What’s your recommendation for a watch under $200?

A friend of mine recently approached me to ask for a watch recommendation. She was hoping to get her husband a watch to commemorate their wedding anniversary. Her husband isn’t into watches but she wanted to get him something that would be timeless and meaningful.

As watch nerds, we probably all get these kinds of questions from friends and families, and we secretly jump for joy at the chance to talk about our hobby with our loved ones. So naturally I was excited to offer some opinions. My mind started going over all the possibilities! Rolex? Too obvious and impossible to acquire right now. Omega? Maybe?

Just as I started going through my mental list, my friend added a requirement: her budget was $200.

Immediately, I felt deflated. In my mind, I instinctively went to “$200?! You can’t get anything good for $200!” But of course, after reflecting on that for a split second I knew this was wrong and I was being a brat. There are PLENTY of really good watches in that price range. I knew this! I started collecting watches ages ago and watches in this price range were some of my favourites and they were what got me introduced to the world of watches! I felt at once ashamed and embarrassed that my initial reaction was to scoff at $200. That was wrong of me and I readily admit that. 

My mind started going to work on all the possibilities within that price range. And so many came to mind! But my top choice was going to be the Orient Kamasu. I have one and it’s one of my favourites that I wear often. It offers so much at that price point: strong build quality, solid divers watch aesthetics, and heritage being a sub-brand in the Seiko conglomerate. It’s also super easy to wear and incredibly versatile. Throw a nato strap on it and it can look totally different. 

If you’ve read this far - thank you!

But the TL;DR is this: what would be your TOP pick and recommendation for my friend for an anniversary gift under $200?

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What sort of watch?  Dress, diver, chrono, etc etc.  My answer would likely be a casioak or something in the Seiko 5 line.  

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Off the top, yeah an Orient fits the bill. 

A Timex as well

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The Kamasu no question. It was one of my first collection purchase and remains my favourite. At the price unbeatable. Friends who have no interest in watches comment on it.

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Real answer: some quartz fashion watch from the mall. Anything with a name they consider upscale and that looks pretty good. Maybe a bottom rung Tissot. Bertucci, Invicta, whatever. 

Answer not meant to actually please the couple in question: Bulova Hack or Timex Marlin

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It really depends of his lifestyle.

If he's into a sportive one, I'd say perhaps the Citizen Promaster Diver 200 M Eco-Drive, but I agree that at that price tier, Orient offers a great deal of solutions to fit all styles - maybe more solutions than any other brand. So your friend could go for a Contemporary Automatic Green Dial which is very dressy, or a green dial King Diver if he likes something more complicated, or the Sun & Moon White Dial if she wants something more special.

Personally if this was my budget I would try to find something NOS, but that requires a bit of time and experience. Alternatively I could go for the Timex Marlin hand-wound which I find quite compelling.

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I think your recommendation is great tbh. Only other things I could think of are maybe the Bambino if her husband dresses up for work. Maybe a Citizen Eco-Drive since he isn’t into watches, could be easier to deal with a Quartz as a current non watch lover.

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Anything Citizen Eco-Drive is pretty much the best answer in my opinion. 

My parents aren't watch people at all, but love their Citizen watches. 

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Definitely Orient. Bambino for dress, defender for field watch and Mako or Kamasu for diver. 

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Seiko Seiko 5 Sports SRPE53.  Looks and feels amazing on the wrist.  With an Uncle Seiko jubilee bracelet it will look superb 

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Got this Seiko 5 SRPB37 sub $150.. Hard to beat Seiko's 5 Series..

Hacking & hand-winding.. Seiko 4R36 movement.

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Really hard to beat Orient in this price range

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Timex easy reader! I’m loving the easy reader maybe cuz my eyes are bad and it glows!! 😁

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Bulova Precisionist, although it's quartz it's one of my favorites just because of the smooth sweep.  It's also easy on the eyes.

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Orient is perhaps the best watch brand in price/value in the US$200 range. I'd go for a Bambino RA-AC0M03S (white dial), or the RA-AC0M04Y (cream dial) in 38mm. 

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I'm going to echo @OscarKlosoff .  Unless they're expressing prior interest in watches, mechanicals are a pain.  It's like getting someone a pet.  You better be certain they really want a pet, because it's going to need tending.

I'd probably walk through a swatch store.  They have some reasonably attractive quartz chronos and other items.

Other thoughts would be a Seiko quartz of some sort, a Tissot Everytime, or any of the very significant number of Timex Qs (1975 reissue being a favorite).

If it were me? - DressKX SRPE 51/53/55/61

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G-Shock GAW 100B. Great never-die analog-digital watch, especially if you replace the strap which is almost good. Especially good if your friends husband doesn't mind a larger than average resin watch. Also, have to have good eyes to use the negative digital displays. One of my favorites and of a gifting price.

These other answers are really good. Great apparent value in Orient, though no first hand knowledge amd not really my interest. Probably more traditional than Casio or Citizen, guessing (!) better crafting/material/quality than Timex or the many of the homage oriented brands.