In the last few weeks, we have had the chance to write about some pretty interesting and quirky watches.
We were pretty surprised. For an industry that is mostly conservative in nature, it is rare to see a new watch that is bold and refreshing. In the last few weeks, we have covered a couple of such interesting pieces. This is, in fact, what we really want to see from the industry – bold, bright, and vibrant timepieces that are unlike any others.
In this week’s column, we are covering exactly just that. But beyond these funky pieces, we are also particular about the price points – these watches should be mostly modestly-priced, in order to make it more accessible to a larger group of collectors.
So, what are some of the watches that made it to the list? Let us find out!
Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Triptych
We begin the article with the piece that inspired the theme for this week’s column: Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Triptych.
This particular trio of watches comes from the back of a slew of collaborations between Louis Erard and other prominent figures in the industry, including Alain himself with the Regulator in 2019. The Triptych series – which includes a date (La Semaine), regulator (Le Régulateur), and monopusher (Le Chrono Monopoussoir) – is certainly refreshing especially with its intriguing case and lugs. That, together with the other Alain-styled design elements, certainly makes this series of watches a highly compelling one.
Priced at CHF 3,500 (approximately S$5,165) for both the regulator and date version, as well as CHF 4,500 (approximately S$6,640) for the monopusher, the Triptych series certainly offers relatively great value. It is also a highly conversational piece, and a bold one too indeed. This is no doubt something that the industry really needs right now.
Rado True Square Tej Chauhan
The Rado True Square Tej Chauhan is another piece that we have been raving about recently. We think it is not so difficult to see why.
Launched late last year, the watch is a collaboration between Rado and Tej Chauhan. The latter is an award-winning British industrial designer by trade, and it really shows in this particular piece. We like how the designer has managed to incorporate both Sci-fi and retro-inspired touches into this 38mm timepiece, which makes it highly intriguing and rather brilliant.
Priced at S$2,710, the Rado True Square Tej Chauhan is a really great piece to include in any watch collection. Pieces like this are hard to come by, let alone something that is as well-priced as this. We just do hope that this is not just a one-hit wonder, but one that will set the stage for other greater pieces to come from the Lengnau-based manufacturer.
Ikepod Megapod x Tom Christopher
Ikepod is an interesting brand, but one that is perhaps not as well-known for collectors who only started collecting watches from the last few years.
Originally founded in 1994, the brand was famous for its contemporary disc-like watches. The hype, unfortunately, died down eventually after some time. But in 2017, the brand was revived by a trio of investors – this time the watch retained its signature case, but now they are fitted with Miyota movements to make it more affordable.
One of the watches made, post-revival, is the Megapod x Tom Christopher. The latter, being an expressionist artist, incorporated vibrant colours and motifs of a city (think, skyscrapers, people, and birds) into watch – which makes the already fascinating piece a tad more special. The 46mm watch is priced at CHF 1,500 (approximately S$2,210), and we do think it is another wonderful piece to consider if one is looking to add more quirky pieces into their watch collection.
Gorilla Fastback GT Drift “Elise”
As the brainchild of Octavio Garcia and Lukas Gopp, Gorilla aims to target adventurous watch collectors with their unusual take on timepieces. The 44mm Fastback GT Drift “Elise”, notably, achieved this with the elusive “wandering hours” mechanism – typically seen on high-end independent brands such as Urwerk and H. Moser & Cie.
Powering the Fastback GT is an ETA 2824-2 movement, coupled with a Vaucher module. The use of such a combination ensures that Gorilla can keep its prices modest, and yet allow consumers to enjoy an unusual complication without compromising on the quality or performance. Additionally, the self-winding movement beats at 28,800 bph and it has a power reserve of around 36 hours.
The Gorilla Fastback GT Drift “Elise” is limited to a production of 350 pieces, and this special model has a case that is made up of four different materials: Ceramic, aluminum, titanium and carbon fibre. It is priced at S$5,088, and it is certainly a well-priced timepiece that makes it relatively more accessible for collectors who are looking for a conversational piece with an uncommon complication.
Reservoir GT Tour Blue Edition
It is always interesting to see brands that attempt to do something different, and yet making it more accessible to all. The Reservoir GT Tour Blue Edition, in our opinion, is one such timepiece.
Reservoir, who is a relative newcomer into the watchmaking scene, has caught our attention recently with their repertoire of interesting timepieces. The 43mm GT Tour Blue Edition is an example, where it combines both automotive and watchmaking together. This is expressed on the dial, where it is highly inspired by a car’s instrument cluster. Interestingly, Reservoir had incorporated the time-telling function on the “tachometer”, with the “fuel gauge” display masquerading as the watch’s power reserve indicator. It is definitely an interesting use of these elements, and we think it works rather well with this timepiece.
The GT Tour Blue Edition is priced modestly at US$3,980 (approximately S$5,275). We like the inspiration behind it, and the use of such complications at a price point that is more accessible to many collectors. While it might seemingly not be everyone’s cup of tea with a more polarising take on designs, we certainly applaud Reservoir for being different from the rest of the crowd. This is a great attempt, and we do hope to see more manufacturers taking a leaf out of this.
Omega Seamaster Ploprof
When it comes to diver’s watches, there are pretty much more similarities than differences when place them vis-à-vis each other. But the Omega Seamaster Ploprof is pretty much unlike the rest.
Launched in 1970, the Ploprof is a collaboration between Omega and Jacques Cousteau to create an extremely water-resistant watch. The result is an extremely water-tight case that uses a monobloc construction, together with a self-locking crown system and a patented bezel locking mechanism.
The modern iteration follows the same case aesthetic, with additional features such as a helium escape valve (HEV), extra water-resistance (up to 1,200m in depth), and a new co-axial movement. Coupled with the shark-mesh bracelet, the Ploprof is a throwback to the 70s where Omega really flourished with incredible watch designs.
Price for the Seamaster Ploprof 1200 begins at S$12,350 for the stainless steel variant. Frankly, the Ploprof is a controversial piece – either you like the design, or you do not. We certainly love the watch, and we think that it is a well-made diver’s watch that is very different from the crowd. It is definitely an interesting piece to add into any watch collection.
Most of the watches that we have here today have interesting features – some more than the others. It is pleasantly surprising to know that there are some excellent options around the budget of around S$5,000, which is considered relatively reasonable within the scene. In fact some pieces, such as the Rado and Ikepod, can be acquired for a couple of thousand dollars. These are certainly winners in our opinion for today’s article.
The only slight exception to the price point “criteria” is perhaps the Omega Seamaster Ploprof. However, we still feel that this is a great piece to include – considering its history, as well as its quirky design that is pretty much unlike any other diver’s watches that you have seen (sans some watches that were inspired by the Ploprof itself). It is great to know that these “unusual” designs are not completely shunned by larger brands, and we do hope that the relative success of the Ploprof is proof that there is demand for such pieces.
So, what are your thoughts on our selections today, as well as the idea of wearing and/or owning these kinds of quirky timepieces? Let us know in the comments section below!