Best Vintage Watch Under $500

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Watches are interesting accessories to shop for. They occupy a space between art, fashion, and engineering.

Vintage watches, in particular, are unique pieces of history. They have a character of their own – something that mass-produced modern men’s and women’s watches lack most of the time.

And if you do your research well, you may be able to find one that is made with special hand-crafted techniques and of high-quality materials.

Some of these vintage watches have even been loved for decades and used by others before us. This means that the original paperwork and personal inscriptions on the watch can leave us wondering as to the person who owned it before us.

So, if you’re looking for a vintage watch that will not drain your bank account but is still something stylish and elegant, we highlight below some of the best vintage watches under 500 that are worth owning!

Top 10 Best Vintage Watches Under 500

1. Victorinox Swiss Army Men’s I.N.O.X. Watch

Product Description

The Victorinox brand may be recognized for their Swiss Army knives, yet they also produced watches that follow the concept of multifunctionality and uniqueness found in their Swiss Army.

The Victorinox Swiss Army Men’s I.N.O.X. Watch is one of their best watches because it blends with classic, rugged driving, and everyday style.

The watch itself features a stainless steel Swiss-made case, leather band, and uses a triple-coated anti-reflective sapphire crystal. It is even made to withstand 130 endurance homologation tests. 

And it’s not just a pretty face too. It is also water-resistant for up to 660 feet. As for its movement, it’s analog quartz.

Other important watch details of this model include a 42mm case diameter, screw-in case back, screw-down crown, and an end-of-life indicator.

Pros

  • Durable – can withstand fire, salt spray, countless twists and pulls, fire, based on its 130 endurance homologation tests
  • Features anti-reflective sapphire
  • Resistant leather
  • Includes removable protective bumper
  • Water-resistant to 200m/660ft
  • Accurate
  • Easy to read
  • Giftable

Cons

  • Lacks deployment clasp, it can be difficult to fasten the band
  • The lume can be dim at night

Convinced? You can buy the product here! 

2. Timex Marlin Stainless Steel Hand-Wound Movement

Product Description

If you’re looking for an affordable vintage watch that is smaller in diameter, then we recommend the Timex Marlin Stainless Steel Hand-Wound Movement.

This watch has a 34mm case diameter, which may be slight in the contemporary context but is faithful to the original 1960 Timex Marlin. At that time, men’s watches were smaller.

As for its design, the starburst dial of this watch just looks sensational, especially when exposed to direct sunlight. The big numerals are also a reminder of the designs of yesteryear.

Pros

  • Unique silver starburst dial
  • Looks like the original Timex Marlin from the 1960s
  • Hand-wound
  • Classic watch
  • Tells time (and accurately)
  • The leather strap feels nice 
  • Hands are solid black (characteristic of the original Marlin)

Cons

  • A little bit hard to wind as the crown is tiny
  • No lume

Like what you see? Buy this product here today!

3. Hamilton Khaki Field Quartz

Product Description

The Hamilton Khaki Field Quartz Watch is one of the best field watches on the market today. It has a range of both mechanical and quartz options available.

For this model, it is a reliable timepiece – from the leather of the band to the quality of the build itself.

It features a stainless steel case with a black dial. It also comes with a day and date display at 12 o’clock position, a 24-hour time on the inner dial, and sword-shaped hands.

At 40mm case diameter, this watch reminds us that it was not made not just for the military in the past but can also be a clean everyday watch of this generation.

Pros

  • Anti-reflective sapphire dial window
  • Leather strap with contrast stitching
  • Accurate
  • Comfortable in the wrist
  • Reliable
  • Easy to read (black and contrast with the numerals is great)
  • Good value for the money

Con/s

  • The date/day display is too small

Don’t miss out! Buy this product here before it’s gone!

[You may also like: Best Vintage Digital Watch]

4. Seiko 5 Black Dial Stainless Steel Men’s Watch

Product Description

For the budget-conscious out there, the Seiko 5 black dial stainless steel dress watch is a great option for two reasons: it is usually priced at around $100 and it is automatic too!

The automatic movement at this price is also like having a cake and eating it too. Add the respected Japanese brand reputation and good looks and you get a great vintage automatic watch.

This timepiece allows you to carry it in a gentlemanly manner as if owning a pocket watch. It features a silver-tone band, a silver-tone case, and a hardlex scratch-resistant crystal.

Pros

  • Scratch Resistant Hardlex
  • 30M water resistance
  • Comes in a push-button deployment clasp
  • Beautiful design
  • Classic dimensions
  • Functional wristwatch

Cons

  • The bracelet feels kind of flimsy
  • The date seems to flip late

Ready to buy it? Check out this link today!

[You may also like: Best Vintage Pocket Watch]

5. Mil-Tec Luftwaffe Me109 Aviator Vintage German Pilot Men’s Watch

Product Description

The Mil-Tec Luftwaffe Me109 Aviator Vintage German Pilot Men’s Watch is a collectible vintage timepiece from the era of aerial bravery.

It features a highly accurate Japanese quartz movement, which is more accurate than a mechanical movement. Aside from being crafted with reliability and precision, you will also appreciate the beige dial that gives it a fighter pilot oil-stained look.

Compared to other timepieces that are worth a few hundred dollars, this one is more affordable. It is comfortable too when worn on the wrist. Thanks to its genuine brown calfskin leather strap.

Moreover, the 40mm case material of this vintage dress is made of stainless steel. Other features of this timepiece include a mineral dial window material, 13 millimeters case thickness, 2 centimeters bandwidth, and 99 feet water resistance depth.

Pros

  • military-inspired timepiece
  • Luminescent clock hands
  • Magnified rim
  • Eligible for international shipping
  • Value for money watch
  • Very good accuracy
  • Not expensive
  • A quick glance tells time

Cons

  • Little waterproof protection
  • Some find it big in size (40.0mm case diameter)

Interested? Click here to buy it!

6. Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive

Product Description

One of the most interesting watches on this list is the Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive, not just because it is suitable for serious surface water sports but also because its presentation is excellent right from the moment you open its box.

It is a great Japanese watch and its brand (Citizen) has been a pioneer in the watchmaking industry for more than a hundred years already. The Citizen brand is known for its dive watches and highly technical timepieces (even their pocket watches).

As for this Citizen Promaster Eco-Drive Roll BN0191-55L model, it features a 45mm case diameter, a water resistance depth of up to 660ft, and a Japanese quartz movement.

Overall, it’s a nice watch for the money

Pros

  • Trusted brand
  • Powered by a Japanese Quartz movement
  • Water-resistant for up to 660 feet
  • Features push-button foldover clasp with safety
  • Accurate
  • Easy to read
  • Luminous

Cons

  • No instruction manual
  • If you remove a link and put it back together, the link pins may fall out easily
  • The pushpins are a little bit too large for the watch’s size

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

7. Tissot Men’s Le Locle Stainless Steel Dress Watch

Product Description

The quality of Tissot Men’s Le Locle Stainless Steel Dress Watch is a testament to the brand’s expertise. It showcases a timeless look that you’d expect from a classic timepiece.

Le Locle refers to the Swiss town where the brand was founded in 1853. And even up to now, such a name seems to be a trusted ingredient of success.

This 39.30 mm stainless steel watch features Swiss automatic movement, a Roman dial type, a stainless steel bracelet, and a butterfly clasp with push-button closure.

The Tissot watch model also displays exquisite elegance with the traditional Le Locle signature that completes its look. It can be worn in the daytime or evening and you’ll still remain in style because of its meticulous design.

Pros

  • Elegant beauty
  • Works well
  • Features scratch-resistant sapphire crystal
  • Accurate
  • Good value for money
  • It has a power reserve of up to 80 hours
  • With see-through case back
  • Swiss automatic movement
  • 100 feet water resistance depth

Con/s

  • The contrast between the dial and the hands is not as good when not exposed to direct light

Excited to try this product? Shop Now!

8. Bulova Men’s Military Hack Watch

Product Description

From the industry leaders in electronic watches, the Bulova Men’s Military Hack Watch infuses historical elements.

Its updated style features a 21-jewel automatic movement, stainless steel case, luminescent hands, an ivory dial, and a 42-hour power reserve. 

There’s also a center track on the watch dial that displays the 24H time. Aside from that, it is durable with a double domed mineral crystal and a black leather NATO strap that completes its vintage look.

If you consider its look and function, it competes well with the Hamilton Khaki watch.

Pro

  • Quartz movement
  • Attractive off-white dial color
  • 38 mm case diameter
  • NATO strap
  • Easy to read
  • Accurate

Con/s

  • No calendar

Don’t miss out! Buy this product here before it’s gone!

9. Bulova Rose-Gold Men’s Watch

Product Description

It’s hard to believe you can get this timepiece for less than $500. Not only does it feature the 21 Jewel Movement that is visible through the caseback and dial, but it is also equipped with a domed crystal.

Well, compared to other timepieces on this list that are truly vintage based on its model year, this one is more of an inspiration to Bulova’s classic art of timekeeping. 

We appreciate its luminous hands, rose-gold finish, patterned black dial, and screw-back case.

Pros

  • Handsome large watch
  • Keeps excellent of time
  • Croco-embossed leather band 
  • Water-resistant (99 feet)

Con/s

  • No calendar

Interested? Order this product here today!

10. Salvatore Ferragamo Women’s ‘Time’ Swiss Quartz Stainless Steel Watch

Product Description

If you’re looking for a women’s vintage watch that showcases a mid-century vibe, then the Salvatore Ferragamo Women’s ‘Time’ Swiss Quartz Stainless Steel Watch is definitely worth taking a look at.

This women’s watch features a 33mm stainless steel case, 3h double-layer guilloche dial, and a bisque color.

Its brand Salvatore Ferragamo may not be recognized for timepieces as they specialize more in women’s and men’s shoes and other leather goods, but this Time Swiss Quartz watch is a powerful accessory to add to your wardrobe.

Pros

  • Swiss-quartz Movement
  • Features anti-reflective sapphire
  • Case thickness is only 9 millimeters
  • Not heavy (weighs only 16 ounces)
  • Water-resistant for up to 165 feet

Con/s

  • None

Like what you see? Buy this product here today!

What to Look for When Buying the Best Vintage Watch Under 500

Original Condition

When buying vintage watches, especially when you are looking for affordable watches, the original condition is important. It can spell a difference between those under 500 or above such price point.

So, check whether the lume on the dial still matches that on the hands or the edges of the case are still sharp and smooth. 

It would be better if you can purchase the timepiece with its original finish, even if there are little scratches that naturally come with age, instead of a vintage watch that was polished.

Accuracy

It is important to note that vintage timepieces may not be as accurate as modern watches. Its accuracy will depend at the mercy of the original construction and quality.

We encourage you not to demand perfection as vintage watches are definitely more fragile compared to today’s timepieces. After all, years ago, watch brands did not have high-tech materials or tools yet.

At the very least, expect your vintage timepiece to keep time within a minute or three every day.

Serial Number

Another important consideration when buying (whether that be automatic chronograph watches, mechanical watches, quartz watches, pocket watches, etc.) is the serial number.

If possible, make sure that the case vintage lines up with the movement number. The caliber of a watch movement often comes in letters or numbers designated by the manufacturers for identification purposes.

Be aware that there are Frankenwatches – those with replaced or mismatched parts – pieced together just to improve their appearance. An unsuspecting buyer may think that these watches are great bargains but if you are truly looking for a vintage watch, it is best to know the truth of the product that you are getting.

Style

It can be tempting to buy a watch just because it looks cool. However, it would be nice if you pick one that also works with your personal style. So, make sure to consider how well the timepiece will upgrade your style when worn.

Final Verdict: Which One Should You Buy?

All of these men’s watches in the list may not be in the same category as luxury watches Omega Seamaster and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, but they hold stories that are much more desirable and valuable than modern watches. 

And if we are to pick the best vintage watch under 500, then our top choice would be the Tissot Men’s Le Locle Stainless Steel Dress Watch Grey.

First, it is designed by the namesake watch company in Le Locle itself, which is one of the most significant watch centers in Switzerland. Another thing that makes this a stand out is that it has good contrast in the dial, making it easy to read the time.

In terms of accuracy, it is even rated 5.0 out of 5 among global buyers on Amazon. We also like the italicized name on the dial that is common in vintage watches.

It is not too bulky, rather it feels substantial on your wrist. The watch also boasts a synthetic sapphire crystal to avoid scratches. You can wear it as a dress watch, but since it has a minimal face, it is also versatile as an everyday watch.

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