It’s been a while since the last installment of our popular Three-Watch Collection Under $5,000 series. We’ve already seen picks from Ilya, Mark, Hung, Sean, Christoph, Brad, ZQ, Zach, and Jon. Today, Ed Jelley—Worn & Wound’s newest contributor—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.
The hypothetical three-watch collection under $5,000 is a fun thought experiment. It’s enough money for some great pieces, but balancing the budget between three watches can definitely be a challenge. Here’s some quick details about my typical day to help put my choices into perspective.
A day in the life of Ed Jelley isn’t super crazy. I’m 30-years-old, a father to a toddler, and work in an office environment that’s relatively close to home. My daily “uniform” is almost always a button down Oxford shirt, dark raw/black jeans, and a pair of desert boots. No intense work environment, no crazy commute, and I don’t have to dress up all that much. My ideal three watch collection includes a piece that can be dressed up or down for work, a chronograph, and a beater/vacation watch that’ll stand up to the occasional swim/hike/adventure. Let’s start with the…
Tudor Black Bay 36 Blue – $2,850
There might be a little bit of honeymoon phase bias at play here, but I’m enjoying my new Tudor Black Bay 36 Blue so much that I will happily devote a large chunk of my budget to this watch. My colleagues have deemed the BB36 as a “Dressy Tool Watch” or DTW for short, and I can’t agree more. The solid construction, impressive water resistance, diver-esque dial, and proportions that remind me of the classic Rolex Explorer I make the BB36 an excellent everyday watch.The mix of polished and brushed surfaces are equal parts casual and dressy, making the watch easy to dress up or down. It’s at home with nearly any outfit thanks to the versatile shade of blue Tudor chose for the dial.
I also think I’m in love with the 36-millimeter case and 10.25-millimeter height. The smaller size of the watch makes it very comfortable to wear — staying out of the way when you bend your wrist and effortlessly slipping under a cuff. Small details like the applied indices and finishing on the case (radial brushing on the lugs, high polish on the slab sides, and subtle chamfer in between) really make the watch a great value. To me, this watch feels like the perfect allrounder whether I’m plugging away at my desk or out and about on the weekend.