The 13 Best Watches for College Students Under $100

Gold mens watches

We’ve all been there as a college student – trying to balance responsibilities like expenses and coursework while also struggling to keep our social life alive.

Part of keeping your social life alive is keeping your style updated and if you’re a typical college student, there’s a good chance you struggle trying to keep your bank account afloat as well. You’re looking for a stylish watch, but you don’t want it to break the bank.

No worries – I’ve compiled a list of the 13 best watches for college students you can own for less than $100. By the end of this list, you’ll have multiple options of modern, sleek timepieces that mesh perfectly with your style without putting a dent in your bank account. So, let’s get started!

The watches listed below are not in any particular order so that no bias is shown for our own watches on the list. At the time that this blog was written, all pieces on the list were priced at or under $100. Over time, prices may fluctuate.

13. Black Tie Watch Co. – Balkan – Charcoal Black - $79
Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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Another best seller from Black Tie Watch Co., the 40MM all black Balkan is the definition of minimalism. A piece built for a casual setting; it is a great fit if you tend to wear darker colored outfits, but we all know that black goes with everything

Features on this one include a quartz movement, a scratch resistant mineral crystal face, a water resistant case up to 100 feet, a unique 60 second sub dial design, and a genuine leather strap.

Balkan, as with all Black Tie watches, comes with a 12 month warranty meaning you can purchase your piece risk free. To get 20% off the all black Balkan from Black Tie Watch Co., please use code blog20 at checkout!

 12. Black Tie Watch Co. – Apollo Chronograph
Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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Yes, the Apollo is not priced at under $100, but luckily for you, our article readers can get a nice discount. Use promo code blog20 at checkout to knock some $$ off that price.

When you talk about affordable luxury timepieces, the Apollo should be the first thing that comes to your mind. Our newest addition to the Black Tie Watch Co. collection, the Apollo Chronograph is the perfect watch to take your style to the next level.

Features include a genuine leather strap, quartz movement, scratch resistant face, date reading, water resistant casing, chronograph stopwatch and even an alarm setting.

One major thing to consider with an affordable piece is its durability. Because of the lower price, you might expect quality and durability to not be a top priority, but the Apollo is certainly an exception. The scratch resistant coating on its face ensures that your piece will be protected from sharp scrapes or bumps against hard surfaces.

It is also water resistant up to 100 feet meaning you can have peace of mind knowing it’ll be protected should you get caught in bad weather or if it gets dropped briefly in water.

11. Black Tie Watch Co. – Premier Tan / Black - $79
Rating:  4.4 / 5.0
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A minimalist’s dream – the 40MM charcoal black / tan Premier is one of our best sellers for great reasons. With a bold, matte black finish on the dial and brown leather strap, this watch will complete your style on any occasion.

Features include quartz movement, a genuine leather strap, scratch resistant mineral glass face, and water resistant stainless steel backed casing. Scratch resistance is something you should consider when purchasing your next watch. No one wants their brand new watch ruined and their money thrown away because you accidentally brushed against a hard surface.

The water resistance is also something to look for – water damage inside your watch could short out the quartz battery and ruin your timepiece beyond repair. The Premier is water resistant for up to 100 feet meaning it can handle rain, a short drop in a pool, or even a hot shower.

As a thanks for reading this article, use code blog20 at checkout and get a nice discount off the Premier!

 10Black Tie Watch Co . – Balkan SS Mesh
Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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For the modern student, the sleek 40MM Balkan SS Mesh is the perfect casual piece to add to your wardrobe. With a minimalist dial, and adjustable mesh strap, this watch is like no other watch on the market at this price point today!

Features include quartz movement, a 60 second timer sub dial, adjustable stainless steel mesh band, scratch resistant mineral crystal face, and water resistance up to 100 feet.

The adjustable mesh strap ensures that this watch will fit perfectly on any sized wrist. Simply slide the clasp along the watch band and lock it into one of the grooves once you’ve got it exactly how firm you want it.

The scratch resistance also protects your watch accidental scrapes or cracks and all Black Tie Watch Co. pieces come with a 12 month warranty with free returns. You can shop with confidence knowing your purchase is protected. Also, use discount code blog20 at checkout to get some $$ off the Balkan SS Mesh.

College student watches

9. Timex – Expedition
Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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I’ll start this off with this dope piece from the fine folks over at Timex. The 43MM retro inspired Expedition Chronograph is the perfect way to upgrade your style. The color scheme of this watch and the layout design on the dial are nothing short of genius.

With so much going on inside the watch face, it may look cluttered at first glance, but take a closer look and you notice the contrast between brown and yellow makes it very readable. Some buyers say that this contrast makes it very readable even in low light.

Features include a leather strap, analog quartz movement, water resistance up to 100 meters (330 feet), and Timex’s signature Indiglo backlit dial. The water resistance in this watch is great – it is protected against everyday splashes and briefly dropping it in water, but you can also go swimming with it or even snorkeling and your piece will be protected from water damage.

The Indiglo backlight is also worth noting. With Indiglo, you can see the dial of your watch even in pitch darkness. This is very beneficial if you’re working in low light settings or if you’re outside at night. At this price, with these features, AND free shipping, you’d be crazy not to add this one to your collection.


 Affordable watches for college students

 8Seiko – Classic Chronograph
Rating – 4.5 / 5.0
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Another classic styled piece, the 40MM Chronograph from Seiko is a nice fit for a business casual type man. The face really speaks of confidence and would be the perfect watch to wear to a job interview or career fair. You can’t go wrong with a retro tinted beige face and brown leather strap.

Features on it include a Japanese quartz movement, 38MM stainless steel case, croco-embossed leather strap, and three chronograph sub dials. Seiko is well known for their expert quality and excellent customer service so you can shop confidently knowing you’re making a secure purchase.

The unique feature on the Seiko Chronograph is that it is extremely water resistant – it’s able to prevent water damage when submerged up to 100 meters or 330 feet. With this level of water resistance, it would qualify to be a “dive” watch, meaning you could technically safely go scuba diving with it; however, it is not recommended to expose it to that depth of water. You can shower with it or even swim with it without damaging the watch. An overall great piece for the price they’re offering it at.

Simple watches for college students

7. Casio – Casual
Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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A unique watch from Casio. I would guess that the aim here by Casio wasn’t to create anything special, but they also wanted to create a watch that was accessible to everyone. It is a nicely designed minimalist, casual watch that you can wear every day and not worry about ruining it and wasting your money.

At 34MM, this watch is great for people with smaller wrists who usually cannot find a small enough piece. The rubber resin band is also lightweight as is the entire watch, so you’ll barely feel it on your wrist. 

Features include quartz movement, ribbed black resin strap, and water resistance up to 30 feet. Overall, it is not a complex watch at all. It’s probably the closest thing you can get to a minimalist watch and that’s all on purpose. If you just need a nice looking every day watch, you can't go wrong for this price and with free shipping, they’re basically giving it away.


Affordable quality watches for college students

6. Timex – Weekender Chrono
Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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I know this list seems like it’s filled with chronographs, but that's just because they’re awesome watches! Aside from the design, they also have at least one additional function (the stopwatch) and most have multiple functions. Check out our article on the 10 best chronograph watches under $100 here.

I’ve always been a fan of green faces, so I had to include this one on the list. A truly stunning piece from Timex, the Chrono Weekender is definitely something to consider adding to your collection. The combination of brown and green is definitely something that’ll help your style stand out from the crowd.

Features include a genuine leather strap, Arabic numerals for the hours, military time on the outside of the hour markers, and a date window. As with the other Timex piece we listed earlier, this watch also comes with an Indiglo backlight making it possible for you to read the watch dial no matter how dark it is.

The genuine leather strap is also of good quality. It has a scratch resistant finish which can be important if you are someone who moves around a lot in tight spaces and may brush it against something rough. It also fares well against moisture and is not very absorbent so it’s a good piece to have if you tend to get sweaty or if you get caught in the rain.

budget friendly watches for students

5. Invicta – Pro Diver
Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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If you’re looking for an expensive looking piece at a fraction of the cost, you can’t go wrong with the 40MM Pro Diver from Invicta.

Features of this fine watch include automatic movement, a firm 120 click bezel that can be twisted in either direction, a screw down capability on the crown, stainless steel case and strap, and an extreme water resistance of up to 660 feet.

The automatic movement used in this watch is a movement typically used in more expensive pieces. Although it doesn’t necessarily mean that automatic movements are better, some prefer them because you’ll never have to worry about replacing the battery so long as you wear it regularly.

With it being a dive watch, it is perfect for the water. This piece is great for any deep ocean activity as the casing is able to protect your watch from water damage up to an incredible 660 feet. The features found in this watch cost you about 5 times more with other brands. Overall, it is a fantastic option for the price.

 Minimalist watches for college students

  4. Timex – Southview – Brown
Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Another awesome minimalist piece from Timex (I promise they’re not paying us), the 41MM TimeX brown Southview has a nice, subtle style that would be a great addition to your collection. The union of blue and brown has always been a winning combination and the case is no different here. The Southview’s use of Roman numerals on the face give it a feel of a piece worth hundreds of dollars more.

At 41MM, a nice sized piece for the average sized wrist. It also is a great size for people who don’t prefer clunky, huge watches or if you want your wristwatch to be slightly smaller.

Features include a 20MM genuine leather strap, water resistant case up to 100 feet, and silver tone Roman numerals. The contrast between the luminous Roman numerals and the dark blue background make this watch very easy to read.

A cool thing about this watch is that the silver tone roman numerals are reflective and the hands on the watch face are luminous meaning it is very easy to read in daylight and still possible to read when it is dark.


watches for college students on a budget

3. Stuhrling – Pro Diver Sport
Rating: 4.3 / 5.0
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A stunning and bold piece that is expertly designed, this 42MM sporty dive watch from Stuhrling is a thing of beauty. It is very accurate, easy to read, water resistant, and comes with a comprehensive warranty.

Features include a triple row stainless steel adjustable band, stainless steel case, unidirectional bezel, Japanese quartz movement, and water resistance up to 330 feet. With this water resistance, you’ll never have to worry about water damage should you it get rained on, you drop it in water, or even if you decide to go swimming with it on.

The multi shaded blue dial is the most attractive part of this piece. Blue is arguably the most versatile watch face color you can buy because it meshes well with so many outfits and you can wear a blue faced watch seamlessly in either a casual or professional setting.

Its versatility is something to consider when purchasing a watch and this piece from Stuhrling is one that you’ll definitely find yourself reaching for on an everyday basis. With the look of a much more expensive piece, this is an excellent choice to upgrade your style.

simple watches for college students on a budget

2. Fossil – Townsman
Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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A simple, yet classy piece from Fossil, the 44MM Townsman is great everyday watch that will fare well in a professional setting as well as a casual one. The brass accents throughout the dial add to an otherwise neutral colored watch.

Features include quartz movement, above average water resistance at up to 165 feet, a fold over clasp, a stainless steel link strap, and a stainless steel case. The chronograph feature of the watch also allows it to double as a stopwatch – a great feature for nurses and it’s even a great feature for recreational swimmers because of the water resistance.

An awesome casual watch that can be worn in multiple settings and Fossil has also been known to be very helpful with their customer service handling issues with their pieces. This means you can shop risk free knowing that if anything were to go wrong, you’ll be covered.


budget watches for college students

1. Casio – Super Illuminator
Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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To close this list out, let’s look at this stunner from Casio. The 44MM Super Illuminator is an affordable piece that’ll have people shocked when you tell them how much you got it for.

Features include a quartz movement, day / date calendar reading, unidirectional bezel, water resistance up to 330 feet, and stainless steel casing.

The contrast between black and white make this watch easy to pair with most any outfit and it also makes the watch easier to read. Add in the illuminator feature and you should never have trouble reading your watch face. A great option for the price and a great company with a long history of quality timepieces.


So, there you have it, 13 quality, affordable watches for college students that you can get for less than $100. Thinking about grabbing one on the list? Let us know down in the comments!

affordable Minimalist watches for men budget

Also, don’t forget to share this blog with any college students out there you know who need a new watch.



Reading next

The 10 Best Chronograph Watches Under $100. Affordable Chronos for Men
Simple Watches for Women – The 11 Minimalist Styles for You Under $100

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