Brilliance on a Budget: Colorful Timepieces for Under $100

Brilliance on a Budget: Colorful Timepieces for Under $100

Here are some wallet-friendly watches that will light your horologic fire this summer.

By Rhonda Riche

The more I write about watches, the more I realize that the allure of a timepiece often has a lot to do with how I connect to it emotionally.

These feelings can be triggered by anything from nostalgia, an elevation in my mood, or unexpected colorways, to name a few. It’s kind of like how eating at a Michelin-starred restaurant will change the way you think about food forever, but sometimes an order of McDonald's fries still hits just the right spot.

Likewise, while I keep saving up for an F.P.Journe, I can still satisfy my sense of horological wonder with a fun but well-made watch that costs less than $100.

The Armitron WAVE

Armitron is one of those brands that is synonymous with affordable watches, but lately, the company has been making huge strides toward becoming more stylish and sustainable. Luckily for us, upcycled plastic can be fantastic.

Take, for example, the new WAVE mini-collection. Inspired by marine life and featuring four watches made of plastic recovered from our oceans, these pieces were created in partnership with Tide Ocean SA.

However, even though the WAVE family is accessible to a broader audience, that does not mean it was built to be disposable. Available in four colors (Black, Navy, Orange, and Teal), the WAVE’s neo-retro design and gender-neutral 40mm case make it an excellent everyday wearer. And Ocean Plastic watch comes in a sustainable box made from recycled fibers and includes a natural organic cotton pouch insert.

The Armitron WAVE mini-collection is available exclusively via the Armitron website with each watch costing only $95.

The Timex Legacy Ocean 37mm

Another fun, feel-good timepiece, the Legacy Ocean made by Timex employs the characteristics of a classic sports watch (the triple link bracelet, the coin edge bezel, etc.) but renders them in upcycled, ocean-bound plastic.

The watch comes in three colors – turquoise, pink, and purple – with each edition displaying little flecks created during the upcycling process, meaning no two dials look exactly alike. The material feels quite premium and as a trusted legacy brand in its own right, a Timex is a piece one should have in your collection anyway.

The Casio Baby-G BG169PB

While the Baby-G made by Casio may bring back many happy memories of the 1980s and ‘90s, it is a watch that transcends nostalgia. The most recent iteration of the classic BG169PB case shape comes in three wild color schemes: blue for larimar, known as the gem of the Caribbean Sea; soft pink for coral; and white and shell pink to evoke a beach made of tiny Caribbean sea shells.

Moreover, color-blocking highlights each component while giving each watch a bitchin’, beachy style. Plus, its 20-bar water resistance means you can stay active and not worry about getting wet.

The Casio Baby-G BG169PB models are available via Casio’s website and cost $89.

The Swatch Shades of Neon

Swatch, like Casio, is a brand that’s equally embraced by both beginner and established collectors alike. And like many luxury maisons, the brand has recently begun to dig into its archives to update classic designs, to wit: The super saturated Shades of Neon inspired by a model from the ‘90s known as SKYCHART GN705.

However, there are some important updates to this year’s version. Its multi-color neon dial, for instance, is now set in a transparent yellow bio-sourced case and a hot pink strap and transparent yellow buckle complete the hi-vis vintage look of this vintage watch.

The Swatch Shades of Neon is available via Swatch’s website and costs only $75.

The Bertucci DX3 Plus #11028 & #11110

Due to the simplicity and wearability of their design, field watches are immensely useful and some of the most popular everyday watches. And every enthusiast should experience at least one or two over the course of their collecting career. Still, with their roots in military history, they generally aren’t thought of as “fun” watches.

The Bertucci DX3 Plus #11028 and #11110 changes that perception because their 40mm fiber-reinforced polycarbonate cases glow in the dark. And when it is worn in the light, it has a lovely, minty color. The 40mm Unibody case is lightweight and features fixed lugs with a pull-through nylon strap (that also glows in the dark) and crown at 4 o’clock so as not to interfere with wrist movement during activity.

Fun Fact: The DX3 Plus’s super luminous case, hands, and markers will keep glowing glow for hours based on exposure to sunlight or certain types of indoor lighting.

The Bertucci DX3 Plus #11028 and #11110 are available via Bertucci’s official website and priced at $85.

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