One of the common comments that we have received over the years is that the watches that we review are always out of reach for the masses.
We hear all of your comments, and to a certain extent, we share the same sentiments as well. After all, we are all ordinary people, and there is no way that we will be able to splurge a good five-figure sum for a timepiece on a regular basis.
However, does that mean that there are not many great options in the modestly priced category? We would beg to differ. In this week’s article, we will be highlighting a few incredible watches that you can consider adding into your collection, without breaking the bank.
Tissot PRX Powermatic 80
We begin the article with the highly-rated Tissot PRX Powermatic 80. The PRX is a timepiece that has been regularly featured by us since its inception in 2021, and it is not a surprise. After all, we reckon this is perhaps one of the best novelties in the scene last year.
The 40mm timepiece is one that ticks most of the right boxes. It features a great design, with a solid integrated bracelet, and a brilliant self-winding movement with an autonomy of 80 hours – all these at a price point of S$950. What more can you ask for?
Regardless of the state of one’s collection, the PRX is surely a brilliant piece that has a place in any watch collection. It is difficult to go wrong with this Tissot, and we certainly think that this is a superb timepiece for any collector.
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm
Next, we have an interesting – but slightly forgotten – mechanical timepiece that offers an excellent value proposition: Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm.
This Hamilton was based on the historical military watches that were issued to the ground troops in the past. The watch remains faithful to its original aesthetics, and interestingly Hamilton had fitted the watch with faux cream luminescence to enhance the classic looks of the watch.
Notably, the watch is fitted with the ETA 2801-2 ébauche – a manual winding and dateless version of the renowned ETA 2824-2. It is a three-hand timepiece, with a decent power reserve of around 42 hours. The Hamilton is priced at S$720, and it is probably one of the most affordable mechanical Swiss-made timepieces. We like it for its appropriate case size, but more importantly for its manual-winding movement as well. This is a fun piece that is great for casual wear – and certainly a great piece to add into any watch collection.
Baltic might have been just a micro-brand with a relatively short history, but it has been making strong waves in the horological scene since its inception in 2017.
The MR01 is a culmination of the great work that the French-based micro-brand had achieved over the last five years. Here is a timepiece that features the wish-list of many collectors – a well-sized 36mm timepiece, with a stunning textured dial, Breguet-styled numerals, a micro-rotor, and a highly attractive price point. What else can you ask for?
Priced at €545 (approximately S$760), the discreet and sophisticated dress watch ticks all the right boxes. Granted, some snobs might baulk at the use of a Chinese movement, but frankly, as long as it does its job properly, one should be able to easily overlook this inconsequential factor.
NOMOS Ludwig 33 noir
NOMOS is a brand that we greatly admire, and the new Ludwig 33 noir reinforces our love for this Glashütte-based manufacturer.
There is just something about the design language of NOMOS watches, and this Ludwig 33 noir is a great example of that. Beyond the typical Bauhaus-inspired minimalist looks, the new timepiece also features a rather elegant touch – in the form of a black dial that is complemented with contrasting gold hands. That is classy, without being over the top.
Powering the watch is the in-house Calibre Alpha.2, a manual-winding movement with a power reserve of around 43 hours. The 33mm timepiece is a great dress watch for collectors with a smaller wrist, and at S$2,260, the Ludwig 33 noir offers a lot at this price point.
When it comes to Sinn, the first thing that comes to mind are the utilitarian timepieces that the German watch manufacturer is known for. Which is why it makes this quartet of limited edition 556s a tad even more special.
Launched in mid-2021, this series of 556 – featuring emerald green, citrine yellow, aquamarine blue, and carnelian red dials – is a breath of fresh air. Beyond the colours, Sinn had also gone a step further by applying metallic shimmer and a layer of varnish on the dial – which gives rise to the subtle glittering effect that makes the timepiece rather magical.
Available only for a run of 400 pieces in each dial variant, the 38.5mm timepiece is definitely another wonderful timepiece from this exceptional watch manufacturer. It is well-priced at S$2,370, and this is surely an interesting alternative for collectors who wish to add more vibrancy into their watch collection.
anOrdain Model 2 mkII
We round up the article with the sublime anOrdain Model 2 mkII.
anOrdain is a relatively newcomer to the scene, but it has already made a strong impact in the horological scene. The Scottish watch manufacturer is known for producing brilliant time-only timepieces, mostly fitted with a vitreous enamel dial (or grand feu, as it is more commonly known) that comes in numerous colour options.
The watch is powered by the manual-winding Sellita SW-210-1, which adds to the old-school charm of this timepiece. We really enjoy the different interesting elements of the watch, right down to its unique pair of syringe hands. The attention to detail is pretty amazing, and for £1,850 (approximately S$2,950), we believe many will be hard pressed to find a timepiece that is as impressive and offers as much value as the anOrdain. The only downside? The current waitlist is unfortunately around 2 years long.
Bonus: Furlan Marri “Black Sector” Reference 2116-A
Furlan Marri is another brand that has been on most collector’s radar, since the introduction of its stunning Mecha-quartz line that saw the brand being catapulted onto the limelight.
More recently, in 2022, the brand had launched its first mechanical timepiece: “Black Sector” Reference 2116-A. The watch is inspired by watches of the yesteryear, with beautiful cues such as the Breguet-styled numerals, step-case bezel, and the elaborated cow-horn lugs. Based on our understanding, the watch is also fitted with a self-winding movement that is made by La Joux-Perret.
The 37.5mm watch had a retail price of CHF1,250 (approximately S$1,760). It was a limited edition run, with collectors being able to purchase the watch over a 10-day pre-order period a couple of months back. If you had missed your chance, fret not, as we understand that new versions will be launched in the coming year.
Given the competition by micro-brands, we have seen a surge of good quality timepieces that are priced within the category of sub-S$2,000 and below. This includes major brands such as Hamilton, Tissot, and a selection of NOMOS and Seiko timepieces.
This means that collectors are able to enjoy adding more watches into their collection. Previously, the alternative is to either scour the secondary markets for great deals, or restricting one’s purchases given the constraints. The last few years have seen a move away from that, and collectors are now given the option to mix-and-match watches easily, with the accessibility to more timepieces in the modest priced category. We have to add that these sub-S$2,000 watches are no slouches either; some of these timepieces are rather well-made, and they do give entry-level luxury brands a good run for their money.
We always do believe that there are many great watches across different price points, and we do reckon that many serious collectors can still find a place for some of the seven watches that we have featured today in their collection. This is what we would like to see, and we do hope that manufacturers can continue to produce such wonderful timepieces at a relatively more accessible price point.
The problem is… they’re all really unattractive haha. So, if you want to spend a grand or two looking like a goof, go ahead!
Scary that I have 4 of them, more or less…the PRX, the Sinn (yellow dial), a different Khaki field (there are numerous variants,including multiple 38’s. The anOrdain…Hebrides blue, tho. And awaiting the delivery on the Furlan Marri.
I must note: the Sinn colored dials, Baltic MR01,and Furlan Marri are sold out. I haven’t heard Sinn will make more of the colored dials. The Baltic is, I believe, retired. The Furlan has a limited production, so there’s likely to be a wait. Ordered mine in June when they took initial orders, I should get it next month.
Last but not least, I believe anOrdain’s got 18-24 months worth of back orders.
The PRX is really quite nice. My one complaint…it’s plenty good enough to move up with a better movement, even for maybe $150 more. Tissot uses the 600 and 800 series Powermatics in other models, and IMO should have done so here.
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