1 - The Soldier: Seiko 5 SNK809
Simple design with great features, it's hard to look past this watch at this price point. it has a very utilitarian feel with a lot of charm. The Seiko has everything you need in an entry level automatic, easy to read Day Date complication, great looking dial layout, and an exhibition case back so you can enjoy the internal engineering of the watch. It's military inspiration gives it just the right amount of romance, yet it is understated and simple enough to go almost unnoticed on the wrist. Pure class.
Buy the Seiko 5 SNK809 here.
2 - The Diver: Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB
It's no Rolex Submariner.. But it looks just like one. If you want to look like James Bond, but don't have pockets deep enough, Try on an Invicta Pro Diver. They offer exceptional bang for buck, and look and feel solid. The Invicta branding looks amazing. This watch also features a screw down crown, not often seen at this price point and a generous amont of water resistance at 660ft (200m). The Invicta features an exhibition case back as well, a welcome feature. In my opinion this is a great looking watch, just don't expect people to mistake you for 007!
Buy the Invicta Pro Diver 8926OB here.
3 - The Aviator: Orient SFN02004BH
If you want something a little more mature, but want it to be fun at the same time the Orient is a great option. While it's definitely no pilots watch, i has got the look and feel of an early aviation watch, that gives it a true romance. It's Unique Day, AM/PM window gives it a look all of it's own. A nice touch of lume on the hands make for easy reading in low light, and it is equipped with a scratch resistant sapphire crystal , quite a big feature on a watch in this price range and a welcome feature at that. The Orient SFN02004BH is a truly versatile piece, and would fit in well for almost any occasion (except maybe diving). The Orient SFN02004BH would make a lovely gift for a friend, or for yourself, because you deserve it.
Buy the Orient SFN02004BH here.
4 - The Millionaire: Kenneth Cole New York KC1514
Art! What other way could you describe this piece. Strap this watch on your wrist and feel like a million dollars. If you are looking to draw attention, this is the right watch for you. Yet in spite of that, It's as elegant as ever. this Kenneth Cole, features a skeleton design, allowing you to look right through it's incredibly engineered inner workings. When you check the time you will find yourself transfixed by all of the little moving and spinning parts inside the watch. It's absolutely captivating, mechanical art at it's finest. If you are looking for inspiration, look no further.
Buy the Kenneth Cole New York KC1514 here.
5 - The Gentleman: Orient SDB05001W0
The Orient SDB05001W0 features a little bit of everything we've seen in our previous four watches. It is absolute pure class. Features include a scratch resistant sapphire crystal, date complication, luminous hands for low light reading, and a skeleton window showing off part of the movement on the dial. It's a beautifully constructed time piece, and would make any true gentleman proud. If you really want to impress someone, buy them a Orient SDB05001W0, you'll be friends for life.
Buy the Orient SDB05001W0 here.
Bonus Round: Seiko SKX007
Note: This watch is well above the $150 maximum price tag for this article.
But i couldn't do a top 5 budget automatic watches roundup and not mention this little gem. If you haven't heard of the SKX007 already, it's an absolute legend in the watch world. this watch has a cult following, and for good reason. it has the finnish and quality of a watch 10 times its price, is robust, and beautiful. The seiko SKX007 has a style all of it's own, and stands out from the crowd among dive watches. if you own a Seiko SKX007, you will get respect from even the most uptight watch snob, and you will feel as if you are wearing a much more expensive piece.
Buy the Seiko SKX007 here.