Singapore’s National Day! Our suggestions on the best watches to celebrate

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August 9, 1965. When Singapore became a nation. This year, we celebrate 56 years tomorrow. And here are our suggestions of 6 watches to enjoy the holiday. From our review archives and one new release.

Suggestions for watches to wear on Singapore National Day!

Yes, its a big thing. Those who do not live in Singapore, or have been here in around August 9 may not understand the fuss. But for those of us who make our home here, we celebrate. Big. The National Flag, in red and white is flown everywhere. Though, the pandemic has dampened celebrations this year, we are still optimistic, especially as we come around the lifting of this latest bout. From Tuesday August 10, dining out in establishments will be open for up to 5 adults who are fully vaccinated. So let the celebrations begin!

The scene all over Singapore around Aug 9. Here is my Pinarello Dogma F10 by the beach, next to a line of National Flags.

To limit the scope of this article, we have placed some limits on the picks we have selected for this list. And many of us will be decked out in the red and white flag colours on August 9, and perhaps this is the best place to start as an anchor to the list.

Let’s get on with it. Not in any particular order.

New: Swatch X You Singapore 56th National Day release

Swatch X You takes customization and self-expression to the next level by inviting people to create their own watch.

The watch is customizable using a unique digital platform, to place unique designs on the watch to create a unique model. Watch elements, including the color of the movement, choice of mechanism and indexes and add a 10-character personal message on the back of the dial before ordering online.

The customization platform.

New for this National Day is a design by local up-and-coming artist, Kai Lee (@kaileethedoodler), which is an explosion of colour and joyful characters, taking a bright look on nostalgia. Priced at an affordable SGD 186, this canvass will be available now till Aug 23.

Patek Philippe Aquanaut Singapore 2019 Special Edition Ref. 5167A-012

For the occasion of the Watch Art Grand Exhibition Singapore 2019 held from 28 September to 13 October 2019, Patek Philippe has created six watches in limited editions that are reserved exclusively for the markets in Southeast Asia. Among those which are relatively accessible, the Aquanaut has our nod for this list. Now, before you go on to berate us for this recommendation, we do know and acknowledge that the Aquanaut is a watch which is almost impossible to buy, and this piece, being a limited edition of only 500 pieces makes it even harder. Add to that degree of difficulty, the watch was released two years ago, and needless to say, all are sold out at launch. But still, if you are one of the 500 who have this piece, the Aquanaut Special Edition is the one to break out to wear for National Day.

The base watch is the Patek Philippe Aquanaut, and the detailed review of Anniversary Aquanaut Ref. 5168G released in 2018 and in 2019’s khaki green Aquanaut Ref. 5168 are found here.

Nomos Zürich Weltzeit Singapore

The base watch is Nomos’s worldtimer – the Zürich Weltzeit, but working in collaboration with The Hour Glass’ Watches of Switzerland, Nomos has placed “SINGAPORE” in red letters on the city disc, replacing the traditional Hong Kong. This was a 50-piece limited edition made in 2017. 35 pieces were delivered with the NOMOS’ classic white silver-plated dial, while another 15 were made with a new salmon-colored dial. Priced at SGD 8,560 it was sold out almost immediately on announcement.

Powering the steel cased watch which is 39.9mm in diameter is the automatic caliber DUW 5201, an in-house developed and manufactured movement.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Night & Day Singapore Special Edition

Created by JLC for the 50th Anniversary of Singapore, this Reverso is currently sold out, though some pieces of this limited edition is available on the secondary market for a small premium over the original release price of SGD 13,900.

The watch is in the Grande Reverso case in steel, with a very understated silver-toned guilloché Clous de Paris dial. On the reverse, a Singapore map is featured and is filled in with the flag of Singapore in a red and white lacquer, the years 1965-2015 in black have been placed underneath it. Majulah Singapura!(Onward Singapore!). A nice an fitting tribute!

Rolex Oyster Perpetual in red dial

The entry level Rolex makes this list, though not Singapore themed, but selected because its red dial, which is part of the red and white schema for our National Flag.

This latest edition of the Oyster Perpetual was introduced in 2020 with a new generation of colour dials. The Stella dials, as they were called, made quite a stir at launch. Priced at a relatively affordable SGD 7,900 for the largest 41mm case model, it quickly gained the highly sought after status of many of its brethren. Almost as unobtainable as the Rolex professional sports steel models, though your mileage may vary…depending on your relationship with the AD of your choice.

OP 41 in Coral Red.

As usual, Rolex does not put a foot wrong with this watch. The 41mm as well as the 36mm models use the new Caliber 3230. This is Rolex’s bread and butter. A lot of care and attention have been paid to the collection. Five model lines. Multiple colorways to choose from, and for Singapore National Day, we chose the Coral Red dial.

Panerai Luminor GMT Ion Special Limited Edition

Continuing on the red and white theme, the 2020 release by Panerai to celebrate the re-opening of the Ion Boutique carries the national colours. The Luminor GMT 44mm was the base watch, but Panerai has incorporated very light touches of red on the seconds hand, the GMT hand and the crown as beautiful accents.

A special “Singapore” engraving appears on the lever of the crown-protecting bridge and on the caseback, which also features the likeness of the Lion Head symbol with stylized graphics which is also embossed on the strap. The Lion Head is a distinctive National Symbol of Singapore and it symbolises three national values: courage, excellence and strength. Retail was SGD13,850) in a limited edition of 100 pieces, and yes, like most of the other pieces on this list, are all spoken for.

Concluding thoughts

Here we are…a fun list…made just as much to take our minds off and celebrate a little, as it is a serious recommendation for watches to wear. As indicated in the capsule writeups, most of these watches are limited editions, and completely sold out…with the exception for the Swatch. Act now, as it is still available with the Singapore National Day canvas, or choose from other canvases on the Swatch X You platform.


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