For the second instalment of this series, we will be taking a look at some of our favourite (and lesser-known) watches from independent watchmakers.
In the first instalment, we covered six watches that were priced below S$25,000. For today, we will take it up a level to S$60,000. Scroll down to take a look at what we have selected today!
Lang & Heyne Georg
We begin the article with an outstanding watch manufacturer from Germany: Lang & Heyne.
One of the more interesting watches in the collection is the Georg, the brand’s first rectangular watch. It is the brand’s first attempt at this case shape, as its previous watches were inspired by pocket watches. The Georg, notably, features some of the brand’s signature DNA, and providing the rectangular-shaped timepiece a rather interesting touch. This includes its triple lugs, onion crown, and the crown guard. The lancet hands and grand feu enamel dial adds a stunning touch to the timepiece as well.
On the flip side, the in-house Calibre VIII is a wonderful sight to behold. The layout is unusual, but the talking point lies on its meticulous finishing. Each stainless steel cocks, for example, are curved and it is immensely difficult to finish them beautifully. We also like how the brand had contrasted the different components with different materials and polishing techniques.
Priced at €26,000 (approximately S$40,393), the Georg is a wonderful timepiece with an unusual twist. This is certainly a well-made timepiece, and one that will certainly add another dimension to one’s collection.
Ressence Type 1 Squared
Ressence, a Belgium-based watch manufacturer, has been making watches with a unique touch since its inception in 2010. The Type 1 Squared is one which typifies the brand’s quirky idealism.
The 41mm cushion-shaped timepiece retains the essence of a Ressence timepiece. The dial – its pièce de résistance – is a contemporary interpretation of telling time with its orbital time-telling mechanism. It is also refreshing to see the lack of a crown and bezel to complete its space-age appearance.
The movement is also another impressive component of the timepiece. Based on an ETA 2824/2 calibre, Ressence had managed to modify the movement into a system which they call the Ressence Orbital Convex System (or ROCS for short). The watch features several rotating components, each typify by a subdial or hand. The main animation comes from the minute hand, which occupies the largest surface on the dial. The hours and seconds hand are displayed via a sub-dial, which rotates as the minute hand completes its revolution.
The Ressence Type 1 Squared is a special timepiece, albeit it is certainly not for everyone. It is priced rather reasonably at US$20,600 (approximately S$29,347), and it offers collectors a breath of fresh air with a different interpretation of telling time.
Parmigiani Toric Chronometre
Parmigiani is one of the more prominent independently owned high-end watch manufacturers, and the Toric collection is known for producing haute horlogerie pieces that feature complications such as the minute repeaters and tourbillons. As our Chief Editor mentioned previously, it was a pleasant surprise that Parmigiani had launched a basic model for the collection, and a beautiful one at that – the Toric Chronometre.
Despite being a simple timepiece, Parmigiani have incorporated intricate touches to the timepiece. The bezel, for instance, comes with a coin edge design that was inspired by columns of Ancient Greece, with the patterns derived from gadroons and knurling. The end result is certainly stunning, and yet it still manages to maintain its elegance and classiness.
The Toric Chronometer is powered by the in-house calibre PF331. It is a self-winding movement boasts a date indicator, as well as a power reserve of around 55 hours. The 40.8mm watch is available in both red and white gold, with a retail price of CHF 18,500 (approximately S$26,214).
Moritz Grossmann Atum Hamatic
Moritz Grossmann, a Glashutte-based watch manufacturer, is no stranger in taking new approaches with traditional mechanisms. The new ATUM Hamatic, notably, reveals the maison’s interpretation of the self-winding mechanism with a pendulum mass.
The 41mm timepiece, which was coincidentally the brand’s first automatic watch, is still a classic piece through and through. Featuring a stunning but elegant-looking opaline dial with numerals, it is paired with the brand’s signature super-fine hand-sculpted poire shaped hands. It is a very classic design, which is vastly different from the prototype version (as seen above) where it features a controversial cut-out on the dial.
Powering the ATUM Hamatic is the Calibre 106.0, a brand-new 324-part self-winding movement. The highlight, as mentioned, is the Hamatic system in which it leverages on a bi-directional automatic hammer mechanism to harness energy for the barrel. It can also be operated as a manual-winding watch, where it operates independently by detaching the mechanism from the ratchet wheel by the yoke.
The ATUM Hamatic is priced at €37,600 (approximately S$58,414). It is splendid timepiece, with brilliant execution and a wonderful mechanism to boot. For the technical geeks out there, the ATUM Hamatic presents a tantalising proposition where the norms are being challenged in a graceful and sophisticated manner.
The Haldimann brand might be unfamiliar to many, but their watchmaking lineage can be dated as far back to 1642. However, it was only until more recently in 1991 when Beat Haldimann established the modern Haldimann brand, and they had started to produce some rather incredible timepieces.
The H12 was one of the pieces that was launched not too long back, in Baselworld 2017. The H12 is basically the H11, but with the inclusion of an additional sub-seconds dial at the 5 o’clock position. The 39mm wristwatch may look simple, but the execution is sublime. The case, for example, is perfectly symmetrical and finished nicely by hand – all without the help of the CNC machine. The midnight blue frosted dial is exceptional as well, in which it had undergone a myriad of touches which includes engraving, silver lacquering, and the hand application of silver powder.
Another interesting feature of the H12 is its movement. The plate is finished in frosted gilt, and it occupies almost 3/4 of the caseback. This allows the centrally-placed balance wheel – which is almost suspended by a skeletonised balance cock – to stand out. Overall, the H12 is an extremely well-made dress watch, and we feel that this is something that collectors should go for if they are looking for a timepiece that is different from the crowd. The watch is priced at CHF31,000 (approximately S$45,475).
Laurent Ferrier Bridge One
We round up the article with Laurent Ferrier’s new rectangular watch that was inspired by the famous Passerelle de l’Ile bridge in Geneva. Cue the Bridge One.
The Bridge One offers collectors a design-centric case, with a large swooping curvaceous case that reminds of us a sculpture. The execution is unique, and unlike how many others interpreted the rectangular cases (case in point, the Lang & Heyne Georg which was highlighted above). The sapphire crystal is also curved too, to follow the form of the case. It is cut from a spherical glass globe, and forms a beautiful window to the dial. The focus here is really on the shape of the case, which was thrusted in the spotlight while the enamel dial takes a step backwards with a simple but functional appearance.
The watch is fitted with a new in-house Calibre LF107.01 – a rectangular hand-winding movement. The watch beats at 21,600 bph, and it boasts a decent power reserve of around 80 hours. The finishing is sublime, as per all Laurent Ferrier’s watches.
The Bridge One retails at CHF 37,000 (approximately S$54,277), and it is definitely a bold creation from a great watchmaker. This is literally a work of art, and one that is executed immaculately at all angles.
By increasing the parameters to a budget of S$60,000, we were admittedly spoilt for choice. There are some great watches out there that were not featured here today, as we are planning to include them in the subsequent instalments in this series. So do keep your eyes peeled on that.
For today’s choices, we do see a large variety in terms of themes and execution. Notably, the watchmakers and/or manufacturers are seemingly more free-spirited as well – a theme that we will see as we progress up the ladder. These watchmakers do not hesitate to be different, and that is why it is so important for us to support these independent watch manufacturers whenever it is possible. They are simply brilliant, and they add so much vibrancy in this scene that would have otherwise been lost.
As usual, do share your thoughts with us on our selections today in the comments section below. We hope you have enjoyed this week’s column, and we certainly hope that you will be excited for the subsequent ones over the next few weeks as well!