As luxury watches become rarer, here are some affordable brands to get that luxury look

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Do affordable watches look luxurious?

With in progress supply chain issues, nearly every industry and every market is feeling the impact. Luxury watches, in particular, are becoming increasingly rare. Meanwhile, consumers are turning to affordable watches with a luxurious look.

Affordable or fashionable watches are distinctly different from luxury watches in that they are made with inexpensive materials. While that made them a fraction of the price of their expensive counterparts, many cost-conscious consumers found they lacked the inexpensive aesthetics they expected. Instead, many of these styles have enviable appeal.

What to know about buying affordable watches

Which watches are affordable?

Affordable watches fall into a category called fashion watches, many of which are made by reputable brands and designers. This means that they are made with inexpensive materials, such as stainless steel and titanium.

Quality is hit and miss with affordable watches. Some styles are cheaply made with ill-fitting components and eventually break after minimal wear. However several affordable watches have sophisticated details that make them look more expensive than they are.

What features of the watch look luxurious?

Affordable watches are often made with inexpensive materials that look like more expensive watches.

  • Embellishments: Rhinestones and Swarovski crystals, for example, usually replace diamonds and gemstones on watch dials and cases. However, some affordable watches have diamond or gemstone accents.
  • Golden tone: Watch bands will not be made from real gold. Instead, they often have gold finishes on the stainless steel.
  • Strap style: Embellished bracelets are particularly popular among fashion watches, and bracelet, bangle, and mesh styles are among the most popular. Some models also have thin leather or suede straps.
  • Closures: Affordable watches often have strap closures imprinted with designer logos to give them a polished look.
  • Matching accessories: It is common for fashion watches to be sold in sets with matching accessories, including bangles, earrings, cufflinks or interchangeable bracelets.

Do affordable watches have to be flashy to look expensive?

Although some flashy watches may seem more expensive than they are, their ostentatious designs sometimes make them look cheap. Instead, some people gravitate toward styles with basic designs and minimal embellishments. In these watches, simplicity exudes refinement and they are often seen as sophisticated and understated accessories.

Which affordable brands offer watches with a luxurious look?

Many popular designers and accessory brands now offer watches with high aesthetic value, including Michael Kors, Coach, Kate Spade and Hugo Boss. Although these brands are made with inexpensive materials, the build quality is significantly better than the cheaper options.

There are also higher class watch brands that aren’t technically luxurious, but they have fine construction and are considered high-end pieces. Boulova, Citizen, Movado, Tissot and Victorinox Swiss Army are well made and share some of the styles of luxury watches. Many of them are backed by better manufacturer warranties and will last for years, if not decades, of wear.

How much you can expect to spend on affordable watches that look expensive

Typically, entry-level luxury watches start at $1,000 – and anything below that is considered affordable. That said, affordable is a subjective term. Simple styles cost between $40 and $150, while quality watches with more embellishments cost between $200 and $500. Finer watches, including those from reputable watch brands, cost between $600 and $950.

The best affordable watches with a luxury look

Bulova Men’s Two-Tone Chronograph Wrist Watch

Popular as an everyday watch, this men’s Bulova has an easy-to-read dial and is water resistant to 30 meters.

Sold by Macy’s

Michael Kors Ladies Gold Pyper Watch

Michael Kors Ladies Gold Pyper Watch

The chic and modern Pyper watch has an understated design that is comfortable to wear for work or play.

Sold by Macy’s

Citizen Eco-Drive Axiom Mens Black Ion Plated Watch

Citizen Eco-Drive Axiom Black Ion-Plated Men’s Watch

Black watches are all the rage, and this sleek design from Citizen is a statement option that relies on natural or artificial light for power — never batteries.

Sold by Macy’s

Bulova Rubaiyat Diamond Rose Gold-Tone Women's Watch

Bulova Rubaiyat Women’s Watch with Diamonds and Rose Gold

Rubaiyat’s graceful design features a genuine diamond accented dial that shimmers and elevates the design to a dress watch.

Sold by Macy’s

Boss By Hugo Boss Chronograph Grand Prix Watch

Boss By Hugo Boss Chronograph Grand Prix Watch

The mid-range Hugo Boss Grand Prix is ​​a sporty style that exudes luxury with a shiny stainless steel bracelet and sleek bezel.

Sold by Amazon

JBW Mondrian Women's 18K Gold Plated Diamond Watch

JBW Mondrian Women’s 18K Gold Plated Diamond Watch

If you’re looking for eye-catching style, this over-the-top JBW watch is covered in Swarovski crystals elegantly dressed around a green dial.

Sold by Macy’s

Michael Kors Chronograph Lexington Two-Tone Watch

Michael Kors Chronograph Lexington Two-Tone Watch

A futuristic design, this mixed metal Michael Kors watch has a smoky aesthetic with romantic undertones of rose gold accents.

Sold by Macy’s

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