A couple of months back, we wrote a listicle on some quirky but intriguing watches.
It was well-received, and we were also pleasantly surprised by the amount of such “interesting” watches that we have in the scene. After all, the watch industry is pretty conservative, save for a few watch manufacturers who have the tendency to produce bold and spectacularly unusual pieces.
Another six great recommendations for quirky but fabulous watches
Following the previous article, we thought that we would like to showcase more of such watches. Hence, in this week’s column, we will be looking at such pieces – but this time, without the budget constraints. We will be selecting a mix of watches from different price ranges, and we do hope that we have something for everyone.
So, what have we chosen? Let us find out!
MIH Gaïa II
The MIH Gaïa II is an interesting piece. First launched in 2019, the Gaïa was pitched as a timepiece in which its proceeds will be used for restoring artifacts in the Musée international d’horlogerie (MIH).
Following the success of the first release, MIH had launched the Gaïa II – to support the restoration of the Tellurium by François Ducommun, a vintage complicated clock in the museum’s collection. Similar to the first edition, the 39mm watch is a simple but intriguing piece that features two separate discs to tell the hour and minute. The watch also has a distinctive lug design, which also gives the watch a really contemporary touch.
The steel watch is priced at CHF2,900 (approximately S$4,194), and it is powered by the reliable Sellita SW400-1. It is only available in black, and it will not be a limited edition piece (unlike the first edition). It is certainly an interesting piece, with an equally compelling story to complete as well.
Bell & Ross Vintage BR V2-94 FULL LUM
Bell & Ross is an interesting brand that has been dishing out brilliant aviation-themed watches. The new Vintage BR V2-94 FULL LUM is no exception to that either.
As the namesake suggests, the watch is based on the classic V2-94 collection. It is a round watch, with a bi-compax layout. What is interesting is how the watch comes to life in the dark – with the entire dial filled with different pigments of SuperLuminova. The result here is definitely amazing.
Powering the watch is the BR-CAL.301, which is a movement that is not unfamiliar with Bell & Ross enthusiasts. The self-winding movement beats at 28,800 vph, and it has a power reserve of 42 hours.
The watch is priced at S$7,000, and it is limited to 250 pieces only. It is an interesting piece, and one that is pretty special as well. Definitely a lovely piece to wear in the dark!
M.A.D Edition M.A.D 1
Here is perhaps a watch that you possibly could not get, even if you might have the funds to do so. Cue the M.A.D Edition M.A.D 1.
The M.A.D 1 is a culmination of Max Büsser’s ideas and concepts ever since he started MB&F in 2005. It is an accessible piece, with an interesting high-speed winding rotor that takes the centrepiece of the watch. In addition, the time-telling indicators are placed at the side of the watch, with two cylinders telling the hours and minutes laterally.
Unfortunately, for collectors, the M.A.D 1 is only available to friends of MB&F (i.e. suppliers and partners) and “The Tribe” (members of the MB&F owners’ club). The piece is priced at CHF1,900 (approximately S$2,748).
Zenith Defy 21 Urban Jungle
In recent times, Zenith has treated the horological world with a slew of novelties. Early this year, the Le Locle-based manufacturer had launched another spectacular piece – in the form of the Zenith Defy 21 Urban Jungle.
The Defy 21 collection, which debuted in 2017, set the standards for chronographs with the 1/100 seconds chronograph timer. This year, Zenith had decided to incorporate a rather cool-looking khaki green ceramic case into the watch. Coupled with the skeletonised dial, the Defy 21 Urban Jungle is certainly a great sight to behold.
Aside from the looks, the movement is definitely the pièce de résistance. The El Primero 9004 features two separate trains – one beating at 36,000 bph, and the other at 360,000 bph. The latter, notably, is for the 1/100th of a second counter. It is definitely incredible, although frankly, it is more of a spectacle more than anything else.
Retailing at S$21,200, the Zenith Defy 21 Urban Jungle is definitely a brilliant piece to add into any collection. We like how it looks, and the fascinating 1/100th seconds chronograph is certainly a conversation starter.
Gérald Genta Arena Retro Mickey Mouse Disney
For any collector, Gérald Genta is definitely a name that is familiar to many. After all, he is the designer of some of the most iconic watches in the horological scene.
Besides his commissions, he is also famous for his eponymous watch brand. One of the most famous pieces from the atelier is the Arena Retro series, which features numerous characters from Disney. The Mickey Mouse variant is no doubt the most popular version. Notably, the character’s hand is used as a retrograde minute indicator, and it is combined with an aperture that shows the jumping hour.
For 2021, Bvlgari – who now owns the Gérald Genta name – will be launching the brand’s watches as a standalone brand. Concurrently, they are also launching a new version of the signature Mickey Mouse watch – in a 41mm stainless steel case.
The new watch is priced at €16,500 (approximately S$26,083), and it will be limited to a production run of 150 pieces. This is a very special piece, and one that will surely attract many collectors alike.
Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire 42mm
Lastly, we have the uber-cool Hublot Big Bang Unico Sapphire 42mm.
Hublot is a brand that is no stranger to controversial pieces, and the Big Bang Unico Sapphire is one such timepiece. The watch, which is entirely cased in sapphire, creates some rather striking aesthetics with the transparent material. Together with the skeletonised dial, we dare say that it is pretty much something that is unlike most of the watches that we see in the market (save for a few competitors such as the Girard Perregaux Laureato Absolute Light.
The kicker here, however, is its price point. The 42mm watch is priced at S$94,200 – which is quite steep for a Hublot timepiece. But here is the thing – it is very difficult to cut sapphire crystals, and given the shape of the Big Bang, the challenge is definitely tremendous. It is quite a special watch as well, and with all things considered, the Big Bang is definitely a bold and conversational piece that will undoubtedly attract the attention of many.
This was another interesting article to write. Again, we love to see this from manufacturers – whereby they move out of their comfort zone and do something different. As much as we like vintage reissues and dress watches, such quirky pieces tend to excite us a little more – and we certainly do not have enough of them just yet.
So, do you share the same sentiments as us? What are your thoughts on such watches, as well as our selection today? Let us know in the comments section below. Till the next time, ciao!