When I began working on this project I really was not sure of what direction I was going to go with each of the categories. I was not sure if I would pull from any of my previously owned watches or even from my current collection at all. I had a few ideas in mind for some of them, but found that when I really started to think about it I abandoned most of them and went in a different direction. Mostly as I found the collection I was building would end up being well over the $2,000 target. Not because I sought out expensive pieces but due to prices creeping up over the past few years. The project was also a learning experience as well in that respect. In the end I drew a bit from what I own, a little from new ideas and some from my wish list. In the end I came up with what I feel is a diverse well rounded collection of watches for just a hair under $2,000.
Dress: Orient Bambino FER24004B0 $130
I don’t wear dress watches often, but having a go-to is always nice for those special occasions. For this occasion I went with the Orient Bambino. The watch has a nice, classic dress style in a modern 40mm case and the Orient in-house Cal. 48743 automatic movement. The watch is still slim at 11.5mm and with standard 20mm lugs a strap to fit any outfit can easily be fixed. I opted for the black dial in this case over the silver as there just seemed to be something more elegant about that option to my eye. The domed crystal is mineral, but given the proclivity to be worn in less than active situations that should not be an issue. Although sold out on the Orient USA website, they can be found easily on eBay and other sites still new in box, and with a price less than the official site offering.
Chronograph: Zodiac Red Point (Dot) Chronograph $900
This one turned out to be a direct pull from my own, current collection. I’ve long been enamored with the older Zodiac models and although these are only from the late 80’s and early 90’s they still have their draw. The Zodiac Point series (frequently seen called “dot” rather than point) was a Zodiac marketing plan from that era. The Point designator were a way of distinguishing between lines. There were three levels: Red Point, Silver Point and Gold Point. The Red Point was the more common, “workhorse” level with the Silver Point a step up and the Gold Point the top of the line. Some watches carried a blue dot but had no official place in the structure. My favorite of these are the chronographs. The Valjoux 7750 powered watches come in a few different styles, including those with diver bezels or tachymeter bezels. Dial colors also run from black, white and blue. Good working examples still show up on watch sales sites and eBay as well (search for both point and dot) for between $700-900. I went with the upper end assuming for the best example. I was able to get the white dialed version I own now for $400 a few years ago and then put $250 into service for it, which comes out about right. They’re great looking watches that still hold up well today.
Sport/Diver: Squale 20 Atmos Maxi 1545 $490
This category was another that drew from my current collection although with a mild difference. The Squale 20 Atmos is of course a very familiar design, we all know what the look is after and I’m ok with that. The Squale name has some pretty cool history behind it and the watch is well built and solid. For someone who likes the Submariner design but doesn’t have the budget for a Rolex, the Squale is a perfect substitute. It has the rock solid ETA 2824 movement and the traditional 40mm size, which is perfect for my wrist. The difference between the one I currently own and the one on this list is the Maxi dial. It ads the larger markers and a matte off-black dial aiming for the look of vintage divers. Of course the package includes a sapphire crystal, screw down crown, screw links and solid end links, all at an affordable price.
Quartz/Digital: Casio G-Shock GW7900B-1 $95
When it comes to quartz watches my mind instantly goes to the G-Shock line. In this case my choice is both digital and a quartz, although not a traditional battery operated version. In this case the GW7900B is a solar powered G-Shock so there are no battery changes. It is also an atomic model so it syncs its time with the atomic clock daily to ensure accuracy. The display is of the negative type, meaning the display is black with the time in a lighter color. It’s a very cool, stealthy look. Being a G-Shock it is also tough as nails, 200M water resistance, has all the digital features like a stopwatch, alarms, world time and calendars. All for just under $100.
Tool/Beater: Hamilton Khaki Field Automatic H70455733 $375
The final category of tool or beater watch is kind of a freebie for me as I would lump the Casio above into this category as well. It left me to fill the slot with a style I like in what might be more of a “casual” category. I picked the classic Hamilton Khaki Automatic with the black dial for this selection. I have owned Hamiltons in the past and always enjoyed them, but this model has never graced my wrist, despite my attraction to it. This is the 38mm option chosen as my wrists are on the smaller size and they can be found new for under $400. The watch can be worn with leather or nylon and still look sharp as a tack. Like the Squale it also has the ETA 2824-2 automatic movement.
All told this set of five comes in at $1,990 with the expected prices. I feel it builds a good, diverse collection to suit any situation. Aside from being a fun project to do it also made me think about my own current collection. Do I really need the redundancies in style? Should I trim down and keep just what I really wear? I know that odds are most watch collectors/enthusiasts eventually ask themselves these same questions. Of the three watches that are on this list that I do not own (the Orient, Casio and Hamilton) I could definitely see myself owning in the not too distant future. What I do to make room for them is yet to be determined.