How To Start A Watch Collection With €10,000: Dave’s Top Three Picks From Omega, Swatch, And Longines
When you’re not spending your own money, or, in this case, spending money that doesn’t exist, you’re less inhibited by the value of the cash. If I had €10,000 to splurge, I would firmly have one eye on trying to have some money left over. However, in this case, I am ready to spend, spend, spend! So, with this fictitious €10,000 burning a heavy hole in my pocket, what three watches would I buy to create one wholesome watch collection?
It’s always quite a fun game to play, spending money you don’t have. I find myself doing so regularly, and not just on watches. I enjoy browsing the seven-figure property market from time to time. There’s me, counting the pennies in my piggy bank while questioning the architectural design choices in a £4M mansion. Now that’s irony.
I need a game plan…
Rather than jump in and start thinking about brands right away, I think I need to determine what I’d like to achieve from my three-watch collection. It makes sense to ensure that the three watches can cover a wide range of uses, complications, and so forth. With that in mind, I want to have a chronograph, a three-hand dive watch, and a GMT or world timer. It took me a while to shore up my choices to where I was happy with them. There was plenty of to-ing and fro-ing, but in the end, I think my final selections make a good watch collection. Let’s have a look!
Pick #1: Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Green — €5,700
For the longest time, divers dominated my watch collection. I thought it made sense to start here. A reliable dive watch is a perfect companion for the rough and tumble of everyday life. If I were careful, I could choose a model that would dress up or down equally well. So, with that in mind, I decided I’d spend a serious chunk of my budget in this area. The budget looming over me meant that I was limited to looking at a few mid-range luxury brands really, and Omega was the one that stood out. My good friend, Chris Horrocks of RedBar MCR, owns an older black-dialed Seamaster 300M that I’ve long admired. Don’t tell him this, as it’ll only go to his head. I spied it again on his wrist the last time we met up for a beer.
The Seamaster 300M is a fantastic dive watch. The wave pattern on the dial is a beauty, and, in the end, this choice was the easiest, despite blowing over half of my budget. I might need to get creative with the rest, but that is for future Dave to worry about. The Seamaster 300M comes in a range of color combinations. I’ve previously been tickled by the silver- and white-dialed models, but when Omega dropped the lush green giant at Omega Days 2022, a new champion was crowned. There’s no other way to describe the shade of green Omega chose other than “lush”. It’s deep yet vibrant and very jungle-esque. So, while I strap it on the wrist, let’s move on to pick #2 while deploringly looking into my wallet at a severely depleted budget.
Honorable mention: Doxa SUB 300 Carbon Whitepearl
I love a bit of forged carbon, and this was the first watch that popped into my head for this spot on the list. The lumed dial is beautiful, but the SUB 300 Carbon Whitepearl was slightly too sporty. Sorry, Doxa.
Pick #2: Omega × Swatch MoonSwatch Mission to Mercury — €250
And with one fell swoop, that budget is looking mighty healthy again! Knowing I wanted a chronograph in the collection and a mechanical chronograph would take a decent chunk of the budget, I started thinking a little outside the box. After a bit of online browsing, the choice seemed obvious — the MoonSwatch! This was not a compromise, though, as I have bought a MoonSwatch Mission to Mercury for my own collection. It’s arrived today, with RJ having picked it up for me in Geneva last week. I was excited to get it on the wrist, and I am pleased to say it’s every bit as fun as I had hoped for! I’m not a fan of the Velcro straps Swatch chose to put these watches on, so I had bought a new strap prior to the watch ariving. The new strap is a silicone/Cordura hybrid from Barton Bands. The nice thing about it is the buckle has a gunmetal-gray coating which sort of complements the Bioceramic case!
I’m hoping I don’t get too much heat in the comments for picking the MoonSwatch. While it’s proving hard to get hold of right now, it’s not a limited edition. I don’t think Swatch realized how popular it would be, so there’s a bit of a backlog in producing enough to satisfy demand. If you’re waiting to grab one, try to be patient, and don’t be tempted to splurge on one from eBay or Chrono24. They’re not worth the inflated markup people are trying to charge. Please, don’t do it! Anyway, back to the issue at hand, the MoonSwatch nicely fills the chronograph slot in this three-watch collection. It also leaves me with €4050 to play with for my final pick.
Honorable mention: Tissot PRX Chronograph
When Tissot dropped this watch, it was a winner right out of the gates. The PRX blueprint perfectly suits the chronograph complication, and the price of just under €1,500 is superb. I’d imagine I could probably swing choosing the PRX Chronograph for the chronograph spot, but given how much I genuinely love the MoonSwatch, I had to make a decision. Sorry, Tissot.
Pick #3: Longines Spirit Zulu Time GMT — €2,900
With more budget left over than I expected to have at this point, it made the final pick harder than I’d anticipated. I knew I wanted to be able to track a second timezone, whether that was through a GMT hand or a world time complication. My de facto first choice would have been the new Ming 22.01 GMT. I loved that watch and rue not grabbing one at launch. However, with the entire allocation long sold out, I was not going to include it on the list for fairness reasons. That left me with a conundrum. A breakthrough occurred when I realized I didn’t have to spend all this fictitious money. I had gotten into a mindset of only looking for watches around the €4,000 mark, but that was a flawed approach. I was missing out on some real gems, like my eventual choice.
Enter the Longines Spirit Zulu Time GMT! Now, I’m not often a fan of traditional pilot’s watches. They’re just not my style. Often oversized with huge dials, they served a purpose originally, but modern takes don’t float my boat (or should that be “fly my plane”?). Some brands have evolved the classic pilot’s-watch styling and allowed it to become something more approachable by modern standards. Something a bit classier. The Longines Spirit collection is the perfect example of this. When Longines dropped the first Spirit models back in 2020, I was a fan. I nearly considered buying one too, but I backed out in favor of a Grand Seiko Skyflake.
The Spirit has proven to be quite a versatile canvas, with the collection comprised of a three-hand, a chronograph, and now a GMT. It’s the GMT which is my pick of the bunch. The 42mm stainless steel case features sharp lugs, an oversized crown, and a new bi-directional 24-hour bezel with a ceramic insert. The numerals on the insert are lacquered, and the triangle is filled with Super-LumiNova. Finally, the dial, visible through a domed and AR-coated sapphire crystal, has all the beautiful depth you know, love, and expect from the Spirit line. It’s got everything you could require from a GMT watch, plus it’s sharp enough to dress up and down with ease. It’s incredibly versatile, just like my first pick. When putting together a limited collection like this, versatility is key! If you were wondering, I’m choosing the black-dialed model with the blue-tipped GMT hand.
Honorable mention: Tudor Black Bay Pro
When Tudor dropped its latest GMT watch at Watches And Wonders, it drew a lot of comparisons to a certain Rolex Explorer II. The comparisons are not inaccurate. That said, I liked the concept of the Black Bay Pro. As a big fan of the snowflake handset, I’m just not too fond of the round hour markers Tudor insists on matching with them. A few of us in the Fratello team would have jumped on this had the brand gone with a snowflake dial. So close, yet so far. Sorry, Tudor.
Now I need your help!
So there we have my three-watch collection. I am happy with the results, and I even managed to have €1,150 left. When Nacho set us this task, he didn’t say what would happen with any remaining budget, but I think I should be allowed to pick a fourth watch, right? That’s only fair! Maybe you can help me with this one. What should I add using the leftover budget? Let me know in the comments! I also want to hear what your three choices would be!