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Dear Santa: Frank’s Christmas Wishlist

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Frank’s Christmas Wishlist

It’s that time of the year again, and the elves are hard at work. Word from the grapevine is that finances are a bit tight at the North Pole. Unfortunately, Santa invested a substantial sum into a startup pitching sneakers to reindeer that eventually pulled an exit scam. With that in mind, this year, instead of going all out asking for half a million dollar watches like I always do, I will be listing one watch that I love from three tiers of prices: 1) SGD10,000, 2) SGD25,000, and 3) Limitless. This way, I’ve got a fighting chance of getting at least one watch from struggling Santa. Without further ado, this is my 2019 Christmas wishlist.

1) Seiko Presage Arita Porcelain Dial SPB093 – JPY200,000 (SGD2,500)

For the first price tier of SGD10,000, I decided to low-ball Santa with a watch that ‘only’ costs SGD2,500: the Seiko Presage Arita Porcelain Dial SPB093. Make no mistake, the SPB093 is not to be taken lightly, for it is very much a connoisseur timepiece. As the name would suggest, the dial of he SPB093 is made of Arita (a small town on Japan’s Kyushu island) porcelain, which is prized by the porcelain community worldwide. As someone who also appreciates porcelain wares, the Seiko SPB093 certainly speaks to me. The recesses for the power reserve and date displays look absolutely sensuous, while the blued hands and red ‘XII’ round off what is a truly special timepiece at a sensible price.

2) Ulysse Nardin Freak X – USD21,000 (SGD28,500)

Going one rung up the pricing ladder, I chose the critically acclaimed Ulysse Nardin Freak X. Sure, it exceeds the 25K mark by a little but let’s be honest, with a bit of sweet talk I’m sure most boutiques would let the watch go for 25 grand. Besides, I low-balled with the Seiko Presage, so I’m sure Santa wouldn’t mind my high-balling with the Freak X. The Freak X (in titanium) was a no-brainer for me at this price range. While it is driven by a simplified version of the movement found inside the regular Freaks, it still comes with plenty of the avant-garde innovations that were built into the latest Freak Vision, such as the silicon balance wheel with nickel weights and microblades. To top it all of, it retains the iconic look of the standard Freak and the unique way it tells time. Bonus points for not costing a hundred big ones.

3) A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds In White Gold With Black Dial – USD75,100 (SGD109,500)

The ultimate watch on my list is an A. Lange & Söhne, which should come to the surprise of exactly no one. A. Lange & Söhne is the brand that I identify with the most, after all. What may be surprising is that I didn’t pick the more hyped-up pieces, like the Odysseus, the Zeitwerk Date, or any of the Lange 1 “25th Anniversary” pieces. Instead, I chose a watch from years ago that only received a cosmetic update. But damn, did they get it right this time! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds has been one of my least favourite Langes; it’s not Lange, it’s me – I just don’t like the ticking of the deadbeat seconds technical complication all that much. Who knew that slapping a black dial onto this bad boy (paired with an unplated white gold case) would make me fall head over heels for the reference. The watch looks like a bad ass scientific instrument of doom found in spy or sci-fi movies – the ticking just makes it better. Previous iterations of the watch were just too dressy to pull off the scientific instrument look, which the Richard Lange family of watches is meant to evoke anyway. Compared to the Ulysse Nardin and the Seiko, the Richard Lange Jumping Seconds is absurdly well-finished (even for its price tier), so not only do you get to look cool wearing it, you also get to obsess over its fine craftsmanship like a true villain.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Frank, I liked all your choices (they wouldn’t be mine, but I liked the ones you chose). I thought I would like the Freak X more than I did when I tried it on. At that price level, I was disappointed that the finishing was quite rough and the colours chosen made the watch look muted. They could have done more with it to make it pop, which is what a Freak should do, maybe?

    • Hi Daryll,

      Thank you for your thoughts, as always! I’m glad you like my choices. I personally thought the Freak X was alright but it’s true, the watch does look muted in the black dial/titanium version. I think the blue dial version looks a bit more vibrant, while the gold version looks the most vibrant. The gold version is fairly pricey though, and therefore does not offer bang for buck.

      I saw your choices in one of the other wishlists and I like them too. Ferdinand Berthoud never ceases to amaze and I love what Chopard has done with the brand. And the Habring2 Perpetual Doppel is absolutely lovely – great aesthetics, even greater value for money (though it blows the budget here!).