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How To Build A Watch Collection With $10,000 And What To Buy

watch collectingwatch collecting

How to build a watch collection for $10,000.

Generally, when people hear that someone is a watch collector, visions of the world’s most expensive or elaborate watches go through their minds. However, not every watch collector is a seasoned aficionado with oodles of money under their belts to buy every watch they’ve ever dreamed of. In fact, those types of collectors comprise just a small percentage of the watch collecting community.

Instead, many of today’s collectors, especially people just getting their feet wet in the somewhat sacred pond of timepieces, have modest collections of affordable watches that fit their tastes and lifestyles. Many also prefer to buy several watches for their investment rather than a single watch. There is no right or wrong way to build your collection, but here we take a look at how to build a $10,000 collection that consists of more than a single $10,000 watch.

Watch Collecting Rule of Thumb

Even before we get started, though, there is a single rule of thumb that applies across the board, whether you’re buying your first watch or your 100th watch: buy what you like. While some collectors buy watches for investment purposes (this is usually as lose/lose proposition because they end up with a watch they may not like), most buy watches that make their hearts pound and their eyes pop. You can do that with affordably priced watches, as well. Buy what you like first and foremost.

With that golden rule out of the way, let’s start building that beginner’s box of watches. There are so many things to think about when building a collection. What are your hobbies and interests? If you are an avid diver, you’ll most likely lean in a different direction than your buddy who’s a recreational pilot. Do you like a particular genre  or type of watches such as military pieces or calendar watches? Do you like diversity or do you like a singular look? This question may be one of the most important to ask yourself because it’s a little like going out to dinner at one of the finest buffets or sitting down with a steak tartare appetizer and a filet mignon dinner.

How much to spend on watches How much to spend on watches

How much to spend on a watch is often a big question when it comes to watch collecting.

Watch Collecting Options

While the style or model of the watch must be a personal choice, there are some go-to  brands that you will want to spend some time investigating. If you play your cards (or dollars) right, you can walk away with three or four worthy timepieces for your $10,000. It all depends on where your heart lies when you start taking  a closer look at the brands that fit this value-proposition category.

You may opt for a $5,000 watch from a brand like Breitling or Omega, a $3,000 watch from a brand like TAG Heuer,  and a $2,000 watch from a brand like Tutima or Oris. Or you may opt for two watches in the $3,000 range and two in the $2 ,000 arena and under such as Seiko or  Longines. Any way you decide to stack it, you’ll end up with a good starter collection – as long as you stick to the brands that offer substance inside, as well as thoughtful design on the outside. And a good story to tell, can’t hurt.

Adam Driver, Lady Gaga, BreitlingAdam Driver, Lady Gaga, Breitling

A Breitling Top Time watch is a good choice.

What Watches to buy for Your $10,000 Watch Collection

Here, we take the leap of faith, picking the top watches we would buy if we were building a $10,000 collection. This isn’t the end-all list, there are many other watches out there that can excite you, but this is a strong starter for options.

The best use of your $10,000 may well be an investment into two strong $5,000 watches or spreading out to a few watches of different price ranges. Either way, there are some go-to brands that should be your jumping point – with at least one of your purchases coming from this list, if not all of them. Among the obvious brands to take a look at: Breitling, Omega and TAG Heuer. Among the less obvious but often sought-after:  Oris, Longines, Tutima and even Grand Seiko or Seiko. Here we take a look at five watches you should take a look at.


Breitling Endurance Pro watchesBreitling Endurance Pro watches

Breitling Endurance Pro watches sell for less than $5,000.

Breitling is known for its pilot watches and other instruments for professionals, but under the direction of Georges Kern these past few years, the brand has been bringing out some vintage-inspired capsule collections that are also well worth a second look. For instance, the Top Time watch collection, that will run just over $5,000, has a really cool background story and a very singular look. Another great option is the Endurance Pro — a watch meant to go the distance. These days, everyone loves a story, so having a watch that is also a good talking piece goes a long way.


Omega Seamaster Diver 300 Chronometer Omega Seamaster Diver 300 Chronometer

Omega Seamaster Diver 300 Chronometer ($4,900)

Omega is a brand you just can’t go wrong with. While the watches retail for tens of thousands of dollars, there are some desirable models in the $5,000 price range. You may not get the Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon watch, but you can certainly opt for a water worthy companion such as the Seamaster Aqua Terra or similar watch. Available on a leather strap or on some colorful NATO straps, the Aqua Terra houses a movement that is a certified chronometer – tested in different positions under a host of conditions. The Aqua Terra 150M (150 meter water resistant) Co-Axial Master Chronometer 41mm watch is an excellent choice. In addition to high water resistance, it is anti-magnetic and features anti-reflective treatments on the sapphire crystal.  Plus, the dial with waved pattern is striking.

TAG Heuer

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 $3,000TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 $3,000

TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 300 watch.

Want in on a TAG Heuer watch but not ready to spend the $6,000 – $7,000 needed for the iconic Monaco yet? Take a look at the brand’s more affordable Aquaracer watch. With prices under $3,000, the Aquaracer automatic watch in steel delivers excitement thanks to its many dial color choices, from ocean blue to grass green and even red. It also These watches boast color-coordinated aluminium bezels, are water resistant to 300 meters and have a magnified date window. The other option is a much-coated Carrera Chronograph with tachymeter bezel. What’s not to like?


Tutima M2 Seven Seas in yellow signal and titanium.Tutima M2 Seven Seas in yellow signal and titanium.

Tutima M2 Seven Seas in yellow signal and titanium ($1,900).

Tutima Flieger Airport watches are pilot’s watches inspired by the German brand’s Flieger chronographs from the 1940’s. The look is crisp,  clean, highly legible with function and form thanks to Super-LumiNova hands and markers, and glare-free crystals. An automatic version with ceramic bezel will run about $2,500. The brand also offers its M2 series of chronographs and tool watches.


Oris bronzeOris bronze

Oris Big Crown Pointer Date in bronze (approximately $2,100) but also in steel for $1,400.

If you are a lover of the vintage look, you can’t go wrong with an Oris Big Crown Pointer Date watch, especially if you opt for the brand’s great-looking bronze version. It isn’t every day you can find a bronze watch, and this makes a fun story all by itself because as the watch ages, the patina changes; the watch is never the same from one day to the next. A 40mm Bronze Big Crown Pointer Date watch with brown dial and automatic movement will only set you back by about $2,100. The brand has been very busy unveiling new collections this past year, so almost any Oris watch, including the great dive Aquis watch, is a great move.

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