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The best Swiss watches under $500: Your best buy is a Swatch watch (and these are the best)

There's more than just the ultra-trendy moonswatch

Swatch Watch Face
Courtesy of Swatch

Most of us have our favorite watch, which we wear on our wrists to look elegant, mature, and ready to face the world personally and professionally. However, we also want a second watch that is stylish, fun, and expressive. We want a way to show off our personality. That is where a Swatch watch comes in. While some people believe it stands for Swiss watches because it is a watch brand in the watch capital of the world, Switzerland, it actually stands for “second watch” because the company realizes there’s a market for fun alternatives to classic men’s watches.

With the oversaturated industry of men’s watches often adopting a stuffy and old-school feel, Swatches are intended to be different—more fun than your Rolex or Omega but as dependable as both. The choices in watches are aplenty, but here are the ones to keep your eye on.

Swatch Antarctic
Courtesy of Swatch

Antarctic Ocean Bioceramic Fifty Fathoms

The Fifty Fathoms Collection honors life on the Seven Seas with a true dive watch dedicated to each of the oceans. The Antarctic version is a beautiful all-white, ice-centered piece that will stand out no matter what you wear. Most guys don’t think they can pull off a white watch, but this bad boy does the job for you.

Swatch Mission to Saturn
Courtesy of Swatch

Mission to Saturn Bioceramic Moonswatch

The Moonswatch line is 11 models combining the beautiful Swatch bioceramic construction with Omega Speedmaster. Due to its involvement in the moon race of the 1960s, the latter has a following. There is no question why this line is so popular in the Swatch world, and the Mission to Saturn version, with its earth-toned colorway, can take the place of any brown watch you own, giving your outfit a little personality.

Swatch Core Sistem Boreal
Courtesy of Swatch

Core Sistem Boreal

From the solar system back to the oceans, this beautiful work of art features a watch face and dial inspired by a maritime compass. While it may look similar to your other silver bracelet watches in your collection, the subtle detail outshines the rest in a way that will keep you on the right heading throughout the day.

Swatch Big Bold Checkpoint
Courtesy of Swatch

Big Bold Checkpoint Black

Black isn’t the usual color you think of when you think of bold. While it usually fades to the background, this version stands out due to the eye-catching checkered pattern on the face and the secondary dials’ bold striped patterns. This may be an all-black piece you think of as a subtlety with an outfit, but you’ll get more questions about it than you are ready for.

Swatch Irony Blue Grid
Courtesy of Swatch

Irony Blue Grid

This version may be the most basic of the bunch, as it looks similar to many other watch faces with the blue dial and pops of red. It feels very similar to the Omega Seamaster with the blue rubber strap that will keep the attention. This watch is perfect for your weekend backyard barbeque or trip to the coast.

Swatch SkinEarth
Courtesy of Swatch

Skin Irony 42 Skinearth

Sometimes the best way to stand out is to remain small and sleek. The Skinearth collection is the perfect way to do that with its ultra-thin profile. The green strap and sun-brushed dial take you back to the roots of the collection, sticking to the earthly green colors. No matter how small and sleek it is though, the pops of orange and white won’t go unnoticed for long.

Swatch September Carbonic Green
Courtesy of Swatch

The September Collection Carbonic Green

For those of us who like to wear green but don’t want to be as subtle or earthy as the Skinearth, there is the September Collection’s Carbonic Green. This green is louder and will definitely stand out with the solid rubber strap combined with the bright green digits and white dials.

Swatch Core Night Flight
Courtesy of Swatch / Swatch

Core Night Flight

This is the most classic look of everything on the list. While you may be looking for something that stands out against the rest of your collection, this option is perfect for the guy just starting out and looking for something basic and ready to be worn right away. The black dial and silver bracelet are about as straightforward as they get with Swatch.

Swatch Halloween Capsule Your Time is Coming
Courtesy of Swatch

Halloween Capsule Your Time is Coming

Okay, forget the straight-forward, and let’s look at something truly unique, something Swatch does better than anyone. With Halloween right around the corner, pick up something spooky and fun to get in the mood for the big day. The dial already has a terrifyingly cool dial that really steps it up in the glow of trick-or-treating light.

Swatch OOPS! Big Bold Planets
Courtesy of Swatch

Big Bold OOPS

Finally, get yourself something that will stand out not only because of the color but also because of the style. Its black rubber strap and bright orange colorway will become the centerpiece of any outfit, but that is only the beginning of what makes this piece striking. The transparent watch face allows you to see the working dials and the numbers are jumbled up in a crazy way to give the watch a zany look. The seven lands on one of the inner gears, the eight is bigger than the rest, and the nine is outside the dial on the bezel.

If you are more of a fan of orange than black, you can swap out the strap for an all-orange look to really make it pop. The definition of what Swatch watches are meant to do.

Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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