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Throwback Sundays: Six Relatively Fun and Affordable Watches, from Our Archives

Affordable fun.
by Robin Lim on March 8, 2020
Reviews

This week, we are looking at watches that are well-priced, at yet offers collectors relative value and fun that they are looking for in any decent timepieces.

Following the Covid-19 virus, many things have pretty much changed. That includes our shopping habits, considering that there will be repercussions to the economy with lower consumption and stalling investments from corporations. People are henceforth spending less on frivolous purchases, and unnecessary big-ticket items are definitely off the table as we speak.

The watch collectors are also tightening their purse-strings. While there is certainly an itch to get a new watch, prudence tells us that it might have been an unwise decision to acquire an expensive timepiece at this juncture. Hence, we thought that as a stop-gap measure, we will be introducing six relatively affordable watches that we think are worth looking at. These watches should cost below two grand, but more importantly they should be brilliant timepieces with great qualities and fun-factor(s) at the same time.

So, what have we selected? Let’s find out!

Casio G-Shock GMW-B5000

We begin the article with one of our favourite timepieces from Casio, with the stylish G-Shock GMW-B5000.

Launched in 2018, the G-Shock GMW-B5000 is the first watch in the 5000-series to feature a full metal construction. The design brings out another side of G-Shock – away from the usual rubber-cladded watches that we were used to. This makes it one of the coolest G-Shocks that we have seen so far.

The G-Shock is perfect for someone who wants to rock a casual “street-wear” look, with a bit of flashiness to it. No doubt, the usual G-Shocks are very capable of sheltering itself from the weather elements, but we feel that the GMW-B5000 takes it up a notch with a strong statement. Priced at S$799, we think that this is one timepiece that will capture the attention of many watch collectors – regardless whether they are fans of G-Shocks (or for that matter, digital watches) or not.

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm

Moving on, we have an interesting 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.

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 Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm is priced at S$690, and it is probably one of the most affordable mechanical Swiss-made timepiece. We like it for its appropriate case size, but more importantly its manual-winding movement. This is a fun piece that is great for casual wear.

Seiko Alpinist

First introduced in 1961, the Seiko Alpinist was touted as the first “Sports Watch” for the Japanese watch manufacturer. More than half a century later, however, the perennial favourite now has a cult following for both its functionality and versatility.

The latest variant, featuring a stunning midnight blue sunburst dial, is a limited edition piece for the US market. Fitted with a palatable 39.5mm stainless steel case, the Alpinist comes with two crowns at both the 3 and 4 o’clock position to adjust the time and bearings respectively. The latter points us to the roots of the Alpinist, in which it was produced specifically for Japanese mountain climbers in the past.

Powering the Alpinist is the humble Calibre 6R15, which is a self-winding movement that boasts a power reserve of around 50 hours. It is also additionally fitted with a Diashock absorber (for shock-resistance). While it might be a tall order to get the “original” Alpinist right now, the next best option is perhaps the new Prospex Alpinist (Reference SPB117/119/121) – which will be retailing from US$725 (approximately S$999) onwards.

Tutima Flieger Automatic

In recent years, the watchmaking scene in Germany began to attract attention from many collectors. Brands – such as Glashütte Original, A. Lange and Söhne, Sinn and NOMOS – are getting more interests and rave reviews for its honest and impeccable offerings.

Tutima, notably, is another brand that had attained some form of revival of late. Despite its roots that date back to 1927, collectors have only noticed the brand over the last few years. What is interesting is that the brand produces both haute horlogerie and entry-level collections simultaneously – as seen in the Flieger Automatic. The 41mm is a no-frills watch that is fitted with a solid ETA-2836/SW2000 movement, as well as a stunning dégradé green dial that adds a nice touch to the usual flieger watches.

Surprisingly, the Tutima offers a rather compelling packaging with a retail price at S$1,650. It is another great watch for someone who is new into watch collecting, but it also offers seasoned collectors a glimpse into German watchmaking if they have yet to own a timepiece from the country.

Maurice Lacroix Aikon Chronograph

For those who were collecting watches from the 1990s, the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Chronograph might have look familiar. After all, this watch is touted as the revival version of the Calypso, which was an iconic piece from that period.

The Aikon, notably, is a much sleeker and modern timepiece. The 44mm stainless steel watch is fitted with a new case design, with the signature raised tabs on the bezel complementing the watch’s aesthetics. Additionally, the watch is paired with a silver sunburst dial – contrasted nicely with blue sub-dials and chapter ring. The combination works very well, and hence making it a pretty attractive timepiece.

While the watch is fitted with a quartz movement, the Aikon Chronograph is definitely no slouch. The watch is priced nicely at S$1,700, and it is fitted with a well-made integrated bracelet that is comfortable on the wrist. This is quite a good option for someone who wants a stylish and versatile timepiece.

SEVENFRIDAY V-Series

SEVENFRIDAY is probably a brand that is no stranger to many collectors. Launched in 2012, the watch manufacturer had captured the attention of collectors with well-priced and non-conformist timepieces. The V-series, which was the third collection from the brand, perhaps encapsulates the values of SEVENFRIDAY nicely. The watch features a unique disruptive dial layout, and an angular case design that is unlike any others that we have seen. The other nice functions of the V-series include a quick strap change mechanism, and an NFC chip that is embedded on the caseback. The latter allows the watch to be authenticated, and SEVENFRIDAY had mentioned that they will roll out more features within the application in time to come as well.

The V-series is powered by Miyota’s self-winding 82S7, boasting a power reserve of around 40 hours. The recommended retail price of the watch is S$1,778, and we reckon it is an excellent choice for someone who wants a conversational and bold timepiece.

Concluding Thoughts

Good watches do not have to be expensive. No doubt, do not expect a thousand dollar timepiece to hold up against watches from the likes of Greubel Forsey or Philippe Dufour, but these watches have its own horological merits as well. It will be foolish to dismiss these timepieces entirely, even before seeing or wearing it in person.

We hope that while you will continue your unwavering support for these watch manufacturers, please also do consider your finances and not make rash decisions that will tremendously impact your credit rating negatively. Hobbies are meant to be enjoyed, and it should not come at the expense of your livelihood.

Please stay safe in the meantime, and we definitely pray that this situation will turn for the better soon. Till the next time!

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