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

Editor’s Note: In this edition of the 3 Watch Collection for $5,000, reader Thomas S. brings us a capable trio that isn’t afraid to step off the well beaten path. There’s new stuff, hard to get stuff, and kinda (but not really) old stuff, all bound by a great sense of style and practicality.

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

I’m a minimalist at heart. That doesn’t mean I always succeed. As far as watches are concerned, I certainly have more than three (though proudly less than ten). I’ve spent the last couple of years working towards attaining my own perfect three watch collection. These watches are the core of what I take traveling, and are the most worn of all of my watches. I find it a well-rounded collection, if still leaning towards being sporty. As my collection grows (and shrinks) over the years, I anticipate these three watches remaining at the forefront of my collection.


Seiko Alpinist SARB017 – $600 – $1000

The SARB017 was the first mechanical watch I ever bought myself. I picked it up just after Seiko quietly discontinued it, and was lucky enough to get it well under what they are selling for now, new or used. With the trusty and near-indestructible 6R15 caliber inside, the Seiko Alpinist SARB017 holds its own as a daily work watch beater. I should know, I wear it often when climbing and pruning trees as an arborist.

The crown guards and second crown at 4 o’clock bely the Alpinist’s toolish nature, but the elegant lines of the case and vintage indices and hands let the SARB017 clean up rather nicely for an orthodox GADA (Go Anywhere Do Anything). On a nice leather strap I have no qualms wearing the Alpinist to fancier events or functions I attend, and it’s an enthusiast favorite when fellow watch nerds spot it on my wrist.

Sadly, the SARB017 has been out of production for a few years now, but Seiko revitalized the Alpinist line with a new movement (6R35) and colorways. You can find a used SARB017 for about the same price as a recent Alpinist at $725. Did I mention the 200 meter water resistance?

Casio G-Shock GW-5000U-1JF – $300


It’s not often I get to own the “best” of anything. The “best” usually translates to “expensive”. But as far as the best square resin G-Shock goes, I consider the GW-5000U an affordable winner. Modelled after the solid construction of the earliest G-Shock squares, the GW-5000U has a metal case beneath the resin bezel and a solid screw-down caseback.

Initially only produced for the Japanese market, the GW-5000U can now be purchased from Casio in the European market. We in America still have to import it from our Japanese watch dealer of choice. It’s seriously worth considering though.

Aside from the solid casing, the GW-5000U also employs more supple rubber for the band, which imparts a more premium feel than other resin G-Shocks. The updated module within has a full world timer function, complete with special half-hour time zones for special areas. Included too is the standard stopwatch, multi-alarm, and countdown timer. The GW-5000U is solar charged and receives an atomic time radio signal in the northern hemisphere.

What I love about it is that, with its stealth look, it’s a total sleeper on the wrist. It looks good, it feels good, and it’s as capable as any G-Shock Square, if not more than most. But to most people, it will just be another G-Shock. They don’t know it’s the best resin G-Shock money can buy.

Oris Divers Sixty-Five 12H Calibre 400 on bracelet – $3,900

I saved the best for last. The Divers Sixty-Five 12H from Oris is my most recent acquisition, and certainly the crown of my collection, 3-watch or otherwise. I had been after an Oris with a Calibre 400 movement of some sort for a while now. When Oris released the 12H I knew it was the one.

The watch itself is classy. It’s an iconic skin-diver design à la 1965. But the stark use of black, grey and white, and minimal markings makes for a clean, refined design. Sure it’s technically a tool watch, or at least tool watch inspired, but on the bracelet the 12H looks just as good under a shirt cuff as with a T-shirt.

The 12-hour, bi-directional bezel adds just the right amount of quirk to set this Divers Sixty-Five apart from the rest. I’m not taking this watch diving. Besides, it’s only rated to 100 meters of water resistance. So traditional diving bezels are lost on me. The 12-hour bezel allows me to track a second time zone, which is much more useful for me. I can still time eggs, pasta, and parking meters with it well-enough as well.

The star of the show is what’s underneath all that good outer design. Oris’ Calibre 400 is still a radical introduction to the watch landscape even now more than a year after its initial introduction. It has a power reserve of a whopping 120 hours, allowing me to easily switch between the other watches in my collection. Not constantly resetting the watch is great, especially with its high accuracy. Mine clocks about +3.5 seconds a day. It’s also anti-magnetic for the modern world. The kicker is the 10-year service interval and warranty, setting the Calibre 400 in a class of its own. You can tell I’ve become a converted fanatic. The question is, have I convinced you?

The Collection

Overall, this 3-watch collection gives me plenty of functionality and flexibility. I can go super casual with the G-Shock, classic with the Alpinist, and classy tool with the Oris 12H. All are capable watches in their own right. And, important for me, all three watches have some way of tracking elapsed time. If GADA ever manifested as a collection, I’d say this comes pretty close.

Related Posts
This is the house account for Worn & Wound. We use it on general articles about us, the site and our products.

Comments are closed.