Best Dress Watches Under 500 Reviews

Updated June 13, 2020

The purpose of a dress watch is twofold: first, it has the role of an accessory designed to enhance elegant outfits, and second, it keeps accurate track of time. So, we can say that looks do matter for this category.

In most cases, dress watches feature classic designs, high-quality materials, and a slim profile. This means that some of the most expensive watches cannot be considered dressy if they are too bulky or flashy. But, luckily, the best dress watches actually look more expensive than they really are, which means you won’t have to invest an arm and a leg just to look put together at fancy events.

We took a look at some of the best dress watches for men and women and selected the ones that are affordable but also look unique and appealing. So, if you’re looking for that elegant timepiece that looks good paired with a suit or a classic dress, make sure to check our reviews.

Best Men's Dress Watches Under 500

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1 Orient ‘2nd Gen Bambino Version III’ Men's Dress Watch
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2 Seiko Men’s SNK615 Automatic Dress Watch
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3 Swatch – SISTEM DARK Unisex Men's Dress Watch
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4
Best Overall
Seiko – Men’s Recraft Series Dress Watch
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5 Zeppelin – Hindenburg Silver Men's Dress Watch
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1. Orient ‘2nd Gen Bambino Version III’ Men's Dress Watch

Highlights

As a brand, Orient is known on the market for classic watch designs, which is why the Bambino series is such a breath of fresh air! Just like its predecessors, Bambino Version 3 is an elegant timepiece with a minimalist design with clean, vertical lines.

The sunburst dial, rectangular hands, and date complication are complemented by the stainless steel case and leather strap, creating a beautiful and elegant design. In addition, it’s easy to notice the elements that make the Bambino series so special – the signature domed crystal and domed dial.

Of course, we can’t ignore the Japanese automatic movement that features hand-winding and hacking or the beautiful stainless steel case back decorated with the Orient logo. Overall, the Bambino Version III is an elegant watch with lots of personality and style.

Specifications

Material:
Mineral Lens, Stainless Steel, Leather
Size:
41 mm
Weight:
8.82 ounces
Waterproof:
100 feet (30 m)
Display Type:
Analog

Pros

  • Minimalist design that’s visually appealing
  • Automatic movement with hand-winding and hacking
  • Solid built with high-quality materials
  • The dial and lens are impressive
  • Clean-looking dial

Cons

  • The date window is rather small
  • The case is big and doesn’t fit slim wrists

Why We Chose This

Bambino Version III is a beautiful watch that has incredible value for the cost. Its minimalist design makes it ideal for both casual and elegant outfits, and the clean-looking dial looks great under the domed lens. In addition, the movement is solid and reliable making this one of the top watches under $200.

2. Seiko Men’s SNK615 Automatic Dress Watch

Highlights

A beautiful stainless steel watch with Japanese automatic movement and day and date complications in two languages (English and Spanish) at the 3 o’clock position. In addition, the blue analog dial features two luminous silver-toned hands and luminous silver-toned baton hour markers, a yellow sweeping second hand, and yellow minute markers.

As a result, the face of this Seiko design is extremely clean-cut, especially since it’s being framed by a brushed and polished stainless steel case. To add to the beautiful design, the mechanism can be observed through the stainless steel exhibition back case. Lastly, the Hardlex crystal lens helps maintain great visibility even in low light conditions.

The watch is supported by a stainless steel link bracelet, which can be adjusted according to your needs, and has a custom crown at the four o’clock position.

Specifications

Material:
Hardlex Crystal, Brushed and Polished Stainless Steel
Size:
37 mm
Weight:
4.59 ounces
Waterproof:
99 feet (30 m)
Display Type:
Analog

Pros

  • Elegant design & clean face
  • Day & date complication in two languages
  • Easy to read dial
  • Solid stainless steel build
  • Luminous hands and hour markers

Cons

  • The band is a bit difficult to adjust
  • The lug width doesn’t allow to swap the band

Why We Chose This

If you’re looking for the best dress watch under $200, this Seiko Automatic is a wonderful choice. The beautiful bracelet and clean design attract everyone’s eyes and let you feel confident and empowered. In addition, everyone will think you’re wearing a much more expensive design!

3. Swatch – SISTEM DARK Unisex Men's Dress Watch

Highlights

Swatch is a brand known for its modern-style watches that implement traditional Swiss timekeeping (aka Swiss automatic movements). So, the Sistem Dark Automatic, which is part of the Sistem 51 Irony collection, is a reliable and accurate timepiece that fits both men and women. 

The most impressive element of this watch is the brushed stainless steel case with a black bezel that houses and protects the movement. While the top lens is designed to provide maximum visibility for the analog dial, the back of the watch is an exhibition case with an intricate design that allows a partial view of the movement.

The dial is rather simple, featuring a black background (that fits the bezel and the strap) and a three-hands movement. There is a date complication, at the 6 o’clock position, Arabic hour markers in white (for the 12h format) and an outer ring for keeping track of minutes. The other element that stands out on this watch’s face is the word ‘Automatic’, written in red. 

Since it is an automatic design, the watch has a 90h power reserve, so users don’t need to wear it constantly to make sure it works as intended. Also, you can easily use the push-pull crown to reset the time and date, if it’s necessary. 

Overall, the Sistem Dark Automatic is a reliable and elegant timepiece, with various elements that turn it into a unique design. In addition, it is delivered in the Swatch original box, so it can be a wonderful gift as well.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel, Rubber Strap, Plastic Lens
Size:
42mm
Weight:
5.54oz
Waterproof:
30m/3bar

Pros

  • Swiss automatic three-hands movement
  • It doesn’t need a battery
  • Elegant design that fits almost any wrist size
  • The face is large and easy to read
  • Date complication

Cons

  • Water resistance is not very good
  • The lug design is proprietary (can’t add an aftermarket strap)

Why We Chose This

Sistem Dark Automatic features a very attractive look that fits both casual and formal outfits. In fact, we consider it to be one of the best affordable dress watches on the market. Starting with the simple and large face and ending with the gorgeous exhibition case, you can see why so many people love it!

4. Seiko – Men’s Recraft Series Dress Watch

Highlights
Best Overall

If you’re looking for a gorgeous, luxurious, but also manly timepiece, this may be the one! The Seiko SNKP27 is part of the Recraft series and features an emerald green dial encased in a rectangular jewel-like face with golden-tone markers and a brown leather strap. 

The stainless steel case is rather massive, which means the watch sits a bit tall on the wrist (it may not fit under the sleeve of a shirt). On the back, you’ll notice a completely transparent exhibition case, while on the front, there is a beautiful Hardlex crystal lens that enhances the luxurious deep green color of the dial.  

The mechanism is based on one of Seiko’s old-school automatic self-winding movements (there’s no hacking and winding) and has an approximately 41 hours power reserve. The watch also features a date complication, by the 3 o’clock position, a three-hands movement and golden stick hour markers and hands. 

Lastly, everything is tied together by the calfskin leather strap which is a bit thick (for increased durability). It is, however, flexible so it’s easy to put the watch on, but it may add to the bulkiness.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel, Hardlex Crystal Lens, Leather Strap
Size:
41mm
Weight:
11.2oz
Waterproof:
165ft/50m

Pros

  • Beautiful jewel face design
  • A luscious green face that looks amazing in the light
  • Accurate self-winding movement
  • 41h power reserve
  • Exhibition case back

Cons

  • No loom on the hands or hour markers
  • It can be bulky on someone with small wrists

Why We Chose This

The Seiko SNKP27 is probably one of the coolest men’s watches for an elegant event or for when you want to show off your style and fashion taste. It looks incredibly well and, even though it doesn’t have many functions, it still looks manly (even from a distance). The combination of colors is absolutely spot-on and this can be the piece de resistance to any outfit!

5. Zeppelin – Hindenburg Silver Men's Dress Watch

Highlights

The entire Zeppelin series was designed as a homage to the father of civil aviation, Count Graf von Zeppelin, who invented the Zeppelin. As such, the Hindenburg timepiece has a retro style, celebrating the LZ 129 Hindenburg, the airship that’s legendary for the tragedy it created. 

All the Graf Zeppelin watches are manufactured in Germany, with durable materials and elegant designs. This Hindenburg design is powered by a Swiss Made Ronda 706B quartz movement and has interesting functions such as the moon phase subdial or the number of the week in the year. A quick note regarding the number of the week hand – it is decorated with a little red half-moon at the top and goes counterclockwise. 

The stainless golden-toned steel case is slim and houses a retro type Hesalite dome crystal that enhances the idea of vintage design. The dial has a sunburst silver background and features a four-hands movement with Breguet-style hands and three subdials. Two subdials are used to indicate the date, while the third one showcases the phases of the moon using clever design. 

The hand-made brown leather strap with matching stitching complements the ensemble and makes you think of the visionaries that pushed the world towards its technological path.

Specifications

Material:
Leather Strap, Stainless Steel, Mineral Crystal Lens
Size:
40mm
Weight:
2.05oz
Waterproof:
30m

Pros

  • A beautiful silver-toned face that looks amazing in daylight
  • Quartz movement that powers all the subdials
  • Low-profile and slim design that works with elegant outfits
  • Unique functions that add to the value
  • Gorgeous leather strap

Cons

  • The lunar dial setting is a bit difficult
  • The glass scratches easily
  • The strap needs some breaking in

Why We Chose This

This timepiece is one of those handsome and elegant men’s watches that implement a unique design while also telling a story. It first attracts the eye through its golden-toned bezel and silver sunburst dial and retains the attention through its unique features. Lastly, the low-profile of the case and beautiful leather strap make it perfect for elegant outfits.

Best Women's Dress Watches Under 500

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1 Fossil – Women’s Gen 4 Venture Dress Watch
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2 Fossil – Women’s Hybrid Dress Watch
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1. Fossil – Women’s Gen 4 Venture Dress Watch

Highlights

Fossil is working hard to create beautiful, modern watches that are in-tone with current technological developments. As such, this timepiece is part of the Generation 4 series of smartwatches that look good and deliver amazing features. 

Most smartwatches are not exactly dressy (especially early models) so Fossil decided to fill in the gap by designing gorgeous timepieces that will work with most available smartphones today (Android and iOS). All the Gen 4 models are equipped with Wear OS by Google and have a touchscreen that’s easy to control. Also, you can communicate with Google Assistant by voice, make payments using just your phone, and more. 

This particular model is designed with a beautiful black stainless steel bracelet embellished with tiny crystals that also go around the bezel. The face is large and easy to control offering information such as heart rate and activity tracking, notifications, calendar, music control, and more. 

You can wear it at work, at elegant venues, and even at the gym (water-resistant for up to 3 ATM). The battery will last for around 24h, but if you don’t use any of the features, it can last for up to 2 days. To charge it, you get a magnetic USB rapid charger, so you won’t waste any time with this activity.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel, Glass Lens
Size:
40mm
Weight:
8.8oz
Waterproof:
165ft

Pros

  • Beautiful all-black design with elegant touches
  • Lots of functions for all sorts of activities
  • Works with Android and iOS smartphones
  • Accepts voice commands
  • Quick charging function

Cons

  • Some functions are not available for iOS
  • You need a separate app for most functions
  • It is a bit heavy

Why We Chose This

Overall, this is one of the designs that fit the nice watches under $500 label perfectly. However, some users may feel a bit skeptical about a Fossil smartwatch that looks so good. You shouldn’t be! It may not be a timeless classic, but it does a very good job of keeping time and delivering a smart experience at the same time. The large face is perfect for browsing, reading notifications, and keeping track of your activities.

2. Fossil – Women’s Hybrid Dress Watch

Highlights

This Fossil watch for women combines modern tools such as notifications, activity tracking, and sleep monitoring with the classic look of an analog timepiece. To do this, the watch needs to be paired with the Fossil Smartwatches App on your phone and can perform a series of smartwatch functions. 

At first glance, the watch looks exquisite, with its white dial and silver stainless steel case featuring a Hybrid movement with silver-toned hands and Roman numerals hour markers. But when you take a closer look, you’ll also notice the beautiful craftsmanship and attention to details that went into making the dial and the bracelet. 

The two-toned stainless steel and silicone bracelet blends nicely with the case, crown and two buttons creating an eye-catching and luxurious ensemble that’s also durable. In addition, the battery life is based on usage so you don’t have to worry about it running out too quickly.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel, Mineral Crystal Lens
Size:
36mm
Weight:
7.05oz
Waterproof:
165ft/50m

Pros

  • Luxurious and refined design
  • Solid build and comfortable to wear
  • Hybrid movement
  • Smartwatch features
  • Great value for the price

Cons

  • A bit difficult to observe in the dark

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