For seasoned collectors, many have certainly heard from fellow collectors about watch-collecting fatigue. The lack of interesting and compelling options at a reasonable price point, as well as the fact that manufacturers are “playing safe” with predictable novelties, certainly takes a bit of fun out of this hobby.
Or is that the case? In this week’s article, we will be taking a look at some of the more original and refreshing timepieces from manufacturers, at a price point of S$10,000. The criteria is that these watches must have something interesting to offer, and to do so at a price point within a five-figure price tag.
So, what are some of the watches that we reckon can inject some vibrancy into any watch collection? Let us find out.
Tissot Sideral S
We begin the article with one of the most exciting novelties of 2023 thus far: Tissot Sideral S (picture courtesy of Tissot).
The Sideral S is a reinterpretation of the iconic 1970s timepiece that shares the same name. The watch still retains its cool retro looks, but with modern touches. Some of the key highlights include its new 41mm forged carbon case, as well as the now-ubiquitous Powermatic 80 Nivachron movement. The lume is a beautiful sight to behold as well.
Retailing at S$1,430, the Tissot Sideral S is a modestly priced timepiece that injects plenty of vibrancy in the horological scene. We like its evocative looks, juxtaposed with an ultra-modern forged carbon case. This will be a hit with many collectors, and we reckon that it is a fun watch to have especially for the weekends.
anOrdain Model 2 mkII
Next, we have a modest outfit in Scotland that is already making waves in the horological scene. Introducing the sublime anOrdain Model 2 mkII.
anOrdain is a relatively newcomer to the scene, but it has already made a strong impact. The Scottish watch manufacturer is known for producing brilliant time-only timepieces, mostly fitted with a vitreous enamel dial (or grand feu, as it is more commonly known) that comes in numerous colour options.
The watch is powered by the manual-winding Sellita SW-210-1, which adds to the old-school charm of this timepiece. We really enjoy the different interesting elements of the watch, right down to its unique pair of syringe hands. The attention to detail is pretty amazing, and for £1,825 (approximately S$3,130), we believe many will be hard pressed to find a timepiece that is as impressive and offers as much value as the anOrdain. The only downside? The current waitlist is unfortunately around 2 years long.
Christopher Ward C1 Bel Canto
Continuing with the theme of superlative novelties, we have the amazing C1 Bel Canto from Christopher Ward (picture courtesy of Chrisopher Ward).
Introduced at the end of 2022, the C1 Bel Canto is a timepiece that most collectors did not expect from a brand such as Christopher Ward. Do not get us wrong, Christopher Ward is known to produce brilliant watches at a modest price point, but we were certainly not expecting such a great looking timepiece with chiming complication – albeit not on request unlike a minute repeater (the Bel Canto chimes once every hour). The execution is also brilliant, to say the least.
The best part of the watch is its price point. The 41mm C1 Bel Canto retails at US$3,595 (approximately S$4,855), which is relatively reasonable in today’s market. This is certainly refreshing, and it proves that manufacturers are still able to offer such interesting and innovative timepieces without having to break the bank.
Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Triptych
In recent years, Louis Erard had made great strides in the horological scene. From a relatively unknown brand, it is now on the radar of many esteemed collectors.
Louis Erard’s popularity can be attributed to the uber-cool watches that they have produced, mainly from the collaborations that they have made over the last three years. The Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Triptych (picture above courtesy of Louis Erard) is perhaps one of the most successful ones thus far – which sees them spawning two more future iterations since the launch of the original variant in 2021.
It is easy to love the Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Triptych. We like its funky design (thanks to Alain Silberstein), with a rather original looking case and lugs. The combination, together with the various complications available, makes it a highly refreshing proposition indeed. The latest addition, in collaboration with US retailer Stephen Silver, begins with a price point of US$4,590 (approximately S$6,200) for the La Semaine model.
BA111OD Chapter 4.1
We move on to a relatively newer kid on the block with an unusual take on the business. Cue the BA111OD Chapter 4.1.
BA111OD is a fascinating Swiss brand with a rather unusual approach. It made its debut in 2019, with a slightly different business model – it relies on “Afluendors” (a contraction of “ambassadors, influencers, and vendors”), in which it allows current owners to earn points and redeem rewards for referrals. This is quite a novel approach, but one that has clearly worked well for the brand.
Beyond the business model, the 43mm Chapter 4.1 is also an impressive watch in its own right. This is perhaps one of the most affordable Swiss-made tourbillon to date, with a retail price of CHF4,920 (approximately S$7,420). It is no slouch too, with fairly compelling finishings present on both the movement and skeleton dial. All we can say is that BA111OD is punching above its own weight with this watch, and brands – especially in Switzerland – should keep their eyes peeled on how this newcomer is able to offer so much at a relatively modest price point.
Habring² Foudroyante Felix
Finally, we take a look at an incredible offering from an equally fascinating independent watchmaking house in Austria: Habring² Foudroyante Felix.
Habring² is the brainchild of Richard and Maria Habring, a husband-and-wife duo that produces wonderful timepieces from Austria. The 38.5mm Foudroyante Felix is one such timepiece. This seemingly simple watch has an interesting complication in the form of the Foudroyante complication. This hand – on the sub-seconds indicator at the 9 o’clock position – ticks 8 times per second. While it does not serve any particular function, the animation is quite a fascinating sight to behold – especially for an unassuming dress watch.
The last known retail price of the Foudroyante Felix is €6,550 (approximately S$9,680). In today’s market, this offers tremendous value especially for a well-built watch that is produced in small quantities. The provenance behind the brand is pretty special as well, and frankly, this is what makes its watches so special.
We think it is fair to say that it is not all doom and gloom. Yes, there are certain brands that continue to “play safe” by launching novelties based on tested-and-proven formulas, but the industry is certainly more than that. After all, there are also brands that are constantly breaking barriers, and have offered some compelling pieces – at a reasonable price point – over the last few years. All is not lost, thankfully.
One of the things that we have also observed is that the brands that are doing something different are typically the small and younger ones. These brands tend to be more nimble and agile, and they are able to produce these watches quickly to fill the gap in the market. We do think that some of these brands have the potential to make it big, although we do hope that they will pursue the good work that they are doing currently, instead of just pandering to the larger crowd in the name of larger profits.
So, what are your thoughts on our selection today? Do you think they have a place in the industry, or will collectors still continue to stick with the usual suspects? Let us know in the comments section below.