Fratello Editors Share Their Five-Watch Collections — RJ’s Picks From Breguet, Omega, And Rolex
Our photographer Morgan Saignes started this #fivewatchcollection trend on Instagram, and I’ve noticed that a lot of his followers joined in, either showing their collection of five watches or curating a five-watch collection from a larger one. As you may have noticed, we decided to turn this into an article series, and today, it’s my turn to make some tough choices!
Nacho stated in his article about his five-watch collection that having a one-, two-, or three-watch collection is more difficult. Unfortunately, the more thought I gave it, the harder it was to decide on a five-watch collection for myself. Also, it is a very personal collection of five watches and might be very far away from what yours would look like. On top of that, it might also be very different from the collection I would pick five years from now or five years ago.
Some context is necessary to understand my collection
It is essential to give some context to what my life looks like. If I were single, 25 years old, and very sporty, my selection would be entirely different from the one you read about here. I will turn 47 two months from now, I have a wife and daughter, and I spend most of my working days in the office or traveling around the world for Fratello. In my spare time, I like to spend time with my wife and daughter, encourage my daughter on the hockey field (if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll probably recall this), play some golf with my wife and friends, have dinner with friends or family, and just be around the house. I travel so much during the year that I enjoy and appreciate being at home on the weekends. We do like our occasional city trip, though, and our summer holidays.
This five-watch collection suits me and my current lifestyle best. I don’t need a diver’s watch, for example, or a titanium watch for its lightweight construction. Although I still have many watches that we could have called “tool” watches in the past, I’ve moved a little bit away from them in recent years. I started to like classic dress watches a bit more, and my appreciation for precious metals increased significantly.
One exception is perhaps the watch that I take with me on my summer holidays. Often, it’s a watch that I can wear all day long, including in the pool. I thought long and hard about it but didn’t include my Sea-Dweller, Marinemaster 300, or Seamaster in my five-watch collection. For those two weeks a year, I can do without a watch or just keep mine in the hotel safe when I decide to swim.
One watch that was on my list for so long was the gold Day-Date on a President bracelet. I think many people wear this 36mm gold “Texas Timex” all year round, and only watch enthusiasts make a fuss about wearing a watch like this as a daily beater. The Day-Date can be so versatile thanks to all its different dial configurations. This means that you can steer it in almost any direction based on the precious metal (white, rose, yellow gold, or platinum) and the type of dial you choose.
I chose the most common and best-known configuration of the Rolex Day-Date — 18K yellow gold with a champagne dial. To me, that’s simply the most classic Day-Date configuration that anyone can think of. With the help of a watchmaker, you can always switch to another dial if you want. I considered a white dial with gold Roman numerals for its improved readability, but the champagne dial is simply classic. I recently started looking for white gold and platinum Day-Date models as well. Let’s see where that will take me.
My 18238 has a double-quickset movement, making it easy to advance both the day and date discs instantly. Older references had just one quickset mechanism (for the date) or, in the four-digit references, none at all. Starting in 2000, the later models have a slightly different case design, featuring polished surfaces on the lugs. This finish gives the Day-Date an even more blingy look, but I love the brushed lug tops on mine. If you’re considering adding a Rolex Day-Date to your collection, I can only support that decision. It’s one of my most frequently worn watches.
Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary in Moonshine Gold
My prized possession is this Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 in Moonshine Gold. I was visiting Omega HQ in Biel when this watch was introduced in March 2019. Of course, it was a Tuesday, and the watch was in front of me just minutes before the official release. I had already dismissed the idea of ordering this watch from my mind as its initial retail price was €32,800 and, therefore, out of my budget. However, as soon as I tried it on, I decided to go for it and order one. It was just the best modern Speedmaster I had seen, and I quickly realized that I would probably never forgive myself if I didn’t buy one.
There’s no watch I’d rather have
The initial idea was to wear this watch only for special occasions — a birthday, Christmas, or Sundays. But it quickly became my daily watch and my all-time favorite. There’s no watch I would rather have, and this feeling has stuck with me since I bought it. It is so faithful to the 1969 Speedmaster Professional in gold that was gifted to the NASA astronauts at the time, yet it has very neat improvements that don’t interfere with the design cues.
One of my favorite things is the faceted onyx markers on the solid gold dial, but the small disc made of lunar meteorite in the case back is also quite special. It is powered by Omega’s caliber 3861, and this version is the only one so far with Moonshine Gold finishing (all other 3861 movements have a rhodium plating). The bracelet on the Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary in Moonshine Gold is faithful to the original in its design and its 20–14mm taper, but it is of much higher quality. This is the one watch that I would keep forever — my “one-watch collection” piece. I will most certainly pass it down to my daughter as she will probably vividly remember me wearing it all the time.
Omega Speedmaster Calibre 321
Yes, I know, it’s another Speedmaster, but the Speedmaster is the watch that started it all for me, and it’s the model that I collect. Omega introduced the modern Speedmaster Calibre 321 in early 2020, and I simply had to have it. The reintroduction of the famous 321 movement took place one year earlier, in 2019, in the Speedmaster Professional in platinum, but that was a bridge too far for me. The steel Speedmaster Calibre 321, however, ticks many of my boxes and is incredibly true to the original straight-lug Speedmaster from the 1960s.
Sapphire and ceramic
At first, I was slightly disappointed that it didn’t have a Hesalite crystal and aluminum bezel insert, but the modern sapphire crystal and ceramic bezel insert make it a great companion for everyday wear. Also, if it had an acrylic crystal and aluminum bezel, it would be perhaps too much of a copy of the original 105.003. After all, if you want a 105.003, you will probably buy one.
The fact that Omega has a separate atelier for the production of the Speedmaster Calibre 321, where one watchmaker (per watch) takes care of the double assembly of the movement and watch, makes it even more special. The other watches that get a similar treatment are the Central Tourbillon and Chrono Chime. All other Omega watches are manufactured and assembled using the brand’s more industrialized production process.
The Speedmaster Calibre 321, with its 39.7mm case, is the only steel watch in this hypothetical five-watch collection. Rest assured, though, that the number of steel watches in my real collection is much, much greater than the number of watches in precious metal. Although the price of this watch is high (€17,100 currently) and the waiting list is long, it’s the perfect tribute to the Speedmaster. If this watch were not in my collection, this spot would have been reserved for the standard Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch.
Breguet Tradition 7027BA
I mentioned my interest in dressier watches, and Breguet is top of mind when it comes to those. Although my initial thought was to go for a Breguet Classique 5157, I couldn’t stop thinking about the Tradition 7027 after seeing one at a watch get-together. With a modest 37mm case diameter, it’s such a wearable, nice gold watch with a bit of visible “animation” on the dial. I swapped the standard brown alligator strap for something more playful, a lizard strap in dark blue, matching the screws on the movement of the 7027. The design/construction of the 507 DR caliber is a nod to the Breguet souscription (subscription) watches from the late 18th century.
From 2005 to 2016
The Tradition 7027 was discontinued in 2016, just over a decade after its introduction. All current Breguet Tradition models are larger (40mm) and, with their long lug design, require quite a sizable wrist. These later Tradition models are challenging to wear, even on my large wrists. I hope that Breguet will return to smaller watches in general, including the 37mm Tradition.
My watch was produced in 2006 and, before I bought it, had gotten its last service in 2012. So it was time for the spa treatment at Breguet’s headquarters, where the brand’s watchmakers overhauled the movement and polished the case. It came back looking and working like new and regularly found a place on my wrist. Breguet is a brand that, as you probably know, is considered underrated, and that’s almost an understatement. After a few visits to the Breguet manufacture in Le Chenit, Switzerland, it became clear that with the amount of work that goes into these watches and their movements, it is an underrated brand. That’s bad news for Breguet but good news for those who don’t fear the pre-owned market. This is my first Breguet piece, but it certainly will not be my last.
Omega Constellation 168.010
This last watch in my five-watch collection is, coincidentally, another Omega. It could have been from any other watch brand, but I reserved this spot for an heirloom piece, which happens to be an Omega. On the other hand, that’s also why I am so fond of this brand. There is a bit of family history here, starting with my great-grandfather, who bought a Constellation in August 1966, when he was already in his 80s. Then, his son, my grandfather, bought this Constellation on February 6th, 1969.
Constellations run in the family
My father also got an Omega (later in 1969) and now owns his grandfather’s Constellation (ref. CD167.005, pictured above), and I own my grandfather’s Constellation. Initially, it came on a gold Milanese Omega bracelet, but the sides were so incredibly sharp that they tore up the cuffs of his dress shirts. In the early 1970s, he exchanged the Milanese bracelet for this extremely comfortable gold link bracelet at his retailer. I also still have this watch’s original papers with my grandfather’s name and address on them.
It is one of the watches that means the most to me, but it can sometimes be a burden to keep something like this in my collection. I also realize that it is meaningful to me but not to my daughter. Consequently, I will be the last generation in my family to wear it and take care of it, I guess. Until my time with it is over, I’ll continue to wear it on special occasions or days, such as Christmas or his birthday.
As for the watch, it’s a gold-capped Constellation reference 168.010. “Gold-capped” means that it’s a steel base with a solid gold shell. The attached bracelet is solid gold and suits the watch nicely. This Constellation 168.010 was also called the “Constellation II Deluxe Calendar,” probably due to the use of onyx for the hour markers and the quickset-date caliber 56 inside.
A collection of five watches
My selection of five watches for this article doesn’t mean that I don’t wear the other watches in my collection — not in the slightest. I must admit that it was pretty challenging to choose a five-piece selection from all of my watches. I went back and forth with some watches, pondering whether I should have included them. However, as I stated at the beginning of this article, I think this five-watch collection accurately reflects my daily life and tastes at this time.
Let me know what you think of my choices. I am curious to learn if you would have made different choices if you were in my shoes. Also, what would your five-watch collection look like?