The natural follow-up to our Best Luxury Swiss Watch Brands post, today we bring you the Best Affordable Swiss Watch Brands! As we explained in our previous post, Switzerland has a longstanding history when it comes to watchmaking. Not only that, but Swiss watches are widely regarded as the best of the best. However, if you’re on a stricter budget but have always dreamed of a Swiss watch, all is not lost! This reputation is not just limited to the luxury market. In fact, there are many brilliant affordable alternatives to the higher-end Swiss brands that bear the same famed ‘Swiss-made’ seal of approval. So, for those looking for a quality Swiss timepiece without the hefty price tag, check out some of our favourite inexpensive suggestions below.
The Best Affordable Swiss Watch Brands
Whilst many Swiss watchmakers struggled, Swatch rose from the ashes of the quartz crisis and took the revolution in its stride. However, expertise was certainly on the brand’s side from the get-go. If you’re a watch fanatic, you may already know that ETA SA was and still is a substantial manufacturer of watch movements. And, it was ETA SA’s CEO at the time, Ernst Thomke, who led the initiation of Swatch. Intending to recapture the entry-level watch market, Thomke assembled a team of engineers to help with the project led by Elmar Mock and Jacques Müller. The first Swatch collection was then launched in Zürich in 1983, and the rest truly is history.
Today, it’s one of the most prominent brands in the affordable Swiss watch market and it’s easy to see why. A portfolio brimming with colour, playful ideas and incredibly inexpensive price points, the brand caters to every demographic.
It’s hard to pick just one watch out from Swatch’s diverse range, but a consistent favourite of ours is this Checkpoint Yellow model. At its centre is a checkerboard-patterned black dial adorned with yellow baton indices and hands. Not only does it have a splash of Swatch’s quintessential playfulness through its yellow accents, but it also boasts excellent functionality with three chronograph subdials. A further added practicality is a discrete date display that rests next to the 4 o’clock marker. Moreover, so that it’s legible in the dark, the hour and minute hands also feature a luminescent inlay. Finally, a black silicone strap fastens the watch to the wrist. Following on from the dial’s colour scheme, its underside is bright yellow for a final quirky finishing touch.
Founded in 1853, Tissot started as a father-son business run by Charles-Félicien Tissot and his son Charles-Émile. As watch lovers themselves, the pair dived head first into the practice and even turned their house into a small factory. Over the years, both the Tissots and the Tissot brand evolved alongside and managed to continuously adapt themselves to the changing times. This included being one of the first manufacturers of wristwatches, as well as creating the world’s first non-magnetic watch in response to the introduction of electricity. By trusting in itself and its resources in this way, Tissot even survived the quartz crisis that devastated many watch brands.
Over its history, the brand has also had numerous high-profile associations as well as a star-studded list of customers. These include but are not limited to Elvis Presley, Grace Kelly, Nelson Mandela and even Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales. Moreover, sportswise, Tissot has also been incredibly successful and is currently the official timekeeper for the Tour de France and the NBA.
Our Pick: Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 (35mm) Green Dial / Stainless Steel T1372071109100 / T137.207.11.091.00
The PRX range is a classic for Tissot. Infused with retro charm, it’s based on some of the brand’s 1970s models. In particular, one of our favourites is this green and stainless steel model. Adding a nostalgic edge to the design, the forest green dial has a vintage-inspired block texture. Each hour is marked with a luminescent silver-tone baton index apart from 3 o’clock, which features a date display. Complementing them are matching hour, minute and second hands ticking away at the centre of the dial. Overall, the design looks very cohesive, which is aided by the 35mm stainless steel case which integrates seamlessly into a matching bracelet. Beating within it is the brand’s POWERMATIC 80.111 calibre automatic mechanical movement. As the name suggests, it boasts a mighty 80-hour power reserve, so the PRX’s stamina is unbeatable.
The owner of the Swiss Army knife patent, Victorinox is a well-rounded Swiss brand that has found success in many different industries. Although born in 1884, Victorinox only entered the watch market in 1989. It was initially a knife manufacturer, meaning that it approaches watchmaking in a very unique way. But even in its comparatively short involvement in the watch industry, it has produced many well-loved collections. In fact, paying homage to its roots, some of its watches even come with a matching Swiss Army knife.
In line with the brand’s association with the Swiss Army, each of its pieces has a military-esque feel to it. Each of its pieces is carefully crafted with high performance and cutting-edge durability in mind. In fact, by the time your Victorinox watch reaches you, it will have already passed over 100 quality control tests. In this way, Victorinox ensures that its watches can withstand any adventure, no matter how great or small.
Our Pick: Victorinox Men’s I.N.O.X Professional Diver Black Dial Orange Strap 241845
Our final pick of our best affordable Swiss watch brands list is this Victorinox I.N.O.X model. One of its most distinctive features is its striking orange woven strap, which immediately catches the eye. Although it’s unconventional, the strap is incredibly durable and is handwoven from survival paracord. Moreover, entwined into it are reflective tracers so it stands out even in the dark.
Meanwhile, at the centre of the watch, a black dial balances out the strap’s vibrancy. Upon it are mixed silver-tone indices and hands, each set with a luminescent inlay to optimise their readability. Between 4 and 5 o’clock there is also a neat date display which adds a touch more functionality to an already impressive design. Simultaneously, features like the orange second hand and orange markings on the flange’s scale tie the design. But if its bold design wasn’t enough to entice you in, its durability will. Each watch has already endured 130 extreme endurance homologation tests, making them all ISO 6425-certified diver’s watches. Moreover, the mighty 45mm stainless steel case duly protects the antimagnetic Swiss-made quartz movement, which keeps the watch running smoothly.
That concludes our round-up of the Best affordable Swiss Watch Brands! Do you already own watches of your own from these brands? If so, what do you think? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.