The idea of watch collecting has always been associated with wealth. Naturally, because of the prices of some of the more well-known brands, the idea is well conceived. But it does not necessarily have to be the case.
We, at Deployant, have always tried to promote different kinds of watches – from the high-end tier, to the more accessible ones. When it comes to the latter, we do find many positives from them – and a low price-point should not be a factor in writing off watches.
In today’s article, we will be covering watches from a relatively accessible price point (below S$3,000). In addition, unlike the past articles where we have covered similar topics, we will also be focusing on brands and/or models that are not as widely publicised. We feel that some of these watches do offer tremendous value, and they should get sufficient coverage as well so that readers and collectors can also make informed choices for their next purchase.
Modest but fabulous: Six best Accessible and Uncommon Watches for budding collectors
So, what are some of the more well-priced and uncommon watches that have caught our eyes? Let us find out!
Hanhart 417 ES
We begin the article with a brilliant piece from Hanhart: 417 ES.
Hanhart, for the uninitiated, is a German watch manufacturer with a great history in producing legendary chronographs in the past. The 417 ES is notably one of such watches that was inspired by timepieces from the archives. Featuring a bi-compax layout, the 42mm 417 ES has a very classic design with great legibility – a nod to its roots with the German Armed Forces.
The watch is powered by a Sellita SW510M movement, which is no slouch by any means. The self-winding movement beats at 28,800 vph, and it has a power reserve of 48 hours. There is pretty much nothing to complain about it.
The Hanhart 417 ES is priced at €1,745 (approximately S$2,790), which we reckon offers tremendous value for a chronograph. This is perfect for someone who wants an interesting piece that is different from the crowd.
Bulova “666” Devil Diver Oceanographer
Continuing with the theme of classic remakes, we have the 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.
Fitted with the Oceanographer is the Miyota 821D-21B. This is a standard workhorse self-winding movement, with an autonomy of 42 hours power reserve.
With a retail price of US$750 (approximately S$1,015), the Bulova is certainly worth a consideration for someone who wants a reliable and sturdy weekend watch. We do like the watch’s bold and bright colours, and reckon it is certainly a great casual piece to wear on a day out.
Travailler et Jour Matin Blue Moon Enamel
Travailler et Jour, a Singapore-based micro-brand, is a small watch manufacturer unlike any other.
The brainchild of the company is Jeremy Moi, a young entrepreneur who had an interest in timepieces. Its flagship piece, the Matin Blue Moon Enamel, is notably a work of art. As suggested by its namesake, the watch features an incredible grand feu enamel dial. The dial is produced in his own atelier, after he had got the opportunity to learn about enamelling from a local enamellist in the costume jewellery trade.
The best part of it? The 39.5mm watch is priced at S$2,000. It is by no means an inexpensive piece if we are talking about micro-brands, but for an enamel dial – it offers tremendous value. For someone who is looking at craftsmanship and art, the Matin Blue Moon Enamel is certainly a timepiece worth a consideration.
Longines Heritage Silver Arrow
Longines, in the last few years, have impressed us tremendously with a slew of well-priced and good looking watches. The Heritage Silver Arrow is one such timepiece.
Launched recently in 2021, the Silver Arrow is a simple three-hand watch that was based on a historic piece that debuted in 1956. The 38.5mm watch is what you want in a dress watch – simple design, with the subtle details done right. We particularly love the smooth white/cream dial (which changes depending on the light condition), as well as the corrugated indices which add a different touch to this timepiece.
The movement used in the Heritage Silver Arrow is the Caliber L888. This self-winding movement is a staple in the Longines stable, boasting a decent power reserve of around 72 hours. It is a reliable movement for sure, which performs as and when it is required to do so.
At S$2,950, the Heritage Silver Arrow offers tremendous value. It is perfect for any collector who wants to add a modestly-priced and good-looking dress watch into their watch collection.
Citizen Series 8 – 830 Mechanical
The sports watch category has always been a highly contested one, but that does not stop Citizen from entering into the foray as well. Introducing the new Citizen Series 8 Mechanical. A follow up article on the other Series 8 model is found here.
The Series 8 is Citizen’s latest debutant this year, with its take on modern mechanical timepieces. The watch follows a contemporary design, with clean straight lines and an uncluttered layout. Some notable features of the 40mm timepiece include the octagon case, as well as a sloped circular bezel and integrated bracelet. For us, the finishing on the watch is its key selling point – the different case components have different but highly quality polishing treatments which gives the watch additional depth and look.
Another point to make on the Series 8 is the movement. Citizen used the Series 8 as a platform to introduce the Caliber 0950 – an in-house automatic movement with a power reserve of 42 hours. With Citizen’s track record of building reliable movements with high quality, we do expect the same for the Caliber 0950 as well.
The price of the base Series 8 – 830 Mechanical begins at S$2,782 (inclusive of GST). We believe Citizen has made a compelling piece, and one that certainly gives the competitors a run for its money. It is certainly a brand to watch.
Rado True Square Tej Chauhan
We round up the article with the bold Rado True Square Tej Chauhan.
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.
We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s column. For us, the article showcased that even at an accessible price point, we have a wide array of watches – covering classic remakes, nice dressy watches, as well as bold and original pieces. There is so much more than what meets the eye, if we are willing to explore further.
Finally, let us know your thoughts on our selection today, as well as some of the watches that deserve a spot on the list in the comments section below. Till the next article – ciao!