The watch collecting universe is an interesting one these days. It appears as though there are more and more collectors around, and the supplies are not enough to feed the insatiable appetite from the crowd. In fact, we are aware that the waitlist for some watches can stretch over years.
While those watches are definitely great, but frankly, we do think that the spectrum of excellent watches go beyond the few highly-demanded brands or models. There are so many hidden gems within the scene, and we do reckon that many of them are highly underrated – and deserve much more attention than they are given.
In this week’s article, we will be turning our attention to watches that are highly underrated in the scene, with a price point of around S$10,000 or below. We believe that at this price range, we have very good options that can give some of the popular timepieces a run for their money.
So, what are the watches that we have selected today? Let us find out!
Hanhart 417 ES
We begin the article with the Hanhart 417 ES, a timepiece that was based on the legendary chronograph that was used by the German Armed Forces in the 1950s.
The 42mm timepiece is a handsome piece, with a bi-compax layout and design cues that remained faithful to the original. Whilst it is based on the original model, we like the numerous unusual touches such as the fluted bezel and classic fonts used. As mentioned in our review article, this is pretty much a classic watch with modern technical upgrades to make a stunning watch even better.
Powering the 417 ES is the humble Sellita SW 510 M movement. This is a manual-winding movement, with an autonomy of around 58 hours. Overall, at a price point of €1,745 including VAT (approximately S$2,738), we are hard pressed to find such a solid and good-looking piece that offers as much value as this.
Tutima Patria Admiral Blue SS
Continuing with the theme of German watches, we have the Tutima Patria Admiral Blue SS.
Positioned as a discreet and elegant gentleman’s watch, the 43mm Patria Admiral certainly ticks all the right boxes with its quality and stunning looks. This includes its steep curved lugs, applied blue cold enamel dial, as well as the beautiful in-house Caliber 617. Notably, the movement features all the typical German characteristics, such as the three-quarter plates, Glashütte ribbings, and an openworked balance cock. The rose gold hue also adds a nice touch to it.
The exquisite Patria Admiral Blue SS is priced at US$6,900/€4,900 including VAT (approximately S$7,689). It is well-priced for what it offers, and we reckon this watch is a great introduction for any collectors who wish to enter the rabbit hole of collecting German-made watches.
Habring² Foudroyante Felix
Moving on, we have a timepiece from an independent watch manufacturer that is based in Austria. Cue the Habring² Foudroyante Felix.
For regular readers of Deployant, it is no secret that we are big fans of this humble atelier. The small-scale manufacturer, which is owned by husband-and-wife duo Richard and Maria, produces well-priced and original timepieces with interesting complications to boot.
The Foudroyante Felix is an example, where it features the Foudroyante complication which completes 8 ticks per second. It is an interesting and conversational feature, although admittedly, it is more of an unusual spectacle than serving any particular function. But it still works well with a simple dress watch, in our opinion.
Priced at €6,550 (approximately S$10,278), the 38.5mm timepiece is a lovely dress watch that is a little different from the norm. We highly recommend this for collectors who wish to enter into the world of independent watchmaking.
Longines Avigation BigEye
Longines is a brand that has caught our attention in the last few years, with the introduction of many impressive novelties. The Avigation BigEye, which was first introduced in 2017, is one such timepiece.
The 41mm watch is inspired by the vintage aviation chronograph that Longines had produced in the yesteryear. Similar to most of their remakes, the Avigation BigEye is rather pleasant looking, with an intriguing oversized 30-minute counter at the 3 o’clock position that adds an interesting touch to a typically symmetrical design.
Notably, the watch is powered by the Caliber L688, which features a column wheel and has a power reserve of around 66 hours. It is priced at S$3,980, which we deem is rather reasonable considering the other column wheel chronographs that are available in the market currently. The chronographs by Longines are definitely worth a double take, and we do highly recommend collectors to do so, especially if they are looking to add a compelling chronograph into their watch collection.
NOMOS Glashütte Zürich Weltzeit
NOMOS is a brand that we have often raved about, and the Zürich Weltzeit is perhaps one of our favourites from the Glashütte-based watch manufacturer.
Often known for its minimalistic take on watches, the Zürich Weltzeit emphasises it with its clean take on the world time complication. It is also simple to operate, with an actuator at the 2 o’clock position that allows the owner to change the time zone easily.
Another highlight for the Zürich Weltzeit would be the in-house DUW 5201 movement. The movement has a power reserve of 42 hours, and it features some nice touches such as the Glashütte ribbing, NOMOS perlage, Glashütte sunburst, and flame-blued screws.
The 40mm timepiece is priced at S$7,820, which is rather reasonable for an in-house developed world timer. This is definitely very underrated, and for what it is worth, we do reckon that it deserves much more attention than this.
Jaeger LeCoultre Master Control Date
We round the article off with the Jaeger LeCoultre Master Control Date.
The Master Control collection is undoubtedly a mainstay within JLC, but it is undoubtedly overshadowed by the iconic Reversos that many collectors adore. This, however, makes the Master Control Date an interesting option considering its simple design and great movement.
This iteration of the Master Control is no doubt a great example of how a dressier timepiece should be. It is clean and elegant, with finesse all around. Of course, this is probably not a piece for first-time JLC collectors – most will probably still opt for the Reverso, and understandably so for the novelty factor.
Finally, at S$10,500, this is the priciest timepiece of the lot. It may have exceeded our budget a little, but we still reckon that this is a damn good timepiece that will work very well in any corporate or formal setting – with a great movement from one of the most incredible manufacturers to date.
We believe that we have come up with quite a compelling selection today, with a few pieces that are well below the S$10,000 price target that we have set. Of course, we had a couple of pieces that breached the budget by a tiny bit as well, but we reckon they thoroughly deserve a spot here. We are quite happy with our picks overall.
Our favourites today have to be either the Tutima or NOMOS. Both watches offer great value, and the Tutima really surprised us with its quality. If we have one comment, we reckon that the Tutima could have done with a smaller case. The Habring² also deserves some special mention as well, considering its offerings despite its relatively small scale in operations.
Lastly, do let us know your thoughts on our selection today, as well as the watches that you think deserves a spot on the list. Till the next article, ciao!
The JLC Master Control Date is elegant and can be worn in almost any circumstance, including a more casual setting, in my opinion, especially with the supplied strap. However, given the trend towards smaller diameters and because of the style and layout of this particular watch, I would’ve liked it if JLC would’ve kept the previous 39mm iteration or even come down to 38mm, and would like to know the rationale they used to go to 40mm. The movement doesn’t seem to have enlarged in its diameter.
Would happily wear all of them, good choices. Since Habring is included with its very small volumes, I’d maybe add something by Dornbluth & Sohn, like the 99.1.