Swiss automatic watches are some of the most finely crafted and popular watches in the world.
There is something about a Swiss automatic watch that just captivates people. Maybe it is the history behind them or the craftsmanship that goes into making each one, but these watches have a special aura about them.
Above all, they are known for their accuracy, durability, and beauty. If you’re looking for a watch that will last you a lifetime and always keep perfect time, a Swiss automatic is the way to go.
Despite all the plaudits, however, it’s undeniable that timepieces with Swiss-made complications aren’t the cheapest which turns out to be a stumbling block for many enthusiasts. Automatic watches from some of the more refined Swiss watchmakers can cost you well into five or even six figures!
With that said, there’s excellent value to be found in mid-budget Swiss watches. It’s a point we will do our best to prove as today’s article will cover the best Swiss automatic watches under $500.
If you’re thinking about buying a Swiss automatic watch without breaking the bank, be sure to read on!
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Best Swiss Automatic Watches Under $500 (Top 5 Overview)
Note: At the time of writing, all watches discussed in the article were available for $500 or less. However, prices do fluctuate. If you have noticed one of the products exceeds the $500 price point, please let us know in the comment section at the bottom of the article.
Best Swiss Automatic Under 500 (Top 5 Reviewed)
We open up the list with what is in our opinion the best value Swiss automatic under 500 bucks – Tissot T1064071103101.
As far as affordable Swiss automatic watches go, Tissot is a name that always seems to come up. The brand has been around since 1853 and is one of the few Swiss watchmakers with the ability to produce both affordable and luxurious timepieces.
- Read Also: Tissot Brand Review
The Tissot T1064071103101 is an excellent example of the former as it offers impeccable Swiss craftsmanship at a very reasonable price point.
The design is classy and elegant, with just a hint of sportiness. The 42.5mm case (12.7mm thick) is made of 316L stainless steel and comes with a beautiful brushed effect – as does the 3-link bracelet with a butterfly clasp. The watch has a stainless steel bezel with an aluminum ring. The watch’s caseback is transparent which allows you to peek at the intricate workings of the automatic movement.
When it comes to the dial, it’s fairly minimalistic – especially when compared to a large chunk of Tissot watches which boast much sportier and contemporary designs.
The analog dial has a white background which combines neatly with black hands and index hour markers. Around the outer rim, you will also find minute markers. The hour and minute hands, as well as hour indices, are luminescent for easy reading after dusk. At three o’clock there’s a date window, while at the noon o’clock the Tissot logo.
At six o’clock you can see the “Swissmatic” inscription which is a clear indication that the watch uses one of the highest-rated Swiss automatic movements offered in this price range. Timepieces powered by Swissmatic calibers offer superior accuracy and a highly impressive power reserve (in the case of this model, it’s 72 hours).
There’s not much to point a finger at in terms of durability, either. Tissot T1064071103101 comes with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal (the hardest glass used in watches). The watch is also water-resistant up to 100m.
Next up we have another excellent mid-budget Swiss automatic – the Mido M86004214.
Mido is a Swiss watchmaker with an interesting history. The brand was founded in 1918 by Georges Schaeren and was originally meant to be a distribution company for ETA movements. In 1934, however, Schaeren decided to produce his own timepieces.
The company was later acquired by the Swatch Group but remained an independent entity. Mido is currently headquartered in Zurich and continues to be a popular choice amongst aficionados looking for affordable Swiss movements.
The Mido M86004214 is a sleek and elegant Swiss automatic watch under $500 that will fit both casual and formal occasions with ease.
The timepiece comes with a polished stainless steel case which measures 38mm in diameter and just 9mm in thickness, making it an awesome choice for people with slender wrists. An attribute that makes the watch easily the most elegant of all 5 discussed in the article is the black leather strap which comes with a deployment clasp closure. Akin to the Tissot model above, this Mido watch has a see-through caseback displaying the workings of the movement.
The strap isn’t the only thing that’s contributing to the stylish design – the face does just as good a job! The classic, ever-green combination of a white dial with black numerals & silver-tone hands is on full display. What’s more, the timepiece has Roman hour numerals which give this model a vintage vibe.
The slightly domed sapphire crystal adds a touch of refinement, while the 50m water resistance means you can wear the watch without having to worry about damaging it in the rain or while going through your everyday chores.
If a watch with real class and elegance is what you’re looking for, the Mido M86004214 should definitely be on your radar.
The next watch on our list is the Rado Diastar R12408633 – and it’s a real stunner, make no mistake about it.
Rado is a Swiss brand that needs little to no introduction in the world of watches. The company was founded back in 1917 and has been making waves ever since. Rado is most commonly associated with their pioneering use of ceramic in watchmaking.
- Read Also: Rado Brand Review
The Rado Diastar R12408633 is a luxurious Swiss automatic watch that will definitely turn heads when worn. The Diastar was first released in 1957 and has since become one of the most iconic models in Rado’s lineup. Because of its cult status, the brand continues to release new versions of the timepiece, each more beautiful than the last.
The Rado Diastar R12408633 is no exception.
This watch comes with a silver-tone polished stainless steel case and bezel. The case measures 43mm in diameter and is 11mm thick. Unlike the previous two models on the list, the Diastar has a solid caseback so you won’t be able to see the movement in action. The timepiece boasts a beautiful, two-tone stainless steel bracelet (silver-tone and gold PVD) with a deployment clasp.
Moving on to the watch’s face, the Rado Diastar is probably the biggest attention-grabber of all timepieces listed in the article. The champagne-colored dial has luminous gold-tone hands and genuine diamonds as hour markers. There are also minute markers around the outer rim as well as a unique-looking day and date display window at 6 o’clock. All elements have the best possible protection against damage in the form of sapphire crystal glass.
When it comes to the movement, the Diastar utilizes a 25-jewel movement in the form of ETA Caliber 2836-2. It’s an ultra-reliable Swiss automatic movement with a power reserve of approximately 40 hours and accuracy of around +/- 5 seconds/day.
Last but not least, the Diastar is water-resistant up to 100m.
Glycine Combat Sub
If you’re looking for a Swiss automatic watch under $500 that’s an excellent companion during dive trips, the Glycine GL0274 should definitely be on your radar.
Glycine is a Swiss watchmaking brand with a rich history dating back all the way to 1914 when the company was founded in Biel, Switzerland. The brand has been responsible for some of the most iconic timepieces in the industry, such as the legendary Combat Sub which was introduced in 1962.
- Read Also: Glycine Brand Review
The Glycine GL0274 is one of the latest additions to the iconic Combat Sub line.
Glycine Combat SUB is a unique-looking dive timepiece that impresses with its design and the materials from which it was made. The case measures 46mm in diameter and 10,5mm in thickness, and it’s made from silver-tone stainless steel. The strap is cut from high-quality black rubber and comes with standard buckle closure.
- Related: Top Dive Watches Under $200
The black dial is covered with anti-reflective sapphire glass, which minimizes the intensity of reflected light and ensures excellent protection against cracks and scratches. The watch is also equipped with a rotating bezel, a screw-down caseback and a crown, a date display of the days of the month, placed around 3 o’clock, and hands and indexes covered with a luminescent coating. The outer rim of the dial features a minute and second markers while the inner part has military time markings.
The Glycine Combat Sub 46 Automatic GL0274 men’s watch is a model designed for active people. The great advantage of this device is its water resistance to the level of 300m, thanks to which water sports enthusiasts will also be satisfied with it.
The Swiss automatic movement powering this model is Sellita SW 200. It’s a 26-jewel movement with a power reserve of roughly 38 hours and accuracy of +/- 6 seconds/day.
Finally, closing the list of top Swiss automatic watches under 500 is a Hamilton model for all enthusiasts of field watches.
The Hamilton H69439931 is a beautiful, vintage-inspired timepiece that will look great with both formal and casual outfits. Its design perfectly replicates the original style of World War I-era watches, with a few modern elements added for improved functionality.
The case of the H69439931 is made from brushed stainless steel and it measures 38mm in diameter and just 9mm in thickness. This makes it one of the most compact watches on the list, which is perfect for people with smaller wrists.
Probably the biggest standout feature of this excellent field watch is the NATO strap. The one used with this model is fitting for this military-styled timepiece (keep in mind that soldiers first received NATO straps during the Second World War.). The strap is mostly olive-colored but it also has dark brown leather accents such as the strap holes where wear is more common.
When it comes to the watch face, it’s a real match made in heaven for the fans of field watches. Huge white Arabic numerals and large minute marks are painted on the matte, rich-texture dial. For visibility in the dark, we have painted bright masses on the triangles that designate each five-minute interval.
Naturally, the hands are painted in white to contrast with the black background and feature military-inspired designs. To keep the dial as legible and as clean as possible, Hamilton Khaki is the only watch on the list that doesn’t feature a date window.
As for the movement, the watch uses ETA 2801.2. It’s an ultra-reliable Swiss automatic movement with 19 jewels, a 42-hour power reserve, and an accuracy of +/- 6 seconds per day.
Last but not least, the watch is water-resistant up to 50m, which is more than enough for everyday activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
We hope that the list of top Swiss automatic watches under 500 has given you some ideas for your next timepiece. To make sure you squeeze as much knowledge as possible from this guide, below are some frequently asked questions about Swiss automatic watches.
What is the most reliable automatic watch movement?
Swiss automatic movements are the go-to choice when it comes to reliability. The two most popular manufacturers of these movements are ETA and Sellita. Both produce excellent quality movements that will serve you well for many years to come.
While Japanese automatic calibers are not as reputable as their Swiss counterparts, there are still some great Japanese movements out there. The largest chunk of reliable automatic calibers is manufactured by Seiko.
Which brand is best for an automatic watch?
There is no definite answer to this question as it all comes down to personal preferences. However, if we had to narrow it down to a few brands, we would say that the best Swiss automatic watch brands in the entry-level price sector are Glycine, Hamilton and Tissot.
If the sky is the limit and money is not an issue, then you should definitely check out some of the high-end brands such as Rolex, Omega, or Vacheron Constantin.
What is a good entry-level automatic watch?
All five watches on our list would make for a great entry-level automatic watch. However, if we had to pick just one, it would be the Glycine Combat Sub. It’s an excellent all-rounder that comes at a very reasonable price.
How long do Swiss automatic watches last?
With proper care, a Swiss automatic watch should last you a lifetime. These watches are built to withstand a lot of abuse and they will continue to work flawlessly for many years to come.
Is an automatic watch better than a battery-powered one?
This is a matter of personal preference. Both types of watches have their own pros and cons. Automatic watches are powered by the movement of your wrist, so they don’t need a battery change.
However, they are not as accurate as battery-powered watches. On the other hand, battery-powered watches are more accurate but you will need to change the battery every few years.
Are cheap automatic watches any good?
There are a lot of cheap automatic watches on the market that are of excellent quality. However, it is important to do your research before buying one of these watches. Make sure to read online reviews and compare prices to get the best deal possible.
Do you have to wind automatic watches daily?
No, you don’t have to wind automatic watches daily. These watches are powered by the movement of your wrist and they will wind themselves as you wear them. However, if you want to keep the watch wound when not in use, you can put it in a watch winder.
We hope that this guide has been helpful in your search for the best Swiss automatic watch under 500.
If none of the timepieces cater to your taste, by now you should have a better idea of what qualities to look for in a Swiss automatic watch. With that said, we wish you the best of luck in your search for the perfect timepiece! As always, make sure to do your own research before making a purchase.
And, if you have any questions, feel free to ask us in the comments section below.