Best Swiss Automatic Watches Under $500: Buying Guide for Men & Women

There is a reason why looking for the best swiss automatic watches under $500 can be quite a hassle.

On the one hand, Swiss-made watches have established themselves to be of a certain high quality. Swiss watchmakers know this, and they never want to lose that reputation too.

On the other hand, automatic watches could just become the start of a family heirloom. They will not die and tend to last very, very long.

Combining both points, it is no wonder that most of these watches don’t come cheap. Fortunately for you, if you want something under $500, you can get it too.

Pro Tip: we discuss how Swiss automatic watches work, how accurate they are, how long they last, and many more below. You can navigate to the different sections by clicking on the table of contents below.


Swiss-Made Automatic Watches Under $500 for Men


Tissot Men’s T-Race Automatic Sport Watch

Tissot Men’s T-Race Automatic Sport Watch

Features

  • Swiss Tissot automatic movement
  • Scratch-resistant sapphire glass crystal face
  • Water resistance – 100m
  • Stainless steel case
  • Inspired by motorsports

Tissot built this watch after the frame and parts that you can find on motorbikes. A close look and you will see the semblance of the watch bezel to a brake disc.

For one, we trust this watch since it comes from one of the veteran watchmakers in the market. With swiss automatic movement under the hood and selling for less than $500, it has more than earned a spot on this list.

This beautiful watch can be used as an outdoor watch, an everyday timepiece, or one for the outdoors.

Taking the minimalistic approach, Tissot has only the date complication on the watch face. Complete with internal branding and a badge to show how long they have been in the business; this design is one to have.


TAG Heuer Aquaracer

TAG Heuer Aquaracer

Features

  • Water resistant up to 100m
  • Luminescent hands and markers
  • Date display complication
  • Unidirectional rotating bezel
  • Outer minute track

TAG Heuer is not a stranger to the wristwatch market either.

They make a bow on this list with a fine, silver-tone addition with luminescent hands and hour markers. The watch is rated at 100m water resistance level, but you should not be taking it diving at all. You can check out our affordable dedicated diving watches for that instead.

With the unidirectional bezel, you get to track two different time zones also. Set it right, and you’ll be keeping track of time in two regions at once.

A sturdy build on top of a bold, modern style is the selling point here.


Bulova Automatic Watch 98A187

Bulova Automatic Watch 98A187

Features

  • 40-hour power reserve
  • Boxed mineral glass
  • Embossed black leather strap
  • 30 metres water resistance

Water-resistance is not a requirement for the best swiss automatic watches under $500, or this one might not have made our list.

At a 40-hour power reserve level, this watch should not die on you anytime soon. For storage, we recommend getting an automatic watch winder to simulate your hands’ movement so that the watch does not die. This is especially important if you will be leaving the watch alone for long.

On the design front, the Bulova Automatic Watch 98A187 boasts a combination of quality croc-embossed leather with boxed mineral glass. Inside the mineral glass is one of the most straightforward wristwatch faces that we have ever seen, but that does not make it less beautiful. Here, we have the gold-plated hour markers and hands.

If you have never had a Bulova to call your own, this is an excellent watch to start with.


Tissot V8 Swissmatic

Tissot V8 Swissmatic

Features

  • Fixed bezel
  • 100 metres water resistance
  • Transparent case back

Tissot makes the list again, and they are not disappointing still.

This watch is more spartan than their first pick on this list. A bezel on the front around the scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass gives way to rose-gold skeleton hands inside the watch.

Besides the hour markers and hands, the watch face is as simple as they come. The only complication is a date window at the 3-o-clock mark of the watch.

Tissot has never been one to sacrifice on band quality. Slapping a black leather band on this one completes the automatic watch look and design.


Stuhrling Original DepthMaster Dive Watch

Stuhrling Original DepthMaster Dive Watch

Features

  • 200 metres water resistance
  • Multiple colour options
  • 36-hour power reserve
  • Can be pre-adjusted

Stuhrling takes customer support to a new level. Before you get the watch, you can send them your wrist measurements, and they send you the wristwatch with the right number of links removed.

But then, what do you get out of the box? Indeed not another pretty face that doesn’t bring anything more to the table.

We could say that they went a little overboard with the badges on the watch face, but it remains legible and mostly not busy.

The watch face extends into the unidirectional bezel, which then gives way to a stainless-steel watch case. The watch clasps are even more interesting, featuring a beveled approach that gives off a 3D depth when viewed at different angles.

We didn’t just get 200 meters of water resistance. Stuhrling added a diver’s clasp to the mix, making the watch even more suitable for swimming, diving, and snorkeling as long as you don’t pass the 200m depth mark.

Complete with the promise of Swiss automatic quality, here is yet another great pick to consider for your watch collection.


Swiss-Made Automatic Watches Under $500 for Women


Tissot Dress Watch

Tissot Dress Watch

Features

  • Size – 40mm
  • Stainless steel case
  • 30m water resistance rating
  • Leather bracelet with standard closure

The name of this watch already gives it off as a dress watch. What it does not tell you, however, is how timeless and stylish the design on the watch is.

At 40mm, the watch is an excellent trade-off between size and aesthetics. Thus, women with smaller wrists can still rock this watch fine enough.

Looking at what comes out of the box, we get a timepiece with a stainless-steel case wrapped around the synthetic sapphire glass for better drop protection. Like most Tissot watches, this one also takes the minimalistic design approach by choosing to only have a date complication on the face.

The watch extends into a leather bracelet strap with a standard, quality closure mechanism. At 30m water rating, you don’t have to take the watch off when washing your hands or working around water. However, this piece is best not taken swimming, snorkeling, or diving.


Swatch BAU Casual Watch

Swatch BAU Casual Watch

Features

  • Stylish and eccentric design
  • Beautiful watch face design
  • Minimalistic approach
  • Best value for women

Swatch is one of those swiss-made watch brands that have been here for long, and they know what they are doing. This casual watch from the brand bears testament to that even more.

This watch allows you to match your style by choosing from a wide variety of colored straps and designs. The colors don’t end on the straps alone, making their way onto the watch face where we have a generous mix and splash of hues. We are still fascinated by how the company made all of these colors agree with one another for one unifying look.

Digging under the hood of this 42mm watch, we get the promise of a 100m water resistance rating. Combined with premium plastics plus acrylic materials used on the outside, you can surely go swimming with this automatic watch.

Once you get used to it, you might not want to take this one off anymore.


Tissot Women’s T-Classic Watch

Tissot Women’s T-Classic Watch

Features

  • 80-hour power reserve
  • 32mm case diameter
  • 50m water resistance rating
  • Titanium casing on a titanium bracelet
  • Fixed bezel

Tissot went all out on this one, making it the swiss automatic watch with the best power reserve rating on this list.

Unlike the other watches on this list, the watchmaker opted to go with titanium here. Thus, we have a full titanium case linked to the titanium bracelet and a titanium bezel too. Speaking of the bezel, it could be a dealbreaker for you if you were looking for one that rotated. Otherwise, you are good to go.

Looking elsewhere on the watch, 32mm is for petite hands. Women with medium wrists can slap this watch on and not feel out of place either. With big wrists, though, comes compatibility concerns.

We believe this one fits just right in with the rest of your dress watches and can be a daily driver when going to the office. Leaving it to rest over the weekend, you would not be exceeding the power reserve period on this fine unit.


Swiss Automatic Watch FAQs

If you have been thinking about getting a swiss automatic watch (or any automatic watch at all) for yourself or someone else, you must have some questions. We have collated some of the most frequently asked questions on this topic with targeted answers too.


How do swiss automatic watches work?

The movement of the wearer’s hands causes an internal rotor in the watch to spin. The energy generated from this spinning motion is transferred to a mainspring, which automatically winds the watch.

Thus, the best way to keep automatic watches working is to keep wearing them. That is also why they are considered watches that can never die since they will keep working as long as they are worn. For that reason, they can become family heirlooms to be passed from generation to generation.

Pro Tip: if you don’t want to wear your automatic watch daily, you can check out a watch winder on Amazon. It simulates your arm’s movement to keep the wristwatch working, so you don’t lose time by the power reserve running out.


Does a Swiss automatic watch need winding?

If the watch is not worn and the power reserve runs out, it will need winding. The winding will get the watch started again for when next it is to be worn.

Choosing the watch winder, as suggested above, helps manage this situation better.


How accurate are swiss automatic watches?

Automatic watches are one of the most accurate timepieces you can use. They are usually set to an accuracy of ±25 seconds.

This means that the watch can only gain or lose a maximum of 25 seconds for any given day. When this is not the case, the watch might need to be serviced to get back to its proper working conditions.

Only take your swiss automatic watches to licensed professionals when you need to service it.


What is the best cheap automatic watch?

The Tissot V8 Swissmatic comes to mind here – and it is practical for both men and women.

That said, there are a ton of affordable automatic watches in the market. We consider a blend of quality, brand reputation, functionality, and design against the price. That way, we get an excellent value for the money model that gives us the most affordable automatic watch.


How long will an automatic watch last?

An automatic watch will last forever. As long as it is worn regularly, it will keep working.

Even if abandoned for long, a quality automatic wristwatch will only need servicing and winding to get started again. This makes them one of the most desirable watch kinds in the world.


How do you start an automatic watch?

The value of the watch comes to play here.

If it is an expensive watch, take it to a watch repair shop so they can get it started for you. The lubricant inside the watch could turn to gum, mostly if left sitting for too long. Trying to wind such a watch will lead to more extensive and even irreparable damage.

For less expensive watches, wind it by the crown, and it should start working again.


How many times should you wind an automatic watch?

This depends on a lot of factors.

We have embedded a video guide to winding your automatic watch right for the best shot at this question.

How To Wind Your Automatic Watch Correctly