Table of Contents
- 1 Entry Level Luxury Watch Recommendations
- 2 Why Buy Luxury Watches?
- 3 Key Features to Look for in a Luxury Watch
- 4 Gold or Silver Watch? Is it worth it?
- 5 Final Word(s) on Buying Luxury Watches
If you are thinking about buying luxury watches, you may be in awe of the hundreds of great brand names out there that you can purchase these items from. There are so many of them, you may get confused and be worried about which one would be the best brand of luxury watches to buy. Do not fear, here is some help!
Some of the brands you may have heard of with regards to luxury watches could be, Rolex, Cartier, Gucci and Fendi. Learn more about these brands and many others on my watch type guide.
Entry Level Luxury Watch Recommendations
Now that I’ve briefly covered the world of luxury watches and why you should consider owning one, it’s time to review more specific watch recommendations.
Luxury watches come in various prices. They can be as “cheap” as a thousand dollars or they can be as expensive as a brand new Lamborghini. Especially some of the Patek Philippe watches, they can go for at least $100,000.
If you’re interested in these watches, you likely won’t need me to tell you that they are some of the world’s best watches. You can check out my review on these uber luxury watches in my chronograph watch guide.
In this section, I’ll recommend options for those looking to purchase their first luxury watch. Normally, I categorize my recommendations in pricing tiers, but for luxury watches, there’s only one tier….
Over $1,000 prices only –
So I’ll organize these by brands.
TAG Heuer Brand
I’ve covered TAG Heuer in several style guides already. You can check out my automatic watch recommendation and this luxury dress watch from this famed Swiss watchmaker.
Unless you’re relatively new to the world of horology or luxury brands in general, then you’ve likely heard of TAG Heuer. They’re in the same class as the Rolex and Omega brands in terms of their consumer target market.
TAG Heuer is a Swiss watchmaker that’s part of the luxury fashion company, LVMH.
Here’s a good entry level TAG Heuer timepiece – the Formula 1 Stainless Steel watch.
This particular watch is imported from Switzerland, and it uses the Swiss quartz movement. You can probably find this priced just under $1,000, which is a rare for a TAG Heuer watch. The discount for this watch is likely due to the rubber strap, which makes this style more casual than formal.
Regardless, this watch still comes from TAG Heuer, highlighted by the branding logo at the 12 o’clock position. The main features of this luxury watch include:
- Swiss Import
- Stainless steel watch with black bezel and dial with bright hour markers and date display
- Swiss Quartz Movement
- Rubber band with buckle
- 20 ATM rating (perfect for water sports)
This watch has an average of 4.5 stars from 30 customers on Amazon. Users love the value per price. It’s great for the male outdoors type, and classy enough for a cocktail at the pool bar.
This is yet another watchmaker that I’ve covered before. It’s no secret that I think highly of the Omega brand (and so do many watch connoisseurs and collectors). It is after all the preferred chronograph watch by James Bond!
The Bond Watch as well as the Omega automatic watch are fine choices for your first luxury watch purchase. You can check out the above mentioned links to read my reviews on those Omega watch styles.
If those styles don’t suit you, then perhaps this Leather Dress Watch from Omega would work as an entry level luxury watch.
It’s part of the Omega Automatic Watch collection (the Seamaster to be specific). It uses the highly regarded Swiss automatic watch movement.
The blue, alligator leather strap makes it look classy and would work well with a dinner jacket or a suit to work. The Omega craftsmanship is evident from the hour markers and the stainless, steel bezel. It’s worthy of the Omega logo, stamped right under the 12 o’clock position.
The main highlights of this Omega luxury watch:
- Stainless, steel case with a blue alligator strap
- Blue dial with silver toned hands and index hour markers
- Swiss Automatic watch movement (no battery needed!)
- 5mm case diameter
- Water resistant up to 150m underwater
- Prime eligible!
There’s no reviews on Amazon for this particular model, but I recommend it anyway because works for me in terms of the aesthetics. If you doubt the quality of Omega watches, I suggest you read up on this good article about the company from the NY Times.
You might not recognize the Tudor Brand, but you will likely have heard of their parent company –
Like it’s parent company, Tudor watches are designed and manufactured in Switzerland. The founder of Rolex SA, Hans Wilsdorf, registered the Tudor brand in 1926. The Tudor line was meant to be a more “affordable” line of Rolex watches.
The Tudor brand became world renowned and was even used by the US Navy and the SEALs.
If you buy the Tudor brand, you are in effect buying a Rolex watch. It’s on the same caliber (in terms of movement and construction) as a typical Rolex watch. It might not be priced like the Rolex Daytona chronograph watch, but the quality of a Tudor watch can’t be denied.
If you’re interested in buying your first Tudor luxury watch, consider Heritage Black Bay model. As one user noted, it “looks and feels” like it’s made of money.
The glass is made of sapphire. The strap is made of leather. The watch itself is COSC certified, which is a highly exclusive Swiss watch certification of quality. Only three percent of Swiss-made timepieces receive this particular certification.
Here are the main highlights of this Tudor watch:
- 43mm case diameter
- Leather band
- Bezel made of uni-directional rotating Bronze alloy
- Swiss Automatic watch movement
- 20 ATM rating (good for up to 200 meters underwater)
- Rolex quality
There’s limited reviews on Amazon, but all are positive. They highlight it’s Rolex quality without costing you a second mortgage.
Speaking of Rolexes and mortgages, I might as well talk about the king of luxury watches…..
Most people recognize the Rolex brand. It’s not only one of the most recognizable brand (right up there with Coca Cola), but it’s also the most valuable watch brand in the world (as per Bloomberg).
I’ve already mentioned them before in the introduction. Also, you can read up on my take on the Rolex watch, compared with other chronograph watch brands.
Many watch companies aspire or copy the Rolex style, but few can compete with a true Rolex watch. It’s highly sought after by celebrities, watch collectors or people who need an accessory to match with their Bugatti car.
If you’re looking to buy a Rolex, then you won’t need me to tell you of the quality of the Rolex craftsmanship. If you’re a first time buyer of a Rolex luxury watch, then I’d look into their line of watches for an “affordable” price of under $10,000 –
This watch can do it all. As the name suggests, this watch is made for diving as it’s water resistant for up to 300 meters. It’s a Swiss automatic. It’s a fine dress watch. It’s sporty. It’s classic Rolex at an “affordable price.” Indeed, it’s worth a consideration for a first time buyer of a Rolex luxury timepiece.
Here are the highlights of the Rolex Submariner:
- Sapphire crystal glass
- Stainless steel case material
- Swiss automatic watch movement (no batteries!)
- Water resistant for up to 300 meters
- Free shipping!
The Rolex Submariner has an average of 4.5 stars from over 20+ customers. Many cite the fine craftsmanship. It’s great for the outdoors type, yet it doubles down as a classy dress watch option.
Cartier watches come from a French, luxury goods conglomerate with a similar name – Societe Cartier. Cartier are world renowned for their design, manufacturing and distribution of high-end jewelry and watches.
Cartier is highly regarded as a luxury brand. According to Wiki, King Edward VII of England called Cartier as the jeweler for kings and the king of jewelers.
For an entry level Cartier watch, take a look at the Ronde Solo Stainless steel watch. It has a 42mm stainless steel case with a sapphire dial window. It uses an automatic movement with analog display.
Here are the highlights:
- Round watch with the Cartier logo placed at the 12 o’clock position
- 42mm stainless steel case
- Automatic self-wind movement
- Roman numerals for hour markers and blue minute and hour hands
- 3 ATM rating
The watch has an average of four stars from about 10 users.
Breitling SA is another Swiss luxury watchmaker, founded in 1884 by Leon Breitling. It’s a world- renowned watch, specializing chronograph style watches for aviators.
They make high quality watches that are great for pilots, yet classy and dressy enough to wear at work.
All their models are considered certified chronometers. Their timepieces are often either for diving (SuperOcean models) or for pilots (Navitimer). All their watches have polished cases, bracelets and large watch faces.
Many watch collectors assess the quality of the watch by it’s weight and large face. Since a typical Breitling watch has many bells and whistles, it does have the look of a heavy watch. Thereby, making it look “luxury” and expensive.
If you’re looking to purchase your first Breitling luxury watch or need something to take with you in your next space flight, consider the Breitling Aerospace Evo model.
It’s built from a sturdy material. The 22mm bracelet is made of titanium so if you ever lose it in your spacewalk to Mars, rest assured future archaeologists will still find it working and intact centuries from now.
All kidding aside, it’s a quality watch worthy of space flight and a complementary fashion piece to wear for work, at a wedding or an award show in Hollywood. It’s a fine luxury watch.
Here are the main highlights of this Breitling model:
- Volcano Black dial
- Perpetual Day & Date Calendar
- Chronograph style
- Titanium case
- 10 ATM rating
- Deployment buckle
It has an average of five stars from about five reviewers. Some users are pilots and they note how accuracy of the movement, its sturdy build and quality craftsmanship.
Yet another Swiss watchmaker makes this recommendation list for luxury watches. Chopard is not as well known as Rolex, but it’s still highly regarded by watch collectors and connoisseurs.
The brand dates back to 1860, when Louis-Ulysse Chopard launched the Swiss watch and jewelry brand in Sonvillier. Chopard sold the brand to Karl Scheufele, a German watchmaker, but Chopard maintains its Swiss manufacturing roots in Geneva.
If you’re interested in trying out a Chopard luxury watch for the first time, consider the Chopard Mille Miglia model.
Inspired by the famous Italian car race, the watch is the most unique to make this list. It’s strap looks like tire marks with the Chopard logo at the 12 o’clock position. In my opinion, only the Ferrari watch looks cooler (and “cheaper”).
Here are the highlights of this great Chopard luxury watch:
- Stainless steel
- Swiss automatic movement with 24 Jewels
- Sapphire glass
- 23mm band width
- 10 ATM rating
It doesn’t have a lot of reviews on Amazon, but Chopard is a high quality Swiss watch.
This list of entry level luxury watches is not a complete list. There are many other watch brands to choose from. I cover many types and styles of watches. Make sure you do your research before making a sizable investment in a luxury watch.
Even at an introductory price, most quality luxury watches are over $1,000 (most likely over $5,000). Choose the style that not only looks good, but also a style that befits your lifestyle.
All of these are reputable companies, not just known for their luxury watches, but for their luxury fashion items as well. And of course, who could forget about the luxury price?!
Cartier, as one example, offers a fantastic two year warranty internationally for their watches, and, that aside, has become world famous for presenting us with luxury watches to take our breathes away. (Quite literally, when you look at the price!)
Cartier’s watches have set trends throughout the twentieth century, and many high street watches that you can find today, at a fraction of the price, take their initial designs from these beautiful time pieces.
These days, people don’t just want a watch to tell the time, they want watches that, not only have style and class, but can tell them the date, and even remind them of appointments they must keep. It does pay, to quite literally pay, for a watch that will keep you where you want to be at the right times!
Rolex is one of the most famous brands in the world when it comes to luxury watches, and everybody wants one. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford one, and so the world of fake luxury watches began.
They were famous for creating the world’s first watch that was waterproof, back in 1926, and from that point forward has become increasingly popular with watch-wearers all around the world, and it is no wonder, seeing as they were the first wristwatch company ever to use advertising!
Gucci, another brand which is possibly more famous for it’s fashion trends than it’s luxury watches, is another world famous brand of reliable luxury wristwatches, and this time, for it’s label and also for it’s varied styles.
You can expect a Gucci watch to be as fashionable as it’s wearer, but also is very expensive in the world of watches.
And last, but certainly not least, we will look at Fendi. Another trendy fashion name, Fendi watches are well desired by those who have any information and knowledge of fashion. Usually accompanied by the world famous Fendi bags, these watches are worn by those who are in the know, and have been since the late 80’s.
You know you are in style when you glance down at your wrist and see that ever famous “F” branded there!
Why Buy Luxury Watches?
Luxury watches can be a tad costly which leaves many wondering if they should really get one. So why buy a luxury watch? Here are a couple of reasons why:
This is obviously the primary reason you’d need a watch in the first place however luxury watches are not your ordinary timekeeping pieces as they are normally built by master horologists with years of experience. Therefore, the accuracy of such watches is usually top-notch and second to none.
Moreover, they can reliably track time for decades with you only needing to do small tune-ups once in 5 years as opposed to generic watches that barely even make it past five. So you can rest assured that you are getting your full money’s worth with such a watch.
Proves an excellent investment
Luxury watches are a great investment in one of two ways. From the functional point of view, these watches are imbued with excellent durability as they are built for the long haul. So if you buy a luxury watch today, then you are set for life.
Financial wise, a luxury watch is a great long-term investment as its price rarely dips below its original market value. In fact, the precious metals incorporated in the design could essentially elevate its resale value so that when you decide to cash it in, you’ll even be making a profit.
You only need to look at gold, a common luxury watch accent, to substantiate this as seen by the metal’s ever-rising market standing that has skyrocketed over the past decade or so. What’s more, prestigious brand names are quite appealing to collectors who would pay through the nose to get their hands on vintage models.
Pleasing to look at
Luxury watches usually incorporate artistic embroidery, elegant precious metals, enchanting designs, and bewitching patterns which means they make beguiling eye candy.
Similar to how you’d have an alluring painting hanging on your rec room wall, a luxury watch also proves a nice piece of art that you can carry around with you wherever you go. It’s an accessory that never goes unnoticed and is sure to earn you a barrage of compliments from friends and family!
You’ll be taken seriously
Whether we’d like to admit it or not, it’s the cold truth that in this present day and age, you are addressed the way you are dressed. A luxury watch is often a subtle display of riches and an indication that you are not one to be taken lightly.
It gives off an aura of understated wealth and not a recent payday. So if you are looking to leave an impression within the high-end social circles, a good luxury watch is your best bet.
Great family heirloom
The longevity of luxury watches and their exquisite design makes such watches perfect heirlooms. Your son, daughter, or whoever else you’d like to pass it on to will don it long after you’re gone and they can pass it on from generation to generation.
So basically, you’re not buying a luxury watch just for yourself but also for future posterity. It perfectly epitomizes love, life, and use in a tangible, almost breathable way, like an overwatching warm presence.
Here’s a quick summary of what to look for when shopping for a luxury watch for the first time —
Key Features to Look for in a Luxury Watch
So you’ve made up your mind on getting a luxury watch but just what are the key features to look for in a luxury watch? Here a few pointers to help answer that question:
Solid and robust is what you’re looking for in the architecture which should encompass well fitting movable parts e.g. bracelet and case lungs should fit seamlessly without wiggling about and the same goes for other moving parts such as a rotating bezel or crown.
Moreover, steer clear of hollow or folded metal as these are susceptible to damage rather opt for high-quality material such as stainless steel (preferably of grade 316L quality)
Movement is key
The watch movement is the heart of the watch so you should pay particular attention to the movement type the luxury watch of your choosing incorporates. In the horology industry, Swiss movement is arguably regarded as the best there is right alongside Japanese movements.
Let your luxury watch shopping list reverberate between the two and you are bound to pick out an excellent make.
The crystal is basically the face of the watch and it needs to be made from quality materials that can withstand the tough test of time while all the while maintaining that sleek and alluring look.
While there are a plethora of materials to choose from for the crystal, only a few really stand out and these are mineral glass, acrylic or plexi glass, and sapphire crystal.
The latter is the pick of the bunch when looking for a good entry level luxury watch because of its resistance to scratch and physical impacts. The sapphire needs to be of a good thickness as this means the watch has a greater immunity to shattering.
Aside from that, you also need to look for the presence of a double anti-reflective coating (i.e. atop and beneath the crystal) on the surface.
Any luxury watch worth its salt is often accompanied with the name of the watchmaker or brand logo which serves as some sort of a trademark and a sign of approval. Therefore, the presence of such a signing is a reliable indication of a watch’s quality.
The manner of signing is different from watch to watch however they should be present nonetheless and can be found in one of four places i.e. on the case back, the watch’s face, on the strap buckle/deployant clasp, or on the crown.
The finish can generally be broken down into brushed and polished with many good watches incorporating a combination of both. Others also feature special treatment like Diamond Like Carbon and Physical Vapor Deposition, simply known as DLC and PVD respectively, with the former proving pricier but also of higher quality.
Closure/clasp and special features
The clasps should preferably be double as opposed to single locking which affords lesser grip on the arm compared to the former that has a very firm grip hence is more secure.
With regards to special features, you could also turn to a luxury watch that includes beguiling complications such as tourbillion escapements, chronographs, calendars, and moon phases just to name a few. Apart from improving the accuracy of the timepiece, these bonus features also make the luxury watch more enchanting.
Gold or Silver Watch? Is it worth it?
Since I’m on the topic of luxury watches, it’s worth dedicating a section on gold and silver watches. These precious metals are synonymous to luxury so it’s worth briefly noting at what to look for in a gold or silver luxury watch.
Which one is better and which one should you go for?
Let’s find out:
Silver watches are often viewed as the more versatile of the pair hence can go with a variety of outfit colors. Gold, on the other hand, is thought to be a bit restrictive and therefore needs to be paired with matching accessories and gold or brass tones to blend in.
When paired with a white face, a silver watch is considered to be as neutral as it gets as far as watches are concerned. Rose gold meanwhile affords greater versatility than standard yellow gold.
A watch is going to take an almost permanent residence atop your arm right against your skin so it’s only natural you should go for one that doesn’t look utterly misplaced; i.e. it should seamlessly blend in without being too conspicuous.
If you have dark skin for instance, then you might consider going for a gold watch particularly of the rose gold variety. Meanwhile, for a lighter skin tone, a silver watch would be ideal as a gold watch would be too shouting against a pale shade.
The “in thing” factor
Often, gold is viewed as the popular color of yesteryears with many watch lovers considering it to be out of fashion. Silver meanwhile is considered the in thing these days hence its popularity among horology circles has skyrocketed in recent times. Therefore, going by the current wave, silver is the way to go.
Well, if you’ve already said “I do”, then you might consider going for a watch whose color matches that of the ring particularly if both are worn on the same arm. You’ll probably wear your ring most, if not all, of the time, hence your watch will always play second fiddle so it’s only right that they are of a similar shade.
Match gold with gold and pair silver with silver. The same goes for any other accompanying accessories and shoes.
Timeless and classic
Gold might seem like the underdog in this fight but when it comes to vintage and elegance, then nothing epitomizes these qualities quite like a gold watch. Though it’s often labelled as “out of style”, the beautiful appeal of gold is nostalgic, classic, and timeless.
Silver watches have the upper hand when it comes to longevity. They are more durable and scratch resistant than gold which is a tad more malleable hence more vulnerable. Moreover, silver doesn’t tarnish as much making it very long-lasting in comparison.
While silver is considered slightly more versatile, gold can also hold its own in such an argument given its numerous variations which include the traditional yellow, white, and pink/red color options; the latter shade being very popular these days thanks to its commendable versatility. Therefore, gold affords more shopping choices compared to silver.
The debate is quite polarizing on this one so I’ll let you be the jury. However, at the end of the day (as should always be the case), the watch you choose should simply be to your liking.
Final Word(s) on Buying Luxury Watches
At the end of the day, watches or anything fashion is a personal decision. Most purchasing decisions on watches can boiled down to these factors:
- Personal Style
- Personal Lifestyle
Price is self explanatory. Don’t go over your budget. Know what price you’re willing to pay for a luxury watch and don’t open another line of credit on your house, even though a Rolex Daytona watch screams super sexy.
Everyone’s personal style is different. Some people like to show off their luxury watch so they want a heavy watch with a lot of bells and whistles. They want a large face for their watch so it just stands out on their wrist. For these shoppers, a Breitling or a Rolex would work best.
Others look for more simple designs, or as I like to call “understated elegance.” If you’re one of these types, consider dress watches with a leather strap and smaller face. You want a watch that complements and not overpower your fashion ensemble. Choose the Omega with the blue alligator strap mentioned previously. It’s not a large as a Breitling but has that classic look that Bond girl would certainly approve!
Finally, make a choice based on your personal lifestyle. For the outdoor types, a Breitling would word well with it’s titanium build. For shoppers who just want a watch to wear at a cocktail party and would pare well with a vodka martini (shaken not stirred), then again the Omega (or anything with a classic leather strap) would work best.
Luxury watches are a great investment, and usually shoppers graduate from more minimalist styles (“cheaper” priced models) to the luxury model. This guide offered a lot of great brands to choose from. And if you’re new to the world of luxury watches, any of these recommendations would work best as your first luxury watch purchase.