Jumping into the rabbit hole of watch collecting is as exciting as it is scary. You're about to spend an enormous amount of money on what is essentially a piece of mechanical jewellery that you don't necessarily need. Everything that this thousand-plus-dollar thing that could potentially end up on your wrist can do your iPhone can do, and probably better. But, that's not why you buying a watch, is it? You've done your research, you understand the market, you know who the players are and you know what you want. All you need is a nudge in the right direction. We hear you, and we got you! Here is a list of perfect first watch options that tick all the boxes you would want ticked for your first watch. Enjoy!
The iconic Rolex Submariner is the perfect first piece to start your watch collecting journey with. In any and all of its variations, the Rolex Submariner is the quintessential starter piece, with the no-date 124060 being a prime example of the best watch to buy as your first serious timepiece. Functional, versatile, dripping in prestige and heritage, endowed in the history books as one of the greats, and one of the most recognisable watches on the planet, the Rolex Submariner is the best first watch to buy, period.
I felt torn between the Speedmaster and the Seamaster from Omega, so I decided to include both. The first is the Speemaster Moonwatch Professional, a tried-and-true living legend of watchmaking and one of my all-time favourite watches. This is a watch that needs no introduction and that can hold its own against almost anything out there. The second is the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M. This is a watch that you can draw direct comparisons with to Rolex's Submariner, minus the luxurious prestige of having a watch from the brand with the crown. The Seamaster 300M is a lovely bit of a kit, that offers lots of bang-for-your-buck qualities as well as being versatile enough to deal with the rigours of day-to-day living.
Panerai Submersible 42mm PAM683
This is a piece I went hands on with the Panerai Submersible 42mm PAM683 a little while back, and so thought it the perfect piece from Panerai to include in this list of best first watches to buy. This is a watch that is a solid all-rounder. More than capable to withstand daily use, good-looking enough to dress up semi-formally, and versatile enough to wear down to your local cafe as it is while going for a swim. The Panerai Submersible 42mm PAM683 offers tremendous value for money and is a watch that I would seriously consider opening a watch collection with.
TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16
To call the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 iconic would probably be a bit of an overstatement. To call the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 a great opening watch to start your watch collection is, I think, just. The TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 is an absolutely fantastic watch to kickstart your watch collecting and offers plenty of bang-for-your-buck. With its chronograph function, day-date indicator, tough and durable case and slimline proportions, the TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 16 is a testament to what you can find when you look outside the box and don't feed into the hype.
Tudor Black Bay 58
The Tudor Black Bay is often seen and compared to the Rolex Submariner in a lesser light. But in recent years, the Black Bay's stock has risen, and so we've quickly come to realise and appreciate its sound qualities and overall value. With an in-house manufacture movement, a traditional dive watch exterior and subtle details throughout, the Tudor Black Bay 58 is perhaps the perfect watch to open your collecting days with, especially so if you're on somewhat of a budget. It was a close call between the Black Bay 58 and the Black Bay Steel, but I felt that the blue Black Bay 58 had far more appeal and was the more versatile piece of the two.
Grand Seiko Heritage Spring Drive 'Snowflake'
Grand Seiko is perhaps one of the best watchmakers outside of Switzerland, producing esteemed and high-precision watches since its creation in 1960. Full of heritage, innovation and pioneering progress, Grand Seiko is still somewhat of a hidden gem outside of the tight-knit community of watch aficionados, and so there is great value to be had if you know where to look. This rings true, especially so for those of you looking to begin your watch collecting journey, and there is perhaps no better first watch to buy than the iconic Grand Seiko Heritage Spring Drive 'Snowflake'. As good as pictures are they don't do the Grand Seiko Heritage Spring Drive 'Snowflake' justice -- this is a piece that must be seen and held in the metal to fully appreciate. This is the best first watch to buy outside of Switzerland, period.
Breitling Superocean Heritage
Breitling's entry-level watches are the perfect opening to your watch collecting journey. It was a tight race between the historic Navitimer and the sporty Super Chronomat, where I felt the Superocean Heritage was a great midway between the two and still represented great value for money, had sound quality as well as plenty of prestige. Easy enough to dress up or down and wonderful proposition as your first serious bit of watchmaking for the early stages of your collection.
This page contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.