Don’t Miss This: Our team debates the best watches from $3K-5K USD Don’t Miss This: Our team debates the best watches from $3K-5K USD

Don’t Miss This: Our team debates the best watches from $3K-5K USD

Zach Blass

After debating the best watches under $1,000 USD and the best watches from $1,000 – $3,000 USD, the next tier we are going to tackle in our Don’t Miss This series are the best watches from $3K-5K USD. Traditionally speaking, the luxury watch segment really kicks off in the $3000 USD and above price point – where some of the more big name luxury brands begin to introduce their entry-level watches. To recap the mission of this series, it boils down to each team member deciding which watch a prospective collector should not miss if they are exploring within in a certain budget. Therefore, the team was challenged to nominate a watch, within or under a given price point, that they believe serves as a gateway benchmark for a collectors’ hunt within that price bracket.

To be considered, each nominated watch must prescribe to the following rubric and tick multiple boxes. These include:

  • Value for price visually and technically.
  • Excellence in aesthetic – great case shapes and dimensions, high wearability and ergonomics, well executed finishes. Intriguing dial textures and tones or power in simplicity (nailing a timeless classic look).
  • Robustness – up to the task of daily wear. with a high degree of scratch-resistance, shock-resistance, resistance against magnetism, and water-resistance.
  • Thinness/elegance – if a dress watch, how is the watch compelling enough to divert the gaze away from sportier pieces.
  • Movements – in house versus mass produced, level of decoration/finishing, accuracy, balance cock versus bridge, length of power reserve, level of complication.
  • Emotional connection – heritage-driven quality that speaks to iconic designs collectors love

With these points in mind, here is what the team believes are requisite watches to look into if you are hunting with a $3,000 – $5,000 USD budget.

Ricardo’s pick: Grand Seiko SBGA467

best watches from $3K-5K

There is just something about a go-anywhere, do-anything, watch that brings a smile to my face. To have a watch in your collection that feels at home in any situation makes any morning ritual just that much easier. This is what I looked for in the $3000-5000 USD price range. And with that in mind, the SBGA467 from Grand Seiko is an easy choice.

If there was ever a watch you could point to that could show some of the best of what Grand Seiko has to offer, this would be it. In one reference, you get beautiful Zaratsu polishing with enough brushed surfaces to stand up to daily use. The dial, though simple, is a great example of Grand Seiko finishing. Its grey diamond-cut hands and indexes are perfectly back dropped by an ink black dial. The brand also gives you a colour matched date wheel to boot. But the icing on the cake? A venerable Spring Drive movement humming away inside and displayed through an exhibition caseback.

Beyond these great attributes, the watch also has very welcoming dimensions. 40mm with a short 46mm lug-to-lug ensures a comfortable fit on a majority of wrist. If that’s not enough, thickness is only 12.3mm and the universal 20mm lug width makes the watch a bonafide strap monster. Oh, did I also forget to mention the watch comes with 100 metres of water-resistance and three days of power reserve? You just can’t lose with the SBGA467 in this range.

Price: $4,800 USD

Luke’s pick: The Omega Seamaster Railmaster

The modern reincarnation of the Railmaster is a brilliant everyday watch that’s strictly business and zero fuss. There are no polished flourishes here, everything is muted and matt, thanks to its satin-brushed finish that’s applied to every surface.

But just because it doesn’t go in for any showboating doesn’t mean this isn’t a serious watch.  Under the hood, it’s packing the Calibre 8806, a Master Chronometer movement with Metas Certification that’s anti-magnetic to 15,000 Gauss. Not that the Railmaster wants to flaunt any of this, of course – that would go against the watch’s utilitarian spirit. The engraved caseback remains firmly closed, a quality that helps give the watch a respectable depth rating of 150 metres.

 

Inside the 40mm case (lug-to-lug 46.6mm), the dial has a brushed metal base that gives it a really distinct textural look, in both the black and grey dial variants. The arrowheaded vintage-toned lume markers are another marker of quality with the lume recessed into the dial to give it a more seamless execution.

Little details on the dial add interest without being too fussy. The centre of the face is marked by crosshairs while there are Arabic numerals at the cardinal points, and a railroad minute track. The hands are simple, lume-filled batons, with a lollipop on the seconds hand. It’s a vintage-inspired piece, but one that doesn’t get too sentimental about the past.

On bracelet, it costs $5200 USD, but I’ve got a soft spot for the grey dial iteration on the brown NATO strap that sneaks under our price range at $4900.  This is a watch that I’m genuinely circling right now.

Zach’s pick: Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight

best watches from $3K-5K

Within the experienced realm of watch collection, many consider the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight one of the best pound for pound, dollar for dollar, timepieces on the market. Especially in a world where coveted Submariner watches are impossible to source at retail, buyers can look to Tudor to score a diver at effectively half the cost while delivering nearly the exact same quality. When people ask me about the Tudor BB58, I always explain, from personal experience, that it is basically a vintage Submariner with a build up to modern standards and expectations.

The Tudor BB58 nails the classic dive watch sizing, with a wrist friendly 39mm case anyone can wear that hovers around 12mm in thickness and 47.8mm lug-to-lug across the wrist across its variants. As time has passed since the original gilt-driven model was introduced, we now have a blue dial version (inspired by the 1975 Tudor “Snowflake” Oyster Prince Submariner 9401/0), a modern taupe color-schemed variant in 925 Silver, a 18K yellow gold model that is outside the budget parameter of this entry in the series, and, most recently, a boutique exclusive edition in Bronze.

 

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Each of the watches are 200 metres water-resistant, with screw-down crown, and are powered by the COSC certified Tudor manufacture caliber MT5400 with 70 hours of power reserve and anti-magnetic silicon hairsprings. Depending on the elected strap pairing and case metal, you will be faced with varying price tags. But for the most part you can expect a similar experience across all variations. There are subtle differences, however, to consider. The stainless-steel models have the most strap configurations to choose from, and are the only models that have mixed polished and brushed finishes. The 925 Silver is the only one of the four to have an exhibition caseback, and has a more precious metal heft on the wrist. The Boutique Edition Bronze, while the most expensive of the bunch, deviates a bit with its Explorer style arabic numerals on the dial and is bundled with a fabric strap along with its bronze bracelet – the only bracelet to feature the game changing T-fit extension clasp.

T-fit is a very welcome addition to the clasp, debuting Tudor’s micro-adjustment solution akin to Glidelock from Rolex. While not 20mm in extension like Glidelock, the T-fit rapid adjustment system allows you to adjust the length of the bracelet in five positions up to 8mm length – allowing nitpicking wearers to find the perfect fit.

Price: $3,375 – $3,700 USD for the stainless steel variants ,$4,300 USD for the 925 silver, $4,525 USD for the Boutique Edition in bronze