Best Watches for Beginners: An Ultimate Guide to Get the Best Timepieces for You

You know what?

Purchasing the best watches for beginners today can be a challenging task.

Not only are there many types to choose from but there are also a variety of costs from some dollars to a supercar.

So, which one should you buy, a tri-watch or automatic one?

Or which brand do you love more, Omega or Seiko?

Down here, find the necessary information in our guide, and then get the best one.

AT A GLANCE: MY TOP 7 PICKS FOR THE BEST WATCHES FOR BEGINNERS
  1. CHRONOGRAPH WATCH: Timex T49905 Men’s Expedition Field Watch
  2. DRESS WATCH: Stuhrling Original Dress Watch 3997Z
  3. MECHANICAL WATCH: Seiko Men’s SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic
  4. GOLF WATCH: Garmin Approach S20, GPS Golf Watch
  5. SPORTS WATCH: Seiko Men’s SNE329 Sport Solar-Powered
  6. GPS RUNNING WATCH: Garmin Forerunner 35, Black
  7. APPLE WATCH: Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS, 38mm) – Space Gray

Best Watches for Beginners – Quick Comparison

Product imageProduct nameWatch categoryPrice
Timex T49905 reviewTimex Men's Expedition Field Chronograph WatchChronograph watchcta
Stuhrling Original Mens Watch Calfskin Leather Strap Dress Watch 3997ZStuhrling Original Mens Watch Calfskin Leather Strap Dress Watch 3997ZDress watchcta
Seiko SNK805 reviewSeiko Men's SNK805 Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Watch with Green CanvasMechanical watchcta
Garmin Approach S20, GPS Golf Watch with Step Tracking, Preloaded Courses, BlackGarmin Approach S20, GPS Golf Watch with Step Tracking, Preloaded Courses, BlackGolf watchcta
Seiko Mens SNE329 Sport Solar-Powered Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Nylon BandSeiko Men's SNE329 Sport Solar-Powered Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Nylon BandSports watchcta
Garmin Forerunner 35 Easy-to-Use GPS Running Watch, BlackGarmin Forerunner 35; Easy-to-Use GPS Running Watch, BlackGPS running watchcta
Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS, 38mm) - Space Gray Aluminium Case with Black Sport BandApple Watch Series 3 (GPS, 38mm) - Space Gray Aluminium Case with Black Sport BandApple watchcta
Omega Mens O21230412003001 Seamaster Analog Display Automatic Self-Wind silver-Tone WatchOmega Men's O21230412003001 Seamaster Analog Display Automatic Self-Wind silver-Tone WatchLuxury watchcta
Invicta 8926OB reviewInvicta Men's 8926OB Pro Diver Stainless Steel Automatic Watch with Link BraceletAutomatic watchcta
Citizen Watches Mens BN0151-09L PromasterCitizen Watches Men's BN0151-09L Promaster Professional DiverDive watchcta
Vastar Watch Repair Kit, Watch Repair Tools Professional Spring Bar Tool SetVastar Watch Repair Kit, Watch Repair Tools Professional Spring Bar Tool SetWatch repair kitcta
Fitbit Versa 2 Health & Fitness Smartwatch with Heart Rate, Music, Alexa Built-in, Sleep & Swim TrackingFitbit Versa 2 Health & Fitness Smartwatch with Heart Rate, Music, Alexa Built-in, Sleep & Swim TrackingFitness trackercta
Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size 38mm WatchTimex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size 38mm WatchTriathlon watchcta

Things to Consider Before Buying

Quartz vs Mechanical

The first and foremost thing is to determine whether you want a quartz watch or a mechanical one.

A quartz watch is highly accurate (15+/- seconds per month), easy to maintain and inexpensive. It runs on battery power – a long-life lithium battery lasts about 3 years. Or you also opt for the rechargeable battery.

Meanwhile, a mechanical watch is more expensive than a quartz one. Although they are not defined as accurate, some modern ones are very precise (5+/- seconds per month).

The mainspring is either wound by hand (the old way) or automatically wound by a rotor that swings when your wrist moves. Normally, power is saved for a few days. So, if it is left neglected, the timepiece needs to reset and wound.

When would you need to watch complications?

First, you need to understand what a watch complication is. It is known as added mechanical functions alongside the actual time measure.

Let’s explain clearly!

For standard complications, they might be something simple and useful including:

  • Chronograph – It is a timing function that runs independently of the main time display.
  • Date – It typically rotates from 1 to 31 without correcting for shorter months.
  • Power reserve – It is a mechanical movement (manual or automatic) that shows how much power it has left.
  • Moonphase – It displays the transition of the moon via a 29.5-day cycle.

Meanwhile, the grand complications consist of:

  • Tourbillon – It is a method for lessening the effect of gravity on the balance by revolving the whole escapement once every 60 seconds.
  • Minute repeater – It is mainly used for darker winter months to chime the time on command via a series of gongs.
  • Equation of time – It is the fluctuation of the day that is determined by the occurrence of the sun against the measured time.
  • Perpetual calendar – It automatically keeps track of days, months, years, and even leap years if a normal date doesn’t account for shorter months.

Of course, a timepiece with many complications is impressive. Though you can find some expensive models which only tell the time.

So, it’s up to you.

Which watch style should you choose?

A watch doesn’t only tell the time because it, by itself, tells a story, too. No matter what the story is to conquer the sky or discover the deep ocean, there is a timepiece to suit.

Besides, different functionalities define different styles of the watch, for instance, G-shock watches for military use or a chronograph on a pilot’s watch.

Ranging from something sporty and smart to a dress timepiece to complete your sharp suit, there are a variety of styles to choose from to satisfy your demands.

How much should you spend at first?

The truth is that everyone loves to pay a high amount of money when it comes to buying a watch. But since this is your first timepiece, you don’t need to spend a lot of money – $2,000 for a watch, for example.

Our best beginners’ watch collection in the upcoming part will show you the excellent ones that are under $500.

So, keep following us.

Brands to consider based on price ranges

There are a couple of high-quality watch brands in the market you might have known such as:

  • Tissot – $130 to $950
  • Citizen – $130 to $2000
  • Omega – $2500 to $25000
  • Rolex – $4500 to $11500
  • Etc.

If you need a watch for style reasons, maybe to show yourself off, the brand is important. At this point, a Rolex will be more appealing than a high-grade Timex watch.

Additionally, you can look at brands like Omega or Seiko since they have great brand recognition and reputations.

What about watches made by designer fashion labels?

Channel, Gucci or Hugo Boss are lavish fashion labels that make their own watches.

However, are they truly good?

Well, some maniacs are indifferent to these brands because they think that these brands don’t follow the traditions or history of watchmaking.

So, you need to ask yourself whether you want the specification of the timepiece or just the name.

For instance, you can find some Gucci watches about $400 that are quartz watches with cheaper crystal instead of a tough synthetic sapphire window and low water resistance.

But if you pay over $1500 on a real Gucci watch, you will get the one with a synthetic sapphire crystal and an automatic movement.

In our opinion, it is okay to pay a fair amount for the name. In case you want to spend a thousand dollars on a watch with a nice label, think again, please.

Differences between cheap and luxury watches

A quartz watch will be a perfect and affordable choice if you need the unit which shows the time accurately. Meanwhile, a luxury watch comes with different features to increase its value much more.

Take a look at this table below to know clearly.

Features

 

Cheap watches

 

Luxury watches

 

Craftsmanship Mass-produced

Quickly manufactured

Exactly made

The high effort put into details

Movement Quartz movement

Battery-powered, accurate, limited moving parts

Quartz or mechanical movement

Spring-powered, precise to within seconds a day, craved by collectors

Quality of the glass Mineral glass

Easily broken and scratched

Sapphire or acrylic

Shatter and scratch-resistant

Complications Minimal to none

Not an indicator of quality

A variety of chronological complications like day, date, GMT, moon phase, etc.
The smoothness of the movement 4 or fewer movements per second

Can hear a tick-tick sound

5 or more movements per second

Silent

Reviews of the Best Watches for Beginners Based on Categories

As mentioned above, there are different watch styles to suit different demands. And the most important thing is that you know what you need – a watch for running or diving or a watch with a famous brand name.

That’s why we’ve made a variety of categories as well as the best pick for each so that you can choose with ease.

Let’s check it out now!

The Best Beginner Chronograph Watch

Timex T49905 review

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Our first choice for the best beginner chronograph watch is Timex T49905 Men’s Expedition.

This is a nice analog watch with an elegant outdoor design and sturdy construction that easily fits formal wardrobes. Also, it comes with all the basic functionalities that you crave for a chronograph timepiece.

Since it paired with chronograph function, it is able to measure 1/20th of a second well. It is especially water-resistant to 100 meters, making it an ideal choice for snorkeling and swimming.

Although the Timex Expedition is not sophisticated, it doesn’t fall below par either. And if you love simplicity, this will be a great pick at an affordable price.

Pros

  • Classy look
  • Durable construction
  • Be able to measure 1/20th of a second
  • Easy to see at night with the Indiglo light-up
  • Included battery
  • Quiet operation

Cons

  • Not ideal for diving
  • Some complaints of thin glass

Other great Timex watches that you might like:

The Best Beginner Dress Watch

Stuhrling Original Mens Watch Calfskin Leather Strap Dress Watch 3997Z

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Stuhrling watches are always amazing both in image and quality. And if you want a dress watch that doesn’t cost too much, check out the Stuhrling 3997Z Original Men’s Watch.

This timepiece highlights a minimalist design that offers a smooth elegance to anyone. Since it has a classic style, it easily fulfills both casual and professional clothing, making it a good choice for all occasions.

With an ultra-slim profile and a genuine leather band, it isn’t only lightweight but also brings maximum comfort on your wrist. Aside from showing the time, it features a quick set date window.

Wonderfully, you get a 2-year comprehensive international warranty to set your mind at rest.

Pros

  • A perfect balance between striking and sleek
  • Ideal for all occasions
  • Quick to set the date
  • Included battery
  • Good warranty

Cons

  • The second hand and the minute hand seem to be identical
  • The date display is small

The Best Beginner Mechanical Watch

Seiko SNK805 review

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If you value usability rather than looks, you might love Seiko Men’s SNK805 watch.

Although its main aim is to tell the time, not focus on your sense of style, it by no means looks bad. Since this watch is military-inspired, its design is a bit simple and plain.

But what makes it impressive is its dark green dial with hour and minute numerals. The minute numerals are especially big, permitting you to see the time down to minutes quickly.

This timepiece also comes with a handy feature of date and day function.

Just note that you need to reset it every once in awhile, because it might tend to run quickly or slowly after weeks. If you feel okay, then this will be a good deal for you.

Pros

Cons

  • Only 30m water resistant
  • Cheap bracelet

The Best Beginner Golf Watch

Garmin Approach S20, GPS Golf Watch with Step Tracking, Preloaded Courses, Black

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Garmin is a top brand in making the best GPS golf watches, and the Garmin Approach S20 is described as a great combination of style, performance, and comfort.

This watch features accurate yardages to all parts of the green as well as short distances, new functions, and technology.

For instance, the Autoshot allows you to track shots, record shot places, measure distance. Besides, TruSwing is able to track the swing to better your swing and consistency. Plus, a Green View Display helps to show the exact layout and shape of the green.

Aside from tracking your activity and statistics, this watch comes with a sleek look that can match with your golfing clothing perfectly.

Pros

  • Stylish and snug
  • Big face to read the details
  • Accurate yardages
  • Easy to set up and sync
  • Good GPS for the course
  • Excellent battery

Cons

  • Lots of options and functions
  • No battery indicator while using
  • No touchscreen

The Best Beginner Seiko Sport Watch

Seiko Mens SNE329 Sport Solar-Powered Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Nylon Band

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It can be said that Seiko Men’s SNE329 is the best beginner sports watch for Seiko collectors.

Its blue colored strap and silver dial are truly a great combo. Moreover, the analog display looks elegant, and with large and bright numbers, you have no trouble reading the time at a glance.

Aside from the time display, the date is shown as well. What’s more, the band is made of durable Nylon and gives a buckle closure, which is damage proof and can last long.

This timepiece is water-resistant up to 100m and is ideal for snorkeling and swimming. But if you are going scuba diving, remember to take it off.

Pros

  • Well-made watch with an elegant and classy look
  • Wide yet comfortable band
  • Nice and big buckle
  • Solar-powered watch, no battery replacement
  • Easy to read the time regardless of night
  • Water-resistant to 100m

Cons

  • The date display window is quite small
  • Some dislike a little arrow on top of 12

The Best Beginner GPS Running Watch

Garmin Forerunner 35 Easy-to-Use GPS Running Watch, Black

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Aside from making the best golf watches, the Garmin brand also aims at running timepieces. If you need a unit that can track your performance well, the Garmin Forerunner 35 will be a good choice.

This watch includes some cool running features like heart rate monitor, virtual pacing, GPS, intervals, distance information, and so on.

But what makes it stand out is its inactive alert. If it discovers no activity in an hour, it will vibrate instantly. The long battery life is another highlight because it can last up to 13 hours in training mode and about 9 days in watch mode.

Pros

  • Small, comfortable and lightweight
  • Easy-to-see display
  • Long battery
  • Accurate GPS tracking
  • Many nice colors to choose from
  • Easy to sync Garmin Connect website and app

Cons

  • Hard-to-push buttons on the side
  • No wifi, only Bluetooth

The Best Beginner Apple Watch

Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS, 38mm) - Space Gray Aluminium Case with Black Sport Band

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When it comes to Apple, you are guaranteed to get high-quality and stylish products. And the Apple Watch Series 5 is rated as the best overall for newbies.

It has a simple yet modern look that is equally good for both women and men. Moreover, it offers different finishes as well as watch bands from Apple and other fashion/accessory companies.

Aside from a subtle style, this smartwatch boasts of high-tech features that are innovative and useful. Its user interface is also simple and intuitive.

However, the advanced fitness tracking function is truly the Series 5’s signature because it uses various sensors and a heart rate monitor to track your workout.

Pros

Cons

  • Require phone for setup

The Best Beginner Luxury Omega Watch

Omega Mens O21230412003001 Seamaster Analog Display Automatic Self-Wind silver-Tone Watch

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If you want a luxury watch with a famous brand name, the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Automatic Men’s Watch is an interesting choice.

To be known as the most advanced dive watch collection, this product is water-resistant up to 600 meters, making it ideal for water activities.

Besides, the blue dial together with the arrowhead hour and minute luminescent hands offers a highly readable and appealing dial across the range.

Aside from a simple and attractive design, this watch has luxury finishes such as stainless-steel case and bracelet, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, etc.

In sum, these things have been a basis for the success and fame of the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean.

Pros

  • Reputed brand – Omega
  • Stunning blue dial
  • Flawless finish
  • Easy to read the time
  • Self-winding movement
  • Water-resistant to 600m

Cons

  • A bit heavy
  • Luxury price

Other luxury watches you should know:

The Best Beginner Automatic Watch

Invicta 8926OB review

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Invicta Men’s 8926OB is truly a versatile automatic watch both from a style and a functional standpoint.

Have a look!

Its case and band are both made from stainless steel. Since the steel is polished, it looks luxurious despite its budget-priced tag. Moreover, its dial is protected by a durable mineral glass, keeping this timepiece in the best shape all the time.

What’s more, it comes with luminous hands so that you can easily read the time in the dark.

Similar to all Invicta watches, this product is very accurate thanks to the Japanese quartz technology.

Pros

  • Clean finish with well-fitting parts
  • Durable thanks to the stainless steel
  • Luminous hands
  • Water-resistant up to 200m
  • No need for replacing batteries
  • Reasonably-priced

Cons

  • Hard-to-rotate bezel
  • Only 1-year warranty

The Best Beginner Dive Watch

Citizen Watches Mens BN0151-09L Promaster

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If you love diving, yet not have enough money for the Omega watch above, you can consider Citizen Promaster BN0151-09L, one of the best beginners dive watches in the market.

It comes with a dial with luminous hands and unidirectional bezel. Wonderfully, the white numerals against dark blue offer a feeling of deep diving under the blue sea. Of course, it is water-resistant up to 200m.

The stainless steel is another highlight of this timepiece, allowing you to use it for a long time.

But the most interesting thing is that it utilizes light to activate itself. That means you don’t need to replace the batteries.

Pros

  • Well-built dive watch
  • Comfortable band, easily fit any wrist
  • Easy to read the time
  • Never require batteries
  • Good water resistance
  • 5-year limited manufacturer’s warranty

Cons

  • Some prefer the larger date window
  • Crystal easily scratches

The Best Beginner Watch Repair Kit

Vastar Watch Repair Kit, Watch Repair Tools Professional Spring Bar Tool Set

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Instead of visiting a watch store to replace the battery or adjust the watchband, buying a watch repair kit is ideal to maintain, repair or do any general things. And the repair kit from Vastar is what you need at this time.

This unit is a set with 151 pieces, making it great for such common tasks like opening watch backs, changing batteries, adjusting the watchband, and so on. Especially, it comes with an operation manual to help you carry out better.

Since all the tools are kept in a black nylon zipper case conveniently, you can carry them around or take care of them with ease.

Pros

Cons

  • Ideal for common tasks, not a pro kit
  • Not high-quality materials

The Best Beginner Fitness Tracker

Fitbit Versa 2 Health & Fitness Smartwatch with Heart Rate, Music, Alexa Built-in, Sleep & Swim Tracking

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If you look for a fitness tracker and smartwatch in a single unit, nothing can beat Fitbit Versa 2.

It is able to track everything like heart rate, steps, floors climbed, sleep, particular exercises such as swimming and running, etc.

Besides, it comes with smartwatch functionalities including texts, calls, calendar alerts, access to popular apps, Spotify and Pandora support, the ability to play and store songs.

Thanks to the AMOLED display, you can see everything on the display in bright sunlight. Importantly, it has a longer battery, up to 6 days with an always-on display.

Pros

Cons

  • No GPS
  • Some issues with the connectivity

The Best Beginner Triathlon Watch

Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-Size 38mm Watch

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When seeking a good and quality triathlon watch for running, swimming and cycling, Timex Ironman Classic 30 Full-size Watch is what you need.

This timepiece boasts of various features and functions that make it ideal for athletes of any level.

Thanks to memory for 30 laps, you can use it repeatedly as well as reviewing your workout effortlessly. With the support of push-button, recording the time will be finished instantly.

In terms of water resistance, it does a great job as well – 100m. That means you can use it in any water activities, except for diving.

Pros

Cons

  • The band gets loose soon
  • The buttons need to be sturdier

Your Final Choice?

No matter which timepiece you are going to choose, you are guaranteed to get the easy-to-use, high-quality and innovative one from the list of the best watches for beginners above.

Importantly, their prices are reasonable – not over $500. Unless you have a pocket clinking with plenty of money, you can consider a well-known name, the Omega watch for instance.

After all, we hope you can choose the most suitable watch for your demands.

Further reading:

How to Start Watch Collecting: Best Brands, Mistakes to Avoid

Face Value: How to Start a Watch Collection