cool, durable, and precise automatic watches around $100~200... Orient, Seiko, Bulova?

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Forum topic by Millo posted 03-06-2013 08:19 PM 7466 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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543 posts in 3078 days

03-06-2013 08:19 PM

Have you guys had any experinces with automatic watches under $200, preferably under $150? I’ve read/heard mixed things about various brands/models. I gave my then-girlfriend a gorgeous Invicta one years ago and it was crap, was never accurate and then it just stopped working. Worst gift ever. Have you had first-hand experinece with Orient, Seiko, Hamilton, Bulova ones? Tissot, etc are way outta my league. I just want a nice-looking watch to wear for gigs (musician), meetings with customers, special occasions. No need for chronograph or diving bezels, time and calendar are just fine.

Maybe an automatic movement is out of the question is I’m thinking of using this more as a dress watch, huh? I was also thinking of trying to build a swinging, weithted arm to swing the watch on to wind it.

...Any other recommendations with other movements? Value, precision, durability and good looks are the priorities, in that order.

10 replies so far

View JoeinGa's profile


7736 posts in 2035 days

#1 posted 03-06-2013 08:28 PM

Have you looked at the Fossil line? Think I paid under $75 for one a few years back (when I needed one for a job I was at) Only wore it for less than a year but it was fine. Looks nice enough to wear as a dress watch, yet was rugged enough to be an everyday watch.

It still sitting on my dresser, I havent felt the need to wear a watch in several years

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View TravisH's profile


583 posts in 1963 days

#2 posted 03-06-2013 10:24 PM

I have worn a Citizen Eco Drive now for about 9 years and no issues at all. Typically over the price range you mentioned but I have seen a few styles dip into that price so might be worth looking at.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2999 days

#3 posted 03-07-2013 12:32 AM

Full disclaimer up front: I own a Jewelry store and I sell Citizen Eco Drive watches.

Now with that out of the way, first, I’m not trying to sell anything here, I just have my own opinion based on 30 years experience and, well, you asked for advise.

Fossil watches are hated by most jewelers, in my acquaintance, because the damn backs are horrible to get off and rarely go back on any better. I charge extra to work on a Fossil, and many places won’t work on them at all. But, they are stylish, if sometimes tacky. My wife has a couple, not bought from me, and they seem to hold up pretty well. That’s a good thing because I will probably not offer to replace her battery when it dies.

My business partner has a Rolex. Its been repaired twice since I have known him. My Casio Pathfinder digital has never been touched in years, not even to set the date, because it’s programmed through 2032 or something. He spent $6000 on his choice of watches, I spent $150.. I can figure the math on that one fairly quickly.

I’ve never had a Citizen watch returned that I have sold. They make a good product in my opinion and are competitively priced.

I can’t help but chuckle when I take the backs off some of these supposedly fine watches that folks buy from magazine ads. You know, the ones with a nautical theme. They have a tiny little plastic movement inside, held in place with a big old plastic spacer. Then the case is huge and looks like you could drive a car over it. I can buy replacement internals for those things for $3.50. And I bet some of them were bought for 100X that.

Good watches usually come from retail jewelers because the manufacturers want their products sold by knowledgeable reps who will support their products.

I don’t recommend an automatic watch, with a Rolex type movement that has an eccentric weighted wheel inside to wind its spring from body movement, for anyone who is looking for a watch to wear to work in. They all have a weak point in the bearings that support that weight. At least that’s my opinion.

I personally prefer a full digital, or at least a quartz movement watch and I think anything with an analog movement is a giant leap backwards in accuracy and functionality in the name of fashion.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2951 days

#4 posted 03-07-2013 12:35 AM

I spent $6.00 on my last wristwatch. Then I got a cell phone and don’t even wear a watch.

Not that this has anything to do with woodworking.

-- Life is good.

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 3078 days

#5 posted 03-07-2013 02:03 AM

Very cool. Thanks everyone.

Yeah, I spent about $25 on my last watch and had it until the band broke about 15-18 months ago. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s best to have a watch for what I do and not have to check the phone to keep time. The most I’ve spent on a watch was about $35 back when I was like 16 or so. I’ve only had Casios and Timex. I spent many years w/o a watch, then spent many years with ONE Casio, maybe like 7 yrs. and I got rid of it b/c it was so scratched it was ridiculous. The last few (3, maybe?) I’ve had hadn’t made it to their 2nd year w/o having their bands getting broken and getting ridiculously scratched, and this is recently when I don’t really hike anymore, am older and more careful, etc.

I’ll go get another spots watch one of these days (started running again—geez, it’s tough to start over) for everyday use, for lessons with my many ADD and ADHD and blah blah blah students, but want something dressier, yes, essentially for aesthetic reasons.

I had been looking at these: ....might stay away from the molded titanium band…

....from the reviews I’m leaning towards the citizen w/ the white dial, and some of the orient ones. I like the first, but that one has no reviews. I haven’t really looked at any non-automatic ones.

But yeah, if I’m only going to wear it a for gigs and meetings, maybe I should get a quartz, so there you go, hahaha… what a pointless exercise, looking at the previous automatics.

Michael: Thanks so much for sharing your opinions!

I had also looked at a Relic/Fossil skeleton watch. I think it’s around $100. Things is, I kinda don’t trust that brand, because I think instead of being a watch brand that did some other accesories, it’s a fashion accesories brand that has watch lines. Maybe I’m way off here, but that’s what I always thought.

On to check out the quartz ones… Peeps, feel free to keep recommending, or not.

View muleskinner's profile


897 posts in 2464 days

#6 posted 03-07-2013 02:14 AM

I’m like Howie. I haven’t worn a watch in probably 15 years thanks to the cell phone. In fact my cell phone’s primary function is as a timepiece. The last watch I wore was a cheapo Casio with a plastic band. It was also the most dependable watch I’d owned.

Maybe Crank can tell us if watch sales have declined with the proliferation of cell phones.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2980 days

#7 posted 03-07-2013 02:36 AM

Yep, $200 Seiko diver’s watch. Self winding, very nice watch. Rugged; I jumped it at least a dozen times. Has a nice crystal. Good watch.

-- Mike

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2999 days

#8 posted 03-07-2013 02:38 AM

That’s a good price on the Eco drive BM8240-03E.
You mentioned you have a problem with scratching the crystals so I would recommend a sapphire crystal. they are much more durable.
The Citizen BM7100-16E is a similar looking watch, with water resistance to 100 meters, and a sapphire crystal.
It retails at $250, but if your Amazon source has that model and the same markdown as the one you listed you can probably get it for $150.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


4883 posts in 2437 days

#9 posted 03-07-2013 02:39 AM

Same, as a auto mechanic rings and watches do not mix. 25 years later still do not wear a watch. I did have a Dakota for 3 years in Iraq, that worked well considering what I put it through. As for the cell phone, nope sits in my pants that I change into and wear home each day. :) Much cheaper to have pay as you go like in my wife’s country. No use, NO pay.. (laughing)

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2951 days

#10 posted 03-07-2013 12:19 PM

I carried a seven jewel Elgin pocket watch for years. All thru Vietnam and working until I retired. Other than having it cleaned once in a while it ran perfect. I retired it to a place of honor along with my Grandad’s pocket watch(only thing of value he ever owned). Since I retired time isn’t really important to me most of the time.

-- Life is good.

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