The best men's watches under $250, all of which make perfect holiday gifts

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  • Thanks to so many direct-to-consumer watch brands, it's easier than ever to find a good men's watch for under $250.
  • Our top favorites come from old stalwarts like Timex and Seiko, as well as new upstarts like MVMT and Movado. 
  • Styles and options vary widely, meaning there's something for every guy's style — from the minimalist to the traditionalist and everything in-between.

A man's watch is one of the most visible signals of his personal style. Whether it's a funky neon digital throwback, a sporty chronograph, a racer, or a simple dress watch with a leather band, a good watch is the icing on the cake that is any good outfit. And today, thanks to a direct-to-consumer watch brand boom, a well-crafted and stylish timepiece can easily be found at or under $250.

Since these options feature either a standard quartz movement or are fully digital, you definitely won't be comparing movements or mechanisms like you would between luxury mechanical watch brands. Those watches feature complicated hand-crafted mechanical clock movements to keep time, which justifies the higher price tag. They also require winding and are incredibly difficult and expensive to repair. Thankfully, the watches on this list are all made of high-quality steel and boast real leather straps and other fine details. 

Another bonus at this price point? All are fully automatic, so no winding is required. In fact, the most maintenance you'll have to do for any of these is drop by a jeweler to have the battery replaced when it happens to run out every few years. Otherwise, clean with a soft cloth, store in a watch case or watch pouch, and enjoy for decades to come. 

And while the watches in this guide are marketed to men, we think anyone should feel free to wear any type of watch, regardless of gender or how the accessory is labeled. Just note that the faces of these watches are larger and the bands are wider than those marketed toward women. 

So, whether you're a horological aficionado looking to add another watch to your collection or a guy who just wants to complete his "fancy outfit" without breaking the bank, any of these options under $250 will make for a solid and stylish buy. And for some more information on water resistance and sizing, check out our tips below.

The best men's watches under $250 are:

MVMT Blacktop International Waters

The moody monochromatic look of the MVMT Blacktop International Waters makes this one a big winner in our book. 

Size: 47mm
Water Resistance: 10 ATM

As one of the first and biggest direct-to-consumer watch brands to hit the market, MVMT built its reputation by selling beautiful timepieces for half the price of competitors. This particular matte gunmetal version made from stainless steel links paired with a blue-back dial is priced at under $200. Along with complementary brushed gunmetal hour and minute hands, the Blacktop International Waters also features both a 60-minute timer subdial and a running seconds subdial, which make this watch useful for everything from monitoring speaking times to timing laps. The overall sleek look means you can wear it casually to the office or dress it up with a suit.

Timex Waterbury Classic Chronograph

Hewing close to tradition, the Timex Waterbury Classic Chronograph could be mistaken for a watch ten times its price. 

Size: 40mm
Water Resistance: 30m

A bright white dial with large, clear numerals surrounding three chronograph subdials are the main features of this classically styled and beautifully crafted timepiece. Timex's Waterbury Classic Chronograph is an example of the brand's reputation as a provider of inexpensive, but functional watches for nearly a century. This particular style goes one better with a polished stainless steel case, a rich tan leather strap, and a date window. 

And, when you want to know what time it is without waking your partner with your smartphone, there's an Indiglo light-up dial to help keep the peace. 

G-SHOCK DW5600TGA-9

As rugged as it is bright, the G-SHOCK DW4600TGA-9 may be hard to say but easy to wear during exercise or activity. 

Water Resistance: 200m

Standing out from the rest of the watches thanks to its brash neon yellow hue, the G-SHOCK DW5600TGA-9 earns a top spot for its shock resistance, water resistance, and easy-to-program digital interface. It provides the day, date, time, and running seconds all on your wrist. If you're active and don't have a smartwatch, the G-Shock's alarm feature helps out with timed runs, while a backlight allows you to read the time in the dark. One final bonus? The throwback 90s styling scores plenty of nostalgia points with vintage tech fans. 

Seiko Essentials SNE361

Simple in style and powered by the sun, the Seiko Essentials SNE361 is understated and elegant. 

Size: 43mm
Water Resistance: 100m

Crafted with Japanese precision and attention to detail, the Seiko Essentials SNE361 is solar-powered, with one charge providing 10 months of continual use. A rich, blue dial is highlighted by Lumibright hands, which contrasts nicely with the stainless steel of the case and bracelet. Topping it off, a rectangular window displays the day and date. At just $250, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better entry-level watch into this beloved brand.

Nixon Patrol Watch

Boldly black and gold, the Nixon Patrol Watch is perfect for looking like bling without the bill. 

Size: 42mm

Water Resistance: 100m

Big, bold, black, and gold, the Nixon Patrol Watch is a masterpiece of contrast. The gold-colored stainless steel band and case is eye-catching, and the black face with pronounced gold markings provides beautiful contrast. Large, even numbers line the circumference of the watch face — a unique deviation from the standard odds. Plus, the watch's black second and hour hands tipped in gold. Altogether, this high-contrast piece will stand out in a crowd.

Linjer The Minimalist Watch

For a simple watch that you can wear with just about anything, the Linger Minimalist Watch is where it's at. 

Size: 38mm
Water Resistance: 3 ATM

Simple in design but high on style, Linjer's The Minimalist Watch takes its name seriously with its vegetable-tanned leather strap and a numberless lacquered dial. Its brushed silver case holds a sapphire glass with anti-reflective coating, as well as silver hands that sweep with a Swiss movement. A date window completes the package. 

Tissot Everytime Medium

An alligator-like leather strap and cursive numerals add a dash of class to the Tissot Everytime Medium watch. 

Size: 38m
Water Resistance: 30m

The cursive, slanted numerals of the Tissot Everytime Medium watch read pure class. When combined with its slim hands and classic black and white color scheme, this watch truly stands out from the rest of those on the market. Elevating this option even further is the embossed faux alligator strap — a timeless design you'll love pairing with a sleek blazer and slacks.

Tsovet JPT-CC38

A rose-gold and gray color scheme is an unexpectedly cool combination in the Tsovet JPT-CC38.

Size: 38mm
Water Resistance: 50m

The Tsovet JPT-CC38's rose gold-plated case and gray leather strap are vastly different from the other options on this list, but that's what makes this watch special. Its hour and second subdials are set against a white matte dial with printed balck numerals and markers, and would pair well with a deep navy sweater or a gray suit. 

Bering Solar

A rose-gold and gray color scheme is an unexpectedly cool combination in the Tsovet JPT-CC38.

Size: 38mm
Water Resistance: 50m

The Tsovet JPT-CC38's rose gold-plated case and gray leather strap are vastly different from the other options on this list, but that's what makes this watch special. Its hour and second subdials are set against a white matte dial with printed balck numerals and markers, and would pair well with a deep navy sweater or a gray suit. 

What to know about size and water resistance:

Men's watches are sized by measuring the watch case diameter. Typically sizes range from 38mm up to the mid to high 40s. Larger cases work best with larger arms and wrists, while smaller cases can work with both small and large arms. With water resistance, a rating of 3 ATM (30m) or less means a watch is suitable for everyday wear and will resist moisture from rain and weather. A resistance rating of 5 ATM (50m) or more is suitable for all water activities and watersports aside from scuba diving.

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