One should have style, know how to dress, and to accessorize. I love luxury watches, but they are way above my pay grade. Part of being an adult is always prioritizing need or want. Whether you have a family or deal with bills, the rent, or mortgage, financial reality is more important than obsessing over a fancy watch.
The low-end cost for most luxury watches is about $500. The average cost to be a member of the luxury watch club is at least $5,000. And that is for starters. That is a lot of money. So, I have begun researching the best budget alternatives against my wish list of luxury watches.
The Luxury Watch: Panerai Luminor Marina PAM00111
Based in Florence, Italy, Panerai has been constructing quality, stylish time pieces since 1860. Although Panerai watches are well-known to luxury watch connoisseurs, the brand gained popular culture exposure via Sylvester Stallone. The action film icon has worn Panerai timepieces in films like, “Rambo IV,” “Daylight,” and, “The Expendables.” Stallone serves as an unofficial spokesman for the company and even has a line of Paenrai watches named after him.
If a quality co-sign from Stallone doesn’t matter to you, the fact that Panerai only makes quality watches should. The Panerai Luminor Marina is a diver watch that is durable and aesthetically stylish. The watch features an illuminated dial, a push-pull crown, and a see-through skeleton caseback. The face is constructed out of glare-proof and scratch resistant sapphire crystal. It is water resistant to a depth of 1,000 feet. The watch is hand-wound with a 56-hour power reserve. Available for about $6,000.
The Budget Alternative to the Panerai Luminor Marina PAM00111: Parnis 44mm Black Dial GMT
Parnis is a Chinese-owned luxury watch maker that strategically markets its brand to Western world consumers. Some refer to watch makers like Parnis as, “homage,” specialists who create watches that may remind you of more expensive and luxurious counterparts. Kind of like a cover band. This can’t really be a bad thing. Especially if you are out of the market for $6,000 watches. The Parnis 44mm Black Dial GMT is self-winding and feature GMT functions.
It has a 316L steel grade caseback and a sapphire crystal face. It is waterproof up to a depth of 330 feet but is not specifically designed for diving. You can get it for about $180.
The Luxury Watch: Tag Heuer Carrera
This Swiss watchmaker has been in business since 1860. The Tag Heuer Carrera is a timepiece that is named after the famed Carrera Panamericana road race of the 1950s. It is a luxury watch that can easily exist in the dual worlds of racing competition and nattily stylish dresswear. The Tag Heuer Carrera has not changed aesthetically much in over 50 years. The Tag Heuer Carrera has a 42mm caseback that is highlighted by an ion-plated bezel.
Made out of stainless steel, the triple link bracelet has a polished sheen. The face is made out of a sapphire crystal that is scratch resistant. It is self-winding with chronograph movements and is water resistant up to a depth of 330 feet. You can get it for about $4,450.
The Budget Alternative to the Tag Heuer Carrera: Casio #EF539D-7AV Men’s Edifice Chronograph Sports Watch
No one is going to confuse this watch with a Tag Heuer. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t stylish or unworthy of a place in your accessories drawer. This Casio watch has Japanese Quartz movement precision, comes in a stainless-steel case, and is water resistant to a depth of 330 feet. Its available for about $150.
Buy What You Can Afford
We don’t always get what we want in life. It makes no sense to buy a $5,000 watch that may cost more than your car or a season of mortgage payments. When it comes to style and accessories, buy what you can afford according to your finances.
Join the FREE Newsletter
Subscribe to more PF Advice and helpful tips straight to your inbox.