02/25/2022
 3 minutes

The Perfect Three-Watch Collection for $10,000

By Thomas Hendricks
CAM-2134-Perfect-3-Watches-Magazin-2-1
You can find more reviews, how-to videos, talks, interviews, and other content related to luxury watches on our YouTube channel.

So, you want to buy solid timepieces but don’t want to spend a lot of money getting it done? Say $10,000 over several years? Here are a few options to start YOUR perfect three-watch collection. Some of my choices might surprise you… 

First of all, there are a few ways to go about building a three-watch collection on a budget. As a private client advisor at Chrono24, I always recommend that my clients have a roadmap in mind for where they want their collection to go and how much money they are willing to spend. Life is full of surprises, but a rough plan will keep your collecting journey intentional, even as your tastes, knowledge, and financial situations change. In this article, we’ll cover the bases of dress watch, sports watch, and what we’ll call the “just for fun” category.   

Watch 1: The Sports Watch

For our sports watch, we’ve chosen the Rolex Datejust, ref. 1601. Yes, you’ve read that correctly: I’m suggesting a Rolex Datejust as a sports watch for your collection. Keep reading to discover my suggestions for a dress watch. This Datejust has a 36-mm steel case with a fluted bezel and Jubilee bracelet. You could go even more sporty with a modern Rolex Datejust on an Oyster bracelet or a similarly-priced tool watch from Tudor, but these Rolex Datejusts are easy to style, easy to maintain, and hold their value well. If you’re a watch collector who likes to keep an eye on your budget, you can pick up a nice Datejust for roughly $4,500 (at the time of writing).  

The Rolex Datejust: A perfect watch for everyday wear?
The Rolex Datejust: A perfect watch for everyday wear?

Watch 2: The Dress Watch

Moving to the other end of the spectrum, we’ve selected an 18-karat yellow gold Audemars Piguet Ultra-Thin dress watch. Am I right to assume that you would have expected AP in the sports category and the Rolex Datejust as a dress watch? Let’s take a look at this unique vintage timepiece anyways. Mechanically speaking, this Audemars Piguet Ultra-Thin dress watch is a simple, manual-winding, time-only watch. Aesthetically, it’s a feast for the eyes with Breguet numerals, tempered blue steel leaf hands, marvelous guilloché engraving in the center of its dial, and, of course, those sculpted lugs. The watch’s square case is 27 mm across and stands just 4 mm high. It wears larger than those numbers would suggest, but it helps to keep in mind that vintage watches – especially vintage dress watches – will naturally run smaller for a more elegant feel. Surprisingly, watch collectors can find timepieces like this from Audemars Piguet for around $4,500, which is much less than a comparable Cartier Tank.  

Did you expect me to pick an Audemars Piguet dress watch?
Did you expect me to pick an Audemars Piguet dress watch?

Watch 3: The “Just for Fun” Watch

Dress watch? Check. Sports watch? Check. So, we’ve got about $1,000 left. Let’s throw in a “just for fun” timepiece. Two popular brands for watches that are big on personality and small on price are Swatch and Casio. A Casio G-SHOCK is great because it does a whole lot, you can beat the hell out of it, and you get a cool 1980s feel. Swatch watches are another good option because there are thousands of different designs, so it’s easy to show your personality as a watch collector for very little money. With this “just for fun” category, you have a lot of freedom because you’re not sinking a lot of money into a single watch, which means you can be much more adventurous in your design choices. If it’s a quartz movement, you know it’s going to be accurate, and you don’t have to baby the watch.  

The Casio G-SHOCK: A perfect budget-friendly “just for fun” watch.
The Casio G-SHOCK: A perfect budget-friendly “just for fun” watch.

Watches from Swatch and Casio typically cost between $100 and $200, so you’ll still have money left over in this scenario. You can, of course, buy a more expensive “just for fun” watch. The Tissot PRX series is a super cool option with an integrated bracelet, the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical is a popular choice for outdoorsy types, and there are some unique options from various microbrands. Otherwise, you could put that extra money towards a nice dinner out on the town; Rolex on one wrist, AP on the other, a little surf and turf – you know the deal.  

There are many ways to approach a potential three-watch collection, and the only true sign of success is a collection that matches your lifestyle and makes you smile.   


About the Author

Thomas Hendricks

I didn’t grow up a watch guy, but a few years after graduating from university, I landed a job at the online publication Watchonista as a writer and marketer. “Welcome to the watch world,” my colleagues told me half-jokingly, “no one ever leaves!” Now at Chrono24, I work as a private client advisor, helping people find the perfect watch for major life moments.

Read more

Latest Articles

OFP-65-Buyers-Guide-Seiko-Prospex-2-1_EN
06/15/2022
Buying Advice
 5 minutes

Chrono24 Buyer’s Guide: Seiko Prospex SBDX001

By René Herold
Watch-Investment-Guide-2022-Magazin-2-1
06/10/2022
Buying Advice
 6 minutes

The New World of Watch Collecting: 2022’s Top 3 Tips for Investing in Watches

By Jorg Weppelink
OFP-47-Watch_Hunting_Watch_Hunting_2_1_A
06/08/2022
Buying Advice
 2 minutes

Value First: Affordable Watch Hunting With Sharmila Bertin

By Thomas Hendricks

Featured

Omega Speedmaster Professional
Omega
 3 minutes

MoonSwatch: Brilliant marketing trick or serious miscalculation?

By Donato Andrioli
Patek-Philippe-Nautilus-2-1
Audemars Piguet
 6 minutes

The Top 5 Investment Watches of 2022

By Jorg Weppelink
5-Rolex-Invest-2-1
Rolex
 6 minutes

The Top 5 Potential Rolex Investments for 2022

By Jorg Weppelink
Patek-Philippe-Nautilus-2-1
Audemars Piguet
 6 minutes

The Top 5 Investment Watches of 2022

By Jorg Weppelink
5-Rolex-Invest-2-1
Rolex
 6 minutes

The Top 5 Potential Rolex Investments for 2022

By Jorg Weppelink