Last month, we wrote an article to highlight some of the sub-S$2,000 watches that one would like to consider adding into one’s watch collection.
This week, we decided to up the ante a little more, with watches from the mid-tier luxury category. While there are no hard and fast rules as to what constitutes a “mid-tier luxury” watch, we would like to define it – for the sake of this article – as timepieces between the entry-level luxury watches (sub-S$2,000) and luxury watches (sub-S$10,000). This price range, as one would imagine, would offer quite a lot of options.
For this week’s selection, besides the price range, we would also omit the more predictable options. After all, the likes of TAG Heuers and Omega does not need further introductions, and we reckon these are watches that are quite popular in their own right. Instead, we will be looking at some of the more uncommon and underrated watches, which are definitely a tad more interesting especially if one is already an existing watch collector with timepieces from the usual suspects.
Frederique Constant Classics Worldtimer Offline Full Black Special
Frederique Constant is one of the more underrated brands in the scene. They have some interesting and well-priced watches with great complications, and the Classics Worldtimer is an example of that.
The Offline Full Black Special is the latest timepiece that was introduced by the brand, and it offers a rather interesting proposition. Here, we have a timepiece with the world time complication, but with a slight twist. Unlike the usual timepieces, Frederique Constant had opted to use the airport codes, instead of the full name, for the reference cities. This results in a cleaner and less cluttered dial, which is often a drawback for watches with this complication. The 42mm watch is also fitted with a matte black PVD titanium case, which makes it look rather cool.
Priced at S$6,200, this 300-piece limited edition timepiece is an interesting option for collectors who want a cool and functional watch. The matte black PVD case also makes the watch discreet, and this makes it an excellent candidate as a travellers’ companion – as it is meant to be.
Tudor Ranger 39mm
Tudor had seen a meteoric rise in terms of popularity over the last ten years, since the Geneva-based brand had revamped itself with a more streamlined and focused product line-up.
One of the things that Tudor is known for is its tool watches. In 2022, the brand reintroduced the Ranger – a model that was known for its exploration prowess. The watch is notably built like a tank, with a solid movement in the form of the Calibre MT5402. The self-winding movement boasts a power reserve of 70 hours, and it is also chronometer-certified with a tolerance of -2- and +4-seconds’ variation in timekeeping (with the watch being fully assembled). This is by no means a small feat.
The new Ranger retails at S$3,780 for the strap version, and S$4,210 for the model with a steel bracelet. For what it is worth, the Tudor Ranger offers great value – especially since it is a robust tool watch that is built to last.
NOMOS Glashütte Tangente 38 for Doctors Without Borders
For slightly more than a decade, NOMOS Glashütte had meaningfully collaborated with Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders in English. The latter is an international humanitarian medical non-governmental organisation of French origin best known for its projects in conflict zones and in countries affected by endemic diseases.
The current edition, produced for the humanitarian foundation, is based on the Tangente 38 Ref. 165, but with subtle feature changes. The most notable one would be the “12” on the dial, which is printed in red – a colour that is synonymous with the organisation. At the six o’clock position, instead of the “Made in Germany” inscription, it has been replaced with “50 ans de Médecins Sans Frontières” to commemorate this special milestone.
What is also interesting is that the price of the watch is S$2,810 – which is similar to the non-special edition of the Tangente 38. We have also noted that this is limited to a production of 2,021 pieces, and that €100 from the sale of each watch goes directly to providing emergency aid.
Grand Seiko GMT (SBGM003/SBGM221)
We move on to a timepiece that is no longer a well-kept secret. Cue the exceptional Grand Seiko GMT.
Over the last few years, the Japanese watch manufacturer has attracted the attention of many collectors. This is attributed to its well-made timepieces, and arguably the value proposition that it offers as well. One of such timepieces is the GMT (pictured above is the old version SBGM003; the new version SBGM221 comes with some minor tweaks), which is a mainstay of Grand Seiko. We love the smooth cream dial, and the well-finished indices and hands that featured the manufacturer’s famous zaratsu finish. The movement is a sight to behold as well.
The 39.5mm watch is a classy piece, and it is well-priced at US$4,600 (approximately S$6,220). This is a great watch especially for a business traveller, or someone who simply wants an excellent travel watch without attracting the wrong sort of attention.
Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Triptych
In recent years, Louis Erard had made great strides in the horological scene. Suddenly, everyone appears to pay attention to this watch manufacturer, who was unfortunately not on the radar of many in the last decade.
Louis Erard’s popularity can be attributed to the uber-cool watches that they have produced, mainly from the collaborations that they have made over the last three years. The Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Triptych is perhaps one of the most successful ones thus far – which sees them spawning two more future iterations since the launch of the original variant in 2021.
It is easy to love the Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Triptych. We like its funky design (thanks to Alain Silberstein), with a rather original looking case and lugs. The combination, together with the various complications featured (think monopusher and regulator), really makes the timepieces desirable. The latest addition, in collaboration with US retailer Stephen Silver, begins with a price point of US$4,590 (approximately S$6,200) for the La Semaine model.
Sinn R500 Chronograph
We round up the article with the uber-cool Sinn R500 Chronograph.
Launched in late 2020, the R500 Chronograph is based on a similar Sinn watch that was produced in the 1970s. The 42mm is nothing short of being a conversational piece, especially with its uncommon bullhead design and an angled case which tilts the dial towards the wearer. We also like how the date aperture and power reserve indicators are integrated seamlessly into the dial
The watch retails at S$7,250, and it is limited to a production of 300 pieces. It is highly uncommon to see a bullhead chronograph these days, and we think that Sinn had actually executed this timepiece rather well. It is a cool watch altogether, and we think it is a great piece to include in any watch collection – provided if you can still find one.
We do hope that you have enjoyed this week’s article. The selection of watches between the price range of sub-S$2,000 to S$10,000 is indeed rather vast; we recognise this, and we have instead tried to keep our selections to timepieces at the S$6,000 level whenever possible.
These watches that we have selected are not exactly brands that one would consider at the top of their mind (perhaps except the Grand Seiko), but they do offer compelling propositions as well. The Tudor Ranger, for instance, is no lesser of a watch than the more popular Black Bay range – and it is actually a rather solid timepiece that works well in many settings, The same goes for Frederique Constant, with its impressive offering in terms of complicated timepieces, but at a very reasonable price level. As we have always put across, there is certainly something for everyone.
We hope that today’s selection has helped to expand one’s horizon and perspective about some of the lesser-known brands within the mid-tier luxury category, and that some of you might consider these watches as part of your next “incoming”.