12 BEST Affordable Watches That Hold Their Value (2024)
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Best affordable watches that hold their value

12 BEST Affordable Watches That Hold Their Value (2024)

The most common word associated with watches these days is the word investment. People want to enjoy the benefits of wearing a quality timepiece and be sure it will always hold its value. 

As a watch enthusiast, the first thoughts that come to mind anytime I set my eyes on a watch are the cost of the timepiece and how much value they hold. These are the honest thoughts of any collector because as much as everyone loves a quality watch, the cost is a big hindrance to many purchases. 

Is Value Retention Important in Watches?

The meaning of value might differ from person to person. It might mean how much a particular piece costs and how much meaning a piece has to an individual. But when it comes to watches, the major factor that gives a watch value is how much it could cost in the future and, in this case, if the price would go higher or lower. 

I always advise people just getting into watches and trying to get an affordable timepiece to purchase watches from known reputable brands to get a piece of top quality and one they would enjoy wearing. 

Value retention does not play a role in this case. However, it is different when trying to purchase a watch that you can sell in the future for the same or a higher amount. In this case, the value retention of a timepiece is a very important factor.

What Makes a Watch Hold Its Value?

The cost of acquiring a watch is one of the qualities most people believe makes a watch hold value. From my experience as a collector, this is not always the case. There are lots of qualities a watch must have for it to be considered a timepiece that holds value.

Brand Recognition 

In all honesty, I won’t want to start telling anyone about my watch when I’m asked what I have on my wrist; I always want my timepiece to make a statement with just the brand name. The hype that comes with having a Rolex or a Patek Philippe is exactly what brand recognition means. 

The recognition a watch brand has is among the qualities that tell if a watch holds value or not because of the name such a brand has built for itself over the years. Watches like Jaeger-LeCoulture, Omega, Patek Philippe, and Rolex have been in existence for decades and are still known for not just their high costs but durability, quality, efficiency, and a whole bunch of other qualities that have kept them relevant to date. 

The fact that these watch brands have created a reputable name for themselves has kept them in the market for hundreds of years. Customers trust their products, which has increased their sales over the years of their operations. The recognition these brands have in the world of watches is a major factor that has helped most of their products hold value for a long time.

Watch Materials

After considering the brand of a particular watch when trying to acquire a new timepiece, the materials used in making the watch are one major factor that keeps me glued. The metals and crystals used for the casing are one aspect to be accessed when looking at the materials used to make a watch. Most brands say they use quality stainless steel, but some of them make use of alloy or very cheap steel for the casing of the watches.

The most common grade of steel found in top luxury watches are 316L and 904L steels. Materials like gold and titanium are used to case some top quality watches like the Omega Seamaster 300, crafted with grade 2 titanium and currently worth $9,500; the Rolex Day-date President with 40mm casing and up to 100 grams of pure gold, this timepiece costs up to $40,000.


One thing that blew my mind when I started getting into watches was the fact that the movement of a watch could determine the value associated with timepieces. There are two different movements in the world of watches, the Quartz that ticks every second and the mechanical watches with a sweeping seconds hand movement.

The mechanical watches are always more expensive than the others, mainly due to the effort put into the mechanism.

Watch Exclusivity 

A watch like the Patek Philippe Henry Grave Super Complication was a watch specifically designed for wealthy business people in the early parts of the 20th century. It was a pocket watch that had 24 different features, which took up to three years to design and five years to manufacture. 

This limited edition of Patek Philippe sold for $24 million in 2014 and held the record for the highest amount spent on a timepiece at that time. Aside from being cased in 18 karats worth of gold and having so many features, the exclusivity of this timepiece is the major factor that holds the value of this pocket watch to date.

Iconic Status

The story behind the creation of a particular watch or events, reasons, and experiences that surround a timepiece could categorize a watch as iconic. A good example is the Reverso collection from Jaeger LeCoultre, which was brought to life in 1931 to protect watches from being scratched or damaged during physical activities.

Various collections have come out of this brand, yet the Reverso collection seems to be the most popular one out of all of them, and multiple watches in this iconic line are very well known to hold their value.

Do Affordable Watches Hold Their Value?

As I mentioned earlier, the material used in designing a watch is a major yardstick for measuring if a timepiece would hold value or not. Every watch manufacturer wants to make a profit from the sale of their timepieces. That’s always the goal when trying to sell anything, right? And nobody would make use of very quality materials in designing a watch and sell them very cheaply because those materials cost a lot of money. 

So, there are no cheap watches that hold value, in my opinion. But when it comes to the world of watches and gauging from the cost of a lot of other timepieces, there are affordable watches that hold their value. I will give you a list of some of these watches and their specifications below. 

The Best Affordable Watches That Won’t Lose Their Value

1. Timex Marlin Hand-Wound (ref. TW2T18200)

Timex Marlin Hand-Wound (ref. TW2T18200)

Timex announced the launch of this hand-wound watch back in 2017, and it instantly became a hit due to the quality of materials used in the design and how cheap it was. This timepiece has a case size of 34mm with a thickness of 10mm. It has a lug width of 18mm with a water resistance of up to 30m.

The most attractive features of this watch are its excellent dress watch proportions, along with the hand-wound Seagull movement powering it. This leather strapped hand-wound watch is perfectly styled to carry that vintage look and only costs $200.

2. Omega x Swatch Moonswatch (ref. SO33G100)

Omega x Swatch Moonswatch (ref. SO33G100)

This unique collaboration between Omega and Swatch came out in 2022 and took the watch world by storm. Its bioceramic case has a 41.9mm diameter and is built with two-thirds pure ceramic, and the other one-third is from a material obtained from castor oil.

This watch has the look of the Omega Speedmaster and can easily play the same role if you don’t have up to $6,000 to spend on a Speedy. The short lug-to-lug distance of 47.9mm makes it wear very well on most wrists. It does have a few shortcomings, including an acrylic crystal, but for $260, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a watch with a more iconic design.

3. Seiko SKX007 (ref. 7S26-0020)

This timepiece carries the look and price to make it the go-to piece for many watch lovers. Like most Seiko watches, it has a very masculine design with a 42mm in width, 13mm in height, and a 46mm lug to lug. The outstanding feature of this watch lies in its overall function.

It was manufactured to satisfy the ISO 6425 dive standard, which includes temperature cycling from -20c to 60c, getting hit by a hammer weighing up to 3kg, and a meter drop test, all done while maintaining its accurate time. 

This watch has a Seiko 7S26 movement which is the company’s cheapest movement and goes to show that designing a quality watch doesn’t always have to come with the most expensive materials. 

The designs on the minute, second, and hour hands add more to the aesthetic look of this watch. Seiko discontinued the SKX collection in 2019, and prices have increased steadily for a piece in good condition. If you can find one close to its original retail price of approximately $200, go for it, as it’s unlikely to drop any time soon.

4. Seiko Alpinist (ref. SARB017)

Seiko Alpinist (ref. SARB017)

I set my eyes on this timepiece in 2022, and the attention to detail on the green dial really stood out to me. It has very bold numerals on the dial with cathedral minute, hour, and second hands. This Japanese watch is powered by a 6R15 movement that is very reliable and shock resistant with a water resistance of up to 200 meters. 

It also has a sapphire crystal which makes it very difficult to get scratched. This watch has a diameter of 39mm and a thickness of 12mm which makes it very easy to wear. This Alpinist watch is well-respected by many collectors because of the good features it has and still falls under the category of quality watches that you can buy for less than $1000.

5. Junghans Max Bill Automatic (ref. 027/4007.04)

Junghans Max Bill Automatic (ref. 027/4007.04)

The minimalist design and the overall look of this watch made me purchase this watch a couple of months ago. The dimensions of this timepiece include a 38mm diameter, a case height of 9.8mm, and a lug-to-lug distance of 40mm. 

Junghans are known for their minimalist features, but the addition of sapphire crystals has added a little bit of sophistication to the watch. As simple as this timepiece looks, it is controlled by an automatic movement inside, the calibre J800.1. This watch currently sells for approximately $1,200.

6. Sinn 556 I (ref. 556.010)

Sinn 556 I (ref. 556.010)

The components of this watch make it a relatively affordable one, even in the range of $1000-$1500. From being hand-assembled in Germany and also having a Sellita SW200-1 movement, I consider this a very good buy. Aside from being an easily repairable watch due to its movement, Sinn watches are also known for their resistance to shock and cold. 

The timepiece has a sapphire crystal on the front and back and has a water resistance of up to 200 meters. It has a lug-to-lug distance of 45.5mm, a thickness of 11.2mm, and a lug width of 20mm. The dial of this watch has white text and a deep black background which matches the middle parts of the second, minute, and hour hands, giving them a floating look. 

7. Omega Speedmaster Reduced(ref. 3510.50.00)

Omega Speedmaster Reduced(ref. 3510.50.00)

Like most Omega Speedmasters, the Reduced has a very legible dial with a black background and white minute, hour, and second hands. The dial of the Speedmaster Reduced houses 3 sub-dials that serve chronograph functions for a 30-minute counter, a 12-hour counter, and small seconds. 

This watch measures 39mm in diameter and has a lug width of 18mm. The steel watch is powered by the caliber 3220, which is a self-winding ETA-based movement fitted with a modular chronograph mechanism and also has a water resistance of up to 30 meters. This timepiece has a Hesalite crystal at the top of the watch, which adds to its thickness of 12.3mm. This watch currently sells within the range of $3,000 to $4,000.

8.  Oris Pro Pilot X Calibre 400  (ref. 01 400 7778 7158-07 7 20 01TLC)

 Oris Pro Pilot X Calibre 400  (ref. 01 400 7778 7158-07 7 20 01TLC)

Pilot watches have a lot of features that make them appealing to a wide range of people. This timepiece was released in 2022 and comes in pink, blue, gray, and green colors. The watch is housed in a 39mm diameter and 12mm thick lightweight titanium case.

It features the in-house automatic Calibre 400, with 5 days’ worth of power and a water resistance of up to 100 meters. One feature that differentiates this pilot from some other ones is the see-through case back which allows you to see the artistic inner workings of the timepiece.

The serpentine-style three-link bracelet also adds to its look and makes a firm grip around the wrist. The watch has a simple dial with minute, hour, and second hands and also a date indicator at the bottom part of the watch. This timepiece is currently worth $4,300. 

9.  Tudor Pelagos 39 (ref. M25407N-000)

 Tudor Pelagos 39 (ref. M25407N-000)

One of the standout features of the Tudor Pelagos 39 is its dimensions, including a diameter of 39mm, a case thickness of 11.8mm, and a lug-to-lug distance of 47mm. This dive watch is powered by an in-house COSC-certified movement, the MT5400, and has a power reserve of up to 70 hours. The watch has a casing and bracelet made with grade 2 titanium and has a water resistance of 200 meters. 

The Tudor Pelagos has a black dial with white second, minute, and hour hands and also white and red texts within the dial which all light up in the dark. The complementary rubber strap that comes with this watch allows for a longer-lasting relationship with this watch, as interchanging them will prevent the watch from getting scratched. This watch is currently sold for $4,600.

10.  Omega Speedmaster First Omega in Space (ref. 311.

 Omega Speedmaster First Omega in Space (ref. 311.

This is one of the most popular Omega watches, and as the name implies, it’s an edition of the first Omega watch in space which is the Speedmaster 2998. An alpha-style hand is used for the hour and minute hand, while baton hands were used for the 12-hour and 30-minute sub-dial. 

This watch is powered by the Omega caliber 1861 hand-winding movement and also has a power reserve of up to 40 hours. This stainless steel timepiece has the date of October 1962 engraved on its back, which marks the Sigma 7th space mission. It has a lug-to-lug distance of 47mm and a thickness of 14mm. The cost of this watch ranges between $5,000 to $6,000.

11. Tudor Black Bay (ref. 79220N)

Tudor Black Bay (ref. 79220N)

This model of the Black Bay has a 41mm case from side to side, just like the other ones. It has a lug-to-lug distance of 49.6mm and features an ETA 2824 movement with 38 hours of power reserve. 

This watch has a very classic dial, just like the ones found in old-school Rolexes, and even includes the original Tudor rose logo. The casing and bracelet of the stainless steel watch are well polished all around and have the inscription of Tudor at the bottom and in between the clasps. This timepiece costs between $5,000 to $6,000.

12. Rolex Turn-O-Graph Thunderbird (ref. 16264)

Rolex Turn-O-Graph Thunderbird (ref. 16264)

This is one of the later models of the Rolex Thunderbird, which was created for air force pilots back in the day. The watch is available in solid gold and stainless steel types. This timepiece is a late-80s, early-90s watch, so it doesn’t come with the fanciest features. It has a bi-directional bezel at the top, which moves freely without the usual clicks. 

This watch comes in different dial colors with bold indices and a tiny Roman numeral inscription at the top of the indices. It is a 36mm cased watch with a thickness of 11.5mm and a lug-to-lug distance of 44mm. You can find ones in good condition for around $7,000 to $8,000.


From my experience as a watch enthusiast, the affordability of a watch varies from person to person. A particular timepiece could have all the characteristics of a watch that holds value and sell at a price lesser than it is valued at. Despite that, a lot of people would still categorize such a watch as expensive. 

However, it can be seen from the list above that there are quality watches of different ranges that hold their value, and these watches could be enjoyed by people looking to sell them in the nearest future for the same or a higher cost, and people just looking to enjoy the feeling of a quality watch.

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