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03/29/2024
 5 minutes

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

By Donato Emilio Andrioli
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Donato’s $24,000 Watch Collection

Although it wasn’t until 2019 that I first discovered mechanical watches, I think I’ve made my mark as a collector (though I admit I’m still making my way). Owning a Rolex Day-Date someday would be awesome, and something I’ve dreamed of since I started wearing watches. For the $24,000 we’re working with today, that watch will (unfortunately) have to take a back seat, and anyway, I’ve got a lot more articles to write before that dream comes anywhere close to reality. Anyway, back to my perfect $24,000 watch collection: It’s great that I can write about this, because all the watches I’m going to show you are ones that I own; they have a very special place in my life.

A Watch for Life: Rolex Datejust 41 Ref. 126334 – $14,000

When I bought my Rolex Datejust 41 in 2021, I thought of it as a kind of “second Rolex” to go with my Submariner. This would be the watch I would wear on special occasions. Maybe it was because I literally had to hunt this watch down to get my hands on it. Or maybe it was the higher market price I had to pay in 2021 to own this Rolex icon. Maybe it was just the overall look of the watch that matches my personal taste so well. Whatever it was, as soon as I put it on, the Rolex Datejust 41 became an absolute highlight of my collection.

Meine Uhr fürs Leben: Rolex Datejust 41, Ref.126334.
My watch for life: the Rolex Datejust 41 Ref. 126334

You can probably guess what happened next: my “second Rolex” quickly became my watch for life. I wear it almost every day and for every occasion because it is a true all-rounder. It’s rugged like a sports watch and stylish like a dress watch. Its white gold fluted bezel brings a smile to my face every time I look at it. To me, that’s what a luxury watch should be: something that sparkles and glitters and gives me something to really enjoy. And you won’t see me hiding my Datejust up my sweater or shirt sleeve; I want it to be seen as I continue to make experiences and memories with it throughout my life.

Believe it or not, my specific model is a bit more subdued, even with the bling it has going on. It has a white dial, baton indices, and an Oyster bracelet with both polished and satin finishes. Not the craziest Datejust out there, but timeless nonetheless. Those are the perfect attributes for this watch, which will stay in my collection forever.

A Journey Back In Time: Tudor Black Bay 54 – $3,700

The Tudor Black Bay 54 is a watch I’ve had on my wrist a lot, and it certainly has a place in my perfect watch collection. Full disclosure: Upon its release, I was more than a little hesitant, if not downright unenthusiastic, about this new dive watch. I couldn’t understand why Tudor would bother to make a new, smaller version of the Black Bay 58. Then I saw the watch in person and got to try it on.

I’m not an impulse buyer. But if they had let me, I would have bought the Tudor Black Bay 54 right there on the spot. As it turned out, it wasn’t possible for me to get my hands on one that quickly after its initial release. Months passed, during which time my own Tudor Black Bay 58 saw plenty of wrist time, and the new Tudor Black Bay 54 became a mere memory. Then in June 2023, a lucky coincidence in a boutique gave me the opportunity to purchase the Black Bay 54 right then and there. I wasn’t letting it get away.

Die Tudor Black Bay 54 ist die perfekte Vintage-Taucheruhr.
The Tudor Black Bay 54 is the perfect vintage dive watch.

This smaller diving watch perfectly bridges the gap between vintage and modern. The watch itself looks as if someone in 1954 put it in a time machine and sent it to the present day. At the same time, elements like the silky sunburst dial and the new T-fit buckle give the Tudor Black Bay 54 a fresh, modern look, the former of which is a real head-turner in sunlight. While vintage-inspired dive watches and their matte black dials can have a kind of somber, outmoded vibe to them, the Tudor Black Bay 54 looks and feels almost like a dress watch. Perfect for me because, as I mentioned, I like my watches to sparkle and glitter a little.

A Watch Legend In New Garbs: Omega Speedmaster Professional Ref. 310.30.42.50.01.001 – $6,000

As I was just typing in the numerical chain above, I was once again reminded about Omega’s lack of easy-to-recall reference numbers. On the other hand, something the Swiss watchmaker from Biel is very good at is creating timeless watches with an amazing history. And the watch with the greatest history ever may very well be the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch.

Die Omega Speedmaster Professional ist die Traumuhr jedes Nasa-Fans.
The Omega Speedmaster Professional is the dream watch of every NASA fan.

While I don’t want to bore you with things you already know, it is worth mentioning that a watch that was part of the first spacewalk, was on the moon six times, and helped save a crew of astronauts from certain death is a watch that I, as a NASA and space enthusiast, definitely want. Funny thing: The legendary Moonwatch was in my collection in 2019, only to say goodbye shortly thereafter. As much as the legacy of this watch never ceases to fascinate me, the previous Moonwatch model just didn’t sit right on my wrist. It was a bit too simple, too gray, a bit too dull, and I really should have gone for the Hesalite crystal.

The new reference aimed to change things: a step dial, a bracelet that was better by a mile, a really well-designed clasp, and a darker, more multifaceted dial that delivered an overall better look. Not to mention the new technology in the METAS-certified caliber. Amidst the MoonSwatch hype at the start of 2022, I decided to put a Moonwatch back in my collection, and I haven’t regretted it ever since. I wear it frequently, and it won’t be leaving my collection any time soon. I like the versatility of the Omega Speedmaster: it’s vintage-inspired and classic on the bracelet, while the Velcro strap gives it a wonderfully sporty, playful vibe.

My personal favorite, however, is the original black nylon strap, which gives the Speedy a more modern look, even bringing its technical character to the fore. Of course, the NASA buff in me went for the Hesalite this time, but for those who want to own the latest Moonwatch, the more expensive sapphire crystal is also a great choice. For me, the latest Moonwatch is the best Speedmaster ever, and a watch that unquestionably deserves a place i my perfect $24,000 watch collection.

That’s my perfect 2024 watch collection for under $24,000: great variety, and home to three of the finest watches available in the watch world today. Another piece of good news is that all three of them are doing well on the watch market. While I don’t have an investment or profit in mind with these watches, it’s good to know that they will maintain a certain value should the day come when I want to bid one of these remarkable timepieces farewell.

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About the Author

Donato Emilio Andrioli

With the purchase of my Tudor Black Bay 41, I discovered a passion for mechanical watches. I am particularly drawn to iconic watches with long and exciting histories.

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