First time buyer advice
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Denver, Colorado, United States

    Question First time buyer advice

    Hello, everyone. I've been browsing the forums for some time and have finally decided to take the leap and buy my first decent watch. In the past, my watch collection has largely been pieces under $200. I would like to find something to supplant my existing watch - a Kenneth Cole Reaction automatic skeletion watch (link) - as an everyday wearer. I am in my late 20s. My work attire is usually jeans and t-shirts (I'm a web developer), but occasionally calls for a blazer or sweater when meeting with clients. A watch that is versatile enough to handle either situation is ideal.

    I've given myself a budget around $4000 (well under if I can help it). After a lot of reading and browsing the local Omega boutique and a jeweler, I've found that I'm attracted to the following watches:

    • Omega Speedmaster Pro steel-on-steel w/ black face (haven't decided whether I like the Hesalite or Sapphire sandwich -- I love watching the movement on my current cheapo watch)
    • Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Chronometer steel-on-steel w/ black face
    • TAG Heuer Link 40mm w/ black face

    I am by no means tied to these specific brands or models (though, anecdotally, I do seem to have been partial to a black dial w/ steel bracelet when browsing around) -- Omega and TAG are simply the easiest for me to see in person at my local mall. Being a software engineer and general tinkerer, I was initially attracted to the Speedmaster Professional because of its rich history in spaceflight, but value and prestige are more important to me than legacy.

    The folks at the retail outlets have been less than helpful (I have to say, I don't think they take me very seriously -- I don't exactly look the part of someone ready to drop thousands of dollars on a watch, as people often guess I'm under 25).

    I would love your advice and guidance, especially when it comes to other brands and models in my price range that I may not even know about but would be available online or at a local specialty dealer.

    Thanks in advance for your input. I'm excited to buy my first grown up watch.

  2. #2
    Member geoffbot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Brighton, UK

    Re: First time buyer advice


    You don't need to spend $4k - plenty of less expensive watches out there to consider (I mention this because you say you want to keep it 'well under' that figure).

    If you've been browsing for some time then you'll probably notice that the Speedy Pro is probably the most respected/recommended watch around here and TAG, well, less so. It's really up to you: you haven't stated any specific criteria (size, chrono/not, dial colour etc) which is fine - you may not have one - so I won't recommend anything else just yet as it's too broad...unless you want to stick to $4k, in which case I could. Good luck!

    And if you don't like the people in the shop then don't buy from them.

  3. #3
    Member ari.seoul's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Seoul, Toronto, Los Angeles

    Re: First time buyer advice

    Hi, welcome to the forum

    early 20, web developer, jeans, T-shirt, occasional blazer ... I definitely picture a Tag Heuer,

    do you think this will be your first and last purchase of an expensive watch?
    because what looks good on a 20 something years old, may not necessarily look good on a 30 or 40 something years old

    my advise is not to hurry, take your time (dont worry about losing out on a piece due to time - unless it's some limited edition model, but even they will turn up later, and at a much cheaper price)

    do go to the AD, shops, etc, see them in person, try them on, and use this forum as a sounding board,

    and if you're open to pre-owned watches, go to those watch shops,

    as Geoffbot mentioned, it's 'browsing' time right now, so have a great time browsing ~

    and dont worry about the sale people, you're not obligated to buy ... but do be considerate and nice, will certainly help you later if you do end up purchasing from them
    Last edited by ari.seoul; December 28th, 2012 at 17:14.

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  5. #4
    Member Perseus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Denver, CO

    Re: First time buyer advice

    That's a good chunk of change so I'd take your time and really make sure you know what you want. I've been to the AD's on the south end of town (I live near Park Meadows mall) and they were all nice but the discounts were pretty weak. I made my purchases from authorized dealers (AD's) outside of the state and as a plus I didn't have to pay sales tax.

    If you're interested in the Speedmaster I would go for the sapphire sandwich so you can see the movement. It's one the coolest I've seen. I'm hoping to get one by the end of the year.
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    ZachB and GETS like this.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Houston, TX USA

    Re: First time buyer advice

    Check out Ball - the Colorado AD has a nice selection, and some other interesting brands in this price range like Tutima.

  7. #6
    Member stilo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

    Re: First time buyer advice

    Speedy 3572.50 would be my choice. You can get a mint used one for well under your budget.

  8. #7
    Member GETS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: First time buyer advice

    Whatever you buy ask for about 20% discount off the list price. You will not get this from a boutique so please, please shop around!

    The most common mistake watch collectors will tell you they made on their first "proper purchase" is that they paid full list price (or very close to) until they got to know the game.
    Current Collection
    Patek Philippe – World Time Chronograph – 5930G-001
    Patek Philippe – Annual Calendar 5135G
    Patek Philippe – Aquanaut – 5167a-001
    Patek Philippe – Calatrava – 5196P
    A Lange & Sohne – Datograph
    Breguet – La Tradition - 7037BB/11/9V6
    Breguet – Type XXI Transatlantique Flyback
    Audemars Piguet – Royal Oak -15300
    Jaeger LeCoultre – Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Duoface
    Breitling – Navitimer 46
    Breitling – Transocean Chronograph B01 Ltd Edition
    Rolex – Submariner No Date - 114060
    Zenith – El Primero – 30.0240.410
    Panerai – Luminor PAM 241
    IWC – Portuguese Chronograph
    Omega – Speedmaster (Sapphire Sandwich)
    Omega – Seamaster Aqua Terra GMT 43
    Omega – Seamaster Planet Ocean
    Longines – Column Wheel Single Push-Piece Chronograph 180th Anniversary Ltd Edition
    Longines – Master Retrograde Seconds
    Tudor – Heritage Black Bay 79220R Leather
    Meistersinger – Salthora Jumping Hours - SH908
    Tag Heuer – Monaco Calibre 11
    Tag Heuer – Aquaracer Two Tone Quartz

  9. #8
    Member ZachB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Re: First time buyer advice

    My first real watch was a Tag Carrera. That was 6 years ago and it's still my daily watch. I like it very much but I paid much less than $4k. At $4k, you have a lot of options. I would maybe look for something a little more exclusive unless you want some brand recognition from non-collectors.

    Do you have to buy something new or could you go for a minty secondhand watch? $4k used can go a long way...
    Ulysse Nardin Blue Wave - IWC Portuguese Automatic - Tag Heuer Carrera Chrono - Ramond Weil Don Giovanni Chrono XL - Hamilton Pioneer Chrono - Hamilton Jazzmaster Square - Swatch Sistem 51s

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Re: First time buyer advice

    You could also consider looking at getting something a) used or b) less expensive to start with as a 'first real watch.'

    There are many chronographs that run right around $1k from the likes of Hamilton (Jazzmaster or Khaki Chrono), Tissot (PRS516), and Victorinox Swiss Army (Alpnach) that all have sapphire crystals and ETA 7750 family movements. Alternatively, a used Speedmaster should be somewhat less than the price of a new Speedmaster.

    Happy Hunting!

    The benefit of going under your budget right now is so that if your tastes change in the near future, you'll still have $2-3k for another watch... and another watch... but don't let me dissuade you from a Speedmaster though, I wouldn't mind owning one myself.
    Movado Safiro (2006), TAG Heuer Kirium (2007), VSA Summit XLT (2010), Hamilton Khaki Field (2012), Hamilton Khaki Scuba (2012), Archimede Pilot 42W (2013), Stowa Antea 390 (2013), Seiko SARX015 (2015), Halios Seaforth v1 (2017), Seiko SARB017 Alpinist (2017), Sinn 556i Blue (2018)

  11. #10
    Member Medphred's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Boston, MA USA

    Re: First time buyer advice

    Welcome to the madness. I second what others have said:

    ... take your time and try on as many watches as you can before you plop down your hard earned cash
    ... look through the WRUW threads and see what piques your interest
    ... consider what features / complications you want (eg chrono, water resistance) and what look you want (eg diver etc)
    ... consider preowned and weigh those savings v any discounts you get

    Of the ones you have listed, all are very nice. The Speedy is a classic but you need to ask yourself if you really want/need the chrono as service costs will be higher. The Aqua Terra is a great all round piece and IMO you can't go wrong with that one. TAG has some nice pieces but I'm not a big fan of the Link.

    As for others, the Ball is a good suggestion. I also like the Breitling SuperOcean Heritage line and Sinn has some great offerings well under your target.

    Finally, I'd recommend reserving $100-200 and get yourself a beater as well - either a G-Shock or Seiko SKX. You don't want to wear beat up your new piece (hey it wouldnt be a good WUS recommendation if I didn't suggest getting two watches!)
    Rolex 5513 No Date Sub
    Rolex 114270 Explorer

    Seiko 7548

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