Back to Basics: Six Simple Three-Hand Time-Only Dress Watches

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In the past couple of weeks, we have been on a more playful note – featuring a dozen of more interesting and bold watches that are pretty much unlike majority of the timepieces that are available on the market today.

While it was fascinating, we do admit that it is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. There are many collectors who prefer something more classic. After all, having a simple and elegant dress timepiece is a quintessential item in any watch collection.

Hence, for this week’s articles, we will be looking at some of our favourite three-hand dress watches, with the most rudimentary function of just telling time. We hope to cover a variety of price ranges, to show the availability of options at different price points as well. What have we eventually selected? Let us find out!

Longines Heritage Silver Arrow

We have been thoroughly impressed with Longines’ offerings in the last few years, and the new Heritage Silver Arrow is no exception as well.

Launched this year, the Heritage Silver Arrow is a nod to the original timepiece that was produced by the brand in 1956. The watch features a really clean design, with interesting touches such as the egg-shell dial and corrugated indices. It is sized at 38.5mm too, which makes it a really well-sized piece especially in the realm of dressier watches.

The Silver Arrow retails at S$2,950, which is a steal in our opinion. We like its looks, as well as how the brand had included minute details to add a nice touch to the piece. Overall, it is a very well-made piece, and with the workhorse Caliber L888 movement, there is pretty much nothing to complain about this magnificent re-issue of a classic.

Kurono Tokyo Classic

Since its inception in 2019, Kurono Tokyo has managed to generate a buzz with its slew of classic three-hand watches (and a couple of chronographs in the subsequent launches). It is the brainchild of master watchmaker, Hajime Asaoka, and it is perhaps the closest thing that most collectors can get from the Japanese maestro himself.

The three-hand watch follows a recipe that sounds good on paper: classic design, modest case proportions (at 37mm), and a workhorse movement. These elements can be found in the Classic, which has spawned several iterations since it was first introduced two years ago.

Despite it being made more accessible to collectors, getting an allocation for the Classic is still an elusive task for some indeed. The demand far outstrips the supply, and Hajime-san only launches a handful of watches for each iteration (sans the last edition, which is limited for sale over a 10 minute window). The time-only watches are typically priced at JPY 189,000 (approximately S$2,290), and we do think that this is good value – provided you have had the opportunity to lay your hands on one.

Glashütte Original Sixties Annual Edition 2020

The Sixties collection from Glashütte Original is an intriguing one. Since 2018, the brand has injected elements of vibrancy through colours (and textures) on its dial.

For 2020, the brand had introduced the Sixties Annual Edition 2020. As compared to the previous iterations, this version is slightly more restrained with a cool glacier blue sunburst dial. We actually like this piece better, and we think that the light shade of blue works very well as a dressier watch. Another noteworthy point on the dial would be the indices, in which they employed the use of cut-out indices. This is one of the very few watch manufacturers that uses this technique, and it provides an interesting detail (and some level of depth) on an otherwise clean-looking dial.

Moving on to the business-end, the Sixties Annual Edition 2020 did not disappoint as well. The self-winding Caliber 39-52 is well-built, with some elements of finishing techniques being displayed.

With a retail price of S$10,500, the Glashütte Original Sixties Annual Edition 2020 is certainly worth a consideration for a collector who is looking to move beyond the usual likes of Rolex and Omega watches.

Chopard L.U.C QF Jubilee

The L.U.C collection in Chopard is an underrated collection, and one that is a well-kept secret within the collectors. But frankly, it deserves so much more. The QF Jubilee shows us exactly why.

The QF Jubilee is the epitome of what L.U.C represents: technical performance, aesthetic refinement, and an enduring attachment to certified watchmaking. This 39mm watch is heavily inspired by the brand’s wristwatches in its earlier days – with an interesting art deco sector dial that highlights the arrow indices within. The sunburst effect, notably, also adds a great touch to the watch; we really enjoy the aesthetics of this watch.

Another noteworthy point to add is the movement, in which the QF Jubilee is fitted with the L.U.C 96.09-L movement. This double-barrel movement has a 22-carat gold micro-rotor, as well as a myriad of finishing techniques that gives the bigger boys a run for its money.

This watch is cased in stainless steel, and it is only available for a run of 25 pieces. It is priced at S$20,000 – which is remarkable for a timepiece of this caliber. We do think that it is a highly attractive piece, and we dare say that this watch is on-par with some of the top manufacturers out there.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 6119R-001

In 2021, Patek Philippe launched a new piece from the famed Calatrava collection. Cue the new Reference 6119R-001.

The new 39mm is a stunning dress watch, featuring the famous “Clous de Paris” motif on the bezel. Aside from that, the Ref. 6119 is pretty much a simple timepiece, with a very standard three-hand layout that also features a sub-seconds dial at the 6 o’clock position.

Powering the watch is the Caliber 30-255PS, which is a new movement by the maison. The movement boasts a power reserve of 65 hours, as well as a stop seconds hacking mechanism. Finishing-wise, the Caliber 30-255PS is superb with all the haute horlogerie elements addressed well. After all, it is stamped with the Geneva Seal – which is undoubtedly a testament to the quality of the timepiece.

Priced at S$39,000, the Calatrava might have a slight premium over its competitors. However, given its quality and provenance, the watch is certainly a compelling option – and one that sets the benchmark for the rest of the high-end dress watches in the scene.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

Lastly, we have one of our favourite timepieces from Vacheron Constantin: Historiques American 1921.

As its namesake suggests, this watch is a remake of the original iteration that debuted in 1921. What is particularly interesting is that the American 1921 is a driver’s watch, in which the dial is rotated by 45 degrees to enable the user to tell time easily while his or her hand is on the steering wheel. Although the concept was simple, it was quite a novelty which makes the American 1921 so charming even till today.

The latest variant, in white gold, is available in both 36.5mm and 40mm models. It is fitted with the brand’s Caliber 4400 AS, which is a manual-winding movement that has a power reserve of around 65 hours. The build quality and finishing is exemplary, with numerous finishing techniques that makes the movement a sight to behold.

Finally, the 36.5mm and 40mm of the American 1921 retail at S$43,600 and S$53,000 respectively. Notwithstanding the price point aside, the American 1921 is a brilliant piece, with a nice touch of history to it. For those who are able to afford its slightly princely price tag, this Vacheron Constantin is definitely a great piece to supplement any watch collection.

Concluding Thoughts

We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s article. On paper, a three-hand time-only watch might sound boring. But the six pieces that we have selected today prove otherwise. From our selection, there are a myriad of elements that a brand can tweak – from the minute details to the elaborate finishing techniques that some of these watches feature. And that is what makes these watches so special in their own ways as well.

On a similar note, we do think that selecting half a dozen pieces does not do the topic justice. We reckon we might possibly do a follow-up on this topic, and perhaps also focus more on interesting and under-rated brands that deserve a mention as well. Let us know your thoughts, and as always, have a great upcoming week ahead!


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