The Three Watch Collection for $5,000: Reader Edition – Prashanth P.

Editor’s Note: In this Three Watch Collection for $5,000, reader Prashanth P. gives us a detailed look into their focused yet diverse collection. We love it for its unique point of view, and charming personality. See more from Prashanth on Instagram @watchesbringmejoy

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

I’ve read and enjoyed some of the earlier iterations in this series, but was unaware until recently that readers could submit an entry.  I am certain that a significant portion of watch enthusiasts, myself included, have performed similar mental exercises for fun (“If I had X budget, what watches would I get?”).  The twist here is that I will be selecting watches from my own tightly curated (that’s fancy for small) collection.  I rotate four watches, so one of them will probably be upset at being passed over.  Don’t worry, I’ll give it some extra wear time in the upcoming days to assuage any lingering bad feelings.  To me, watch collections live at the intersection of lifestyle (including budget) and personal style.  I hope you enjoy this glimpse at my address.


Nomos Orion Duo – $1,600

I’m no fashion maven, but I enjoy dressing up, even if opportunities to do so have dwindled during the pandemic. This first pick is something that I consider my smart watch – the space between ‘smart’ and ‘watch’ being key here. It’s a Nomos Orion Duo, 33mm of manually winding Bauhaus goodness with an MSRP of $1600. Almost all dial, it wears bigger than its specs, even on my puny 6.25” wrist. The gold colored hands and hour markers add an extra touch of elegance, as do the extended lugs. It hearkens to watches from mid-last century when men wore suits to go outside of the house and all watches were tools, even precious metal ones.  The vintage watch world can be a minefield, and the Orion Duo allows me to achieve the look without potentially blowing up a purchase. I particularly like that I can set the time to the minute without having to zero a seconds hand.

Tudor 1926 36mm with opaline dial – $2,000

The everyday pick is the Tudor 1926 36mm model with opaline (white dial), and an MSRP of $2000. This is my all-arounder that is equally at home paired with a tailored sport coat or worn-in jeans. The waffled dial texture and the blue dial furniture, which shifts from subdued to electric with the lighting, provides visual interest. The automatic movement is not proprietary, but that means any competent watchmaker can service it without difficulty. The standout measurement for me is the less than 10mm thickness – quite svelte – and the case overall is the beneficiary of Tudor’s/Rolex’s massive technological expertise. Since I said the R word, I have to further comment that I think Tudor still flies under the radar comparatively, even with its recent success, which makes me less anxious taking the 1926 with me when traveling.

Seiko SNE573 solar diver – $495

To round out the collection, the final pick is the Seiko SNE573 solar diver with an MSRP of $495.  This is my outdoor/adventure watch for when I am hiking in the mountains (where I prefer to be) or lounging at the beach (where my family prefers to be).  With my slender forearms, I gravitate towards watches with more modest dimensions, and the SNE573 hits a personal sweet spot for a sports watch coming in at 38.5mm and 10.6mm thick.  Looking back at my (ongoing) journey in this hobby, when I first learned about mechanical watches, and as my newfound knowledge grew, I developed a snobbish disdain for quartz.  I’d like to imagine that my mindset has matured. As a grab-and-go piece and a quick reference to set other watches, I see the value of quartz as part of a larger set or as an only-watch.  To the latter point, my remaining piece is a 9F-powered Grand Seiko SBGX261, which could honestly be a one-and-done watch.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you and I will attempt to tie things up with a few additional thoughts. You may have noticed that I selected a manual wind-only, an automatic and a quartz, as well as a German, Swiss and Japanese; this was intentionally done to maximize diversity within a tight grouping. Nomos, Tudor and Seiko are not only my favorite manufacturers, but I believe they represent some of the top values in watches. My threesome are among the least expensive in each brand. It’s akin to buying the cheapest house in the best neighborhood. If you have added up the retail prices of my picks, you’ll also note that we are well under $5000, and several hundred more factoring in discounts. What to do with the leftover cash? I propose two simultaneous courses of action. Purchase at least one additional band for each watch since a strap/bracelet change can often make it feel like a different watch, and put the rest away in a watch fund. This is supposed to be a three-watch collection, but we all know that n+1 is the perfect number!

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