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In this review:
  1. Best Cheap Watches
  2. Cheap Watches for Men
  3. Cheap Watches for Women
  4. Watches Reviews
  5. Discount Watches Features Comparison Table

Cheap Watches Buying Guide

With so many electronic devices on hand that display time, watches have become less of a functional tool and more of a design accessory for many consumers. Indeed, there are plenty of cheap watches that can add flair to your look and keep you on schedule when you don't have a cell phone right at hand.

There are literally dozens upon dozens of watch makers selling models with a dizzying array of designs and features across a wide spectrum of prices.

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You can buy a watch for as little as $10 or as much as $50,000, perhaps more. Well-known manufacturers include Timex, Casio, Seiko, Omega, Hamilton, Armitron, Anne Klein, Bulova, Fossil, Cartier, Citizen, and, of course, Rolex. All the good cheap watches we found go for less than $35; Timex and Casio in particular offer quite a few watches below that price threshold.

Cheap analog watches with the familiar hour and minute hands are generally considered the dressier option but tend to have few features, although some boast a second hand and date display. Cheap digital watches appeal for their casual styling and typically come with practical tools such as alarm, chronograph (stopwatch), and lap timers.

High on our list of best cheap watches are two analog models -- the Timex Men's Easy Reader T20041 (starting at $29) and the Casio Women's LTP1237D-7A (starting at $21) -- and two digital models -- the Timex Women's 1440 T5J151 (starting at $12) and the Casio Men's WS210HD-1AVCF (starting at $33). Aside from a few gripes about minor matters, such as easily scratched crystals or vague set-up instructions, these cheap watches score with consumers for style, wearability, and functionality. Two cheap watches that don't rate due to questionable durability or performance are the analog Geneva SW-6886 (starting at $11) for women and the digital Armitron 408177 (starting at $23) for men.

There are several features to note when shopping for a watch. The watch crystal is especially important. Cheap watches have either an acrylic or mineral crystal, mineral being more scratch resistant. The watch's movement -- the mechanism that powers the watch -- is another item to consider. All the watches on our list use a battery-powered quartz movement, which is the most popular movement in the cheap watches segment. (More expensive watches may use an automatic or mechanical movement that relies on a spring mechanism and several intricate pieces to keep track of time.) Some cheap watches can be lit for easy night-time reading, and here Timex watches stand out with the company's proprietary Indiglo technology. Cheap watch cases tend to be made of plastic or stainless steel and popular materials for cheap watch bands include stainless steel, plastic or resin, and leather. Cheap watches are generally water resistant, not waterproof, which means they can survive a shower and a dunk in the pool but probably not deep-water scuba-diving.

Whether you choose a cheap analog watch or a cheap digital watch is largely a matter of preference. But before making your choice, be clear about the purpose you want the watch to serve. If you're looking for a simple accessory to dress up your look or telegraph the time through a visual representation, an analog watch with a leather or metal band is probably the best choice. If you like bells and whistles or want a more casual timepiece, digital is the way to go.

Review continues below

by Michael Sweet (Google+ Profile)

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Filed in: Accessories, Beauty, Fashion,

Best Cheap Watches

Timex Women's 1440 T5J151
Gold Medal

Timex Women's 1440 T5J151

Women like the Timex 1440 T5J151 because it's stylish and comfortable watch and the digital technology includes useful functions that appeal to the sports-minded.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Timex Men's Easy Reader T20041
Gold Medal

Timex Men's Easy Reader T20041

The Timex Easy Reader T20041 boasts large easy-to-read numbers on its face and the company's popular Indiglo feature, which lights the watch face in the dark. The only minor gripe about this dress watch is a slightly stiff leather strap.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »

Good Cheap Watches

Casio Men's WS210HD-1AVCF
Gold Medal

Casio Men's WS210HD-1AVCF

The Casio WS210HD-1AVCF is a digital watch with several cool features, including one that tracks the tides and moon phases. This solar-powered watch keeps good time and is easy to use, but some wearers say the tide feature must be reset occasionally and the metal band is tricky to adjust for fit.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Casio Women's LTP1237D-7A
Gold Medal

Casio Women's LTP1237D-7A

This women's dress watch is simple and stylish, and users like its durability and overall value. It's lightweight and comfortable, but some users find the silver dial a little hard to read.

Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
 

Don't Bother

Geneva Women's SW-6886

The Geneva SW-6886 is a dirt-cheap analog watch with just the right amount of bling but users complain about durability; some, though, are repeat buyers.

Read more »

Men's Armitron 408177

The men's Armitron 408117 is a digital watch that's loaded with features, but some wearers report problems with settings and defaults and say the reverse-LCD display (light numbers on a dark background) is hard to read.

Read more »

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