The Three Watch Collection for $5,000: Reader Edition – George East

Editor’s note: In this 3 Watch Collection for $5,000, reader George East shares shares one of the most unique trio of watches we’ve seen yet in this series. There are classics, and there are under the radar specimens of interest. It’s focused and clearly from the mind of an enthusiast comfortable in their own skin. 

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

Ever since I got into watch collecting, I quickly understood that it need not be the elitist or financially ruinous hobby it’s made out to be at times. It’s a broad church of tastes, styles, and budgets – all of which should be celebrated. 

What’s more, the feelings and memories invoked by a watch are, to me at least, equally important to its looks – I have a Tudor BlackBay GMT as a daily wearer, and every time I look at it on my wrist, I see it as a memory box, a Pepsi-bezelled, stainless steel connection to my family and my friends across the world. 

With that in mind, I chose the following watches as my “3-Watch Collection for $5,000” as they have a certain amount of personal significance to me. Given watch collecting – at least in my mind – is about variety, they’re also completely different in nature. 

That’s enough of me talking. Let’s look into things a bit deeper, shall we?


Omega Seamaster 300M 41 Quartz “Goldeneye” // REF: 2541.80.00 – ~$3,000

After much deliberation, I’ve settled on this as the grail watch in my “3-Watch Collection for $5,000” – the Omega Seamaster 300M 41 (reference 2541.80.00) as worn by Pierce Brosnan in the 1995 James Bond adventure, Goldeneye. 

I grew up in the 1990s, and Goldeneye was the first Bond movie I recall watching. Even then, and I can’t have been any older than seven, I was slack-jawed at how Bond’s 300M could laser a hole in the floor of a Russian armoured train, or be used to set off explosives in a Soviet-era bomb making facility. I knew deep down that watches couldn’t really pack this sort of gadgetry, yet these scenes in Goldeneye brought me – and still very much bring me – an unbridled sense of child-like wonder and joy. 

Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand that there are sexier watches out there than a battery-powered Omega fast-approaching its third decade. Yet even now – some 26 years since I first saw Goldeneye – I can’t think of any other watch that evokes such joy and feelings of want in me whenever I see one. 

Undoubtedly, the Omega Seamaster 300M was my gateway into the world of watches, and I’m very glad that this first generation of Omega’s eponymous diver exists. I’m even happier they’re still relatively affordable and with the right amount of TLC, you can still rock the Bond watch of the ‘90s as a daily.

Seiko Presage “Cocktail Time” Mockingbird // REF: SRPD37J1 – $450

I’m not overly keen on dress watches, and I lay the blame for this largely at the feet of heritage Swiss watchmakers who are still keen to use outdated terminology such as “ladies watch” and “evening watch” and “dress watch” – we’re in 2023, so wear whatever watch you want, when you want! 

There is, however, one particular watch that goes against my aversion to more formal pieces – the $350 Seiko Presage “Cocktail Time” Mockingbird, which takes its colourful moniker from the Mockingbird cocktail, not its avian counterpart. 

The watch’s design is inspired by Japanese cocktail culture, and its green sunburst dial has a truly enchanting appearance. Depending on the light, the dial’s almost fan-like finish flits between hues of dark and even darker green. When paired with Seiko’s brown leather strap, the Mockingbird becomes exquisitely beautiful…

… In fact, I’m happy to go on record and say that the Mockingbird is a truly standout piece in a sea of visually-outdated Swiss dress watches, despite being a fraction of their price.

echo/neutra Averau 39 Moon Phase – $840

For reasons we’ll get to later, the Averau 39 Moon Phase from Italo-Swiss microbrand echo/neutra is a watch that seriously appeals to me. 

It’s far from fancy, but it’s not supposed to be. The Averau’s 39mm case is made from stainless steel, it has a no-nonsense black and white dial, and in entry-level spec, it comes paired with a rugged black fabric strap. A humble, off the shelf, Swiss-made automatic movement from Sellita is what drives it. It’s a pure tool watch. 

However, it’s a tool watch with a rotating moonphase complication, and anyone who has an interest in watches, will – for the most part – have an interest in space and agree that the moon is the coolest of the planets. Thanks, Omega…

Whilst there is no real need for a watch to have a moonphase dial in 2023, I simply love that echo/neutra has bothered with adding one – you mostly find this type of thing on the grand complications crafted by Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and IWC, not a sub-$1000 watch. 

All the power to echo/neutra for bringing the moonphase to the masses.

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