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7 Best Starter Watches: Buying Guide for First Timer

7 Best Starter Watches: Buying Guide for First Timer

the best starter watches is crucial to ensure you find the perfect match on your first buy. Explore the recommendations and tips here!
Mar 27, 2024

If you’re new and about to start your journey in collecting watches, this is the right place for you. As you embark on your horological adventure, selecting the best starter watches is a crucial step. It’s not only about finding watches that are affordable but are also durable and versatile for your first collection.

With various types of watches and designs available in the market, you have a lot of options. Therefore, all you have to do is sort out your preferences and narrow down the options based on that information. 

Wearing a wristwatch isn’t just about telling time; it’s a statement of style, a reflection of your personality, and a symbol of your journey. Therefore, it’s important to find the best pair for your first buy. 

Whether you’re new to the world of watches or looking for your first significant timepiece, this comprehensive guide will help you navigate the diverse landscape of starter watches. From the best starter watches under $500 to entry-level mechanical marvels, we’ll explore the best options for every budget and taste.

What to Look for in the Best Starter Watches

When searching for the best starter watch, there are several key factors to consider to ensure you make a choice that aligns with your needs and preferences. Here’s a list of what to look for:


Determine your budget range first. Starter watches come in a wide price range, so knowing how much you’re willing to spend will help narrow down your options.

Type of Watch Movement

There are different types of movement that you can choose from, it’s either quartz or mechanical movements.

  1. Quartz watches are known for their accuracy and low maintenance. They are powered by a battery and are often the most affordable option for beginners.
  2. Mechanical watches have intricate, handcrafted movements. They require more care and attention but offer a unique connection to watchmaking traditions. You can choose between hand-wound and automatic (self-winding) movements.

Build Quality and Materials

Aside from appealing appearance, watches are also about durability that will make them last. Below are some points that you should consider in buying the best starter watches.

  1. Case material: Consider the material of the watch case (e.g., stainless steel, titanium, or plastic). Stainless steel is a common choice for durability and aesthetics.
  2. Sapphire crystal: Watches typically have either mineral or sapphire crystals. Sapphire crystals are more scratch-resistant and durable.
  3. Water resistance: Assess the watch’s water resistance rating. Even if you don’t plan on swimming with your watch, it’s good to have some level of water resistance for everyday wear.

Brand Reputation

Look for well-established watch brands with a history of producing reliable timepieces. Established brands often have better customer support and warranties.

Remember that the best starter watch is one that you love and feel comfortable wearing. Take your time to research and try different options before making your final decision

Read also: 5 Best Entry-Level Watches to Wear in 2024

The Best Starter Watches to Get You Started

Now that you might already have a glimpse of what you like to buy, let us help you with some recommendations of the best starter watches for collectors and newcomers. 

Mido Multifort TV Big Date Blue Ref. M049.526.11.041.00

7 Best Starter Watches: Mido Multifort TV Big Date Blue Ref. M049.526.11.041.00
Movement Mido Automatic ETA, Caliber 80
Dimensions 40mm in diameter, 46.5mm lug to lug, 11.5mm thick
Water resistance 100m

Let your journey start with Mido Multifort TV Big Date Blue with its distinctive case shape. This Mido watch flaunts a sporty adventure that adopts a contemporary and stylish look. Offering a reliable performance with the Caliber 80, this men’s starter watch is also appealing with its intricate vertical-striped pattern on a fumé dial. 

As for the unique case shape, it evokes memories of the classic “TV” style watches from the 1970s, which injected a sense of lifestyle and enjoyment into the typically serious world of watchmaking. The brand-new Multifort achieves a remarkable blend of contemporary design while ensuring a more practical size that comfortably fits most wrists.

Price: $1,210.00 USD

Evant Tropic Diver 39 Remastered

7 Best Starter Watches: Evant Tropic Diver 39 Remastered
Movement Swiss Sellita Cal. SW200-1 Automatic
Dimensions 39.5mm in diameter, 48.7mm lug to lug, 13.5mm thick
Water resistance 300m
Evant Tropic Diver 39 Remastered

If you’re looking for the best starter watches under $1000, the Evant Tropic Diver 39 Remastered could be one among many other options. The Tropic Diver is part of Evant’s dedication to bring appealing revamps in physique and dial details.

Despite being presented as a dive watch, this starter watch comes in a slimmer profile at 39.5mm in diameter and 13.5mm thick. No wonder the watch also looks dressy. Paired with a 20mm solid stainless steel “Beads-of-Rice” bracelet, the watch would perfectly strap on the wrists.

Price: $589.00 USD

Read also: Mido Multifort: An Iconic and Innovative Collection for You

Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph White Ref. SBDL095

7 Best Starter Watches: Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph White Ref. SBDL095
Movement Caliber V192
Dimensions 41.4mm in diameter, 45.9mm lug to lug, 13mm thick
Water resistance 100m
Seiko Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph White Ref. SBDL095

Do you want to look for more affordable starter watches? Then Seiko watches is your go-to place. Most Seiko watches come with a lot of varieties available to choose from including the Prospex Speedtimer Chronograph White.

The watch flaunts a bold, sporty, and rugged design with a chronograph as the main star on the dial. The arrangement of the dial follows the traditional and widely appreciated tri-compax design, featuring a warmly silvered white dial with gradually darkening black sub-dials, reminiscent of the iconic “panda” style.

Powering the watch is the Seiko V192 movement. It is solar-powered and will thus not require battery replacements. Additionally, it boasts exceptional precision, with a specified margin of error of just +/- 15 seconds per month. This Prospex series is indeed one of the best starter watches under $500.

Price: $479.00 USD

Read also: 5 Stylish Seiko Chronograph Watches for Every Occasion

Squale 30 ATMOS Ref.1545 Grey

7 Best Starter Watches: Squale 30 ATMOS Ref.1545 Grey
Movement Automatic Sellita SW 200-1 Elaboré
Dimensions 40mm in diameter, 47mm lugs to lugs, 11.5mm thick
Water resistance 300m
Squale 30 ATMOS Ref.1545 Black

Still on the topic of the best starter watches under $1000, we have Squale 30 ATMOS Ref.1545 Grey with its cool greyish dial. The watch is designed as a diving instrument you can expect reliability and durability from the trusted brand, Squale

That said, Squale ensures the watch has optimal legibility from the use of the sapphire crystal with anti-reflection coating to SuperLuminova coatings for all markers. Matching the Squale 30 Atmos Ref. 1545 Grey with a coordinated bezel achieves a cohesive appearance for the watch, blending a tasteful combination of style and practicality.

Price: $665.00 USD

Read also: Closer Look: At The New Squale 30 Atmos Ref:1545 Collection Gnomon Exclusive

Marathon Pilot’s Navigator NGM Black Maraglo Ref. WW194013BK-2102

7 Best Starter Watches: Marathon Pilot’s Navigator NGM Black Maraglo Ref. WW194013BK-2102
Movement ETA FØ6 High Torque Quartz
Dimensions 41mm in diameter, 48mm lugs to lugs, 13mm thick
Water resistance 60m

A well-built timepiece with robust military-spec requirements is also a good choice for the best starter watches. For that, let’s take a look at the Marathon Pilot’s Navigator NGM Black Maraglo. The brand itself has been known for making watches for military soldiers. 

It features everything you need for a timepiece that withstands harsh conditions and extreme temperature changes. The case is crafted from a high-impact fibershell material with a steel back, maintaining its durability while remaining lightweight. And guess, this is also one of the best starter watches under $500 you can get in the market!

Price: $378.00 USD

Read also: Marathon Pilot’s Navigator Review: A Rugged Military-Spec Watch

Steinhart Ocean Vintage Military 39 – Gnomon Exclusive

7 Best Starter Watches: Steinhart Ocean Vintage Military 39 – Gnomon Exclusive
Movement SW200 Elaboré
Dimensions 39mm in diameter, 47mm lug to lug, 14mm thick
Water resistance 300m

Are you a fan of vintage watches but don’t quite like the performance and outdated technology in a vintage timepiece? Then, you should get a vintage reissue timepiece – a watch with a design inspired by vintage watches but wrapped with modern technology, such as the Steinhart Ocean Vintage Military 39.

The watch’s bezel pays tribute to the military timepiece issued by the British armed forces during the 1970s, featuring complete markings encircling its outer edge. Further, Steinhart ensures this starter watch is made to the highest of Swiss standards.

Price: $539.00 USD

Read also: Closer Look: Steinhart Ocean One Vintage GMT Two-Tone

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Handwinding Earth Brown 38 – Leather Ref. H69449861

7 Best Starter Watches: Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Handwinding Earth Brown 38 – Leather Ref. H69449861
Movement H-50
Dimensions 38mm in diameter, 47mm lug to lug, 9.5mm thick
Water resistance 50m

The last one is our top pick for the best starter watches under $1000. The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Handwinding Earth Brown 38 has been one of the most popular collections in the Hamilton catalog. It flaunts a simple yet tough field watch to accompany you for outdoor activities.

Hamilton’s durability and reliability are widely acknowledged. No wonder, many begin their collecting journey with the Khaki collection as starter watches. Moreover, this Hamilton Khaki Field is also versatile, making it a go-to timepiece for every occasion.

Price: $545.00 USD

Read also: A Closer Look Into Hamilton Khaki Collection: Timeless Classic

Final Thought

Selecting the best starter watch is an exciting and personal journey. Whether you choose a reliable quartz watch, an elegant mechanical timepiece, or a feature-packed digital companion, your watch will become a cherished part of your life. 

Remember that your first watch is just the beginning, opening the door to a lifelong fascination with horology and the artistry of watchmaking. Enjoy the journey, and may your wrist always bear a timepiece that reflects your style and aspirations.

Read also: The 5 Best Mid-Range Watch Brands, Top Picks by Gnomon

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