If you’re trying to find a theme in my five-watch collection, you can stop right now. The only thing that the five watches I selected have in common is that they frequent my wrist. Maybe you expected a more carefully curated selection in this installment of Fratello Editors Share Their Five-Watch Collections. Instead, you get a raggedy bunch that’s eclectic at best. But you know what? I never pretended to be a collector. Instead, I’m an acquirer of random timepieces that speak to me. They speak in different languages and sometimes in tongues, but I have a connection with all five of them.

After handing over my five-watch collection to our in-house photographer Morgan, I started having doubts. Should I have picked my Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 “Ice Blue” over the vintage King Seiko? Well, I chose vintage over trendy retro, and I should stick to my choice. The least I can do is give the PRX a little shout-out before writing about the five watches that made the cut.

Five-Watch Collections

Fratello editors share their five-watch collections: Lex’s Chronoswiss Timemaster is up first

I’ve called this lume-dial watch the love of my life before, and that’s how I still feel. I bought my Chronoswiss Timemaster CH 6233 LU two decades ago, and I still get a little bit excited when I put on this 44 × 12.3mm watch. Yes, I still love its onion crown on a stilt, coin-edge bezel, and glow-in-the-dark dial that could let me get through at least one chapter of the book I’m reading when the electricity somehow fails. And although I’m not a sucker for exhibition case backs, the uplifted Unitas movement, which Chronoswiss dubbed C.672, also is a joy to behold. It’s nice, big, and reliable like a tractor, but because of its fancy, striped decoration and high-precision swan-neck regulator, it’s a very fancy “tractor” indeed.

The 22-part, 100m-water-resistant XL case is unexpectedly comfortable. Or maybe it isn’t, but I’ve grown so accustomed to it that I just love the way it feels on the wrist. I don’t even mind the mark that the crown leaves after wearing the watch for a full day.

Five-Watch Collections

When I move my wrist and hand, the crown kind of “kisses” my skin continuously, just like a teenager who’s hopelessly in love. Luckily, the love is mutual.

Five-Watch Collections

Grand Seiko Tough Quartz SBGX341

Cosmic watch fate is very real, people. It happened to me. My Grand Seiko Tough Quartz SBGX341 is proof. It’s a watch that had nowhere else to go but on my wrist. I saw a picture, decided it was perfect, bought it without trying it on, unboxed it, and immediately felt like I did the right thing. The strict beating of the 9F quartz movement makes the central seconds hand stop at precisely the right spot, right above the sharply finished applied indexes. And the case, a contemporary and muscular interpretation of the classic 44GS design, is a thing of beauty that captivates me every time I take it out of the watch box and put it on my wrist.

The Tough Quartz SBGX341’s case measures 40mm wide, 11.65mm thick, and a moderate 44mm from lug to lug. It shows Zaratsu polishing on its sloping side and a vertically brushed bezel, creating a very dynamic play of lines.

The matte white dial of my GS is another thing of beauty. It looks deceivingly simple, but there are so many details that create a dynamic and sporty vibe. There’s the elevated chapter ring with the seconds track, for instance, and on it, there are two black 15-minute segments and two orange (bordering on red) ones.

That same strong color accent is found on the seconds hand, and I just love how crisp and clean it looks on the wrist. Not to mention, the case size and the solid, brushed three-row bracelet that smoothly tapers from 20 to 18mm make it a dream to wear. The watch does need a new battery, though, and it could also do with some tender love and touch-up care from Grand Seiko, so I will be without my SBGX341 for a little while.

Five-Watch Collections

King Seiko 5256-7111 Hi-Beat

While my Grand Seiko is away, my 1972 King Seiko 5626-7111 can offer me some comfort. It’s the 44GS case that does the trick. This watch shows that Mr. Tanaka’s Grammar of Design is unaffected by time and trends. Shall we quickly go over the rules again? Well, according to Tanaka’s now-proven theory, all surfaces and angles need to be flat and geometrically perfect. This allows them to reflect light in the best way possible. The second rule states that bezels need to be relatively simple, round, and faceted. The third rule involves mirror finishing and completely undistorted surfaces. Finally, rule number four says that cases need to be more than just round; they need to have unique shapes.

King Seiko

Tanaka’s rules led to my favorite watch case of all time, the 44GS case that debuted in 1967. My 1972 King Seiko 5626-7111 has a 36mm 44GS case, and it’s just magnificent. All of Tanaka’s rules work together to create a balanced case design that is strong yet elegant and, above all, completely timeless.

King Seiko

Other details that I particularly like are the faceted frame for the day/date window and that I can choose between English or Japanese kanji for the day indicator. And I also love the fact that Saturday is executed in blue and Sunday in red. Last but not least, the long and slim mirror-finished applied indexes and slender dauphine hands create a powerful yet distinguished look.

I also need to mention the movement inside my KS. The automatic Seiko caliber 5626 is a 25-jewel Hi-Beat movement, beating at 28,800vph or 4Hz. Back in the 1970s, a movement with a 4Hz frequency was indeed considered of the high-beat variety. Fun fact: the 56-series Hi-Beat movements were developed by Suwa Seikosha (home of GS), not by Daini Seikosha (home of KS).

Five-Watch Collections

Oris × Momotaro Divers Sixty-Five Special Edition

It’s not the watch that reveals a connection between the two previous timepieces in my five-watch collection; it’s the strap. The strap of my Oris × Momotaro Divers Sixty-Five Special Edition is made of Japanese denim. Specifically, it’s dark Momotaro denim with two “battle stripes” to liven things up even more. This special (not limited) edition started life as an “ordinary” Divers Sixty-Five with a 4Hz Oris caliber 733 based on a Sellita SW200-1 inside a steel 40 × 47 × 13mm case.

But then things got funky. For starters, the watch received a mysteriously glowing greenish dial. And Oris put applied bronze indexes with creamy Super-LumiNova on top of it, creating a groovy vibe. The bronze bezel finishes the face of the watch. And although you might think that pairing green and bronze with dark blue denim is tasteless, I think that the overall look with this strap is killer.

This watch reflects my love for denim. It matches and complements the various jeans that I have, and it looks great with all my denim shirts and jackets. And when I’m not wearing denim clothes (that hardly ever happens, but still), the Oris × Momotaro Divers Sixty-Five Special Edition still allows me to have denim on me. It creates a miniature comfort zone of sorts.

Five-Watch Collections

Omega Speedmaster Replica 3594.50

This particular piece from Omega is just wrong. Still, it’s the perfect “Speedy” for me. What is wrong is the mix of a modern 42mm asymmetric case with a Broad Arrow handset inspired by the original CK2915 from 1957. The CK2915 had a 38.6mm case without crown guards, of course. Nevertheless, this quirky mix of elements created a watch that looks the part. The steel bezel, dark gray dial, applied logo, and Hesalite crystal each play a significant role in that too. This neo-vintage Omega Speedmaster Replica 3594.50 — a watch that was later renamed Relaunch for obvious reasons — feels better on my wrist than the current Moonwatch.

Five-Watch Collections

Yes, the current Moonwatch is superior to my Replica. I have to make do with the previous hand-wound 3Hz caliber 1861, which is no match for the METAS-certified caliber 3861 in the current Speedy. Still, I can live with an average daily rate of +11/-1 seconds per day with the chronograph switched off. Better still, my (watch) life has greatly improved since the Replica has been at my disposal. Its steely, strong, and instrumental look just floats my boat.

And it does so comfortably because of the Joseph Bonnie STAR 69 strap that I put on this watch. I have no idea what kind of color it is. It is some kind of brownish shade of green or the other way around. But the soft yet resilient pigskin strap wears wonderfully. It’s the 2.2mm thinness and the elegant, dramatic 20–14mm taper that do the trick, creating a great neo-vintage look.

Five-Watch Collections

Epilogue: music to my ears

As I mentioned at the start, this isn’t a carefully curated selection of watches, and there isn’t an overarching theme. I suppose I could compare it to the music that I listen to. I’m not a strictly one-type-of-music kind of guy. It all started with the classical music and jazz that my dad played. After that, I had a period in which Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, and Simple Minds were on heavy rotation. I got into funk and fusion later on, and then came metal in all kinds of “alloys.” I never replaced one music style with another. Instead, I just piled them on top of each other, creating an ever-expanding playlist. That also applies to my (five-)watch collection. It might come across as a cacophony to you, but for me, it’s music to my ears.