Andrew & Everett are always coming up with great ideas for lists for the podcast. Whether it is the best field watch for $500 or the best $300 watch collection, they always find a way to give listeners of the podcast some options they may not have previously thought of. On this week’s episode of the 40&20 Podcast, Andrew and Everett took it up a notch and wanted to see what would be the best collection of watches for the price of an entry-level Rolex.
Andrew & Everett provided their picks on the episode and we will have them at the bottom of this article with a link to listen in. However, Mike & I wanted to join in the fun this time and provide our picks. The only rules we had to follow was that the watches had to fall roughly in with the “Big 4” Rolex models (Submariner, Daytona, Explorer 1, Oyster Perpetual) and stay under $5,900, which is about what it would cost to get an entry-level Rolex at MSRP. Here are our picks.
Sinn 356 (Daytona) $2,210
If you’re looking for one of the best affordable chronographs available today, look no further than the Sinn 356. The 356 comes in a great size at 38mm and is extremely legible thanks to its black and white dial. Often considered one of the best alternatives to the Omega Speedmaster, the 356 is also one of the best options for a chronograph to fill out your watch collection for the price of a Rolex.
Traska Commuter (Oyster Perpetual) $565
While the Traska Commuter is a newcomer, it was only announced a couple weeks ago, it is easily one of the best options available to scratch that itch for a Rolex OP. Featuring classic styling with stick markers and hands and a simple dial, it’s hard to argue it can’t fill that void. The Commuter also features Traska’s proprietary coating that makes it harder to scratch and their excellent build quality. When it comes to a simple time and date three hander, why break the bank?
Christopher Ward C60 Elite (Submariner) $1,475
I’m a big fan of Christopher Ward’s watches. I’ve reviewed many of them and each one has impressed me in a different way. I could have picked one of the dive watches I’ve reviewed from them but I thought I would pick something that lives up to what the Submariner used to be. The C60 Elite is a purpose-built dive watch with insane specs, a lightweight titanium case and chronometer-level movement. All of this for under $1,500. My one caveat with the C60 elite is that for $1,475 it comes on a rubber strap, which is fine and fits the criteria of our experiment. However, Chris Ward regularly runs sales which should bring the bracelet version down to budget.
Oak & Oscar Olmsted (Explorer 1) $1,575
What are you looking for when you’re looking for an Explorer alternative to fill out your core collection? Legibility, ruggedness and a comfortable size. The Olmsted has quickly become one of my favorite fixed bezel tool watches available today. In fact, I liked it so much I have one in my personal collection now. The Olmsted falls right under 39mm the Explorer I is offered in at 38mm. The dial is supremely legible and with its ETA 2892 movement with 100 meters of water resistance, it fills in for the Explorer I perfectly.
Junghans Meister Telemeter (Daytona) $1,449
It’s rare that I time anything, much less something that I’m planning to. Having screwdown pushers like the Daytona seems an obstacle for impromptu measurement, so I’m glad to be able to choose an alternative. I’ve long loved the vintage vibe and red chronograph track on the Junghans Meister Telemeter. It leans a bit dressy, with no bracelet option and a polished case, but that’s my style. Eschewing the traditional tachymeter scale for a telemeter (which measures distance by sound) and omitting the date make this watch a just different enough.
Alpina Startimer Pilot Automatic (Explorer) $1,117
Will put it well when he said an Explorer I alternative should be legible, rugged, and comfortable. But I’d also add that it should have a sense of adventure to it–like it wants to go out and be used, if not banged around. The Alpina Startimer Pilot checks all the boxes. I’d long lover the look of the original 44mm model, but it’s size kept me at bay. Now that Alpina have released a 40mm, I may not be able to restrain myself.
Mido Ocean Star Tribute (Submariner) $1,150
I was tempted to use the model I own (the Mido Ocean Star 200 in titanium), but felt it would be better not to choose the low-hanging fruit. So I reached just slightly higher on the tree. The Ocean Star Tribute was Mido’s very successful stab at a reissue of one of their old divers. Putting a modern, overclocked 80-hour ETA behind vintage styling in their tried and true Ocean Star case was a home run. It came out around the same time as the Doxa 200, and the two look somewhat similar, but the Mido wins out for me.
Nomos Orion 1989 (Oyster Perpetual) $2,050
When looked at relative to the rest of the Big 4, the Oyster Perpetual provides the dressiest option, with arguably the cleanest dial Rolex offers (excepting for the Cellini line). So I’ve tried to capture that essence here in my pick, with a handwound piece from another German brand. The Nomos Orion 1989 is a more brooding take on the brand’s’ typically light color palette. Fittingly, the watch celebrates the fall of the Berlin wall, and features what they call a “November grey.” Whatever they call it, it’s sleek, elegant, and eminently wearable.
Be sure to check out Andrew & Everett’s picks and why they chose them on the 40&20 Podcast. Listen below.
Monta Triumph: https://montawatch.com/products/monta-triumph-black-dial
Christopher Ward C60 Pro 600: https://www.christopherward.com/dive/c60-trident-pro-600/C60-42ADA3-S0KW0-B0.html
DOXA Sub 300T: https://doxawatches.com/collections/sub-300t
Orion Hellcat: https://orionwatch.com/hellcat
CWC RN Fleet Air ARM: https://www.cwcwatch.com/products/mechanical-chronograph-no-date
Sinn 556 (on a strap): https://www.sinn.de/en/Modell/556_I.htm