James’ 2019 $20K fantasy watch collection James’ 2019 $20K fantasy watch collection

James’ 2019 $20K fantasy watch collection

James Robinson

It is with a palpable sense of frustration that I must start my 2019 $20K fantasy watch collection with a pretty serious caveat — I had started writing this list before the now infamous Rolex price hike of 2020. As a result, I will be utilising the Big Crown’s 2019 prices so as to keep within the, albeit fictional, budgetary constraints. Of course there are watches from other makes in my fantasy list but, thankfully, the other watches haven’t had their RRPs jacked … yet. So, without further ado, here is my dream line-up of timepieces from the final year of the decade:

Rolex GMT-Master II Ref.126710BLNR

fantasy watch collection

Yes, OK, quit your groaning, I know it’s a very predictable choice … and I just don’t care. Rolex’s 2019 re-introduction of the much-loved BLNR or “Batman” GMT-Master II, now on a jubilee bracelet and sporting the Calibre 3285 movement, may not have been the most inspired release, but I still utterly adore it. The profound heritage of Rolex’s GMT-Master and GMT-Master II is undeniable, and this latest iteration continues to prove why the model line-up is the best GMT-equipped timepiece on the market … in my opinion. In fact, the only thing I don’t like about this watch is the slightly uncharitable nickname it has earned in the enthusiast community — “Batgirl”. $12,250 (Now $13,600)

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Ref.

fantasy watch collection

I’ve always adored the Omega Seamaster — in fact, seeing Daniel Craig wear the now discontinued blue wave 41mm Co-Axial Ref.2220.80.00 in Casino Royale back in 2006 is what kicked off my love affair with watches. I just remember thinking, “Wow, that’s a very, very cool watch, and if it’s got 007’s tick of approval, it’s good enough for me.” I also naively thought that perhaps if I were to wear the same watch as James Bond, maybe I too would attract the attention of some femme fatales, just like my favourite secret agent … but I digress. This latest iteration of the Seamaster, replete with its white ceramic dial, contrasting black ceramic bezel and red “Seamaster” lettering, was a real standout for me when it was unveiled last year, so much so that it’s the first time in a long time that I’ve seriously considered parting with my hard-earned to buy a Seamaster. $7400

Swatch Sistem51 Hodinkee Generation 1986

fantasy watch collection

I should start off by saying (subtly flexing) that I’m one of the lucky sods fortunate enough to get my hands on one of these excellent watches. Representing the third collaboration between Hodinkee and Swatch, the Generation 1986 is, simply put, a cool and practical timepiece with a wonderful aesthetic. I also deeply admire the remarkable feat of engineering that the Sistem51 represents, especially now that it features the anti-magnetic Nivachron™ balance spring. And now that I think about it, can you name another Swiss-made watch with an automatic movement and 90 hours of power reserve for less than $300? Because I can’t. This watch, and every Sistem51 for that matter, is the quintessence of performance democratisation. $270