If you've been bitten by the metaphorical timepiece bug, your wristwatch purchases will probably evolve in quality and price tag. If you're truly a watch aficionado, picking up a watch at a department store will only float your boat for so long. Eventually, you'll want to journey into luxury timepieces from an Authorized Dealer or grey market shop. Ultimately and unfortunately, most up-and-coming watch fanatics don't have $50k to drop on their first luxury watch. For those looking to dip their toe into the world of luxury watches, what choices do they have? Let's talk about the most accessible watches from some iconic, luxury brands.
For all the details on OMEGA, check out our recent article about the brand here. OMEGA is the perfect brand for someone who wants a watch that embraces its sporty side, or for those who crave athletic accuracy. And while OMEGA has many models that can run 5+ figures, it also has many others that are accessible for those entering the luxury watch space.
Take, for example, the Prestige - part of OMEGA's De Ville collection. The collection offers an affordable smaller 27-30mm timepiece at under $3k and a 39.5mm at under $4k - both of which still embrace accuracy and quality. For those who want to live out more of a James Bond fantasy, the Speedmaster (and similar Seamaster) will give wearers a sportier feel that starts around $5k-$7k.
Chances are, if you're a fan of the "tank" shaped watch, you are a Cartier fan. Although the luxury watch and jewelry maker hails from Paris, France, it keeps step with the major Swiss watchmakers. Cartier is more than just a watchmaker - it’s a fashion brand that specializes in watches, jewelry, bags, and perfumes.
In the over 150 years of its existence, Cartier has forged a path of being an international leader in the tank and square watch shapes. For over 100 years, since its first Tank watch in 1919, Cartier has perfected that shape and timepiece. Even better than the distinct right angles is the fact that a watch collector can pick one up for under $4k. A “Tank Must Watch” in a large or extra-large size begins around $3,500 - $4,500. The tank has a vertical, rectangular shape; for more of a square shape, a “Santos-Dumont” or “Santos De Cartier” has a starting price from the $4k - $7k range.
Originally created by Rolex's founder, Hans Wilsdorf, Tudor offers a lot of watch without an insane price tag. Wilsdorf founded Tudor to fill the gap in the market from luxury to average timepieces. For those who couldn't quite afford a Rolex - or for those who preferred a watchbox full of timepieces instead of 1 highly expensive watch - Tudor offers a happy medium. While still adhering to the Swiss-Made quality standards held by its elder brother Rolex, Tudor offers a more accessible price point. Fans of the brand will also note that the style of the brand differs from that of Rolex. What that means for you is options - for style and budget.
If you're looking to become a Tudor owner, the entry-level timepiece for you is probably the "1926." Named after its inception year as a company, the 1926 offers multiple different sized timepieces for under $2,000. Starting with the diminutive 28mm version, the 1926 increases in size to a 36mm, 39mm, and 41mm. The most phenomenal attribute of this watch, aside from the price tag, is probably its versatility. With 1926, Tudor walks the line between dressing up and having a sporty look. Sporting a textured/patterned dial and an automatic movement, this watch feels much more expensive than it is.
The 1926 is an amazing starting point into Tudor; however, if you have a higher budget, you may be checking out the company's flagship model - the Black Bay. That timepiece will have a price tag more in the $3k - $5k range and the style will be more in keeping with a Rolex Submariner.
Speaking of Rolex, the king of luxury watches does still have some accessible models for those new into the luxury game. If your budget is closer to the $10k-$15k range, you may want to opt for the quintessential Rolex model - the Submariner. However, if you're looking to pay a number in the 4-digit range, the Oyster Perpetual is a great starting point. As Rolex's "entry-level" watch, it offers the prestige with a lower price tag. Though the watch will not have extra features aside from timekeeping, a Rolex is still a Rolex. And the king is still the king. The Oyster Perpetual will still provide you with a durable watch (note - the "oyster" references the company's first take at water-resistance many decades ago).
Taking a small step up from the Oyster Perpetual, the Rolex Datejust is every bit as iconic as the OP. The Datejust is a relatively straightforward timepiece but adds a date wheel to the mix. While prices can differ between Authorized Dealers and grey market sellers, you can usually find an Oyster Perpetual for under $7k and a Datejust for under $8k.
Find Your Next Luxury Watch at Grand Caliber
When it comes to venturing into the world of luxury timepieces, few names resonate as strongly as Omega, Cartier, Tudor, and Rolex. These iconic brands have consistently set the benchmark for excellence, combining masterful craftsmanship, impeccable design, and rich horological heritage. Fortunately, aspiring watch enthusiasts can now embark on their horological journey with ease, thanks to the remarkable selection available at Grand Caliber. Whether you're seeking the sporty allure of Tudor or the timeless elegance of Cartier, Grand Caliber offers a gateway to the finest entry-level luxury watches, allowing you to indulge in extraordinary timekeeping while capturing the essence of elevated style. Embrace the artistry of these renowned brands and elevate your watch collection to new heights.