There’s something alluring in the aging of things we own, in preserving the past, as it lends a unique character to each item in our possession. From fine wines and jewelry to classic cars, some of us just love the process of aging.
When it comes to watches, there’s no material that creates a more unique aging story than bronze. And there’s no watchmaker that doesn’t know it.
Through the everyday wear and tear, a bronze watch becomes a unique personal story for its wearer, something that becomes part of his or her journey through life. The unique patina that bronze watches form over time creates more appreciation for that specific timepiece, leading to a more personal connection with it.
Bronze is a copper alloy that was discovered several millenniums ago, way before humanity has embraced stainless steel as its primary crafting material.
Despite stainless steel being stronger and easier to work with, bronze is a more cherished material in the world. This connection is seen more and more in the watch industry, where the bronze watch trend seems to be growing, despite the numerous advantages of stainless steel.
With that in mind, we set out on a quest to find some of the most impressive bronze watches, that are also pretty affordable. We’ll start with a few watches that are above $2,000 and then go down to the most affordable options.
Let’s take a closer look at the best affordable bronze watches below.
- 15. Longines Legend Diver Bronze – $3,000
- 14. Rado Captain Cook Bronze – $2,600
- 13. Oris Big Crown Pointer Date Bronze – $2,300
- 12. Yema Superman Heritage GMT Bronze – $1,390
- 11. Archimede Pilot 42 Bronze – $1,180
- 10. Christopher Ward C60 Trident Bronze – $995
- 9. Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Bronze – $825
- 8. Lum-Tec M-53 – $800
- 7. Baltic Aquascaphe Bronze – $700
- 6. Halios Tropik B – $675
- 5. Glycine Combat Sub Bronze – $650
- 4. BOLDR Odyssey Bronze – $650
- 3. Nethuns Lava Bronze – $520
- 2. Zelos Hammerhead 2 – $449
- 1. Swatch “Back to Copper” – $225
15. Longines Legend Diver Bronze – $3,000
The Longines Legend Diver Bronze is among the brand’s best offerings, and part of their Heritage collection. Inspired by their 1960s divers, this watch encompasses all the characteristics that have made Longines who they are today, and the name “Legend” makes complete sense.
The 42mm dual-crowned bronze case has a rose gold hue to it and a titanium case-back, but its beauty doesn’t diminish its functionality, having a water resistance rating of 300 meters.
The green fumé dial adds to the overall beauty, and makes this one of the most elegant bronze watches we’ve ever come across. Despite being a diver, the standard bezel is missing, leaving room for something much more interesting, an inner curved flange that fulfills the same purpose.
The word affordable might or might not have its place alongside the name of this watch, depending on where you come from, but we decided to include this timepiece on the list nonetheless. It costs $3,000.
14. Rado Captain Cook Bronze – $2,600
Rado Captain Cook Bronze mesmerizes through a vividly colored dial, no matter your choice. Emerald green, blue, brown or burgundy, they’re all stunning, and blend sit well with the bronze of the case.
This watch is also a reissue of something older, the vintage dive pieces of the 1920s, and it’s an incredibly well made one. The unidirectional dive bezel comes with an insert of the same, but darker, dial color, providing a subtle contrast between the two elements.
The 42mm light bronze case goes well with either a fun and colorful NATO strap in the same color palette or with an elegant leather strap. Inside the case ticks the ETA C07.611 self-winding movement with a power reserve of up to 80 hours.
Despite being a bit more affordable than the Longines Legend above, the price still rises to a good $2,600.
13. Oris Big Crown Pointer Date Bronze – $2,300
Oris is known for taking things to another level. Their immensely popular Big Crown ProPilot Big Date is now available in the warm tones of bronze for the 41mm case, with a deep green dial and golden indices inside. This combination fits wonderfully with the fluted bezel, giving this watch a unique look.
On top of that, there’s the signature oversized crown that Oris utilizes for all their pilot watches that falls in line with the bezel.
The dial has an impressive legibility through the use of white Super LumiNova for the handset and solid Super LumiNova for the indices, creating a very high contrast between the two.
12. Yema Superman Heritage GMT Bronze – $1,390
The Yema Superman Heritage GMT Bronze is another gorgeous bronze timepiece. The design of this watch is absolutely impressive, with its green fume dial, the engraved 24-hour bronze bezel, and handset matching the color of the case.
Along the date window at three o’clock, this piece also comes with a GMT hand that works in conjunction with the 24-hour locking bezel. Complimenting everything overall is the perforated brown leather strap that will surely match the patina of the case over time.
Also important to note is the price of just under $1,500, which is great for the value this watch offers.
11. Archimede Pilot 42 Bronze – $1,180
The Archimede Pilot 42 Bronze has that timeless pilot watch look from the past, with the triangle at 12 o’clock, and a bronze case that sets it apart and makes it a lot more special.
The dial, in its most basic variant, is unbelievably simple, with no markings – no brand, no logo, nothing, thus offering probably one of the easiest time telling experiences, and one of the best contrasts for reading time.
For those who’d love more happening on the dial, there are a few choices to be made here, and Archimede’s website presents them all. You can opt for a different dial, one with markings, and even different colors for the handset. There’s even a GMT variant for those who need it, but you’ll have to shell out a few hundred dollars more.
All in all, it’s one of the most alluring bronze watch choices out there.
10. Christopher Ward C60 Trident Bronze – $995
Inspired by the beauty of the Aston Martin DB9, Christopher Ward has created the exceptional C60 Trident. Even better than the original is the C60 Trident Bronze, which comes in a 40mm bronze case.
Beyond its impressive dive capabilities – 600 meter water resistance – the C60 Trident Bronze manages to blend both that tough, battered look given by its earthy toned bronze case and the beautiful elegance of its hand distressed ombré blue dial.
Inside the watch there’s a Swiss made Sellita SW200-1 automatic movement with a 38 hour power reserve, while the dial is protected by sapphire crystal. Overall, this watch is a great deal, costing around $1k.
9. Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Bronze – $825
Since it came out back in 2018, the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical has built a cult following, impressing everyone with its timeless look, the symmetry and simplicity of the dial, and the military heritage behind it all. It has become the quintessential field watch.
Now, the Khaki Field Mechanical is available in a bronze case as well, and it’s incredibly good looking. But even more interesting is that a few months of wear and tear will give this watch a proper worn-out look, like it’s been with you through the Vietnam war and came back to tell the story.
8. Lum-Tec M-53 – $800
Lum-Tec isn’t a very well known watchmaker, but it’s a good one. And their interest for bronze cased watches tells they’re interested in going further and expanding their horizon.
Their pilot themed M-53 is available in a gorgeous bronze case, which plays well with the similar toned large Arabic numerals and indices on the dial. Inside the case ticks the Japanese automatic NH35J movement, so that you can be sure you’ll get where you need to be on time.
7. Baltic Aquascaphe Bronze – $700
The Baltic Aquascaphe Bronze is another beautiful timepiece that had immense success in its original stainless steel form. The bronze variant only builds on that success and adds another mesmerizing tone to the model.
The watch has that quintessential vintage style, and combined with its diving capabilities, it makes for one of the interesting divers on the market right now.
Add to that the price tag of only about $700, and you’ve got a success story. What’s more, this variant comes in 39mm case diameter, making it small and wearable enough for even the smallest of wrists.
Another interesting side is the light golden hue that the bronze case has, playing with light in interesting ways. The sunray blue dial and double domed sapphire crystal on top contribute a lot to that play of light, similar in effect with the sun rays breaking through the surface of the water.
6. Halios Tropik B – $675
With a novel style that breaks the typical dive watch design pattern, the Halios Tropik B (Bronze) manages to depart from expectations and set its own course, becoming a breath of fresh air in an ocean of very similar dive watches.
The cushion shaped case is 41mm in diameter and 14mm in thickness, which gives it a powerful presence on the wrist, but without being uncomfortable.
The dial of this watch strives to achieve a simplicity that most dive watches will never have, offering a very clean face. There’s a lot of attention to detail that has gone into the crafting of this watch, and one particular detail where you can see that is the correct color match between the dial and the date wheel.
Underneath the beautiful dial ticks a Miyota 9015 automatic movement, a movement robust enough for the task and affordable enough to keep the watch’s price tag as low as $675.
5. Glycine Combat Sub Bronze – $650
Another impressive diver from the reputable watchmaker Glycine, the Combat Sub, has been fitted with a bronze case. The new bronze tones give it a superb aspect, which goes incredibly well with the rugged vibe of the piece.
The tool watch aesthetic is enhanced by the bronze of the case and the black of the bezel and dial.
The watch features a 25 jewel Sellita SW200 automatic caliber with up to 38 hours of power reserve, a sapphire crystal glass on top of the dial, all fitted inside a 42mm case with a 200m water resistance rating.
4. BOLDR Odyssey Bronze – $650
BOLDR is an interesting company for the outdoor enthusiasts. Among the gear they craft, BOLDR watches occupy a top spot. Rugged, durable, and stylish, their timepieces have helped the company make a name for themselves in the watch world.
As you might expect, given their outdoor focus, an important part of their watch collection includes divers, and the BOLDR Odyssey is one of them. But we all know that rugged tool watches look best worn out, so the BOLDR Odyssey Bronze gains even more appeal.
It comes in a 45.5mm bronze case, with an angular styling and relief bezel, and it’s paired with a rubber strap crafted from an in-house developed material, the Druber fluoroelastomer. The features also include a 500m water resistance rating, a helium escape valve, and Lumicast 3D Lume for the hands and indices.
The entire package costs about $650, which is impressive, especially when you think the movement inside is automatic.
3. Nethuns Lava Bronze – $520
If you look enough, you’ll find quirky timepieces like the Nethuns Lava Bronze, which is another watch that breaks the barriers of what’s generally accepted in the industry.
For about $520, you’ll get an extraordinary piece with a unique style. Despite being a young company, it has managed to get the attention they desired, and their Lava Bronze is proof enough.
The tonneau case, with the very angular and pointy bezel shape, blends with an unexpected California dial, and everything is nicely embraced by the bronze tone of the case. When it comes to features, expect 500m water resistance, sapphire crystal, and an automatic movement inside.
2. Zelos Hammerhead 2 – $449
Drawing inspiration from the dive watches of the 1970s, Zelos created the Hammerhead. The watch had that no-nonsense allure of a tool watch, but Zelos wanted more.
That’s how Hammerhead 2 came to be, with an added Helium escape valve, a water resistance rating of 1000m, dual C3 and BGW9 lume for the handset, double domed sapphire crystal, and a better build quality.
But the reason we mentioned it is the new bronze case, 44mm in diameter, impressive and vintage in style. It’s a $450 watch and it’s powered by a Seiko NH35 automatic.
1. Swatch “Back to Copper” – $225
Copper is often more expensive than stainless steel, and that applies to watches as well. Sometimes though, there comes an exception, this time in the form of the Swatch “Back to Copper”, that sells for about $225. It’s impressive enough to get over the fact that the case has a PVD copper plating that gives the piece its good looking deep bronze to reddish color.
The watch comes with a dark brown leather strap that matches the color of the case, and a casual looking dial. It’s a lovely piece overall. It won’t get a patina over time, but it won’t break the bank either.
Despite stainless steel being a tougher and more appropriate choice for watches in general, bronze will always have its appeal due to the patina it gets with use over time. It’s that special color that evolves naturally into something better with the continuous movement of the watch’s hands, like a fine wine aging in barrels.
We, humans, aren’t always one hundred percent rational, and we often allow our feelings to take over. Such is the case with bronze watches, which only get more beautiful over time, making us fall in love with them even more.
There are plenty of stunning examples of bronze timepieces out there, but we selected a few that we thought are well worth the money and affordable enough for most of us.