When it comes to buying a watch, a great way to refine your search is by price. In this case, we are looking at the best brands to consider when your budget is in the region of £200.
That might not sound like much when you can easily add a zero or two (or three or four) to that price tag when looking for a luxury watch. But thankfully this is a price where a lot of famous brands have beautiful timepieces, and plenty of smaller firms offer watches for anyone looking for something more alternative.
Watches at this price range are usually powered by a battery and quartz movement, as self-winding mechanical timepieces tend to be more expensive. This isn’t a strict rule, however, and we have previously seen automatic Rotary watches in this price range.
Picking just six brands is tough, but we hope this selection gives you plenty of inspiration for your next circa-£200 watch purchase.
Swatch can be credited with saving the Swiss watch industry, after going head-to-head with cut-price Japanese timepieces in the Seventies and putting an end to the Quartz Crisis. What Swatch did was embrace the simplicity, accuracy and low price of the quartz movement, and offered a wide range of stylish watches at an affordable price point.
Today, Swatch watches start below £50 and run up to around £140. Although you can pay much more for limited-edition models, such as the Q-branch special sold to promote the upcoming James Bond film No Time To Die.
The breadth of choice is what ensures Swatch a place in this article. Because, while all are identifiably from Swatch, each model is strikingly different, from the simple, black and white New Core, to more traditional Classic in Sir Blue, the camouflage-coloured Swatch Essentials in Camouforest, and the eye-grabbing Pastry Chefs in a playful finish called Caramellissima. Many of today’s Swatch models come with a day and date complication, bringing practicality to their fun design.
Mondaine makes watches that share their design with the clocks found right across the Swiss railway network. While £200 won’t stretch right across the range, it will bag you the Mondaine Classic, with its beautifully simple white dial, black markings and iconic red second hand.
Swiss-made, with a stainless steel case, crystal glass and leather strap, this is an effortlessly stylish quartz timepiece with a story to tell. It is also very easy to read at a glance and can look particularly good when the standard black strap is swapped out for Mondaine’s red option.
The £189 Mondaine Classic has a 36mm case diameter, making it suitable for wrists of all sizes, while the £175 Mondaine Essence Black has a black case and vegam strap, and a larger 41mm diameter.
Find yourself a sale and there’s a wide range of Citizen watches that fall below the £200 mark. We’re particularly fond if the Vintage Sport men’s watch, which tends to hover around the £180 to £220 point, and features a 43mm stainless steel case with blue dial and bezel, date at the three o’clock position, a bracelet strap and Citizen’s Eco-Drive system that means it never needs a new battery.
Also from Citizen, we recommend the Eco-Drive World Time, a men’s watch that has a 41mm stainless steel case, sapphire crystal, leather strap and a blue dial that helps you keep track of time all over the world.
The go-to 'tough' watch brand should also be one of the go-to watch brands if you're looking for a watch under £200. Prices range from £109 to around £600, but there are plenty of models available for under the £200 mark. The Japanese watch brand has also really branched out with different styles recently. You'll mostly be looking at plastic watches in this price range, but you might find the odd metal bezel.
We're big fans of the classic GW-B5600MG-1ER and the GA-2100HC-4AER, which is affectionately known as the Casioak due to its resemblance to an AP Royal Oak. We also really like the sporty GA-2000HC-7AER, which is perfect if you want to train but don't want a smartwatch.
Is there a more iconic affordable watch brand than Timex? Perhaps not. With a crisp £200 in the bank you have access to pretty much the brand's entire range. We love Timex's recent re-issues, which include the massively popular Timex Q and the stylish, vintage-inspired Timex Marlin.
Rotary watches start comfortably under £100, and even below £70. All models feature classic designs and stainless steel cases of varying sizes to help suit every wrist circumference. Many of Rotary’s watches are offered with stainless steel bracelet straps, but leather options are also available and most can have any strap fitted thanks to industry-standard lug bars.
We are fans of the Rotary Canterbury (£119) and Windsor (£125) as a pair of classically-designed gents watches. Rotary also offers a ladies Canterbury for £99 and the Expander in rose gold for £105. Those looking for a chronograph should check out the Rotary Oxford Chronograph at £165 – available with a black or white dial – and the equally-priced Windsor Multifunction even features a moon phase complication.