If you’ve been exploring the idea of starting a luxury watch collection but have no clue where to start, you are not alone. The notion of investing in a fine timepiece may be a daunting one, but with a few helpful tips—not to mention the fantastic prices the pre-owned and vintage market has to offer—you’ll soon be on your way to sporting a collection that is enviable. Here are our recommendations for some solid starter watches to begin building your high-end timepiece collection and the rich history behind each piece.
Omega Speedmaster Automatic
Few watches offer the recognition and cool-factor of the Omega Speedmaster. It was, after all, the first watch to go to the moon! And while the original Omega “Moon Watch” was a manual-wound chronograph, we would recommend an automatic version of the Speedmaster for your starter collection.
The automatic Omega Speedmaster, also known as the Speedmaster Reduced, sports the iconic “Moon Watch” look but with the added practicality of a self-winding movement. Therefore, as long as you keep wearing the watch, it’ll keep going without a need for batteries or regular manual winding.
As a sporty chronograph model, there is the duo of chrono pushers on the case flanking the winding crown, along with the trio of subdials on the dial in the 3/6/9 configuration. Built in stainless steel, sized at a very wearable 39mm, and equipped with the familiar black dial and black tachymeter bezel, the Speedmaster will undoubtedly be a favorite in your sports watch collection.
Cartier Tank Solo
Along with a sports watch, every gentleman should have a dapper dress watch in his collection. And no one does dress watches quite like Cartier. Famous for their elegant silhouettes, the Maison Cartier are masters of differently shaped watches, such as the Tank.
The history of the Cartier Tank watch dates back to 1917. As its name implies, the timepiece was inspired by the then-new military tanks used during WWI. Over the following century, Cartier offered plenty of iterations of the Tank watch, including the modern entry-level Tank Solo.
Cherished for its minimal approach, the Tank Solo Automatic has everything you need and nothing you don’t. Its iconic rectangular shaped case in stainless measures a perfectly sized 31mm x 41mm and houses a crisp white dial with Cartier’s signature black Roman numerals and blue sword-shaped hands. There’s also a date window for added practicality. As with most Cartier timepieces, the Tank Solo also has the blue cabochon-cut stone on the winding crown. Finishing off the sophisticated look of the Tank Solo is the classic black alligator strap.
From the office to dinner, this handsome dress watch is one you won’t think twice about wearing all the time.
Breitling Chronomat Evolution
If you’ve spent any time browsing through men’s luxury watches, you will have no doubt noticed that two-tone models have been a popular choice for decades. Rather than choosing between white or yellow metals, going for a watch that includes both is a great option.
Breitling approaches the two-tone combination on this Breitling Chronomat Evolution in a subtle way, only including a few yellow gold touches on the predominately 44mm steel watch. Famed for their technical and sporty aviation-inspired timepieces, this particular Breitling Chronomat Automatic is a dressier take on a sporty chronograph thanks to the yellow gold winding crown, chrono pushers, rider tabs on the bezel, and details on the dial. The rich blue dial sets the perfect background for the trio of registers at 6, 9, and 12 o’clock, while the date window sits at 3 o’clock. Plus, emphasizing the watch’s more formal look is the dressier five-link steel bracelet.
Whether or not we fly planes, we all need a robust wristwatch to keep up with our weekend adventures, and the two-tone Breitling Chronomat Automatic pilot’s watch certainly fits the bill.
If you are thinking a Rolex is out of budget for a beginner’s watch collection, think again! The Swiss watchmaking giant—and the world’s leading luxury brand—boasts a diverse range of timepieces at different price points.
Rolex is no stranger to world firsts, and the Datejust is just one of many. Introduced in 1945, the Datejust was the world’s first automatic chronometer-certified wristwatch to include a date window on the dial. While we may take this for granted today, it truly was a mechanical feat during its era. Since then, the Datejust has enjoyed its iconic status in the luxury watch space, seamlessly balancing distinct design hallmarks with plenty of variety.
Although there are countless Rolex Datejust models to choose from, if you’re just starting out your luxury watch collection, we recommend a stainless steel Datejust ref. 16030. A vintage classic, the Datejust ref. 16030 dons a well-proportioned 36mm steel case topped with an intricate engine-turned steel bezel. The understated silver dial includes simple stick hour markers coupled with the famous date window at 3 o’clock. Of course, like most Rolex watches with the date functionality, the aperture is magnified by the Cyclops lens affixed to the crystal protecting the face of the watch. In keeping with its traditional looks, this Datejust is outfitted with the five-link Jubilee bracelet, which is in fact, the bracelet style that made its debut on the inaugural Datejust.
With a Rolex Datejust in your watch box, you’re well on your way to creating a stellar timepiece collection.
The Beginner’s Watch Collection
There are few hobbies as satisfying and style-focused as watch collecting.
A sporty chronograph, an elegant leather timepiece, a dressy aviator’s watch, and a prestigious date wristwatch lays a solid foundation for a men’s starter luxury watch collection. Whichever watches you choose to start with, make sure your timepieces fit your lifestyle, budget, and taste. If chosen correctly, your watches will be with you for life. But also, if you decide to sell or trade your watches down the line for other ones, there’s always a market for pre-owned high-end timepieces. There are plenty of watch enthusiasts out there with revolving collections, where they buy and sell watches as they see fit.