What Are The Best Entry Level Luxury Watches For Under $5K? 

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Luxury watches are – by definition – not exactly on the cheap side. In fact, part of the appeal of owning a luxury watch is precisely the idea that it broadcasts your wealth and status, and many would say that the more expensive the watch, the more it broadcasts power. 

However, it’s perfectly possible to pick up a range of entry level luxury watches that don’t break the bank. It’s even possible to find not one luxury watch but many luxury watches that are as cheap as $5000 or less.

This sounds hard to believe, particularly given the fact that high-end luxury watches commonly go for upward of $20,000 – surely the quality of such a low-cost watch suffers? 

”The watch bears a (some would say very deliberate) resemblance to classic Rolex Submariners. The uncharitable would say that it’s a poor man’s Submariner, but to say that would be to do this classically designed watch a grave disservice.”

It may seem like this should be the case, but it really isn’t. Many such ‘low-cost’ watches are both cheap and look great, easily passing for much more expensive watches. But which ones, you might wonder? 

This brings us to the point of this article: to find the best-looking entry-level luxury watches currently on the market. 

Breitling Superocean Héritage II is One of the Most Affordable Luxury Watches

This diver’s watch is the result of a marriage between expert Swiss watchmakers Breitling and the Rolex subsidiary, Tudor. The result is a beautiful timepiece that looks just as good at a gala as it does 100 meters underwater. 

The Superocean Héritage II is based on a vintage 1950s Breitling model, and it oozes retro cool from every inch of its pristine stainless steel case.

It’s also a very striking watch, with the black bevel, dial, and strap juxtaposing wonderfully with the rose-gold hands and markers. This makes the watch fantastically legible when not diving, although it does suffer slightly in the dark. 

Speaking of the bevel, it’s a unidirectional rotating bevel in the tradition of diving watches, ensuring that it can be used accurately and safely at depth without accidentally moving it back and compromising your dive timing calculations.

However, it is a little loose for a diving watch. When used by casual divers, however (whom this watch is overwhelmingly marketed at anyway), the Superocean Héritage II works wonders. 

Tudor Black Bay 58 is an Icon of One of the Best Affordable Watch Brands

Tudor is well-known as the Rolex subsidiary that offers luxury watches at prices that are far more affordable than their parent company – which is why it’s probably no great shock to see them on this list of entry level luxury watches.

The stylishly named Black Bay 58 is a return to Tudor’s dive watches, which they hadn’t done for thirteen years when the Black Bay line was introduced in 2012. The original Black Bay was a huge hit, and Tudor revisited the line with the 2018 Black Bay 58. 

The Black Bay 58 is so-called because it’s inspired by a 1958 design. Small, unobtrusive, and extremely elegant, it’s a great dive watch that recalls the classic designs of the 1950s and 1960s. 

The watch bears a (some would say very deliberate) resemblance to classic Rolex Submariners. The uncharitable would say that it’s a poor man’s Submariner, but to say that would be to do this classically designed watch a grave disservice. 

While the Black Bay 58’s overall design and profile suffer next to the more expensive watch it’s supposedly imitating. It’s nonetheless a very classy timepiece that can take pride of place in any fledging watch enthusiast’s collection. 

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M: The Timepiece of Choice for James Bond

Omega—already an iconic watchmaker for its Speedmaster, AKA the official timekeeping device for the Olympics—outdid itself with a second iconic watch to add to its roster: this diving watch worn by fiction’s most famous spy: James Bond. 

But the 300M is more than just a gimmicky watch worn by Connery, Moore, and others. It’s also a mighty fine piece of horological engineering, a beauty from an aesthetic and design perspective, and excellent value for money. 

The Seamaster is, for all its mainstream fame and success, something of an iconoclastic watch that doesn’t really play by the rules set down for other luxury dive watches.

It’s somewhat on the bulky side, is very visually busy, and has a great number of detractors who, quite simply, cannot stand the way the Seamaster is put together. And yet, despite that, it’s an excellent watch that’s very intelligently built. 

Of course, a large part of its commercial appeal comes from its being the Bond watch, but there’s more to the Seamaster than that. It’s a beautifully solid watch that sits well on a thick wrist and, as you might expect, is great for diving. And, as mentioned, it’s extremely reasonably priced. 

IWC Mark XVIII is One of the Minimalist But Elegant Entry Level Luxury Watches

Sometimes less is more, and that’s exactly the case with the minimalist yet elegant IWC Mark XVIII, a fantastic luxury watch that delivers the goods while keeping the price low. 

The Mark XVIII was designed with aviators in mind, which is why it’s eminently legible. The black dial sits underneath the stark white hands, with the hour and minute markers similarly colored to ensure that they stand out. This ensures that you can tell the time with a momentary glance—extremely important, of course, to early air pioneers. 

However, the Mark XVIII has been called “every non-pilot’s favorite pilot’s watch,” a wry nod to the fact that most people wearing this entry level luxury watch are not going to be masters of the skies.

It’s functionally more akin to a sports watch, and it’s a job it does very well. It’s a simple, solid piece of horological engineering that sits easy on the watch, looks good, and does what it’s supposed to do – keep time. 

So, What’s Your Choice of the Best Entry Level Luxury Watch?

We could include another five watches on this list, but we still do not have a complete list of luxury watches suited to newcomers to the scene.

As it stands, we’ll hang our hats on the four offered up today. From secret-agent sangfroid to aviation and dive watches just as well suited to a night at the opera as one in the sea or sky, there’s a great pick for everyone on this list of entry level luxury watches.

And if you hanker for something else, watch this space—we’ll continue to bring you the very best advice on budget luxury watches. 


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