OH yeah,Just what i was gonna say.Get the Tissot PRS 516,soooo niceSub $500 is a category with immense opportunities. Firstly, I would eliminate all of the "fake" brands with inflated MSRP's and horological claims. Not trying to start a war, answers can be found in numerous other threads, but brands like Invicta, Swiss Legend, Sturhling, etc... should be dismissed out of hand.
Tissot and Hamilton are fine brands, especially Hamilton. Both lower brand a of the Swatch group, both use ETA movements (some made specifically for those brands) quality throughout their collections at all price points. The Tissot PR516 Chrono may be right up your alley. Other than some Citizen Eco Drives, this is the only quartz piece left in my collection, but I really do like it, especially in the field. Sapphire, metal bracelet with hidden deployment, I think I paid like $375 new from an AD.
Can't go wrong with Seiko, though I am not as high as some of the fanboys are on this brand. Citizen Eco Drives are a lot of watch for the money, some Bulova autos are nice. Orient makes a fine watch, their autos are very competitive price wise, though I have switched out the bracelets/straps on every Orient I have.
Do your research, narrow what you like as far as tastes and usage, and you will be fine. Also, while metal bracelets are fine, don't equate bracelets with value necessarily. Some VERY nice watches come on straps, it is not a means of cost cutting, oftentimes it is simply style or function.
Good luck, let us know what you decide upon! FYI, below is a pic of my Tissot for reference if that helps, I think it may be a good choice for you.