Best Watches for Teenagers

Last Updated: February 2018

Before the life-changing introduction of the smartphone, wrist watches were created and utilized with the primary goal of it being used as a tool for someone. Whether that watch needed to keep a business owner to open and close on time or a young worker to be on-time for their daily job, a wristwatch needed to be dependable and a durable workhorse.

Don’t believe it? Ask your parents! We bet that either one of them needed a wristwatch at one point in time to live life and was a critical part of their adulthood.

Having a smartphone takes that responsibility away, but owning a wristwatch has another responsibility in mind: the importance of not taking things for granted. Buying a wristwatch, no matter what price, has sentimental heft as you’re spending your hard-earned money to buy something that will last you for many years. Owning a precious wristwatch will teach important aspects like the value of money, the importance of quality, and also learning more about yourself and your preferences.

It’s a great part of entering adulthood and if you happen to already love watches, well our selections will send you over the moon!

Before we start though, let us at Gracious Watch introduce some stellar brands for you to consider as these watchmakers have a solid presence and market share, which puts value and quality at the top of their values.

What’s here…

Best Watches for Teenagers

Seiko & Timex

Recommended Watches for Teenagers Priced Under $100

Best Watches for Teenagers Priced $100 - $250

Best Watches for Teenagers Priced $250-$750

Best Watches for Teenagers Priced $750+

Two Ultra-Affordable Watch Brands
Worth Wearing


Seiko & Timex

Not all watches are made equally, especially when looking for horologically significant or otherwise important timepieces for younger enthusiasts to appreciate. Two brands, in particular, stand out: Seiko and Timex. Both offer great options at affordable prices.

Before we dig into our watch selections, we felt it appropriate to introduce you to two stand-out brands that will be featured in it.

We chose to highlight Seiko and Timex because we feel these brands offer the best combination of value, legacy/prestige, quality, and features. Both brands have expansive legacies that date to the early 1900s, and both have interesting accomplishments and notable events in their history. Timex, for example, used to make timers for bombs during WWII. Cool, right?

In any case, both Seiko and Timex have demonstrated time and time again (pardon the pun) their worth and capability as a watchmaker. This list would not be complete with mentioning them and their accomplishments.

Seiko


About Seiko Watches

A world-renowned Japanese watchmaker, Seiko established their roots in 1881 when Kintaro Hattori opened shop to repair watches and clocks. After creating wall clocks and establishing the ‘Seikosha’ factory to build a reputable brand, the company created Japan’s first wristwatch in 1910. Called the ‘Laurel’, Seiko was definitely starting to live up to their name of being a successful watchmaker brand, with ‘Seiko’ translated as ‘exquisite’ and ‘sha’ is the house or factory in Japanese.

The inception of the ‘Laurel’ wristwatch was definitely a trendsetter move, as this was launched when pocket watches were still quite popular but Seiko knew that a change was imminent and was ahead every step of the way.

As the years went by, the global watch market was dominated by the Swiss in every step of the way. Seiko noticed this and wanted to take a piece of the action, working their hardest to be recognized as a reputable watchmaking entity and be equal amongst their peers.

Around the 1960s, Seiko designers took notice of Swiss-made watches and the fine craftsmanship involved in their product, right down to the case design and how it shined on the display case. Seiko on the other hand, focused on utility and compared to the Swiss watches, looked rather drab.

This all changed with the launch of the Grand Seiko line, with strict specifications that had to be met in order to have that illustrious name. The Grand Seiko was created to make a mark in the world of watchmaking and to see the Japanese company as a serious contender and in 1967, received recognition in the Neuchatel Observatory Competition where they placed second and third places in the chronometer competition.

Since then, Seiko has been pushing boundaries and conquering one hurdle after another, becoming known as one of the elite watchmaking houses ever.

Timex


About Timex Watches

Recognized around the world as an affordable watch option for all ages, this American watchmaking firm actually has storied roots that deserve recognition. A fully detailed history is available here, but a quick rundown of this company is that the former bomb fuse maker for the US defense system now created durable and affordable wrist watches for mass consumption.

Timex also created company firsts, with Indiglo, a proprietary night-light technology built into Timex wristwatches. This technology provided the wearer night readability quickly and can instantly be discrete when necessary. Not only technology was a priority for them, but also durability.

Timex wanted to prove to the world that durable watches can be manufactured and sold to an affordable clientele. Timex then went hard at work to form a partnership with the Ironman competition. A brutal triathlon that pushes athletes beyond their limits, the watch bearing the same name pushes what a wristwatch can do, surviving water, shock, and providing necessary tools for the athlete such as a chronograph and stopwatch.

Timex today has licensing partnership with several designer labels such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Versace, and Guess?, which puts a lot of trust and confidence in the watchmaking firm

Our Picks
Under $100


Best Watches for Teenagers Priced $100 - $250

$100 or less can buy you some pretty interesting watches, including some of the most ubiquitous and well-known watches made today. Teenage watch collectors may not have a lot of cash, but they can still find some great buys for well under $100.

A persistent myth in the watch world is that you have to spend big coin to get big value, when that simply isn’t true. There are numerous major brands represented on this list that offer timepieces that a teenage watch collector would not only be able to afford, but offer said collector something far and above the typical Fossil and other fashion brands worn by their peers.

Our picks for this segment focused on either value, robustness, or horological significance. Let’s check ’em out!

Seiko SNN241


Price

$99

Where:

Amazon

Size

42.5mm

Water Resistance

100m

Movement

Quartz

Why?

Inexpensive Seiko chronograph with date display.

We start the list off from Seiko, with the SNN241. This particular model has 100m depth resistance, and chronograph functionality, which will give any startup youth great value for their money.

As we already know, Seiko produces quality watches and the SNN241, with the burgundy watch face and matching watch strap, would be adaptable to either a casual t-shirt style, to a suit and tie function.

At 43mm, it’s not imposing and the design would be quite reminiscent for any aviation enthusiast.

With a quartz movement, accuracy will always be a top priority for this piece.

You could get similar functionality and looks from no-name brands, but you’re gambling. With the Seiko, it’s an inexpensive purchase that will last 10+ years with nothing more than a battery change or two.

Seiko is a legit brand, with a long legacy of innovations and watchmaking achievements. 

Timex Weekender


Price

$25 – $95

Where:

Amazon

Size

40m

Water Resistance

30m

Movement

Quartz

Why?

It looks good and is made well. Indiglo.

On our sister site WYCA, we have hands-on reviewed the Weekender/Weekender 40, Weekender Chronograph, and Weekender Fairfield. There’s a good reason for our interest and acclaim- the Weekender is an all-around great watch!

Sure, it doesn’t have a high-horsepower mechanical under the hood, and no, you can’t wear it swimming. It also uses barebones materials and the straps are, okay (at best). So why the recommendation then?

First, the Weekender is so much more than the sum of its parts. It’s ubiquitous for a reason, and a big part of that reason is the price. You can find Weekender’s on Amazon for $15 sometimes. Second, it’s made well enough and will last a decade or more assuming decent care. Finally, Indiglo is really excellent and makes the Weekender genuinely useful day and night.

The Weekender comes in many flavors. Our personal favs are the Chrono and the classic 40.

Timex nailed the Weekender; a prime example of something simple, inexpensive, and capable.

Seiko SNK809


Price

$80

Where:

Amazon

Size

37mm

Water Resistance

30m

Movement

Automatic, 7S26

Why?

Automatic w/ 25 year legacy for under $100. Do it.

The SNK809 is a monumental watch, one that has inspired scores of horologists and spread the collecting itch far and wide. Read an in-depth review at our sister site, WYCA.

Commonly found on Amazon for under $100, the SNK809 is affordable – yes – but not cheap. Powering the SNK is the 7S26 automatic movement. The 7S26 is a simple and robust movement, with day/date complications and a 38-hour power reserve. It does not require batteries and, indeed, is something of a novelty in that respect for any new collector.

The hardlex crystal and canvas strap are not exactly top-end, but both are plenty capable. SNK owners get several years before either need to be replaced, and replacing both the strap and crystal is a trivial affair.

While it is not flashy or oversized, the SNK809 is a tasteful choice that gives a respectful nod to watchmaking tradition while remaining affordable and high quality. In an age where products are made to be replaced, the SNK stands out in its durability and overall quality.

This is a watch that will still be running with 50 years from now if given the care and respect it deserves; every collection needs at least one Seiko 5.

Casio World Time Illuminator


Price

$15

Where:

Amazon

Size

39.5mm

Water Resistance

100m

Movement

Quartz

Why?

Run it over. Still works.

Our next example would fit best for the world traveler, who just graduated post-secondary or finally finished their formal trade training and time to reward themselves with a backpacking trip.

It’s not as fancy as the Seiko piece we saw earlier as the Casio Illuminator is strictly functional. Bearing a rubber casing and band, the World Time Illuminator also has a 100m water resistance, and as the name illustrates, a world timer function.

It also offers a stopwatch, an alarm, and a timer so that the backpacker enthusiast won’t miss that 2 PM elephant feeding!

Another perk that you will appreciate is the battery life, which is stamped in red right on the front. 12-years is a long time, but it’s nice to know that as long as it doesn’t get lost, it will offer more than a decade of trouble-free ticking.

Casio is an awesome brand – check out the in-depth piece I did on WYCA: “Casio Watches: The Affordable Brand You Should Pay More Attention To”

Timex Easy Reader “40th Anniversary Edition”


Price

$41

Where:

Amazon

Size

38mm

Water Resistance

30m

Movement

Quartz

Why?

100% visibility, always. Classic brand.

This next piece is from American firm Timex, which is called the ‘Easy Reader’. Judging by the photos and review done by WYCA, you can see why it bears that name.

A barebones, no fuss wristwatch, the main goal is for quick legibility of time, which is accomplished by the contrasting markers on a white watch face. Complete with a minimalist design, this watch looks clean and crisp while telling time effectively.

However, the Easy Reader’s party trick is at night time: Activating the Indiglo light will reveal a silhouette of ‘40’, which celebrates the model’s anniversary. Quite an aficionado’s watch, I must say.

The red accents look sharp against the white dial and stitching on the strap.  Combined with a class, never going to go out of style style, and the Easy Reader is a solid purchase.

Timex is one of the few inexpensive brands that gets a nod from the horological high society. Their legacy dates back over a century, and their story is genuinely interesting.

Learn more about this watchmaking icon.

Our Picks
$100 – $250


Best Watches for Teenagers Priced $100 - $250

Once you start spending in the $200 range, several more interesting options open up. In this range you have choices from many brands, including some Swiss brands.

At this price point, you can get some entry-level automatics or some more robust quartz movements (such as Citizen’s Eco-Drive, which is solar powered). You don’t have to look too hard to find something interesting and notable, though this is also the price range where you start to see some cool features on the watches… and that often leads to a hobby turning into an obsession. You’ve been warned!

Our choices are based on interesting and robust watches, with a bit of fun thrown in there, too.

Citizen BJ7000-52E Nighthawk


Price

$199

Where:

Amazon

Size

42mm

Water Resistance

200m

Movement

Eco-Drive

Why?

Good looking and long-lasting. Strong value.

Let’s bring the game up just a notch with a Top Gun throwback and you will feel the need. For speed. As the Nighthawk watch from Citizen will send you feeling all the G-forces with their coolness factor.

Having a full-blown instrument-cluster motif, the Nighthawk will definitely bring you to the danger zone with two time-zone capabilities, a calendar function, and a pilot ruler that’s operable through the crown located at the 8 o’clock position.

This watch would be a great starter for an aspiring enthusiast’s collection, as it has the balance of style and function in one beautiful package.

Citizen is a first-rate brand that puts the venerable Eco-Drive movement into great pieces like this one. This is a great choice.

Free Time Watch


Price

$125

Where:

CKIE

Size

33mm

Water Resistance

Don’t get it wet.

Movement

Quartz

Why?

Fun and unique. A real eye-catcher.

If you’re looking for something unique and funky, there’s an alternative option where form trumps function. Called the ‘Free Time Watch’, the design is definitely unique, depicting a line puzzle for you to solve.

Intimidating at first, but there is logic to the madness as per the website description below:

“The planets trace rings around the Sun, each one completing a full orbit in a different amount of time in relation to its distance from the Sun.”

Our most important measurement of time, the year, is based on this full rotation around the Sun. In fact, all our major units of time (day, month, year) are based on different rotation periods.

The three concentric circles rotate clockwise with each gap in the circle communicating the precise time. The hour, minute and seconds are defined by the outer, middle and inner rings respectively.”

Graf Zeppelin Dual Time 7640-1


Price

$210

Where:

Amazon

Size

42mm

Water Resistance

50m

Movement

Quartz

Why?

Gorgeous dial with domed crystal. Dual time.

Style that transcends generations must be done correctly, with care taken to ensure that all parts of the watch are considered. The Dual Time Big Date 7640-1, pictured above, is an example of timeless design done perfectly.

The dual time zone functionality makes this a great watch for enthusiasts that do a lot of traveling, have family in other time zones, or simply want a second time display. Date display sits neatly at 12 o’clock. The dial is protected by a domed crystal, which stands out tall above the watch and gives this Zeppelin some altitude.

Graf Zeppelin is one of those brands that most people aren’t familiar with, and that’s a shame: their watches are gorgeous examples of what steampunk come to life can look like.

The 7640-1 is sensibly sized and carries enough water resistance to be suitable for daily wear. Dressed up, down, or without any dress at all… the Dual Time is always a welcomed addition to the wrist.

This is a unique watch that you’re unlikely to encounter in the wild. Read more @ WYCA.

Casio General Men’s Watches Edifice EF-547D-1A1VDF


Price

$110

Where:

Amazon

Size

44.5mm

Water Resistance

100m

Movement

Quartz

Why?

An inexpensive, rugged, classic chrono.

Here we have a stylish example from Casio through their Edifice line. A focus on luxury and style, the Edifice lineup still offers the usual traits that Casio is known for, which is providing great features for the money such as a stopwatch, timer, and tachymeter but in a beautiful, all-steel package.

Featuring a steel bracelet as well, this Edifice watch is strictly business and would be a great all-rounder watch for a collector-to-be.

The Edifice line is one of Casio’s most desirable, with the series selling millions of watches every year. We chose this one because of the low cost of entry, chronograph functionality, and solid water resistance rating. If you like the look of the Edifice and want to upgrade into something similar but more substantial, check out the Edifice Quartz World Time.

Our Picks:
$250 – $750


Best Watches for Teenagers Priced $250-$750

Now we’re talking.

Now we’re spending a bit of money, and it’s enough to open up some seriously interesting options. Perfect for a graduation present, birthday, or another notable event, a watch in this price point – assuming you buy something good, of course – will last for decades.

This is also the sweet spot for so-called “luxury” brands that offer watches on huge discount. Avoid those like the plague and stick with watches that are the real deal.

Inclusive of this price-point are numerous Swiss brands – and some Swiss automatics, too. If you’re looking for a watch that has a bit of clout, a Swiss automatic is always a good place to start.

Ready to tell some sweet Swiss time? Let’s check out our selections.

Radio DiaStar


Price

$650

Where:

Amazon

Size

43mm

Water Resistance

30m

Movement

Automatic

Why?

A little bling, with a rotor underneath.

As we move up the price bracket, things get more interesting and unique. As a young enthusiast, you shouldn’t be afraid of taking chances while you still can and going on the deep end of watch styles.

Enter Rado, which is a watchmaking house focused on using unique elements and materials in their watches.

This DiaStar is a classic rendition of Rado’s design language and is a vivid representation of the brand: smooth, elegant, and dashing.

Featuring a day/date window and an automatic movement, this DiaStar is a great entry into the watch enthusiast world.

Making a stance is what you need with a unique timepiece, and this Rado would be a classical piece for the young enthusiast.

Stowa Partitio Klassik White


Price

$750

Where:

Amazon

Size

37mm

Water Resistance

50m

Movement

Automatic, ETA 2324-2

Why?

Stowa is to watches what Audi is to automobiles.

Here we have something special from German watchmaking house, Stowa, called the Partitio.

An exquisite remake of the 1930 watch of the same, the Partitio is a throwback to when life was simple and when timekeeping was a necessity rather than a luxury today. Its simple dial and clean aesthetic remind us that something does not need to be extravagant in order to be desirable.

At 37mm, it’s not a big watch and won’t take up real estate but it features a lovely automatic movement created by ETA. A full detailed review is available through WYCA. With a classic design and an automatic movement, the young watch enthusiast will definitely enjoy this piece.

Slow Jo 06


Price

$270

Where:

Amazon

Size

38mm

Water Resistance

100m

Movement

Quartz

Why?

A watch for those of us taking it slow.

Here is a Swiss-made concoction from slow. Their mantra is to make you live life for what it is today.

Slow “makes you visualize time in a more natural way. Live for the moment rather than chase every minute or second. slow focus on what really counts and therefore only uses one hand – the hour hand.”

The slow Jo 06 has a unique edged casing, starkly different from traditional round casings, and features a Swiss-made 24 hour GMT movement.

It has a more modern feel to it and the single hour hand will definitely turn heads. As a watch enthusiast, you have to respect their unique take and approach on time and how we use it on a daily basis.

Our Picks:
$750+


Best Watches for Teenagers Priced $750+

If you’re willing to spend high-three or four figures, there are some pretty cool options out there. Our focus here is less on collecting, since that’s a rabbit hole all on its own, but rather on watches that are a bit different compared to what you’d find from the typical watch store. These aren’t “shopping mall watches”.

In consideration of the fact that most teens don’t have a five-figure sum to spend on a watch, we’ve chosen timepieces that are interesting, notable, and available in the low-four figures. You won’t need to break the bank (too badly, anyway) to wear these, and when you put them on, you’ll be sporting something with some genuine horological significant behind it.

These are some genuinely cool watches, regardless of how old you are.

Victorinox Airboss Mach 9 Chronograph


Price

$1,500ish

Where:

Amazon

Size

42mm

Water Resistance

100m

Movement

Automatic

Why?

For your kid to pass down to their kids.

Victorinox is a Swiss watchmaker brand that prides itself on durability and dependability. Their Airboss lineup is no exception, with the Mach 9 as a prime example of those traits.

At 42mm, it’s a regular sized men’s watch but features a winding mechanical/automatic hybrid movement, which is a rare sight for the young watch enthusiast.

Featuring a day window at 6 o’clock, 330ft water resistance, a sapphire crystal, and a chronograph feature as well, this watch packs a punch and provides great value for the money.

Victorinox is better known for their expansive line of Swiss Army Watches. They build their legacy on tool manufacturing, before expanding into watches – including toolwatches – in 1989. The brand is known for utility, robustness, and quality of build.

Cross Shop: the Hamilton Khaki Field  Chronograph is a similarly styled automatic chrono that’s worth considering.

Rado True Thinline L R27969172


Price

$1,200

Where:

Amazon

Size

39mm

Water Resistance

30m

Movement

Automatic

Why?

Sporty and understated, with a great auto.

Going back to Rado, their Thinline lineup is a great example of modernity at its finest.

Featuring a ceramic bezel and bracelet, it is resistant to scratches and with an automatic movement, it will always be on-the-go when you are. With a gunmetal colorway, and gold contrasting markers, the Thinline is sleek, modern, and befitting a young watch enthusiast.

This watch will definitely make a statement that you really know your watches and you have good taste.

What differentiates this Rado from other upscale offerings? Good question!

  • Ceramic case and bracelet mean than this Rado is ultra lightweight and scratch resistant. Bonus!
  • ETA 2892 automatic movement is a high-quality movement with a 42-hour power reserve.
  • The quality of build found on this Rado will far exceed what you’d find from affordables of similar style.
  • CERAMIC! High-end materials for a high-end watch.

SEVENFRIDAY P2-01


Price

$1,200

Where:

Amazon

Size

47mm

Water Resistance

30m

Movement

Automatic

Why?

Just look at it. Wow.

As we continue down the line of uniqueness and non-conformity, here is the P1B-01 from SevenFriday. With a smooth square case, it definitely stands out from the crowd but not compromising on quality as it houses a Japanese-made Miyota automatic movement.

We personally like the satin finish on the bezel and has a slight ‘Steampunk’ feel with the exposed heart around 8 o’clock and the exposed indicator wheels.

The legibility is on the harder side for traditionalists, but the design is aggressive and forward-thinking, which is what most young enthusiasts should be!

This SEVENFRIDAY breaks numerous “design standards” and purposefully demonstrates just how visually impactful stunning design can really be. Unlike every other watch on this list, this SEVENFRIDAY will easy act as a conversation piece regardless of who’s in the room. Everybody who sees this watch wants to know more about it… and for good reason.