If you are a newbie looking to make your first luxury watch purchase, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will go through the definition of what is considered an entry-level luxury watch, everything that makes a great entry-level luxury watch, along with the 10 best entry-level luxury watches in the market. With this knowledge under your belt, you will be ready to start your luxury watch collection.
Some great entry-level watches provide the perfect excuse to set foot into the luxury watch wearing world without burning a substantial hole in your pocket. With every good watch brand, there is an entry-level watch and these are often the bread and butter to the manufacturer’s entire range, based on their best materials, features and watchmaking ethos. In this guide, we’re providing you with the best entry-level watches made by some of the biggest luxury watch brands in the world. From the likes of Jaeger Le Coultre, Cartier, Omega and Rolex – these luxury entry-level watches for men and women defy the misconception that every timepiece from the luxury watch sector must be extortionately priced. So, let’s take a look…
The IWC watch ref IW327009 belongs to the manufacturer’s Mark XVIII watch collection. It follows in the footsteps of the iconic Mark 11 watch, which was originally supplied to the British Ministry of Defence who required an accurate, anti-magnetic instrument for astro-navigational purposes. The watch evolved into a legend, leading to the Mark XVII watch – a civilian model with Roman numeral hour markers instead of the Arabic numerals. Then came the Mark XVIII collection. The IWC327009 is one of the newest additions to this sub-line and features a 40mm stainless steel case integrated with 60-meter water resistance. For its price point, it offers incredible cutting-edge technology. The Calibre 35111, which provides a 42-hour power reserve, is protected inside a soft-iron inner case for added protection against magnetic fields. It also features a screw-in crown, a specially engraved caseback, and a convex sapphire crystal glass front for superior dial protection
The Breitling Super Chronomat B01 44 watch is one of the newest releases from the watchmaker this year. The Chronomat line was originally invented for aerobatic squadrons and is characterised by its exclusive Rouleaux bracelet made especially for the range, as well as the rider tabs on the bezel with ceramic inserts. This Breitling Super Chronomat B01 44 model features a blue dial with silver-filled chronograph counters at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock offering 30-minute, 12-hour and small second functions respectively. The central chronograph second hand is the only vivid shot of red to be seen across the dial, and the watch is equipped with a bezel that rotates bidirectionally. This entry-level watch into the Breitling universe is powered by the in-house Breitling Calibre 01, which provides an impressive 70-hour power reserve. The soft and supple blue rubber Rouleaux strap is a new addition to Breitling’s manufacture and adopts the look of the original iconic metal bracelet seen on these highly desirable collectables.
For many collectors, Tudor’s range of watches offers a more affordable alternative to the Rolex catalogue. Tudor has created ranges like the 1926 collection, which conveys the essence of traditional watchmaking and borrows several manufacturing techniques from its more expensive sibling brand. This Tudor 1926 watch pays tribute to the brand’s early mechanical wristwatches and features a silver dial with simple rose gold hands and Arabic numeral hour markers that alternate with scintillating diamond dot indexes. For an entry point into luxury watch collecting, the model has many striking elements to offer a novice. Take, for example, the embossed dial surface, which adds further depth and dimension to the design, the self-winding Calibre T201 with a 38-hour power reserve and its sophisticated stainless steel bracelet with links that secure to the wrist with a Tudor rose engraved emblem upon a refined folding clasp.
Panerai is known for its dedicated approach to developing innovative luminous dials for enhanced timekeeping during the night and in dark conditions. The Radiomir Base Logo watch pays homage to this rich heritage in innovation with a 100-meter water-resistant cushion-shaped case and onion-shaped crown. The combination of its black dial, luminous oversized Arabic numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock, and polished circular bezel all help to create a vintage-inspired instrument packed full of cutting-edge technology. Inside this entry-level watch is the mechanical P.6000 – a hand-wound calibre that requires manually winding every day to keep perfect time. Hand-wound watches are a novelty item for many experienced connoisseurs, offering the wearer a very personalised and intimate timekeeping experience.
Although not the iconic Duoface version, this Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Monoface watch still offers the lady a chance to dip her toes into the wonder of an icon. The rectangular-shaped stainless steel case of this entry-level watch conceals a quartz movement behind its caseback and features a silver dial on the front side, adorned with crisp black Arabic numeral hour markers and a set of elegantly sculpted blued steel hands. An inner minute track also features on the dial and the watch is completed on a stunning blue alligator leather strap, promising all the characteristics of the classic Reverso watch collection.
This year, Cartier reinvented its Tank Must watch collection. The new timepieces inject fresh life into a secret icon from the brand’s archives and come in an array of coloured dial options and straps. This classic black Cartier Tank Must watch for women, however, is a very reasonably priced timepiece that offers all the quintessential elements of the popular square-faced Cartier watch. A silvered dial features blued steel hands sculpted into the instantly recognisable sword shape, an inner railroad minute track, legible black Roman numeral hour markers and a stunning blue cabochon-adorned crown tip at 3 o’clock. The watch is powered by a quartz movement and comes fitted on a traditional-looking black grained calfskin leather strap, securing with a stainless steel ardillon buckle.
If you’re big into motorsport watches and, before now, have only ever been able to dream about your own luxury sports watch, you might not be aware of TAG Heuer’s very reasonably priced steel sports watches from the Formula 1 watch collection. The range celebrates the brand’s inextricable links to the world of sport and motor racing with a range of rugged, masculine-infused chronograph watches that are perfect for wearing every single day of the week. TAG Heuer Formula 1 watches represent the watchmaker’s relationship with legendary drivers like Juan Manuel Fangio and Ayrton Senna and come in the form of this 43mm steel version with a black dial and chronograph 1/10th of a second and 30-minute function. For an entry-level watch into the world of motorsport watches, the model offers 200-meter water resistance, a black tachymeter bezel, black coated push-pieces, an anti-glare sapphire crystal glass front, a supple black rubber strap and steel pin buckle fastening, and is powered by a quartz movement.
The Grand Seiko SBGX259 model is another quartz-powered watch but this one offers a very classic and traditional styling. Perfect for wearing as a dress watch, the strong stainless steel case of this Grand Seiko watch is water-resistant to 100 meters and features a screw-down caseback engraved with the famous lion emblem -a symbol of premium, high-end manufacture. Seiko chooses a silver dial for the design of this SBGX259 model and equips it with a date display at 3 o’clock, elegant stick hour markers and polished tapering central hands. The mirror surface of the dial is free of distortion and is protected by an anti-glare sapphire glass front. The feel and design of the stainless steel bracelet are undoubtedly where the quality of the Grand Seiko watch becomes very evident – its ergonomically formed links sculpting to the contours of the wrist perfectly for ultimate comfort.
If you’re looking for the gateway into the Omega watch collecting world, the first place to look is the constellation collection. The designs are unmissably simple and have an instantly detectable format with claws positioned at the east and west axis on the bezel and a mono rang bracelet. This Omega Constellation Quartz watch reference 18.104.22.168.01.001 is suitable for slender male wrists but is predominantly designed for a female with a classic sun-brushed black dial, stick indexes, and a set f Roman numerals engraved into the surface of the bezel. Powered by quartz movement, the reliable watch also offers a date window at 6 o’clock and features an integrated bracelet, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass front and a brushed caseback with the embossed Constellation Observatory medallion upon its surface.
Last but not least to make our list of best entry-level watches is a timepiece from Rolex. Surprisingly, you can pick up a brand new Rolex watch from the company’s current catalogue for a reasonable price. Although not the cheapest in this list, the Oyster Perpetual watch is a mainstay on the brand’s range and became the backbone to virtually every single Rolex watch to be developed thereafter. This stainless steel Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch measures a 34mm diameter and is beautifully formed to compliment the lady’s slender wrist shape. The watch features a silver dial with Chromalight-coated hands and indexes that display a long-lasting blue luminescence during the night. The famous Oystersteel case is integrated with 100-meter water resistance and is fitted on the famous Oystersteel bracelet, securing with a robust Oysterclasp with Easylink 5 mm comfort extension link. Inside this case is where you can really appreciate value for money. For its price point, you get the Calibre 2232, which provides a 55-hour power reserve and comes with a Syloxi hairspring in silicon with high-performance Paraflex shock absorbers.
For more watch-guides helping you to find your next or first watch take a look at our buying guides selection where we cover from brand specific guides to helping you decide which Cartier watch you should buy if you want them to hold value or for those who love sports we have the dive watches guides.