detail on the dial is the day and a date window positioned at 3 o’clock. On top of the case sits a flat mineral crystal.

With its minimalistic and elegant design, it is definitely a watch that is most suitable on formal occasions and with formal attire. However, this gold and steel version with the bracelet becomes slightly more versatile, although it is definitely very classy. As such, we don’t expect a water resistance of more than 30m.

The good news, however, is that it is powered by an automatic movement with a power reserve of 40 hours. This movement can also be viewed from the see-through case back.

As an affordable mechanical watch for formal occasions, or as a timepiece for when you just want something discreet that flies under the radar, it could definitely be an appropriate choice.

Specifications

  • Diameter: 42mm
  • Water-resistance: 30m/100 feet
  • Crystal: flat mineral

Orient ‘2nd Gen Bambino Version III’ Automatic

One of the most popular watches from Orient is the Bambino Version III 2nd generation. This is also a watch with a classic design and focuses on elegance, making it particularly suitable as a dress watch, but also for formal occasions.

The watch has a slim stainless steel case with a diameter of 40.5mm with elegantly curved lugs and a thin bezel that draws the focus on the dial. On top sits a domed mineral crystal which contributes to the classic look.

It is available in a few different iterations, but this particular watch has a striking dark blue dial with a sunburst finish which reflects the light and changes its appearance depending on the surroundings and how the light hits it. It has a small date window at 3 o’clock and rectangular metal hands. In addition to this, it has very slim applied metal hour markers for the hour markers.

The watch is powered by a Japanese automatic movement and has a water resistance of 30m. After all, this is primarily a dress watch.

With a price tag of just over 100 dollars, it’s easy to see why this watch is so immensely popular. For this price, you get a dress watch with a well-thought-out yet classic and elegant design, nice quality, and an automatic movement. 

Specifications

  • Diameter: 40.5mm
  • Movement: automatic
  • Water-resistance: 30m/100 feet
  • Crystal: domed mineral

Orient ‘2nd Gen. Bambino Ver. 2’ Automatic

The Orient Bambino 2nd gen version 2 is slightly different and more versatile than the watch we looked at above. Whilst it retains the classic stainless steel case with its diameter of 40.5mm, the primary difference is the dial.

Like version 3, it has a domed mineral crystal and a vintage look to it.

The dial, however, has much more going on with applied metal hour markers designed as Roman numerals, a 60-second scale around the outer edge of the dial, and hands with a more interesting design.

It is powered by an automatic movement, specifically the Orient caliber F6722, and has a water resistance of 30m.

Whilst it is a watch that obviously has a focus on being a simple and elegant dress watch, this one is perhaps a bit more suitable for everyday wear, as long as you wear somewhat formal clothing. But obviously, it is not suitable for sporty occasions.

Specifications

  • Water-resistance: 50m
  • Movement: automatic caliber F6722

Orient ‘Mako II’ Japanese Automatic

A contestant to Seiko’s affordable dive watches is the Orient Mako II. This is another dive watch with a classic dive watch design and actually quite good performance considering its price of around 200 dollars.

It has a stainless steel case with a diameter of 41.5mm and a mineral crystal on top. Naturally, the crown is protected by crown guards, and the watch features a 60-seconds unidirectional rotating bezel. It is available in a few color schemes, but the most popular and classic is of course the black.

As it should be with a traditional diver, the dial offers no real surprises. It has large applied hour markers with luminescence, as well as large sword-shaped hands. At 3 o’clock, there is also a day and date window with a metal frame around it which is rather convenient.

This one also actually has the water resistance to back up its dive watch standard of 200m/660 feet, meaning you can go diving with it.

It is powered by a mechanical automatic Orient caliber. Not unexpectedly, it is fitted on a stainless steel three-link bracelet with a satin finish.

Really, this type of classic dive watch doesn’t need much introduction. Most of them have more or less a similar design with all of the distinct design elements. They are known for being versatile and suitable for many different occasions, despite the fact that it is at its core a sports watch.

But what stands out about this Orient dive watch is its insanely low price in comparison to many of the competitors, and then what it offers in terms of quality and finish.

Specifications

  • Crystal: mineral
  • Movement: automatic
  • Diameter: 41.5mm
  • Water-resistance: 200m/660 feet

Swatch Originals Automatic SUTB400 Sistem 51

Swatch is a watch brand that doesn’t need much introduction. They are known for their plastic watches at affordable prices. And whilst they are perhaps most known for quartz watches, they also make affordable mechanical watches, like this one, the Swatch SUTB400 Sistem 51.

This watch has a 39mm plastic case with a black dial and a date window at 3 o’clock. Despite being almost all-back, it still offers quite good legibility. But what makes this watch unique is the fact that it has an automatic movement that is manufactured from only 51 parts, divided into five modules, which allow you to have a mechanism of 3Hz. This movement also has a power reserve of 90 hours. This is actually really impressive. I cannot complain about the price either.

Despite being in plastic, it’s actually quite a nice watch with a sporty touch to it. As an everyday watch, this one looks really nice. And thanks to the use of plastic, it also sits very light and comfortable on the wrist. I personally own this specific watch, and for the price, it’s really one of those timepieces that you can throw on the wrist without having to think twice. It just works.

Specifications

  • Diameter: 39mm
  • Water-resistance: 30m/100 feet
  • Power-reserve: 90 hours
  • Movement: automatic

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical H69439931

Last but not least, we have the Hamilton Khaki Field H69439931. This is also one of the most popular affordable mechanical watches.

As you can see, it has a very clear military-inspired design and is based on Hamilton’s original military watches (which the brand is known for).

As such, it has a smaller size of 38mm with squared-off lugs and a distinct large crown at 3 o’clock. The watch has a matte black dial with large white markers for optimum legibility. The dial features large 12-hour and 24-hours markers. For the crystal, Hamilton uses sapphire glass.

The water resistance is okay at 50 meters. Of course, it features a mechanical movement. However, unlike the rest of the watches in this list, the mechanical movement in this watch is hand-wound and not automatic, just like the originals. It’s only a matter of taste and preference, but many true watch geeks will especially enjoy a hand-wound watch.

Specifications

  • Water-resistance: 50m
  • Crystal: sapphire
  • Diameter: 38mm
  • Movement: mechanical

Mechanical watches buyer’s guide

Just like when buying any type of watch, there are some things you need to keep in mind to find the perfect watch for your needs, wants, and preferences. Let’s take a look at the most important factors in your decision-making process:

Size

First and foremost, you need to consider the size of the watch you’re going to opt for. Depending on your wrist size but also preference, it is important that you choose the size that is right for you. If you have small wrists, you should naturally opt for a smaller watch. And if you have large wrists, it is probably more natural to choose a larger watch.

With that said, identify the watch size that works the best for your before you start looking, since this will help you narrow down the alternatives. Do you want a watch that is at least 43mm? Or do you perhaps need a watch that is smaller than 39mm?

Style and design

Next, you want to consider the style and design of the watch. Are you looking for a sporty timepiece to use for everyday wear, or do you want an elegant dress watch for formal occasions? You want to make sure that the watch you’re buying has a style and design that matches your intended use. Furthermore, you can consider things like dial colors, case metal, and even the type of watch. Look at different styles of watches like dress watches, field watches, military watches, and so on to identify a design and style that you enjoy.

Purpose

The purpose of the watch touches a bit on the style and design, but the purpose of the watch is also something you should consider. For example, if you intend to wear it out in the field when hiking or camping, you naturally need a tough and durable watch that can withstand these situations. But if you are planning to wear it on formal occasions, it will make more sense to buy a dress watch.

Functions

The functions of a mechanical watch can vary greatly, which is why this is something you want to think about. Start by considering whether or not there are any particular functions that you need in a watch apart from regular timekeeping. Do you want a date function? A chronograph? A moon phase, or something completely different? If you decide what functions you want in a watch, it will be much easier to narrow down your alternatives.

Water resistance

The water resistance in a mechanical watch may or may not be important for you depending on how you’re going to wear it. If you plan to go swimming or diving, you need a watch with a water resistance that can withstand this. But if you’re not going to go close to any water, this will of course be an important feature in a mechanical watch.

Choose a qualitative watch with a qualitative mechanical movement

In this list, we have only listed popular mechanical watches from well-known and reputable brands that are known for making affordable yet high-quality and long-lasting mechanical movements. But just know that

Hand-wound VS automatic watches

For most people, this won’t even be something to consider. This is because the vast majority of timepieces on the market have automatic movements. There’s only a small percentage of modern timepieces that are made with hand-wound movements, and the reason for this is that it is what the market is requesting and favoring.

With that said, most people will choose an automatic watch – unless they’re actively looking for a hand-wound.

In general, you’ll want to buy a hand-wound if you enjoy the connection with the watch that a hand-wound watch offers. A hand-wound watch is an indication that you appreciate fine watchmaking and the art and history of watchmaking. If you like the routine of winding your watch every morning, then by all means go for it. But most people would just find it annoying and forget to do it, causing the watch to stop.

Is a mechanical watch expensive?

Mechanical watches are notoriously known for being expensive but the good news is that this doesn’t have to be the case. There are affordable mechanical watches that you can buy for less than 100 dollars, but there are also luxury mechanical watches that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The difference between these watches when it comes to the movement is that the most expensive watches are normally done almost entirely done by hand, offer better precision and accuracy, and are also decorated as opposed to the most affordable. But having said that, mechanical watches do not have to be expensive. Some mechanical watches are actually more affordable than quartz due to a streamlined manufacturing process with almost no human interference.

Which is better mechanical or quartz watch?

When it comes to accuracy, quartz watches beat most mechanical watches. In fact, a 50 dollar quartz watch can beat mechanical watches for thousands of dollars. But with that said, there are mechanical watches that offer great accuracy. Rolex, for example, specifies its watches to an accuracy of +/+ 2 seconds. But they are also priced at thousands of dollars. Most affordable mechanical watches are not able to come anywhere near that accuracy.

But with this said, most people don’t buy a mechanical watch for accuracy. They buy them because they appreciate the craftsmanship, the appeal, and the interesting and long history of watchmaking. It’s simply easier to appreciate a watch that consists of hundreds of fine and delicate parts as opposed to a simple quartz movement. And if you see it that way, the fact that a watch consisting of hundreds of parts can work together in harmony to create a timepiece that offers accuracy within seconds is really impressive.

Are mechanical watches better than automatic?

This is a question that we often receive, but it’s actually asked in the wrong way. What most people mean with this question is whether a hand-wound watch/manual is better than an automatic.  Because the fact is that mechanical watches include automatic and hand-wound.

And to answer that question, there’s no right or wrong here. In theory, automatic watches are superior because you do not have to constantly wind them manually. But some people still prefer hand-wound, so it comes down to a matter of preference.

How often do mechanical watches need to be serviced?

Just like the engine of a car, a mechanical watch movement consists of many different parts, all working in harmony to make it function properly. And like all mechanical items, they need to be serviced. Parts need to be lubricated, parts need to be replaced, and the oils need to be changed. Servicing and maintaining your watch ensures that it continues to function properly and with the correct accuracy for a long time to come.

How often you should service your mechanical watch depends on its movement. The general guideline is that a mechanical watch should be serviced every seven to five years for perfect accuracy. If you notice any issues with your watch, for example, certain functions stop working, or that the accuracy is really poor, it is an indication that it needs a service and that you may need to service it before this timespan.

How much does it cost to service a mechanical watch?

Depending on the complexity of the movement, the cost of having a mechanical watch serviced by a watchmaker varies a lot. It depends on what type of movement it is and how complex it is, as well as who services it.

The most affordable mechanical watches may only cost around $100 or slightly more, but luxury mechanical watches may cost up to several thousand to service.

Do mechanical watches last forever?

It depends. Luxury watches are known for lasting for generations with the proper care and maintenance. More affordable alternatives will naturally not be as high quality, but with that said, affordable mechanical watches can also last for generations with the proper care and maintenance.

Do not confuse this with the power reserve as this is how long a watch can tick before it runs out of energy and needs to be wound. Most affordable mecahnical watches have a power reserve of about 24-50 hour and then need to be manually wound. An automatic watch will not need to be wound manually if you wear it, but if you leave it for a few days, it will eventually run out of energy and stop.

But as long as you take care of your mechanical watch and service it when needed, it can last for generations.

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