Three-Watch Collection Under $5,000: Zach’s Picks

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We’re back with the our latest installment of our popular Three-Watch Collection Under $5,000 series. We’ve already seen Ilya’s, Mark’s, Hung’s, Sean’s, Christoph’s, and ZQ’s picks. Today, Zach–worn&wound’s co-founder and Executive Editor–breaks down his three choices.

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.

Without further ado, let’s get to it.


Three watches for $5,000–what a fun game to play. Actually, it’s a really good way to figure out your priorities and to see if you can, in a mere three watches (that’s a joke, three is plenty), satisfy your watch needs and desires. I started mine with the premise that I wanted each watch to occupy its own niche where it fulfills a practical purpose, and that I would allot the bulk towards a mechanical chronograph since I just love them. Then, to add another layer of difficulty I decided to only go for new watches and full retail. No offense meant to my fellow worn&wound writers, but I did this because vintage watches are fickle things, and while cool, they can quickly increase in price. Furthermore, all of the watches I chose can actually be bought for quite a bit less than I specify if you get them secondhand. So, this is really a, “Three for $5,000, If You Buy Them New.”  Let’s get on with it.

Hanhart Pioneer Mk I – $2,270

As I said, my first goal was to get a mechanical chronograph, and I was willing to put the bulk of my $5,000 towards this. Luckily, I didn’t have to, as the Hanhart Pioneer Mk I comes to a very reasonable $2,270. Sure, that’s a substantial price, but when you take into account what you are getting, it’s a great value.

Starting with the most obvious, it’s a mono-pusher chronograph, meaning the chronograph is started, stopped and reset via the same button. Mono-pushers are uncommon as there are no off-the-shelf movements with this feature, so a brand has to modify another movement to get this result. Hanhart works with La Joux Perret, a very high-end movement manufacturer and modifier to take a Valjoux and turn it into the caliber in the Mk I. Not only is it a mono-pusher, the pusher itself has been moved up higher on the case for ease of use and to reflect the design of the watch the Mk I is based on. Find that on another watch under $5,000!

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To that point, the Mk I is a very cool looking watch with a military DNA that dates back to the original Hanhart from 1938. With details like cathedral hands, a bi-directional fluted bezel and Hanhart’s iconic red-capped pusher, it has looks that are both historical and exotic. It’s anything but generic, and at 40mm, wears beautifully.

Lastly, and this really can’t be understated, Hanharts are built to high luxury standards. These watches just feel like they cost several times what they do thanks to exceptional machining and detailing. And that’s not an accident, they are made in small batches and assembled by hand in Germany.

The Pioneer Mk I hits all of the pillars of a great watch; it’s mechanically interesting, it’s built exceptionally well, it’s effortlessly stylish and it has real provenance if that’s something you seek. As you can probably tell, this watch left a lasting impression on me, and is very high on my list of watches to obtain in the near future. Check out my full review here.

Sinn EZM 3 – $1,860

With the chronograph out of the way, my next “need” is for a good, everyday sport watch. Something rugged and able to handle anything I could throw at it. Not that I do anything that intense, but, you know, riding the subway in NYC in the summer requires a certain level of durability. So, naturally I turn to Sinn and their tough-as-nails, tech-laden watches. Specifically, their dive-watch-in-disguise, the EZM 3.

Part of their mission timer series, the EZM 3 looks like a mean, modern pilot watch, with faded green lume, a military-esque 12-hour index, dark red accents (including the date–drool) and classic military hands. The 41mm case also shares lines with the 103 chronograph, which dates back to a design from the ’60s (though it feels very contemporary). And the case has been flipped, putting the crown on the left side, adding to wearer comfort. But, the EZM 3 hides a secret–it’s actually a 500-meter dive watch.

Now, I don’t dive, and I don’t need 500 meters of water resistance, but this is about being overbuilt, and the EZM 3 very much qualifies. Similarly, it’s anti-magnetic to 80,000 A/m and features Sinn’s Ar-dehumidfying technology. I don’t need either, but I’m happy to have them.

In the end, what I find so appealing about the EZM 3 is that it’s a versatile watch that is oddly discrete. Heck, it doesn’t even say “5000m” on the dial. By looking like a pilot, but being a diver, it is its own thing, and at 41mm with a bezel, it’s a very wearable size for something so tough. Lastly, given the tech inside, and that Sinns are built to an unmatched level of quality, at under $2,000 this watch has few rivals in terms of value.

Hamilton Intra-Matic 38mm – $845

For my third watch, I wanted something on the dressy side that I could still wear casually. I rarely wear a suit or go to formal events, so while I want a watch that would work in those situations, in order to feel like I’m getting my money’s worth, it should still be something I’d wear to the office or just out with my usual attire. The Hamilton Intra-Matic 38mm fits the bill. Specifically, the steel model with a sunray silver dial. It’s thin, elegant, and balanced; it’s minimal but not cold; and it’s priced really well.

It retails for $895 on the bracelet.

I reviewed the gold-cased version a few years back, and while I wouldn’t buy the gold version, wearing the watch for a bit left a lasting impression. Hamilton simply nailed the details on this one. From the subtly-domed dial, to the bent minute hand and huge domed sapphire crystal, it exudes understated cool. I also love that it’s a two-hander, which is very uncommon these days, and that it has a six o’clock date window, which works surprisingly well with the simple black lines and stick hands. 38mm is also the perfect size for this watch, small enough to speak to its dress intentions and historical roots, but big enough for contemporary tastes. (There is a 42mm version as well, but the 38 is clearly the winner).

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The gold isn’t bad, but the steel version is perfect.
Great lines and thin profile.
The dial radiates.

Like the EZM 3, the versatility of the Intra-matic is what makes it such a winner. It’s graphic and restrained, making it look great with everyday clothes when paired with a leather strap, but elegant and refined, making it work with dress clothes, particularly on a mesh or the like. Lastly, it’s powered by the ETA 2892, which is a great movement and not often found under $1,000. Looking back at this watch, it was really ahead of the vintage trend, and I’m impressed by how much they got “right” with it. This is Hamilton at their best.


And there you have it, $4,975 worth of watches. Money well spent, in my opinion. Within these three watches you have a little bit of everything: a mechanically interesting chronograph, a high-tech diver with a pilots’ attitude and a go-anywhere dress/casual watch with effortless style. What more could you ask or?

Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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