The Three Watch Collection for $5,000: Reader Edition – Christopher Lee

Editor’s Note: In this week’s installment of our ongoing “3 for 5k” series, reader Christopher Lee presents a collection that incorporates two watches he personally owns, and one that might be entering his collection soon. These three watches cover a lot of horological ground, from a classic Swiss diver, to the most tech-forward watch in Seiko’s catalog. 

You can make your submission to the Three Watch Collection – Reader Edition by filling out the form right here.

Oris Aquis – $2,400

When setting out to name three watches for $5k, I knew I wanted to have at least one dive watch. It was the style of watch that first got me hooked on the hobby and in my opinion, every collection should have one. To me, the Oris Aquis has qualities that make it extremely desirable. Personally, I own the Caliber 400 model, but for the purposes of this list I will refer to the Sellita powered version. 


First off, the Aquis has great build quality and finish. The watch feels substantial in the hand and features 300m of water resistance. Furthermore, the transitions from polished surfaces to brushed are razor sharp. The head of the watch feels extremely solid with crown guards that are screwed onto it, which for me is a purposeful nod towards the longevity of the case. The bezel and its ceramic insert feel great to use with its snappy ratcheting feedback. Every set of links on the integrated bracelet features polished outer links and full articulation, contributing to a comfortable wearing experience with great wrist presence. Finally, the clasp is one of the best I’ve experienced. It does not feature any quick adjustments but makes up for it in overall quality and machining. The Aquis has everything the quintessential Swiss diver should have, but with enough unique touches to make it stand out.

The other side of Oris that makes their watches so endearing are the various environmental and humanitarian efforts often tied to them. On the Oris website, you can see these programs and the collaborative watches they have produced. For me, it only makes it easier to recommend Oris to others who come into the hobby.

Seiko Astron SSH063 – $2,000

I have always had the feeling that Seiko’s Astron line was a bit under utilized or under marketed. I realize this may just be my perspective being based in the United States, but I had never seen any materials marketing the watch up until the latest integrated bracelet models. I hold this line in extremely high regard, and I would argue that it has the potential to be something of a flagship line for Seiko. Why do I feel this way? Because this model line seems to draw from all the things that make a Seiko a Seiko for me. The reference I have chosen, the SBXC063/SSH063, is my favorite of the bunch. This is an older model Astron from two generations ago, but I find it to be the most attractive and wearable.

Starting with the case shape and lug architecture, that’s pure Seiko Sumo with a hint of King Seiko. The near invisible domed sapphire crystal? I would say this aspect references the higher end JDM Presage models we all love so much. The overall finishing and titanium construction feels like the amazing titanium models from Grand Seiko –  honestly the dial furniture alone is enough to sell me on that. It absolutely sings when on the wrist. Even the name itself, Astron, feels like a call back to the original Seiko quartz watch that changed the world of watches forever.

Finally, my favorite part of the watch: the technology. While it is not Spring Drive or a mechanical timepiece, the watch really shows how much of a technological powerhouse Seiko can be. They have produced a solar powered watch that is accurate anywhere in the world you can catch a GPS signal. The watch can tell you the day and date, swap time zones in a few button presses, and even features a leap second indicator to help deal with the odd deviation in universal time. It has become my favorite travel watch. 

Lorier Zephyr – $500

Finally, for my dress/fun watch, I decided to choose the Lorier Zephyr. This is the only watch of the three that I do not personally own, but I think what Lorier has done with the Zephyr really captures what I look for in a dress watch. In my mind a great dress watch would be a smaller sized vintage piece that looks great on a leather strap. The wonderful thing is, with the Zephyr, you don’t need to actually hunt down a vintage watch. I will not act like I am old enough to have been around for the 20s and 30s (the period of inspiration for the Zephyr), but this thing just drips with the aesthetic. 

Taken separately, the faceted dauphine hands, guilloche dial, and railroad minute track may seem like it would produce an overly busy dial. But throw these elements into an 8mm thick tonneau case and they just work, and they work for a ridiculous price. They also managed to cap the hole where the hands are fitted, a lovely touch more watch brands should make. I hope to pick one up someday.

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