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Throwback Sundays: Six Watch Recommendations for the Tastebreakers, From Our Archives (Second Instalment)

On Repeat.
by Robin Lim on October 20, 2019

Following last week’s article on watches that are generally overlooked by collectors, we thought that it might be an excellent idea to further expand on this topic.

Here at Deployant, we often celebrate brilliant watchmaking. As we have mentioned in last week’s article, collectors these days are more concerned about value and image that their watches portray – over the art of fine watchmaking. It is not wrong, but rather, a pity.

In this week’s article, we are repeating our attempt to select six more great watches that we think deserves much more attention that it is getting. What have we selected this time?

Citizen AQ 4020 – 54Y “The Chronomaster”

We begin with one of our favourite timepieces from Citizen: AQ 4020 – 54Y, or also known simply as “The Chronomaster”.

Citizen may not be a brand that is typically associated with high-end watch manufacturing, but it is definitely short-sighted to write them off before getting to know the brand better. The Japanese watch manufacturer – which recently celebrated its centenary – has a deep and rich history in watch making, and there were pioneers in several innovations.

The Chronomaster is perhaps one of Citizen’s finest works. The 39mm super titanium timepiece might look simple, but the attention to detail is amazing. The case and bracelet, for instance, features the “Zaratsu” finishing with gives it a mirror-shine effect. The Washi paper dial also gives the watch an interesting texture and appearance as well. Finally, the watch is powered by the Calibre A060, which is one of the two ultra high precision quartz movements that Citizen produces. The combination is simply phenomenal.

Priced at ¥330,000 (approximately S$4,154), this Citizen is tad more expensive that its usual offerings. However, this is a very well-made and reliable timepiece, and we reckon it will look extremely stately when it is fitted with a nice black alligator strap. It will be an apt choice for a daily beater.

Sinn EZM 1.1

Sinn is a brand that often fascinates us. Headquartered in Frankfurt, the German watch manufacturer is known for its solid timepieces that are packed with sophisticated engineering elements.

The EZM 1, first launched in 1997, is timepiece that was used by the ZUZ (Zentrale Unterstützungsgruppe Zoll). It was only produced for a short while, but its cool appearance and limited production run made it a highly sought after timepiece in the last decade or so.

For its 20th anniversary, Sinn launched the EZM 1.1. The 43mm titanium looks identical to the original – right down to the dial and the atypical placement of the chronograph pushers and crown. Its simple design makes it highly legible, and we are also particularly fond of the red accents that were present on both the dial and date indicator disc.

Powering the EZM 1.1 is the modified Valjoux 7750. The modified version allows the central minutes register – the signature of the original EZM 1 – to be included in the timepiece (this is because the old EZM 1 utilises the Lemania 5100 movement). Finally, the watch is priced at S$8,800 and it will be limited to a production run of 500 pieces.

Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum

Launched in 2016, the 4810 Orbis Terrarum is an improved version of its wildly successful predecessor: Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum. The updated model features a larger 43mm case, as well as a redesigned world map. This time round, Montblanc had incorporated an additional layer of sapphire crystal to indicate the passing of day and night through the colour gradients (yellow/green and blue).

The watch is powered by Calibre MB 29.20, a self-winding movement that has a power reserve of around 42 hours. This movement features an in-house world time module that is made by Montblanc while the base of the movement is supplied by Sellita. The finishing is decent for its price point.

Priced at S$9,200, the Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum is a solid timepiece for what it’s worth. It is one of the more modestly priced world timers, and it is surely a great addition to any watch collection. While the brand might not have been as well-known for its watches, but we reckon that the brand certainly have compelling pieces (especially the chronographs with the Minerva movements) that gives its competitors a run for their money.

Habring² Doppel 3 Split Seconds Chronograph

Following a comment made by one of our readers (which was, also, the inspiration behind doing a sequel for this topic), we thought that we will include one of our favourite independent watchmakers in the list. Cue the Habring² Doppel 3 Split Seconds Chronograph.

The brainchild of husband and wife team of Richard and Maria Habring, the eponymous watch manufacturer is one of the most affordable brands for collectors to get a taste of independent watchmaking. Richard, most notably, is responsible for some of the innovations in the horological industry including the iconic IWC Doppelchronograph’s spilt seconds movement, which he had since adapted to use on his own watches after IWC’s patent had expired in 2011.

The Doppel 3.0 is one of the brand’s latest timepiece that uses the Richard’s famous Doppelchronograph module. Among the new features of the Doppel 3 is the two button pusher system for the split second chronograph and a modular system to allows the addition of other complications such as a full calendar. The 42mm watch is based on a manual-winding Valjoux 7760 base movement, modified for rattrapante functions. The finishing, in addition, is adequate for its price point.

Retailing at S$10,500, the Habring² Doppel 3 offers great value in terms of both its complication and quality. Overall, it is an interesting and good looking timepiece, and one that we reckon will definitely add a new dimension to any watch collection.

Breguet Type XX Aeronavale

Either as a chronograph or a pilot’s watch, the Breguet Type XX Aeronavale has often been forgotten by many collectors. We think the watch deserves so much more recognition than that.

Originally produced as a commissioned piece for the French Naval Air Army, the Type XX Aeronavale is an incredibly functional timepiece that stood the test of time. Similar to most of Breguet’s watches, the watch is one that remains true to its roots – with an appropriately sized case (39mm, an increment of a mere 1mm from the original piece), fly-back chronograph function, and a classic dial layout with the “Breguet” logo in cursive font. Timeless is an apt word to describe the aesthetics of this timepiece.

The Type XX is fitted with the Calibre 582, a self-winding Lemania-based movement that has a power reserve of around 48 hours. It features an additional piggy-back fly-back chronograph module (on top of the Lemania 1350 movement), and it is decorated as per Breguet’s superlative standards. The watch retails at S$15,200, and we think that it is a darn good timepiece for someone who wants a timepiece that is a little different from the usual.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas

Over the last few years, the latest generation of Vacheron Constantin Overseas has seen an increase in interest from watch collectors. However, when it comes to the “Holy Trinity” of Swiss watchmaking, the luxury sports watches from Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet are still the more popular choices with collectors (and non-collectors alike).

The new Overseas collection, which was launched in 2016, had certainly impressed many. The new design is simple, and yet it exudes a sense of class and elegance. In addition, the other bits that caught our attention include the new quick strap change mechanism, as well as the improved in-house movement. The end result of the new collection is simply immense.

There are many variations and complications within the Overseas collection. Our pick would be the base model with the date complication, as seen in the picture above. We reckon the simple dial design brings out the design elements of the timepiece, such as the Maltese-cross bezel and the multi-faceted watch case. This particular timepiece is priced at S$30,800, and it includes three different strap options (the metal bracelet, leather strap, and rubber strap) in the package.

Concluding Thoughts

There are so many watches that are available on the market these days, but yet if one scrolls through their social media feeds or forums, the selections are predominantly skewed to a few watches (think of Rolex’s sport models, Patek Philippe Nautilus, or Audemars Piguet Royal Oak).

We understand the thought process behind going for the “safer” options, but this makes watch collecting a much less “fun” hobby, The joy of watch collecting should not be narrowed down to the boundaries of those few pieces alone, and we do hope to see a more vibrant collecting scene as collectors start to move out of their comfort zones. (We guess we have to start practising what we have preached too.)

What are your thoughts on our selection today? In addition, what are some of the more uncommon pieces that you currently (or used to) have in your collection? Let us know in the comments section below!

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