The hypothetical watch collection on a hypothetical budget game is one I love to play, and I love that watch culture purveyor Hodinkee lovse to play this game too. Their staff recently weighed in with their picks on how they would each spend $25k on a start-from-scratch watch collection, and even though nobody asked for my picks, here they are!
Rolex Explorer 124270 ($7,250)
In the alternate reality where I'm just given a no-strings-attached $25k to restart a watch collection, I have to assume that I can simply walk into any Rolex AD and pick up a new Explorer 36 at retail. This is the watch I'll wear every day, beat the hell out of, and pass along to my firstborn. Vintage 1016s have the aesthetic edge over modern Explorers, but for daily-wear practicality and the longevity of my neo-nascent watch collection, it's going to be the newest reference for me. $17,750 remaining.
JLC Reverso Tribute Small Seconds Q713842J ($10,600)
With the 'sports' watch daily wearer covered, the 'dress' watch is the next piece of the new collection puzzle to consider. I'm sticking with contemporary takes on classic, iconic designs and picking up a beautifully refined Tribute version of the JLC Reverso. I gave some thought to a vintage gold Reverso, but ultimately the classic steel case and the small seconds sub-dial won the day. $7,150 remaining
Omega Speedmaster Professional 3220.127.116.11.01.005 ($5,350)
With enough fake money in my fake watch budget to consider a 3rd 'wildcard' watch, I let my mind wander to some fun Tudor dive and IWC pilot watches before ultimately landing on another absolute classic, the Omega Speedmaster Professional. Somehow I still have 1,800 imaginary dollars remaining.
Globe-Trotter Caviar 3-Slot Watch Case ($1,645)
Since I have all my bases covered with the Explorer, Reverso, and Speedmaster, I'd like a suitable place for my new collection of modern classics to live, and I'm calling on English luggage specialists Globe-Trotter for one of their modern classic watch cases.
And now, with a mere $155 left for a couple of leather and NATO straps, my work here is done and off to enjoy my "new" collection.