The number of watches it takes to comprise a collection is a topic which sways mightily in the wind of opinion. Ultimately though, none of that matters – the simple truth is: the right amount is that which satisfies you. Whether 1, 100, or 1,000 only you know when you have enough ticking treasures on your wrist, or in your safe. For the person who wants some advice on putting together a basic group though, I do have a few thoughts on where to start:
I. The Daily Driver
This is the watch that you would take with you if you had to grab something on the go, and not worry about it. Whether you go with self-winding or quartz, time only or chronograph, it should be water resistant, and durable, as well as something you really, really like – because this is one you wear often, especially when you are engaged in your favorite activities. What are some examples? The Omega Seamaster 300M, IWC’s Aquatimer Automatic or Chronograph, the Girard-Perregaux Sea Hawk, any stainless steel Rolex Oyster, and many Bell & Ross models. Those with a generous budget and a preference for the bold will find the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph an “ultimate”.
II. Casual Elegance
This timepiece bridges the gap between a pure dress watch, and one which is overtly casual. Overall, this is probably my favorite category, because truly, such a watch can just about do it all, although the fine finishing on watches in this category don’t lend themselves aesthetically to the real rough treatment. My personal loves here are the legendary Audemars Piguet Royal Oak models, and the Patek Philippe Nautilus line. Also superb is the Girard-Perregaux Laureato Evo3 series, another distinguished example of the genre. The refined Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watch is right at home here, as well.
The archetypal dress watch, on a fine leather strap, ideally on the slender side. The Omega DeVille collection has some very nice choices, and IWC offers its elegant Portofino. Movement elitists (guilty as charged) will delight in the Piaget Altiplano, Blancpain’s wonderfully slim Villeret line, the Chopard L.U.C Extra Plate, Girard-Perregaux’s 1966 watch, and the stylish Glashutte Original Senator Sixties models.
Why not have a fourth category dedicated to complications? Well, the reason I didn’t bother is this: various complications from basics like power reserve and chronograph up to complex perpetual calendars and tourbillons can be found in each of the three groups, particularly the latter two. If you have a hankering for mechanical complications, your desires can certainly be satisfied in any one of these categories. And remember, this list is just a starting point to put together a watch rotation you will find plenty of occasions to wear. Use your imagination, be true to your preferences (as opposed to peer pressure) and you will be able to create a collection that satisfies over the long term.