Just like many of you, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the shots of enthusiasts’ five-watch collections on Instagram. In a way, it’s nice to see people struggle to pick their five favorite watches (is that horological schadenfreude?). Above all, though, it’s amusing to find out which watches people choose as their favorites and why. Up until now, I still haven’t shared my five-watch collection. No, it’s not because I didn’t enjoy the series. I just thought it would be way too difficult to pick my five favorites.

But then I proposed to Nacho that this challenge could also be a nice idea for Fratello. He agreed, and after he kicked off the series himself, of course, he asked me to write the next one. So now there’s no escaping it; I really have to pick my five favorite watches in my collection. That’s such a hard thing to do, though. I purposefully curated my watch collection to be versatile and complementary. In addition, I’m really happy with the entire collection as it is right now. How on earth, then, am I going to pick five favorites and leave the others out of the picture? Well, just like pulling off a Band-Aid, I’ll do it quickly. Sure, it might hurt, but pain is temporary.

Fratello Five-Watch Collections Daan's Cartier Santos Galbée XL

Cartier Santos Galbée XL ref. 2823

I tried to approach this exercise kind of like a ranking. I figured that if I started from number one, it would be easier to work my way towards number five. And in the case of my number one, that definitely worked. I think many of you already suspected that it would be my Cartier Santos Galbée XL ref. 2823, and it is indeed. I picked this watch as my GADA watch last June. That already gave away that if I had to choose to keep one watch from my collection, it would be this one. The Santos just has the perfect mix of elegance and attitude.

very versatile Cartier Santos Galbée XL

In that GADA article and the one in which I shared the story of why I got it in the first place, I already mentioned many reasons why I love this watch. But one thing I’ve never properly talked about is the magnificent way that it plays with the light. First of all, sometimes, the polished bezel can completely disappear into its surroundings. At other times, though, it almost appears black and gives the watch so much character. Then there are the curved case and links of the bracelet. They all reflect the light in a way that accentuates the elegant shapes on the watch. Yes, I love everything about my Santos Galbée.

Fratello Five-Watch Collections Daan's Rolex Explorer 114270

Rolex Explorer ref. 114270

So, no, there wasn’t any doubt about my number one, and to be honest, picking number two wasn’t too difficult either. I got the Rolex Explorer ref. 114270 a little over a year ago, and I still thoroughly enjoy it every time I wear it, and I wear it a lot. I’ve always found the Explorer attractive, but until that point, I had never bought one. When the time came to get my first Rolex, I went with a ’74 Datejust instead, which I quickly sold. Then I thought I could scratch the itch with a Tudor Black Bay 36, and I even tried the Black Bay 58. But none of those three watches come anywhere close to what I feel when I put on the Explorer.

When I finally decided to get an Explorer, I debated whether to get the current or the older 36mm version. Because of the less dramatic taper on the bracelet and better-proportioned dial (in my eyes), I went with the older reference from the 2000s, and I’m still elated that I did. For some reason, the newer ref. 124270, the one that Morgan chose as his GADA watch, just doesn’t do it for me. It’s too perfect. The older 114270 still has some quirks, such as non-lumed numerals and a stamped clasp, and I love those quirks.

Fratello Five-Watch Collections Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duoface

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Medium Duoface Small Seconds ref. Q2458422

Now it becomes trickier, though, because I think the Santos and the Explorer are my most worn watches. The rest of the collection also gets attention, don’t worry, but it’s practically a tie between the rest of the bunch. So, then, it comes down to which watches I appreciate the most. Well, as I said, I consciously tried to keep my collection balanced as I was building it, so there’s something to say for every one of them. But the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duoface most definitely deserves a spot in my top five.

I loved it on the all-leather Casa Fagliano stock strap, but on the leather and canvas version of that strap, it’s even better. This strap perfectly highlights the Reverso’s versatile character. For me, the JLC Reverso isn’t automatically a dress watch. Yes, it works great as one. However, as I also mentioned in my six-month review, it works just as well in a more casual or sportier context. People ask me sometimes which of the two dials I wear the most, but as I switch between the dials multiple times a day, I simply can’t say. And you see, it makes a great fidgeting device as well.

Fratello Five-Watch Collections Breguet 5907

Breguet Classique ref. 5907

When I mention the JLC Reverso with its two magnificent guilloché dials, I simply can’t ignore the silvered gold hand-decorated dial of my Breguet Classique. I fell in love with this watch at a get-together and, shortly after, made a deal with the owner to trade my 38mm Blancpain Bathyscaphe for it. I still don’t regret that decision because this watch is such a piece of craftsmanship for the wrist. The white gold coin-edge case gives it a little more weight and presence than one might expect — just enough so that this 34.5mm watch doesn’t feel as small as it sounds.

Unfortunately, the watch fell off my wrist when I was trying to take it off in a hotel room in Paris. I thought that everything would be all right because there was quite a soft carpet on the floor, but the watch hasn’t been running that well ever since then, so I’m going to have to get it checked out. In the meantime, I’ve still been wearing it every once in a while because it still looks incredible, even when it’s not running. I simply set the time to 10:10 and act as if nothing happened. But now that I’m writing this, I feel bad that I haven’t gotten it fixed yet, so I’ll contact a watchmaker right after I finish this article.

Fratello Five-Watch Collections Serica 5303-3

Serica 5303-3, the challenger

Now, the fifth and final one… This is the most difficult one to pick. Picking one watch means that I’ll leave out all the other ones in my collection. A more obvious choice for this final slot would’ve been my Omega Speedmaster Professional with the 3861 movement. It’s another classic, which I thoroughly enjoy, especially on its magnificent bracelet. However, that would mean that I’d only have heavyweight brands in my five-watch collection, and I feel that would be unfair to all the smaller brands out there.

These are the brands that challenge the establishment. They often offer great value at a much lower price point. Best of all, they come up with more daring and playful designs. My Autodromo Intereuropa and Serica 5303-3 represent this category of watches in my collection. However, for this exercise, I picked the Serica because it has become a watch that I regularly wear. Its perfect proportions, elegant tapered mesh bracelet, and, of course, that beautiful crystal-blue bezel insert all work so well together.

I also appreciate how the brand is not simply launching one watch after another. It looks like there’s more of a sensible plan behind it. The fact that each of Serica’s watches is now a COSC-certified chronometer and thoroughly tested after assembly is the best proof of that. I can’t wait to see what the brand has in store for us in the future.

Fratello Five-watch collection Daan's

What have I done!?

There you have it! That’s my five-watch collection. I can’t believe I actually did it. I’m sure that if I did it again, I might end up with a completely different quintet. Leaving out the Speedy and my Oris Art Blakey stings me right in the heart. Choosing between your watches is like picking your favorite child; it’s simply impossible. In the end, I bought them and still have them because they all offer something unique. The above selection is mostly based on wrist time, but that certainly doesn’t mean I don’t love the ones that spend most of their time in my watch box.

I’m glad, though, that I finally came around and picked my five favorites. It made me look at my collection from a different perspective. My conclusion is that I’m really happy with where I am right now, and I’m not sure where my collection will go from here. First of all, my wife and I will get our house’s remodeling finished. Then I might have some more headspace (and budget) to think about the next steps.

What about you? When you look at your watches, which ones would you pick for your five-watch collection? Let me know in the comments below. And if you’re more comfortable with sharing a photo, make sure to check out the #fivewatchcollection posts on Instagram.