Your first watch is no easy decision. It’s a timepiece that you’ll likely keep for the rest of your life and therefore be the one you wear the most. It says a lot about you, your style and your personality so getting it right is imperative. But what exactly is entry level?
The term’s pretty flexible but it means any watch that can seriously be called a luxury timepiece – generally around $3,500 up to $6,500. That disbars a fair few decent watchmakers at the lower end and most complications at the upper, but it does mean that any watch in that range should be taken seriously.
Here are just a few of our favourite pieces that fit nicely into that range …
Rolex Datejust 41
A Rolex is always a safe bet – a bit too safe in my opinion but there’s no denying the appeal, especially in the more classical shape of the new Datejust. The white gold bezel puts you a few thousand over the entry-level limit but the steel is bang-on the top end and with the blue dial is simply stunning.
The signature bezel and Oyster case are pure Rolex and the latest generation movement will keep it going for as long as you need it. Sometimes the best bets are safe ones and at least you don’t need to go on a waiting list to get one. Not yet at least.
‘Best of British’ gets bandied about far too often, especially in the world of watches where 99% of what’s built is actually Swiss. Still, there are a few watchmakers that mean it; case in point, Garrick. The Norfolk takes inspiration from the nautical clocks that first solidified Britain’s horological reputation centuries back – not to mention allowing us to navigate the seven seas.
The anchor-like hands, classic dial and fluted crown are simply beautiful, enough that it being entirely made in England is just a nice little bonus. I can see smooth sailing ahead for Garrick.
OMEGA Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch
While we wait for Buzz Aldrin’s spacefaring timepiece to turn up in an abandoned attic somewhere, you can get your own hands on a version that’s pretty much unchanged since the spare race era. Not only does it have an almost exact movement, but it still has the Perspex glass that can pick up a nice bit of personality through wear and tear over the years. It’s one of the most iconic chronographs in existence, has one hell of a history and looks really, really cool. What more could you ask for?
Nomos Glashutte Ahoi Neomatik Signalblau
Though they might not be classical like their neighbours (Lange & Sohne and the like), Nomos are the coolest watchmaker in Glashutte. Their Bauhaus simplicity of their designs and the in-house movements inside are superb value for money but, even more important, are flawless style-wise, especially the Ahoi Neomatik Signalblau.
There’s no missing the bright blue on your wrist and there’s not a watch collector out there that can say much other than they want one. I know I do.
Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36,000 600m Diver
Grand Seiko make the kind of watches that gain you instant credit with any collector, the type of watches that regularly receive nods of approval from aficionados in the know. Their latest diving watches follow the watchmaker’s philosophy to a tee and are among the finest-built deep-water watches money can buy.
They’re also equipped with the watchmaker’s intensely accurate hi-beat movement which, combined with their phenomenal attention to detail, puts some of the traditional diving watch makers to shame.
Words by: Sam Kessler