Feb 22, 20184677 views

Your Ultimate Three Watch Collection

With Basel next month, I thought this would be a fun post to get some ramp up going, so here we go....
Like the title says, if you had to wear three watches, and ONLY three (that you either currently own or would like to) for at least eight years, what would they be, and why? Furthermore, lets lay out two separate budgets, an ENTRY Level trio of watches for say $1500 usd MAX, and a separate trio of watches with a higher budget, say $12k usd (MSRP or realistic secondary prices are good). To make it even more interesting, how about from three different Manufacturers in each category?
Lets get this thread rolling!
My $1500 (or less) budget would include these pieces: Swatch, Seiko, Orient
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Everyday: Swatch Classic II: This would be a go to every day (Hint: it frequently is), as it is just super easy and light to wear at 34mm. The ribbing on the back of the silicone straps lets it breath quite nicely, it is supremely legible, and very unobtrusive. It's a quartz, so it's pretty tight time wise. I know it will break someday, but it hasn't happened yet, and if it did, I could still have coin left over from my $1500 to buy another (just in case)
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Tool Watch: Seiko SRPB11 Prospex Blue Lagoon: This watch is just tough.... period. Looks good, wears well, and has really very few issues to fault. Slap this guy on a good nato or rubber strap, probably go to the ends of the earth.
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Dress Watch: Orient Lexington (on Hirsch straps) Another stellar watch from Orient that just has lots of good eyeball. The white, textured dial really give it a sophistication that lends it an air of elegance WAY above it's price point, it keeps good time, and with a day AND a date, it looks every bit the part of classy (especially on nice leather or croc straps).
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The three above watches (including a modern version of the Swatch) ring in under $1000usd, and at full MSRP.

And, for a $12k (or less) Budget: Hamilton, Rolex, Breitling
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Everyday Watch: Hamilton Khaki Quartz. This watch has just been stellar over the years. Sure, it's a quartz, but it keeps dead solid time, and the 39.5mm case is just a joy to wear (And I could seriously put it in either price bracket). I still have the bracelet for it, but on these Hirsch leathers (Water proof to 30m), its a real easy grab and go that I feel can hold it's own in almost any situation. Almost....
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Tool Watch: Rolex GMT Master II. This watch just hits so many buttons in so many ways, it's crazy. Ok, granted, the tritium flame has long since gone out, but this watch more than any just kind of says "Throw anything at me.... anything", and you feel that it will handle it without blinking an eye. The versatility of the GMT function, along with a descent depth rating breeds a confidence. This piece would also play very nicely at ANY social function frankly, thanks to that little crown at the 12 o'clock position. It's a double threat.
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Dress Watch: Breitling Superocean Heritage 46. I know, it's a diver, but this watch is just so wickedly elegant on the Crocodile straps, and carries such a presence, it says "Martini... Shaken" just as easily as "Single Malt..... neat", albeit with understatement. Just as easily though, pop it on the factory rubber straps, and the watch has equally impressive utility. Another double threat.
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The more expensive trio can still be had for right around $12k (that is for newer versions as well), though it would require a bit more effort and diligence on the secondary market (I found the Rolex and Breitling from trusted dealers I know)
I would really enjoy hearing thoughts and ideas about the ideal three watch collection, and what Your's would look like.
Cheers fellow WIS and Horlogerie peeps
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gulfbreeze, Asheikm, and 22 others
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The Big Three--must haves, for the serious collector...
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Never leave home with 'em; all the major time zones: New York, Paris, Alpha Centauri...
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And the tools you need once you get there.
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I find that 9/16ths can do double duty; good for nuts and bolts, and perfect for twirling spaghetti against the spoon--hard to do that with a single utensil.
Truer words were never spoke!
For 3 watch collection under $1500 I would go with the Christopher Ward Trident about $850 as an everyday watch. Frederique Constant Classic Index can be had for about $500 via Jomashop or Amazon. Get the G-Shock for under $100 as a tool/beater watch. It's solar and has the atomic timekeeping feature so it is as accurate as you can reasonably get.
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$12,000:
Tool: Vulcain Cricket Golden Heart. Dress: Maximilian Shlain Skeleton, handmade in Berlin. Every Day: Snoopy Award Speedy Pro.
$1500:
Tool: Chr. Ward C11 Titanium Extreme COSC 1000m, 670EUR. Every Day: Poljot Okeah HdR, 360EUR. Dress: Pocket Ingersoll Mickey Mouse, 150USD.
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Thank you!
ConchitaTurtle
Mickey and Snoopy!
I'm not adhering strictly to the Tool and Every Day category, both my picks for tool watches could easily be every day watches too. These are all stainless unless noted otherwise (titanium). $1500: Dress: Seiko SARB065 on black leather $475 Every Day: Orient Mako XL (blue), bracelet $320 Tool: Steinhart Ocean 500 Titanium, on bracelet $670
$12,000: Dress: Universal Geneve Polerouter Jet gold on brown leather, $3000 (sometimes $2000-ish) Every Day: Omega Planet Ocean 600 Master Chronometer Chronograph on bracelet, $4700 Tool: Breitling Navitimer World (blue) on bracelet, $4200
You might be able to tell I like blue dials. :) I also tend to go for larger sized watches too.
My three would be an 18K Rolex Day Date on leather for dress (sorry the gold band is just too oligarch-y for me), an 18K Cartier tank, and my favorite for a daily driver an Omega Seamaster Chronograph as attached. I'm not sure the exact total, but it comes in south of twelve grand if sourced correctly. All iconic, collectable, and just drop dead gorgeous.
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For a budget of 1,500 1) Seiko SRP773 this would be my beater watch
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2) Vintage Omega as my dress watch
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3) Hamilton Kahki King as my everyday watch
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For a budget of 12K 1) Rolex datejust 1601 as a good casual watch
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2) Universal Geneve Polerouter would be my dress watch, the real reason is that micro-rotor movement
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3) JLC Master control Sector dial- As my everyday watch
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3.5) with any money left over I would buy a seiko 5 as a true beater and a bunch of straps.
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mdeora
OMG...that omega...i love it...how old is it ?? classic & stunning...
dolphinkumz
Im guessing that’s a 50s or 60s model deville. Omega stayed pretty true and consistent with that style for more than a while. They are beautiful pieces the classic Omegas
Under $1500: Casio GW5600 Citizen eco-drive perpetual Vostok-Europe Gaz-14 Limousine dual-time
I have had the Casio and Citizen for over 8 years, hoping for many more.
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Under $12k: This is a pure guess, I own the Casio, but am not sure if I will ever buy the others. Casio lineage LCW-M170 Ball Engineer II GMT Grand Seiko Snowflake
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Obviously these are all subject to change. My knowledge of watches grows from these posts, on a daily basis.
Asheikm
I like your Inclusion of the BALL, they really do make a nice piece
This is really tough but here we go.
$1500 and Under.
Everyday Wear; Citizen Ecodrive Promaster Diver (Currently Own): My wife bought this for me for Valentine’s Day. I wasn’t sure if it was a keeper but it is a solid watch. The 42mm case and curves on the case fits my wrist perfectly. The Seiko Turtle (also own) was a strong contender here but the 44mm case and the curves just don’t work as well for me.
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Tool Watch: Suunto Core All Black (Sold): I can’t believe I’m recommending two Quartz watches. Please forgive me. The watch build isn’t great and the bezel scatches easily but I really miss having this watch in my collection. My wife still chastises me for selling it (who knew she cared so much). Don’t let the 50mm case intimidate you. It wears much smaller.
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Dress Watch: Montblanc Heritage Ultra Slim (Not Owned): I’m cheating a little bit here. The MSRP is over $2K but you can get this for less than $1500 at some grey dealers. The 38mm case and 5.8 mm thickness is perfect for a dress watch. Its a great value. Montblanc has been producing some awesome watches the last few years. They are a brand to keep an eye on especially since they bought Minerva.

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12K and Under:
Everyday Wear: Omega Speedy Pro (Currently Own): Not much to discuss here. A true classic.

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Tool Watch: Rolex GMT Batman (Not owned): This was a really tough choice: I love rolexes and my first pick would be the Daytona but it doesn’t fit the price limitations ($12,400 MSRP and $20,000 grey market). I also own a SeaDweller but the new GMT checks off a lot of boxes for me. The 40mm case is perfect, the GMT feature is something I need since I frequently travel interationally and finally did I mention that its a Rolex? I tried it on at my local dealer last week (it was spoken for but he let me try it on), and its simply a beautiful watch.
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Dress Watch: Vintage Omega Constellation Pie Pan Pink/Rose Gold (Not Owned): I’ve been searching high and low for this watch in pristine condition. This watch isn’t for everyone. Its small for today’s standards (35mm), but its just classic. I might have to cave and buy a gold filled/stainless steel one which are easier to find (but still hard).
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PMJ1999
That Omega Speedy Professional is beautiful!
I missed the last Suunto drop. I've set it to ping me if it comes up.
Here are my watches of choice. Everyday: Cartier Santos Galbee XL, it is dressy and sporty. It is easy to match with most clothes and fits in most situations.
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Tool Watch: Omega Speedmaster, I currently own a Speedmaster Date it is smaller then the Professional, but I do have a small wrist.
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I am thinking of getting a Schumacker Speedmaster, it is a poor man's Paul Newman.
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Dress watch: Jaeger-LeCoultre Triple Date, the watch is just elegant. It is also 37mm which I think is the perfect size for a dress watch
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Don't leave yourself a lot o' wiggle room, do you? 😎
StainlessOnly
Got to use every last cent.
Limiting it to no more than one from each manufacturer made the under $1,500 entry group a challenge. I would love to have a Presage or Sarb from Seiko as a dress watch, but there is no way I am excluding a Seiko diver from that group.
Here are mine for the entry level/$1,500 USD group:
Seiko SKX - choose your flavor, 007 or 009, K or J. With a $1,500 budget you can have one of the best divers out there and swap straps to your hearts content. I love my Turtle and Samurai, but for a value proposition you cannot beat one of these things.
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Steinhart Ocean Vintage Military 39 - wear it as a daily beater on a canvas strap to give it a casual look, or put it on the tapered stainless bracelet it comes on and you are set in any business casual setting or even a little more formal attire. Goes with browns and/or blacks and just about any sort of outfit depending on how you want to present it. Vintage look and modern reliability from the workhorse ETA2824-2 movement.
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Junghans Max Bill Auto - Here is where I'd love to include my Sarb 035 or use some of the ~$750 of the remaining budget on something from the Presage line. Instead, I chose the Junghans Max Bill Auto. This thing could easily be a strap monster with it's white face and minimalist, Bauhaus design. You could wear it with a dark suit, or in a business casual setting and be just as at home as in jeans and sneakers.
*would likely have to go used but may be able to find a deal out there in budget
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$12k Club
Omega Speedmaster First Omega in Space - I may get one this year, but I'm also sort of holding off on it as a reward for when I pay down my credit card. Either way - an iconic watch, choose your reference number and model. I oscillate back and forth but the combination here of a smaller size and enough of the styling cues from the older Moonwatches make this the one for me.
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Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical - I love this watch and have posted about it (and most of these, actually) before. I'm a big fan of the cleaner, more military (and vintage) design. Quality movement. Great size for the style, happy they aren't making it 40-42mm. Hand winding. Drilled lugs. I have a feeling this thing will be a strap monster but I haven't wanted to take off the strap it comes on as it looks great and feels so quality. Would look good in any collection.
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Grand Seiko SBGA211 Spring Drive Snowflake - I love everything about this watch - the impeccable craftsmanship and finishing, the understated elegance of Grand Seiko and perhaps most of all the technological innovation behind the Spring Drive technology. I will own one of these some day.
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A great article for anyone who has not geeked out over this watch as I have for the past several years.
https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/grand-seiko-spring-drive-snowflake-review
Vintage1982Benz
I see we both have a soft spot for Hamiltons....
StainlessOnly
Indeed! As you noted in your post at $500 I could have put it in either group and it would have been right at home. The American heritage with modern Swiss craftsmanship is a unique thing and they always present a strong value proposition.