When looking to start or expand a women’s luxury watch collection, finding the perfect timepiece among the endless assortment of watches on the market can feel daunting. As luxury women’s watches can ea...
Top 8 Most Affordable Luxury Watches in 2020September 18, 2020 - Watch Articles
Keep reading to discover an affordable watch that you’ll love for years to come and won’t break the bank.
Top 8 Most Affordable Luxury Watches:
1. Cartier – Tank Solo
We’re beginning our list of the top 8 most affordable luxury watches with Cartier’s Tank Solo. Louis Cartier designed the first Tank watch in 1916 after he was inspired by the tanks of WWI, giving birth to the timepiece’s distinctive rectangular shape. Today’s Tank Solo has remained faithful to the original design, loved by generations of fashionistas and watch wearers around the world.
The Tank Solo’s dial is incredibly legible thanks to the sizable roman numeral hour markers, railway track index and blue-steel sword-shaped hands. Certain Tank Solo watches are designed to allow for interchangeable leather straps which Cartier provides in a wide array of colors, allowing wearers to have a watch that perfectly suits their style.
2. Tag Heuer – Carrera
Next on our list of the top most affordable luxury watches is Tag Heuer’s Carrera. The Carrera collection was named after the Carrera Panamerica, a perilous car racing event during the 1950s in Mexico. This automatic chronograph is sure to become a favorite thanks to its outstanding durability and multiple complications. At 3 o’clock sits an angled day and date window, with rapid date correction to make setting the date painless.
This Carrera provides three easy to read subdials including a minute chronograph counter, hour chronograph counter and permanent second indicator. With the SuperLuminova coating, you will be able to read your watch in even the darkest of settings. This Carrera also provides a tachymeter scale on the bezel for additional functionality and a 42-hour power reserve.
3. Rolex – Air-King
The Air-King has long been considered one of Rolex’s more affordable and entry level timepieces, making it another great addition to our list of the top most affordable luxury watches. The Air-King was first introduced in 1945 to honor the British Royal Air Force and joined part of a larger “Air” collection, including the Air-Lion and Air-Giant.
The Air-King’s dial has large Arabic numerals at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock with the remaining hours represented by stick hour markers. The Air-King was the last remaining of the “Air” collection, but was briefly discounted in 2014, only to be later brought in 2016 with various modifications to the movement and dial. For an entry-level Rolex, look no further than the Air-King.
4. Omega – Speedmaster Professional
Omega’s Speedmaster Professional unites horological innovations with the spirit of adventure. Made in 1957 as a sports and racing chronograph, the Speedmaster Professional has proven itself to be an outstandingly accurate and durable timepiece. This Omega watch is so greatly dependable that it is the only watch approved for all of NASA’s missions and is credited with saving the lives of astronauts on various missions thanks to its incredibly precise timekeeping where other timekeeping devices failed.
The dial’s indexes and central hour and minute hands are coated in Super-LumiNova to ensure legibility in the dark. The 30-minute recorder, 12-hour recorder and small seconds are all perfectly balanced, so the dial never feels overwhelming. The tachymeter on the bezel can also be used for calculations.
The Speedmaster Professional can be bought with a special presentation box containing two additional straps, a tool to change the bracelets, a loupe, metal plate and book about the Speedmaster’s illustrious history. With such an impressive and affordable timepiece, it’s no wonder why the Speedmaster Professional made its way onto our list of the top 8 most affordable luxury watches.
5. Breitling – Colt
The Colt was originally designed to be a dependable and easy to read military watch. The dial features Arabic numerals at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock as well as a date window at 3 o’clock. The Colt also provides a 24-hour scale and 1/100s hour scale for even greater functionality. The unidirectional bezel feature four raised “riders” at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock.
The Colt is a COSC certified Chronometer thanks to its Superquartz movement which Breitling claims is 10 times more accurate than the standard quartz at a mere deviation of 10 seconds a year for impressive timekeeping.
6. Bremont – U-2
Next up on our list of the top 8 most affordable luxury watches is Bremont’s pilot watch, the U-2. The dial has Arabic numerals at 12, 6 and 9 o’clock with a day and date window at 3 o’clock. The hour markers and hands are coated with Super-LumiNova allowing for visibly in the dark.
The watch is made with a Trip-Tick construction which consists of three parts: the central body, bezel element and case back. Our head horologist, Tom Pozsgay, stated that Bremont has, “One of the best cases I have ever seen in my decades in the luxury watch industry.” The COSC Chronometer tested movement is well protected within the anti-magnetic Fraday cage and anti-shock mount. With Brement’s U-2 timepiece, you can rest assured that your timepiece can endure the roughest of conditions.
7. Bell and Ross – BR 01-92
For a true aviation lover, Bell and Ross’ BR 01-92 is the perfect timepiece. The BR 01-92 is aviation watch inspired by the instruments found on cockpit display panels. As Bell and Ross is known to take, “from the cockpit to the wrist,” this distinctive square timepiece looks as if it was lifted straight from an aircraft’s control panel.
The BR 01-92 has an exceptionally legible dial with large Arabic numerals at 12, 3, 6, 9 o’clock as well as stick hour markers, all of which are coated in SuperLumiNova. With one of Bell and Ross’ most iconic and captivating timepiece’s, the BR 01-92 is sure to delight.
8. Chopard – Happy Sport
The final entry on our list of the top 8 most affordable luxury watches is for those who wish to splurge a bit with Chopard’s Happy Sport. Designed by Caroline Scheufele, the Artistic Director and Co-President, as well as her brother Karl-Friedrich Scheufele, the two understood what a new generation of luxury lovers would want. Caroline explained, “I design with the emotions and head of a woman, starting with the aesthetics and then looking at the mechanics.”
The Happy Sport was created in 1993 as a more casual version of the Happy Diamonds watch collection. This sophisticated watch has 5 bezel set diamonds that seem to float over the dial, adding an air of whimsy. As the diamonds are held between two panes of a sapphire crystal, they will never tip over or scratch the dial. The dial features Roman numeral hour markers and select models have date windows.
Wearers can select between a round, oval or square case for the Happy Sport, with an amazing array of colorful straps and bracelets, allowing wearers to find their ideal match.
Where to buy affordable luxury watches?
Affordable and luxury? Yes, it is possible. The best way to buy affordable luxury watches is to shop pre-owned. The quality will remain the same but at a much lower price.
The reality is that luxury watches are built last. So buying a 5 year old Breitling or Audemars Piguet will not look or function any differently from a new one, as long as you buy from a reputable source.
So where is the cheapest place to buy luxury watches? Your best option is to shop from established, trustworthy second-hand luxury watch sellers such as Gemma. Here, all watches are pre-owned and authenticated by industry experts, with luxury watch brands such as Patek Philippe, Hublot, Omega and up to 80% off retail prices.
How to Afford a Luxury Watch
After reading our list of the top 8 most affordable luxury watches, are you ready to buy your perfect timepiece? Affording a luxury watch does not need to be difficult. Why not sell or trade-in jewelry or watches you no longer wear to put towards the watch of your dreams?
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Watch Terms to know
There are a few key watch terms that you should know and understand before buying a luxury watch:
- Manual watch: The watch is powered by regularly winding the watch’s crown.
- Automatic watch: The watch is powered by the natural motion of your wrist.
- Quartz watch: A battery-operated movement that does not need to be wound. The advantage of quartz-powered watches is that they are often cheaper than their manual or automatic counterparts.
- Annual Calendar: The watch displays the day, date, and month but does not take leap years into account.
- Perpetual Calendar: The watch displays the day, date, and month and does take leap years into account.
- Chronograph: Stopwatch functionality.
- Dual Time: The watch displays 2 time zones.
What to Look for in a Luxury Watch?
The reality is that any luxury watch purchase is a personal decision that comes down to style preference and budget. Here are a few key questions to ask yourself:
- Watch Collection: Are you looking to start a watch collection or do you want to buy one watch to stand the test of time? If you are looking to start a watch collection, then start small. If you are looking for one watch only, then maybe push your budget a little further.
- Brand: Which watch brand are you most interested? Research different watch brands and see which best fits your style.
- Cost: What is your price point? Always set and stick to a price that is realistic.
- Lifestyle: Does you luxury watch have to fit a specific lifestyle? Are you planning on wearing this watch in the water, on your travels, while playing sport? If so, you may want to consider water resistance, a perpetual calendar or general durability of the watch. Consider whether you want a dress watch or a diving watch, a quartz movement or an automatic movement.
- New or pre-owned: While some watch collectors prefer to buy a brand new watch, many people find that a pre-owned watch is by far the most cost effective way to buy a luxury timepiece.