The Ideal Three Watch Collection

As discussed in my previous post, the ultimate three watch collection is composed of a daily wearer, a dress watch, and a go-to tool watch. Ideally, all watches must be as different from each other and all watches must be intensely classical and iconic, and one of the ultimate watches in each of their categories. Moreover, adopting an earth, sky, and sea theme will make the collection even more balanced and interesting.

Since my Rolex Explorer is a gift from my wife for our wedding, and my daily wearer ever since, it will always be part of my collection. Thus, I am left with the following combinations to complete the ideal three watch collection: a pilot/dress watch and a diver/tool watch, or a pilot/tool watch and a diver/dress watch.

While there are certainly a lot of pilot/tool watches, such as Casio G-Shock GPW-1000, there aren’t really a lot of true diver/dress watches. While one can argue that a Rolex Submariner is a true diver and dress watch, it is too similar to my Rolex Explorer which disqualifies it as part of the ideal three watch collection.

Thus, a pilot/dress watch and a diver/tool watch will complete the ideal three watch collection.

Of all pilot/dress watches, the most ideal is the Cartier Santos-Dumont.

While it does not have a watch bezel slide rule for making in-flight calculations, such the Breitling Navitimer, or a large long stemmed crown which can be handled while wearing pilot gloves, like the IWC Big Pilot, the Cartier Santos-Dumont is a true pilot watch and, in fact, the first true pilot watch.

Pilto Watches

The current Cartier Santos-Dumont watch is a tribute to the pioneering watch designed for Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont, who was one of the most famous men in the world at the turn of the 20th century for his work with airships and controlled flight. He also helped popularize the use of wristwatches among men.

Before Santos-Dumont flew with his Cartier wristwatch, most gentlemen would carry pocketwatches. In 1904, pilot and balloonist Alberto Santos-Dumont asked his friend, jeweler to the kings Louis Cartier, to design a watch t0 be worn on his wrist. After his world-famous flight in 1906 wearing a wristwatch, the admiring crowd became intrigued popularizing the use of the same.

Around a century later, the Cartier Santos-Dumont was launched. The large model has a mechanical movement with manual winding caliber 430 MC, and and is available in 18 carat white gold case. It has a 7 sided crown set with a faceted sapphire, silver grained dial, black oxidized steel sword-shaped hands, sapphire crystal, alligator-skin strapped with adjustable 18 carat white gold folding buckle. The dimensions of the case are 44.6 millimeters by 34.6 millimeters with thickness of 5.58 millimeters. It is water-resistant of up to a depth of 30 meters.

Cartier Santos-Dumont

As to its nature as a dress watch, there could be no dispute. It favors understated elegance and  simplicity over embellishment. It is slim and analogue. It has a simple dial, no date, a case made of precious metal, a modest dial diameter, a mechanical movement, and a natural skin strap. It slips unassumingly under a tailored suit or barong waiting quietly to be called on for a discrete time check during a formal dinner or event. One could even say that it the ultimate dress watch, especially considering the brand, which is one of the most prestigious and luxurious in the world.

Additionally, it is a nice complement to the Rolex Explorer, as it is very different from the same. It has a white gold case, a leather strap, and a manual mechanical movement, unlike the Rolex Explorer.

This leaves us to the final piece to complete the ideal three watch collection: the diver/tool watch, which shall be discussed in my next post.

Thank you for reading and I hope you had a great time!


Terra Cielo Mare

It is said that a man only needs three watches: the day watch – the watch that suits his occupation and is worn everyday, the beater or dress-down timepiece –  the go-to tool watch which is worn everywhere from the beach to the great outdoors, and the dress watch – a watch geared for special occasions and formal events. Some however say that the size of the watch collection should instead be one less than the wife can’t stand.

I tend to agree with the former, that is, I prefer a small watch collection, prioritizing quality over quantity.

Currently, I have a collection of one watch (or two if you count my running watch, Polar FS2). It’s not really a collection yet, so I have been thinking of pieces to buy to make it a real collection. I thought of several themes, such as an all-Rolex collection, an all-Swiss made collection, an Axis watches collection (a German, an Italian, and a Japanese triumvirate watch collection), an ultimate watch in each category collection (the ultimate dress watch, the ultimate sports watch, the ultimate beater watch, the ultimate complication, and/or the chronograph watch), or an earth, sky, and sea tool watch collection (a pilot watch, a diver or boater watch, and a land watch).

Interestingly, some watch brands indeed offer an earth, sky, and sea collection categories such as Seiko Prospex and Terra Cielo Mare. In both brands, earth watches are equipped with a rotating bezel that can be used as a compass, and sea watches have water-proofing systems. Seiko Prospex sky watches are equipped with a trigonometric slide rule for calculations in flight, which are obviously inspired by the Breitling Navitimer, the ultimate pilot watch. Tierra Ciello Mare sky watches, on the other hand, are designed like the classic pilot watches.

Terra Cielo Mare and Seiko Prospex

Since I already have a Rolex Explorer, an all-Rolex, earth, sky, and sea collection came into my mind.

For the sky, I picked the Rolex GMT Master over the Rolex Sky-Dweller, because it is more attainable and has better history. The Rolex GMT Master was initially introduced in 1955 for the pilots of Pan Am, the Great American Airline. It is a two-time-zone watch with an arrow-tipped 24-hour hand and a graduated rotatable bezel and is ideal for intercontinental travelers.

For the sea, I picked the Rolex Submariner which is the ultimate dive watch and the first to be water-proof to a depth of one hundred meters. The current incarnation is rated water-proof up to a depth of three hundred meters. It is an intensely classical watch and needs no further introduction. Famous wearers include James Bond and Che Guevarra.

And for the earth, the picked the Rolex Explorer, the ultimate sports watch designed for long treks and climbing mountains.

While an all-Rolex, earth, sky, and sea tool watch collection would be impressive, it will however not be practical since I can only wear one watch at a time. Specifically, while all three watches are versatile enough to be dress watches, day watches, and beater watches (maybe not beater watches considering their costs), they all look and feel the same. In fact, the Rolex Submariner and the Rolex GMT Master appear to be mere upgrades of the Rolex Explorer.

Rolex Earth Sea and Sky

I thus dropped this idea and came to the conclusion to build an earth, sky, and sea collection, which is also an ultimate watch in the essential category collection, that is, an ultimate day watch, an ultimate dress watch, and an ultimate beater watch. All watches must be as different from each other, and all watches must also be intensely classical and iconic. This ultimate three watch collection will be discussed in my next post.

Thank you for reading and I hope you had a great time!