“Even with $4,000, there are many ways to split the budget between different watches. You could decide to splurge most of your budget on a very cool watch and clean up with some budget options. This is basically what I did with the first collection, where I chose the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight and only had $400 left for two watches.”
Best Watch Collection Under $4,000
- Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight ($3,600)
- Dan Henry 1937 ($270)
- Bertucci A-3T Vintage Field Watch ($159)
- Seiko Prospex SPB143 ($1,200)
- Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo ($2,000)
- Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium ($725)
Let me ask you a question. What would you do if you were given $4,000 and you had to build a perfect three-watch collection? How would you decide which watches to choose? And, more importantly, which watches would you choose? There are just so many to choose from… But no worries I got you. This is exactly why I’ve created the Best 3-Watch Collection Under… Series. If you haven’t checked out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, we created perfect collections under $1,000, $2,000, and $3,000, I highly recommend you check those out first. Basically, the rules and concept stay the same throughout the whole series, but the cash we can spend increases from part to part.
Some Ground Rules
Since we have to limit ourselves to only 3 watches per collection, versatility is key. So, we have to assume that these watches will be worn in multiple scenarios. And to make these collections as diverse as possible, the collections will each include a sports/dive watch, a dress watch, and an in-between everyday watch to cover all the bases. So that you will be ready for any possible occasion, be it in an important business meeting, laying at the beach, or hiking in the Andes Mountain range.
Also, to give you a little bit more inspiration and a bigger selection of potential watches, each part of the series will include two different 3-Watch collections. The ground rules will stay the same, but you will get two instead of just one collection. Simple as that.
But enough said, let’s finally get started with the collections!
Collection 1 is consisting of the beloved Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight, the Dan Henry 1937 and the Bertucci A-3T Vintage Field Watch.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight ($3,600)
The first watch on this list is the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight. Serving as the Sports/Dive watch in this collection, this watch is the proud winner of the 2020 Grand Prix D’Horlogerie De Genève, short GPHG. The Tudor BB58 won in the Challenge Watch category, which only allows watches that retail below $4,000 to enter. And being priced at around $3,600, the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight was permitted entry and they beat their competition. Rightfully so, I have to add. And in the end, this, and the fact that I love Tudor as a brand, were the reasons that this watch landed a spot on this list.
The exact model of the Tudor Black Fifty-Eight that won the prize and made it onto this list is the blue dial and bezel combination. I think it’s fair to say, that this variant is one of the most sought-after and beloved models in the whole BB58 line-up, making it an obvious choice for me to include here.
The Tudor Black Fifty-Eight with the reference M79030B-0001 features the automatic, COSC-certified, manufacture calibre MT5402, which provides an impressive 70 hours of power reserve, making it comparable to Rolex’s new caliber 3230, that is used in the new Oyster Perpetual 36, the Oyster Perpetual 41, and the Submariner 124060. The Tudor calibre MT5402, which they built into countless other Black Bay Fifty-Eight models, is housed in a case made entirely from polished 316L stainless steel. Measuring 39mm in diameter, 12mm in thickness, and 47.5mm from lug to lug, the watch has nice proportions, that make it comfortable to wear on your wrist.
As cool as the case may be, the combination of the blue dial and blue bezel is what makes this watch rather special. The understated, navy-blue dial features the Tudor-typical snowflake hands, simple hour markers, and minimal branding. All the different components are kept in white and offer a great contrast to the blue dial. Speaking of which, the dial complements the bezel perfectly, due to them having the exact same shade of blue. The unidirectional rotatable bezel with a 60-minute graduated disc, is made from steel, adding a distinctive vintage look to the watch.
So, there you have it, for $3,600, you get a lot of bang for your buck and a very cool sports watch for your collection.
Specifications: Price: $3,600, Case Size: 39mm, Thickness: 12mm, Lug-to-Lug: 47.5mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic, COSC-certified, manufacture calibre MT5402 movement, Power Reserve: 70 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Dan Henry 1937 ($270)
Next up is the Dan Henry 1937 chronograph, which takes on the role as the dress watch in the second collection.
The brand Dan Henry was founded by, you’ve guessed it, Dan Henry, himself. Henry collected over 1500 vintage watches over the span of 30 years and managed to acquire some of the most iconic and sought-after timepieces of the last century. I mean this guy is a legend.
After posting his collection on social media and getting great feedback, he had a thought. What if he took the designs of his most striking pieces and used them to make affordable mechanical watches? So that a broader range of watch enthusiasts would have access to these beautiful vintage timepieces. And this is exactly what happened. Dan Henry built his own watch brand which now offers modern watches with a vintage twist, that packs a lot of punch for their price tag.
And the Dan Henry 1937 is no exception. The watch features a Seiko VK64 Mecaquartz movement, which is housed in a 316L stainless steel case. The well-proportioned case measures 38mm in diameter, 12.7mm in thickness, and 46.1mm from lug to lug. Movement and proportions aside, it’s when we look at the design, the watch really starts to shine. Stylized to pay tribute to the era of Art Deco, the 1937 chronograph takes a lot of inspiration from two of the most iconic watches from the era. The Vacheron Constantin Ref.4072 and the Patek Philippe Ref.130.
Dan Henry gives us 4 different variants. Two of them offer a bi-compax styled dial with the chrono sub-registers horizontally opposed at three and nine o’clock, and two vertically opposed at 12 and six o’clock. When it comes to the dial, you will have a choice between four different variants, which are stated on Dan Henry’s website as follows: Silver, Gold (basically the same silver color as the one prior, but features golden ascents), Gilt, and Onyx. From the bunch, I like the Onyx and the Gold option the most.
Overall, Dan Henry delivered once again. Considering the price of just $270, you get a classic design, nice proportions, and a cool background story. Click here for more information.
Specifications: Price: $270, Case Size: 38mm, Thickness: 12.7mm, Lug-to-Lug: 46.1mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Seiko VK64 Mecaquartz movement, Power Reserve: Quartz, Crystal: Mineral with sapphire coating
Bertucci A-3T Vintage Field Watch ($159)
As my pick for the everyday watch in this collection, the Bertucci A-3T Vintage Field Watch will do just fine. I know, I know, not another Quartz watch. And I just wanted to counter, that we have a Cartier Tank in this collection, but soon realized that the Tank is also powered by a Quartz movement. So, I admit, this collection won’t be for the Quartz haters out there, but please just keep an open mind, Quartz watches can also be very nice. Trust me.
Having said this, I don’t have to go into detail about the movement of the Bertucci A-3T. But what I will go into further detail about is the brand behind the watch. Bertucci is a US-based company that was founded back in 2003. On their website, they state their story as follows:
Our story is a simple one. It’s about building a better watch. It’s a Promise Of Performance™ to you that is derived from a belief that innovative design and attention to detail matter. It is this focus, passion, and integrity that drive us in the watches we make for you.
Having heard that, I think you now know what kind of watch we are dealing with here. The Bertucci A-3T undoubtedly classifies as a field watch. And as you can read in our Watch Guide, field watches are built to be used in a combat situation where soldiers would have to coordinate attacks and tell the time accurately in every situation. Therefore, field watches tend to have a rugged but still simplistic look. And the Bertucci A-3T is no exception to that. The watch features a very durable, 42mm titanium case and a simplistic, highly legible dial.
For the price of just $159, you get a very cool-looking, ultra-durable watch made from titanium, which also happens to pack some cool history. I think that says it all. Click here for more information.
Specifications: Price: $159, Case Size: 42mm, Thickness: n/a, Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: 22mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Quartz movement, Power Reserve: Quartz, Crystal: Mineral
Collection 2 is consisting of the Seiko Prospex SPB143, the elegant Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo, and the Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium.
Seiko Prospex SPB143 ($1,200)
Starting off the second collection is the Seiko Prospex SPB143, which acts as the sports/dive watch in this collection. Inspired by a Seiko diver from 1965, the watch has distinctive vintage design features, modest proportions and offers a lot of bang for your buck.
The Seiko Prospex SPB143 features a durable-looking, stainless steel case, which measures 40.5mm in diameter, 13.2mm in thickness, and 47.5mm from lug to lug. The combination of the case diameter and the reasonable lug to lug distance makes wearing this watch a real treat. Especially if you consider other dive watches from Seiko, like the SRP777 ‘Turtle’ or the Seiko SLA041, which measure 44mm and 52.4mm in diameter. Compared to those, the 40.5mm of the Prospex SPB143 even seems small. The simplistic shaped and polished case also features a curved sapphire crystal, LumiBrite coating, and a screw-down crown, with the latter enabling the watch to have a water resistance rating of up to 200 meters.
The combination of the brownish/greyish sunburst dial and the black unidirectional rotating bezel complements the case quite nicely. In a true diver’s manner, the dial of the SPB143 is kept as simple as possible, ensuring high legibility, even when submerged under tons of water. The diver-typical bezel and the LumiBrite coating on the hands, indexes, and bezel, add to the diving capabilities of the watch.
Powered by the automatic Seiko 6R35 movement, the Seiko SPB143 delivers around 70 hours of power reserve and has an accuracy of +25 to -15 seconds per day.
As mentioned above, the Seiko Prospex SBP143 offers a lot of bang for your buck. Be it because of the proportions, the design, or the nicely executed movement, the watch will make you happy either way. Ah, and you will only have to spend around $1,200 to get one.
Specifications: Price: $1,200, Case Size: 40.5mm, Thickness: 13.2, Lug-to-Lug: 47.6mm, Lug Width: n/a, Water Resistance: 200m, Movement: Automatic Seiko 6R35 movement, Power Reserve: 70 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo ($2,000)
Next up is the Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo, which takes on the role as the dress watch in the second collection.
The Longines Heritage Tuxedo is one of those watches that immediately catch your eye and never leave your mind afterward. Longines was founded in 1832 (!), in a small Swiss town with the sounding name Saint-Imier. Ever since then, the almost 190-year-old company is known for manufacturing high-quality swiss watches. And while in present times, they are not regarded as prestigious as Rolex or Patek, Longines had times in which they were one of the most prestigious watch manufacturers in whole Switzerland.
Honoring the innovative spirit that has driven Longines’ watchmakers from the outset, the watch was designed after a watch that was produced by Longines in the mid-1940s and featured the same timeless design and distinctive vintage aspects. In the modernized version, these aspects can clearly be seen in the vintage-inspired dial with a silver opaline center section, that contrasts beautifully with the black hours’ track and the raised luminous numerals. The small seconds sub-dial at six o’clock is nicely decorated and features snail-shaped carvings to visually contrast. The large, highly legible hands, round the watch off.
The 38.5mm case hits the ideal balance between honoring the vintage heritage, being considered as a dress watch, and, at the same time, still, be wearable in the modern world of watch sizes. Basically, it hits the sweet spot. Inside the polished, stainless steel case, beats the automatic caliber L893 movement based on the ETA A31.501 and was modified by Longines in-house. The movement has a frequency of 25,200 BPH and provides a solid 64-hour power reserve.
Considering the $2,000 price tag, the brand’s heritage, and the quality of the watch, I would say that the Longines Heritage Classic Tuxedo offers great value for money and makes for an excellent choice as a dress watch in your collection.
Specifications: Price: $2,000, Case Size: 38.5mm, Thickness: 11.65mm, Lug-to-Lug: n/a, Lug Width: 19mm, Water Resistance: 30m, Movement: Automatic caliber L893 movement, Power Reserve: 64 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium ($725)
Rounding off the second collection is the Tissot Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium. Founded back in 1853, in a small Swiss town named Le Locle, Tissot is known to deliver high-quality mechanical timepieces at very modest price points. This can be seen throughout their lineup, making it a very attractive choice when on a budget.
The Tissot Gentleman was designed to be used as a watch that can be worn every day. It is equally suitable for wearing at your next business meeting, where you have to be dressed up, as on the weekend, when it makes for a perfect companion for a chilled afternoon in your garden. And this design philosophy can be clearly seen in the case and the dial. The durable stainless steel case measures 40mm in diameter and 11.5mm in thickness, making it suitable for virtually every occasion. Complementing the brushed case and the polished bezel is the beautiful black dial, which features applied indexes, arrow-shaped hands, a date window at 3 o’clock, and a rather conservative branding. The black leather strap, on which Tissot presents the watch, goes very well together with the black dial and the stainless-steel case.
In the Tissot, Gentleman beats the Swiss-made, automatic Powermatic 80.811 movement, which provides a whopping 80 hours of power reserve. This impressive power reserve was achieved with a Silicium balance spring, which was built into the movement, and enables the watch to have increased magnetic resistance, increased accuracy, and the before mentioned impressive power reserve.
Now that you know all the specs, there is only one question left. Where can I get one? You can order the watch online or visit your local Tissot AD. The $725 you will have to pay, is certainly worth it.
Specifications: Price: $725, Case Size: 40mm, Thickness: 11.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 48mm, Lug Width: 21mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic, Swiss-made Powermatic 80.811 movement, Power Reserve: 80 hours, Crystal: Sapphire
How to build a collection on a budget
Even with $4,000, there are many ways to split the budget between different watches. You could decide to splurge most of your budget on a very cool watch and clean up with some budget options. This is basically what I did with the first collection, where I chose the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight and only had $400 left for two watches. You could also split your budget exactly into three and spend around the same amount on every watch.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you. But choose wisely.