Editor’s note: In this week’s 3 Watch Collection for $5,000, Griffin Bartsch (@cgriffinbartsch on Instagram), a seasoned collector and watch enthusiast, makes his case for value with a trio of watches that punch well above their weight class. In a watch environment where prices keep climbing, it can be tough to find quality and originality that’s budget friendly, and it can be even tougher if you can easily recall a time when these things just weren’t so expensive. But as Griffin points out, there are still great watches to discover at any price point.
You can make your submission to the Three Watch Collection – Reader Edition by filling out the form right here.
Talk to anyone who has been a watch enthusiast or collector long enough and a constant through-line will be that watches cost more than they used to. It’s hard to deny. In the near decade and a half that I have nominally been what could be called a watch collector, the market has experienced a dramatic surge.
It’s gotten to the point where it is unavoidable that rising prices have become a pretty standard stop in the flow of conversation at meetups and on forums. Even I am not immune to the temptations of the topic — I have probably mentioned a few too many times that when I was 18 I could have bought a polar dial Rolex Explorer II Ref. 16570 for the same money as my Martin D-35 (around 3500 bucks). That Martin still floats right around that price today, the Rolex decidedly does not.
A result of all this is that it can sometimes feel like it’s hard to find great watches at reasonable prices. And while I have started hearing the phrase “$10,000 is the new $5,000,” I would posit that there are probably more interesting, affordable watches on the market than ever before.
Obviously this is not to say that $5,000 isn’t a meaningful sum — it obviously is — but it is also a dollar figure that can still buy you a hell of a lot of watch. So without further ado, here are my picks for a three watch collection under $5,000.
Vertex M60 Aqualion ND ~$3,005
If I’m going to have a collection made up of only three watches, it only makes sense to start with the watch I already basically wear every single day — the Vertex M60 Aqualion ND. On its surface, this may not be the most exciting choice. And I admit that picking a black dial dive watch right off the bat is maybe a little obvious, but since I got my Aqualion I have seen little reason to wear anything else.