This may sound controversial, but hear me out.
I'm a teenager who technically does not have the means to acquire the Patek Phillipe of his dreams. So, here I was, a guy who wants to foray into the world of watches, but never has the means to go the Swiss automatic route. So now, you may ask, what my next best option is. It's either to buy a Japanese watch from Seiko, usually a 5 or an SKX (because, let's face it, we all prefer a nice automatic over a quartz, anyway). But here's the thing. I don't want a Seiko 5 / SKX. I mean, I'm not neglecting those watches, I just think it's an obligation.
So, now what? Granted, I want a Seiko to add to the collection, but at the same time, I'd rather have something else. The 5 and SKX are great watches, but their designs don't speak to me. (and the case size is also a tad bit too small, as a 39 mm is perfect.) However, they say that if you're a serious watch nerd, a Seiko SKX / 5 is the perfect budget watch for you. But then if you could stretch a tad bit higher, you can get a Seiko SRPD21, which, in my mind, is one of the single best looking budget divers created (and I want one so badly because of that), and is a way better watch than the SKX. It hacks, is also hand wound, and is way cheaper than an SKX.(Do note that SKX prices have skyrocketed, especially after Seiko discontinued it, which they should not have) Another jab I may give to the SKX is that, in theory, if you are looking for a dive watch on a budget (objectively), go buy an Amfibia. It can dive deeper, has gone to space, and it also handwinds (but does not hack). In short, the SKX is not a bad watch, it's an extremely iconic one at that. However, the design of that watch does not speak to me.
And for the Seiko 5? Well, look at the Seiko Recraft series. It has the same movement, and has a better looking dial. And even if, you are adamant about owning a Seiko 5, there's only one feasible option - the SNX77 (hypothetically, at least). It's basically the only watch a man will ever need in his life. I mean, think about it. Timeless design, especially with the looks being somewhat similar to a Rolex Oyster Perpetual. Besides, Seiko's Recraft series produce pretty good alternatives to the Rolex Explorer. Or you can get an Orient Defender, or a Komandirskie, or something like that. Granted, the Seiko 5 is iconic, but, like the SKX, it's more of an obligation to get into mechanical watches, than something a collector likes in the first place. It's not that they are bad watches, but it's just that they are obligations.
With that said, you have to give it to those watches for earning the reputation and the hype. However, Seiko have made a big mistake with the new '5KX', as well as discontinuing the ever - popular SKX and SARB line of watches. However, when you have to get into watches, you will eventually force yourself into buying a Seiko 5 / SKX, but with that said, there are a lot of watches better than the Seiko 5 / SKX which you can get for your money. It's not like you'll regret a Seiko 5 / SKX, but I'm pretty sure you will cherish a Citizen / Orient / Nice budget watch you love more than the Seiko 5 you forced yourself into buying in the first place.
Of course, the Seiko 5 and the SKX are amazing watches on paper, but here's the thing about watch collecting - you do not need to judge a watch by its movement, or on an objective factor alone. After all, Dr. Bernard Cheong, a relatively famous watch collector (He has a Greubel - Forsey tourbillon and a Seiko Pogue, (basically not a watch snob) as well as other amazing watches, so do Google him up) once said: "Watch collecting is not based on logic alone". So, if you want a Seiko 5 / SKX, go buy one, for I'm no one to stop you. But, with that said, if your heart goes for a Citizen / Orient, and your mind tells you to go for the Seiko 5, then ignore the Seiko altogether. Just...don't buy an Invicta, Shinola, MVMT, or DW, as well as cheap Chinese Specials (excluding a Seagull 1963, Guanqin, Starking, or the Cadisen Sapphire). Trust me, those are the only watches you should not buy.
In the end, my message (succinctly put) is that if you have to get into a watch, make it a watch that you will want, and it does not necessarily have to be a 5 or an SKX. For if you buy with your heart, you will end up cherishing that watch more anyway. Find a watch you love, and start there (as long as it is not one of the watches I mentioned earlier). If you itch for a Seiko 5, buy one. But the issue with the reputation of this watch is that it can be forced down your throat, and you will only be properly initiated into the world of watch collecting if you own one. With that said, if you are on a seriously tight budget - you can only buy a 5 / Vostok Amfibia and Komandirskie, and those are probably the best watches for the money.
(P.S. Before you judge me, do note that I do understand why the 5 and the SKX are so iconic, it's just the fact that I'm ranting about the fact that these watches have turned into an obligation to own at some point to call yourself a watch collector.)