The most interesting watches from our favourite micro brands

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For this Sunday, we take a look at four of our favourite micro brands and take our pick of what we consider to be their most interesting watch.

The most interesting watches from four of our favourite micro brands

Micro brands…a strange kettle of fish, some might say. While difficult to define precisely, most of us know what is meant when we say micro brands.

But for the purposes of this article, we are thinking of brands which are are typically very small, independently owned. Most do not feature their owner’s name on the dial, and though some do,. Many are rather new in the block, though some bear names who have been around for centuries. Most of the owners are not professional watchmakers who are offering their own handwork, and this list none are. Most are probably more design houses, though some are manufactures. A motley lot.

So here we go, in no particular order.


Ba1110d is one of the darlings of our office. The watches are interesting not only technically, but in their budget preservation abilities as well. They currently still have the most inexpensive Swiss made tourbillon in the market, with a retail price of under CHF 5k for the Chapter 4.1. But also interesting is the philosophy espoused by Thomas Ballod, their founder and CEO. Chapters 1 and 2 were experimental, designed to test Baillod’s approach. And was launched in 2019 via LinkedIn. These were not tourbillons, but self winding watches with double oscillators. They were designed and assembled in Switzerland, but produced in Asia. The selling price was CHF 400. He sold 1,5000 watches in the first year. Mostly to the French speaking Switzerland. He achieved CHF 1m in sales in 18 months. Encouraged, he launched Chapter 3. This time made in Switzerland. It was a self-winding model with an openworked dial with Geneva stripes and priced at about CHF 500. And then, he turned his attention to Chapter 4, destined to be the least expensive Swiss made tourbillon. Of course, the movement is sourced from Olivier Mory of BCP Tourbillons. And though this base movement is supplied to many other brands, Ba111od remains the least expensive.

Our pick is the Chapter 4.6 GMT Tourbillon 1920 Limited Edition, inspired by Thomas’ tribute to the vintage Morgan motor cars. The model adds a GMT function to the standard Chapter 4 watches, and retails at a premium over their regular tourbillions, but still at a very wallet friendly CHF 7.5k.


Yema is a French-based watch manufacturer and one of the more “special” ones in our list. They have in-house capability to manufacture their own movements, though not all calibers they employ are house made. Their most famous model is perhaps the Superman, recently recreated based on the model which first appeared in 1963. But the debut of their in-house movement, christened Morteau 2.0 is with the Urban Traveller. While we have not visited the facilities to verify, our European colleagues (Fratello and Monochrome) have visited and documented the factory in Morteau, and attest to the claim of the movement being in-house.

Yema Yachingraph Tourbillon Mareographe in bronze.

Our pick is their “top of the line” Yatchingraph Tourbillon Mareographe. Though their flagship watch, it retails for USD 9,999. The tourbillon is also made by Olivier Mory of BCP Tourbillons, as with the movement used in Ba111od’s Chapter 4 we listed above. But what is interesting of this new calibre boasts of some unique and rather impressive technical features. Of course, the most prominent is the one minute tourbillon with a free-sprung balance wheel, but in addition, also the watch keeps track of tidal cycles (the Mareographe). It also has a 105 hour power reserve and good magnetic resistance of 2,000 Gauss. The escapement uses a high tech manufactured LiGa anchor and escapement wheel. And is cased in either a steel or bronze case designed for yachting and capable up to 10ATM of water resistance.

Atelier Holgur

Holgur is a small independent maison which was co-founded by Asbjørn Simonen-Andersen and Matthew de Bakker in 2021. The Frømand was their first release and is currently their only collection, and is a dive watch in titanium with a 300m depth rating.

Holgur Frømand Fumé in Fire Coral.

Our pick from Holgur is their Frømand Fumé is the fumé dial in brilliant red which they calls Fire Coral. This is a very small production of only 8 pieces in the fumé styled dial, which is available in two colour options, the other being blue. The movement is quite highly specified and made by Schwarz-Etienne ASE 200. As a result, the price is also on the upper end of micro-brands, coming in at CHF 11.5k before taxes.

The watch is well finished. The case and the finishing of the bezel and the positive feel of the clicks is reassuring. Looking through from the case back, the movement is also well finished to a very high engineering level. It features skeletonised bridges with micro blasted and hand polished anglage. 

Louis Erard

We have covered Louis Erard ever since the erstwhile Manuel Emch took over the company in 2019. Their first foray was the superb collaboration with Alain Silberstein. And Manuel has chosen to play with design and craftmanship of the dial as the key value proposition of this micro brand. With interesting offerings. Their collaborations with artistic endeavours like atelier oï, with Fehr in La Chaux-de-Fonds for their Guilloché Main watches, with Label Noir, with Seconde Seconde, and even with Vianney Halter and Massena Lab.

Louis Erard x Alain Silberstein Triptych Khaki with Tourbillon

Our pick is the Triptych Tourbillon with Alain Silberstein. Another of BCP’s tourbillons is the powering the watch. And available only as a set of three with La Semaine and Le Régulateur, all executed in an olive green (khaki) colour way, and asking for SGD 33k for the set.

Concluding thoughts

Though we did not start with the idea to list 3 tourbillons in this listicle, that was the number we ended up with. And perhaps it is not a coincidence that all the movements in these 3 tourbillons are supplied by Olivier Mory. But there was no premeditated intent. It just happens that BCP Tourbillons seem to be the strongest supplier of modestly priced tourbillon movements.

What do you think of our list? Is your favourite micro brand in our list? Who would you add?



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