Our Guide to Entry-Level Timepieces
Are you ready to start your watch collection or add a new brand to your current collection? Selecting your first model can be tough. There are so many different options to choose from, all at an array of price points. Keep in mind that every watch collection has to start somewhere. Your grail watch probably isn’t going to be your first purchase for your collection or from a particular brand. Still, there are tons of awesome entry-level watches out there from top manufacturers. If you’re not sure where to start your collection or how to start collecting a particular brand, don’t worry. We’re here to help! We’ve picked several great entry-level watches from some of the leading brands in the industry to get you started.
The Oyster Perpetual may be Rolex’s entry-level model, but it represents a pivotal piece of the brand’s heritage. The Oyster case was the world’s first water-resistant case for a wristwatch. Rolex debuted the innovation in an all-new namesake collection in 1931. Unlike some other Rolex models that come equipped with numerous bells and whistles, the Oyster Perpetual is sleek and straightforward. The exterior design pared down, streamlined, and timeless. However, inside you’ll find unparalleled Rolex quality. Each Oyster Perpetual runs on a robust in-house movement with COSC certification. This is an excellent watch to start any collection, or it’s just a great first Rolex to own.
The Luminor is arguably one of the most widely known and instantly recognizable Panerai models. The brand developed the Luminor Logo collection as an entry-level alternative to the classic model. However, even though it comes at a lower price point, it doesn’t compromise on quality. Each model in the Luminor Logo collection comes equipped with an in-house movement. Plus, the design stays true to the quintessential Panerai aesthetic that’s made the brand so popular. It features the brand’s signature, oversized 44mm cushion shaped case with the iconic crown guard. Whether you’re looking for your first dive watch, first Panerai, or simply your first timepiece, it’s a stellar option.
When you think of entry-level watches, you may feel that a brand like Patek Philippe is out of reach. However, even the highest end watchmakers have entry-level offerings. The Gondolo is a nice option from Patek Philippe. Its design is both minimalist and modern. It boasts a truly no-frills dress watch aesthetic that makes it ideal for everyday wear. If you’ve always dreamed of owning a Patek Philippe, this is the perfect place to start.
Audemars Piguet may be another brand that typically feels unattainable. You might be surprised to learn we picked not one but two entry-level models. Both the Royal Oak Self-Winding and the Millenary are handsome options. The Royal Oak is without question the brand’s most iconic watch. However, the self-winding variation comes in at a slightly lower price point than the original. Still, even the Royal Oak Self-Winding comes with a decent price tag. If you’re looking for an alternative from the brand, check out the Millenary. Its distinctive neo-classical design and elliptical shape draw inspiration from the Coliseum in Rome. The Royal Oak may forever be Audemars Piguet’s most instantly recognizable watch. However, the Millenary is an interesting and admirable counterpoint to the brand’s flagship model. For fans of Audemars Piguet, you can’t go wrong with either entry-level piece.
If you’re a fan of sports cars, Cartier’s entry-level model is the way to start your collection. The Roadster is a newer addition to the brand’s catalog, first debuting in 2001. However, its design pays homage to the golden age of the sports car: the 1950s. The models in this collection showcase a unique tonneau shaped silhouette that’s distinctly softer than Cartier’s square and rectangular models. There are a number of different options available on the Roadster to suit any style and taste. Whether you enjoy sports cars or have always admired Cartier, this is a solid entry-level watch to start your collection.
The watch industry and the military have a shared history that spans hundreds of years. If you’re a military buff who’s ready to start your collection, look no further than IWC’s Mark X series. The inspiration for the collection comes from IWC’s pilot’s watches made for the British Ministry of Defense during WWII. These models were part of a collection of twelve watches dubbed the Dirty Dozen. Years after the war, IWC developed the Mark X collection, drawing from the design of this historical timepiece. Prices within the collection vary by model. However the Mark XVI and XVII are two entry-level options.
Last but not least, we have an entry-level model from Hublot: the Classic Fusion. Like the Roadster, this model is a newer addition to the brand but draws inspiration from models past. The Classic Fusion incorporates elements of Hublot’s popular Big Bang, like the iconic porthole case and bold hour markers. However, it features a thinner profile and less-crowded dial. Despite its name, the Classic Fusion is actually rather modern. It combines a solid design with the signature style of Hublot. If you’re a fan of the brand’s one-of-a-kind aesthetic, this is the perfect watch to start your collection.