Previously, we have written a few articles on some timepieces that deserve more attention.
While we have covered quite a few pieces, the selected watches are only the tip of the iceberg. In fact, we see in recent times that many consumers are still conforming to the usual suspects. There is nothing wrong with that, but we think that this is doing a disservice to some of the other impressive watches that surely deserve some love as well.
In this week’s article, we are going to continue to highlight some of these under the radar timepieces, and we do hope that more collectors will become acquainted with these lesser known watches.
Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur
We begin the article with one of the most romantic novelties of 2022. Cue the stunning Hermès Arceau Le Temps Voyageur.
The timepiece follows hot on the heels of the poetic and much-raved Arceau l’Heure de la Lune, where it features the same wandering sub-dial – but this time it is incorporated with the world time complication. We love how Hermès had managed to find another way to introduce the wandering dial, and we think that this concept – with the world time complication – is rather refreshing and original indeed.
The self-winding watch is available in 38mm and 41mm variants, and prices begin at US$22,550 (approximately S$30,918). We think that this is a brilliant piece, and we are surely keen to see how far Hermès can go with this idea.
Hentschel H2 Hafenmeister
The Hentschel H2 Hafenmeister (picture above courtesy of Hentschel) may look simple at the first glance, but trust us, you should not judge a watch by its appearance.
Based in Hamburg, Hentschel is an under-the-radar manufacturer who has been producing fine timepieces for the last three decades. The H2 Hafenmeister, notably, is a timepiece that follows the philosophy of the brand – which is to produce watches with subtle elegance and refined aesthetics. This is especially pronounced in its in-house HUW 1130 S movement. The manual-winding movement was inspired by old pocket watches of the 20th century, with excellent finishing in the form of various sharp corners and the employment of various finishing techniques throughout.
Available in both 34.0mm and 38.5mm, the stainless steel timepiece is priced at €5,080 (approximately S$7,152) for non-European customers. The H2 Hafenmeister is yet another brilliant timepiece from the German manufacturer, and one that should garner more love from watch collectors.
D. Dornblüth & Sohn 99.1
Following that, we have another lesser-known but equally compelling German manufacturer: D. Dornblüth & Sohn.
Founded by Dieter Dornblüth and his son Dirk in 1999, the brand is known for producing timepieces with age-old techniques and traditional craftsmanship. The 42mm Caliber 99.1 (picture above courtesy of D. Dornblüth & Sohn) is one such timepiece, with stunning touches such as polished flame-blued hands and screws, hand-engraved balance cork, and chamfering on the edges. We also like how the movement beats at 18,000 bph, which accentuates the old-school nature of the watch and the manufacturer.
We understand that the last known retail price for the base timepiece is priced at US$4,160 (approximately S$5,705), and we reckon the version shown above with the ceramic dial will probably have a slight premium of a few hundred dollars. There is just something special about classic watchmaking, and these watches from D. Dornblüth & Sohn are certainly precious in their own right.
Blancpain Villeret Ultraplate 6605
Often known for its Fifty Fathoms and complicated pieces, Blancpain also offers collectors something on the other end of the spectrum with its collection of fine dress watches. Cue the Villeret Ultraplate 6605.
The 40mm Villeret Ultraplate 6605 is Blancpain’s answer to its competition within the ultra-thin dress watch category. Distilled in its most basic form, the watch only features two-hands to tell the time at the front – but executed in a fine manner. The movement, however, is where magic happens. The watch is fitted with the Caliber 11A4B – a manual-winding movement that boasts a power reserve of around 100 hours. The movement also features a discreet power reserve indicator at the back, and the finishing is notably done rather well.
The Villeret Ultraplate 6605 is available in stainless steel (CHF9,500/S$13,833, with leather strap) or red gold (CHF17,000/S$24,754). It is a great watch, and we reckon it will be perfect for someone who is looking for a dress piece – albeit one that is a little uncommon from the usual crowd.
Ulysse Nardin Classic Perpetual Ludwig
For a watch manufacturer with more than 175 years of history, and one that has contributed significantly in the horological field, Ulysse Nardin is a brand that deserves much more.
The Perpetual Ludwig is one of such timepieces. Introduced in 1996, the Perpetual Ludwig is one of the most advanced perpetual calendars – even by today’s standards. The timepiece is known to be the first perpetual calendar that allows its calendar display to be adjusted back and forth via the crown – in which only a few other timepieces, such as the Lange 1 Perpetual Calendar Tourbillon and the Moser Perpetual 1, can do the same.
Priced at S$29,900, the 41mm Perpetual Ludwig offers tremendous value. This is an incredible piece, and for what it is worth, it is a watch that perhaps only the most sophisticated collectors will know and understand.
Glashütte Original SeaQ
We round up the article with Glashütte Original’s interpretation of a divers’ watch: SeaQ.
The SeaQ is based on one of the many high-precision instrument watches that the brand (which, notably, is a collection of multiple brands before they came together in the 1990s as G.O.) had produced in the past. The modern interpretation offers a strong alternative to the already-crowded luxury sports watch category, with the SeaQ standing out through its solid German engineering roots.
There are numerous variants of the SeaQ to meet the needs of individual collectors. The variant pictured above features a 39.5mm two-tone case and a panorama date (or, large date display), and it is priced at S$23,000. Compared to the usual suspects, we reckon Glashütte Original does have a great divers’ watch that offers a compelling proposition, with the luxurious touches that are typically associated with the German watch manufacturer.
We hope that this article has cast some limelight on a few of these under the radar timepieces.
While these watches may not be as well-known or popular as some of their counterparts, they do offer a lot – in terms of value proposition, complication, or quality of the timepieces. We strongly encourage more collectors to explore such underrated pieces, and support some of these brands who have been producing excellent watches that are no lesser than their more illustrious compatriots. We promise that they are certainly worth your time.
This was a great article, thanks. I was particularly interested in Hentschel and looked into their watches…they are very attractive.
I do disagree with the Hermes though – it’s not quite under the radar. It’s quite difficult to get a piece allocated.