There are not many people, whether men or women, who dislike cars.
In fact, a lot of people take great pride in being car enthusiasts. They enjoy modifying and tuning their vehicles to make them the best they can be. There’s a whole subculture of car enthusiasts who love nothing more than spending their weekends at car shows and drag races.
For some, cars are simply a means to an end. They need them to get to work or take their kids to school. But for many, cars are a passion. And that’s what makes the car culture so special. It’s a community of people who share a common interest and love for all things automotive.
One of the coolest gadgets a car (or racing) fan can get is a proper wristwatch. The category of the so-called racing watches is growing in stature and, as a fan, you’ll definitely want one of these watches to help keep track of your races or just show off your love for cars.
While it’s true that many racing watches are quite expensive, there are some cheap gems to be found if you know where to look.
To save you some time, we’ve put together this list of the 10 best affordable watches for car enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for a classic timepiece to wear while driving or something more sporty to help keep track of your lap times, we’ve got you covered.
So take a look at our picks and get ready to hit the open road in style!
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Affordable Watches for Car Enthusiasts (Top 3)
Introducing the BMW classic chronograph, a sophisticated and sporty timepiece that draws inspiration from the German automaker’s commitment to performance and design.
Although BMW isn’t really known for a large collection of brilliantly crafted timepieces, the few models that are available should be more than tempting for car enthusiasts.
BMW700 is a 42mm watch that features a blue dial with silver-tone stick indexes and the BMW logo at noon o’clock. The scratch-resistant mineral crystal glass protects the dial, while the tachymeter top ring and chronograph sub-dials add a touch of racing flair. On each side of the crown, there are two pushers responsible for operating the chronograph/tachymeter feature. Furthermore, the timepiece features a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock.
With the presence of an elegant brown leather strap with a classic tang buckle closure, the watch boasts quite a versatile design, making it perfect for everyday wear or dressing up for a night out.
The timepiece is powered by a reliable Japanese quartz movement, ensuring the accuracy of +/- 15 seconds/month.
Last but not least, the watch is water-resistant up to 50m making it a fairly safe choice for short immersions in water.
Next up we have an excellent racing-inspired model from one of the most-respected Japanese watchmakers, Citizen.
While targeting the aforementioned BMW timepiece might be quite a treat for car enthusiasts, if you want a brilliantly-crafted model from a world-renowned brand, opting for a name like Citizen makes a lot of sense.
Citizen CA0649-14E you see above, commonly known as Citizen Brycen, has anything you might expect from a proper racing watch. And it’s one of the most affordable models on the list!
This racing-themed timepiece features a stainless steel case (44mm diameter & 17mm thickness) with a black leather strap, making it both stylish and sturdy. The fixed bezel with tachymeter markings is perfect for those who love to monitor their performance, while the black dial with luminous hands and markers makes it easy to read in any light condition. Plus, the minute markers around the outer rim add an extra touch of style.
The watch also boasts a date display at the 3 o’clock position. While discussing this racing watch, it’s impossible not to mention the chronograph function. The three chronograph sub-dials display:
- 60 seconds
- 60 minutes
- 24 hours
What distinguishes a lion’s share of Citizen watches is the fact that they’re solar-powered. Utilizing the patented Eco-Drive technology, Citizen watches can provide as many as 20 years of hassle-free performance without worrying about battery replacement. The watch utilizes Japanese quartz movement so accuracy is on point as well.
On the durability front, there’s not a lot we can point a finger at, either. The watch’s face is protected by a scratch-resistant mineral crystal while the timepiece is also water-resistant up to 100m.
If you’d like to learn more about Citizen watches, read our Citizen brand review.
If you’re willing to dig deeper into your pockets, you can get yourself an excellent Swiss-made racing watch.
It’s hardly a secret that Swiss watches are still the go-to type amongst watch aficionados as they offer arguably the most complex, long-lasting movements. When it comes to affordable Swiss watchmakers, there are not many that can outdo Tissot.
What’s interesting, Tissot is one of the few Swiss brands that have a collection dedicated strictly to car enthusiasts. The Tissot T-Race line is full of head-turning racing watches that won’t cost an arm and a leg and yet provide excellent value.
Tissot T1154172705100 (yes, we wish Tissot model names were easier to remember as well) is a precision timepiece designed for the modern daredevil. With a robust stainless steel case measuring 43mm in diameter/12mm in thickness and a red rubber strap, it’s perfect for car enthusiasts or anyone who wants a stylish, high-performance watch.
The chronograph and tachymeter functions let you track your speed and performance, while the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass ensures your watch stays in perfect condition. Sapphire crystal is the most durable form of glass used in timepieces and is utilized by all top-end watchmakers. Additionally, the crystal comes with an anti-reflective coating which at times makes you forget it’s even there!
The inclusion of luminous hands and markers makes it easy to keep track of time even in low-light conditions. The tachymeter and minute markings around the outer rim help you keep track of speed and time elapsed, while the date display at the 3 o’clock position ensures you never miss a date. And with Swiss quartz movement, you can be sure that this watch will keep ticking no matter what.
Last but not least, the watch is water-resistant up to 100m which also makes it a safe companion during swimming sessions.
If you’d like to learn more about Tissot, reading our Tissot brand review is advised.
Affordable Racing Watches: Alternatives
If none of the top 3 racing watches discussed above caters to your taste, no need to panic! Below you will find as many as 6 alternative models that are more than capable of doing the job.
4. Citizen JW0139-05L
We open up the alternative list of affordable watches for car enthusiasts with another excellent racing model from Citizen.
Citizen JW0139-05L is an even more feature-rich model than the first watch from the brand discussed in the article but it’s also considerably more expensive.
Due to the combination of blue and orange colors, the model grabs attention effortlessly. It features a 13,5mm thick stainless steel case with a diameter of 46mm. The band is made from leather and includes eye-catching orange stitching. Completing the unique look is a blue ion-plated bezel.
This Citizen model has probably the busily-arranged dial of all racing watches on the list. Hence, the number of functions is also quite long. The three chronograph sub-dials positioned in the upper part of the dial resemble a racing car dashboard and can take various measurements. The chronograph function is accurate to 1/1000 of a second.
Other functions offered by this model include:
- Perpetual Calendar
- Average Speed Calculation
- Split Lap Time
- 20-lap Memory
- World Time (31 time zones)
- 99-minute Countdown Timer
Unsurprisingly, the watch utilizes Citizen’s Eco-Drive movement. Fuelled by any light, the watch can last more than 20 years without a battery replacement. The quartz movement is Japanese and delivers excellent accuracy results (± 15 seconds/month).
Despite the fancy look, the watch is also incredibly rugged. The dial has the best possible protection in the form of sapphire crystal glass and the 20ATM/200m water resistance ensures there’s a minimum risk of water-related damage.
5. Ferrari 0830260
Next to BMW, Ferrari is another world-renowned car manufacturer that has a growing collection of attention-grabbing timepieces. As you’d expect, all timepieces pay homage to Ferrari sports cars.
0830260 model you see above is the first of the two Ferrari Scuderia timepieces included on today’s list of affordable watches for car enthusiasts. The watch comes with a 46mm stainless steel case that measures just 12mm in thickness. The strap is made from silicone and uses a standard tang buckle closure.
The bezel is stationary and doesn’t include the tachymeter function. However, the timepiece offers a sporty chronograph engine measuring 60 seconds, 30 minutes and 24 hours. Additionally, at three o’clock located is a date window. Next to the window, you will find the beautiful Ferrari logo.
The watch is fairly well constructed and should easily last years. The presence of durable mineral glass goes a long way in protecting the face from cracks and scratches. The water resistance rating could have been better, however. The model is water-resistant up to 50m which means it’s not the best idea to use it while in the water.
The good news is, with a reliable Japanese quartz mechanism, the model should provide years of accurate timekeeping.
6. Invicta 1517
There are affordable watches for car enthusiasts and REALLY affordable watches for car enthusiasts. If you’re shopping on a tight budget but still want a reliable, unique-looking racing watch, look no further. Invicta provides plenty of options at bargain-basement pricing.
Invicta 1517, commonly known as the “I Force”, is one of the best-selling timepieces racing timepieces in the American brand’s offer. Thanks to the combination of sporty features and a black canvas strap, the watch is perfectly suitable for different occasions. The case has a diameter of 46 and measures 12,6mm in thickness.
The watch has no rotating bezel but the tachymeter scale is engraved on the outer rim of the dial. Speaking of the dial, it’s fair to admit that it’s busily arranged and some even think it’s a tad difficult to read because of all the cramped-in features. Apart from the tachymeter scale, it also includes three chronograph sub-dials (positioned at 3, 6 and 12 o’clock) and a date display window at 4 o’clock.
The chronograph measures 60 minutes, 60 seconds, and 1/10 seconds. What’s quite unique about this model, the chronograph pushers and the main crown are located on the left side of the bezel.
Despite the low price, the watch is pretty solid. It has mineral crystal glass, a screwed-in crown and pushers, as well as decent protection against water-related damage – it’s water-resistant up to 100m.
Like all battery-powered Invicta watches, it’s powered by a reliable Japanese quartz movement.
You can learn more about the brand by reading our in-depth review of Invicta watches.
7. Seiko SSB345P1
Along with Citizen, Seiko is arguably the best value watchmaker originating from Japan.
Although the Tokyo-based brand isn’t particularly known for a massive collection of racing watches, the few models that are available are bang for your buck.
The SSB345P1 model is one of the most affordable Seiko watches with a car-inspired design. Also, it’s the first all-stainless steel watch on the list. Size-wise, it’s a prime example of a medium-sized timepiece. The case measures 44mm in diameter and 13mm in height. It features a blue tachymeter bezel and a 3-link stainless steel bracelet with a push-button deployment clasp.
The face looks pretty busy thanks to the large chronograph sub-dials that measure up to 60 minutes of elapsed time in 1/5-second increments. There’s also a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock. Excellent legibility is ensured thanks to the large hour indices that glow in the dark. The minute and hour hands are also luminescent.
When it comes to the dial window, Seiko uses its patented Hardlex crystal glass. Durability-wise, it’s closer to a mineral crystal than sapphire. All things considered, it’s still an ultra-reliable solution at this price. Adding to its ruggedness, the watch has a water resistance rating of up to 100m.
Finally yet importantly, Seiko is as well known for its watches as it is for its movements. It’s one of the most respected Japanese movement manufacturers, hence it’s no wonder Seiko SSB345P1 is powered by an ultra-reliable quartz mechanism. The watch is unlikely to lose/gain more than 15 seconds/per month.
8. Ferrari 0830388
And here we have the earlier-promised second watch from Scuderia Ferrari.
Ferrari 0830388 timepiece has a contrasting black-and-blue theme which grabs attention as easily as the first model on the list.
There’s a minimal difference when it comes to the size. This watch has a case measuring 45mm in diameter and just under 12mm in thickness. Akin to the previous watch, it has a stationary bezel. This model can be considered slightly more elegant due to the leather strap which has a standard buckle closure.
The blue face of the watch creates a striking combination with the black band and bezel. The hour markers, as well as the hands, are painted black. While at first they might seem a bit difficult to read in darker conditions, all elements glow in the dark.
The watch includes three chronograph sub-dials positioned at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. Starting from the former, they measure 24 hours, 60 seconds, and 30 minutes. The model also has a date window sandwiched between 4 and 5 o’clock. In the case of this model, the Ferrari logo is at noon o’clock.
The two Scuderia Ferrari watches share an equally solid glass type – mineral crystal, as well as the same protection against water damage. The timepiece is water-resistant up to 50m which means it’s suitable for short periods of recreational swimming.
It’s yet another battery-powered watch on the list using a Japanese quartz movement.
Finally, closing today’s list of top 9 affordable watches for car enthusiasts is this neat-looking model from Casio.
In fact, the watch in question here belongs to Casio Edifice which is Casio’s sub-brand. These watches tend to stand out from regular Casios (especially G-Shocks) with their more elegant appearance. Casio EFV-550D-7AVCR you see above seems to be backing up this theory with aplomb.
The watch boasts an all-stainless steel design that is perfectly suitable for different kinds of occasions. The timepiece wears relatively big as the case diameter sits at 47mm. It’s 12mm thick. The stainless steel bracelet is made up of 3 links and uses a deployment closure.
The case includes a black stationary bezel that plays a mostly decorative role. It’s the white dial where you can find all the cool functions.
The snow-white face includes massive luminescent hands pointing to baton hour markers that also glow in the dark. As befits a proper racing watch, it’s equipped with a chronograph function. The timers are positioned at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock and measure 60 seconds, 60 minutes and 1/10 second, respectively. Another useful feature of this watch is the date window at 4 o’clock.
The watch is well-protected from damage thanks to being water-resistant up to 100m and having a mineral crystal dial window.
On the other hand, the Japanese quartz movement guarantees excellent accuracy.