Best watch under £5000?

Discussion in 'Recreation, Hobbies & Interests' started by Celar36, Aug 19, 2018.

  1. Celar36

    Celar36 Forum GOD!

    In few months I will be 30 years old and I promised myself long time ago if I achieve set bars in my life by that time I will gift myself a autotamic watch to walk with me through life as faithful companion.

    Last week I ticked final set bar on my way to 30yo. Whole 7 months before my B day.

    So now is time to treat myself . I will be planning to buy watch at December at Heathrow t5 to buy it tax free when I will be on my way to in-laws in China.

    I like classic all occasion watch. I really hate all this extra functions and clattered dial. After extensive research I am leaning towards Rolex Oyster Perpetrual 39 in dark rhodium or black. Seems suitable for my daily work in suit as well as recreation.

    What would be your choice?

    To be honest before I never even considered Rolex but that watch just got me
  2. N_Architect

    N_Architect Travel, See, Feel, Explore

    What's your wrist size? Six half, six eighths? Seven inches, perhaps?
    Do you ever want the watch to be alternatively worn with a leather strap?
    Would you be OK with a date 'complication' (i.e. date function) in the dial?
    Celar36 likes this.
  3. bakerbarber

    bakerbarber Forum GOD!

    Good for you!

    Congrats on reaching your goals. Awesome.

    I don't know anything about watches. Just happy to hear stories like yours. I did something similar when I reached a milestone in life.

    Got to treat yourself. You deserve it.
    Celar36 and N_Architect like this.
  4. N_Architect

    N_Architect Travel, See, Feel, Explore

    +1 on that as well.
    Celar36 likes this.
  5. Celar36

    Celar36 Forum GOD!



    My wrist is around 17cm which I think is around 6.7inch.

    Date is fine. Size wise it I hate bulky watches .

    Definitely with ability to play with alternative straps.
  6. N_Architect

    N_Architect Travel, See, Feel, Explore

    Thank you.

    Looking at all brands across the board, in combination with what you have written above, I personally narrow your choices down to four brands:
    1. Rolex/Tudor,
    2. Omega,
    3. Grand Seiko (GS), and
    4. Jaeger-LeCoultre (JLC).

    The pros (of owning one):
    - Can take more than a beat and is extremely sturdy.
    - Can be serviced with reasonable cost in any city around the world. Average full service cost is abt £450 but that's once every 10 years.
    - It's equivalent to having cash in your pocket if you ever want to part with it.
    - You can pass it down to your son or daughter 30 or 40 years down the line, it ages like good wine.
    - Can easily take and look great on leather, rubber or textile straps (thus it is highly versatile).
    - Tudor is a great alternative to Rolex, cheaper, but of course aesthetics are less refined and the luxury element is slightly less pronounced.

    The cons:
    - It is more expensive than the competition, but you always get what you pay for.
    - It is not as accurate as a co-axial Omega, a JLC or a GS (but you may not care that much about some few secs per day anyway).
    - It is considered fairly mainstream among watch enthusiasts and broadly easily recognizable among the general population.
    - Its design can be a bit old fashioned for some, while it is a classic for others.
    - Rolex is updating its movements in stages; the 36mm and 39mm Oysters are still due for an upgrade (2019) so if you get one now it will be with the present movement which carries a lower power reserve.
    - You cannot be certain that the model or dial you like will be available in T5 on the day of your flight; Rolex models are very popular and authorised dealers (ADs) receive certain quantities per model. Highly sought after models usually come in 1 or 2 pc quantities only and get sold within 12/24hrs from the moment they go on display.

    Recommended models:
    - The classic Oyster or an Oyster preferably with date complication (i.e. a Datejust [DJ]), in either 36mm / 39mm / 41mm case size.
    - The DJ 41mm carries the 2017 updated movement and its effective (exc. crown) dia. is actually less than 41mm, so it is not a huge watch.
    - If you choose an Oyster model (i.e. no date complication) in either 36mm or 39mm, try first the smooth bezel option + oyster bracelet. In both 36mm and 39mm variants, it gives a very clean look. Oyster 39 comes with 4 different dial options at the moment, if I remember well.
    - If you choose a DJ model and especially the 2017 updated DJ41, try first the fluted bezel + jubilee bracelet version (blue dial recommended here of course). This is a recently (2017) updated piece and overall exceptionally well executed so even if it comes at (say) £500-1000 more than your budget, it's worth it.
    - Tudor Black Bay 39mm (Basel 2018), or the Tudor Black Bay GMT.

    The pros:
    - Can take a beat but comparatively is slightly more sensitive than a Rolex.
    - Cheaper than a Rolex (and yes, this matters to many).
    - Can be serviced with reasonable cost.
    - Co-axial movement is technically more advanced, more efficient and certainly more accurate than a Rolex movement.
    - You move away from houses (i.e. brands) that use retail market manipulation techniques.
    - You pay more real money for what you get, while with Rolex you pay quite a bit for the pedigree.
    - Mainstream among watch enthusiasts and less easily recognizable among the general population (which is good for safety reasons).

    The cons:
    - Greater depreciation, comparatively smaller resale value.
    - Fairly easy with straps. Omega straps work best though. You need to look into this in more detail prior to the purchase.
    - It's not a Rolex and will not become one 30 or 40 years down the line.

    Recommended models:
    - Aqua Terra 150, 41mm (recently updated, few variants to choose from, best to start with the one with steel bracelet).
    - Railmaster. 40mm. A basic classic, good legibility, no date function. A great watch to start out with, but in 10yrs time it can't reach you where the Rolex will. A watch that will need to become your second one in a decade.
    - The 2018 updated Seamaster 300. More sporty, but very well worked out in its latest iteration, almost all flaws from the previous generation are now ironed out.

    Grand Seiko
    The pros:
    - Can take a beat, easily.
    - Cheaper than a Rolex and much, much more efficient.
    - Technically more advanced, way more accurate than a Rolex, and very well made altogether.
    - You move away from houses (i.e. brands) that use retail market manipulation techniques.
    - You pay more real money for what you get, while with Rolex you pay quite a bit for the pedigree.
    - Highly respected among watch enthusiasts and not recognizable among the general population (which is good for safety reasons).

    The cons:
    - Greater depreciation as compared to Rolex, smaller resale value but the brand name is rising in Europe and U.S.
    - Higher service costs when compared to an Omega or Rolex.
    - OK with straps. GS straps work well as well, limited options though.
    - It's not a Rolex and will not become one 30 or 40 years down the line.

    Recommended models:
    - You need to visit the GS boutique in central London, and now I just remembered that probably you won't be able to find GS at LHR. But if from China you could fly for a night's stay to Japan, that can change everything....

    The pros:
    - Can take a beat.
    - The watchmaker's watch, this is what they call a JLC.
    - Solidly made, elegant and accurate. Much more hand work in a JLC (Rolex is 90% or more made by a machine).
    - Very well engineered, with haute horlogerie (H.O.) principles blended in.
    - You pay for the name a H.O. house carries with it. This watch, by brand name and DNA, is a clear step above Rolex.
    - Highly respected among watch enthusiasts and not easily recognizable among the general population (which is good for safety reasons).

    The cons:
    - Slightly greater depreciation as compared to Rolex.
    - Higher service costs when compared to an Omega or Rolex.
    - Not easy with straps. JLC sticks to the difficult 21mm lug width size for few of its models, and this makes life hard.

    Recommended models:
    - The Master Control Date (Ref. 1548530). Looks too simple as a watch, but it is not. You won't regret it.
    - Reverso Classic Large small secs (Ref. 3858520). A timepiece that you may underestimate when you first put it on your wrist, but one which will gradually grow on you during the first two months of ownership.

    Good luck with your choice and fire away any other questions you may have in the weeks to come.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
    bagman, Quique, koenfucius and 27 others like this.
  7. vita

    vita Mach 5 Turbo Fusion

    Rolex, though not my cup of tea (I've always had this issue where I root for the underdog and avoid the main player), has many benefits making it a good choice.

    A Rolex will retain value more reliably than other brands generally, and (possibly beneficial if you're not mega 'into' watches and your mates aren't either) is the most recognised watch brand so has some cache across the board. Though I'm not suggesting it's for posing in any way, it's nice to have something that makes you feel 'special', right?

    The downside is the extortionate servicing cost and being tied to Rolex for absolutely everything - which comes at a real premium compared to many other brands.

    The DJ is a good choice for its supreme timeless versatility and would be my choice if I was going for 1 watch to do it all. At your budget your money would go a long way if you looked used. There are mint condition ones available which have been babied or essentially unworn - depends how much you want the 'from new' experience. I'd be tempted to pick up a barely used DJ plus another watch, probably a diver or field watch, from another brand to give you a more casual option too.

    Be warned, it's a slippery slope though!
    JayGee likes this.
  8. Nishy

    Nishy Forum GOD! Staff Member

    Screen shot and saved that advice, @N_Architect is the man!
  9. Nishy

    Nishy Forum GOD! Staff Member

    Congrats @Celar36 on the upcoming 30th and life achievements. Now if only PILS did a watch :wink:
    N_Architect likes this.
  10. Burry

    Burry Forum GOD!

    Great post. Really enjoyed reading this. I bought an omega speedmaster in 2003 at San Fransisco airport, enjoyed wearing it for a number of years then need some cash last year. Sold it for the same money I paid for it (inflation not withstanding).
    N_Architect likes this.
  11. MrK1

    MrK1 Forum GOD!

    Great thread.

    Thanks for the detailed info Konstantinos.

    Quick question - is Breitling not considered a premium brand?
    N_Architect likes this.
  12. Rowlers

    Rowlers Massive Member Staff Member

    Nice post @N_Architect enjoyed reading that even though I'm not into watches!
    N_Architect likes this.
  13. vita

    vita Mach 5 Turbo Fusion

    Breitling is well respected and obviously fine if you like their watches, but the depreciation on them is insanity - literally worth 50% of the value the moment you take it out of the box.
    Britva and MrK1 like this.
  14. Rufusdog

    Rufusdog Forum GOD!

    My pick would be an Omega Constellation co-axial in gold and stainless steel with a champagne face. Works well as a dress watch and as a casual watch. Whilst Rolex makes good watches I think they are grossly over priced due to aggressive marketing and brand positioning. I wouldn’t buy a watch on the basis of its perceived investment value, which is often illusory.
    Rowlers and Shaverrific666 like this.
  15. Absolutely spot on @N_Architect ! Excellent write up...I am no Horology expert but I like a nice time piece. I have never owned what we would call a luxury watch, though growing up my Father had a few of the brands mentioned (Rolex, Omega). Having spoken to him and other gents I seems correct that the Asian watch movements are the most accurate and efficient these days. I have three Asian made, automatic watches and I can say they have all been superb. My girlfriend regularly travels to HK and has also picked me up some of the brands like Parnis on occasion..and while clearly "homages" and what many serious watch enthusiasts would not be seen dead wearing..I think they are very good! (The last one I had was a Miyota hacking 9015 movement) and was excellently made, finished and efficient.

    Anyway, were it me I have no idea! I always liked the look of the Rolex Explorer and various high end "Tool Watches" (Sub, Black Bay) though I think Rolex are a bit overpriced so perhaps Tudor may be a better choice. Good Luck!!
    Billyhank, N_Architect and Rowlers like this.
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