10 Best Automatic Watches Under $200 (+ Buying Guide)

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Automatic watches have been the representation of watchmaking virtuosity for a very long time. The construction of a delicate and complex mechanism requires greater skills and know-how than with a simple electronic quartz caliber. Therefore, it’s no wonder automatic watches cost way more than their quartz counterparts. 

However, not all automatics come at premium rates. For example, there are loads of fantastic pieces available for around $500 from renowned brands. What’s even better, some watchmakers offer them for $200 and less, providing a wonderful opportunity for first-timers to get acquainted with the prestigious movement without spending huge sums of money.  

This post is precisely about the ones that cost pennies compared to premium class timepieces. Below, the list of the best automatic watches under $200 combines the wristwatches that not only come with a very favorable price tag but also offer enough quality to stand the test of time.

best automatic watches under 200

Therefore, whether you’re a newbie or a longtime admirer of automatic timepieces, make sure to comb through the selection of magnificent watches we have brought to you.

Best Automatic Watches Under $200

Orient Kamasu Automatic Dive Watch

Case Size: 42mm
Water Resistance: 200m (660ft)
Hand-winding: Yes
Hacking: Yes

affordable automatic watch from Orient

If you want a highly reliable yet affordable automatic watch, Orient should be one of the first brands to turn to. The Japanese manufacturer has been producing mechanical calibers for over 70 years now, achieving a steadfast reputation.

One of the standout models out of the famous dive collection of Orient, the Kamasu Automatic Dive Watch, represents sophistication, versatility, and visual perfection that are usually present in a $1,000 watch, not a sub-$200 piece. 

The core of the timepiece is the in-house F6922 automatic caliber. The highly acknowledged self-winding mechanism can be hand-wound and hacked (non-existent in most of the affordable automatic watches), adding pleasing features for a convenient user experience. You can also expect the Orient to hold decent accuracy at about -15/+25 seconds a day and a charge for up to 40 hours. 

The Orient Kamasu is a classically designed dive watch with a black dial and a coin-edge unidirectional bezel. Besides the bezel, the timepiece is also equipped with other essential characteristics for serious water sports, such as luminous hour markers and hands and a screw-down crown and caseback. The construction has been built to withstand water pressure to 200m (660ft), making it a spot-on diver’s watch with all of its characteristic features.  

A superb extra for a $200 watch is the inclusion of a sapphire crystal – a highly scratch-resistant glass typically found in much pricier timepieces.

All in all, the Orient Kamasu is the best automatic watch at this price range – it has a rock-solid caliber, looks much pricier than it really is, and comes with qualities rare for such an affordable price.

Orient Kanno Diving Watch

Case Size: 44mm
Water Resistance: 200m (660ft)
Hand-winding: Yes
Hacking: Yes

one of the top automatic watches under $200

The next automatic watch that costs less than $200 is another one from Orient. The Kanno Diving Watch is similar to the Kamasu piece for running on the F6922 mechanical caliber with hand-winding and hacking and being a genuine dive watch but is somewhat different in terms of appearance. 

As such, you’ll find quadrangle-shaped hour markers and entirely light-toned hands with luminosity. In fact, Orient employs LumiBrite technology, which is considered by many as one of the top luminous technologies.

Another difference is the clean 120-click bezel for more versatile looks on a large 44mm case. Also, this particular Kanno is paired with interchangeable silicone bands instead of stainless steel. 

When it comes to the crystal, you’ll not find a sapphire glass but a mineral crystal, which is not as scratch-resistant and durable but is nevertheless a decent substance for a dial cover. 

The Orient Kanno Automatic is suitable for various occasions due to its versatile aesthetics. You can wear it for serious water sports, but also for casual events and even for an office job. However, consider replacing the bands to leather or stainless steel ones before heading to your office.

Orient Bambino Open Heart

Case Size: 41mm
Water Resistance: 30m (100ft)
Hand-winding: Yes
Hacking: Yes

A dress watch with an open cut for classy outfit

If a top-quality brand has the majority of automatic watches available for $200 and less, we can’t get past yet another model from the watchmaker. The Orient Bambino Open Heart, however, is not meant for sports, like the previous two entries, but for classy wear. 

The watch comes with a sleek dial design comprising of silver-tone hands and markers and an eye-catching open heart cut displaying the marvelous work of a sophisticated automatic caliber. The golden balance wheel visible from the cutout adds visual flair, resulting in a much pricier watch aesthetically than the price tag would suggest.

The automatic caliber F6T22 is specifically developed for open heart watches and is similar to the famous F6922 movement – it has a 40-hour power reserve, makes six ticks in a second, and keeps a -15/+25sec accuracy per day. 

A noteworthy feature of this Bambino piece is also the domed mineral crystal, which adds extravagance and is less prone to shatter damage. And, of course, let’s not forget the well-presented see-through caseback showcasing the winding process of this watch.

Seiko 5 Automatic SNK809

Case Size: 37mm
Water Resistance: 30m (100ft)
Hand-winding: No
Hacking: No

A black watch with a self-winding mechanical movement

Although Seiko has caught worldwide attention mainly for the introduction of the quartz movement and the plentiful selection of solar-powered timepieces, its most famous watches are still the ones running on a self-winding mechanical caliber. Like Orient, Seiko is regarded as the first brand to turn to if an entry-level automatic piece is under consideration.

The Seiko 5 collection has the best choice for sub-$200 automatic watches. One of the top models out of the line is the Seiko 5 SNK809 – a simple yet very durable watch with a price tag of around a hundred bucks. 

The legendary Seiko piece is equipped with a 7S26 self-winding caliber with 21 jewel bearings, a 40-hour power reserve, and a standard 21,600 bph frequency (6 ticks in a second). Unlike the Orient watches, the SNK809 can not be hand-wound or hacked. Despite the minor disadvantage, the movement is nevertheless known for its sturdiness and precision.

In visual terms, the Seiko SNK809 is much smaller than many other watches on the market, measuring only 37mm in case diameter. The layout of the miniature hour and minute numbers and short hands make the perceptible size even smaller. Therefore, the timepiece is best suited for slender wrists or men wishing to stay discreet in their everyday lives.

Seiko 5 SNK795 Automatic Watch

Case Size: 37mm
Water Resistance: 30m (100ft)
Hand-winding: No
Hacking: No

Seiko 5 Automatic watch with black dial

If the outdoorsy appeal of the previous Seiko is not your cup of tea, then the Seiko 5 SNK795 offers more universal aesthetics. 

The 37mm watch features a pleasantly toned stainless steel case and bracelet that harmonizes well with the black analog dial. The face is straightforward, comprising of a three-hand movement and a day-date window at three o’clock. For a convenient capture of seconds, you’ll find the dedicated hand being painted in contrasting red color.

The timepiece runs on a 7S26 caliber, just like the majority of Seiko 5 watches. The movement may not be premium level but will do the job of precise timekeeping without any concerns.

Quality-wise, the Seiko features a proprietary Hardlex crystal, which is an enhanced version of widely used mineral glass. The watch is also water-resistant to 30m (100ft), which, by Seiko’s standards, is nothing spectacular at all, considering the vast array of dive-purpose wristwear in its line-up.

All in all, for less than $100, the Seiko SNK795 automatic watch offers plenty of quality and visual presence for a variety of attires and occasions. 

Seiko SNKN37 Automatic Watch

Case Size: 43.5mm
Water Resistance: 50m (165ft)
Hand-winding: No
Hacking: No

A cushion-shaped Seiko automatic with blue dial

Besides the Seiko 5 collection, the Japanese brand has some real automatic gems available in other lines as well. One of the best for less than $200 is the Seiko Automatic SNKN37 – a unique cushion-shaped self-winding piece with a lot to offer. 

Equipped with the 7S26 caliber, you can expect the watch to have a decent amount of power reserve (40 hours) and precise timekeeping for automatic movement. Although the manual winding and hacking functions are missing, it shouldn’t be much of a problem for most wearers.

In terms of appearance, the SNKN37 model works out as a spot-on wearable for an office job. For some, it may be too flashy with its deep blue dial and unorthodox case shape, but with the inclusion of a brown leather band and relatively clean dial, you can’t go wrong wearing it with a suit and tie.

This Seiko is also different from many other dress pieces for its relatively large size. Standing at 43.5mm in case diameter and featuring wide 24mm bands, it goes best with above-average wrist sizes. 

All things considered, the Seiko SNKN37 is one of the best bargains for the money, both quality and appearance-wise.

Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB

Case Size: 40mm
Water Resistance: 200m (660ft)
Hand-winding: Yes
Hacking: Yes

Rolex homage watch from Invicta

While Orient and Seiko dominate the field of value-for-money automatic watches, they’re not the onliest options available. One of the most sought-after brands besides the two has been Invicta – a former Swiss manufacturer that now produces extremely good-looking dive watches for very attractive prices. 

The Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB has steadily become the first-choice automatic sweeper for those discovering the magnificent world of mechanical pieces. The reasons for that are not difficult to find. 

First of all, the watch looks very similar to the famous Rolex Submariner while it costs pennies. Of course, the quality is far from being on par but isn’t bad at all (read more from our review on the Invicta 8926OB). For example, the caliber is Seiko’s non-branded NH35A with 24 jewel bearings and 40 hours of power reserve. Also, the water resistance, though not ISO compliant, stands at an impressive 200m (660ft). 

The 40mm diver’s piece with a price tag below the $100 line has several other eye-catching features typically present in much pricier watches. As such, you’ll find a fancy yellow spinning rotor looking back at you from the see-through caseback, a magnified date window on the dial, and a unidirectional coin-edge bezel. 

Therefore, this Invicta Pro Diver is one of the best catches you can have for the money. 

Timex Marlin Automatic 40mm

Case Size: 40mm
Water Resistance: 30m (100ft)
Hand-winding: Yes
Hacking: No

silver dial and brown leather timepiece

If you think about the famous American watchmaker of Timex, you think of the amazing quartz watches it provides. The Ironman, the Weekender, the Expedition – all of them are acknowledged timepieces in their immediate categories. However, the brand is not shy of affordable automatic watches either. They may not be as reliable as Orient and Seiko equivalents but offer decent quality and classy looks. 

One of the best Timex automatics for under $200 is the Marlin Automatic 40mm. Equipped with a tried and tested Miyota 8215 caliber, you can expect some 40+ hours of power storage, a nice sweeping seconds hand, and a hand-winding possibility.

The Timex piece is a straightforward analog dress watch with a light-tone dial and thin hands in visual terms. The 40mm polished stainless steel case is a great bonus for those who typically are not the fans of brass cases that Timex tends to employ. The domed shape of the acrylic crystal is another visual enhancement, despite the lower quality of the glass compared to mineral and sapphire crystals.

The Timex Marlin watch strikes with its simplicity, comes with a decent automatic caliber, and is available for a favorable price. Therefore, the timepiece is a very viable alternative to the Japanese brands in the same price range.

Fossil Townsman Automatic

Case Size: 44mm
Water Resistance: 50m (165ft)
Hand-winding: Yes
Hacking: No

Townsman automatic piece among the best Fossil watches

Fossil is also an affordable option if you wish to diversify your automatic watch collection. Regardless of the company’s reputation for being a through and through fashion brand rather than a historic watchmaker, you can expect some solid self-winding pieces with very eye-catching designs. 

The Fossil Townsman Automatic, which also features on our list of the best Fossil watches, is a combination of elegance and flamboyance, binding together the prestige of the movement and the nature of the brand. 

The automatic caliber of this watch is partly visible from the cutout on the dial, enabling the wearer to glance at the magnificent work of the mechanism.The majority of owners have found the Miyota 82S7 caliber to be also time-proof and precise. Along with the skeletonized cut, you’ll also find the seconds counter and 24-hour time window. 

The Townsman watch is relatively large at 44mm in diameter but conveniently thin for an automatic timepiece, measuring only 14mm in depth. This particular feature, along with brown leather straps and overall elegant appeal, makes it a suitable wearable for smart and smart casual occasions. 

Stuhrling Original Skeleton Watch

Case Size: 42mm
Water Resistance: 50m (165ft)
Hand-winding: Yes
Hacking: No

A skeletonized Stuhrling automatic watch with blue hands and indices

The last one on our list of the top automatic pieces under $200 comes from a brand that sure knows how to impress its buyers. Established nearly 30 years ago, Stuhrling Original has become one of the most famous producers of automatic skeleton watches. Moreover, most of the timepieces come with price tags that are sometimes hard to believe, considering the luxurious design they come with.

The Stuhrling Original Skeleton is one of such wristwatches that looks way pricier than it really is. 

The best bit of the watch is the almost entirely naked dial, displaying the wheel and gear work that it takes to keep this automatic watch running. The Chinese-origin mechanism has 22 jewel bearings and vibrates at 21,600 bph frequency. 

Another visual treat you’ll get with this Stuhrling is the lightning blue hands and shark’s teeth indices, combining smoothly with the golden tint of the intrinsics. Also, the seconds counter at the bottom of the dial, although relatively small and crowded for an eye to capture with ease, is unique for its design and movement. 

All in all, for around $150, you couldn’t wish for a flashier dress watch than this Stuhrling. If you’re tired of dull analog faces or simply wish to diversify your watch collection, this automatic skeleton watch will definitely turn some heads.          

Automatic Watches Under $200 – What to Consider?

Now that you’re aware of the top brands and models for affordable automatic watches, the job of picking out the most suitable one should be a whole lot easier. However, there is still some important information for you to consider before opting for the most affordable automatic watches around.

Avoid Unfamiliar Brands

First of all, it is vital to avoid brands with posh names and a non-existent reputation in the industry. Why? Because the chances of receiving an automatic watch that stops working after a week on the wrist are simply too high. 

A self-winding mechanism consists of more than a hundred miniature parts that require skills and sophistication to construct. Not every manufacturer can build a reliable and long-lasting caliber. That’s the reason why top brands employ automatic movements from recognized manufacturers or produce themselves. 

Therefore, go for acknowledged watch brands, such as Seiko, Orient, and Invicta, if a $200 automatic timepiece with decent quality is your goal.

Chinese Automatic Movements

While Seiko and Orient manufacture some of the best automatic movements for the money, other affordable brands have opted to outsource the parts rather than produce them in-house. So alongside the famous Japanese and Swiss movement providers, you’ll find automatic watches with Chinese calibers. 

Since the movements from that part of the world are not as recognized as others, some brands have decided not to provide any information about their origins. Typically, it means the calibers are from China. Now, is it a bad thing?

A Chinese watch movement is not as bad as it used to be some while ago. With every passing year, the quality levels have steadily risen and are not far off from the cheaper-end European or Japanese calibers. 

If you find a watch that you really like, but you’re somewhat concerned about the Chinese movement it carries, read the reviews to find possible flaws. If the timepiece happens to be from a renowned brand, such as Fossil or Stuhrling, then the chances of receiving a lemon are, of course, much smaller. Because which reputable brand would want to smear its name with a low-quality movement?!

All in all, the risks are much higher with a Chinese-origin caliber due to their inconsistent reliability, but if it’s from an acknowledged watch manufacturer, you can rest assured it provides decent quality.

Hand-Winding & Hacking

An automatic watch is automatic for a good reason – to provide self-winding without the cumbersome manual winding every other day. Nevertheless, many automatic timepieces come with the added function of hand-winding. Why is that so?

Sometimes, the complicated mechanism is not able to fully tighten the mainspring, leaving the watch half-wound/half-empty. With a hand-winding option, it is possible to fully wind the watch. In addition, if an automatic piece has not been worn for a long time, it is much easier to get it going again through winding, not tilting it on a wrist. 

Read more: How Do Automatic Watches Work?

Another feature you’ll come across with these types of watches is the hacking function. It allows you to stop the second’s hand when pulling out the crown so that you could set a precise time. Although mechanical watches lose or gain several seconds in a day anyway, it is still a neat feature to have.

Accuracy of Automatic Watches

It’s no secret that mechanical watches, including those that automatically power themselves, lose or gain time as much as the quartz pieces do in a month. So if you want an accurate watch, then automatic watches are definitely not for you. 

A typical automatic caliber deviates around +/- 20 seconds a day. It means that on Monday, it can lose 18 seconds, on Tuesday 8 seconds, but on Wednesday, it can gain 3 seconds, etc. The reasons for the deviation depend on several influences, including temperature, gravity, and magnetism. 

Therefore, make sure to evaluate the importance of accuracy in your everyday life. For example, do you want a dead-accurate watch, or are you ready to correct it once or twice a month?


Despite the limited selection for very affordable automatic watches that can also stand the test of time, some gems are still available for an attractive price. The likes of Orient and Seiko offer the best automatic watches under $200, but you’ll receive plenty of quality from Invicta, Fossil, Timex, and Stuhrling models as well. The automatic calibers may not be top-notch or offer other features besides the timekeeping and date function but are affordable gateways to the prestigious world of self-winding watches.

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