Best affordable watches you can purchase right now

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It may seem like affordable luxury watches are a bit of an oxymoron, particularly with the Swiss brands that are known for high quality, precise timepieces. The price for these timepieces can reach astronomical numbers, however most major brands have a watch that can be considered a bargain in comparison. On this page, we will explore some of the top brands and break down a few of their entry level pieces. With more information, you may find that a true luxury timepiece may not be so far out of your league after all. We will start with perhaps the most famous of the swiss brands.

Credit Rolex

Rolex

Rolex is a difficult brand for many new watch collectors. It’s becoming more and more difficult to buy a Rolex from your authorized dealer. Fortunately, a couple of the entry level Rolex you may have fewer problems buying than the rest.

Oyster Perpetual 36

Rolex released a few special edition Oyster Perpetuals last year. This made it extremely hard to get some of them. If you don’t need to have one of the in demand colors, at $5800 this may be the Rolex for you. The classic Oyster case, combined with a clean dial with no numerals creates a classic piece you can wear everyday. You also get everything you need from a Rolex, the waterproof system, the Rolex 3230 calibre, and the comfortable Oyster bracelet.

Air-King

Just as the other major releases, the Air-King may be difficult to find. The trickle down of the more popular releases has created a backlog of most Rolex pieces. If you can get your hands on one however, you may have the perfect entry level rolex piece. The case comes in at 40mm, a well proportioned size for the Oyster case. The dial is that distinct black with large numerals at the 3, 6, and 9 positions and minute counters on the other indices. The gold Rolex crown rests nicely against the green accents of the Rolex marque and second hand. When you take into account it’s price at only $7150, it makes this a great way to enter the world of Rolex.

OMega Speedmaster
Omega Watches For Sale

Omega

Being the first watch on the moon and starring in the James Bond series has earned Omega a strong following. Not to mention the fact that Omega watches are some of the best built in the world, and now you have a recipe for expensive, high quality timepieces. Fortunately, Omega did not ignore the rest of the world in its lineup with many options under the price of the cheapest Rolex.

Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional

While there are quite a few versions of the Moonwatch, the entry level is most like the one actually worn on the moon and comes in at only $5950. With a Hesalite crystal, nylon strap, and 42mm case size, the watch is light, comfortable, and has the classic Speedmaster look. You may have a waiting list to get some of the other basic models, however this one is usually available with no issue.

Seamaster Diver 300m

Becoming famous in 1993 as the only diver with functional chronograph pushers at 300m, the Seamaster Diver has taken off from there. This is the Bond watch and it comes with Omega’s Co-Axial escapement. Starting at $5100 with a rubber strap, you can also choose to upgrade to the stainless steel bracelet for just an extra $300 (highly recommended). It’s available in four different colorways so you can pick the Diver 300m that suits you the most.

Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m

The Seamaster Aqua Terra introduces something you won’t find very often, a quartz movement. It is highly precise, seconds per year, and looks exactly like their mechanical counterparts. The great part is, you have two options under $3000, a white dial on stainless steel bracelet and a black one. These two options also come in at 38.5mm so the size is just right for many people sick of the oversize behemoths being released now. At just $2750, it is one of the most affordable luxury Swiss watches you can buy.

Panerai 320

Panerai

Since its humble beginning as a Rolex 3646 with a dial specially made by Panerai as the first dedicated dive watch for the Italian Frogmen, Panerai has simply grown to become one of the biggest Italian names in luxury watches. Now made in Switzerland, Panerai was never known as a producer of affordable timepieces. In recent years they have switched gears and released models that are much easier to obtain for those with more modest budgets.

Radiomir Base Logo – 45mm PAM00753

The Radiomir is the watch that started it all, named after the Radium infused fluorescent  material utilized underwater. This watch is old school in every sense, two hands, manual wind, three day power reserve, leather strap. It’s also large, a requirement for easy underwater legibility. Once you put on a Panerai, you understand what makes the brand special, and this one can be picked up for only $4500.

Luminor Base Logo – 44mm PAM01086

Also named for the tritium infused Luminor fluorescent material, the Luminor introduced the famous crown guard. The Luminor Base Logo is very similar to the Radiomir base logo with the exception of the 44mm size, the obvious crown guard, and the standard lugs as opposed to the Radiomir’s wire lugs. It is manual wound with a three day power reserve and the classic “Sandwich Dial” named for its construction consisting of a full luminous plate sandwiched between the base plate and the dial with index cutouts. You can get all of this for just $5000.

Credit: Cartier

Cartier

Cartier may be known for some of the most insane jewelry ever created, however their watches are actually on the budget side of luxury. With this brand, you have so many options that will cost thousands less than other brands. Ever since the Santos was designed around 1907, Cartier has produced distinct timepieces that can be mistaken as none other than a Cartier.

Tank Must

Cartier released the Tank Must as a revival of the Must of the seventies. This is the watch that helped launch Cartier into third among Swiss watch makers, behind only Rolex and Omega. Cartier decided the needed something that more modest budgets could afford. Recommended here would be the Extra-large Tank Must Automatic at $3700. The WSTA0040 comes with a leather strap and is the easier one to find as the bracelet version consistently sells out.

Ronde Solo de Cartier

Cartier wanted a round watch. If you ask people about Cartier watches, they will most likely attribute “the watch with the screws” to the brand. In a way only Cartier can do, the Ronde was born in roughly 1937. The Ronde Solo comes in two of the best sizes, 36mm and 42mm. I strongly recommend the 42mm on stainless steel bracelet. At just $3800 it looks like a much more expensive watch. The 24 hour scale and clean date make this an excellent buy for a discerning collector.

Hublot Big Bang Aero Bang Skeleton Garmisch 44mm LTD 250 pieces
Hublot watches for Sale

Hublot

Hublot is a young brand as far as Swiss watches go. Introduced in 1980, Hublot is a brand dedicated to fusion. Fusion of the past and the future, fusion of materials, this aesthetic and material usage forms every Hublot watch. The issue is this particular level of craftsmanship commands high prices and they are not known for being cheap watches. Let’s just say these are going to be the most expensive on this list.

Classic Fusion

The Classic Fusion is just that, the classic Hublot that fuses a classic style with modern aesthetics. Even though it is the entry level watch, it’s still made of titanium and is more expensive than the steel entry level watches from competitors. The 42mm Classic Fusion runs you $7300, but if you don’t need the larger size, the exact same watch can be had in 38mm for just $6700. I would spring for the 42mm, but I have seen how good a 38mm can look, even after wearing a 46mm watch for years. Don’t overlook this unique watch.

Big Bang

When Biver became CEO of Hublot, he wanted a new flagship model. In 2005 he showed the world the new Big Bang. This watch really borders on the edge of “affordable”, but this is the second least expensive watch available. The steel version comes in two sizes, 44mm and 41mm. If you’re worried about value, the 44mm is your best bet for smaller depreciation since they both come in at $12,500. If you aren’t worried about depreciation, and just want that shiny new watch that you will hold forever, try on both and see which size fits you best. It’s truly a stunning piece in both sizes, but the 41mm comes with a ceramic bezel which is not for everyone.

Pic Credit: IWC

IWC

An American in Switzerland, that is the start of IWC. F.A. Jones wanted to combine American manufacturing with Swiss craftsmanship, however it wasn’t easy in the beginning. A fortuitous meeting with Henrich Moser, who had a factory in Schaffhausen, meant work could begin. Schaffhausen was struggling to keep up after the industrial revolution, but it led for opportunity for IWC to begin in the German speaking East Switzerland. That German influence can be seen in the IWC line, bold, masculine, tough looking tool watches built to be used and abused by working people.

Pilot’s Watch

Fortunately, the ultimate IWC classic, the Pilot’s Watch, is also one of the most affordable. It also comes in multiple options so you don’t have to settle. For the basic, you have the Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36. At 36mm, it’s not for everyone, but 36mm is the ultimate classic size and this watch has the ultimate war time classic look. It’s also only $4150. If you need something bigger, you have the Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII at 40mm, and just $100 more. Last on the under $5000 range is the Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire at 39mm and one stunner of a watch with an extra red letter accent at 6 o’clock reading “Spitfire”. All of that can be had for only $4650. If you’re looking for a high quality, classic looking watch for under $5000 the Pilot’s Watch is just what you need.

Portofino

If dress style is more to your liking, IWC has the Portofino which starts just under the 5000 mark. In the true form of modern classics, it comes in at 40mm and utilizes Roman numerals with a subtle date window. It’s a watch that looks amazing with a suit and is available in four different configurations, including a black dial with matching date window (Beware, this is the hardest model to obtain.) The blue or black leather complements any suit you need it to and will no doubt inspire awe when you wear it.

BREITLING Old Navitimer Steel Automatic Mens Watch A13022
Breitling Watches For Sale

Breitling

Breitling is perhaps the quintessential entry level luxury watch. The brand has gone through some changes recently with acquisitions and management changes, but somehow has not destroyed it’s heritage. For the longest time it was one of the very few independently owned Swiss watch brands and as their website states, is designed for land, sea, and air. No matter what your activities include, Breitling has an affordable watch for you.

Superocean Automatic

This is by far one of the most versatile entry level watches you can buy. With sizes ranging from 36mm to the beast at 48mm, everyone can find a Superocean to wear. Then the color combinations come in, yellow, white, blue, orange, red, green, you name it, it’s available. With prices starting at just $3600 and going up to $6300, it’s the quintessential luxury sport entry. If you have trouble deciding which one to buy, just get the 42mm black dial with yellow minute scale. It’s an online exclusive but will mesmerize everytime you look at it. This one is only $3700 so is one of the cheapest watches on this list.

The navitimer is the essential Breitling in every collection. Fortunately, it also includes a basic model in its portfolio, the Navitimer Automatic 41. This 41mm watch starts out with three basic styles and is perfect for the more modest budgets. At $4400 it is the least expensive Navitimer, but has every bit the look of the classic model. White with blue markers, black with gold markers, or blue with silver markers, the entry model alone invites plenty of shoppers. The options don’t end there. Much of the collection is under $10,000 and you can expand the colorway to your heart’s content, and go up in size all the way to 46mm. It’s a very versatile lineup and one I feel every collector should own.

Professional Line

I included the Professional line since there are two excellent watches under $5000 in there. FIrst we have the Endurance Pro. This all black watch with colored accents is just $3150. It’s a quartz chronograph, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying this watch. It is meant for use and will take a massive beating. It is designed for athletes and will work on the golf course, as well as during the biggest bicycle events. If you want something funky, the Aerospace Evo has that covered. This analog/digital hybrid boasts too many features to list and comes in titanium for $4375 or DLC-coated titanium for $5195. It is the ultimate time tracking device with Brietling’s SuperQuartz technology, one of the most accurate, and powerful in the world.

Pic Credit: Grand Seiko

Grand Seiko

Not bad for a Seiko. Grand Seiko was introduced in 1960 as an upper scale watch designed in a purpose built studio with completely in house technology. The brand was slow to take off in the United States, however through careful placement and the highest quality of manufacturing, the world is slowly coming around to see Grand Seiko as a true luxury Swiss competitor. Then there’s Spring Drive, one of the great marvels of watch technology.

Sport Collection GMT

This is a versatile collection. One of the most popular is the SBGN005. This watch comes in blue with red accents and a 24 hour bezel. The 9F quartz movement is accurate to 10 seconds per year, yes it will be off by less than 1 second each month. Coming in at only $3200 it’s a very hard value to beat and Grand Seiko did not cheap out on the finishing either. It is built to the same standards of every one of their timepieces. If you just have to have an automatic movement, check out the SBGN245 and SBGN247. These come with the 9S automatic and is more accurate than COSC. The 245 comes in the same blue with red accent colorway, while the 247 is olive with orange accents, both for only $5700 No matter what you go with, the GMT Sport Collection may just be the perfect entry level GMT.

Heritage Collection

I would just skip to the Spring Drive variants in this Collection. The Elegance collection is just that, elegant, stylish, and classy. The SBGA lineup has too many options and can make your head spin trying to pick one. The entry level spring drive comes in four colors, blue, black, white, and silver, and is only $4800. That is a steal for one of the most interesting movements in existence. The way it’s regulated means the second hand moves continuously, sweeping around the dial without ticking. It’s mesmerizing to see. If you want something limited, there are plenty of options, but the SLGA013 may be tops. It’s the top Spring Drive movement that is more accurate, has 5 days of power reserve, and only 550 will ever be made. It celebrates the 55th anniversary of the 44GS and the deeply textured dial is the elliptical orbit of the stars. This is a timepiece of the highest quality and is influenced by time just as all watches should be. Amazingly this all costs only $9500.

Find the best affordable luxury watches for an even better price on Value Your Watch. As you can see, most brands have something affordable, even those that sell watches worth well over $100,000. Most of these affordable watches are good investments when new, but if you buy them preowned, the depreciation has already occurred and most will hold a steady value no matter how long you own them. If value is not a factor, and you just want the watch you fell in love with no matter what, by all means seek out your local Authorized Dealer, or if you want that special treatment, your brand Boutique. These are designed to last a lifetime, so you will either get a great preowned piece at a fraction of the cost of new, or a new piece that can be handed down through generations. When you’re ready to buy check out our large selection of affordable luxury watches for sale or list your own for sale on our Value Your Watch marketplace.

*Note: Prices were retrieved from manufacturer websites 01/30/2022 and were accurate at the time of writing.


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