It all started with a message on Facebook. And the rest, they say, is history.
Please allow me to be self-indulgent today, for this week’s column, as I celebrate my fifth anniversary writing for Deployant. It has been an interesting journey – one that is filled with knowledge, wisdom, and of course friendship. But I digressed.
Over the years, I have had the chance to review some really nice timepieces. Even till today, I still cannot believe that I had the chance to interact with some of these watches in person, let alone the opportunity to wear them for an extended period of time.
Hence, for today’s column, I shall take a trip down memory lane to highlight some of the favourite pieces that I have managed to review over the years. Without any further ado, let’s go!
Tudor Heritage Ranger
The Tudor Heritage Ranger is the one of the first watches (together with the Glycine Airman Airfighter) that I had the pleasure of wearing for an extended period of time. For that, the watch certainly holds a special place in my heart.
Aside from the sentimental values tied to it, the Ranger is actually a rather nice timepiece. The 41mm watch was inspired by its predecessor from the 1960s, and the end result is a vintage-looking piece with a rather clean aesthetic. One particular thing that I like about the watch is its simplicity, and how the different strap option changes the characteristics of the watch. My favourite is certainly the Bund strap option, as it helps to accentuate the vintage vibes of the Ranger.
Powered by the ETA-2824 base movement, the self-winding calibre has a power reserve of around 38 hours. It is a simple but reliable, and it is decent for a modestly-priced timepiece. Overall, the Ranger is a great watch for new collectors, and it is just a slight pity that it is overshadowed by its more glamourous siblings in the Heritage collection.
(A Bunch of Classic) Omega Speedmaster(s)
I have a confession to make: I have a soft spot for Omega watches, especially when it comes to the Speedmaster collection. The collection is fascinating, with an equally incredible provenance to back it. But it more than just that.
I found out more about the collection when I did a mini-series on 5 classic Speedmasters. There is so much colours and vibrancy within the collection, especially with timepieces from the 1970s and 1980s. The Teutonic (Ref 145.0040), for instance, features an interesting case profile with an integrated bracelet, while the 1045 “TV Screen” (Ref 176.0014) is a reminiscence of the classic rounded square cases (hence the “TV Screen” nomenclature). There is so much to like about these classic pieces!
This is just the tip of the iceberg though. The Speedmaster collection is rather extensive, and it is still growing as we speak. I guess it is high time that we continue the series with a second instalment, so drop us a comment below if you want to see it happen!
Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatique
The Bvlgari Octo Finissimo Automatique is one of the pieces that had inspired me to write this column. But heck, the ironic thing is, I didn’t even write the review for the watch.
I managed to get my hands on the Octo Finissimo Automatique quite by chance. Bvlgari loaned us a few pieces from the Octo collection, and I selected the Automatique to wear for a week. I have to say it was love at first sight – I was amazed by its case construction, as well as its sheer thinness. I like how Bvlgari played around with different shapes and angles, and creating different facets in the process. The finishing, notably, is amazing as well.
The Octo Finissimo Automatique is simple, yet complicated at the same time. It might just be a three-hand watch, but it is one that challenges the boundaries of watchmaking. It is also very stylish, but then again – it is a Bvlgari timepiece after all. It is just so difficult not to fall in love with this particular Octo.
Chopard L.U.C Qualité Fleurier
There is something about things that are underrated. I like how they are ticking the right boxes, and yet it is not over-hyped by every single Tom, Dick, and Harry. In short, those who knows, will know.
The L.U.C Qualité Fleurier is an apt example of that. For the uninitiated, Chopard is known mostly for its jewellery and Mille Miglia collection. But the L.U.C arm (and Ferdinand Berthoud, arguably) is one of the best kept secrets in the industry. This particular piece – the Qualité Fleurier – is a little bit more special. It is one of the few watches that were awarded the “FQF, La Haute Horlogerie certifiée” – a prestigious certification that is awarded for accuracy and impeccable finishing. The L.U.C certainly did exceptionally well on those two fronts.
The 39mm watch might be simple, but the quality again is top-notch. I like how everything comes together for this piece – the sunray satin-brushed silver dial, the 18k rose gold case, and the gorgeous L.U.C 96.09-L movement. Each of these individual components are great on its own, but together, it is a winning combination.
A. Lange & Söhne 1815
A. Lange & Söhne is a brand that often fascinates me. Since its revival in 1990, the Glashütte-based watch manufacturer had cemented itself a spot in the world of haute horlogerie with some rather magnificent timepieces.
The 1815 is one of the first A. Lange & Söhne watches that I have reviewed, although it was not my first encounter with timepieces from the brand itself. The 1815 is the epitome of what a dress watch should be – discreet, simple, but extremely well-made. The pièce de résistance, however, lies in its movement. Both the Calibre L941.1 (for the original 36mm variant) and L051.1 (for the current 1815) are stunning, with its intricate finish that includes the signature engraved balance cock.
A. Lange & Söhne had constantly impressed us with highly complicated pieces, such as the new Triple Split and the Lange 31. However, for me, I always tend to judge a brand by how well its entry-level pieces are made. The attention to detail on the 1815 is spectacular, and I dare say that it is one of the top entry-level models amongst the brands in the higher echelon of watchmaking. It is almost peerless, to put it frankly.
Surreal is probably the word to describe the experience when I first saw the MB&F Horological Machine 6 (HM6), before everyone else (aside from the media and retailer). It was the first time I saw an embargoed piece in person, and from MB&F no less! That was certainly special.
The HM6 is one of the most interesting watches that MB&F had produced, aesthetically-speaking. The previous pieces from the HM collection might be unconventional, but the HM6 takes it on a different level. It features an organic-looking case, which was inspired by the art of biomorphism. The other little touches, such as the spherical shield and aluminium indicating domes, also makes the HM6 a wee bit more special.
Granted, the HM6 is probably not the best-looking timepiece that MB&F had produced. However, it is certainly one of the most intriguing watches by Max Büsser, and I do think that it is very difficult for someone to come up with another timepiece that looks as unique as the HM6.
Looking back, the last five years seemed to have passed like a whirlwind. When I am writing the article, I can still vividly recall the times when I interacted with these watches. It was just incredible.
Again, as I shall reiterate again, I love watches. But I reckon the more important things are the friendships and knowledge that I had gained along the way. After all, watches can be bought with money (although I can’t afford more than 75% of the watches that are in my wishlist). But friendships and knowledge? Those are priceless, and I am really thankful for that.
I hope everyone had enjoyed reading our articles over the years, as much as we love producing them. Here’s to many more five years to come!