Late last year, I followed my colleagues’ thoughts on how would they spend their €25,000 budgets on a perfect watch collection. I had as much fun reading their articles as you did. Since no one asked me about how would I break the bank, I allowed myself to slightly adjust the brief. What would a perfect watch collection look like for me if I were only allowed to spend my budget on vintage timepieces?

It is an interesting exercise indeed. Usually, when I think about vintage watches that I would like to add to my collection, it doesn’t happen within any pricing frame. There isn’t anything like “budget left,” so money does not restrict my thoughts. The decision usually comes down to my taste, the actual availability of the watch, and the urge (or lack thereof) that I feel. But this recent Fratello series made me think. Each time I spotted one of my colleagues’ selections, the same thought came through: how would I spend that money on vintage watches?

Omega Speedmaster 105.003 “Ed White”

I have buckets of chronographs in my collection, but, believe it or not, I have not a single vintage Omega chronograph. That’s criminal, I know. For the record, the hero selection for my budget was not made under the pressure of me wanting or missing vintage Speedy — quite the contrary. As I have many other watches and now decided to switch focus to Gallet, I am not on a FOMO hunt for an “Ed White” Speedy. However, RJ can confirm that I keep my eyes open. Once every six months or so, when an attractive Ed White pops up, I run in by our Master of Speedmasters to check if it is the right Ed White to break my piggy bank.

Speedmaster 105.003 Ed White €25,000 vintage watch collection

Mike’s beaten but honest Ed White

Omega vs. Gallet

If I were to forget my entire collection and imagine that I have only €25,000 to spend on vintage watches, an Ed White would be sitting on top of my list. Do you wonder how can I spread the gospel of Gallet chronographs while simultaneously choosing an Omega watch that I’ve never owned as my top pick? Well, my path to Gallet is a result of evolution over years of collecting. “Collecting” is the important word here because my Gallet obsession is about the entire range of fascinating, often niche chronographs from a nearly forgotten, currently devaluated brand.

A solitaire vs. a collection

But the question, as it stands today, does not indicate collecting as an ongoing activity spread over decades. It’s a one-off task to invest €25,000 in the best way possible to put together a tiny but personal watch collection. Well, a “collection” means that I am not allowed to spend the entire budget on a single watch. Although it requires more pieces, I still decided to make one into a hero — one that would eat half of the budget. I guess it’s kind of natural to make a chronograph the hero choice. And here we are with €12,500. That’s what can buy you a decent Omega Speedmaster 105.003 Ed White without provenance, a box, or papers. But I guess you won’t wear them anyway.

Omega Speedmaster “Ed White” 105.003

Why an Ed White?

If I had to shrink my collection down to €25,000 only, there simply isn’t a better choice than Omega Speedmaster 105.003 Ed White for the budget. I even find it still undervalued for what it has in the “package.” It’s the last 38mm Speedmaster with legendary 321 caliber. It has straight lugs, which some find maybe more dull than twisted lugs, but I call it the real vintage style. It has no crown guards, which is good because they often frustrate me when winding my modern Speedy Tuesday Ultraman. The Ed White Speedmaster also comes with luminous stick hands that are way more legible than the hands of other early models. I guess I do not need to elaborate on the moonwatch theme and “Ed White” nickname. Oh, boy, I need Omega Speedmaster 105.003 Ed White. It is just a perfect vintage chronograph. Is there anyone around with a nicely sandy-yellow-aged Ed White? If so, get in touch!

Vintage Rolex 5513 Watch 6

What’s next? A Rolex Submariner 5513

We are left with about half of the budget. Here, I offer two options on how to proceed — the fast way or the more elaborate, delicate way. Do we consider two watches a collection? If so, the fastest way is to spend the rest of the budget and simply choose a Rolex Submariner ref. 5513.

Vintage Rolex 5513 Watch 1 €25,000 vintage watch collection

It’s robust, it’s perfectly legible, and it’s another legend. And in my humble opinion as a vintage nerd, it looks better than the current modern “fortress.” Funnily enough, this is another watch that I do not own. But I have come close to buying one a few times! So if I didn’t want to entertain the idea of rotating too many watches and preferred to switch between two pieces, I think I could hardly make a better choice. Mike has one, and he would confirm. Read his article on Rolex Submariner 5513 and learn why he finds it one of the best vintage Rolex that could hit one’s wrist.

Seiko-62MAS-Big-Crown-front €25,000 vintage watch collection

The slower way starts with a Seiko 62MAS

I promised that I also have an option for a more elaborate way how to spend half of the €25,000 budget. If I wanted to stay in line with the previous choice, I’d need to shortlist a dive watch. I have just the right one in mind. I’d go with a Seiko 6217-8001, the so-called 62MAS, the first professional diver‘s watch from Seiko. It wears perfectly, and it looks perfect too. It’s one hell of a watch, and it’s pretty desirable. This is not some niche Japanese weirdo. No, this is a legend. From my perspective, it is also interesting as a nice contrast to Swiss watchmaking. We wrote about the Seiko 62MAS here and here.


If any of you think like I do and want to push your 62MAS hunt, try to find a small-crown version, which was released in April 1965 and lasted for only two months. That would cost between €3,000 and €5,000.

Elegant three-handers from JLC and Cartier

Depending on what deals I could make on the Ed White and 62MAS, we now have around €7,000 (on the lower side) to €10,000 (on the higher side) of the budget left. For that part of the budget, I’d consider two watch models to either choose from or combine. Prices can vary depending on the variants selected.

€25,000 vintage watch collection 1931 Reverso

Image: Watchfinder

An early Reverso

This watch could eat the entire budget…or half of it if I got lucky and found one in some under-the-radar auction. Design-wise, it’s the ultimate choice. It’s the role model for an elegant watch and even comes with a flipping case as a bonus party trick. Just look at the picture above. There are no questions as to why JLC chose to reissue the original from 1931. However, there are plenty more variants with numerals or more playful Art Deco dials if any of you out there would prefer a different design.

Cartier Tank Louis Cartier €25,000 vintage watch collection

Cartier Tank Louis Cartier in yellow gold — Image: Amsterdam Vintage Watches

A Cartier Tank

Here’s another classic if the Reverso is too much. The Cartier Tank is not a watch; it’s a statement. It implies fine taste and a virtuous, respectable character. Whatever modern designs I like and whatever microbrands excite me, this legendary Cartier design is immortal. At this point, any more words would be useless…