The Watch Curmudgeon’s 5 Watches for $2000

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Time for some serious thinking. Ok, we’ve got 2 grand to fuel our watch addiction, and we have to spread it over five watches: a sport/diver, dress, chronograph, quartz/digital, and a tool/beater. As far as I can see, there are two basic ways to approach this conundrum: the logical way and the illogical way.

The Logical Way

All you sensible chaps will break down that 2 grand, and get the best possible deals on five watches. Yup, there will be a lot of give and take, but you’ll make it work and settle for five very nice watches. “Very nice watches?”

That ain’t good enough for me. The last thing I need or want are five more very nice watches that will probably never wind up in my rotation. At this point. I’m not going to “settle” for a watch. I want watches that I long for, grail watches that’ll make me tingle every time I wear one. And that leads to the second approach.

The Illogical Way

In a nutshell, I’d be very irresponsible and blow a disproportionate amount on a single watch. Yes, a single watch that’s on my gotta-have list. It would run me about $1300., which would leave $700. for the other four watches. Ouch!  So, is it possible to buy four cheapies, and get at least two that I’d actually wear once in a while? Let’s see.

Sport/Diver: Helson Porthole, $1299.HELSON_PORTHOLE

I’ve been drooling over this watch for quite some time. It’s an impossibly gorgeous tool diver with classical good looks enhanced by its own wild DNA. The case is bronze. The crystal is double-domed sapphire. The engine is an ETA 2824, one of the world’s most rugged and reliable movements. The crowns are outrageously beautiful. It would have been Jules Verne’s watch of choice. (Do you think I like it?) But there is one slight problem that I’d learn to live with: It’s 44mm in diameter. So what!

Dress: Orient Bambino, $182.


Great watch! A real classic in every sense. And an absurdly stupendous value. 182 bucks? Wow! I’d gladly wear this one if I could part from the Helson for an evening. And it’s a comfortable, let alone sensible, 40.5 mm. I’ve never owned an Orient, but I’ve only heard positive things about them. Dressy enough for a formal wedding, the Bambino may not have a platinum case or a discreet moon phase indicator, but it would out-shine most any bride.

Chronograph: Junkers Bauhaus 6086-5 $385


Ok, let’s get this one problem out of the way: It’s quartz. You purists are rolling your eyes, but, remember, I had to stretch the bucks. Visually, the Junkers, with its German heritage, happens to be beautiful in every sense of the word, and Ronda does make respectable quartz movements. Since it’s a chronograph, there’s no large second hand that’s going to jolt along declaring that this is not a true enthusiast’s watch. I’d actually wear it at least twice a year. The watch is a cool 40mm.

Quartz/Digital: Swatch Irony YWS-401 $87.92


This time I was TOLD to get a quartz, so no snide remarks. I honestly find this Irony style to be very gentle on the eyes. It’s about as classic as a Swatch can get: their usual graphic lunatic must have been out with the flu when it was designed. Under duress I’d certainly wear it, but only if the Swatch Repair Dept. could yank out the seconds hand. That shouldn’t be a problem. (Famous last words.) I’ve really got nothing against Swatch. It’s a brilliant company that deserves all the success they’ve had. My price is from Amazon.

Tool/Beater: Casio Classic W800H-1av $13.97


As a watch lover, I find it blasphemous to single one out as a “beater.” I’d never own or wear a watch that I didn’t give a %@#& about. If I’m going to be engaging in an activity that could wreck one of my watches, I’d simply remove it. However, if I had plans to engage in something like bungee jumping, rock climbing, or extreme skateboarding, and I had to make a 3:00 pm psychiatrist appointment, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a watch on hand. So, the Casio would be perfect. Unlike a massive G-Shock, the Casio Classic is small and slim, and does everything you could possibly want from a watch. In fact, it would probably be the most accurate and reliable watch in my collection. My price is from trusty old Amazon.

Well, that’s it! $2000. And 5 watches. Weighing in at a respectable $1967.99.

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