The concept of quiet luxury has always been around, but the fascination was certainly developed on a whole new level after it was popularised by the wildly successful Succession – a drama produced by HBO.
While there is no exact definition of quiet luxury, the expression certainly says it all. On a literal level, it can be considered as luxury products that do not scream wealth (unlike, say, bags or t-shirts with large logos embossed all over, or gaudy gold watches with gem-setting). The concept removes the focus on the branding, but rather solely on the quality of the product itself. Some might even go further to say that quiet luxury are understated products that only the most sophisticated and learned purveyors will recognise, and that mere commoners like us will not even know when we see one.
We thought that this concept can be introduced in the world of horology as well. In a world where most will recognise brands such as Rolex, Omega, and Patek Philippe, there are certainly other manufacturers that produce high-quality yet understated timepieces that do not emphasise about its price point.
So, in this week’s article, we would like to select six watches that we think embodies the concept of quiet luxury. These are watches that tend to be cleaner and more minimalistic in terms of its look, but they are certainly not compromised in terms of the quality. In short, these should be the watches that impress only the people who need to be impressed (if any).
Without any further ado, here are the watches that we have selected.
A. Lange and Söhne Saxonia Thin
We begin the article with an extremely well-made, yet minimalist two-hand dress watch. Cue the exceptional Saxonia Thin, from A. Lange and Söhne.
Launched in mid-2016, the time-only Saxonia Thin also encapsulates what a dress watch should be. The 37mm watch is simple and discreet, but it certainly exudes class and quality. The highlight for the piece perhaps lies in its finishing. A. Lange & Söhne is known for its impeccable attention to detail, and collectors will be pleased to know that the finishing of the Saxonia Thin is on par with its higher-end brethren.
The Saxonia Thin retails at S$34,000. It is a clean and sophisticated timepiece, without all the bells and whistles (sans the movement, of course). The timepiece does not have to shout about, and it is reserved only for those who are learned enough in the world of horology.
Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Micro-Rotor Steel
The Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF Micro-Rotor Steel may be one of the later entrants into the luxury sports watch scene, but it might just be one of the strongest contenders just yet.
Launched in the last quarter of 2021, the 40mm sports watch offers collectors a different take onto the genre – with a series of great finishing and beautiful details. This includes a stunning guilloché dial, the brand’s signature coin-edged bezel, and the magnificent Caliber PF703. The latter – with a power reserve of around 48 hours – has a platinum micro-rotor, with some nice finishing techniques employed as well.
Retailing at CHF 22,000 (approximately S$33,415), the Tonda PF Micro-Rotor Steel is a great luxury sports watch that is priced rather competitively against the big boys. The Parmigiani is certainly a sublime timepiece, and it is a brilliant option for collectors who want a breath of fresh air.
Chopard L.U.C 1860 in Lucent Steel
Chopard may be a brand that the folks at Deployant truly adore, but it is not a manufacturer that many are familiar with. It is a great shame, as collections such as the L.U.C is certainly up there with the big boys.
The new Chopard L.U.C 1860 in Lucent Steel is one of such remarkable creations. Based on the first L.U.C timepiece that was produced by the maison, the L.U.C 1860 in Lucent Steel is an almost faithful reproduction of the original – with bits of modernisation and changes implemented on aspects where the brand thought it was possible. The end product is a stunning timepiece, with a stunning L.U.C 96.40-L movement that can rival some of the giants (think Patek Philippe and Vacheron Constantin).
At S$33,600, the new 1860 L.U.C is priced relatively reasonably for an haute horlogerie timepiece of such quality. The 36.5mm watch does not need to be loud, and it can surely rely on the small details to speak for itself easily.
Vacheron Constantin Overseas
The latest generation of Vacheron Constantin Overseas, which was launched in 2016, is one of the most compelling luxury sports watches in the modern era. We particularly like its design, and how versatile the timepiece is.
Its pièce de résistance lies in the quick strap changing mechanism. The straps can be easily changed by unhooking a latch that is attached to the back of it. What is also brilliant is the fact that Vacheron Constantin had provided the owner with three different straps in the package: leather, rubber, and metal bracelet. This allows the user to mix and match their straps accordingly. Impressive, to say the least.
The base Overseas variant, dubbed the 4500v, retails at S$36,000. This Vacheron Constantin is an extremely well-made and capable timepiece, yet it is still rather low-key when it is stacked against the other two “Holy Trinity” compatriots. Definitely a great alternative, if one is not looking to impress the common man on the street.
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse Ref. 5738R
When it comes to Patek Philippe, the likes of Nautiluses and Grand Complications are perhaps the first few collections that will come to mind.
There is a lesser known, but equally important collection, named the Golden Ellipse. Second only to the Calatrava in terms of age, the Golden Ellipse is an interesting watch that features an uncommon elliptical case with dimensions that respect the golden ratio.
While the watch might look simple, the executions are pretty much perfect. From the rich ebony black sunburst dial to the onyx cabochon on the crown, Patek Philippe managed to do the simple things right. The same can also be said for the legendary Calibre 240, which is unfortunately hidden behind a solid caseback. We have no doubts about the quality of the finishing on the movements itself, given that it is Patek Philippe.
The Golden Ellipse is priced at S$40,700 for the rose gold model, and it is also paired with a matching set of cufflinks to complete the package. The Golden Ellipse may not be instantly recognisable by many, but then again, these are exactly the people that one does not need to impress.
H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Calendar
Touted as one of the cleanest perpetual calendar watches to be ever made, the H. Moser & Cie. Endeavour Perpetual Calendar offers an interesting take on this highly complicated complication.
The award-winning timepiece is certainly unlike any others. The flash calendar function (which provides instantaneous date change even from 28th/29th/30th/31st to the 1st of the next month), as well as the use of an additional central arrow hand to indicate the month, are just some of the innovative features that led H. Moser & Cie. to win the prestigious Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix in 2006.
Priced at CHF 54,000 (approximately S$83,790), the 40.8mm Endeavour Perpetual Calendar offers a highly unusual and refreshing take on this age-old complication. Talk about having an air of quiet confidence.
Unless you are an enthusiast, most of these watches are certainly not timepieces that most people will recognise. This is exactly the point of quiet luxury – it does not need to impress anyone.
Quiet luxury aside, these six watches are all excellent in their own right. It showcases the prowess of the individual maison, and the ability to produce sublime products of the highest quality possible. These are after all what most collectors are looking out for. We do expect to attain near-perfection if we are forking out a good five-figure sum on timepieces (or even in the four-figure range, if one is indeed picky).
So, what are your thoughts on our selection, as well as the concept of quiet luxury? Is this a farce, or will this be an additional criteria the next time when one is looking to acquire a new timepiece? Let us know in the comments section below.