7 affordable designer watches for the modern man

Jack Spade Watch TQM

It’s an undisputable theory that men love watches – almost as much as sports and beer. Maybe it’s because we like to be precise or we like to tinker with any little thing that’s remotely-technological. Some know their watched better than others but what do you do when your budget can’t keep up with your Rolex fantasies? I guess you have to settle for something less complex but also less destructive worries about its integrity. Modern men like to have quality products so shopping for no-name watches at the weekly market isn’t a welcomed option.

Nevermind, luckily there are plenty of designer brands that fill that void between original tourbillons and gumball machine watches. Whether it’s top brands like Gucci or bridge-brands like Michael Kors, they all have a decent range of watches for all tastes for under 500$. Maybe you won’t be bragging to your friends about the in-house movement and the precious stones (or the lack of) but they will do a dignified job and accurately serve your daily activities. Plus it’s still a designer watch!

Here are some of my favourite timepieces, with an item for every style, but they all offer a diverse collection of watches to choose from.

Jack Spade Norton 2-Eye Chronograph Watch

If you’re going for rugged simplicity, this classy Jack Spade piece features a black dial with white hand counters in a luminescent rose gold case with a scratch-resistant sapphire case – simple yet attractive and resistant to scratches and water. The strap is black Italian leather and gives the watch a discrete understated look while the large numbers assure a good visibility; a decent number of features for $428.

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Marc Jacobs Danny Bracelet 43MM

Marc Jacobs has an even better offer: The Daniel Watch. It’s a different kind of classic, with a stainless steel bracelet in gunmetal tone (manly, right?) and 43mm case. Unlike most watches of this sort, the dial is kept simple and practical. No complicated counters or chunky buttons; this watch has a clean sun-ray silver face with gunmetal indexes and dials. The large hour indicators are pleasant and simple and it gives the watch an understated tone. Wear it at work, at a date, wherever you’d like – it’s versatile and a bargain for only $275.

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Michael Kors Oversize Brown Leather Mercer Chronograph Watch

Another chronograph movement, this time with a bolder design and an even lower price at $225. 45mm case once again, a silver bezel and a white dial with black accents and indicators. The black oversized details look quite striking against the light background so the brown leather strap is a tasteful and non-distracting addition. Besides its usual time and date dials, is also has a useful stopwatch function.

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Burberry Swiss Smooth Brown Leather Strap 38mm

Everybody loves a classic and Burberry‘s notorious pattern certainly is one. But when it’s on a watch, it gives it a certain modern vibe without being overbearing. Maybe the inspiration from London’s skyline of modern and classic architecture helps with the looks too. The Trench dial with sunray and check hydraulic stamped finish will probably get you a lot of compliments, particularly from knowing ladies. At $395 it comes with a soft leather strap, a gold-plated stainless steel case and that famous logo.

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Jack Spade Conway 38mm Watch

A watch for an alternative lifestyle. The sporty look is given by the bright orange dial with silver accents and the grey NATO strap constructed in webbing. An interesting Ronda Swiss made caliber 717 movement is placed inside the polished case with scratch-resistant sapphire glass, making the case for an active lifestyle. It’s also 5 ATM water-resistant and costs only $298.

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Marc Jacobs Jimmy Strap 43MM

At the surprisingly reasonable price of $200, this Marc Jacobs timepiece is one of my favourite pieces. It’s not fancy and has no show-stopping technical innovations but it’s a modern piece for a modern man. Gunmetal case, a discrete olive stripe textured with illuminating dials and blue indexes for a better visibility are some of the noteworthy features on this watch. It’s simple yet the mix of dark tones and bright details make it stand out just enough.

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Versace Black and Steel V Race GMT 46 mm

Saving the best for last (in this case best means the most noteworthy looks), I present to you the most affordable item in Versace’s collection. In their typical fashion, it’s not some understated neutral piece but a vibrant and dynamic design with a powerful vibe. A large 46mm case with massive loops and ergonomic pushers are the main features, while the embossed Medusa logo serves to remind you of its famous designer. It has a Swiss Made quartz movement with dual time and alarm functionalities. At $1.275 it’s a bit out of the price range I had in mind but it does include shipping and tax costs and it’s a great choice for a modern man who wants to prove his power. You can compare prices for various (trustworthy) Versace online stores and if you’re lucky you might get a better offer.

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