Best Watch Under $50 Reviews

Updated January 22, 2021

Watches were once an expensive accessory, made by hand and featuring an intricate and delicate balance of tiny parts.

Since the arrival of quartz movements and the opportunity to mass produce watches, prices have fallen and there are options to suit all budgets.

Whether you’re on a tight budget, you want a budget watch to wear when you don’t want to risk damaging a more expensive timepiece or are looking for a watch to give as a gift, there’s an impressive range of options available for less than you might think.

We challenged ourselves and set out not just to find the best budget watches, but the best cheap watches under $50.

We found everything from sporty styles to classic and timeless designs.

Read on for our round-up, and for more information about what to look out for in a budget watch.

See Our Top Watches Under $50

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1 Casio - G-Shock Classic Digital Watch
Best Overall
Casio G-Shock Classic Digital Watch
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2 Invicta - 8932OB Pro Diver Silver Watch Invicta 8932OB Pro Diver Silver Watch
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3 Bewell - W086B Handmade Wooden Wristwatch Bewell W086B Handmade Wooden Wristwatch
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4 Invicta - Coalition Forces 25325 Invicta Coalition Forces 25325 Watch
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5
Best For Low Budgets
5Timex Women's Basic Watch
Timex - Women's Basic Analogue Quartz Watch
Best For Low Budgets
Timex Women's Basic Watch
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6
Best For Higher Budgets
6Fossil Jacqueline Ladies Watch
Fossil - Jacqueline Ladies Casual Style Stainless Steel and Leather Quartz Watch
Best For Higher Budgets
Fossil Jacqueline Ladies Watch
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1. Casio G-Shock Classic Digital Watch

Highlights
  • Durable design
  • Multi-function alarm
  • Shock resistant
  • 12- and 24-hour formats
Best Overall
Casio - G-Shock Classic Digital Watch

Casio’s G Shock watches are known for their durability and this low-cost, shock resistant model is no exception.

It’s a sporty design with a retro look and a rectangular digital display.

The resin case and plastic strap are designed to withstand tough use and the watch also manages to pack in plenty of useful features.

There’s a multi-function alarm, 12- and 24-hour time formats and an auto calendar.

The stopwatch can measure down to 1/100 second for the first hour, beyond that (and up to 24 hours) it’s accurate to 1 second. It has elapsed and split time modes and can record first and second place times.

The backlight helps to illuminate the digital display in low light or darkness.

We did have one criticism which is that the buttons around the bezel can be hard to press in, particularly the button on the top left – we noticed other users reported the same issue.

Water resistance to 200m means this watch should be fine for swimming and showering, though we didn’t test this out.

Specifications

Material:
Resin
Size:
Case thickness: 15 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
45 mm
Watch Strap:
26 mm, Plastic

Pros

  • 1/100 second stopwatch
  • 200m water resistance
  • Countdown timer with 24-hour range
  • Backlight

Cons

  • Can be hard to press the buttons around the bezel, especially the upper left one. This seems to be an issue experienced by many users.

2. Invicta 8932OB Pro Diver Silver Watch

Highlights
  • Classic Diver style watch
  • Stainless steel case and strap
  • Date display
  • Mineral crystal face

If you appreciate the diver style of an iconic design from a much more expensive brand, you’ll like this classic Invicta model.

It has a sporty look, with a stainless steel case and strap and a black dial. The design of the face is clean with luminous hour and minute hands, a slim second hand and simple luminous hour markers.

There’s also a date display at the 3 o’clock position. This is not a watch packed with features, but it is a stylish and reliable timepiece for day to day wear.

The water resistance is reported as 200m, though we didn’t test the watch in water.

We would be cautious about using it for swimming as there isn’t a screw down crown and we noticed that a few users reported some condensation under the mineral crystal face after exposure to water.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Case thickness: 11 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
37.5 mm
Watch Strap:
18 mm

Pros

  • Luminous hands and hour markers
  • Band can be adjusted by removing or adding links
  • Japanese Quartz movement
  • 200m water resistant

Cons

  • Does not have a screw down crown for water resistance
  • The deployment clasp seemed stiff to open

3. Bewell W086B Handmade Wooden Wristwatch

Highlights
  • Made from wood for an eye-catching look
  • Date display
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Packaged in a gift box so ideal as a present

Budget watches are typically mass produced, which enables the cost to stay low.

If you’re looking for something different to the norm, this Bewell wood watch proves that it’s possible to find an option which is eye-catching and unusual for under $50.

The analog face is simple, allowing the wood finish to take centre-stage. There are stick hour, minute and second hands, and clear hour markers.

A date display at the 3 o’clock position completes the design. The bracelet style watch is also made from wood, with a stainless steel foldover clasp to fasten it securely.

It’s possible to remove links to reduce the size of the bracelet and a tool for doing this is supplied. Wood is a hypoallergenic material, so this suits people who are sensitive to other finishes.

However, you need to take more care than you perhaps would with other watches, to avoid getting it wet (which can dry out the wood) or staining.

Specifications

Material:
Wood
Size:
Case thickness: 10 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
42 mm
Watch Strap:
22 mm, Wood (with stainless steel)
Battery Life:
Up to 36 months

Pros

  • Choice of wood finishes
  • Links can be removed to fit your wrist (tool supplied)
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • You need to avoid getting the watch wet
  • Can become stained

4. Invicta Coalition Forces 25325 Watch

Highlights
  • Durable silicone strap
  • 12- and 24-hour display
  • Day and date display 
  • Sporty design

This Invicta watch features a grey silicone strap and bezel which gives a different twist to the sporty design.

The face has an analog display, with the black dial allowing the luminous hour markers and the hour, minute and second hands to stand out clearly.

The dial has both 12- and 24-hour indices.

There’s also a day and date display at the 3 o’clock position. The bezel is marked with bold white second markers, but the bezel doesn’t move which is a shame.

The watch is water resistant to 100m so should be fine for swimming. The silicone band is ideal for daily wear as it’s durable and can withstand knocks and bumps without showing too many marks or scratches.

Whilst we didn’t have any issues ourselves, we did note quite a few reviews mentioning issues with the build quality so it would worth bearing that in mind.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Case thickness: 14 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
45 mm
Watch Strap:
21 mm, Silicone

Pros

  • Clear and simple face is easy to read
  • Luminous hands and markers
  • Water resistant to 100m
  • Quartz movement

Cons

  • Some users report build quality issues
  • Bezel does not move

5. Timex Women's Basic Watch

Highlights
  • Timeless design
  • Indiglo light-up dial
  • Scratch resistant mineral glass
  • Petite design ideal for smaller wrists
Best For Low Budgets
Timex - Women's Basic Analogue Quartz Watch

The classic design of this Timex watch is perfect for someone looking for a timeless and simple style. The petite and clean round case is edged in brass, held on a brown leather strap. The black numeral hour markers have a retro feel and are easy to read against the white dial.

Simple hour, minute and second stick markers in black and brass are not luminous, however this watch does feature an indiglo light-up dial.

A press of the crown illuminates the dial in low light or at night. There is a date display at the 3 o’clock position, although this is quite small.

The water resistance to 30m means this watch should cope with splashes but isn’t suitable for swimming.

Overall this is a perfect option for someone looking for a straightforward and elegant timepiece who doesn’t need an array of extra functions.

Specifications

Material:
Brass
Size:
Case thickness: 8 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
25 mm
Watch Strap:
12 mm, Leather
Battery Life:
Up to 10 years

Pros

  • Attractive brass bezel and crown
  • Date display
  • Water resistant to 30m
  • Simple stick hour, minute and second hands

Cons

  • Date display is very small
  • The large number of lines between each hour marker is confusing

6. Fossil Jacqueline Ladies Watch

Highlights
  • Classic, elegant design
  • Blush pink leather strap
  • White face with a subtle pattern is clean and easy to read
  • Attractive rose gold bezel
Best For Higher Budgets
Fossil - Jacqueline Ladies Casual Style Stainless Steel and Leather Quartz Watch

With a blush pink leather strap and a rose gold bezel, this elegantly designed Fossil watch is a feminine style which equally suits daily or dress wear.

The analog display is very clear and easy to read, with a white dial that features a subtle pattern. There are clear Roman numeral hour markers in the same rose gold as the bezel, and these are matched by the hour and minute hands.

There’s also a second hand in plain black. A date display at the 6 o’clock position is edged in rose gold, although the actual display is a little small to read.

Whilst we really liked the blush pink strap, it does quickly show marks so you may want to apply a protector or keep it for dress use.

The watch is water resistant to 30m so not suitable for swimming.

The low profile design and soft tones of this timepiece make it an attractively-priced dress watch.

Specifications

Material:
Stainless Steel
Size:
Case thickness: 8 mm
Movement:
Quartz
Case Diameter:
36 mm
Watch Strap:
12 mm, Leather

Pros

  • Low profile case (only 8mm thick)
  • Date display
  • Water resistant to 30m
  • Rose gold Roman numeral hour markers and hour and minute hands

Cons

  • Blush coloured strap can become dirty easily
  • Date display is very small and not easy to read

Buying Guide For Watches Under $50

Design

Setting a budget of $50 doesn’t mean that you have to limit your expectations when it comes to finding a stylish and well-designed watch. 

Our research showed that there’s a huge variety of cool watches under $50, including models from well-known brands such as Casio and Timex. 

If you want something a little different, it’s definitely possible to find unique watches under $50 too, such as watches made in an eye-catching wood finish. For more wood watches, make sure you give our guide on best wooden watches a decent read. 

Minimalistic

If your personal style is minimalistic, the good news is that there are plenty of women and men’s minimalist watches to suit this aesthetic. 

We found some great minimalist watches under $50, which feature a clean analog display and a pared-back dial. 

There are also digital options, but we generally found the analog designs to be simpler. 

Thin

Some people prefer their watch to be low-profile, so it doesn’t snag on clothing or other objects. 

A thin case can be particularly important if you’re someone who has to change in and out of a uniform, for example. 

If this is a consideration for you, look out for watches with a case thickness of under 10mm – but the thinner the better – that won’t protrude too far from your wrist. 

We wrote a great and in-depth guide covering 5 best ultra-thin watches that you should definitely check out. 

Type

One of the main choices you have to make when selecting a watch is the type of display you want. 

Digital, Analog or Smart

Digital watches tend to offer more features, so in this sense the best digital watches under $50 can offer more for your money. 

They are more likely to have functions such as a timer, alarm or stopwatch. 

On the other hand, a cheap analog watch can offer a classic, timeless design that is suitable for work or for dress wear and won’t date. 

Smartwatches are even more feature-packed, allowing you to keep track of your step count or daily exercise, and even measure your heart rate. 

The price of these is reducing as more options come onto the market, so you will be able to find some smart options within your $50 budget. 

But if you are willing to go a little over your budget, we have a review for best Smartwatches under $100.

Features

Choosing a watch under $50 doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to compromise on features. Here are some you might want to look out for. 

Water Resistance

If you want a watch for swimming, then water resistance is definitely going to be important to you. 

Look for watches with water resistance over 100m. 

Remember that there is a difference between water resistant and waterproof. 

A truly waterproof watch takes more engineering and so is more expensive, so we’d struggle to point you in the direction of the best waterproof watches under $50. 

But don’t worry, there are plenty of water resistant options!

Even if you’re not a swimmer, a watch that’s water resistant to 30m should be able to cope with splashes you might expose your watch to through daily activities such as washing your hands or getting caught in the rain.

Shock Resistance

Shock resistant watches are engineered so that knocks or drops (within reason!) don’t affect their working. 

This could be important if you have a physical or active job, or are someone who enjoys lots of outdoor or sporty activities. Watch durability is very important for jobs like construction. 

Because of that, we’ve compiled the list of best durable watches for construction workers

Shock resistance is more likely to be a feature of sports watches, for example Casio offers a G Shock option for under $50. 

Materials

The materials your watch is made from are important to the aesthetic and also can impact functionality. Materials can also be important if you have any allergies. 

Stainless steel is one good hypoallergenic watch option, and is a common choice for both watch cases and straps. 

It’s robust and doesn’t degrade, though it is prone to show scratches.

A leather strap is a timeless choice and is comfortable to wear. Over time, leather can deteriorate and crack, especially if it’s exposed to water frequently. 

That’s why many sports watches use a durable material such as resin or silicone. The best materials choice for you will offer a combination of style, comfort and function.

Our Verdict

Our research showed that even if your budget is limited, you can find a stylish watch to suit your taste. We were impressed by the range of designs and quality available.

Our Best Entry Level pick is from Timex, a well-known and respected brand. Their Women’s Basic Watch has a classic design, with a simple analog face and leather strap.

There’s almost a retro feel to the design and it’s ideal for someone who wants a timeless piece.

Equally classic is the Invicta 8932OB Pro Diver Silver Watch, our Best Top of the Range choice.

It has the styling of a much more expensive watch, has a stainless steel case and strap for a quality look and durability, and is even water resistant to 200m.

Finally, our Best Value selection is the Casio G-Shock Classic Digital Watch.

As a digital watch it’s able to offer a range of features despite the low price, with an alarm, stopwatch, timer and backlight.

A great all-rounder for the price point and ideal for everyday wear.

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