Best Japanese Watch Brands Under 100
A century of hard work has culminated in them moving to the forefront of the competitive global wristwatch industry. Japan is home to several huge watch brands and a couple of micro-brands that you have likely never heard of. Here's a quick look at what you can expect when shopping for each of the brands; along with my general recommendations and thoughts regarding each of them. In my eyes, these are generally the best Japanese watch brands under ￡100.
CASIO The world's most popular watch brand (by volume sold), Japanese electronics giant Casio has been pumping out affordable wristwatches since 1974. For 50 years, these have adorned the wrists of presidents and warmongers alike. In terms of raw value for money, Casio fake rolex watches are practically unbeatable. Their iconic digital models, including the tremendously successful F-91W, are still worn to this day due to their rugged nature and retro charm. Not only are they hard wearing and surprisingly stylish, but highly functional too; many coming kitted with stopwatches, countdown timers, calculators and LED backlights. I previously did a roundup of the best silver Casio's, which is worth a read after this one.
While their classic digital pieces are commonplace, it's less well known that great value can be had with Casio analogue models. Not only do many of them offer unmatched specifications for the low price tags, but the sheer volume of options means you'll likely find something that suits your aesthetic preferences too. More recently, they introduced the more upmarket Edifice range, which I've found offers comparable build quality and looks to many brands at double the price tag. How are they accomplishing this? I can only assume by having tighter margins. Despite the affordability of all Casio lines, I've found the brand maintains some of the best movement alignment for under ￡1000; meaning that in most cases the second hand will hit, or get close to, the markers. Something which can't be said for the majority of affordable quartz watches.
G-SHOCK Also a part of Casio, but typically marketed as a separate entity, G-Shock has stamped itself in history as the king of durable wristwatches. Before the release of the experimental DW-5000C in 1983, watches were usually considered fragile pieces of jewellery. Casio engineer Kikuo Ibe and his team went on to prove the doubters wrong, in their quest to "create a watch that never breaks". After 2 years of research and development, they landed on the ultimate tough watch; with a multi-layered shock-resistant structure and advanced cushioning, to protect the watch at all costs.
This supreme protection is what gives G-Shock watches their chunky shape and legendary reputation. A favourite among manual workers and extreme sports stars, G-Shock watches are known not only for their impact-resistance but also their aquatic performance; rivalling many dive watches in that department. If you're after an easy to read watch that will never let you down, G-Shock is the best place to start. My favourite from their range is featured in our 'Top 20 Casio Watches' article. The only factor to keep in mind is your wrist size. Due to their hefty construction, G-Shock watches could be too large to comfortably fit smaller wrists. As such, an alternative smaller Casio could suffice in such circumstances.
SEIKO While their website may look like something straight out of the late 1990s, Seiko exact replica watches still hold up as some of the best value on the planet going into the 2020s. Originating from Tokyo, Japan way back in 1881, Seiko are one of the most prominent watchmakers in the world. With several important horological developments to Seiko's name across their century and a half of history. While most famous for their mechanical wristwatch ventures, they surprisingly were the first to release a production quartz watch named the 'Astron' in 1969. In the coming decades, this new technology would go on to butcher the conservative Swiss watchmaking industry, whilst several prominent Japanese brands, such as Seiko, would instead embrace the electronic revolution and thrive.
Fast-forward to the present day and Seiko continue to produce both types of wristwatch. Not only are there a wide range of quality battery-powered options to choose from, but the enduring Seiko 5 automatic watches have seen a notable resurgence in recent times. These budget offerings feature Seiko automatic movements, stainless steel construction and a small amount of water resistance for a very low price. Often these watches act as the gateway into watch collecting, with the sheer abundance of designs meaning you'll find one that suits your preferences. More premium offerings include the Prospex tool watches and the elegant Presage line of dress watches, to name just a few. If your budget exceeds the ￡1000 mark covered by this article, you could also dive into their cut-no-corners Grand Seiko brand; considered by many to be among the best quality watches in the world.