The reduced barrier to entry has seen the emergence of many microbrands in the scene these days. There are certainly no shortages of competition, which also sees more challengers improving their game to stand out amongst the growing space. One such contender is Selten.
Selten, which means “rare” in German, is certainly not another run-of-the-mill microbrand, if its debut piece is an indication of its intent. Helmed by Leonardo Tsai, a native British Hong Kong, the brand attempts to break the stereotype with watches that stand out from the crowd. With that in mind, we introduce the elemental piece of the brand: Series 00.
Selten Series 00
The Selten Series is currently retailing at US$699 (approximately S$950).
The Series 00 is the first watch of Selten, a microbrand that aims to capture the quality, craftsmanship, and beauty of German watches. The Germans, as we know, are some of the most prolific watch manufacturers in the industry, and these are certainly big shoes to fill.
We have had the good chance to wear the Series 00 for some time. We did not have many expectations, but spoiler alert, we were pleasantly surprised with this timepiece. Here are our thoughts on it.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
The Series 00, for a start, is packaged with a rather agreeable 40mm stainless steel case. The size is predominantly good for most collectors, albeit we think that it might be a tad nicer if it was scaled down to say, 38.5mm. The case profile, at 13mm, is also a little on the thicker side if we were a little picky.
The star of the show, undoubtedly, is the dial. The model that we were loaned is fitted with a stunning meteorite dial, which we understand to be the Muonionalusta meteorite that is found in the Nordic region. There is something just amazing about meteorite dials, but to offer it at this price range is pretty remarkable.
Beyond the meteorite dial, there are other elements of the watch that showcases the brand’s attention to detail. The hour hand, for instance, is done in the traditional Pontife style, and is finished with heated blue steel (together with the minute hand). We were also impressed with the plate that features the brand’s emblem, which we have observed to be nicely finished with both brushed and polished surfaces.
For the keened eye, one would have also observed that the indices are fitted on the peripheral minute track. The peripheral chapter ring is raised, and together with the thick indices, creates a nice sense of depth for the dial.
Finally, at the six o’clock position, Selten had also included a day-night indicator. At the first glance, one might have mistaken it for a moonphase indicator, until realisation hits that there is no way to tell the different phases of the moon. It is still quite an ingenious way to fill up the negative space, and we do like how Selten had used two different pieces of meteorite – with different shades of colour – to represent day and night. While we would certainly have wished for it to be a moonphase indicator, that would certainly have driven the price of the watch up markedly.
On the whole, the Series 00 is packaged rather nicely. No doubt the watch can be scaled down in terms of size and thickness, but one cannot take away the fact that it is a very beautiful watch, and that the fine elements on the dial were executed nicely. This is beyond our expectations for microbrands, and it even offers much more than some of the more established brands in the entry-level luxury timepiece space with its great attention to detail.
Movement: Miyota 9132 Automatic
Powering the Series 00 is the Miyota 9132 Automatic, a movement that is known to be a workhorse. The movement beats at 28,800 bph, with a power reserve of approximately 40 hours.
The finishing of the movement is industrial, but we do not expect anything outrageous anyway. The watch is fitted with a custom rotor, although we would have preferred the previous version with a more elaborated tri-leaf design. In all, this is what we do expect from a timepiece at this price point – nothing more, nothing less.
Currently, the Selten Series 00 is priced at US$699 (approximately S$950), and it is available in 7 different variants (consisting of various meteorite colours and aventurine dials). We genuinely believe that at this price point, the Series 00 offers a lot – and it is certainly hard to beat.
Nonetheless, within the space, there are some contenders.
The first is the Arctic from Tool Watch Co., a fellow microbrand in the scene. The 38mm Arctic also features a meteorite dial, and an impressive titanium case. It is priced a tad higher at US$800 (approximately S$1,085), and we reckon the watch is a little less refined in its execution as compared to the Selten. It is still a compelling watch, and it will be an interesting proposition for collectors who are looking for something different.
Next, we have the Agelocer Silver Moon Automatic. Here, we have another beautiful timepiece, this time featuring a stunning aventurine dial with a photo-realistic render of the moon. The only point of contention is that the aperture displaying the moon is not a moonphase indicator, but that aside, the 40mm watch is a very appealing watch based on its aesthetics alone. The watch is priced at US$899 (approximately S$1,218).
We round up the peer comparison series with the quirky Raketa Copernicus. Known as Russia’s oldest and largest watch manufacturer, Raketa has produced many interesting timepieces over the years. This particular model, inspired by a similar piece made in the 1980s, pays tribute to the Polish renaissance astronomer’s discovery of the model of the universe with the planets, including Earth orbiting the Sun. The 40.5mm is priced at €1,290 (approximately S$1,900), and it is limited to a production of 300 pieces.
The Selten Series 00 is a gorgeous piece, and it offers a compelling proposition for collectors who want a modestly priced timepiece – below S$1,000 – that is not another cookie-cutter effort. There is something pretty special about the Series 00, and the attention to detail is pretty remarkable. During the entire time when we had the watch, we did find ourselves taking longer-than-usual glances at the watch. Considering the number of exceptional watches that we handle on a regular basis, this is certainly high praise for the watch.
If we were to nitpick, we would have preferred if the watch is slightly smaller and thinner. But that aside, it should not take away the fact that Selten had done a remarkable job for its debut piece. We just hope that the brand will continue its good work and strive to capture the good qualities of German watches in its future creations.