For many watch enthusiasts, there is just something poetic and romantic about manual-winding watches.
Perhaps these watches are in its most rudimentary form in terms of how it is powered, or maybe it lies in the simple fact that manual-winding movements allow us to have an intimate and tactile relationship with our timepieces.
For this week’s article, we will be looking at six excellent manual-winding watches, with a price point of below S$10,000. After all, it is always nice to have at least a manual-winding watch in any watch collection. Or maybe a few, if your budget permits.
Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde
The Tissot Heritage collection is, for the lack of a better description, a “treasure chest” with many hidden gems. The Heritage Petite Seconde is one such timepiece.
This 42mm timepiece is the modern interpretation of the original timepiece that Tissot had produced in 1943. It is a simple three-hand watch, with a petite seconde sub-dial that is placed at the 6 o’clock position. We do like the aesthetics of the timepiece, with its large and legible display that faithfully follows the exact timepiece that the brand had produced in 1943. The use of vintage fonts and logo adds an even nicer touch to the timepiece.
The watch is powered by the ubiquitous ETA 6498-1 – a manual-winding movement that has a respectable power reserve of 46 hours. It is a solid movement, with its roots tracing back to 1950 where it was originally designed for pocket watches and subsequently converted for usage in wristwatches.
Priced at S$1,510, the Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde offers tremendous value for what it offers. We really like how the watch looks, and how it is paired with a manual-winding movement. For new collectors, this is surely one of the timepieces to seriously consider if you wish to kickstart your watch collection journey.
Hanhart 417 ES
Following the Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde, we have another vintage reissue. Cue the handsome and charming Hanhart 417 ES.
Based on the legendary chronograph that was used by the German Armed Forces in the 1950s, the 417 ES offers collectors a faithful reproduction with reliable and modern mechanics. The 42mm timepiece features all the original touches, such as the fluted bezel and classic typography on the dial.
The watch is notably powered by the humble and robust Sellita SW 510 M movement. This is a manual-winding movement, with an autonomy of around 58 hours. Overall, at a price point of €1,745 including VAT (approximately S$2,670), we are hard pressed to find such a solid and good-looking piece that offers as much value as this.
Grand Seiko SBGW275 Genbi Valley US Limited Edition
Grand Seiko has produced some exceptional pieces over the years, and this particular piece – SBGW275 Genbi Valley US Limited Edition – is quite a special timepiece in its own right.
This Grand Seiko basically encapsulates what we want in a timepiece. It is well-sized at 37.3mm, with a simple and stunning textured dial (produced by a method called Kirazuri, also known as “sparkling painting”). The icing on the cake, for us, is the excellent manual-winding Caliber 9S64. Combining all these elements together, we have a mechanical watch distilled in its most simplest form – with all things done right.
The Genbi Valley US Limited Edition is limited to a production of 140 pieces, and it retails at US$4,900 (approximately S$6,600). The regular variant, with a cream dial, is priced at S$5,992. Regardless of which variant one goes for, there is nothing to deny the sheer brilliance and simplicity of this sublime watch.
Omega Speedmaster Professional
When it comes to one of the most storied timepieces, nothing pretty much comes close to the Omega Speedmaster Professional, a timepiece that is otherwise known as the “Moonwatch“.
The watch was launched in 1957, as a manual-winding chronograph that was initially meant for either sports or racing. Its association with outer-space was only established a few years later, when NASA selected the Speedmaster for both its Gemini and Apollo missions. Its position was further cemented on 21 July, 1969, when Buzz Aldrin wore his Speedmaster when he exited the spacecraft and took his first step on the moon.
Over the years, the “Moonwatch” had undergone several changes, most notably in terms of its movement and bracelet design. However, the main essence of the timepiece remains. In terms of its aesthetics, it still looks similar to its predecessors, sans some subtle cosmetic changes. The latest reiteration, with the manual-winding Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 3861 movement, retails at S$9,200. The watch is an icon in its own right, and it definitely deserves a spot in any watch collection.
Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso
Continuing with the theme of icons, we have the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso, with its unmistakable rectangular case and the intriguing reversible case. Its provenance, first as a sports watch and now widely adopted by many as a dress watch, is rather interesting as well.
The Reverso first debuted in the 1930s, for an interesting reason. Back then, the Polo players requested César de Trey to produce a timepiece that can withstand the knocks from polo mallets. This gave César the idea to create a timepiece with a reversible case, and hence the Reverso was born.
Over the years, Jaeger LeCoultre had produced many iterations of the Reverso. For starters, we believe that the base model – which is a time-only watch – fits the bill perfectly. It is simple, yet so sophisticated in its own right. In addition, the empty caseback can be used for engraving purposes as well. The entry-level model with a manual-winding movement is priced at S$8,650, for the men’s model. We think it is a great option for someone who is looking for a dress watch, and one that is different from the usual crowd.
Habring² Foudroyante Felix
We round up the article with a timepiece from the independent watchmaking scene: Habring² Foudroyante Felix.
Habring² is the brainchild of Richard and Maria Habring, a husband-and-wife duo that produces wonderful timepieces from Austria. The Foudroyante Felix is one such piece. 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 a seemingly simple-looking dress watch.
Priced at €6,550 (approximately S$10,175), the 38.5mm timepiece is a lovely dress watch that is a little different from the norm. The base variant, without the Foudroyante complication, should be priced below S$10,000. For any collectors who are looking to enter into the rabbit hole of collecting watches from independent watchmaking, Habring² certainly offers something compelling that is worth serious consideration.
We hope that you have enjoyed this week’s selection of timepieces. There is something special with each and every of the six timepieces that we have featured today, and most of them certainly deserve a place in any watch collection.
What are your thoughts on manual-winding watches? Do you like them, or do you prefer a self-winding timepiece instead? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.