Earlier in the year, I wrote an article on starting a watch collection with a budget of €10,000. It was quite a challenging task, even though I know that €10,000 is a pretty significant budget. Not many people (myself included) have that kind of money lying around to go out and splurge on three watches. That said, some people do. But to try and make sure we’re covering all bases and budgets, some of my fellow editors and I have decided to half that budget. So, can I come up with a solid starter collection for €5,000?

The last time around, I decided on the types of watches I wanted to buy first of all. I picked a chronograph, a GMT, and a diver. I’m not going to be quite so strict with myself this time, and I’m going to try to roughly split my budget three ways. That gives me around €1,666 per watch. I wanted to try it this way because I know some people prefer to spend their budget (even a hypothetical one!) evenly. Let’s see how I get on with that!


NOMOS Club Campus Absolute Gray — €1,410

I have to start somewhere, so I picked a watch that I’ve long had my eye on. Admittedly, I’ve never pulled the trigger, as there’s always been something a bit pricier than I’ve been saving my watch budget for. Still, in my opinion, the NOMOS Club Campus is one of the most ideally suited everyday watches. Conveniently, NOMOS offers the Club Campus a range of dial colors, so there’s something for everyone here. My choice is the Absolute Gray model. I’m also choosing to upgrade the gray leather strap to the Sports Bracelet for an extra €310 for a total of €1,410.

With 100m of water resistance, the NOMOS Club Campus is a steel sports watch with everyday life in mind. Some people might argue that a “true daily beater” needs a date, but I disagree. Do I like a date and find it helpful? Sure. Do I need a date on my watch, though? No. With the seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock, there’s no space for a date without ruining the clean and symmetrical aesthetic. NOMOS knows what it’s doing when it comes to design. I’m certainly not going to try and tell the brand any different.

Doxa Sub 300T — €1,890

OK, so I have started this collection with a real doozy. A sports watch that has 100m of water resistance — great. However, I do think that every collection should include a dive watch. This is not just because of greater water resistance, but also because a good diver is can handle being knocked about. So, if I’m doing some decorating, some DIY, or maybe tackling my somewhat overgrown garden, I don’t want to be wearing my lovely, shiny polished NOMOS. Instead, I want a watch that I don’t mind getting scratched, bumped, or dinged. While I believe that these marks only add to the character of a dive watch, I’d prefer to keep a polished all-arounder in better condition. I think I have the perfect watch in mind for the “beater” slot in my collection — the Doxa Sub 300T.

I think Doxa is one of the worst-kept secrets in collector circles. Long-revered and respected for its dive watches, the brand, isn’t well-known outside watch-collecting circles, though. It’s not a household name in the same way that Rolex or Breitling might be. That said, for those of us who know the brand, we know that Doxa represents some of the best quality-to-price ratios when it comes to solid dive watches. While one of the more colorful dials might usually be my preference, I’m going with the black-dialed Sharkhunter here to keep things nice and versatile. The beads-of-rice bracelet and the simple black dial mean that this watch will go with any outfit. Versatility is key here!

Tissot PRX Chrono T137.427.11.011.00

Tissot PRX Chronograph — €1,499

Last but not least, I’ve gone with the Tissot PRX Chronograph to round out the collection. This watch nearly made my list last time around, but in the end, it lost out to the MoonSwatch. Not this time! I had the budget to spare, and the PRX Chronograph is a watch that’s been very well received across the community since Tissot launched it earlier this year. As RJ stated in his hands-on review, he was so impressed that he ordered it even before it came out. That’s considerable praise from the big man himself!

Although it took me quite a while to add a chronograph to my collection, it’s now possibly my favorite type of watch to wear. For those of you wondering if you’d make use of the complication, fear not. I pondered the exact same thing. In reality, I find that I use it to time everything from cooking to dog walks and more. I can’t imagine a better choice of a chronograph to take the final spot in my three-watch collection, especially for a relatively wallet-friendly price. I’m choosing the silver-dialed panda version with rose gold PVD hour markers and hands. The blue would have been an equally good bet and added some color to the collection, but the silver dial is just *chef’s kiss*.

Total spent on my three-watch collection — €4,799

So there we have what I believe to be a well-rounded collection — three excellent watches, all on bracelets and versatile in terms of color. I’m pretty chuffed to have gotten these three in under budget. No disrespect to my colleagues, but I don’t think any of them will top this. What do you think of my choices? Is there anything you’d have done differently? Let me know in the comments!

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