I do love daydreaming about watches, as my partner will ruefully confirm. I can spend hours looking at obscure references, reading the backstories of brands and watch models, and just generally ruminating on what could be if only I had the money at hand. So I greeted the opportunity to write this story, at Nacho’s insistence, with some relish. This proved to be a very difficult story to write, but thanks to Nacho for giving me €25,000 in hypothetical money! Let’s dive in.

When considering how to spend this large sum, I began to feel quite daunted. There is a mind-boggling array of options available. I needed to fashion some order in the chaos of too many choices. I ended up settling on the idea that we wear watches like we experience the seasons. There are changeable watches that suit a specific time, and then there are trusty mechanical friends that we wear all year round. So that is how I decided to divide and conquer this piece. 

Summer: CWC Royal Navy Spec Auto Diver MK2 — €1,420

Summer in Australia is synonymous with the beach, so a dive watch makes perfect sense. I am a bit of a dive-watch nut anyway, so this category was always going to be competitive. In the end, though, I had a clear winner. You might have noticed that Nacho already put the quartz version of this watch in his top picks. Look, he had the advantage of the first crack at this series, and we have similar tastes. I was always going to pick the automatic version from British brand CWC. This watch has the heritage of military-issued Rolex Submariners and Omega Seamasters but with an approachable price tag. CWC, now owned by Silvermans in the UK, was founded by Hamilton’s UK representative in the 1970s. The brand took on a lot of Ministry of Defence contracts.

Just look at it. It’s simple and clean. It has a beautiful sword-style hour hand like my favorite iteration of the vintage Omega Seamaster, with Arabic numerals at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. For the same price, you can get a date version, but I prefer the clean looks of the no-date. The case is reminiscent of the Heuer 844, though the CWC has a vibe of its own. I would happily put my money towards one of these. It comes with fixed spring bars like the Tudor Pelagos FXD, but I argue it has even more military heritage than the Tudor. A top-grade Sellita 200-1 movement, sapphire crystal, and 120-click bezel keep things functional. This watch is cooler than most Tudors and more affordable (and I say this as the proud owner of a Black Bay 58!). I am planning on taking one diving soon, so watch this space.

Casio F-91W — €25?

OK, so we have our summer dive watch, but what about those days when you want to wear something absolutely carefree? Enter the Casio F-91W. I have seen prices for this between €12 and €30, so let’s split the difference at around €25, shall we? The Casio F-91W is a little legend. The retro-styled case shape and the general 1980s vibe make this watch a joy to wear. 

The Casio F-91W is an excellent choice in summer when you go camping or on an adventure and want to wear something simple. No, it’s not a G-Shock, but I don’t gravitate toward G-Shocks anyway. This small watch, however, is something I would be proud to own. It was Nacho’s first watch. I have never owned one though… Maybe I just need to go and get one!

Spring: Monta Skyquest — €2,230

As my colleague Mike pointed out in this hands-on review, the Monta Skyquest is an attractive mix of vintage-inspired aesthetics and excellent build quality with a class-leading bracelet at a good price. Monta is a growing star in the independent watch brand field. It has been favorably compared to the likes of Tudor and even Omega in build quality. As part of this write-up, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a Skyquest GMT to photograph and develop my review. I did consider putting a GMT option from Tudor here, but the Tudor Black Bay Pro and Black Bay GMT are just too thick. This Monta gives you more elegance while retaining the durability you get with those Tudors. I’m very impressed after handling a Monta.


The Skyquest not only looks good with its elegant crown guards and relatively simple dial layout, but it also ticks many functional boxes. These include good water resistance (300m), nice lume, a solid movement (based on the Sellita SW330), and a very comfortable bracelet with an extendable clasp (take that, Tudor Black Bay 58). A caller GMT is a useful function for a journalist — or anyone, for that matter. This watch would suit spring, a time for travel and global adventures. I’d just take my Monta and pick a spot on the map. At around €2,230 with an excellent Oyster-style bracelet, it is also a decent value proposition! Bravo, Monta.

A close runner-up was the Formex Reef GMT. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my hands on one in time for this story, but if the Formex’s aesthetics appeal to you more than the Monta, then it’s arguably an equally compelling option.

Image: Zeitauktion

Autumn: IWC Perpetual Calendar 3750 — €7,550

Autumn is an experimental time of year. The weather is changeable. It therefore seems appropriate to place what I would consider a bit of an experimental choice here. You see, if I had to choose a grail watch, the IWC Perpetual Calendar 3750 would be one of my top three. With an incredible movement, the IW3750 was voted Wrist Game in one of our polls. I applaud you, Fratelli, for approving this choice. 

Here’s one in Germany for €7,550. For the amount of quality and horological history thrown in, I think the 3750 is an absolute bargain. These are worth reading up on. To top it off, the watch just looks damn pretty too. I prefer the stainless steel versions with a black dial like the one pictured here. Oh, and it’s also a chronograph with a moonphase indicator!

Winter: King Seiko 44-9990 — €900

Winter is a time of storms, indoor activities, and board games by the fire. A classic-looking watch suits these vibes well. The King Seiko 44-9990 fits the bill with aplomb. The vintage King Seiko is the only watch on this list that I already own. Okay, so I broke my self-imposed rule not to write about a watch I already owned as part of this story, but the King Seiko 44-9990 is too good not to mention. 

My colleague Mike called it an “undeniable vintage masterpiece,” and I couldn’t agree more. The watch marked the second generation of King Seiko models and was the first under the sub-brand to feature Taro Tanaka’s “Grammar of Design” traits. The lugs, dial, and solid hand-wound movement (which beats at a leisurely 18,000vph) are marvelous examples of Japanese watchmaking. The best thing? You can find decent examples for around €900. I’d buy one again, and I suggest you get one too!

Finding Love in 36mm

IWC Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 — €3,200

Many of you know I’m a big fan of IWC, with family heritage connecting me to the brand. I am the custodian of a Cal. 89 and a Mark XV pilot’s watch. The Pilot’s Watch Automatic 36 comes in the classic size of the original Mark XI, and it looks the part too. Other features include an inner case made of antimagnetic soft iron and a screw-down crown offering a 60m water resistance rating, making it suitable for swimming. I feel that, for this option, I would go for a blue dial rather than the classical black, simply for the light-play that this dial provides.

This IWC looks cool, it’s functional, and it has the perfect sober aesthetic for winter. At around €3,200 on a bracelet on the secondary market, it’s a fantastic pilot’s watch with incredible lineage. In some ways, it has more in common with the original Mark XI than the new Mark XX, and the sizing means it will be a discreet but worthy pilot’s watch. I feel as though IWC’s smallest pilot’s watch in production is also its best.

A short watchmaking course — €1,785

Winter is the perfect time to take on a new skill or hobby, right? So why not use some of this money to take a short watchmaking course? Here’s one that would allow me to keep the watch I learned to make during the seminars.

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a cold winter, and learning how to look after the watches I picked up with this €25,000 budget makes it all the better!

Certina DS Super PH1000M

A quick honorable mention

Before I add my last “real pick” to this list, I would also like to make note of an honorable mention, the Certina DS Super PH1000M Limited Edition. This is a reissue of a 1970s dive watch by Certina, and what’s not to like? You get the Powermatic movement, a fantastic case and bezel design, a brightly colored dial, and solid lume. I also feel like Certina has been getting into a groove lately. These are hard to find in Australia, even though they were once issued to the Royal Australian Navy in the 1970s.

Partly because the vintage watch served with the Royal Australian Navy among other organizations, it was hard not to mention this new limited-edition model from Certina. Although a 1,000m depth rating is more than necessary, it’s somewhat reassuring to have such solid build quality behind a timepiece. Having gone hands-on with one of these in the metal, I can attest to their solid build quality and attractive dimensions. If the aesthetic appeals to you, like it does for me, this is a difficult watch to pass up. If I didn’t blow close to €1,800 on a watchmaking course, this Certina would have been on the list (I know, it’s “heresy” to have two divers, but I am in the ocean every day, so they’re useful watches for me).

The year-round watch: Rolex Datejust on Oyster bracelet — €7,400

Ah, the Rolex Datejust. You simply can’t go wrong with it. Honestly, I could have chosen only this watch and decided to spend the rest on an awesome vacation, but that would probably not have flown at Fratello HQ. The Rolex Datejust needs no introduction. It is probably the perfect everyday luxury watch. With excellent quality, fantastic heritage, and great technical specifications, it has it all. The Datejust and Oyster Perpetual happen to be my favorite Rolex models. You can take them diving if you want to (believe me, I’ve seen this first-hand). You could argue there is some overlap between the Rolex Datejust and the 66mm IWC pilot’s watch, but I find that the aesthetics of the two are different enough to each warrant a spot in my imaginary collection.

The Datejust is also an under-the-radar option from The Crown, which I like, and with a 36mm diameter, it’s a sleek option for my wrist and many others of different sizes. This is probably the one watch that could finalize my collecting journey. But I don’t want that to happen just yet (in real life). The one issue? Getting one at retail. But as my colleague Lex recently noted, this should become easier with Rolex references in the coming months. I’d go black on an Oyster bracelet and never look back. 

Final thoughts

There you have it! This is a mix of watches that I would buy with my hard-earned cash if I ever had the chance to spend this much on a watch collection. According to my calculations, it all comes to a total of €24,510, which gives me a little breathing space for postage or a dinner out.

But what do you think, Fratelli? What would you do with this budget? Was my list to your liking or way off the mark? Let me know in the comments.