It’s been a while since the last installment of our popular Three-Watch Collection Under $5,000 series. Today, Allen Farmelo, one of our long-time readers, writes in with his picks.
A quick refresher on the parameters before we get started. We chose $5,000 as the cap for the simple reason that $5,000 is generally regarded as a point of entry into luxury. So rather than drop all that coin on a single watch, we thought it’d be interesting to see how our team plays around with that number. Furthermore, the choices aren’t limited to specific categories of watches. Our contributors can choose watches they’d like based on their needs and personal preferences. Finally, for the sake of consistency, all watches currently being produced have to be valued at their MSRP. Vintage or recently retired models should be based on the average market rate.
We watch-heads constantly ogle, research, covet, and, alas, budget for watches we will likely never own. This is odd, even irrational, behavior. Case in point: why I annually seek the astronomical prices of Patek Philippe’s latest grand complications remains a grand mystery, especially given that such knowledge repeatedly deflates my spirit. Even my actual purchases can be right-brained affairs, and I’ll admit that the occasional evening here at Chez Allen operates under the following slipshod algebra: Single Malt + eBay ÷ Available Funds = New Watch. Indeed, we watch-heads rarely, if ever, grapple with equations as dispassionate and sober as $5,000 ÷ 3 Watches = Collection.
However, even under these abstract limitations—or perhaps because of them—I am compelled to work love into the equation. If you love watches, and if you’re going to even imagine having just three, then you have got to capital-L Love those three watches. No doubt, though, love can mess up otherwise rational thinking; it is fickle, deeply personal, and nearly impossible to calculate.And then there’s the work of generating horological love. To do this, we must project personal psychological energy—let’s call it significance—into the beating heart of a watch until we feel that energy radiating back at us from the dial. Both slow infusions of meaning (my father and his Bulova spending decades together) and quick injections of significance (my father giving me that same 30-jewel Bulova on my 30th birthday) are possible. Either way, it’s up to us; watches do not come prepackaged with significance.
However right-brained we chose to be, we still decide which watches to build a significant, loving relationship with, and the better we know ourselves, the better we are at finding lasting wrist-partners. Does a watch trigger my imagination? (GMTs always do.) Do I feel romantic in a watch? (Ah, my two weird Scotch-brown Seamaster redials.) Does my inner child have a say? (Sometimes, yes.) Would a watch suit me in my elder years? (Hublot, no; Rolex, probably.) Do I want to buy a watch in conjunction with a major life event or while traveling? (I tend to.) Can a watch’s design resonate with a life well lived? (Dad’s Bulova sure did, and still does.) Will there be love? (There has to be.)So, please know that I absolutely, unabashedly capital-A Adore my horological triumvirate of keepers under $5,000: an Omega Seamaster Professional Ref. 2254.50, a Sinn 556 Anniversary Limited Edition, and a Farer Universal Oxley GMT. Ostensibly a trio of tool watches, I will contend that these are three of the most versatile, robust, and handsome watches available in their respective price ranges. More importantly, they excel at absorbing and radiating my love.