Automatic watches, for a very long time, have been the portrayal of watchmaking virtuosity. The construction of a complex and delicate mechanism needs not only greater skills but also know-how than with an electronic quartz caliber. Hence, it’s not a surprise that automatic watches cost more than quartz watches.
This article is precise about underlining the hidden gems of automatic watches compared to premium class timepieces. Therefore, we’ve enlisted the best automatic watches under $200. The list contains wristwatches that do not only have a very favorable price tag but also offer above the average quality to stand the test of time.
So, whether you’re an amateur or a long-standing admirer of automatic watches, make sure to read through the selection of these awesome watches we have gathered for you.
What Is An Automatic Watch?
An automatic watch, which is also known as a self-winding watch or just as an automatic, is a watch in which the natural motion of the user provides energy. Energy to wind the mainspring. Making the manual winding needless if worn frequently enough. It is different from a manual timepiece. A manual watch, having no internal battery, must have its mainspring wound manually and regularly.
Automatic And Quartz Watch: The Differences
Automatic timepieces are in general, less accurate, more expensive, and need slightly more maintenance. Automatic watches have no battery. In an automatic wristwatch, they keep ticking based on an internal ratchet functionality. They require servicing every 3 to 5 years. Hence, considered more of a luxury piece than quartz pieces.
Quartz timepieces are more accurate. Even better than a most expertly-tuned and expensive mechanical timepiece. It is powered by a small quartz crystal, some tiny motors, and a battery. Electricity runs through the tiny crystal of real quartz. Such creates 32,768 times per second of perfect frequency. These vibrations are what keep the time consistent. Quartz timepieces are a go-to traditional watch. Hybrid smartwatches also apply quartz as a base for analog timekeeping.
Our List Of Best Automatic Watches Under $200
Seiko 5 Snk809 Automatic Men’s Watch
Seiko is viewed as the 1st brand to get suggested for an entry-level automatic timepiece to a potential customer. The Seiko 5 set of collections has the best selection for sub-$200 automatic watches. One of the top units out of this line is the Seiko 5 SNK809. A simple yet very durable timepiece with a price tag of around a hundred bucks.
The SNK809 can’t be hacked or hand-wound. Despite this minor drawback, the movement is nevertheless known for its precision and sturdiness. Comes with luminescent hands. Day of the week and date show up at the 3 o’clock position. Seiko SNK809’s automatic movement is caliber 7S26 with about 40 hours of power reserve capability. Scratch-resistant as the presence of Hardlex crystal. Suitable for snorkeling, as well as swimming, but not well for diving. The case size is 37 millimeters, thickness is 11 millimeters. Bandwidth comes at 18 millimeters and band length is 7.75 inches. Water-resistant at about 30 meters or 100 feet.
Orient 2nd Gen Bambino Version III
Version 3 has been well known for its feeling of contemporary. A far cry from the antique and classic motifs of the earlier versions. Its minimalistic look is translated through vertical lines and clean, rectangular hands. This symmetry is mimicked by a subtle sunburst dial. The dial also offers a clear depth and gentle gleam in design. Besides such modern elements, Version 3 is a Bambino all the way.
Carrying its signature domed crystal as well as the domed dial. Along with the sandwich-style dual-finish case. Domed mineral crystal, Japanese-automatic movement. Case diameter is 40.5 millimeters. Water-resistant to 30m or 100 ft. In general, it can withstand brief immersion or splashes in the water. But not suitable for bathing and swimming. Automatic, hand-winding, and comes with hacking functionality. The date indicator is present. The watch weighs about 9 ounces.
Orient Men’s Japanese FAA02005D9 Automatic Watch
The model has been upgraded in several areas. Starting with the debut of the new Orient caliber F6922. Also a stronger 120-click bezel. Often viewed as the best substitute to the other dive watch, this Orient model is no lesser. It has also been praised for its fantastic lume on its indices. Aiding both its brightness and longevity. An worthy entry to our best men’s automatic watch under 200 list.
Model and part number FAA02005D9, the release year 2019. Round shaped, the dial window is made of mineral. Analog display type, its clasp has a push-button fold-over with safety. Case material stainless steel-made, diameter is 41 millimeters, thickness is 13 millimeters. The band material is also made of stainless steel with a length of Men’s standard-sized. Band’s width has 22 millimeters and the band color is silver. Dial color is blue and the bezel material is also stainless steel-made. Calendar format follows Day-Date. Item weighs about 6 ounces. Japanese automatic movement caliber. Water-resistant depth is 660 feet.
Vostok Komandirskie Russian Mechanical Automatic
A best men’s automatic watch under 200 list must consist of the world-famous “Komandirskie” or, “Commander” is a military-grade watch to become whole. It grew very popular even with folks who were unaware of its history. High precision, excessive durability, and reliability virtues that are Vostok watches are simply known for. Functional, clear-cut design invoked the feeling of belonging to the tough world of combat professionals. The success of the Vostok watches determined by the company’s ever-present philosophy – to make mechanical watches that maintain precise timekeeping at any environment, temperature, heavy pressure, and blows.
Model 650 Case, the year 2018. The dial window material is Acrylic, an analog display. Case diameter is 42 millimeters and the case thickness is 6 millimeters. Band Material is stainless steel the Sputnik Bracelet type. The bands’ width is 20 millimeters. The calendar format is date only. Item weighs about 6 ounces. Movement includes both automatic and manual while water-resistant depth is 200 Meters.
Orient Men’s Mako II Japanese Automatic Watch
Mako II’s new Orient caliber F6922 and a more powerful 120-click bezel are like an evolutionary kick in the face. The Orient Mako, since the mid-2000s, has been the most crowd-pleaser Orient series to date. With so many diver watches are available around, it could be said with pure confidence that the Mako is one of the top-notch affordable mechanical diver watches available on the market today.
Model and part number FAA02009D9. Round shaped, dial window material type is mineral with analog display. Push-button fold-over clasp comes with safety. The case material is stainless steel. Case diameter is 41.5 millimeters, thickness is 13 millimeters. The band material is also stainless steel and band width is 22 millimeters. The calendar format is Day-Date. Item weighs 12.8 ounces. Water-resistant depth works up to 660 feet.
Orient Bambino Open Heart
The Orient Bambino Open Heart is not meant for sports, unlike the previous 2 releases. It’s best for classy wear. The watch comes with a sleek dial design. The dial comprises silver-tone markers and hands as well as an eye-catching open heart. The open heart cut displays the marvelous work of a complex automatic caliber. The visible golden-colored balance wheel from the cutout offers visual flair. Resulting in a much luxurious watch aesthete than its price tag would suggest.
Dial window Mineral material. Analog display, the watch overall weighs about 1.98 ounces. Case material made of stainless steel. Case diameter is 41 millimeters, thickness is 12 millimeters. Band material leather with a width of 22 millimeters. Does not have a date function in it. The special feature is its second hand. Water pressure resistance is 3 bar and resistant depth is 30 meters.
Stuhrling Original Skeleton
The Stuhrling Original Skeleton is one of those wristwatches that looks posh and pricy than it really is. In fact, it’s economical enough to sneak into our best automatic watches under 200 list. Stuhrling Skeleton has become one of the most famous manufacturers of automatic skeleton timepieces. Moreover, most of the watches come with economical price tags that are sometimes too good to believe, considering the luxurious build they come with. The best part of the watch is the almost fully naked dial. Displaying the wheels and gears at work that it takes to keep this piece running.
The Chinese-origin automatic mechanism has 22 jewel bearings. It vibrates with 21,600 vph frequency. The watch weighs 13.62 ounces. The case diameter is about 42 millimeters. The case thickness is 12 millimeters. Band width is 22 millimeters and colored black. The special features of the watch are its second hand and the skeleton movement.
Orient Symphony Men’s ER27007W Classic Automatic Watch
The Orient Symphony is a true rumination of the experience and heritage of the watchmakers at Orient Watch. Orient’s hallmark, throughout their 60 years of regular watch manufacturing, is mechanical watchmaking. They are most well known for their classic themed styling. The Symphony embodies such traditions down to a tee.
The classic index markers and dauphine hands stand out as well as add to the authentic classic appeal. It weighs about 9.6 ounces. The dial window material is Mineral. Case material is stainless steel made. Case diameter is 41 millimeters, the thickness is 12 millimeters. The band Material is made out of Leather and has a width of 22 millimeters. The calendar format is date only. The special feature is its luminosity. Water-resistant depth works up to 99 feet.
Seiko 5 Men’s SNK793 Automatic Watch
Seiko 5 SNK793 Automatic Men’s Sports Watch comes with a stainless steel-made case. The bracelet is also stainless steel-made. Malaysian Mechanical Automatic caliber. Seiko SNK793 is an excellent piece that represents what Seiko is all about. Band with fold-over clasp make this timepiece look great on anyone. Featuring a blue dial, day, and date display at the 3 o’clock marker. Luminous markers and hands with an automatic movement. It is water-resistant up to 30 meters. It weighs 7.05 ounces.
The dial window material is Hardlex. Analog display type. Case diameter is 37 millimeters, the case thickness is 11 millimeters. The band’s width is 18 millimeters. The calendar style is the Day-Date format. The special feature is its water resistance. In general, good for snorkeling and swimming and bad for scuba diving.
Timex Marlin Stainless Steel Hand-Wound Movement
Our final entry of, best automatic watches under 200 goes with the classic themed Timex Marlin Hand-Wound Movement watch you can finish any look. It doesn’t do justice much in the images. But it has a magnificent champagne-colored sunburst dial. It was made to play with the light. The timepiece is surprisingly versatile. If big sports watches are not your style, and you love the appeal of a vintage watch, then the Timex Marlin is a must-pick for you.
Stainless steel-made case and round-faced. It has an adjustable buckle closure. Three-hand analog display. The dial features black-tone hands. Easy to read hour markers, minute track, and detailing. Water-resistance works up to 100 feet. Weighs 1.2 ounces. Case height is about 32 mm, width is 32 mm, and depth is 10 mm. Band width is about 18 mm and circumference is almost 10 inches.
Buying Tips For An Automatic Watch
Avoid Unfamiliar Brands
First and foremost, it is vital to avoid unknown posh brand names with a non-existent reputation in the industry. Because the chances of you getting an automatic piece that will stop working after a week on your wrist are simply way too high.
A self-winding mechanism carries more than a hundred miniature parts. It demands sophistication and proper skillsets to construct one. Not every tom, dick and harry can manufacturer a reliable and long-lasting caliber. This is the reason why all top brands employ automatic movements from distinguished manufacturers or produce all by themselves.
So we recommend that you go for acknowledged brands. Seiko, Invicta, and Orient can provide you a $200 automatic watch of very good quality.
Chinese Automatic Movements
Seiko and Orient make some of the top-grade automatic movements for the money. Other economical brands have decided to outsource the parts rather than making them in-house. So alongside the famous Swiss and Japanese movement makers, you’ll also find Chinese caliber automatic watches.
Since this movement’s outsourcing is a micro-management procedure, some brands have decided to hide information about their origins. Typically, it points the movement calibers are from China. So, is this a bad thing? Well, we’re not going to hang you dry there.
Simply, the Chinese watch movement is not bad. Well, it’s better than before. With every passing year, the overall quality has steadily risen. Now, they are not far off from the cheaper-end Japanese or European-made calibers.
If you’ve selected a watch that you like, yet you’re quite concerned about the movement manufacturer, read the reviews to find information. If the watch is from a renowned brand, such as Stuhrling or Fossil, then the chances of getting a knock-off are much smaller. Because a reputable brand would not want to smear its name with a low-quality movement mechanism.
All in all, the risks are higher with a Chinese-made caliber. Because these are inconsistent unreliable. But if it’s from a real good manufacturer, rest easy, it will provide decent quality.
Hand-Winding And Hacking
An automatic watch is called automatic because it provides self-winding without the burdensome manual winding. And yet, many automatic watches come with an added function of hand-winding.
Because, sometimes, the complex mechanism can’t able to completely tighten up the mainspring. It leaves the watch half-wound. Hence the hand-winding option enables the user to fully wind the watch. Additionally, if an automatic watch hasn’t been worn for a long period, it is way easier to get it going once again through manual winding, not tilting it on the wrist.
Another attribute you’ll come to find with these kinds of watches is the hacking function. It lets you halt the second’s dial when pulling out the crown. So you can set an exact time.
Accuracy of Automatic Watches
As mentioned already that mechanical watches, including automatically powered ones, lose or gain time. It’s as much as the quartz watches do in a month. So if you prioritize accuracy then automatic watches are not for you.
An automatic caliber deviates around +/- 20 seconds per day. The causes for such deviation depend on several factors, including gravity, temperature, and magnetism.
Despite the bounded selection for affordable automatic timepieces that can also withstand the test of time, few gems are available for an astoundingly economical price range. Brands like Orient and Seiko offer top-grade automatic watches for under $200 mostly. Other brands as Invicta, Timex, Fossil, and Stuhrling offer some as well. The automatic calibers may not be trendy but are affordable and prestigious if you want to wear self-winding watches.
Remember though, not all automatics come at low rates. There are lots of fantastic watches available for around $500 and beyond from popular brands. Yet these watches remain a wonderful opportunity for any first-timers to get acquainted with the prestigious accessory without spending a lot of money.