In a world where homogeneity rules, products that break the mold are definitely a welcoming addition. This is especially true in the watch industry.
There is nothing wrong taking a conservative path, with tested and proven ideas that will keep both the top and bottom line happy – financially speaking. This is after all a business, and profitability is the key of the game. Nobody wants to lose money, right?
But what if there are visionaries (or some might say, mad individuals) who are willing to go against the crowd? In this week’s article, we are looking at watches which are aesthetically interesting. These are watches that we reckon are definitely different from the usual suspects, with certain original visual ideas or concepts that are not commonly found in most watches. What are some of the timepieces that we have selected? Let us find out!
Rado True Square Tej Chauhan
We begin the article with the spritely Rado True Square Tej Chauhan, which is undoubtedly one of our favourite novelties of 2021.
We have always talked about how the industry is unwilling to follow through with bold ideas, but the True Square Tej Chauhan proves otherwise. The bright and cheerful yellow square watch is designed by an award-winning British industrial designer, with interesting Sci-fi and retro-inspired touches to it. In addition, the 38mm looks pretty much unlike many other pieces – and this is certainly a welcoming addition to the scene.
The price point of S$2,710 is also rather compelling as well. For such an unusual watch, it is usually reserved for the higher echelons of watch collecting. Pricing it at a more accessible range is definitely a good move, and its relative popularity is a testament to great work that Rado had done with this wonderful piece.
Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Le Diptyque
When it comes to interesting designs and bold touches, the Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Le Diptyque is a timepiece that might perhaps come to mind.
This pair of watches follows on the back of the heels of a series of successful collaborations between Louis Erard and Alain Silberstein, with the latter most known for his funky timepieces that were produced from the 1990s to the earlier part of the new millennium.
The watches, notably, were fitted with an interesting case and lug design. This, in combination with the quirky elements of Alain Silberstein, makes the Le Diptyque rather interesting and refreshing. We absolutely love the play on colours, shapes, and hands on this pair of magnificent timepieces.
The watches are priced at CHF 4,000 each (approximately S$5,683), and they are limited to a production of 178 pieces each. It is also available as a duo, at CHF 7,777 (approximately S$11,048). The latter is limited to 56 sets. This is a brilliant casual watch, and one that will surely start conversations at any occasions.
Gorilla Fastback GT Drift “Elise”
Making a strong statement for a new brand is by no means an easy feat, but Gorilla seems to have found the right recipe with the compelling 44mm Fastback GT Drift “Elise”.
Inspired by designs of the 60s and 70s, which in our opinion is the “golden age” of incredibly original watch designs, Gorilla aims to produce watches that are both interesting and timeless. For the Drift, this was achieved with the use of an elusive “wandering hours” mechanism – typically seen on high-end independent brands such as Urwerk and H. Moser & Cie. In addition, this was achieved with a ETA 2824-2 movement with a Vaucher module, which means that Gorilla is also able to keep the prices more modest.
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, which is well-priced for a conversational piece with a highly-uncommon complication to boot.
Omega Seamaster Ploprof
When it comes to diver’s watches, there are pretty much more similarities than differences when they are placed vis-à-vis with 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. The Ploprof is definitely an interesting piece to add into any watch collection.
Ressence Type 8C
Ressence may be a young brand, but it is already making a name for itself with its series of ultra-modern and original timepieces.
The Type 8C is Ressence’s latest novelty, with an entry-level take on its unique aesthetics and mechanical engineering. The timepiece features an egg-shaped case, as well as huge domed sapphire crystal that gives the watch its unique looks. Also featured is the brand’s convex “regulator-styled” dial, with eccentric satellites rolling on jewel ball-bearings inclined at 9.75°.
There is something special about Ressence watches, and having an entry-level model certainly allows more people to enjoy the brand’s watches. The watch is not just all looks – the technical bits, especially the ROCS (Ressence Orbital Convex System) module, is a mechanical marvel as well. Notably, the watch is priced at CHF 12,500 (approximately S$17,758), and we reckon the future is certainly bright for this fledgling watch manufacturer.
H. Moser Streamliner Flyback Chronograph Automatic
The Streamliner, launched in January 2020, is one of the most interesting timepieces in H. Moser & Cie.’s already sublime repertoire. Drawing inspiration from the 1970s, the organic-looking timepiece features a curvaceous case with an integrated bracelet. The watch is also fitted with a clean looking dial, but with the brand’s signature fumé and an additional griffé (French for clawed, or scratched) treatment to it. The end result is amazing, and it provides a visual treat to the collector. We also like the white and minute tracks on the peripherals of the dial, which accentuates the design cues of the 1970s.
Notably, the watch is powered by the Calibre HMC 902 – a movement that is co-developed with Agenhor. The self-winding movement has a power reserve of around 54 hours, and the winding rotor is fitted between the dial and the movement. This allows the user the pleasure to view the movement in full glory from the exhibition case back. The latter is certainly important, considering that the HMC 902 is a well-finished movement with all standard haute horlogerie elements ticked off as “well done”.
The 42.3mm H. Moser Streamliner is priced at S$60,700. The watch has a great design, and the movement is equally compelling as well. This is definitely worth a consideration if one is looking for a solid and bold timepiece that stands out in a crowd.
We are glad to say that what we have covered today, in retrospect, is just the tip of the iceberg. Given that there are a few more watches that we think deserve a spot on the list, we might just do a follow-up on this particular topic in the coming weeks.
Naturally, most of our selections are from independent watch manufacturers, who are given more autonomy in exercising the brand’s creative sphere. On this note, we are also glad that we are able to include some watches from big conglomerates, such as Rado and Omega. We hope that the success with these watches – especially the True Square Tej Chauhan Edition – will spur bigger names and brands to do something bolder.
What are thoughts on this week’s article and selection? Do you prefer seeing watches with more original designs, or would you rather the brand focus on producing better-finished timepieces? Let us know in the comments section below!