Best Vintage Watch for Under $300

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The vintage watch market still holds value to today’s watch collectors. In fact, vintage pieces can look more dated or modern as you prefer because of the trend towards vintage-inspired watches that combined the trend of the Swiss watch industry.

So, if you’re new to watch collecting or would love to buy your first vintage watch that won’t break the bank, we highlight below the best vintage watches for under 300 that are worth owning.

In this article, you’ll also learn what you need to check out for when buying a vintage watch. We recommend you check it out to save yourself from a lot of disappointment.

Top 10 Vintage Watches Under 300

1. Seiko Men’s Analog Green Dial Automatic Silver Stainless Steel Watch (SNKM97)

Product Description

First on our list is the Seiko Men’s Analog Green Dial Automatic Silver Stainless Steel Watch (SNKM97). With a 43.5mm case diameter, you’ll first notice its Tonneau shape (rectangle with rounded corners) and gorgeous green dial.

This best vintage watch for under 300 is made of stainless steel, both in the case and in the band. As for its dial window, it is made of hardlex material – a proprietary watch crystal from Seiko and is known for its hardness.

Other features of this watch include an automatic movement, date-date function, and a stationary bezel.

Pros

  • The green dial color is truly impressive
  • Attractive gold accents
  • Definitely has a retro look
  • An automatic watch
  • Seiko’s 7s26 movement is a tried workhorse
  • Water-resistant
  • Easy to read
  • Accurate

Cons

  • A bit on the heavy side (weighs 11.64 Ounces)
  • The rotor is a bit noisy if you’re used to silent watches

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[You may also like: Best Seiko Watches Of All Time]

2.Vostok Komandirskie Russian Mechanical Automatic Wristwatch

Product Description

The Vostok Komandirskie Russian Mechanical Automatic Wristwatch is made by the official supplier of the modern Russian Army and the Defense Department of the Soviet Union.

With that, it already gives you an idea that this is a real military watch. In fact, a solid, rugged-looking one at that.

Aside from having a good build quality and simple yet elegant design features, it is very functional with dubious quirks and characteristics. You can even change the band if you like to achieve the full rugged military look that still is vintage.

This 42mm stainless steel watch features a VOSTOK self-winding movement, 200 meters water resistance depth, acrylic display type, and a 6 millimeters case thickness.

Overall, it’s an inexpensive automatic vintage watch with a great story behind it.

Pros

  • Unique 24-hour clock
  • Has the same quirks as other Vostoks
  • Easy to read time, both day and night
  • Great value for the money
  • Real military watch
  • Durable
  • Accurate
  • Comfortable in the wrist

Cons

  • The bezel rotates freely instead of clicking from position to position (meaning, it can be easily moved by mistake)

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[For iconic military watches, you may also like: Best Military Watch Under $200]

3. Swatch Deep Grey Chronograph Quartz Black Dial Men’s Watch

Product Description

If you’re a big fan of Omega Seamaster or Omega Speedmaster vintage watches, but prefer a more affordable option, then the Swatch Deep Grey Chronograph Quartz Black Dial Men’s Watch makes a good alternative.

This model YSV565G is attractive and comes with a stainless steel strap. Compared to the Omega Speedmaster, this one has numbered hour markers.

The black dial is enhanced by the grey hands and it is equipped with a scratch-resistant mineral crystal. It likewise has a solid caseback, powered by a quartz movement, silver-tone stainless steel band, and a pull/push crown.

The links in this watch are held with push pins, which means that if you are not used to doing the fiddly stuff, you may want to take it to a good jeweler for a good fit.

Pros

  • Scratch Resistant Mineral crystal
  • Simple yet elegant
  • Quartz movement
  • 100 feet water resistance
  • Solid caseback

Cons

  • There is no lume on the indices
  • The clasp is quite difficult to open
  • The date display is small that it’s not easy to read

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4.Mil-Tec Luftwaffe Me109 Aviator Vintage German WW2 Flieger Pilot Mens Watch

Product Description

The Mil-Tec Luftwaffe Me109 Aviator Vintage German WW2 Flieger Pilot Mens Watch is truly for the vintage lover. Its beige dial is unique from different men’s watches in this list as it has that fighter pilot oil-stained look.

Besides being eye-catching, this watch is also comfortable on the wrist because of the genuine brown calfskin leather. 

This watch moreover fits the bill in terms of reliability and durability. Its dial window material is mineral and its case and bezel are made of stainless steel. Other features that we like in this vintage men’s watch are the magnified rim and luminescent clock hands.

This vintage timepiece is a tribute to aviation history and is worth it to be on this list of the best vintage watches under $300.

Pros

  • The oil-stained face is very cool
  • Leather band
  • Quartz movement
  • Good value for money
  • Easy to read
  • accurate

Con/s

  • It’s not a small watch (although 40mm seems to be the general size among men’s watches)

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5. Timex Q Reissue Stainless Steel Case Watch

Product Description

What makes Timex Q Timex Reissue Stainless Steel Case Watch compared to other vintage timepieces? It’s a 1:1 reissue of the Timex Q they released back in 1979.

Every detail in this timepiece is period correct from the color to the bracelet. Some say it bears the Pepsi bezel, but nowhere in its build quality does it show that it is the budget version of the GMT Pepsi from Rolex.

For instance, its bracelet and case have an integrated look. We also like that this watch has a sporty vibe and a combination of a 70s feel.

Rather than a clicking bezel, this vintage watch has a non-ratcheting one. The dial kept the sword and lollipop hands as well as a blue face. It likewise features a domed acrylic crystal.

As for its bracelet, it is very easy to adjust and distinct too! You can even wear a leather jacket and jeans and they will match your outfit. It’s nearly as durable as military watches as well for having a stainless steel case and band and acrylic dial window material.

True to the past, this watch is worth buying. Its attractive design can catch people’s attention, whether they love retro watches or not.

Pros

  • Small, lightweight watch
  • Cute Pepsi styled timepiece 
  • It has a nice finish
  • Lollipop and sword hands
  • Japanese quartz movement
  • Cool blue dial
  • Great for small to medium wrist

Cons

  • Clasp bends easily (the watch sometimes comes off on its own when you move your arms too quickly)

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[You may also like: Best Vintage Watch Under $100]

6. Swatch Men’s Windfall Chronograph Silver-Tone Bracelet Watch (YCS410GX)

Product Description

If you prefer a chronograph vintage timepiece, then the Swatch Men’s Windfall Chronograph Silver-Tone Bracelet Watch (YCS410GX) is your best bet. 

For a price less than $300, it comes with a Swiss quartz movement so you can ensure this keeps accurate time. 

It has a black dial with a date function. With its simple but classy vintage style, you can wear this watch with both casual or dress apparel.

Its water resistance is comparable with the others on this list with a 30-meter rating. But because it is a Swatch mode, you may be giving up with some durability.

For instance, its dial window material is made of plastic and its case is of aluminum. Yet, with these materials, it also makes the watch lightweight.

Pros

  • Dressy, sporty, vintage look
  • Quality of case and band is first rate
  • Accurate
  • Classic, beautifully designed
  • Well-built
  • Practical

Cons

  • The style of the hands may be a little difficult to read without glasses on

If you want to try it out, here’s where you can buy it! 

7. Fossil Men’s Copeland Stainless Steel Quartz Watch with Leather Strap

Product Description

Next on our list would be the Fossil Men’s Copeland Stainless Steel Quartz Watch with Leather Strap. 

It is inspired by turn-of-the-century, classic wristwatches. The sophisticated dial of this watch makes it versatile for both dress and casual styles.

We also like its minimalist take. It has a stainless steel case, genuine brown leather, a creamy sunray dial, and buckle closure. 

There are a few watches of this style that are water-resistant for up to 165 ft, which makes this a plus point for us. It is suitable for short periods of showering and recreational swimming, but not snorkeling and diving.

The bracelet is even interchangeable with other Fossil 22mm bands.

Pros

  • Equipped with mineral crystal lens that resists scratches
  • Sophisticated dial
  • Minimalist look
  • Water-resistant for up to 165ft (50m)
  • Attractive brown leather band (interchangeable with other Fossil bands)
  • Allows complimentary engraving at a local Fossil store
  • Quartz movement
  • Sturdy and heavy enough
  • Thin case
  • Lightweight

Con/s

  • Kind of flimsy band, but interchangeable

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8. Orient Men’s Japanese Automatic Watch

Product Description

One of our favorites in this list, the Orient Men’s Japanese Automatic / Hand-Winding Stainless Steel 200 Meter Diving Watch has a catchy design and is meant for serious water sports.

Another great thing about this watch is its blue dial is something you can wear casually and it even looks great in a suit. Its weight is impressive and it feels like it is truly a solid timepiece.

Its water resistance depth is up to 660 feet, making it suitable for professional marine activities, although not meant for diving. But do you know what makes it cool? There’s no timepiece for professional diving that is offered at this price.

Pros

  • Beautiful dive watch
  • Impeccable fit and finish
  • With 660 feet (200m) waterproofing standard
  • Accurate
  • Easy to read

Cons

  • A reflection-free sapphire crystal would have been better than a mineral crystal
  • A bezel is hard to turn

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9. Orient Men’s 2nd Gen. Bambino Ver. 2′ Japanese Automatic Watch

Product Description

The Orient Men’s ‘2nd Gen. Bambino Ver. 2’ Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel and Leather Dress Watch have a classic design.

It comes with domed mineral crystal and dial, leather band, high-quality stainless steel watch casing, and a Japanese automatic movement.

Pros

  • Solid bezel
  • Self-winding watch
  • Good-looking
  • Its screw-down crown seals well

Con/s

  • Mineral dial window material

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10. Citizen Men’s Analogue Automatic Watch

Product Description

The Citizen Men’s Analogue Automatic Watch is another good value vintage watch below $300. What’s more, it is a diver watch with 20 bar water pressure resistance and 200 meters water resistance depth features.

This 42mm watch was first released in 1997 and is something that grows on you.

Pros

  • An automatic self-winder watch
  • Reliable movement
  • Excellent lume
  • Great value for the money
  • Iconic diver watch

Cons

  • Mineral crystal
  • A little bit stiff strap, although  not uncomfortable

Interested? Order this product here today!

What to Look for When Buying the Best Vintage Watch

Vintage timepieces are like collectible art, meaning there is no black and white formula as to what makes one more valuable than the other. In the end, it depends on the eye of the collector.

However, what generally determines the value of a vintage watch is a combination of these factors:

Age/ Condition

Whether you’re looking for a vintage automatic chronograph watch or a mechanical watch, one important feature that you have to look for is its age.

A watch that is old enough but is still functional as of today is valuable to collectors. 

However, since the definition of vintage is not easy to pin down, you can check the serial number, its or its brand’s interesting history, and the present condition of the watch. The more pristine the vintage watch is, the higher its value will be.

Material

The quality and type of material from which the timepiece is made affect its value. Timepieces can be made of gold, silver, titanium, stainless steel, and a range of other metals. Some are even made of non-metal materials, such as ceramic.

The more valuable the material if the timepiece is, the more valuable the watch will be. 

Manufacturer/ Brand

The manufacturer or the brand could be the single most significant factor to know the vintage watch’s worth. That’s because some brands are worth more than others.

However, there’s really no need for you to go for the best-selling and expensive vintage-style luxury brands, like the Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Collection, Patek Philippe Nautilus, TAG Heuer Monaco, Longines Heritage Collection, etc.

Right now, there are more affordable yet reliable timepieces from these brands too: Rolex, Seiko, Tissot, Timex, Citizen, Hamilton, and Casio, among others.

Provenance

We refer to this as the watch’s ownership record or proof of its origin, history of owners, and authenticity.

A watch’s provenance can be in the form of documents included as you purchased the watch. Since what you’re buying is a vintage watch, its provenance can add to its value. Some vintage luxury timepieces even became more popular because they had a famous owner.

Final Verdict: Which One Should You Buy?

While we all love the watches on this list, our top pick would be the Seiko Men’s SNKM97 Analog Green Dial Automatic Silver Stainless Steel Watch.

Not only does it come from a brand that is known in the watch world for its craftsmanship in the mechanical watches or dive watches it produced, but this one is also packed with great features.

For instance, the green face is stunning. It is well-built. Thanks to the stainless steel material used. While few find the watch a bit on the heavy side, we consider the 11.64 ounces just a good weight. 

To get an automatic watch for a price less than 300, that’s already amazing. You may even want to swap its strap for a leather one so it looks very retro.

We believe you won’t go wrong with this timepiece at its price point, quality, and style. You would be delighted to add this watch to your collection of vintage watches or as your first vintage watch.

If you like this review, you might want to read our other reviews at EvesWatch.com.