7 Places to Find Unique and Affordable Watches

7 Places to Find Unique and Affordable Watches


When Apple released its watch in 2015, it was supposed to be the stake through the heart of the watch industry. Instead, in the subsequent years, it seems the younger generation has only grown fonder of timepieces. “Who would've thought that the younger generation today would be educating the older ones on watchmaking?” Audemars Piguet’s CEO François-Henry Bennahmias told me in a recent interview.

(I, for one, am shocked people haven’t fully migrated over to another device meant for reading emails.)

In particular, younger collectors are especially passionate about what’s on their wrists. Cue the hysteria for each of the Swatch collaborations with Omega and Blancpain. But monitoring restocks isn’t the only way to get an affordable timepiece, and it’s certainly not the best way to get a unique one. What I think is often overlooked about watches—typically thought of as out-of-reach luxuries—is how many great pieces are floating around out there just waiting to be found and loved. Today, there are plenty of dealers digging up and hawking retro rarities that don’t cost a fortune. Below are my favorites.


When it comes to the affordable watch game, I’m not sure anyone is doing it better than Long Nguyễn Thanh, a dealer based in Vietnam. Nearly every watch he posts stirs two simultaneous responses in me: I’ve never seen that before and I need it immediately. He sells sporty blood-red Seikos with bezels the size of inner tubes, watch rings, and crazy double-faced pieces. I’m still thinking about this Snoopy mystery dial he shared.


This Esperanto from orangeclockwork007 looks like a prop from a David Lynch movie but can be yours for less than 150.This Esperanto from @orangeclockwork007 looks like a prop from a David Lynch movie but can be yours for less than $150.


Looking for a delightful oddball to add to your collection? Sushi Watches is all weirdos, all the time. Come to discover what designers thought of in their strangest moments, and then maybe buy some stuff. Like, who doesn’t need this Seiko with a crocodile head on the band? MB&F, take notes. This Gaultier x Citizen piece is Diet Chrome Hearts at a percentage of the price. The dial of another watch for sale actually pops out and turns into a robot that can stand on a table as a desk clock. “If you get this, you are really lucky!” the shop’s text reads. I agree.

Sushi Watches has something a little different for your collection.Sushi Watches has something a little different for your collection.


Those Watch Guys, from dealer Craig Moore, certainly dip into higher-tier watches—they currently have a Must De Cartier with a lemon dial that looks sublime—but they specialize in funky vintage pieces. Many of the watches are bursting with character, like this diver from long-gone American brand Caravelle. And who says you need to pay top dollar for a beautifully aged “tropical” dial? Not Those Watch Guys.

A Seiko from DC Vintage Watches

A Seiko from DC Vintage Watches


DC Vintage Watches founder Nick Ferrell is an authority in vintage Seikos. If you want something special—like Daniel Dae Kim or Ronny Chieng did—he can find it for you. But browsing on his site is a fruitful treasure hunt entirely on its own. A Seiko is the ultimate starter watch (and for many people, it can make up the bulk of their collection) and DC Vintage Watches has everything from the brand’s holy grails—the not-totally-affordable Seiko Speedtimer “Bruce Lee”—to entry-level versions of the excellent 5 Sports line.


Leather strap.Leather strap.

TiccTacc probably qualifies as the most premium seller here but, as expert Mike Nouveau recently advised, it never hurts to stretch the budget when buying a watch. TiccTacc’s Brit Peters has a knack for finding quirky Omegas: reversible ones or others with offset cases. But she also pops up sub-$1,000 pieces you don’t often find elsewhere. This “TV”-shaped Technos comes with a leather strap you might mistake for something from the designers at Bottega Veneta.


Coffee Watch is the least-frequent seller on this list, but treasures like these take time to build up. The account specializes mostly in digital Casios with rare bonus features. Do I need this canary yellow watch to also keep track of my blood pressure? No, but it makes for a fun digital display. Other highlights include a purple Alba compass watch and this Seiko Pulse Meter with a big heart that reads completely differently in the age of emojis.

Reading next

5 Questions with Vintage Watch Retailer “Those Watch Guys”
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