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 /  Style /  Watches

This 3-Piece Watch Collection Should Cost More than $1,500

Covering everyday, sport, and dress.

Karlton began covering men's style and grooming topics for The Adult Man since 2020 as a writer. He's also written for other popular men's publications such as The Modest Man and Effortless Gent. Karlton is an LA-born, New York-based lover of culture and optimism. Perpetual watch-wearer. Always holding a martini or a football, Karlton's favorite subjects in school were recess, PE and prom. Read full bio.


Published: Jun 26, 2024
6 min read

I’ve bought and sold several watches in my lifetime.

Part of this has to do with my lifelong love of the hobby. The other part has to do with the fact I’ve worked in the high-end auction biz for the better part of a decade.

From my experience, and from a lifetime of fraternizing with collectors and experts on the matter, I’ve concluded that you only really need three watches.

Do you want more watches? I certainly do. But if you’re the kind of man who craves efficiency and economy, stick to three.

I’ve assembled the perfect three-piece assembly. They have everything you need when it comes to style, horology, and esteem. And they punch far above the $1,500 it takes to achieve this collection.

4 Key Things I Considered

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To get the most out of this curation, I considered the following:

Every dress code: You always need a sport watch that can handle a beating and a dressy timepiece for the most formal occasions. To make a truly complete collection, I also added an everyday timepiece that’s dress code flexible.

The Swiss Made standard: I, and many collectors, believe you should have at least one Swiss-made timepiece. It’s like having at least one pair of good Italian leather shoes. 

Even if the esteem doesn’t matter to you, many Swiss timepieces are objectively good. Not all of them are, of course, but the ones in this curation happen to be.

The balance of uniqueness and versatility: The more standard looking a watch, the more versatile it is. However, this doesn’t have to mean boring. 

Automatics as the collector’s gold standard: You don’t always have to go for an automatic watch. But, they technically last forever, and they’re horologically engaging. Fortunately, I was able to ensure all of the timepieces here are classic automatics.

Everyday: Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 Automatic Black Dial

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 Automatic Black Dial

In the same way that Seiko is a cheat code for affordable mechanicals, Tissot is a cheat code to get that coveted Swiss Made moniker on a budget.

The PRX Powermatic 80 is a veritable feast of textures, beautifully combining an athletic industrial aesthetic with refined elegance. It’s like a Royal Oak or a Nautilus, minus the several extra tens of thousands on its price tag.

Don’t think it’s some budget alternative though. The details throughout are impeccable.

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I love how the polished case edges angle out so that you can see it juxtaposed with the surface brushing from every angle. The PRX is one of those watches that provides visual intrigue at every vantage point.

And of course, the patterned dial plays a major role in this. 

The black variation is the most versatile. When paired with a business suit or a casual outfit, it gives off an authoritative tone. In a more formal setting, it provides a masculine dapperness.

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Good looks aside, Tissot’s Powermatic movement boasts an 80 hour power reserve. You can admire this Swiss automatic via the sapphire caseback. Yes, it’s a workhorse, but leaving no detail ignored, it’s still attractively decorated.

One of the main reasons I think this timepiece is the perfect everyday watch is how remarkably comfortable it is. The integrated bracelet wears like a fitted cuff. Meanwhile, the case is only 10.9 millimeters high.

Truly, this watch would sit well on any wrist size. 

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80
If you’re looking for a slim, smooth watch with an authentic ‘70s feel, look no further than the PRX Powermatic 80. The self-winding Powermatic 80 movement delivers reliability and precision thanks to the innovative Nivachron hairspring. With 80 hours of power reserve, it’s a modern movement designed to keep pace with busy lifestyles.
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Sport: Baltic Aquascaphe Blue Gilt

Baltic Aquascaphe Blue Gilt

The Baltic Aquascaphe checks two important boxes when it comes to things I deem important in a sport watch. First, of course, is excellent specs. Second, is a cool connection to history.

Starting with the first, this diver flaunts 200 meters of water resistance, a sapphire crystal, and a robust automatic movement. The 120-click unidirectional bezel is as crisp as an autumn day.

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Second, its design is inspired by the Bathyscaphe submersible from the 1960s. This is why this sport watch is rife with vintage charm, from its double-domed sapphire to its dimensional sandwich dial.

And when it comes to perfectly balancing a classically standard look with distinctness, this watch is a masterclass. I’ve always said the Aquascaphe is a timepiece for a man who likes compliments.

Each element of the watch is as robust as the pieces of a tried-and-true diver should be. However, there’s just enough shine, the sunray dial and glossy bezel for example, that makes it equally as sophisticated too.

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This sport watch is the equivalent of a guy who can chop a tree down but also pair each meal course with the right wine.

Even the bracelets, whether it’s the tropical rubber or the beads-of-rice steel, strike this impressive aesthetic harmony.

Baltic Aquascaphe Classic Blue Gilt
The Aquascaphe is a watch with a true respect of the vintage codes, without compromises, within the modern quality standards. The Aquascaphe is capable of diving to depths of up to 200m. Toolwatches are often considered to be the ultimate daily watch as they're waterproof, scratch-resistant, shockproof, and they look great in any situation.
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Dress: Seiko Presage SRPB77

Seiko Presage SRPB77

Let’s be real. So many dress watches are boring. It’s why I don’t often wear them myself. A lot of the time, designers are afraid of detail since dress watches aren’t supposed to be loud. I get that.

The Seiko Presage line goes in an impressively different route. I particularly love the Presage SRPB77 because you can wear it with any color suit or tuxedo (though you’d technically forgo a dress watch in the most formal occasions).

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A lot of the Presage Cocktail Hour variants feature this hard-lined sunburst, which strikes a celebratory vibe. When guys are hesitant to buy a decorative dress watch, I like to remind them that you dress up for celebrations. There’s nothing wrong with a little celebratory ornateness, as long as it isn’t over the top.

The mostly monotone palette of the Presage SRPB77 tempers that sunburst, without completely extinguishing it. And with its royal blue hands, this watch is both understated and downright aristocratic.

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The only downside, which is common with Seikos at this low-to-mid price range, is that the bracelet can be an obvious indicator of the price point. They look like building blocks, and the finishing is occasionally uneven.

This is an easy fix though. As a proper dress watch should have, replace it with a leather strap. I think an alligator leather matches the eye-catching yet classy look of the watch.

And of course, since this is Seiko, this guy runs on an in-house automatic which you can admire through the caseback.

SEIKO SRPB77 Watch for Men
This watch comes with a Silver dial enhanced by blue hands. It is also accompanied by a Silver-tone stainless steel case with a silver-tone stainless steel band and Automatic movement. The watch also offers a 50 meters / 165 feet water resistance. It has a fixed bezel, is made from scratch Resistant Mineral crystal and has a transparent caseback.
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Conclusion

Tissot’s balance of industrial brawn with clean-lined elegance make the PRX Powermatic 80 an effective Swiss Made everyday timepiece.

Meanwhile, the Baltic Aquascaphe is a spec-forward tool watch that adds a touch of shine to its robust, retro-cool design.

And finally, the Seiko Presage SRPB77 is a stately dress watch that manages to be classy but not stuffy.

This collection goes to show that with some creativity and a lot of experience, one can curate an assembly of quality watches for the price of one.