It seems more and more watch brands pop up every day, from the inexpensive and forgettable to the gaudy and grandiose. But should they warrant a place in your collection? Let’s take a look at our picks for the perfect 5 watch collection for under $1500.
Putting together a watch collection isn’t all that dissimilar to putting together a wardrobe. In fact, one should compliment the other.
Ultimately, even though that “dream watch” in its box at the back of the wardrobe is great for weddings and once-in-a-decade occasions, you should build a collection of watches you’re going to wear often.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a group of 5 watches you could probably wear in the same week, from out on the links to late-night drinks.
Our Picks For The Best 5 Watch Collection (Under $1500 Total)
Let’s begin with a solid foundation: the sports watch. We’re looking for ruggedness, water resistance and a clear-as-day dial. There are plenty out there on the market, but let’s take a look at one that has it all and one hell of a power source.
The Sport Watch: Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver
So many people seem to choose aviators over divers these days, but these people are truly missing out when it comes to the Citizen Promaster.
Stocky is the key word for this watch. From its crown to its decisive orange minute-hand, the Promaster is your stalwart pal and its dark blue polyurethane strap is both subtle and sturdy.
From its crown to its decisive orange minute-hand, the Promaster is your stalwart pal and its dark blue polyurethane strap is both subtle and sturdy. Most notably, Eco-Drive generates power from any source of light, from direct sunlight to dim office lamps, keeping your watch running for days.
What’s more, the colour scheme of the watch settles comfortably into your autumn-winter outfits and really pops in the summer sun.
The one-way rotating bezel has rugged grips without looking gaudy and the dial itself is a masterpiece of clear design. From its transformer-like hour markers to its javelin second hand you’ll be able to keep track of time mid-serve, if necessary.
However, behind its anti-reflective crystal lies the real USP of this watch: the Eco-Drive dial.
The Eco-Drive generates power from any source of light, from direct sunlight to dim office lamps, keeping your watch running for days and meaning you never even have to replace the battery.
Details of the Promaster Diver
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The Everyday Beater: Seiko Prospex Radio Sync Solar
Every watch collection should have a couple of “beaters” in it—versatile, reliable watches that can take the usual beatings that come with being worn every day. Just because they can take said beating, however, doesn’t mean they have to be ugly or unimpressive.
The Radio Sync Solar has a 6-month power reserve once it’s fully charged with natural light, but that’s not all. As its name suggests, the Prospex syncs with any standard radio signal in Japan, China, Germany, the UK and the US, to automatically set the time and date.
The first of our beaters is a fitting segue from the Citizen in that it also is a solar-powered watch.
The Radio Sync Solar has a 6-month power reserve once it’s fully charged with natural light, but that’s not all.
As its name suggests, the Prospex syncs with any standard radio signal in Japan, China, Germany, the UK and the US, to automatically set the time and date. That’s right, you don’t even have to manually set it!
And Seiko guarantees an accuracy of +/- 15 seconds per month!
Aside from getting the technical specifications absolutely right, Seiko have also managed to create one of the most visually stunning Chronographs on the market.
With its screw-down crown and sleek push pieces, it’s highly functional and the exquisite design of the numbers will have even Hermès quaking in their boots.
All in all, if you’re looking for a beater that can be dressed up for work or down for a few drinks with friends, look no further than the Prospex Radio Sync Solar.
Details of the Seiko Prospex Radio Sync Solar
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The Chrono: AVI-8 Lancaster Bomber Chronograph
AVI-8 was founded in the early 2000s with the aim of becoming one of the most recognizable aviation-themed brands on the market.
Naturally people were skeptical, especially since its foundation came hot on the heels of fellow British luxury aviation brand Bremont. Nevertheless, AVI-8 clearly put a lot of love into their designs and they were rewarded with excellent reviews from the start.
Few airplanes command as much nostalgic respect as the Lancaster Bomber and AVI-8 did an excellent job of paying homage to the plane in this watch.
The dial itself captures the style of the cockpit beautifully. Replacing the 12 with a 0, every time you look down at your wrist you’ll feel you’re on a countdown to take-off. The style of the numbers also strikes the tone of World War 2 Blighty, the “Keep Calm And Carry On” stoicism that birthed the Lancaster Bomber itself.
The gunmetal blue leather strap adds a little light to the English Channel blue depths of the dial and the flashing red of the subdials feel like warning lights in a bomber cockpit.
For blending reserved British style, ruggedness, and a remarkable price, this really is one of the finest beater watches on the market.
Details of the Avi-8 Lancaster Bomber
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The Wildcard: Swatch Sistem Thought YIB402
Moving away from the beaters, here we are with a sleek watch with a dial as interesting as its history.
Most people think of Swatch watches as just simple, affordable, kind of quirky watches they used to have as kids, but underneath all that marketing lies a pretty seismic past.
In the 1970s, the introduction of inexpensive Japanese quartz watches to the market almost decimated the Swiss watch industry. Thanks in no small part to the head of Swatch, Nicholas Hayek, Swiss watches not only bounced back from the brink of extinction, they had a meteoric rise in success.
One of the reasons for this was that ‘quirky’ marketing we all remember as kids. Since then, Swatch have never stopped their design innovations and nowhere is that more visible than in the SISTEM THOUGHT.
Whether you’re out with friends at a bar or on an informal date, people will be hard pressed not to notice the gleaming bronze inner workings of this stainless steel beauty and its bizarre date dial.
Its scratch-resistant crystal acts as a kind of porthole into the whirring and clicking that even non-watch-lovers can’t help but admire.
And there’s more.
Just because Swatch embraced quartz movements to get them out of a bind in the 1970s, doesn’t mean they’ve limited themselves to them since then. The SISTEM THOUGHT not only has a fully automatic movement showcased by the crystal back—its innovative Sistem51 movement—but it is a lightweight, mechanical watch that has a look and feel of a watch double its price.
Details of the Swatch Sistem Thought YIB402
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The Dress Watch: Orient Sun and Moon, Version 2
Fundamental to any watch collection is a dress watch. Even today, you really can’t put on a suit without one. Alright, you can, but you bloody-well shouldn’t unless you want to look like a post-pubescent simpleton on his way to prom.
Luckily for you, a good automatic doesn’t even have to break the bank anymore.
Orient has been producing complicated watches of excellent quality for years and the Sun and Moon is probably the most beautiful (and famous) dress watch they offer.
Its synthetic sapphire crystal back gives a great view of the rotor, but the dial is where you’ll want to keep your eye.
Roman numerals punctuate the stunningly textured dial and swooping lines demarcate the date window, the days-of-the-week subdial, and the all-important Sun and Moon dial.
This is an exquisite addition to this already-complicated watch because it puts the sun to sleep just as your night is beginning.
There’s something wonderful about knowing the moon on your watch is in sync with the one in the heavens and this watch is the perfect companion on any elegant evening.
(Well, nearly the perfect companion.)
Details of the Orient Sun and Moon, Version 2
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What if you could only pick three watches?
So we wanted to keep this 5-watch collection to under $1500 total. As of this writing, it tallied up to about $1100, so we’re actually way under.
But regardless, maybe even $1100 is a little more than you were thinking? Not to worry! Let’s assume you wanted to max out at three watches total, in order to keep your collection lean, and to minimize the amount you’re spending.
The only three watches you need when starting a watch collection on a budget are a sports watch, a beater, and an elegant evening watch.
- Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster Diver: You’re not in gym class anymore and being active is no reason to be late and certainly no reason to keep a beeping phone on you during your free time.
- Seiko Prospex Radio Sync Solar: Get yourself a Beater you can dress up or down with the occasion. The style of the numerals alone is worth twice the price.
- Orient Sun and Moon Version 2: Round off your 3 watch collection with this stylish, timeless dress watch from a company that really knows what it’s doing.
What Do You Think Of Our Ideal 5 Watch Collection For Under $1500?
When putting together a beginner watch collection, it’s important to choose the three styles you’re most likely to wear. By including two beaters and an interesting casual skeleton, we were able to be selective about our sports and dress watches later.
I hope you liked the watches you found here and that it has inspired you to put together your own beginner watch collection for under $1500.