15 cheapest luxury watches for men in 2022

While there are of course exceptions, in our experience it seems that virtually all watch enthusiasts eventually succumb to the siren song of luxury watch brands. You can start your watch collecting journey with affordable Seikos and Timex, but sooner or later you’ll find yourself craving a Rolex or an Omega. It’s good, we went there too. We understand that this hunt for luxury watches can be daunting because, well, luxury watches are expensive. But they don’t have to be…or, at the very least, they don’t have to cost as much as you think.

While your typical luxury watch costs several thousand dollars, not all high-end watches require such a fortune. After all, every luxury watch brand must have its entry point. In other words, the only watch whose price is more affordable than all the others. And these are the watches that we highlight in this guide. We researched the cheapest men’s watch from 15 different luxury brands, ranging from a large and up to $20,000+. So while some of the following 15 watches may stretch your definition of “cheap,” they’re all affordable compared to their siblings.

TAG Heuer Formula 1

After the purchase of TAG Heuer in the 1980s, the new TAG Heuer took the modern watch world by storm with its successful quartz Formula 1 watches, which defined the brand in the 80s and 90s. Although no longer the pioneer of the brand these days, TAG still produces the motorsport-inspired Formula 1 as an ideal quartz diver’s watch for everyday use and is a very affordable entry point for one of the most recognizable names in luxury. watch industry.

Case size: 41mm
Water Resistance: 200m
Movement: Quartz

Purchase: $1,300 or more

Tudor 1926

As Rolex’s little brother, Tudor is known for offering some of the styles of its more elusive stablemates for less, like the Daytona-inspired Black Bay Chrono, the GMT-Master-derived Black Bay GMT, and the Explorer II Black Bay Pro tribute. But for its least expensive watch, Tudor takes a much more original route with the 1926. This simple three-hand comes in a wide range of colors and configurations, but all feature automatic movement, applied indexes and dials. a textured dial – while offering Rolex family membership for less than $2,000.

Case Size: 36mm
Water Resistance: 100m
Movement: Automatic

Purchase: $1,800 or more

Grand Seiko SBGX

As an independent luxury branch of Seiko, Grand Seiko maintains its high-end watches to differentiate itself from its budget-priced parent. As a result, GS does not offer any watch priced below $2,000. The cheapest you’ll find from the Japanese watchmaker is the SBGX series from its Heritage collection, specifically the SBGX259, SBGX261, and SBGX263. All three watches feature classic Grand Seiko styling in a polished Zaratsu case with an in-house HAQ 9F movement accurate to less than 10 seconds per year.

Case Size: 37mm
Water Resistance: 100m
Movement: Quartz

Purchase: $2,200+

Cartier Ronde Must de Cartier

While sports watches like Rolex, Omega and Breitling tend to have the most buzz around these pieces, Cartier should not be underestimated. The king of dress watches ranks second among the best-selling Swiss watch brands in the world after Rolex, and you can join their ranks with this Cartier 36mm quartz dress watch. And while we respect your choice if you go this route, it’s worth noting that for an additional $120 you can get a quartz version of a true watch icon with the Cartier Tank Must.

Case Size: 36mm
Water Resistance: 30m
Movement: Quartz

Purchase: $2,810+

Breitling Endurance Pro

Quartz movements are a bit of a theme when it comes to affordable luxury watches, but you can rest assured that this Breitling’s battery-powered motor is far from basic. The heat-compensated COSC-certified SuperQuartz movement at the heart of this large chronograph watch for athletes is designed to perform in harsh environments, as is the exclusive Breitlight case, which is 3.3 times lighter than titanium and highly resistant to scratches and stains. corrosion. .

Case size: 44mm
Water Resistance: 100m
Movement: Quartz Chronograph

Purchase: $3,300+

Omega De Ville Prestige Co-Axial Chronometer

If you’ve set your sights on a Seamaster or Speedmaster and were hoping to find one here… well, you’re out of luck. But don’t put your wallet away just yet, because Omega still offers plenty of value at this price. Housing an in-house coaxial automatic chronometer movement, this attractive member of Omega’s long-running De Ville line of dress watches offers arguably the most prestigious and interesting movement for the money. The hands and indexes are also heat-blued.

Case Size: 39.5mm
Water Resistance: 30m
Movement: Automatic

Purchase: $3,750+

IWC Automatic Pilot’s Watch 36

When you think of IWC, the first thing that probably comes to mind is the brand’s signature Flieger-style pilot’s watches. And believe it or not, you can get one for less than anything else in the Schaffhausen brand’s catalog. Granted, it’s not the famous “Big Pilot”, but this mid-size IWC pilot’s watch with its striking blue sunburst dial and classic A-type layout offers just as much style and prestige as its bigger siblings.

Case Size: 36mm
Water Resistance: 60m
Movement: Automatic

Purchase: $4,250+

Panerai Radiomir basic logo

If you’re looking for something with a ton of wrist presence, nothing beats Panerai. And despite the Italian brand’s expensive and exclusive reputation, you don’t necessarily have to pay an arm and a leg to get it. The most basic version of Panerai’s vintage-inspired Radiomir line, the base logo still offers classic Panerai styling cues in the form of a 45mm polished stainless steel case and dynamite light on the hands and indexes against a matte black dial.

Case size: 45mm
Water Resistance: 100m
Movement: Manual winding

Purchase: $4,500+

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 34

The most basic watch made by Rolex is the Oyster Perpetual. His The Crown is reduced to the essentials, with an Oyster case, an Oyster bracelet and a perpetual movement without date. Available in a host of colors and sizes, including men’s 36mm and 41mm variants, the cheapest way to get your foot in Rolex’s door is to opt for the 34mm version. Rolex markets it as a women’s watch, but the 34mm has historically been unisex territory (there are many vintage 34 men’s watches from Rolex) and will wear a bit more than expected due to the Oyster case.

Case Size: 34mm
Water Resistance: 100m
Movement: Automatic

Purchase: $5,500+

Zenith ELITE Classic

Zenith is best known for its El Primero movement, one of the first automatic chronographs with over 50 years of history behind it. And while Zenith charges a pretty penny for its El Primero-powered parts, you can get started with this enthusiast-favorite brand for less by checking out its ELITE range. This amazing dress watch still features an in-house automatic movement with a 50-hour power reserve, and its radial sunray dial is one of the most striking you’ll find at this price.

Case Size: 40.5mm
Water Resistance: 50m
Movement: Automatic

Purchase: $6,000 or more

Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Automatic

JLC is often referred to as the watchmaker’s watchmaker, due to the brand’s unrivaled technical mastery of complications and its long history of making movements for other prestigious brands – including, once upon a time, each of the big three from Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin. But JLC ​​also makes its own terrific watches, and the most affordable is the killer Polaris Automatic. This versatile sports car features a double crown layout with an inner rotating timing bezel, a dateless display and an exhibition case back to admire the brand’s in-house work.

Case size: 41mm
Water Resistance: 100m
Movement: Automatic

Purchase: $7,300+

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Bathyscape Cal. 1150

On the whole, luxury watch brands do not offer watches from their most iconic product lines at an entry-level price. But Blancpain is an exception. The oldest watch brand in existence, Blancpain invented the modern diver’s watch in 1953 with the original Fifty Fathoms, and today you can pick up a version of this watch for less than anything else from the brand. While the most iconic version of the modern Fifty Fathoms starts at around $15,000, this tiny stainless steel Bathyscape reference powered by the ultra-thin Cal. The 1150 movement can be purchased for less than five figures.

Case size: 38mm
Water Resistance: 300m
Movement: Automatic

Purchase: $9,500+

Vacheron Constantin Fiftysix Automatic

If your goal is to access the Holy Trinity of Swiss watchmaking while spending as little as possible, this watch is for you. Vacheron brings up the rear here when it comes to the big three, offering a gorgeous stainless steel dress watch for a comparative affair. The Fiftysix is ​​inspired by a Vacheron watch from its titular year, so naturally it oozes mid-century style. But it’s got plenty of class too, with a thickness of just 9.6mm, an alligator leather strap and a solid 22-karat gold rotor visible through the sapphire caseback.

Case size: 40mm
Water Resistance: 30m
Movement: Automatic

Purchase: $12,300+

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic 34mm

Blancpain is not the only exception to the rule when it comes to offering its most iconic entry-level watch. Again, given that the Royal Oak variants are virtually all AP brands these days, we shouldn’t be too surprised by this. While smaller quartz shaped outlets can be had for less, we rank this 34mm stainless steel automatic Royal Oak as the most affordable option for men, and it’s the cheapest way to get it. get one of the most recognizable watch designs ever made.

Case Size: 34mm
Water Resistance: 50m
Movement: Automatic

Purchase: $22,800 or more

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5167A

If we’re going by market value, there’s no way the Aquanaut is the most affordable Patek you can get – not with the way these things trade on the used market. But according to the MSRP, this dive-ready sibling of the famed Nautilus is as cheap as Pateks. With its impeccably finished stainless steel case, pomegranate-shaped embossed dial and tough-as-nails “Tropical” composite bracelet, the 90s-born Aquanaut quickly became an icon in its own right. We’d say buy one while they’re still ‘affordable’, but we fear it’s already too late for that.

Case Size: 40.8mm
Water Resistance: 120m
Movement: Automatic

Purchase: $23,070+

The 15 Best Grail Watches

Are you looking to discover the other side of the coin when it comes to luxury watches? Then check out our guide to the best Grail watches where we break down over a dozen of the most impressive and extravagant watches on the market.

About Robert L. Thomas

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