A question we get asked all the time is, “What watch would you recommend from blank brand?” And this is such a common question, and the answer is really subjective. However, we figured we’d share some of our recommendations from popular brands. And as a note not all of these watches are starter watches, rather the best introduction into the brand.
So let’s take a look.
The Rolex Oyster Perpetual. This watch can often be overlooked because of its entry level, but there’s nothing entry-level about this watch. It is 100% Rolex. The Oyster Perpetual is affordable and has classic styling, with multiple dial and size options.
One of our favorites is the Rolex 116000 Blue Arabic dial. The 36 millimeter case size with the brushed lugs and the Rolex caliber 3130 remind us of an Explorer I. This watch is arguably one of the best modern Rolex watches and is a definite sleeper in the lineup.
The OMEGA Seamaster 300. There are many variations on the Seamaster 300 and for good reason. It’s an immediate classic and it’s also affordable. We love the previous-generation Seamaster 300m Co-Axial. It’s a robust design with easy wearability thanks to a thin case coming in right at 12 millimeters.
It has just enough of that classic styling to be reminiscent of the 90s Seamaster worn by James Bond. And that darker blue dial and ceramic bezel are just perfect, especially with the anti-reflective coating on the crystal. The bezel and the dial just feel like a deep pool of water.
The Breitling Colt. Breitling is known for its bold and sporty aesthetic and the Colt is a no-nonsense offering from Breitling. It is powered by the ever reliable Breitling caliber 17. And this is another watch that has many variations so there is something for most styles. One of the most noticeable elements of the collection is the brand’s trademark rider tabs, which both protect the crystal and make for easy handling. The 44 millimeter case size is a great watch for people looking for something a little bigger.
The Panerai Luminor Base – 44 millimeter. Staying with larger watches, let’s take a look at this Panerai. When we think Panerai we think Luminor.
With the iconic crown guard, unique case shape, and intense loom you can’t go wrong. And with plenty of options between dial variations and straps anyone can fit their needs. We love this Pam 112 because if it’s clean, symmetrical, sandwich dial, and exhibition case back. And Panerai manual wound movements are a sight to look at.
The Tag Heuer Autavia Re-edition. Tag Heuer has a rich history in the automobile industry, and one of the things tag does really well is its reissues. This Autavia wasn’t well received when released because of how it mixed the original design with newer elements, but it’s been growing in popularity.
We chose this one because of its great cushion case shape, pop of color on the dial, and use of the reissue Caliber 11 lending to that crown at nine o’clock. Despite the 42 millimeter size, the watch wears extremely well thanks to that case design and the updated beads of rice bracelet.
The IWC Pilot’s Watch. A brand known for its pilot watches so what better than one of its classics. We went with the Pilot’s Mark XVI because of its traditional style and modest case size. This watch features a 39 millimeter case and is powered by a heavily modified, chronometer grade ETA movement.
Even though the Mark XVI line was a big departure, stylistically, from the originals the Flieger hands and big triangle of twelve O’Clock are still reminiscent of the pilot watches from WWII. A nice addition to the Mark XVI was the IWC motto on the crown “Probus Scafusia” which translates to “Good solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen” which probably wouldn’t fit on the crown.
Nevertheless this watch looks just as good on a leather strap as it does on a nato. The Black Bay 58. The 58 draws its name from the original Tudor Submariner from the 1950s. It’s got a case design that draws upon vintage inspiration. With sharp chamfers, a case coming in right at 39 millimeters, and just under 12 millimeters thick it feels like a modern-day vintage watch. Add to that a gilt dial and you have one of the best contemporary Tudor watches. And lastly to see Tudor release a modern sport watch under 40 millimetres is hopefully a good sign of things to come.
The Cartier Tank. The Cartier Tank oozes classic style and represents the brand. perfectly. By today’s standards the watch can seem a little small, but it’s a perfect watch for smaller wrists or the more formal occasions.
And you’re in good company seeing as this watch was worn by people like Jackie O, Andy Warhol, and Louie Cartier himself. We’ve chosen this Tank because of its hassle-free quartz movement, classic Cartier dial and hands, sapphire cabochon on the crown, and 18 karat gold case with matching buckle.
The Patek Phillipe Calatrava. If you’re stepping it into the Grail watch level of Patek Phillipe then you cannot go wrong with the Calatrava. The Calatrava has essentially remained unchanged, visually speaking, since its introduction in 1932. It still represents the epitome of an elegant dress watch.
We recommend the Calatrava 5196R because of its visual similarity to the original reference 96 from the 30s. With expertly crafted dauphine hands in a more modern 37 millimeter case this is the dress watch for the person with discerning style. Now this list only scratches the surface, and there are tons of brands to choose from and each of them has lots to offer, but these are some of our recommendations and they hopefully give you a great place to start.
Let us know what you think about our recommendations and what watch you would choose!