The 3 Watch Collection for $5,000: Reader Edition – Ben Law

Editor’s Note: In this edition of The 3 Watch Collection for $5,000, we welcome reader Ben Law’s excellent selections that place an emphasis on usability, practicality, and a bit of style mixed in. You can follow Ben on Instagram at @bsblaw. If you’d like to submit your own 3 watch collection for $5,000, fill out the form located here and our editors will review. 

As a watch nerd, there are very few things more frustrating to me than seeing watches in my watchbox not being worn. I like watches because they are like these trusty, reliable little companions that happen to be nice to look at, and serve a purpose. So instead of picking three watches that fill different roles and accompany me on different types of occasions, I set out to pick three watches that are versatile, and are ready to come with me on any occasion.


Grand Seiko SBGX261 – $2,000

The cornerstone piece of this versatile collection is the Grand Seiko SBGX261. It has equal parts quality, elegance and robustness, like a perfectly balanced Negroni. There is little doubt that Grand Seiko punches above its weight when it comes to attributes typically perceived as “quality”. The finishing on the case, indices and the dial make something special out of an otherwise mundane design on paper. Most likely these qualities will only be appreciated by the owner, after having lived with it for a while. It does not shout “Hey look! I’m a nice watch!”. Rather, it has a quiet confidence, a graceful elegance that makes it at home in more formal settings. 

Being a “bracelet watch” does naturally give off an air of robustness. But robustness is more than just an appearance. It is about how a watch does its job reliably, and doing it exceedingly well even in the face of adversity. Water? No problem. You are safe unless you’re diving 30-stories deep (100m). Temperature variations? No problem, the movement compensates it by dynamically sampling your ambient temperature. Magnetism? Not a problem, the watch meets the ISO-764 standard for antimagnetic watch (4800 A/m). Oh, and let’s not forget the “doing the job exceedingly well” part. It keeps time at +/-10 per year (cue mic drop).

Nomos Club Campus 38 Night – $1,800

Continuing on the theme of versatility, my next pick is the Nomos Club Campus 38 with the bracelet option. While the Grand Seiko goes about versatility in a more steadfast way, the Nomos goes about it in a more youthful way. The Nomos looks great on a bracelet, but it looks equally great on straps (I especially like the look on one of Nomos’ suede straps). The watch takes on different personalities on bracelet versus on strap, giving the owner an added layer of flexibility and play. 

The movement is arguably the polar opposite (and complementary) of the superbly low maintenance 9F quartz in the Grand Seiko. The Nomos has the manual wound, in house, Alpha movement, inviting the wearer to connect with the watch through the ritual of winding the mainspring once every couple of days. Finally, Nomos has listened to client feedback and improved the water resistance of the club models from 50m to 100m in recent years, making this probably the most versatile watch in Nomos’ line up.

Serica 5303-1 – $1,200

My last pick to round out the collection is the Serica 5303-1 (black). While the last two picks are versatile in a more obvious way, the Serica is versatile in an unexpected way. The Serica is a 300m water resistant dive watch. But its designer clearly set out to design a dive watch that is equally at home with a white suit or a wetsuit. You’ll find life-style pictures of the watch beside a white suit and a wetsuit on Serica’s official page for the watch. Judging from those pictures, they have succeeded with their design goal in spades. While the crowd tends to gravitate toward the Seiko SPB’s and the Tudor Black Bays of the world, get yourself a Serica instead. It is just as robust as those options. But I would say the Serica is slightly more adapted in formal settings. There is also nothing else like it on the market. From its unique bracelet design, dial design, and the signature Serica hand-set, the Serica is a thoughtful choice.

So there you have it! A supremely versatile 3 watch collection. Each watch could very well be the only watch you own. But they offer something different. Three watches with three different movements (a thermal compensated quartz, a manual and an automatic), from three different countries (Japan, Germany and France) and goes about versatility in three different ways.

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