The top 5 affordable transparent watches The top 5 affordable transparent watches

The top 5 affordable transparent watches

Borna Bošnjak

Transparent watches are often split into two categories – the cheap, plastic stuff that you find in the toy section or invisible paragons of crystal clarity, unattainable by mere mortals akin to you and I. There are, however, a few that look to buck this depressing trend, from cheap and cheerful and rough and rugged to design-oriented and surprisingly affordable.

Swatch Clearly Gent

The Swatch Clearly Gent is the direct descendant of the legendary Jellyfish. While original Jellyfish models are reaching ridiculous prices for a Swatch, not to mention their fragile, yellowing constructions, the Clearly Gent makes the most of a bio-sourced plastic case and modern materials for the TPU strap. At 34mm, it’s the same size as the original, and very affordable. Retail price: A$115

Casio G-SHOCK Transparent Pack

A general opinion seems to be, if the funky colours and designs of a Swatch aren’t quite for you, but you want a durable, lightweight all-rounder, G-SHOCK is the clear (pun intended) choice. Their Transparent Pack includes all the iconic designs, rendered in both transparent and tinted resin. My personal favourite is and always will be the classic square G, the DW5600, but I can’t lie, the appeal of a see-through CasiOak is hard to resist. What’s even better, you can catch these on sale for under A$200. Retail price: A$259 (DW5600SKE), A$289 (GA2100SKE), A$319 (GA700SKE)

Nixon Regulus Clear

affordable transparent watches

Nixon could be a bit of a surprise entrant, as the brand mainly focuses on fashion-oriented pieces that often don’t speak to enthusiasts. The Regulus however, apparently developed in collaboration with US Special Forces, looks to have a slice of the tough-and-ready cake hogged by G-SHOCKs. It does so differently, however, employing a more minimal design, free of spec sheet-plastered bezels without losing out on the features. The whole package is resistant to 100 metres, sporting dual chronographs, three alarms, an adjustable-brightness LED light while the module is padded with Poron foam. The whole package is resistant to 100 metres. Retail price: US$150

Issey Miyake Glass Watch by Tokujin Yoshoika

affordable transparent watches

From two offerings clearly prioritising function before form, we get to one that flips the script. Seemingly a fan of transparent designs, we’ve covered Issey Miyake’s watches before, but didn’t feature the Glass Watch. Designed by Tokujin Yoshioka for Issey Miyake, the Glass Watch’s main feature is the large piece of Hardlex that forms the crystal of the otherwise minimal design. Realised with the help of Seiko, like many other Issey Miyake watches, it features a VJ20 quartz movement, measuring in at 39mm in diameter and an imposing 15.6mm in height. Since its inception in 2005 and eventual release 10 years later, the challenge in producing it is explained by its designer here. Retail price: US$595

Aventi Pure Sapphire A11-01SE

affordable transparent watches
Image courtesy of Watchfinder

A sapphire case in a round-up of affordable watches? I admit, CHF 5,500 is hardly cheap, but considering what other manufacturers charge for their takes on sapphire cases, it’s somewhat of a miracle. That’s not the only surprise the Aventi A11 does a poor job of hiding (another sapphire = see-through joke for ya). Look at the opening in the lattice-like skeletonised structure at 3 o’clock and you’ll notice a tourbillon. The eagle-eyed and pessimistic among you will quickly realise that this is indeed a Chinese-made movement, but considering the novelty of what’s on offer here, I’m not bothered by it at all. After a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign and generally positive feedback from enthusiast circles, Aventi now offers a whole range of avant-garde designs. Retail price: CHF 5,500