Watches are one of several EDC items that cross over into the “wearables” category–and while it’s perfectly easy to pull out your smartphone to check the time, a watch is still a very useful item that doubles as a stylish accessory. Lucky for us, many excellent watch brands make affordable every day watches. We personally like to have a few watches in rotation, and these inexpensive options might make a good start to a nicely curated collection. Photo via. No items were comped for this roundup. For an overview on this series, go here.
Swatch Originals LB170, $40.73
Swatch is known for making fun, reliable and occasionally experimental watches, which makes the LB170 a fitting choice for urbanites. The Swiss brand embodies modern European style, and although the photo here doesn’t show it, this minimal and clean watch actually comes with an extra long strap that can be wrapped twice around the wrist. The result is a comfortable and cool-looking watch that transitions seamlessly from a day at work to a night on the town. Available in various colors.
Casio DW9052-1V G-Shock, $42.92
Various models of G-Shocks have become standard military-issue watches, so it was a no-brainer to pick one for tactical folks. G-Shocks are hardy watches that withstand the elements and heavy-duty wear, but the brand has also become a popular choice in urban wear, too. Tactical in appearance, the signature Casio style evokes a sense of preparedness. This particular model is waterproof up to 200 meters, and is also shock-resistant. The alarm feature is useful as well.
Timex T49909 Expedition Rugged Field Watch, $50
Like the Buck knife we chose for the adventurer’s budget pick, Timex watches are classic choices for outdoorsy folks to wear during the work day and to a campsite afterward. This watch is water resistant for up to 50 meters, and comes equipped with an Indiglo nightlight to tell time in the dark. We suggest trying out different watch bands to accompany the nicely-designed face–we think a paracord strap would complement the design and add another useful item to the mix.
Nooka Zub Zibi Zirc, $49
Our first watch pick for the techie was a smartwatch–unfortunately, smartwatches are still slightly out of the $50 budget. We’re predicting that will change soon as more smartwatches emerge on the market, but for now, we like experimental watch brand Nooka’s stylistic digital watch. Also somewhat reminiscent of Battlestar Galactica, this watch has a unique interface–the surrounding circle counts the hours, and the digits in the center track minutes. Available in several colors.
May28th 08:16PM, $19.50
We fell in love at first sight with May28th’s unique, colorful and unconventional watch designs, and this deer head design fits perfectly with the rest of the trendsetter’s rustic-yet-contemporary EDC. There are no numbers on the watchface, but it doesn’t take long to get used to reading it quickly. Various animal designs are available, and perhaps it’s because we have antlers in our site logo, but we’re partial to the deer. And at $19.50, it’s also the cheapest watch on this list.