The Three Watch Collection for $5,000: Reader Edition – Huy Tran

Editor’s note: In this 3 Watch Collection for $5,000, reader Huy Tran shares a well considered trio that touches on heritage and utility while staying entirely within the practical realm. 

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

A 3-watch-collection is a fairly common topic of the watch community, and for good reasons. It represents a somewhat minimalist solution for those who still want to enjoy the fascination of these little machines but don’t like the idea of succumbing to consumerism craze. To be honest, I’m actually one of those people and am fancying the potential of selling all my watches to start again with an empty 3-slots watchbox. So this challenge is the perfect opportunity for me to simulate an imaginary outcome and see if I like what I come up with. My three choices reflect the spirit of minimalism that I mention, they are all time-only three-handers that offered by brands from the same watch conglomerate and one of them has just been released recently and gave me the idea.


Tissot Heritage 1938 Automatic COSC (Salmon Dial) – $825

When a watch comes with the word “heritage” you know you’re dealing with some vintage inspired design. In fact, this Tissot Heritage 1938 is reminiscent of the watches they produced in the 1930’s, with a classic looking case in a compact but contemporary size of 39mm. The tasteful salmon dial is matte and occupies most of the watch face with the bezel being very thin, so this may wear a tad too big for smaller wrists. I particularly love the font of the applied Arabic numerals and the railroad minute track, combined with the vintage Tissot logo and the “Chronometre” text at the top and bottom bring perfect balance to a very clean dial. Yes, inside the case is a COSC-certified ETA 2822 movement, just 38 hours of power reserve but I prefer accuracy and high frequency over the Powermatic 80. There’s no lume and just 50m of water resistance, this is an everyday working watch perfect for urban dwellers with 9-to-5 jobs.

Longines Heritage Skin Diver – $2,600

Another “heritage” watch, and somehow I feel that’s the only sure way to get a diver with no-date dial that’s not from a microbrand nowadays. This watch is a tribute to Nautilus Skin Diver, the first dive watch from Longines, a very faithful design to the original model though the case size has been bumped up from 40mm to 42mm, with rather long lug-to-lug measured at over 52mm. The black on black dial and bezel (with the bezel is made of steel and PVD-coated) make the watch face look even bigger, but the elongate hour markers/numerals and minute track create a narrow cleaner space at the center to offset some of that.

As a proper diver, the watch has a screw down crown that provides 300m water resistance, with fauxtina lume on the markers and numerals to complete the vintage vibe. For that, I will choose to pair the Longines Heritage Skin Diver with the tropic rubber strap to stay true to the spirit of its original era, though the mesh bracelet looks great too. This watch will be at home while I’m sipping cocktails at a beachside bar hut during summer vacation away from the office.

Hamilton Khaki Field Expedition (Blue Dial) – $1,045

This newest release from Hamilton is what gave me the idea for this 3 watches collection, and it’s also the first Khaki from Hamilton that I actually want to buy. Ignoring what the purists said, Hamilton has done a very good job refreshing the heavily military influenced design of the Khaki line and created a proper sport/adventure watch. I love the subtle look of the compass bezel, it’s there and useful when you need but still direct the focus to the dial. With the 24-hour inner circle gone, a more pronounced minute track and bigger, closer to center hour numerals, minimal branding and text combine to make a less cluttered but still aesthetically full dial. Legibility is superior no matter what size you choose, but I prefer the 41mm version over 37mm, because at that size the 20mm lug width feels more proportionally right.

I chose the blue dial to balance out the salmon and the black colors of the first two watches. Rumors are that the Khaki Field Expedition is equipped with a top-grade Powermatic 80 movement from ETA, so the price feels somewhat justifiable. I’ll buy the bracelet version because you’d still have left with a lot of cash to purchase a full drawer of straps to change up for all 3 watches, sticking to the “Less is more” motto of a true minimalist.

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