Are there any luxury watches around $200?

A visitor to watch-rankings.com asked the question in the comments on whether there are any luxury watches under $200.  We felt that this question was interesting enough to write the answer up as an article.

Let's examine the definition of "luxury".  Google defines it as "the state of great comfort and extravagant living" and "an inessential, desirable item that is expensive or difficult to obtain" while Merriam-Webster defines it as "a condition of abundance or great ease and comfort" and "something adding to pleasure or comfort but not absolutely necessary".

Taking into account those definitions, the answer is that there is no watch under $500 that can be considered a luxury watch.

However, there are nice, elegant watches that look classy and can be had for less than $500.  Before we get into what those watches are, let's start with a word of caution of what not to buy.

One should not get a luxury watch look-alike.  The classic example is to get a $100 Invicta Pro Diver Stainless Steel which looks like the $9,000 Rolex Submariner.  You do not want to be in a situation where you correct someone's first impression that he or she thought you were wearing a Rolex.  That makes you look like a wannabe and you do not want to take a character hit like that.  It is better to not even wear a watch at all.

It is also not recommended to wear fake watches or the inexpensive no-name brands.

Conversely, you want to have a watch that is elegant, has its own heritage and has some valuable attributes.  The first valuable material to consider is Sapphire crystal which will make the cost of the watch a minimum of $200.

It is recommended to have an automatic movement in the watch because that gives the watch a mechanical engineering sophistication.  There are two main automatic movement manufacturers which are typically found in many watch brands.  They are the Japanese Citizen Miyota and the Swiss ETA movements.  Seiko and Orient are also Japanese brands that make the movements used in their watches (in-house).  These automatic movements are mass-produced and do not represent any type of luxury levels except for offering the concept of being a mechanical automatic movement.

It is not required that the watch have any specific complications.  A day, date or a sun/moon complication is sufficient.

The brand recognition however can be an important attribute.  It helps if the brand name resonates with the audience.   The brand and model should have its own style and be able to stand on its own meaning that it does not copy the looks of a more expensive model as explained above  A good example of a watch that stands on its own is the Glycine Airman.  The watch has been a recognizable original from the the time it was released in 1953 and can be purchased between $500 to $1,000.

With that information in mind, finding a watch can begin by evaluating the brands that have the red heart symbol in the Watches Category such as Citizen, Jorg Gray and Orient or the 1 star Entry Luxury Category $500 - $1,500 such as Hamilton, Raymond Weil, Tissot, Christopher Ward, Seiko and Glycine.  Buying a previously owned watch is a viable option which opens the door to a larger selection from the 1 start Entry Luxury Category brands.

Below are some examples of watches that meet the criteria above.  An honorable mention is that the Apple iWatch does at least for the next year or two portray a certain level of luxury status especially when coupled with a newer model iPhone.

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