Reader question: What is the cheapest wristwatch?
What is the cheapest watch is a loaded question to ask a watch seller. You can probably find an old watch in a bulk bin at Goodwill for next to nothing. You can pick up a shoebox full of nasty watches and parts from a flea market, if one works with a fresh battery install then it likely cost pennies after averaging the cost. So, all of the obscure answers to this question aside, let’s narrow down the qualifications for purposes of this article.
With regards to the cheapest watch out there, let’s keep the discussion limited to brand new watches. Analog or digital can be included. It’s unquestionably going to have a quartz movement – we can cover the cheapest watches without batteries in a later post. All brands are game. The total price should include the cost of getting it delivered to your wrist.
First stop: Dollar Tree. No watches there. The location near you might have something, but no such luck here.
Next up, searching online. Not fun. Sometimes it seems that the more advanced Google tries to be with their search algorith, the worse it is. They only show the top sites, even if the site doesn’t have anything relevant to the search. Google web search is a rich get richer kind of game.
Case in point: when doing a quick search for the term what is the cheapest watch?… Amazon is the fourth search result with the title Cheap Watch Under $5. Clicking it does not reveal any watches on the page, only batteries for watches and a few Apple watch straps.
Seriously, it’s a miracle that you found our site and are reading this post. Please keep reading it lol.
That is because there are no watches for sale under $5 on Amazon. Sure, when you play with the results a bit, you can discover an entire page of watches listed for $0.01, but it’s kind of scammy. They ship from China and they have $11.89 shipping. $11.90 + sales tax for a no name junker that will take over a month to arrive? No thanks.
One of the most affordable (and decent) watches on Amazon used to be the Casio F91W. This cheap watch is plastic and battery powered with a digital display. Not long ago, the F91W was obtainable on Amazon for under $10 with free Prime shipping.
This model has since garnered almost cult popularity amongst the affordable watch crowd, and like everything else that was cheap and readily available before the world situation in 2020, the price has increased and availability is sparse. The new pricing for this cheapo is $13.99 USD (at the time of this post). They were so cheap that at one point KeepTheTime was giving them away with the purchase of any watch.
It appears that the F-91W lost its crown for the cheapest watch, but since we’re talking cheap watches and Amazon, there is another cheap watch by Casio. This time it’s an analog display in a 35mm plastic case: Casio MQ24-1B3 for $11.00 shipped. Not bad for a brand new watch from one of the most recognizable brand names in the world.
Timex usually comes up when discussion the cheapest watches on the market, but the cheapest on Amazon is this digital Timex Marathon TW5M21000 for a whopping $14.49 with free shipping. It’s a few bucks more than the Casio F91W mentioned above, but the Marathon might actually be a more viable option for many because of its larger 50mm diameter.
Watches aren’t really meant to be cheap. That’s not to say they need to be thousands of dollars… this has been proven by the countless microbrand watch companies have flipped the script on the Swiss watch pricing strategies of the past. But, the cheapest watches out there are cheap for a reason. They are made with cheap materials and movements and may need replaced more often than a higher priced piece. These are all things to think about. Still, it’s interesting to come across watches that cost less than nylon military straps!
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for the cheapest watch possible, you could find that there is a big difference in quality if you can raise the budget to the $30-60 range. This opens up a lot more options and watches of surprisingly decent quality for the price. This may not be possible for everyone, and it may not fit the needs of the watch you’re seeking. Either way, the jump in quality of watches priced between $10-20 and $30-60 is dramatic enough to be noteworthy. Heck, sometimes you can even find an Invicta Pro Diver with an NH35A automatic for under $70! Speaking of which, where budget is concerned, used watches should also be considered.
Did you find a watch cheaper that the watches mentioned here? Please talk about it in the comments below…