5 Best Starter Watches

Whether it’s sky-high prices or the sheer number of styles available, the world of watches can certainly overwhelm first-time buyers or burgeoning collectors.

While fine watchmaking houses indeed have hundreds of models available, some of them in the 5 or 6 figures, each one of these brands also have an entry-point watch. That is, an offering that encapsulates the brand’s heritage and craftsmanship in a versatile style and at a more affordable price.

For budding watch collectors, here are our picks for the best starter watches from Rolex, Omega, and more.

 

Oyster Perpetual
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39mm Automatic Steel Mens Watch 114300

Rolex Oyster Perpetual
The all-occasion watch

Every watch in the Rolex lineup, except for the Cellini line, is technically an Oyster Perpetual. The name comes from the Oyster case, which gives the watch a water resistance of at least 100m. The most humble and understated of these — yet no less of a Rolex, is the Oyster Perpetual.

The Oyster Perpetual features everything that makes a Rolex a Rolex, with everything extraneous stripped away – just the legendary Oyster case, self-winding perpetual movement, Oyster bracelet, and three hands to tell the time.

Today, the Oyster Perpetual comes in a total of six sizes, starting at 26mm for the ladies – followed by the 31, 34 and 36mm ; and the relatively recent additions in 39 and 41mm size options.

Oyster Perpetual watches are all constructed in stainless steel, underlining its long held standing as the entry level choice. Colorful dials offer lots of choices to suit every taste.

 


 

Seamaster 300M
Omega Seamaster Bond 300M Blue Wave Dial Mens Watch 2221.80.00

Omega Seamaster 300M
The all-around diver

The Omega Seamaster 300M Diver has been around since 1993, and has been made in countless iterations – for good reason. The design is a cross between a luxury watch and a tool watch, making it a staple in watch collections, and an absolute commercial success.

The most recognizable version of the Seamaster 300M is the emblematic blue wave dial, famously worn by Pierce Brosnan in the 1995 James Bond movie, GoldenEye. In 2012, the Seamaster line has featured lacquered dials and ceramic bezels in blue or black, giving a sleek and polished look to the classic styling of the watch.

With a depth rating of 300m, and a helium escape valve which not all dive watches have, this affordable Omega is not at all a bare-bones product, but instead a highly-functional one.

 


 

Luminor Logo
Panerai Luminor Acciaio Logo Paneristi 15th Anniversary Watch PAM00634

Panerai Luminor Logo
Best for bigger wrists

Originally made for the Italian Navy in the 1930s, Panerai watches only became available to the public in 1993. Since then, it has become known as the watch of choice when it comes to large and robust timepieces, with watches measuring at least 42mm.

The most basic model one can get is the Base Logo. A sports watch with a minimalist but striking design, this model’s only embellishment is the Officine Panerai logo on the dial above 6 o’clock. All of its other features are purely functional – from the clean and minimal lines of the case, to the painted on Arabic numerals and baton hour markers.

 


 

Mark XVIII
IWC Pilot Mark XVIII Black Dial Steel Mens Watch IW327001

IWC Pilot Mark XVIII
Modern military watch

IWC is world renowned for its aviator watches; and its Pilot’s Watch line up is its best selling line of time-only aviation watches. The Mark XVIII is the most affordable model from this line.

The IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII bears the same design codes of the original observation watches produced by IWC in the 1940s. The design is reduced to the essentials – a stark white-on-black color scheme, large Arabic numerals, a triangle at 12 o’clock and bold sword shaped hands, all create a very legible dial on a stainless steel case.

At 40mm, the Mark XVIII is sized just right, with its 11mm high case completing the elegant proportions. With its build and classic look, it’s a watch suitable for both men and women.

 


 

Heritage Black Bay
Tudor Heritage Black Bay Burgundy Bezel, Green Bezel, and Black Bezel 79230

Tudor Heritage Black Bay
For fans of the vintage look

Introduced in 2012, the Tudor Black Bay is a relatively new design and was largely responsible for the resurgence of the brand. The line has since expanded to include GMT, chronograph, and even two-tone designs, but our vote goes to the original dive watches that started the collection – the burgundy and black bezel versions with gold accents.

Inspired by the Tudor Submariners of the 1950s, these watches feature the iconic Tudor snowflake hands and faux-tina or cream colored luminescent coating. The retro look epitomizes Tudor’s greatest strength as a brand – the ability to draw inspiration from past models and add modern sensibility.

 

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