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Starting line: The best entry level mechanical watches for men

Starting line: The best entry level mechanical watches for men

Every watch collector has to start somewhere and, as with most things, it’s better to walk before you run when it comes to investing in fine timepieces. That said, there are certain pieces every yachtie should have in his collection – a great diving watch, a black tie timepiece and a modern sailing watch to name just a few. Whether you’re taking your first steps into watch collecting or looking for the perfect gift for a milestone event, our edit of elegant men’s mechanical watches under £5,000 will provide a strong base for future watch aficionados.

The travel watch: Bamford London GMT

The latest release from Bamford London, the ready-to-wear arm of the previously bespoke-only Bamford Watch department, is also its first mechanical timepiece. Following on from the highly popular Mayfair, the Bamford GMT is built for world travellers and boasts a 24-hour GMT hand function with internal rotating bezel allowing the wearer to see a separate timezone. Choose from a black or silver stainless steel case with an array of dial colours available.

Case: Stainless steel, 40mm
Strap: Stainless steel
Movement: Sellita SW330-1 automatic
Waterproof: 100 metres
Price: £1,100 (from March 2019), bamfordlondon.com

The wear anywhere watch: Victorinox I.N.O.X Mechanical

The first mechanical addition to Victorinox's long-running I.N.O.X range, the Mechanical is inspired by the brand's historic Swiss army knives with an intricate guilloche patterned dial designed to mimic a classic knife handle. In addition to the steel version (pictured), Victorinox has also created its first wooden strap which is crafted on to a leather base to create something both sustainable and stylish at a price point suitabale for wearing all day everyday.

Case: Stainless steel, 43mm
Strap: Stainless steel or wood and leather
Movement: ETA 2824-2 automatic
Waterproof: 200 metres
Price: From £649, victorinox.com

The dress watch: Junghans Max Bill Chronoscope

Created in tribute to the work of architect, painter, sculptor and designer Max Bill, elegant aesthetics lie at the heart of this understated timepiece by German watch brand Junghans. Powered by a Swiss-made J800.3 movement, this minimalist timepiece offers 30-minute and 12-hour subdials as well as a date window.

Case: Steel, 40mm
Strap: Leather
Movement: J800.2 self-winding
Waterproof: 30 metres
Price: £1,630, Junghans at mrporter.com

The limited edition: Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Commander’s Watch

A limited edition collector’s watch for less than £4,000? Yes, you read that correctly. Omega’s Seamaster Diver 300M Commander’s Watch is inspired by the brand's connection to the James Bond film franchise and is offered in a limited edition of 7,007 pieces. With a bright white ceramic dial, classic NATO strap, 300 metre water resistance and a steel case housing a calibre 2507 chronometer movement, it looks as good above the waves as it does below.

Case: Steel, 41mm
Strap: NATO
Movement: Calibre 2507 self-winding chronometer
Waterproof: 300 metres
Limited edition: 7,007
Price: £3,720, omegawatches.com

The diving watch: Breitling Heritage II Chronograph 44

A quality mechanical diving watch at an entry level price is a tall order but few do them better than Breitling. Introduced at Baselworld 2018, the new Superocean Heritage II Chronograph 44 features all the elements that make a great diving watch, including a unidirectional bezel, glareproof sapphire crystal and 1/4th second, 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph functions.

Case: Steel, 44mm
Strap: Rubber
Movement: Breitling 13 self-winding
Waterproof: 200 metres
Price: £4,650, breitling.com

The worldtimer: Bremont ALT1-WT

The civilian version of a global timer chronometer created by Bremont for the crews of the C-17 Globemaster planes used by the US Air Force, the ALT1-WT features 24 time zones operated by a crown with Bremont’s patented Roto-Click technology at eight o’clock. Also offering a 42-hours power reserve, date window, small seconds, 30-minute and 12-hour subdials and a 24-hour UTC hand, it’s the perfect piece for frequent flyers.

Case: Steel, 43mm
Strap: Leather
Movement: Calibre 13 BE-54AE automatic
Waterproof: 100 metres
Price: £4,395, bremont.com

The high complication: Longines Master Collection

The Longines Master Collection has long been a favourite among new collectors thanks to its highly complicated mechanical watches offered at reasonable prices. A case in point is this classic everyday timepiece which, along with a covetable moon phase window, features a 12-hour counter, 30-minute counter, day and month display and date dial with small seconds - all for less than £2,200. It’s also available in pink gold for those with a bigger budget.

Case: Steel, 40mm
Strap: Alligator
Movement: Calibre L687 automatic winding
Waterproof: 30 metres
Price: £2,190, longines.co.uk

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