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!


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