Best Affordable American Watch Brands

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Swiss and Japanese watchmakers dominate the present watchmaking world. The German and French watchmakers are also coming right behind them, but what about the American watchmakers? In this article, I will share a bit about the American watchmaking industry and list some of the best affordable American watch brands that are worth the money. So, without wasting any time let’s get straight to it.

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Quick Takeaway
Some of the best affordable American watch brands are Shinola Detroit, Timex, Bulova Timepiece Company, Detroit Watch Company, Vaer, and Nodus Watches.

Brief History Of American Watchmaking

The American watchmaking industry started in 1850 when Aaron Lufkin Dennison founded the Waltham Watch Company. It was the first ever watch company to make 100% American-made watches. The Waltham Watch Company also possessed some of the most advanced machinery and tools at the time, which even the Swiss watchmakers were starting to be jealous of. The production of high-quality American watches helped them dominate and drove the low-end Swiss and British watches out of domestic markets.

However, the American watchmaking industry was dealt a fatal blow at the start of World War 1 when wristwatches were popularized and American watchmakers were slow to jump on the trend. The final blow came with World War 2 when the American watchmakers were ordered to produce military equipment instead of watches. On the other hand, the Swiss watch brands continued to innovate and produce high-quality watches.

Meaning Of Made In USA

The definition of “Made in USA” according to the Federal Trade Commission, is that “Made in USA” means that “all or virtually all” the product has been made in America. That is all significant parts and all the critical components that are used in the product, all the processing, and labor that go into the product must be of U.S. origin.

So, many of the watches in this list may not be considered American-made watches due to using some imported parts in their manufacturing. Still, these brands make good quality American-built watches and are considered American watch brands in every sense of the word.

Best Affordable American Watch Brands

Most American watch brands are not cheap. Why? Because their prices are typically higher than their competitors who mostly assemble their watches in countries where the cost of manufacturing and labor are significantly cheaper than USA.

This results in the final price of the watch being a bit higher than their abroad-assembled counterparts. Below, I have mentioned some of the more affordable American watch brands that are not super expensive and make good quality cheap American watches for men and women.

1. Shinola Detroit

cheapest american watch brands

Shinola Detroit is an American designer lifestyle brand that offers a variety of products like bags, accessories, jewelry, and watches. Their watches are made in their Detroit factory with most of their parts imported from other countries. Shinola watches often flaunt vintage looks with great functionality.

Shinola watches are made using good quality materials and all their watches have sapphire crystal glass which is incredibly scratch-resistant.

In essence, Shinola offers excellent quality watches that are assembled in Detroit with parts that are imported from foreign countries. Having a starting price of around $395, Shinola is providing quality watches with a notion of patriotism.

2. Timex

Best affordable american watch brands

Timex is an American global watch manufacturing company. The roots of Timex date back to the Waterbury Clock Company which was purchased by Thomas Olsen in 1941 and was renamed as Timex. The brand is currently owned by the Timex Group USA Inc. Timex watches are good quality watches, with impressive looks and great functionality at an affordable price.

Even though Timex has a rich American watchmaking history, most of its watches are not made in the USA. The majority of Timex watches are made in their main production facility which is located in the Philippines. Timex is one of the cheapest American watch brands with their starting prices as low as $40 to $50.

3. Bulova Timepiece Company


Founded back in 1875 by a Bohemian immigrant named Joseph Bulova, Bulova started out as a small jewelry shop that also repaired clocks and pocket watches. In 1912 Bulova established its first plant dedicated entirely to American watch production.

Although the Japanese multinational conglomerate Citizen Watch Co. acquired Bulova Timepiece Company in 2008, Bulova remains one of the best American historical watch brands.

Even though the headquarters of Bulova is based in New York, its Accutron watches are now made in Switzerland, and the rest of the watches are made in Asian countries like Japan and Hong Kong. Bulova watches are accurate, stylish, durable, and most importantly value for money. As their watches are not super expensive starting at just around $180, they provide excellent value for their price.

4. Detroit Watch Company (DWC)

American made watch brands

Detroit Watch Company is a relatively new and small brand. It was founded back in 2013 by the husband and wife duo, Patrick Ayoub and Amy. Since its starting, the Detroit watch company has been paying homage to Detroit and its history which can be seen influencing their watch designs. DWC watches are designed from the ground up and assembled in Metro Detroit using Swiss automatic movements.

Detroit Watch Company makes watches that are good quality and are inspired by the history of the motor city. DWC watches are high-end affordable timepieces having a starting price tag of over $1000. Still, they are worth every penny if you enjoy an excellent quality timepiece embedded with a piece of history in its design.

5. Vaer


Vaer is an independent American watch-making brand. It was founded in 2016 by Ryan Torres and Raegan Cook. Vaer was started with the shared goal of producing the best quality affordable American watches that can be durable, stylish, and budget-friendly.

They produce high-quality watches with both quartz and automatic movements. Some popular models of Vaer watches which cost over $500 are assembled in their facility which is based in Arizona to maintain quality control. Many of their watches are also assembled in China, which is also reflected in the price of their watches. Most of their straps and other materials are sourced from within America. The starting price of Vaer watches is $159 making them one of the cheapest American watches.

6. Nodus Watches

Nodus watches

Nodus Watches falls in the affordable micro-brand watches category. It was established back in 2017 by Wesley Kwok and Cullen Chen, who are committed to manufacturing the best wristwatches through innovative techniques and rigorous testing. These watches are all assembled in Los Angeles using good quality parts and materials supplied from all over Asia.

Nodus watches are a perfect blend of style and function in an efficient and innovative design. All their watches use superior movements like the Seiko NH Series Automatic, Miyota 9000 Series Premium Automatic, or La-Joux Perret G100 Series Swiss Automatic. The price range of these exceptionally well-made wristwatches starts from $540 and goes upwards to $900.

Cheap American Watch Brands: Final Verdict

I have listed above all the cheap and affordable American watch brands that provide good value for their prices. Some of these brands’ watches have pricing that may not look cheap when compared to other foreign brands. That is because the cost of labor in the USA is much higher as compared to labor costs in other countries.


Which Watches Are Cheaper In USA?

Timex and Casio are one of the cheapest watch brands you can find in USA.

Is Timex A Good Watch Brand?

Yes, Timex offers decent watches with good functionality and design at an affordable price.

What Is The Most Sold Watch Brand In USA?

Rolex is the top-selling watch brand in USA.

Tom Nielson

Tom's love for watches started when his grandfather gifted him his Rolex watch when he turned 18! Being a teenager it was a big deal for him. Later when he got his first job he bought Fossil Palm Pilot back in 2003 which was a smartwatch. Since then smartwatches have come a long way and so is Tom's love for them. His experience with watches inspired him to start Wearholic and share his knowledge of wearables including watches, smartwatches, smart glasses, & smart clothing.

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