06/28/2024
 6 minutes

The Best for $24,000 in 2024: Pascal’s Perfect Watch Collection

By Pascal Gehrlein
ONP-1084-Pascals-Perfect-Watch-Kollection-24k-2-1

Best $24K Watch Collection: Pascal

For a long time, I was laughed at as a “Rolex fanboy.” But my tastes and my watch collection have changed a lot in the last three years. I want to highlight this development with my perfect watch collection for $24,000 and inspire you as much as possible. All of these watches are or were part of my watch collection, meaning that I can recommend them from personal experience.

French Sophistication for Special Occasions: The Cartier Santos Carrée Ref. 2961

The first watch in my perfect watch collection is one for special occasions. For me, a watch that fulfills this role should be exceptionally comfortable to wear, with optimal proportions and bracelet, should have “conversation starter” qualities thanks to its historical relevance, and should have a recognizable design that balances elegance and sportiness.

The watch I decided on, reference 2961, is from the year I was born, 1993. You can find the watch on Chrono24 for around $4,000, so it uses just about 16% of our imaginary budget.

Over the past few years, I’ve worn my Cartier Santos a lot during the summer. I’ve particularly enjoyed wearing it to weddings, evening events, and to the office, as its thin profile means it fits perfectly under a shirt or jacket. With its 29 x 41-mm case, the Santos Carrée looks about the same size as a 36-mm Rolex Datejust and fits my 17.5-18-cm wrist as well as my partner’s. The watch’s presence on my wrist is accentuated by its distinctive bracelet and combination of gold and silver. As a result, it doesn’t look too small, yet it still makes a discreet impression.

The delicate gold details such as the bezel make the watch less suitable for everyday use, but also give it character over time. The date, however, is a practical feature. Although the reference 2961 is from the 90s, it is technically up-to-date and robust. The caliber 077 has a power reserve of 38 hours.

In terms of design, I really wanted the iconic “Wall Street snob chic” look of the 80s in steel and gold with a blue cabochon, white dial, blue hands, and Roman numerals. I like it when watches represent culture and the zeitgeist of an entire era, making them witnesses to history.

Ref. 2961 is the perfect combination of vintage and modern, and rightfully takes its place in this collection as an extroverted and elegant watch for special moments.

The Safe Bet: The Omega Speedmaster Ref. 310.30.42.50.01.002

Let’s move on from special occasions to my daily wearer. No other watch has taken so long to win me over. For a long time, the Omega Speedmaster was something of a “Monet” watch for me. From a distance, on other people’s wrists, it looked enticing and attractive. But when I got up close and had one on my own wrist, I was disappointed. When I saw the Speedmaster on Instagram and on friends’ wrists, I thought it looked super sexy. But on my own wrist, the size of the watch and the thick, wide bracelet bothered me.

This all changed with the new reference. Omega won me over with the new tapered and narrower bracelet and clasp, the slightly smaller and thinner proportions, and the transparent case back. Small tip: the Speedmaster can also be worn with a rubber or cloth strap for a sporty, comfortable change. Straps can be ordered separately from Omega and turn an already sporty watch into a real daily wearer. Whether you’re in jeans and a T-shirt, or a button-down and pants – the Speedmaster is always the perfect fit. I hardly need to say anything about the history or significance of the watch. No other timepiece embodies adventure and technological progess for me in the same way. The co-axial caliber 3861 is top-notch. It’s anti-magnetic, has a 50-hour power reserve, is METAS tested – and on top of that, it looks chic through the case back! If you’re fine with manual winding, you can’t go wrong with this watch. And that sums it up well for me too: An absolutely safe choice, in the best sense of the word. A watch you can’t go wrong with as a collector, because you love to wear it and wear it a lot.

It has a list price of around $9,200 for the sapphire crystal version but can be found pre-owned on Chrono24 for closer to $7,000. So that puts us with around $11,000 of our total budget spent, with our daily wearer taken care of.

Summer, Sun, Good Moods, No Worries: The Tudor Black Bay 54 Ref. M79000N-0001

The next watch in my collection has something that the Santos and the Speedmaster don’t – the qualities of a diving watch. That brings us to the next spot in my watch box – the summer watch. A good summer watch should be robust, water-resistant, have a rubber strap, and possess “good vibrations.”

In my collection, the Tudor Black Bay 54 takes on this role. Launched in 2023, the watch features a 37-mm steel case, quick-release rubber strap or stainless steel bracelet, matte black diving bezel, COSC-certified in-house MT5400 caliber with a 70-hour power reserve, screw-down crown, and water resistance to 200 meters (20 bar, 565 feet). The matte black dial with cream white indices and additional hour markers and outlines in rose gold creates Tudor’s beloved vintage look and is reminiscent of the original “54,” the 1954 Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner ref. 7922.

These specifications alone make it clear that the Black Bay is perfect for travel. It goes with swim trunks as well as casual evening wear for the beach bar or a sporty outing. The rubber strap makes it comfortable to wear in hot and wet conditions.

Tudor is also a very popular and trendy brand to have in your portfolio. It’s almost impossible to get looked at the wrong way in this watch. It’s much more likely that you’ll end up talking with young, open-minded watch fans. After all, Tudor is considered modern, a value-for-money triumph, and a bit rebellious – at least compared to Rolex and the like.

That has earned the Tudor Black Bay 54 third place in my collection. It costs around $4,000 for the steel variant, meaning we’ve now spent around $15,000 of our budget.

The Professor: The Grand Seiko Elegance Ref. SBGW283

This next watch shows that you’re a grown-up watch collector, as Grand Seiko is a brand for true connoisseurs. They’re known for their high-quality workmanship and considered rather conservative. With their Elegance Collection, they’ve developed a line that is technically accomplished and very elegant visually. The SBGW283 is home to the manually wound caliber 9S64. As is typical of Grand Seiko, the dial in a delicate light blue is inspired by nature, in this case the color of the sky over the Japanese mountain Iwate at Kishun, the beginning of summer. The sapphire crystal case back reveals the beautifully crafted movement. The 37-mm case combined with an elegant crocodile leather strap makes this watch not only a chic watch, but also a backdrop for the imagination. Wearing a Grand Seiko tells the world that you care less about marketing and more about workmanship and technical sophistication.

You can find good offers for around $4,000 on Chrono24. Including this latest watch, we’ve now spent $19,000 and have around $5,000 left.

Frivolous and Fun: The Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 6675 18k Sub Second

After going more in the dress watch direction with the Grand Seiko, let’s take it all the way. In my collection, that means turning to the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 6675 from the 1970s in 18k gold. The 34-mm watch comes on a leather strap and the dial shines with pure elegance, quite literally. The silver elements shimmer in the light and the gold indices and small seconds give the watch a classy, stylish, understated air. Quiet luxury at its best. The manually wound movement has a power reserve of 46 hours. Watches from the 1970s always come with some risk in terms of maintenance and repair. But this watch is certainly fun to wear!

Vacheron is part of the holy trinity (Patek, AP, Vacheron) and its reputation is beyond reproach. The fact that you can find this vintage piece on Chrono24 for just over $5,000 is pure luck.

And that’s a wrap! The Vacheron Patrimony closes out my $24,000 watch collection perfectly.


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About the Author

Pascal Gehrlein

Hi, I'm Pascal. After spending many hours searching for my first luxury watch on Chrono24, I ended up visiting their "Legal details" page and saw their headquarters …

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