Watch Buying Guide: 5 Great Starter Watches

Everyone has a slightly different definition of what starter watches are. Some consider super affordable quartz watches to fit into the “starter watches” category. While others think that the starter designation starts around $2,000.

For this reason, we’ll present a timepiece or two in multiple price ranges. We hope that you can find the perfect watch, no matter what your budget is. The following are the attributes we looked for when compiling a starter watches list.


Starter Watches

  • Excellent Craftsmanship – The last thing you want is a watch that is unreliable and requires frequent maintenance. Not only is that annoying, but it will make your cost of ownership climb up every year. Instead, your best bet is a timepiece that can take care of itself and doesn’t need babysitting.
White dial watch on the wrist
  • Sophisticated Movement – Though traditional quartz watches are accurate and get the job done, most watch enthusiasts prefer something a bit more complex. For this reason, we’ve chosen two kinds of timepieces. The first is automatic, which is standard for watch collectors. The other is solar powered quartz, which many people see as a step up from cheaper pieces.
  • Attractive Appearance – Lastly, the watch needs to look good. Otherwise, what’s the point? While everyone has their own specific taste when it comes to aesthetics, most will agree that the five pieces on this list are pleasing to the eye.

But enough talk. Let’s get on with starter watches!

Citizen Eco-Drive Titanium Perpetual Chrono

When we wrote about solar powered quartz movement in the section above, this is the kind of watch we were referring to.

front view of Citizen Eco-Drive Titanium Perpetual Chrono  watch

Though it is not mechanical like most watch collectors demand, most people think that quartz is just fine, especially when it is powered by the sun. The result of this capability is a timepiece that never needs a battery change, which makes it quite similar to an automatic piece, at least in a functional sense. Beyond movement, this Citizen has a resilient titanium exterior, a chronograph, multiple time zone settings, and impressive 200-meter water resistance capabilities. Overall, this is an excellent timepiece and is the most affordable on this list.

Seiko Prospex Automatic Diver 

Now, onto the automatic starter watches. While Seiko is most famous for their quartz pieces, they have made a name for themselves in the affordable automatic space too.

front view of Seiko Prospex Automatic Diver watch

This Prospex dive watch is a fantastic example of this trend. One thing that customers love about this piece is that it lives up to its name with high-level diving capabilities like 200-meter water resistance, luminescent hands, and the signature dive watch aesthetic. This is another piece that won’t break the bank despite having excellent craftsmanship.

Tag Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph 

Getting up into the $1,000+ range, we have this gorgeous Tag Heuer. As you might expect from the name, it is a racing watch through in through. That means a tachymeter bezel, chronograph, and a variety of other useful functions.

front view of Tag Heuer Formula 1 Chronograph  black dial watch

Most buyers don’t obtain this watch because they are racers, though. Instead, they make purchases based on the craftsmanship. This Tag Heuer piece incorporates a sophisticated movement that won’t break down, along with expensive materials to keep it fresh for many years. It’s fantastic to look at too, with a clean dial that can be paired with a bright NATO strap or conventional bracelet.

Breitling Colt Chronograph Automatic Black Steel  

Breitling is another brand with an exceptional reputation in the timepiece community. The reason is that their watches perform well above their price range.

front view of Breitling Colt Chronograph Automatic Black Steel watch

Such is the case with this Colt Chronograph, which has the look and feel of a Rolex but can be had for a fraction of the price. One of the best aspects of this piece is its versatility. If you wear for a day out at the lake, it will hold up in the elements and look good while doing it. Then, unlike many sport-friendly watches, you can also wear this elegant piece out to a luxurious dinner party. That’s a feature that you don’t often find.

Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Automatic Men’s Watch

Our last pick of starter watches is a choice we share with James Bond, who exclusively wears Omega in recent films. In the timepiece world, almost no company can rival Rolex while managing to be cheaper too.

front view of Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Automatic Men's Watch

This is a feat that many believe Omega has accomplished with their delightful watches. This Seamaster is an example of one of them, with its 600-meter water resistance and gorgeous looks.

Starter Watches Conclusion

While these specific pieces are excellent, you really can’t go wrong with most of the exceptional brands that make watches in the starter category. Some of the biggest names include Seiko, Citizen, Hamilton, Tissot, Oris, Longines, Breitling and Tudor. What it really comes down to is choosing your optimal budget, movement, and aesthetic. Once you do that, you’ll have an easy time browsing for and buying your starter watch.

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