Mid 90’s 1861 tritium Speedmaster ~$3,200
Lastly, a Speedmaster rounds out the collection, providing a foundation of historical relevancy and interesting complication. There are plenty of Speedmaster options out there, but in this exercise I’m partial to the 861 models from the mid ‘90s for a few reasons. As much as I love the earlier 145.022 references, within this budget, you’re likely looking at one that won’t be a comfortable daily wear option. With a mid-’90s model Speedmaster (early reference 3570.50 examples), you could still have a tritium dial and hands, hand wound caliber 1861, and with any luck, some nice aging starting to happen.
There’s not much to say about the Speedmaster that hasn’t been said already, and likely more eloquently than I could ever put it. Suffice to say, it’s a true icon of the watch world, even if you’re stingy about using that word, and deserves a place in a small collection. If not thanks to its merits (of which it has many), then thanks to its seemingly ageless dial and case design, which looks as modern as ever even today.
With any money left over (if any, I might actually be in the hole a bit here), I’d splurge on a G-Shock or Bulova Computron just to cover the formal end of my wardrobe. If you’d like to share your thoughts on these three watches, or make any suggestions, head to the comments below.