I've been asked so often about watches I would recommend that I've decided to post here with the hopes I can either help someone build their watch collection or spur some debate. We've all heard of the holy trinity of watch companies - PP, AP and VC (some would even say ALS) but what about the holy trinity of watches? The three watches to build the foundation for all other watches in your collection and beyond?
Obviously there's no hard "right" or "wrong" but I believe the following three watches could set the foundation for any watch collection. Before I start however, I would like to lay a couple of basic ground rules: The three watches together must be attainable to the average watch collector AND be purchased new within a three year span (I understand the Lange 1 is an incredible watch but at $40k it's just not realistic to most). Additionally they should be able to hold their value within 75% of purchase price. Given the average salary of roughly $60k a year, I would say a $12k total budget over the three year span is both fair and attainable.
Here we go, the first watch I would start my foundation with would be none other than the Omega Speedmaster Pro 3570.50 (only the 3570.50). For roughly $3500 you get a watch with both tremendous history and versatility. For clarity, the reason I would only consider the 3570.50 is because this is the model that most closely resembles the original 321 AND is still today NASA flight approved for space missions. I've said it before and I'll say it again, for the money there is simply no better watch on the planet that can match the history and quality of the Speedypro.
My second choice would be the Breitling Navitimer 01 although I understand this choice is much more up for debate. This beauty can be had for roughly $6k and brings with it a rich history as well. Now in all fairness there are a few other watches in this price range that can easily fit into the number two hole and those would be the JLC Reverso, JCL Master Thin or Panerai Luminor. The reason I decided on the Navitimer is because I'm an airman at heart. I was in the Air Force and am just fascinated with aeronautics history. However, I can certainly understand any of the other three choices as that anchor watch.
This is where things get difficult, the number three watch with only $2500 or so left to spend in the budget. For me, the choice is fairly simple and I would say a Tag Heuer Cal 6 Monaco. Obviously, my first choice would have been the Cal 12 with chronograph but with only $2500 left that's just not an option. One reason why I wouldn't mind going with the Cal 6 is because I already have two incredibly well built chronographs and don't mind the Tag not having the chrono. Most people would argue the whole reason to get the Monaco is for the Chronograph, but I say the Monaco was made famous for TWO reasons, the first, because it was the first automatic with a chronograph and the second (most people don't know this) is because it was the first square water proof watch. The only other watch I would consider putting into my foundation collection which is less than $2500 and meets the above criteria would be the Longines Flagship Heritage.
So to recap, my foundation would consist of the following:
Omega Speedmaster Professional 3570.50
Breitling Navitimer 01 (first choice), JLC Reverso, JLC Master Thin, Panerai Luminor
Tag Heuer Monaco Cal 6 (first choice), Longines Flagship Heritage