Every watch enthusiast knows that unless you’re a trust-fund baby, your first automatic watch won’t be a Rolex or Omega. No, you start with the off brands that produce quality horological timepieces without the astronomical prices. Suffice it to say, the origin of the watch won’t always be in Switzerland, which, everyone knows, the center of watchmaking.
In this article, we’ve collated the best starter automatic watches for young adults – those who are fresh off college and earning their first salaries. Or those who are in the middle management and want to step up from their bevy of quartz watches. From Swiss-made automatics to Japanese legends, here are four automatic watches that won’t drain your savings account:
Tissot Heritage Visodate Automatic
If you want a Swiss-made automatic watch but don’t want the Swiss price, Tissot is the best option you have. The heritage line both carries quartz and automatic movements, but your best bet in the Visodate Automatic. Just under $500 dollars, even cheaper in some stores, it’s your first taste of Swiss watchmaking genius without sacrificing quality.
The Tissot Heritage Visodate Automatic is powered by a Swiss automatic movement with 38 hours of power reserve, with 25 jewels and HMSSD dial. With a water-resistance of up to 100m, you can’t wear it when you dive, but it’s no slouch with water contact either. Case material is stainless steel, with industry-leading domed scratch-resistant crystal sapphire. Paired with a leather strap, it’s a classic-looking watch that will instantly upgrade your outfits.
Seiko 5 Sports Black Dial
The 5 Sports line from Seiko is sort of a legend when it comes to affordable automatic watches. Seiko, the Japanese watchmaker that popularized the quartz movement, has updated its 5 Sports line recently. Most fans of the collection were adamant of the price changes; it soon proved to be a moot point because the new watches were of the stunning quality that it still is the watch to beat when it comes to features and bang for your buck.
The Seiko 5 Sports Black Dial SRPD65K1 is particularly stunning with an all-black aesthetic. With caliber 4R36 at the heart of the operation, the automatic movement with manual-winding capacity has a power reserve of 41 hours. The stainless steel clasp is hard-coated, with a 10 bar water-resistance.
A classic recommendation among enthusiasts, the Orient Bambino, looks and feels every bit of an expensive watch. Without the accompanying price tag, of course! It’s an automatic watch with specs that won’t be shy when compared to watches that are priced at tens of thousands of dollars! The Open Heart, specifically, is not just pretty to look at, the movement is also hand-winding, as well as hacking.
Outfitted with a power reserve of 40 hours, it’s the perfect everyday watch. It’s classic; understated looks will pair up nicely with any smart casual attire. The case material is stainless steel, and out of the box, you get a leather band with a buckle clasp. Water-resistance is at 30m so you can wear it in pool parties as well!
Hamilton Khaki King
Any watch connoisseur worth his weight in a caliber movement will tell you that, if you have a little more money to spend on your first automatic watch, spend it on a Hamilton watch. More specifically, the Khaki King. Powering this beast on the inside is an in-house caliber movement, the H-40. The Khaki King automatic is the perfect watch to celebrate the first major milestone in your adult life.
Retailing under $850, you get a Swiss-made watch with an automatic movement, with a power reserve of 80 hours, and a water resistance feature of 50m. Lug width is the standard 20mm size so you can play with other strap combinations. Pro tip: A black leather strap of any kind will perfectly complement the black dial.
Getting an automatic watch is a tradition that usually meant coming of age for any young boy on the planet. While it’s not as formal as it was in the olden days, some families still respect and practice the tradition of giving a young man of 18 or 21 an automatic watch. Fortunately, some kids nowadays are introduced to mechanical watches at an earlier age, so that a plus for the watch industry.