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Best Watches Under 100 Dollars

This entire article started when looking for a watch for my 12, going on 13, year old’s birthday. He’s become interested in watches after I took a heavy interest myself. At school, kids come up to him and ask what watch he’s wearing, whether he got a new one recently, and his favorite question, “Do you have a Rolex?” Needless to say, he doesn’t have a Rolex and my wife probably wouldn’t approve of me buying one for him anyway.

He already has some pretty “cool” watches that I’ve purchased from Wish and Amazon. They are not high-quality time pieces, but they are unique. He has a knock-off Hublot MP-05, not a replica, a very poor-quality knock-off. He also has a knock-off Richard Mille RM-052, again, a knock-off, not a replica. The glass on that one broke a couple of weeks in. Other than that, he has a bunch of no-name watches with cool features or cool designs. The single brand name watch he does have is the first watch I bought him, a Casio G-Shock I paid under $40 for on Amazon. So, as his birthday approaches, I decided to find him the best watch for under 100 dollars.

Where did I start?

Amazon of course… I started by simply searching watches and filtering out everything over $100. There was a lot to choose from and many of them were like the design and style he had already. I suspect the quality was also similar. So, I went to Reddit and Facebook to ask for a few opinions.

People are passionate about their watches

I got dozens of responses across the platforms, sparked arguments, and when it was all said and done, I got some great recommendations. I also learned about new brands and a lot about some of the brands’ history, which plays a role in why people are so passionate. It took a long time to sort through the responses and investigate the recommendations. I based my choices off looks, movement, customer ratings, and perceived value.

Although my intent was to find a watch for my son, I value this list for myself – a 37-year-old man. I made a purchase for myself and my son based upon the results. So, without further ado here are the best watches for under $100, in no particular order.

Invicta Speedway 9212

Invicta watches create a lot of controversy in online discussions. There’s a lot of love-hate for the brand. Much of the contention comes from the brands’ promotional model, where their MSRP is highly inflated and then discounted down to an affordable cost. The 9212 in Invictas store retails for $189, but I found it on Amazon for $58.48. In some cases you will find an MSRP from Invicta for thousands of dollars, market down to $100 or less.

Controversy aside, this is a cool watch that pays homage to the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. It’s a Japanese Quartz movement with a screw down crown and a mineral crystal. The 40mm case size is small enough for any wrist, which was an important factor in my choice, since he does have his mothers wrists (small).

I’ve always been a fan of the Rolex Daytona, and considering he’s regularly asked if he has a Rolex, this seemed like a fitting choice. The Invicta is also a similar colorway to the vintage Daytona, right down to the Swiss Made vs Japan Move on the lower portion of the face. It’s an excellent choice for under $100.

Invicta Speedway 9212

Orient Bambino Version II

The Orient Bambino came recommended by numerous people, although most didn’t believe it could be found for under $100. This piece slides in by the skin of its’ leather strap. I was able to find this watch for $99.64 on Amazon in one colorway, and on Jomashop for $99.99 in 2 colorways. This is the second generation of the Bambino and comes with an automatic Orient Calibre F6724 Japanese movement.  It’s a dress watch that could easily be dressed down with a band swap. This is a second-generation Bambino III, which means improvements. I couldn’t determine what those upgrades were, but the Orient site is quick to point out that it is an upgrade.

This piece seemed like a perfect watch to bring my son from a kid with a bunch of watches to a collector. Although, I wasn’t sure my bank account was ready for that. The Bambino is an elegant watch, with a domed crystal, simple lines, and an automatic Orient Cal. F6724 movement. Also a 40mm case diameter, I was confident this would fit my son well. The real question became is a dressier watch the right direction to go?

Orient Bambino Version II

Freestyle Shark Luke Davis

I couldn’t find anything about how long the brand had been around, but it’s definitely a throwback to the 80’s and my childhood. There are tons of colors and designs to choose from on the Freestyle site and the prices on Amazon are the same, as far as I could find. AT $60 it’s good price for a watch touted as the original surf watch. The Lifetime Warranty also made me feel more comfortable with the water resistance, and underwater button pushing claims.

Slightly smaller, at 38mm, the Freestyle Shark Luke Davis Classic Clip White Wave was a solid choice for fitment. The retro design spoke more to me than it may have to my son though. Although he likes his G-Shock he likes the idea of analog watches now. It’s something that sets him apart from his friends and the typical Apple watch wearer.

Seiko SNKK27 Mechanical

Seiko is basically a household name, when it comes to watches and the Seiko 5 was recommended on every platform where I posed my best watch questions. An automatic, with 21 jewels, makes this a bargain find for $79.99 on Jomashop. Surprisingly, this is better than the prices on Amazon at the time of this writing. I have one of these in green with a canvas strap, which I bought from Watchgang as an add-on watch when I first subscribed. Check out our Watchgang coupons.

The Seiko SNKK27 has a Japanese Caliber 7S26 automatic movement, a 38mm case, Hardlex crystal with a push-pull crown. It’s a robust piece with a display back, that I was confident my son would show off to his friends. Automatic movements have come a long way and are more shock resistant than older models. So, the Seiko still makes sense as a daily wear piece. The only downsides to an automatic is the maintenance, need to set if left or unworn, or the added cost of a watch winder.

Orient FEU00002PW Multi Year Calendar Watch

Probably the most unique looking watch on this list and one that looks much more expensive than $100. The good news is that you can find five of the six colorways on Jomashop for under $100. However, the sixth colorway (blue) stood out the most with a slightly more casual design. Even at my age, this watch would be a conversation piece. To be honest though, I am not sure I understand how it works. I am sure with in hand, and with the help of the manual, my son and I could figure it out though.

The Orient Multi Year Calendar watch has a 42mm case with a Japanese automatic movement. The mineral crystal should hold up well to scratches and is water resistant to 165 feet. The Orient brand has a long history dating back to 1901 as a wholesaler, but officially began as Orient in 1950. They experienced some troubled years but were eventually bought in 2009 by Seiko, solidifying the future of the brand. A piece this unique for under $100 is a steal and the timelessness of the design makes me think this could be an heirloom timepiece for my sons’ collection.

Casio Datbank CA506G-9AVT

It’s a gold calculator watch! I should be able to stop my reasoning there.

This was the coolest watch on Earth in the late 90’s. For $64.95 on the Casio website, it might still be the coolest watch on earth. With a little searching, it can be found for a few dollars less. However, it’s probably best to buy direct from Casio to avoid fakes and keep the warranty intact.

Aside from the calculator and stopwatch functionality, there aren’t many other options listed on the Casio website. I can tell you it’s water resistant, but nothing more. Lack of information just adds to the mystique of the Casio Databank and made is a front runner for best watch under $100.

Casio Datbank CA506G-9AVT

Pulsar PQ2003 Digital Quartz Watch

The sportiest watch on the list, the Pulsar PQ2003 is a perfect blend of casual and sport. The stainless-steel case gives it a classic upscale look, while the digital face still says, “I am ready for anything.”  The dot-matrix liquid crystal display has LED illumination and is powered by a quartz movement. The urethane strap has a buckle closure and can be work by smaller wrists, though the dad in me said to myself, “He’ll grow into it either way.” With a 42mm face, it’s a comfortable size for most wrists though.

Pulsar is another brand under the watchful (get it) eye of Seiko. Seiko has owned pulsar since 1980, which continues to instill confidence in me that the quality and craftmanship will stand the test of time.

Pulsar PQ2003 Digital Quartz Watch

Vostok Komandirskie – Tank Commander

The sportiest watch on the list, the Pulsar PQ2003 is a perfect blend of casual and sport. The stainless-steel case gives it a classic upscale look, while the digital face still says, “I am ready for anything.”  The dot-matrix liquid crystal display has LED illumination and is powered by a quartz movement. The urethane strap has a buckle closure and can be work by smaller wrists, though the dad in me said to myself, “He’ll grow into it either way.” With a 42mm face, it’s a comfortable size for most wrists though.

Pulsar is another brand under the watchful (get it) eye of Seiko. Seiko has owned pulsar since 1980, which continues to instill confidence in me that the quality and craftmanship will stand the test of time.

Vostok Komandirskie – Tank Commander

Best watches under $100 – The Verdict

So, what did I purchase? Nothing on this list. I compiled this list as I shopped for the right “piece” for him and built out what I thought was the best selection for under $100. So, how did I end up buying something different? Nostalgia.

For Christmas the year before my son bought my wife and I matching Invicta Pro Diver, in two-tone silver and gold with black dials. One of my grail watches has always been a Rolex Submariner two-tone with a black dial. On a 12-year-olds budget, the Invicta is about as close as he could get. Since his friends think all his watches are Rolex, I decided to further facilitate those rumors with an 23k gold plated Invicta 8936 Pro Diver for only $49.99 on Amazon.

The 8936 has a 37.5mm case with a Japanese TMI PC32A Quartz movement. As a men’s watch, it would be small for most wrists. It was a bit smaller in person and I had to double-check whether it was a women’s watch. However, it fits his wrist perfectly with all the links possible removed and the micro adjustment of the clasp moved 2 holes. Upon secondary research, I confirmed this is indeed a men’s watch.

Despite compiling this list while shopping for a 12-year-old (and maybe a little for myself), I believe this list is age exempt. All the watches on this list should be a welcome addition to any watch box. Watches are a personal choice and one of the only accessories a guy can own. At the time of this post, I haven’t decided which watch for under $100 I would pick up for myself. Stay tuned for that update and review, coming soon.

Invicta 8936 Pro Diver