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Throwback Sundays: Six Watch Recommendations for the Tastebreakers, from Our Archives

Born to be Different.
by Robin Lim on October 13, 2019
Reviews

The idea of “Tastebreakers” came from Spotify, when the author was exploring the application to find some new songs to listen.

According to the application, the “Tastebreakers” playlist is specially curated by the company – but it select songs from genres that the user do not typically listen to. This hopefully exposes them to a more diverse selection, and hopefully open up a whole new dimension in the wonderful world of music.

The same can be said for watches as well. For many collectors, or at least from what we have observed, the watches that people wear (or post) these days are generally the same few popular pieces. Of course, they are popular for good reasons. But it is getting boring.

In this week’s column, we shall be taking a look at watches that are generally overlooked by collectors. It can either be a brand that is under the radar, or a model that is overshadowed by its more successful brethren. What have we selected? Let’s find out!

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 – although it is less popular as compared to the original P-series. 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 a 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.

NOMOS Tetra neomatik

When it comes to watchmaking – the Swiss and arguably the Japanese are the ones that immediately comes to mind. But the Germans, with an incredible history in horology as well, lurks close behind.

One of the brands that have attained some traction in recent years is NOMOS, a small watch manufacturer that is based in Glashütte. The brand focuses on producing simple, Bauhaus-inspired pieces with superb in-house movements. Its price is another attractive point as well. Take the Tetra neomatik for example. The automatic timepiece is a novelty from Baselworld 2016, in which it features a 33mm square case and an in-house automatic movement. It is finished decently, and it boasts a power reserve of around 42 hours.

For those who have not owned a German watch before, the NOMOS Tetra neomatik is perhaps an interesting watch that you might want to consider. The watch is certainly a conversational piece, with its interesting design and an excellent in-house movement to match. Prices begin at S$5,320, and the watches will be aptly paired with a Shell Cordovan strap with NOMOS’ winged clasp.

Garrick Series 2

Next up, we have a relatively lesser known watch manufacturer from England: Garrick.

The Series 2 is one of the latest creations from the English watchmaker. The watch, notably, features its new in-house movement: Calibre UT-G03. Notably, the movement was designed in partnership with the legendary Andreas Strehler. One of the key highlights of the movement is its large Garrick Trinity free-sprung balance, which beats at a traditional 18,000 bph. It is also highly accurate with the balance adjusted to a variation of around 2 seconds daily.

Priced at £11,500 (approximately S$19,977), the 42mm Series 2 is a delightful watch to behold. The finishing is stunning, and the engine-turned grey rhodium dial is pretty excellent too. It is surely a delightful piece to add into any watch collection.

Chopard Alpine Eagle

Launched earlier this month, the Chopard Alpine Eagle is the latest timepiece to join the line-up of the Geneva-based watch manufacturer. But the luxury sports watch has an interesting history to back.

The Alpine Eagle was inspired by the St. Moritz, which older readers might have had some recollections. That was notably the first was that was designed by Karl -Friedrich Scheufele, at a tender age of 22 (back in 1980). The watch – an evolution of the St. Moritz – is available in both 36mm and 41mm, and it features a contemporary design with exposed screws and integrated bracelet. It is paired with a sunburst dial, and completed with a combination of stick indices and roman numerals.

Powering the watch is the in-house Calibre 01.01-C (or the 09.01-C for the 36mm), which boasts a power reserve of around 60 hours (or 42 hours for the latter). The movement features some nice finishing touches as well, which is expected from a brand such as Chopard. The 41mm version is priced at S$17,200 (for the stainless steel version), and we think that this is a nice alternative if one is looking for a slightly different luxury sports watch (as compared to the likes of Rolex, Royal Oaks, or the Nautilus).

Rolex Cellini Moonphase

Forget about the likes of Submariner and Daytona. When it comes to Rolex watches, the Cellini Moonphase is probably one of the best timepieces that is produced by the Geneva-based watch manufacturer.

The Cellini is not a well-known collection. In fact, it is one of the least popular series of watches from Rolex. But for those who knows it, the Cellini is one of the best kept secrets from the famed manufacturer. The Moonphase, for instance, is one of our favourite pieces when it was launched in last year’s Baselworld. It is still one of our favourites right now too, for its elegance and impeccable attention to detail. The latter is especially pronounced in the moonphase indicator, in which is crafted with an enamelled disc and meteorite moon. Stunning is an understatement for that.

The 39mm timepiece is priced at S$35,980. There might be other Rolexes that are priced within the same range too, but we reckon that this Cellini is worth taking the leap of faith. After all, you only live once – so do something different if you can.

Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time

When Patek Philippe first launched the Calatrava Pilot collection back in 2015, it was met with a rather lukewarm response. It was thought to be the deviant child – something that is extremely “unlike a Patek Philippe”. But the same could be said for the Nautilus when it was first launched in the 1970s as well.

Over time, we think that the Calatrava Pilot has slowly grown on us. This is perhaps a slightly interesting interpretation of a pilot’s watch, but a great one nonetheless. The Travel Time is one of our favourites, for incorporating its nifty dual timezone complication. The actuators on the left side of the watch adjusts the local-time’s hour hand by one-hour increments, and it is now improved with a locking mechanism to prevent accidental adjustment.

The 41mm Pilot Travel Time (Reference 5524R) is fitted with Patek Philippe’s 294-part Calibre 324 S C FUS. The self-winding movement has 35-45 hours of power reserve and operates at a modern 4 Hz beat rate. The finishing is superlative, with most of the haute horlogerie touches present. In addition, it has a rate accuracy tolerance of no more than -3/+2 seconds per day as well.

The watch retails at S$62,800, which is a tad higher than most of the pilot watches that are available in the market. But then again, this is not just any other watch. It’s a Patek Philippe after all, and we will like to think that this is perhaps one of the finest and classiest interpretations of a pilot watch that we have seen thus far.

Concluding Thoughts

We often make safe choices when it comes to our watch purchases. This is not wrong, and there must be a good reason behind why people tend to select popular pieces like the Rolex Daytona, Patek Philippe Nautilus, or the Omega Speedmaster. These are all good watches in their own rights.

However, there is a lack of vibrancy in the scene. In watch forums or watch-related Instagram pages, some of these watches are seemingly getting repetitive. It gets a little boring to scroll through the feeds, just to see the same few watches in different angles. We think that collectors need to be bold – and what better time it is than to start right now?

What are your thoughts on our selection? Will you dare to try something different, especially if you have been “playing it safe” with your current watch collection? Let us know in the comments section below.

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