I know the LC is expensive for a tip for the first watch, starting at around $9.5k retail for the small quartz model. My advice would be to buy a vintage mechanical Tank LC, which will run you around $6-8k (in small to medium). The dollar amount could go down more easily if you think of this as a cost-per-usury situation. I'm certainly not going to do the math here, but the Tank is a staple, a watch you buy and wear forever and goes with just about everything, so it should keep the daily cost down a bit! I tried to force myself to find an alternative answer, a Style Editor recommending a Tank… how predictable! But hey, classics are classics for a reason.
The G-Shock “Square” OG 5600 series is a watch that I've gifted to more than a dozen friends and family members over the years, and nearly every one of them has been transformed from non-wearer to daily G-Shock devotee. It's comfortable, it's functional, it's affordable – $75! – and above all, it is very replica watches funny. Once they've started down the rabbit hole, it's not uncommon for them to end up with a few more G-Shocks before their curiosity about a mechanical watch kicks in. It's not difficult: choose the fake G.CartierWhen someone comes to me for advice on a first watch, they often have a very narrow frame of reference for what a “good watch” looks like. I always adapt the tips to my friends' daily lives. But many of these requests come from photojournalists I've known over the years, people who lead hard lifestyles, and of course their frame of reference for a "good watch" has been conditioned towards a field or dive watch from rolex. Obviously, these aren't great entry-level watches for (often broken) photojournalists, so what do I recommend?