The Three Watch Collection for $5,000 – Reader Edition: Thiago S.

Editor’s Note: What a list this is from reader Thiago S, featuring a pair of unique JDM Seikos and one of the greats from Longines. This is a three watch collection that might take some patience, but the result is something as original as it is functional. Bonus points from introducing me to a watch I was otherwise unfamiliar with in the Urushi Series SARW013!

If you’d like to submit your own 3 watch collection for $5,000 can you do so at the form right here.

First, I have to say that this is not a simple thought exercise about possible watch combinations. I am putting my money where my mouth is because these watches belong to my permanent collection. I built this trio based on the concept of “Work, Rest and Play” where you can have a suitable piece for each main activity of our lives. 

I have a particular soft spot for Seiko’s Japanese Domestic Market (JDM). It is almost a separate branch of Seiko. They have a great design, you can find watches made of different materials or unique processes and for a fraction of the price of similar pieces. And, since they are restricted to the Japanese market, you also can enjoy some level of exclusivity if you live in other parts of the globe.

Seiko Presage SARW013 (Urushi Series) – About $1,000 plus import fees

Image via Seiya Japan

Mesmerizing is the best word to describe this Seiko JDM watch. The deep and lustrous black is the perfect canvas to the elegant white hour numerals and the two golden sub-registers. This dial is everything, it can be clean and discrete or rich and complex at the same time depending on your feelings when you see the piece. Full of subtle details, even the second’s hand has this elegant crescent moon on it and the lugs are interesting with a little twist from the case to the strap. Speaking of which, it is a very comfortable alligator strap with a golden stitch that matches the golden hands and sub-dials.

The dials of this line are produced by the master craftsman of Kaga Maki-e and Urushi lacquerware craft, Mr. Isshu Tamura. These two techniques are fascinating. Urushi is a type of deep black lacquer used for literally thousands of years in Japan. It was applied even to coat the armor worn by samurai. The entire process is extremely time-consuming, taking about three weeks to hand-made each dial. Kaga Maki-e is the gold lacquer technique used on the details of the dial. As you can imagine, the result is mesmerizing. This master craftsman is the same responsible for some SBGK limited editions from Grand Seiko Elegance Collection, which cost up to 40x more.

This watch has a comfortable 40.5 mm in diameter, 47.8mm lug to lug, and 12mm thick. It is powered by a nice in-house caliber 6R27 with 29 jewels, a power reserve of 45+ hours and operating at 28,800 BPH (4Hz).

Seiko Presage SARX055 (aka Baby Snowflake) – Also, about $1,000 plus import fees

Arguably, one of the most famous Seiko JDM models. This piece may have some similitude to his more famous brother, the Grand Seiko SBGA011. But it has his personality with a much more discrete dial, that resembles a frosted glass rather than fresh snow. The lack of a power reserve indicator is also a nice difference. It is an automatic, not a hand-winding watch, after all. That change makes the watch more symmetric. 

The titanium case and bracelet offer noticeable lightness and comfort. The material has a distinct texture and plays with the light in a different way than steel. Amazing for daily use.

These watch dimensions are 40.8 mm in diameter, 46.2mm lug to lug, and 11mm thick. It uses a caliber 6R15 with 23 jewels, a power reserve of 50 hours and operating at 21,600 BPH (3Hz).

The watch has an overall elegant and discreet presence. It can be used on a variety of occasions. It is masculine without “trying too hard” like some tool watches.

Longines Legend Diver – $2,150 up to $3,000 depending on the model

This timepiece is out of the ordinary. Different from so many other diver watches, this one operates using a dual crown and internal bezel system. It is not a “true compressor” diver but it is still a re-edition of one of the first divers from the brand (ref 7042).

My favorite reference is the L3.774.4.50.6 with a black dial, 42mm, and an incredible mesh bracelet. This watch indeed feels big on the smaller wrists and the bracelet is a bit heavy. With these cases, you are probably good with the 37mm model on canvas strap, but you will have a remarkable piece regardless of the reference that you choose.

I still hope that Longines releases a 39mm model, not too big, not too small. Just perfect.

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