Affordable Luxury Starter Watches For 2018
As my readers know, it’s the combination of luxury and affordability that we focus on and with it’s with the usual conformity certain brands always hit the spot. Now the two main trade shows SIHH and Baselworld have concluded, we have a good idea about what’s going to be hitting the boutiques and later the discount stores through the year.
I’d like to share my short list of genuinely affordable luxury watches from some of the usual suspect, but with a couple of interesting additions. All these examples could make a perfect entry level timepiece that will never look out of place.
Show Me the Money
Again, for my regular readers, it’s no secret I love the Japanese brands just as much as the Swiss, German and British brands based of their quality and affordability as much as their heritage or backstory.
My first top choice is the Jack Forster – Seiko Presage SJE073 Limited Edition
For the Seiko Presage fans out there you will know these pieces can be a little on the thick side and can be either e a plus or a negative depending on where you stand, I personally don’t mind a little weight on the wrist because it gives me the sense of sturdy, robust quality. The new Seiko Presage SJE073 is the Presage has a newer slimmer profile due to it’s slimmer movement, bringing the case size down to 9.8mm. It may be slightly more expansive but it’s a limited edition and you get Grand Seiko level “Zaratsu” case polishing and a gorgeous dial and hands.
All this for a cool $2,200
My second top choice is the Stephen Pulvirent – Oris Divers Sixty-Five Bronze Bezel
Another old favorite and one of my ‘go-to’ brands, the Oris is a trusted all-rounder that does what it says on the tin. This is called the Divers Sixty-Five Bronze Bezel which pretty much says it all, and what else do you need to know? The model may be a variation on a theme but so is every other watch out there in the real world. As this is a well known and loved piece of kit, the subtle two-tone look just adds to the desirability of the piece and all for a great price of $1,975
The third choice on my list is the James Stacey – Certina DS PH200M
The Certina DS PH200M is a fine example of a classic dive watch design making it an excellent starter watch especially when we consider the price point.
It’s perfectly sized and weighted with a 42.8mm steel case housing the Swatch Group’s Powermatic 80 movement with the 80-hour power reserve. It’s got a great vintage look and feel about it with the vintage-effect acrylic crystal and has an excellent 200 meters water resistance.
I would absolutely buy one for CHF 695 or around €700
The Wild Cards
The next two on my short list are not the usual choices for me and I’ll tell you why. The Tudor is the sister company to Rolex so those who can’t stretch to the Rolex can opt for the less expensive option, but it’s exactly this I don’t buy into. I mean, if you can’t afford a Rolex then buy something different, but this is just one of my personal views and it’s probably brought about by a twinge of snobbery, so feel free to ignore me.
The Baume & Mercier is a brand that I am sorry to say, have something of a blind spot and tend to overlook these pieces, but that’s going to change after seeing the Clifton Baumatic.
Cara Barrett – Tudor Black Bay 32
So here we are with the sister of Rolex, and sister is really the operative word here because it’s probably the first womans’ watch I have ever featured in one of my posts. The Tudor Black Bay 32 is a small watch by any standard but that’s the idea, right? For all the slight wrists of our lovely ladies out there, this could be a really nice starting point for your collection.
It’s a versatile automatic piece that can be worn anywhere on any occasion and will never be out of place. Although, if you did feel the case was too small there’s always the option to look at the Black Bay 36mm released two years ago.
For the Tudor Black Bay 32 on a bracelet, you can expect to drop $2,750, or $2,425 with the fabric strap.
Finally but not least the Jon Bues – Baume & Mercier Clifton Baumatic
I have left the best to the last here. As I just said early, the Baume & Mercier is something I’ve really overlooked thinking they were too expensive and high brow but seeing this offering I’ve changed my tune.
Hiding behind the classic subtlety of a formal watch or perhaps an overcomplicated dress watch is the heart of the beast in the form of the caliber BM12-1975A developed by the Richemont group who now own Richemont. It’s an impressive movement with a power reserve of 120 hours, a chronometer rating to within -4/+6 seconds per day and it’s also antimagnetic to 1,500 gauss. If that’s not enough, it’s extended service cycle is greater than five years.
These are elements that may be expected to be found in more expensive watches so you may be happy to learn all this is available for a cool $2,990
What can I say? It’s been an eye-opener because I have always like the Seiko and Oris with no questions asked, and I’ve been reluctant to look at Baume & Mercier or Tudor. The take home for me is that an open mind is important when finding your perfect watch, so I’ll certainly take more notice of Certina as well as Baume & Mercier which I found to be the most exciting of the bunch.
What do you think of these pieces?
So, if you’re looking for the perfect Watch at the perfect price, from a trusted source, you know it can be a stressful experience, with the right help and advice, you too can find your dream timepiece. As I’m considered an expert in my field and I write for other publications like Wrist Review I know you’ll benefit from my experience and avoid the pitfalls.
If you are considering buying online you may be interested in reading the “How to choose a watch for your wrist size” article here.
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