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Feature: 12 entry-level watches you’ll love

With so many choices on offer, finding your all-important first luxury watch is no easy task. That’s why we’ve picked out a dozen of our favourite entry-level timepieces that are ideal for anyone taking the first step on their watch-collecting journey. Whatever your budget or taste, this is a great place to start.

Rolex Air-King, reference 5500

The Air-King is a no-frills Rolex that is impervious to trends. Simply put, this is a watch that will never go out of fashion. With its silver dial and stainless-steel case and bracelet, it’s a timepiece that can be worn at a barbecue or a business meeting.

Ball Engineer Marvelight Caring Edition, reference NM2028C-S29C-BK

Ball is renowned for producing accurate and reliable timepieces that last, and this limited-edition Engineer Marvelight “Caring Edition” is no different. The watch’s rainbow-coloured indices are a sight to behold once they’re in the dark and unleash their captivating glow.

TAG Heuer Aquaracer, reference WAY201A.FT6069

As first luxury watches go, TAG Heuer is always a contender. Everyone from Steve McQueen to Mick Jagger has worn one and the brand is renowned for being a technological pioneer. This Aquaracer dive watch is a solid first step into the innovative world of TAG Heuer.

Oris Artelier, reference 733 7762 40 85 LS

One of the best-loved independent Swiss watchmakers, Oris offers quality watchmaking for less. This handsome, blue-dialled time-only model offers great versatility thanks to its understated appeal, meaning it’ll go with everything from a suit and tie to jeans and a T-shirt.

Seiko Presage, reference SPB463

If the Rolex Air-King above is still a little out of your price range, this Seiko Presage is a superb alternative at a fraction of the price. Besides its resemblance to the Air-King, it’s an automatic, it’s got a date window, and it even comes on a bracelet that doesn’t look a million miles away from the classic Jubilee style.

Breitling SuperOcean, reference A17366

Sporty and robust, this dive model from one of the big hitters of the watch world is a great introductory timepiece for those looking for substantial wrist presence and bold legibility. The turquoise accents on the dial also add an aesthetic flourish.

Omega DeVille, reference 424.

The DeVille family is a long-running Omega favourite and home to some of the brand’s finest watches. This model leans more towards the smart than the sporty, with a textured grey dial featuring Roman numerals, a date window and a power reserve indicator at 6 o’clock.

Tudor Black Bay 58, reference M79030N-0001

Rolex’s sister brand Tudor really nailed it with the Black Bay 58. From the day it was launched it’s been heaped with plaudits. This retro-looking dive watch takes several design cues from vintage Rolex Submariners, but reassuringly it has tough, modern build quality.

Montblanc Heritage, reference 112647

Montblanc’s roots are in luxury “writing instruments” and it’s now grown into a highly respected watchmaker, as this Heritage model proves. This slick watch is perfect for those seeking a slightly more complicated model, with day and month windows and a moonphase display.

NOMOS Glashütte Club, reference 753

Brands like NOMOS Glashütte give their Swiss counterparts a run for their money. Based in the German watchmaking hub of Glashütte, NOMOS creates contemporary timepieces that are far more affordable than those of its high-end neighbours. This watch is ideal for those into minimalist design.

Longines Legend Diver, reference L3.774.4.70.2

The Legend Diver is one of Longines’ most popular models and one of the best affordable dive watches out there. This iconic timepiece rivals the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Seamaster with its 300-metre water resistance rating, yet it’s considerably cheaper than the two.

Christopher Ward The Twelve, reference C12-36A3H1-S00V0-B0

If you’re into your independent watch brands, you’ll have heard of Christopher Ward and its The Twelve. This version boasts an exquisite textured mint-green—or “Frosted Lichen”—dial, making it ideal for summer. At 36mm, this sporty yet luxurious timepiece is an ideal unisex choice. Share the wearing rights with your other half.

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