Recently, we wrote an article on some of the accessible entry-level mechanical watches that collectors can consider.
One of our readers, BRIGHTY, thought that it might be a good idea to consider writing an article on modestly-priced watches with complications. Hence, for today’s article, we will be looking at various complications, and some of the most accessible watches that come with those functions.
Notably, before we begin, some of the watches might not necessarily be priced on the lower end of the scale. These include watches that have higher-end complications, such as the perpetual calendar. But the watches, definitely, are some of the most accessible ones within their own individual category.
So, what are some of the more complicated mechanical watches that we have selected this time? Let us find out!
Tissot Heritage 1948 Chronograph
We begin the article with a timepiece from a brand that has a rich history in watchmaking. Cue the Tissot Heritage 1948 Chronograph.
The 39.5mm timepiece, which was inspired by a watch from the brand’s archive, is stunning with great proportions and a timeless design. It is a classic piece, with interesting design elements such as the twisted lugs and raised dot indices. Our only qualm is the inclusion of a date window at the 4.30 position, but we do understand that some collectors prefer this as they prioritise functionality. We feel that it would have been much more cleaner, and simultaneously remaining true to the original iteration.
Powering the watch is the workhorse ETA 2894-2 movement. It is a self-winding calibre, with a power reserve of around 42 hours. It is a solid movement that has proven to be highly functional and effective. Finishing is adequate, although we think that Tissot should have showcased the entire movement with a full sapphire crystal caseback.
The Heritage 1948 Chronograph is priced at S$2,200, and it is extremely good value for such a beautiful chronograph. This is a great watch for new collectors, as well as individuals who are looking for a daily beater that is both reliable and good looking.
Sinn 105 St Sa W UTC
When it comes to Sinn, the usual stereotype of German engineering comes to mind: Reliable, robust, and functional. The new 105 St Sa W UTC fits that narrative to the T.
Launched in late 2020, the 105 St Sa W UTC is one of the few 2020 novelties from the Frankfurt-based manufacturer. As per its namesake, the 41mm stainless steel timepiece features a dual time zone indicator and an additional date display. Simple as it might seem, but the watch is certainly very useful for frequent travellers or individuals who need to keep track of two time zones. Other notable touches include a bead-blasted case, as well as a bezel that is treated with the brand’s TEGIMENT technology that makes it highly-resistant to scratches.
Price for the Sinn 105 St Sa W UTC begins at S$2,920 for the strap variant, with the bracelet version coming in at a relatively affordable premium of S$370. Definitely another great option for a solid beater watch.
Frederique Constant Classic Worldtimer
One of the brands that have been constantly under the radar is Frederique Constant. They have some interesting and well-priced watches with great complications, and the Classic Worldtimer is an example of that.
The Worldtimer is an interesting complication, where it enables the collector to tell the time of a particular area with a single glance on the wrist. This is an important function for travellers, as well as individuals who have business activities around the globe. Also, with this particular Worldtimer, Frederique Constant had incorporated a map on the dial. While they are not the first to do so, we have to admit that the execution on this piece is done rather nicely.
Another incredible thing to note is the movement. The watch is fitted with the Calibre FC-718, an in-house calibre with a power reserve of around 42 hours. The one aspect that stands out is the fact that all the function of the watch – including the Worldtimer complication – can be adjusted via the single crown at the 3 o’clock position. That is highly remarkable, considering that many of its competitors incorporated an additional pusher for this particular function on their watches.
The 42mm timepiece is priced at US$4,195 (approximately S$5,595), which is great value for a timepiece of such quality. We really like everything about this watch, and we definitely hope that more collectors will start noticing Frederique Constant and the offerings that they produce.
Reservoir GT Tour Blue Edition
We have a thing for brands who try to attempt something different, and introducing different complications to the masses at a relatively affordable price point. The Reservoir GT Tour Blue Edition is one such timepiece.
Reservoir, who is a relative newcomer into the watchmaking scene, has caught our attention with their repertoire of interesting timepieces. The 43mm GT Tour Blue Edition combines both automotive and watchmaking together, with a timepiece that leverages on the retrograde complication that mimics a car’s tachometer. This is further seen in the power reserve indicator, which reminds us of a car’s fuel gauge. It is a refreshing take for sure, and we like how the brand had incorporated interesting complications into the watch.
The GT Tour Blue Edition is priced modestly at US$3,980 (approximately S$5,310). We like the inspiration behind the brand’s creation, 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.
Montblanc Heritage Perpetual Calendar
In recent years, Montblanc has been offering collectors great watches at modest price points. The Heritage Perpetual Calendar is one such watch.
The piece, launched in SIHH 2019 with a stainless steel variant, is a great addition to the Heritage line-up. It is certainly a looker as compared to the brand’s first Perpetual Calendar watch, and its 40mm case is well-sized for today’s market.
Powering the watch is the in-house Caliber MB 29.22, a self-winding watch that has a power reserve of around 48 hours. The base movement is shared across all Richemont’s brands, and one outstanding feature is that the watch can be adjusted bi-directionally (inclusive of the date as well).
The Montblanc is priced at €15,000 (approximately S$22,595). It is, by no means, an affordable timepiece. But when it comes to watches that offer the perpetual calendar function, this Montblanc is certainly one of the most accessible timepieces available – without compromising on quality or technical performance.
Habring² Jumping Second Pilot
We end the article with an incredible timepiece from Habring² – an independent outfit in Austria that is operated by a husband-and-wife team.
Amongst the incredible array of watches is the Jumping Seconds Pilot. As its nomenclature suggests, the watch features the seconde morte complication. For the uninitiated, this means that the seconds hand tick once every second – not dissimilar to that of a quartz watch. The only difference is that this is done with a mechanical movement, which is certainly not as easy to execute. What is also incredible is that this is accomplished using an ETA-7750 base movement, which is another mean feat especially when we consider how Richard Habring had achieved this with as little modifications as possible to incorporate this complication.
The last known retail price of the Jumping Seconds Pilot is around £4,950 (approximately S$9,069). Similar to the Montblanc, while it might be slightly expensive for some, one has to recognise that this watch features an uncommon complication – and it is one of the most accessible ways to enter into the world of independent watchmaking. For those two reasons alone, it is certainly enough to justify the price point of this Habring².
We have featured six incredible watches in today’s article. They may be of different price points, but each of them are certainly some of the most accessible timepieces within its class. But beyond the price tag, these watches are also well-built and feature great design languages.
As a website that focuses on timepieces, we are truly grateful for brands who are willing to find ways to produce great watches at an accessible price point. These watches have proved that complications do not necessarily have to be expensive – and budding collectors can have an option beyond the usual three-hand time-only watches.
Finally, we do hope that you have enjoyed this week’s article. We wish that this had broadened your horizon, and perhaps catalyse you to consider adding one of these watches into your watch collection. Do let us also know your thoughts on our selection, as well as some of the topics that you will like us to explore in the future. Till the next time!