Selecting the best watches of 2019 with an unlimited budget is one thing. But those of us who aren’t hip-hop stars or oil tycoons have to comply with the tiresome reality of financial constraints. Which leads us to the challenge of selecting a $20K Fantasy Watch Collection from 2019. Here’s my hit list that sneaks in five watches just under the limit, to a total of AUD $19,785.
The Longines Heritage Classic was one of the best watches of 2019, hands down. It felt like Longines listened to all of the complaints about recent heritage reissues, and made a watch that offered exactly what the enthusiast community wanted. It is a historically accurate reworking of a watch from the Longines archive, offers a 38.5mm case diameter, manual winding, and the best proportioned dial that we’ve seen in a while. If that isn’t enough, it’s priced at less than $3K, making it one of the best value watches released in 2019. Bravo Longines. Price: AUD $2900
From the New York Fashion Week Streets to the inside of Fonda Mexican, pastels made a major play in 2019. Autodromo offered us a new design of their Group B that played this perfectly, producing a watch that was unlike anything else released last year while also giving us a 39mm titanium case with integrated bracelet and popping blue dial. Price: circa AUD $1420 (USD $975)
The Citizen Caliber 0100 has to be one of the most important watches released last year. In 2018, Citizen showcased a unique eco-drive pocket watch that was accurate to +/-1 second per year, whetting appetites for a wristwatch version. In 2019 that was delivered, and not only is it possibly the most accurate wristwatch in the world, but it also looks great in 38mm of titanium with a stunning exhibition caseback. The price isn’t what we are used to seeing next to a quartz watch, but I’d argue it makes for a significantly more interesting and historically important timepiece than a generic $10K luxury watch from Switzerland or Germany. Price: circa AUD $10,800 (USD $7400)
Ming had a big year in 2019, releasing a number of new watches, including their 18.01 Abyss Concept, and the 17.06 Monolith and 17.06 Copper. The Copper was the star of the show, however, making waves at the GPHG when it was awarded the “Horological Revelation” Prize. The warmly toned salmon dial is as charming as it is different, while staying unwaveringly faithful to the Ming design language. Price: circa AUD $1900 (CHF 1250)
Haven is a brand that landed on the scene in 2019, but did so with a bang, offering their first ever watch as a colourful yachting chronograph that is straight out of the ’70s. Nicely sized at 37mm, the three register chronograph has a creamy-tone panda dial with a pulsation track around its circumference. It’s clear that while the Chilton might be the first watch from Haven, they know exactly what they are doing, with clear nods to important chronographs of the past. Price: circa AUD $2650 (USD $1799)
If you’re looking for some good clean fun, look no further than the Bau Swatch Collection. Strong design and an even stronger price point — of the watches in this list, this is the only one I’ve already added into the weekly rotation. Price: AUD $115