Great Watches Under $5,000
IWC Portugieser IW3531
IWC may not have as large a fan base as Rolex or Omega, but it is known for making solid, quality timepieces. Up until a few decades ago, IWC didn’t have an immense catalog; perhaps that’s the reason they often fly under the radar. In the past, they mostly focused on time-only pieces, each of which boasted a high degree of craftsmanship. The models were beautiful and built with Swiss precision to last a lifetime. The IWC Automatic Portugieser IW3531 pays tribute to those timepieces. It is a simple yet elegant watch with a 35-mm steel case and the fine caliber 891/2. It’s smaller than anything you’ll find in IWC’s modern line-up, but that’s part of its charm. The IW3531 serves as a bridge between vintage and modern IWC watches. If you fancy precious metals, there is also a solid gold version available; however, I would choose the steel edition for its simplicity.
Enthusiast’s Corner: Rare and Exceptional Timepieces
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15450ST
When you hear Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the first watch that comes to mind is probably a 39-mm Jumbo with a dark dial. However, you’re also likely aware that the Royal Oak collection is extensive and versatile, including large and small steel and two-tone cases as well as precious metals and time-only or complicated movements. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15450ST is an interesting model for a few reasons. Firstly, it is “only” 37 mm in diameter. That’s not a tiny watch by any means, but we are more used to seeing 39-41 mm RO models, making it a relatively smaller piece. Secondly, the dial is white with long white gold applied indices. The 15450ST has everything that the Royal Oak name stands for and then some. Nowadays, less is more, and it seems that smaller watches are slowly but steadily making a comeback. Will this Royal Oak ever be more sought-after than the Jumbo? Probably not. However, if you want a luxury steel sports watch in a very wearable size, this is a model to consider.
Iconic Timepieces: Great Value for Money
Omega Speedmaster First Omega in Space
The Omega Speedmaster First Omega in Space – or “FOiS,” as collectors call it – is heading for retirement. We do not doubt that its value will start to grow in response, as it is a favorite among Omega lovers for its slim, neo-vintage design. To be sure, the FOiS is a tad different than the regular Speedmaster, but this is part of its charm. Its straight lugs, smaller case size, and lack of crown guard have all contributed to its success. Now that Omega has ceased its production, the Speedmaster First Omega in Space will follow in the footsteps of many other discontinued watches on its way to becoming a future classic. The FOiS is a great choice for those who love the retro look but trust modern technology and only want to pay a fraction of the price for the vintage model.