For a roaring start: Six excellent watches with a great value proposition to start 2024

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While we usher in a new year, this also translates to another excuse to get a new watch – after all, the budget allocated for horology should have been reset with the start of a new calendar year, right?

For a roaring start: Six excellent watches with a great value proposition to start 2024

Of course, while many would have liked to start the year off with a bang, we think it might be more prudent to warm up with a relatively modest purchase. The kind that is good enough to scratch the proverbial itch, without utilising all the ammunition available.

On that note, it might also be a good opportunity to explore something beyond the usual suspects. Over the last two years, many brands have stepped up their game, and it will be great to support these brands in their endeavours. We should reward and recognise good work, and there is no better way to do that by putting our money where our mouth is.

Hence, in this week’s article, we will be looking at some impressive watches – mostly those that are under-the-radar – below the retail price of S$10,000. What have we selected? Let us find out.

Bulova Oceanographer 96B350 Men’s Archive Series

We begin with a timepiece that will kickstart 2024 with a bang. Cue the striking Bulova Oceanographer 96B350.

The 41mm watch is a design tribute of the brand’s acclaimed Oceanographer, made in the 1970s. There are many classic cues with this piece, from the design of the case to the bold and bright orange dial. One interesting element to note is the indices, which have cylindrical sapphire appliqués and are treated with SuperLuminova to have a bright glow in the dark. The overall aesthetics are certainly unusual indeed.

With a retail price of US$750 (approximately S$1,005), the Bulova – fitted with the Miyota 821D-21B movement – is certainly worth a consideration for someone who wants a reliable and sturdy weekend watch. We love the watch’s loud orange colour, and reckon it is certainly a great casual piece for the weekends.

Tissot PRX Automatic Chronograph

The Tissot PRX Automatic Chronograph is perhaps one of the best novelties in recent years, and it is not difficult to see why.

Featuring a beautiful retro-inspired case and integrated bracelet, the PRX Automatic Chronograph now features the chronograph complication – as suggested by its namesake. We absolutely love the design of the 42mm timepiece, with its retro vibes and clean design. If there are any qualms, that will probably be its case profile. A smaller 40mm case, with a thinner profile, would have made the PRX Automatic Chronograph an almost perfect timepiece for those with a smaller wrist.

This Tissot is priced at S$2,550, which is pretty good value for a timepiece of such calibre. If one is looking to start the year strongly, then the PRX Automatic Chronograph should be worth a serious consideration – provided that you have not already bought the watch.

Sinn U1

When it comes to diver’s watches, the Sinn U1 is, in our opinion, one of the most affordable and robust tool watches that money can buy. Cased in steel that was used to construct submarines, and reinforced by TEGIMENT technology, the watch is said to be six times stronger than a typical stainless-steel timepiece. It is also waterproof to a depth of 1000m and blessed with anti-magnetic properties as well.

The 44mm watch is powered by Sellita’s SW200 self-winding movement – with a date indicator and a decent power reserve of approximately 40 hours. It is a solid workhorse that certainly gets its job done.

The U1 is available in multiple variants, such as the Camouflage or the Desert Edition. The last known retail price of the U1 is US$2,160 (approximately S$2,933), and it is available in both rubber and metal bracelet options. This is certainly a solid piece to add into one’s collection, especially if one is planning to use it for diving or any other extreme sports. Talk about German engineering at its finest.

Atelier Wen Perception

In the seemingly crowded space of sports watches with integrated bracelets, there is one micro-brand that stood out with its impeccable offering. That is the Perception, from Atelier Wen.

The highlight of the Perception no doubt lies in its excellent guilloché dial. The latter especially impressed us a lot, especially since it was produced in collaboration with a Master Craftsman, who notably needs around eight man-hours of work to produce a single guilloché dial. The other aspects of the watch are also pretty nicely executed, and it definitely punches above its weight when the watch is placed against some of the more expensive counterparts.

Priced at US$2,588 (approximately S$3,470), the Perception definitely offers a lot – despite being a micro-brand. Given the strong reception, we do believe that many collectors and enthusiasts share the same sentiment with us as well. Our only hope is that Atelier Wen will not rest on their laurels, and continue their good work from here.

Louis Erard Excellence Email Grand Feu II

Louis Erard is a brand that has been making waves over the last few years. Its revitalisation is largely driven by the strong suite of collaboration and well-priced products – such as the incredible Excellence Email Grand Feu II.

Until the last couple of years, grand feu enamel dials were pretty much reserved for the higher echelons of watchmaking. This makes the Louis Erard an even more compelling timepiece, with its relatively accessible price point and great execution. We also like how the brand has incorporated some twists into the watch, with a play on both red and blue accents, as well as the use of Lance-styled hands.

Powered by the ever-reliable Sellita SW261, the 39mm self-winding watch boasts a power reserve of approximately 38 hours. The watch is limited to a production run of 99 pieces, with a retail price of CHF 3,900 (approximately S$6,022).

NOMOS Zürich Weltzeit

The NOMOS Zürich Weltzeit is a piece that is often high on our list, with its minimalist approach and great functionality – all in a compelling package.

NOMOS is a Glashutte-based watch manufacturer, known for its Bauhaus-inspired watches with superb in-house movements at a reasonable price point. The Zürich Weltzeit is a good example. The seemingly simple-looking piece actually features a nifty complication – the World Timer. The complication allows the owner to set their own home-time, and concurrently keep track of the timing in the other time zones around the world. This will come in handy for collectors who are often travelling.

The 39.9mm watch is fitted with the in-house Caliber 5201. It is an automatic movement featuring the NOMOS Swing System, with a power reserve of up to 40 hours. The finishing is decent, with the distinctive three-quarter plate, Glashütte ribbing and sunburst decoration. It retails at S$7,900, and we do think that this is a brilliant watch for a modern gentleman.

Concluding Thoughts

The selection today certainly covers quite a fair bit of ground, in our humble opinion. We have various genres of watches across a range of price points – but with a common denominator of offering relatively excellent value for money.

There are many gems out there in the horological world, and today’s selection is just the tip of the iceberg. We do hope that collectors will continue to look beyond the usual suspects, and take a stab at some of the more underrated pieces. There is no better time than to start doing so today.

We do hope you have enjoyed this article. That aside, and more importantly, we also wish that this had sparked something within you to go out and get a timepiece today – from brands that certainly deserve more attention than what they are currently getting.


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