Buying Time: The Best Budget Watches

By Kara Reinhardt,

Do you have a dad or husband who's tough to buy for? With Father's Day fast approaching, standbys such as watches, tools, and ties beckon. Unfortunately for anyone on a budget, these often prove to be pricey gifts. If, instead, you opt for a synthetic tie over a silk one or neglect to get your guy's preferred brand of drill, the difference between upscale and down is usually quite apparent. Wrap up a high-quality budget watch, however, and he's less likely to suspect how little you spent (although you may want to tip your hand and impress Dad with your financial responsibility). Below are Cheapism's top picks for watches under $35, including a couple of options for women, too.Our top pick for men's waches is the Timex Easy Reader.Our top pick for men's waches is the Timex Easy Reader.

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  • The Timex 1440 T5J151 is a sporty digital watch for women that starts at just $12. The complications include a 24-hour timer, a calendar, an alarm, and a stopwatch. In online reviews, women who've worn this watch deem it comfortable and useful for backpacking, working out, and other activities.
  • The Casio LTP1237D-7A is a dressier women's watch with a square-shaped, analog face and a stainless-steel band. Wearers declare in reviews that the styling appears more elegant and the construction higher quality than you might expect given the $21 price tag.
  • The Timex Easy Reader T20041 is indeed easy to read, according to consumers who have posted reviews of this analog watch online. The oversize numbers and clean, white face will keep your father from having to reach for his reading glasses whenever he wants to check the time. The leather band helps give the watch a more upmarket look that belies its $29 starting price.
  • The Casio WS210HD-1AV is popular among outdoorsmen, with its digital display, solar-powered battery, and, in particular, a feature that tracks the tides and moon phases. Other features -- or "complications," as they're called in the industry -- include a stopwatch, a timer, five alarms, and a calendar. The band is stainless steel and the price starts at $33.
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All the watches on this list incorporate a mineral crystal to cover and protect the face. They are less likely to scratch than watches with cheaper acrylic crystals and also less likely to shatter than expensive watches with sapphire crystals (the advantage of these is that they're nearly scratchproof). The movement, or the mechanism that keeps time, is highly accurate battery-powered quartz.

The two Timex watches above boast the brand's Indiglo feature, which illuminates the display in the dark. All the watches claim enough water resistance to repel splashes. The Casio digital watch for men has highest water-resistance rating on the list: 100 meters, which makes it suitable for swimming.

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