If you’re in love with the unique appeal of really expensive luxury watches but think you can’t afford one, think again.
Not all high end timepieces cost a fortune. Entry level luxury watches are actually quite affordable, and we’re being realistic about it.
Their prices range somewhere between $1,000 and $4,000, maybe a little less or a little above, but nothing that’s truly out of reach if you’re able to save money for a few months before shopping for one.
You might have thought about brands such as Seiko and Timex for a while, but with patience and with some savings set aside you will be able to go for something as luxe as Oris, Omega, or even a Rolex.
And while a timepiece that costs $3,000 might not sound affordable at all, it will when you compare it to some of the alternatives situated at the high end side of the luxury watch range, costing 10 or 100 times more.
Here are 20 luxury watches that are surprisingly affordable:
- 20. Panerai Radiomir Base Logo
- 19. Omega De Ville Prestige
- 18. Rolex Oyster Perpetual
- 17. IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36
- 16. Breitling Navitimer 38
- 15. Oris Divers Heritage Sixty-Five Automatic
- 14. Tissot Excellence
- 13. Cartier Ronde Must De Cartier
- 12. Bell & Ross BR V1-92 Bellytanker
- 11. Grand Seiko Snowflake
- 10. Tag Heuer Carrera Date
- 9. Oris Big Crown Propilot Automatic
- 8. Tudor 1926
- 7. Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600
- 6. Hamilton Ventura
- 5. Longines HydroConquest
- 4. Tag Heuer Formula 1
- 3. Hamilton Khaki Aviation Automatic
- 2. Bulova Moonwatch
- 1. Stowa Marine Classic 36
20. Panerai Radiomir Base Logo
The design of the Panerai Radiomir Base Logo is bold and attention grabbing, so if you’re looking for something that will stand out on your wrist, this watch might be the right pick. The Italian brand is known for its refined and expensive timepieces, but the most basic variant of the Radiomir line comes in at around $4,500.
For that price, you get to wear one of the most exclusive watches on the market. Beware though of the 45mm polished stainless steel case which may be too big for smaller wrists. The matte black dial and the superb light green luminescent on the hands and indices make for a wonderful contrast that give the watch touch of grandeur.
19. Omega De Ville Prestige
Another fine timepiece that can be found in the $3,000 to $4,000 price range is the Omega De Ville Prestige, a traditional looking dress watch that has a nice functional aesthetic as well.
It features a 39.5mm case diameter so it should be a good fit for most wrists, a classic round shape, an elegant power reserve indicator at the 6 o’clock position, but the most important part is the 27 jewel COSC certified movement with co-axial escapement.
18. Rolex Oyster Perpetual
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual is probably the most basic watch to come from an acclaimed brand like Rolex. It comes with an Oyster case and bracelet, and the Perpetual automatic movement. The case size options are 34mm, 36mm, and 41mm, and while the 34 is advertised as a women’s size, it’s considered more a unisex variant, so it could be worn by both men and women with no problem.
The price reaches the $5,500 mark, but you could also consider looking on the used market, as prices reach somewhere between $2,000 and $4,000, and you could even get the Oyster Perpetual Datejust for the same price, maybe even in a larger case size.
17. IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36
The IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 is another great timepiece that should come to mind in this price range. It’s actually just a little above the $4k mark, but it’s worth the extra.
With an iconic pilot watch design, a case size of 36 mm, and a stunning sunray blue dial, you get all the style and prestige that the brand’s “Big Pilot” has, but with an entry level price tag.
The Breitling Navitimer 38 is technically a ladies’ watch, but men could wear it as well, as the only differences come in case size and the jewel adorned bezel which make it look a little bit more decorative.
The decorative part is well balanced by the gadgetry look and functionality of the dial, with its tachymeter and all the numbers and indices it comes with.
The watch has an overall luxe dressy look to it, well paired with a brown leather strap. The dial colors span from black, to blue, and silver, and inside is run by a COSC certified chronometer. Its price rises around $3,250.
15. Oris Divers Heritage Sixty-Five Automatic
The Oris Divers Heritage Sixty-Five Automatic is another great entry level option into the world of luxury watches. Despite a “low” price tag, this timepiece comes with the high quality craftsmanship that Oris is well known for.
Powered by the Swiss automatic Orient caliber 733 with a power reserve of 38 hours, a 100 meters depth rating, and sporting a beautiful and classic dial design that brings homage to dive watches of the past, the Sixty-Five Auto is a rare breed at an astonishing price. You can find it on the official Oris website for around $2,000, depending on the model.
14. Tissot Excellence
With a timeless design that seems to always remain beautiful and extremely appealing no matter how the trends shape the watchmaking industry, the Tissot Excellence represents watch craftsmanship at its best.
It’s got a very slim case, which makes it very comfortable around the wrist, and that’s made possible by the thin ETA 2892 movement, with sapphire blue jewels that can be admired through the case back. The case features a small crown that doesn’t seen to intrude at all, keeping the round silhouette of the case almost uninterrupted.
What’s more, the 18k gold of the 39.8mm case, paired with a superb leather strap, make this watch a real stunner. And all this for around $3,375, it’s almost hard to believe. The only downside might seem the 30m water resistance rating, but this isn’t the kind of feature that you buy this watch for after all.
13. Cartier Ronde Must De Cartier
Some of us might dream of the sportiness of Breitling and Omega, but it’s Cartier that’s the number two best selling Swiss watch brand in the world after Rolex, so give it a chance. You might actually find something very nice within their ranks.
The Cartier Ronde Must de Cartier sells for less than $3,000, so it might just be the best way into Cartier’s luxury collections. The 36mm piece may be powered by a quartz movement, but there’s no denying that the elegance of this excellent dress watch will win many hearts.
12. Bell & Ross BR V1-92 Bellytanker
The BR V1-92 Bellytanker from Bell & Ross brings together the simplicity of design and the great attention to detail that’s easily seen on its dial. It comes in six colorways and features a gilt dial, with metal applique indices, and skeletonized hands with Super LumiNova.
The dial is flawlessly made, and comes covered by sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. The case is 38.5mm in diameter, stainless steel, and with a water resistance rating of 100 meters.
11. Grand Seiko Snowflake
Part of the Heritage collection and priced at around $2,300, the Grand Seiko Snowflake is the most basic entry, and cheapest as well, from Seiko’s luxury branch.
This timepiece is an underrated gem of the watch world, with a distinct flair, part of it coming from the subtle snow like texture on the dial which wonderfully contrasts with the blue steel second hand. It’s a work of art that you can’t but admire every time you gaze at the watch.
10. Tag Heuer Carrera Date
The impressively detailed Tag Heuer Carrera Date is an astonishing timepiece that will satisfy both luxury sports watch enthusiasts and those who love dress watches.
The simple and stepped bezel and the folding down lugs create an impressive play of light and tones, while the multi surfaced hands and hour markers contrast with the sunray brushed surface of the dial in a way that will leave you gazing at it much more than for reading the time.
The case comes at 39mm, and hides inside a high quality and high performance automatic caliber.
9. Oris Big Crown Propilot Automatic
As with any pilot’s watch, expect a large 45mm case diameter from the Oris Big Crown Propilot Automatic as well. The stainless steel case has a satin finish and a striped pattern around the bezel that gives it an upscale look.
The big crown at 3 o’clock makes sense as well in a pilot’s watch, as its supposed to be handled with gloves. The blue sunburst dial will catch light in amazing ways, so you’ll find yourself staring at it more than actually needed. The large Arabic numerals in white add the much needed legibility of such a watch, and the day and date window at 3 o’clock fits well with the rest of the watch.
8. Tudor 1926
Tudor is the more affordable relative of Rolex, so it makes a lot of sense to go with them for your entry level luxury watch. The Tudor 1926 is such a timepiece, and the least expensive one, but with an original design instead of being a replica of some of its brother’s more expensive offerings.
For about $1,800, you’ve got your ticket into the luxury watch world, and you get a good automatic movement, a wide range of colors and configurations to choose from.
7. Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600
Stylish and functional, the Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 600 is one of the most affordable entries into the luxury watch world, but that without skipping out on features or design.
It comes with a ceramic bezel that looks awesome, and the classic silhouette is complemented by the lollipop and arrow hands. Inside, it features a 26 jewel Swiss movement, but what will probably amaze you the most is the incredible 600 meter of water resistance rating.
There’s no way you could have found something like this from a traditional luxury brand for only $1,200.
6. Hamilton Ventura
The Hamilton Ventura is one of the most iconic watches to come out in modern times. Its asymmetrical shield design is already legendary among watch enthusiasts who appreciate the mid century aesthetic and the incredibly bold looks.
But that’s not all. The Ventura was Elvis Pressley’s go to timepiece, and it was also the first battery powered watch in the world. You don’t need much more than this if you want to stand out.
5. Longines HydroConquest
As a classic diver, the Longines HydroConquest offers everything you ever needed in such a timepiece. A nice bezel that moves flawlessly, a screw down case-back, sapphire crystal, good luminescent hands and indices, extremely legible dial, and a 300m water resistance rating.
Its heart beats at 25,200 vph and comes with a good 72 hour power reserve. What more could you need from an affordable luxury diver?
4. Tag Heuer Formula 1
The Tag Heuer Formula 1 is a wonderful option for those who love the sporty aesthetics of dedicated motorsports watches. Their Formula 1 won the entire world’s attention back in the ’80s and the ’90s.
It’s quartz powered, it comes in a 41mm case, and with 200m of water resistance, making it ideal for every day use, but also as an entry point into the luxury watch scene, since it only costs around $1,300.
3. Hamilton Khaki Aviation Automatic
Hamilton is one of those affordable watch brands that offer high quality craftsmanship and timeless designs without having to pay fortunes to get your hands on one of their timepieces.
Their Khaki Aviation Automatic is one such watch, bringing the classic pilot watch design in a 42mm stainless steel case, with a thin polished bezel, large crown guards, sapphire crystal glass, and a three link stainless steel bracelet.
Inside there’s a high quality and robust Swiss automatic movement. The dial look incredibly well, with a black background and sunburst finish, large and legible Arabic numerals and markers, and an interesting day window at the 12 o’clock position.
2. Bulova Moonwatch
Inspired by the Bulova chronograph worn by the commander of the Apollo 15 during its mission in 1971, one of the few watches that passed NASA’s selection, the Bulova Moonwatch brings with it a piece of history.
It’s also a great alternative to the more expensive Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, but it doesn’t disappoint. The 45mm case has a unique and easily recognizable design, making it an icon in the world of watchmaking.
The watch is powered by a high quality and high performance quartz movement which delivers unrivaled accuracy. The dial is rich in features and it’s very similar to the Omega Speedmaster. There’s a tachymeter scale on the outside and three sub-dials for the chronograph.
1. Stowa Marine Classic 36
Going even below the $1k mark, we’ve got the Stowa Marine Classic 36, which is a simple and timeless watch without all the useless fuss, but a well made one, that could one day be passed down to the next generation and still look incredibly well.
The legibility of this watch is wonderful, with a lacquer dial and clear black Arabic numerals that create an incredible contrast, plus a railroad outer track and elegant blue spade hands that adds a touch of color and complexity.
The movement inside can be either an automatic Sellita or a hand wound one. Both can be admired through the exhibition case-back.
There’s no need to start your journey into the luxury watchmaking world by spending a fortune. All these timepieces we presented are a good and relatively affordable option to choose from. Which one would you go for?