Have you recently discovered the world of luxury watches? Do you enjoy the style and prestige of a luxury timepiece, but don’t want to spend a fortune on one? Then you’ve come to the right place.
The phrase “cheap luxury watches” might sound like a paradox. However, several affordable luxury watch brands offer high-quality timepieces at an entry-level price, for those new to the watch world. Some of these brands have been at the forefront of luxury watchmaking for several decades.
Whether you want to kickstart your watch collection, or simply desire a high-quality luxury watch that won’t break the bank, keep on reading. In this post, we’ll take an in-depth look at the best entry-level luxury watch brands for every new and aspiring watch enthusiast.
The name Tudor often pops up in conversations about Rolex watches. That is because Tudor is a sister company to Rolex. What better way to begin your watch journey than with a timepiece that’s associated with the most famous watch brand in the world?
Tudor’s original purpose was to offer affordable luxury watches with bracelets and cases made by Rolex and off-the-shelf calibers. The brand later transitioned to producing tool watches for the US and French Navy.
Recently, Tudor started producing its in-house movements as it develops a unique identity as a luxury watch brand. While it may not carry the name and prestige of its bigger sister, Tudor still provides excellent timepieces. It uses some of the same parts found in Rolex watches. But, Rolex offers them at double or triple the price.
Some of Tudor’s most popular lines include the Black Bay and the Pelagos. The Black Bay 58 range has taken the world by storm over the past few years with its elegant retro design.
Even as a newcomer to the watch world, you’ve probably seen or heard about Omega. It’s the brand that every watch connoisseur knows and recommends for the great value for money watches it offers.
Omega has been involved in luxury watchmaking for over a century. It has developed several successful and prestigious models, which you can find in the used market as well as brand new. These can range from older designs with quartz movements, to the newer models utilizing Omega’s in-house coaxial movement.
All of those models feature Omega’s brand prestige, its unique designs, and its meticulous build quality. These factors combine to make Omega one of the best affordable luxury watch brands in the market.
Omega’s most famous models are the Seamaster and Speedmaster. You can’t go wrong with any of these two affordable luxury watches. They both offer an iconic and masculine design, excellent build quality, and Omega’s high-quality in-house calibers.
Plus, wouldn’t you want to wear the same watch as James Bond? Or the first watch on the moon?
TAG Heuer is a name that gets thrown around a lot when it comes to cheap luxury watches. Some don’t even consider it a luxury watch brand at all. However, no one can doubt that they produce cool-looking watches with a great build quality at a reasonable price point.
The brand’s origins can be traced back to the mid-1800s under the name Heuer. Since its inception, the brand has been synonymous with chronograph watches and timing equipment. Heuer was also the first manufacturer to produce an automatic chronograph movement.
What makes TAG Heuer special is its brand name, which is one of the most recognizable in the world. This is in part because of the brand’s continuous efforts to employ several celebrities as brand ambassadors.
TAG offers a wide range of watches with different styles. However, its most well-known models are chronographs that trace back to the days of Heuer. These are the Carrera, the Autavia, and the Monaco. The Monaco, especially, is an instantly recognizable timepiece because of its quirky square design.
IWC is not the first name you’ll hear when it comes to luxury watch brands. However, the brand offers a combination of superb build quality and some of the best movements in the market. And all of that without costing a fortune. What more can you ask for?
IWC has had a long and innovative journey in the world of watchmaking. It produced one of the first wristwatches in the late 1800s and the first digital display pocket watch. It also pioneered the use of titanium in its cases and bracelets, making them more robust.
The brand's focus is on high-quality everyday timepieces with unique designs. It’s also the most environmentally friendly among the top luxury brands. Not only do you get an affordable luxury watch with excellent build quality, but it also helps save the environment!
IWC has a wide range of models for every man’s needs. Whether it’s one of its Pilot models, the sporty Ingenieur, or the more classic Portugieser or Portofino lines, you can’t go wrong with an IWC as your first luxury watch.
Breitling doesn’t seem like a cheap luxury watch brand at first. However, you can find some of their more popular models for a much lower price in the used market. So, with some shopping around, you can score a high-quality luxury watch at an affordable price.
Breitling’s focus is around producing top-quality chronographs that are also used in aviation. The brand’s signature includes large polished watch cases with bold designs that will make you stand out.
Also, the brand equips all of its models with chronometer-certified movements, to ensure precise timekeeping. Recently, Breitling has also started producing its B01 movement, which is a self-winding column-wheel chronograph movement.
Breitling’s most iconic model is the Navitimer, a watch that is adored by watch enthusiasts worldwide. This model has had a large involvement in the aerospace industry for almost 70 years. Doesn’t that sound like a cool watch to own?
Then again, something fancier might suit you…
You may have heard of Cartier as a jewelry maker. However, Cartier has had a long and successful history in watchmaking. This brand produces some well-known dress watches that many watch enthusiasts admire.
Being a fashion brand, Cartier focuses on developing elegant and stunning designs for its timepieces. However, in recent years, the brand has begun developing its in-house movements which show its desire to become a household name in the world of watches.
Cartier has always held tight bonds with royalty, being the official supplier of jewelry and watches for several royal families. In the early 20th century, Cartier introduced two of its most popular lines to this day: the Santos and the Tank.
Both of these models are excellent affordable luxury watches if you’re looking for something dressier. They both feature a square case design, with the Santos slightly larger. The Tank is also your best choice when you need to wear a three-piece suit.
With almost 200 years of manufacturing, hundreds of patents, and more than a thousand calibers developed, Jaeger-LeCoultre is a true horological giant.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has the title of a “Manufacture d'horlogerie”. This means that the brand produces all its case parts and movements in-house.
The brand has produced some of the most expensive and complicated movements throughout history. Some of its calibers are so exquisite that they’re used by other watch brands such as Patek Philippe.
You might think to yourself “What is this horological giant doing in a list of affordable luxury watch brands?” The answer to that is the brand’s wide range of models spanning all price ranges. At the entry level, it offers some of its bolder designs as well as some more elegant timepieces.
However, its most important model is the Reverso. The word Reverso literally translates to “I turn around.” And that’s exactly what it does. The watch has a unique rectangular case shape that can revolve around itself to reveal an engraved case back or even another watch face.
You can get it in an automatic configuration or a more affordable quartz one. Just imagine everyone’s amazement when you show them this unique case movement!
Getting in the Know
Getting into watches might seem like a daunting task at first. Obviously, you want some of the best the market has to offer. However, the steep prices might dissuade you from pursuing this hobby. Don’t sweat it, though!
You can start with a more affordable option from one of the brands on our list. As you learn more, you’ll learn the value of some of the more expensive luxury timepieces while still appreciating your entry-level watches.
However, even the more affordable timepieces need proper storage when you don’t wear them. And let’s not forget about the times when you want to take your watches with you on your adventures.
Here’s where Operandi Firenze has got you covered. A high-quality watch roll will keep your watches safe at all times. It’ll become your best friend on your watch journey!
Enjoy your first luxury watch, and don’t forget to keep an eye on the time!