One-watch collection – these were your picks… One-watch collection – these were your picks…

One-watch collection – these were your picks…

Zach Blass

The notion of a one-watch collection is the most prominent oxymoron within our hobby. A collection implies multiple, yet all the time, whether over coffees, beers, or spirits, watch enthusiasts will playfully challenge each other to submit what their ultimate one-watch collection would be. Watch-collecting is a passion, at least within the niche community where we understand each other. To those outside of the watch world, or, perhaps, in moments of clarity within our watch world, it is a sickness and irrational addiction. Most people only need one watch, but, to a watch collector or addict, the idea of limiting oneself to just one will give any WIS the sweats. So, we posed this age-old question to you all on Instagram a few days ago and received over 400 comments with nominations. There are way too many nominations to run through them all, so here are the recurring brands and models you all proposed.

 

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Surprise, surprise… Rolex

Rolex Submariner 124060

Common nominations: Submariner, Explorer 124270, Explorer II (Polar), GMT Master II, Daytona, Yacht-Master, Day-Date, Oyster Perpetual, Datejust.

It is a very strong argument to claim that no watch manufacture offers more one-watch collection candidates than Rolex. This is because nearly all of their watches use their Oyster Perpetual framework, and whether a base OP model, or a more complicated GMT or Chronograph, all of the Rolex mainstays are robust, reliable, and versatile in how they can be worn with various wardrobes. All of the common nominations listed above are 100 metres water-resistant, leave the factory accurate within two seconds per day, and have aesthetics that will never go out of style. Everything you would need for a one-watch.

Omega

omega seamaster aqua terra shades 38mm collection feature

Common nominations: Speedmaster Professional, Speedmaster 321, Seamaster, Seamaster Aqua Terra.

The same can be said for Omega, which, like Rolex, received a lot of your nominations. The Speedmaster and Seamaster got a lot of love, but I feel those who gave the Aqua Terra some love were very astute. Perhaps I am being over cautious, but the Speedmaster’s 50 metres of water-resistant does not hit my 100-metre depth rating benchmark for a one-watch and the current-gen Seamaster, in my personal opinion, does not wear as much versatile as a Submariner in terms of more formal wear. The Aqua Terra, effectively Omega’s distinct Datejust-killer, offers 120 metres of water-resistance, has a wide range of coloured dials, and an overall aesthetic that can wear well both casually and formally. Robust elegance.

Cartier

Cartier Watches Wonders 2023 rapid reaction DSC04143 e1681248299613

Common nominations: Santos Dumont, Santos de Cartier, Tank, Tank Normale.

While some have expressed the bezel is a bit of a ‘scratch-magnet’, the Santos de Cartier is a top-contending one-watch in my eyes. It has a 100-metre depth rating, and it is offered on an interchangeable bracelet with a bundled interchangeable strap – such a versatile offering. It also comes in multiple size configurations, so it can accommodate more wrists with less compromise. Cartier’s timeless and beloved design language has earned their title of ‘the master of shapes’ and all Cartier watches are held to a rule of being ‘designed for a hundred years’ in that they will remain relevant and fashionable in their aesthetic as well as still ticking functionally. Other models like the Santos Dumont and variations of the Tank are also great nominations, but the asterisk with these selections, in my opinion, is that you would probably want to have a G-Shock or Apple Watch to complement these less robust designs for more active moments. But, if you are retired and less active, or you do not do anything active while wearing a watch, then sure they would be absolutely suitable as a one-watch.

Patek Philippe

Sothebys Important Watches December 7 2023 6

Common nominations: various Nautilus models

The Nautilus is undoubtedly a great pick, you all picked various references of the Nautilus in the comments. It is sporty and robust, yet impeccably finished inside and out. Makes complete sense as a one-watch. As arguably the most desired watch in the world, it is common sense it would get a shoutout in this horological game. I also noticed more complicated pieces outside of the Nautilus range get nominated as well, but, again, not the most feasible one-watch picks in my mind. What blew me away, however, was the fact that not one comment mentioned the Aquanaut. If I were to list my 5 candidates to take home the trophy for best one-watch candidate, the Aquanaut definitely would have been on my list. So, I am absolutely shocked that in over 400 comments I did not see one person pick it.

A. Lange & Söhne

Odysseus scaled

Common nominations: Odysseus.

Many of you mentioned the A. Lange & Söhne Odysseus, whether in stainless steel on a bracelet or white gold on a rubber strap. Phenomenal choice. Sporty enough with a 120-metre water-resistant case and Lange’s first-ever calibre with a full balance bridge, aesthetically elegant enough that it is truly equal in its pairing with casual or formal wardrobes. It is also one of the references in its segment to have an irrefutably distinct design, with Lange’s German sensibilities and design signatures it stands apart from the herd. With operatic date apertures, mixed textures, and finishes to the dial, this is a beaut that ticks all the one-watch boxes for sure. It even has an advantage over the Nautilus and Royal Oak in that it is much more if-you-know-you-know. It is not a piece that will stand out to unsavory characters you do not want spotting it.

Vacheron Constantin

vacheron constantin les historiques 222

Common nominations: Overseas, 222, American 1921.

Arguably the most versatile, therefore, perhaps, the strongest one-watch offering within the holy trinity of watchmakers is the Vacheron Constantin Overseas. With its bundled three straps, one watch, in a way, becomes three and the 150-metre depth rating offers ample peace of mind while swimming with it on your wrist. The 222, of course, is drop-dead gorgeous, but it is a bit more precious and less strong of a ‘daily’ than the standard Overseas. Few dress watches are as compelling as the 1921, but, like the 222, it is more one-watch suitable for more sedentary lifestyles

Audemars Piguet

1N8A6327 scaled

Common nominations: Royal Oak, Royal Oak Offshore.

Like the Nautilus, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is a watch that embodies some of the best watchmaking you can find in a luxury sports watch inside and out. I know I have been harping on 100 metres of water-resistance, but 50 metres is technically, or superstitiously, held as safe for surface swimming. The beauty of the Royal Oak collection, as much as Genta may disagree, is that you have the Offshore as well at your disposal. For a more ‘beasty’ take on the icon, which trades some of its elegance for more ruggedness and robustness, you have the Offshore. But, you can always skew more elegant with the OG for sure.

Grand Seiko

Grand Seiko SBGA211 Zach Blass body

Common nominations: SBGA211 “Snowflake”, SBGA413 ‘”Shunbun”.

In the words of Zenith ambassador and legendary DJ Carl Cox: Oh yes, oh yes. Grand Seiko, especially with their Spring Drive watches which run within a second per day, make some of the best one-watch candidates in my opinion. The SBGA211 ‘Snowflake and SBGA413 ‘Shunbun’ got some love in the comments, but I would argue the SBGA211 is the strongest one-watch Grand Seiko offers. The SBGA413 and its pink-hued dial offer a playful daily wearer that would be a great complement to a timeless dressy piece within a two-watch collection. The SBGA211, however, with its flagship textured white dial is supremely versatile. Robust titanium with an elegant zaratsu finish, and a 100-metre depth rating, few watches offer better value at this price-point. It really can do it all unless you are hung up on the lack of lume.

Tudor

Tudor Black Bay 54 DSC03725 1 e1680899334933

Common nominations: Black Bay 54, Black Bay 58, Ranger.

With the popularity of Rolex in this conversation, naturally, Tudor got a lot of love too. Near-Rolex quality for a fraction of the price, a lot of you envisioned a Tudor Black Bay 58, Black Bay 54, or Ranger could do it all for you. Cannot argue with that logic other than these pieces skew sporty. But that certainly does not disqualify them.

IWC

IWC 2022 21

Common nominations: Mark XX, Pilot’s Chronograph, Ingenieur

With IWC there is a rather somber baseline for the core design aesthetic, a sterile legibility, and a utility-driven mindset that fans love. But through an exploration of ceramic and new dial hues, the brand has become far more colourful as of late. I am not so sure if I would personally want one of their Pilot’s Chronograph watches as my one-watch – although they are absolutely suitable. The one-watch champion, in my mind, for IWC would be either the Mark XX or the Ingenieur for sure.

Again, there were many other nominations, including references from TAG Heuer, Zenith, Blancpain, and even very high-end brands like MB&F and Philippe Dufour. But the above, from my scan through the comments, seemed to be the most prevalent.