Gift guide for men’s watches on Aliexpress

The items below are hand picked from the vendors that deliver good quality, as there is lots of bad quality out there.

It is important to note that many of these watches look similar to branded European watches, and as long as the trademark is not used, that is legal. These are not fakes but known as “homage”. In many cases, dial designs are not subject to intellectual property protection as such – and then it is legal to buy and wear such a similarly looking watch.

Top brands

San Martin

San Martin is regarded as one of the best brands on AliExpress. They are semi-expensive, but they are surprisingly decent timepieces with premier levels of quality control.

These are comparable to most watch brands at double the cost. They use Citizen Miyota 8000 series automatic movements (although this is not the highest quality).

Here are some San Martin models worth considering:

san martin Flieger SN030-G

This pilot-style watch is one of their more affordable models, yet it still offers a lot for its cost. Finishing is brilliant, the steel case is weighty, yet it’s still very comfortable to wear. And it is readable in low light. 


check out the san martin SN030-G on aliexpress

san martin DIVER SN012

This tool diver lives up to that as it is nice looking, rugged, and well-built. The bezel action is crisp and solid.

check out the san martin sn012-g on aliexpress


Escapement Time

Escapement Time is a fan favorite. Escapement Time produces handmade watches with top-notch fit and finishing for bottom-of-the-barrel prices.

Escapement Time Dress Watch

Their small dress watch is a particular highlight. You can grab this in either a 40mm or 36mm diameter, which is ideal for various wrist sizes or personal preferences.

check out the Escapement Time dress watch on aliexpress

Flieger Chronograph

Escapement Time made its name, with their Flieger Chronograph. If memory serves correctly, this was one of their first releases and quickly became one of their best sellers – even to this day. Given all this has to offer, it’s clear why. Like many other AliExpress brands, Escapement Time likes to use sapphire crystals in the watches, and this model is no exception. On top of that, we have a bead-blasted stainless steel case and a decent 50m claimed water resistance. The build quality is great, thanks to a solid case, tactile pushers, and smooth crown.

check out the escapement time chronograph on aliexpress



Steeldive is popular in the community as they offer some great bang-for-the-buck homage watches. Like many other watches on AliExpress, the SD1970 is a clone of a famous watch; in this case, the Seiko ‘Captain Willard’ 1970. If you aren’t a fan of these copy-and-paste jobs, there are a few more original designs, but they tend to be more expensive.

Returning to the SD1970, it’s often touted as one of the best value watches when pure specifications are considered. Let me explain. It’s got a stainless steel case and bracelet, a Japanese automatic movement, and a ceramic bezel insert. Such specs aren’t usually cheap, but this sub-$100 offering has them all. The watch does feel durable, as does the 120-click bezel. The diameter is on the larger side.

check out the steeldive sd1970 on aliexpress



Here we have another heavy-hitter in the ultra-affordable category, the Addiesdive.

This, like the Steeldive, is way better value than it should be and is potentially more readily available in your country. Once more, we get a full stainless steel case and bracelet as well as a ceramic bezel insert, though this one omits the sapphire and instead has a mineral crystal. There remains a Japanese movement, but it’s quartz instead of automatic. This means it’s more accurate and lighter than the previously mentioned Steeldive but lacks the sweeping hand motion. The bezel action is surprisingly decent and easily on par with many more expensive offerings. Style-wise, this option is essentially a Rolex submariner rip-off, so it won’t win any awards for originality.

check out the Addiesdive on aliexpress



The Seagull 1963 chronograph is probably the most iconic Chinese watch, and rightly so. Effectively a reissue of a military issue piece from the 1960s, the Seagull 1963 is a gorgeous, classical watch; with its blued hands and cream dial, pops of gold and red, it’s a real gem. That isn’t all, as the best part is the fully mechanical ST19 movement.

If you’re a watch geek, you’ll understand how complex and challenging it is to construct movements like this, especially at an affordable price. Most variants of the Seagull 1963 have exhibition rears, allowing you to view the elegant aesthetics of the decorated internals.

Another plus for the Seagull is the modern-day variety. This cult classic is currently available in either a 40mm or 38mm size, with a domed acrylic or sapphire crystal to pick from. Other brands, such as Sugess, have taken the iconic Sea-Gull 1963 formula and tweaked it to provide numerous additional dial choices, all with identical specifications and construction.

Unlike most on this list, Sea-Gull watches are mostly original designs, the 1963 chronograph included. There are very few downsides here, one of the few being the noise the movement produces. As a hand-wound movement, there is no rotor (usually the culprit), though the ticking noise is audible in quiet environments nonetheless.

check out the sea-gull 1963 on aliexpress


Inconsistent AliExpress Watch Brands (Some hits, some misses)


Bliger is a brand that doesn’t quite have the recognition of others on the list and often gets overlooked in favor of Pagani and Cadisen, amongst others. As a brand, they offer things that most of their competitors don’t, and that is the option to have an unbranded dial; this means there is sometimes zero or minimal text on the watch itself. This diver is available with or without the branding, known as a ‘sterile dial,’ and in numerous colors.

As for their quality control, it’s on par with the likes of Pagani and Cadisen.

Bliger offers decent bang for the buck and typically uses 316L steel, sapphire, and ceramic bezels. They primarily contain Japanese-made movements. Akin to most AliExpress brands, most Bligers are homages, though they have a more comprehensive selection of additional original releases than others on this list. 

The piece I’ve reviewed previously was the Bliger Longines HydroConquest homage, a budget alternative to the expensive original, whose price has rocketed over the past couple of years. It’s quite a simple watch with reasonable finishing. Water resistance is however limited. Inside this model is the aforementioned Miyota, a suitable choice considering the meager retail price. Amazingly, all the indexes and numbers on this watch are applied, the dial also has a bright blue sunburst that helps the watch look more expensive.

check out the bliger diver on aliexpress


Here’s another example of what Bliger has to offer. Like the previous piece, this is a homage watch; this time a clone of the Rolex Oyster Perpetual. It makes up for the lack of originality with some pretty mighty specifications.

It uses industry-standard materials such as 316L steel and sapphire crystal, the latter of which isn’t usually found on sub-$100 watches. Unlike the previous Bliger, this features a high-beat movement, providing the second hand with a smoother sweep than a traditional automatic. Most mechanical movements have a beat rate of 21,600bph, whereas the PT5000 is 28,800bph, it might not seem like a huge upgrade, but it makes a world of difference to the human eye.

check out the bliger automatic on aliexpress


Cadisen competes in the same price range as Pagani and Bliger. Cadisen offers some excellent watches at very fair prices. Like others on the list, they heavily opt for sapphire and 316L steel, but the thing that sets Cadisen apart is that their QC is generally better than Bliger and Pagani; however, they still have occasional issues.


Take this first example, the C8200M: it’s solidly made, looks great, and has decent luminescence, but the bracelet brushing falls short. Of course, you can’t expect the world for watches at this price, but this is an easy fix in the grand scheme. On the plus side, the dial is awesome, as is the finishing on the main watch itself. Another bonus is that this offering is not a direct homage and takes inspiration from a few luxury watches, including the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Maurice Lacroix Aikon – a rare feat for an Aliexpress watch brand.

check out the cadisen C8200M on aliexpress


Cadisen C8185G

Up next from Cadisen is their C8185G, which, as you can probably tell, is a fairly standard Rolex Day-Date homage.

That aside, it is a nice-looking watch with one of the most comprehensive choice lists I’ve seen. As of now, there are eight color options, as well as two different case choices and two different bezel variants if you don’t like the fluted version. There’s also a rarer meteorite texture option.

Like with the other Cadisen, the C8185G is made from 316L steel and uses sapphire for the crystal, but unlike the other Cadisen, this has a superior bracelet that’s more comfortable.

$ 140

Pagani Design

Pagani Design is a divisive brand offering plenty of variety. Their base level of finishing is better than others on this list, but quality may be a little less than other brands before.

Pagani Design PD-2720K

Arguably the best value watch produced by Pagani Design is the PD-2720K chronograph. This model has an original design that thrashes the far more expensive Vincero timepieces, making them the obvious go-to alternative.

At 43mm, it’s pretty hefty, though it has a stunning level of quality that’s often accessible for around $50! This includes a fully polished steel case, a domed mineral crystal, and a Seiko VK67 mecha-quartz movement, which gives the chronograph hand a mechanical-like sweep and the pushers a responsive feeling.

Available in multiple colors, this watch is one of the best affordable watches around, period. It can be purchased from AliExpress or the Pagani Design website, where it can sometimes be had for less money.

(3 customer reviews)
$ 72

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