In the traditional Chinese culture, red packets (also known as “angpows”) are given to individuals as a gesture of blessing and well wishes. Typically, the red packets usually include a token sum as well.
When we were younger, one of the things that we do after Chinese New Year is to save up the money collected from the red packets to purchase things that we desire. Of course, for those who are more financially prudent, most of the money was deposited in the bank for savings purposes.
As we grow older, we tend to indulge a little more with our hobbies. This had got us thinking – why don’t we consider taking some of these “angpow” savings over the years, or use some of the money from the red packets, to fund our horological pursuits? It is actually not a bad idea, considering that you’d be wearing a watch that is indirectly “blessed” by many on a regular (or irregular, based on your rotation) basis.
Hence, in this week’s article, we will be looking at some of the more modestly priced watches that you might want to consider buying with your “angpow” money. We have conscientiously kept the selection to a lower price range to cater to the majority of crowd. So, with that in mind, what are some of the watches that we’ve chosen for this week’s column? Let’s find out!
Citizen Promaster NY008 “Fugu”
The Citizen Promaster NY008, or more frequently known as the “Fugu”, is the entry-level divers’ watch from the Japanese watch manufacturer. But do not let that fool you. The Fugu is a well-established timepiece, and it is a damn good one at its job.
First launched in 1959, the “Fugu” became a staple in Citizen’s product line-up. It was notably used by the Italian Navy Seals Commando Subacqueo Incursori as well. The collection was recently revamped this year, with 7 new models. The 42mm watch features a crown that is placed at the 8 o’clock position, and the entire case construction feels rather robust. It is also powered by the in-house Calibre 8203, which is a 40 hour power reserve movement that can trace its roots back by four decades.
The Fugu is a no-frills timepiece. It is a darn solid watch, and one that is able to perform when it is being called upon to do so. Prices begin at S$435, and it is certainly good value for a new collector who wants an excellent tool watch that can be used for intensive sports/outdoor activities.
Tutima M2 Coastline 6150
Tutima might be a brand that few are familiar with, but the Glashütte-based manufacturer certainly packs a punch with its rich history and extensive collection that spans across many haute horlogerie complications.
What is interesting is that alongside the higher-end complications, Tutima also produces entry-level timepieces that are very well-priced for what it is offering. The M2 Coastline is one example. The full titanium watch features a rather interesting integrated case and bracelet design, with a utilitarian touch to it. It is highly functional with an extremely legible dial and 300m water resistant case as well – making it a rather quintessentially well-engineered German product that was thoughtfully designed.
Priced at US$1,850 (approximately S$2,571), the 43mm Tutima is certainly an interesting timepiece that is worth a consideration for anyone who is looking to add a German watch into their watch collection. It is a simple timepiece with a reliable ETA ébauche movement, and we reckon that it is something that you can’t really go wrong with.
Sinn 104 A ST SA G Limited Edition
When it comes to Sinn, the U1 is perhaps the model that the German-based watch manufacturer is known for. But the brand is certainly much more than that.
The 104 A ST SA, first introduced in 2013, is another popular model from the brand. Being a no-nonsense tool watch manufacturer, the 104 A ST SA is simple but seemingly robust and utilitarian. The 41mm watch is produced with the pilots in mind – with a clean and legible dial that allows the user to tell time easily. In addition, it is also fitted with a captive pilot’s bezel with minute ratcheting that can be adjusted bidirectionally.
Priced at €1250 (approximately S$1,902), the Sinn limited to a limited production run of a mere 500 pieces. The watch is powered the no-frills but reliable ETA 2836-2, and it offers great value for a solid timepiece that looks especially handsome with a dark green dial. It is unfortunately sold out, and we reckon that this might be worth a search in the secondary market.
Travailler et Jouer Matin
Travailler et Jour is an interesting watch manufacturer from the sunny island of Singapore. This is not just another micro-brand; it is possibly the only enamel dial maker that exists in the country.
The brainchild behind the company is Jeremy Moi, a young entrepreneur whom had an interest in watches. He got interested in enamel dials, and subsequently learnt the art of enamelling from a local enamellist in the costume jewellery trade. The Matin collection showcases this fine art, and what is more respectable is the fact that the enamel dial is produced by the atelier itself. For more information on the process of making an enamel dial at Travailler, please visit this article that we have written previously.
For what it is worth, the 39.5mm hand-wound Matin Blue Moon Enamel is relatively reasonably priced at S$2,000. We think that the price tag is worth the time and effort required to produce the enamel dial, and it offers so much more as compared to the other typical micro-brands. We are certainly looking forward to what else the brand has got to offer.
NOMOS Tangente “Red Dot” 2018
Following that, we have the NOMOS Tangente “Red Dot” 2018.
NOMOS is a brand that we have often waxed lyrical about. The Glashütte-based watch manufacturer is a perennial favourite of ours for two simple reasons – they product well-priced in-house manufactured timepieces, and the Bauhaus-inspired watches are clean and simple in its aesthetics. It might be minimalistic, but the watches are surely much more than what meets the eye.
The 37.5mm Tangente “Red Dot” 2018 is a collaboration between NOMOS and The Hour Glass, a Singapore watch retailer. It is a three-hand timepiece, fitted with an in-house Calibre Alpha. The movement is adequately finished, with notable traits such as perlage, Glashütte stopwork, and Glashütte three-quarter plate.
The watch retails at S$3,200, and it is available in two dial variants. It will be limited to a production of 100 pieces for each model.
Seiko Presage 60th Anniversary Automatic Limited Edition Chronograph
Many serious collectors have a soft spot for Seiko watches, and we are no exception either. But when it comes to this particular brand, there are certain pieces that have definitely tugged our heartstrings, and the 60th Anniversary Automatic Limited Edition Chronograph is a timepiece that had made us fall in love over and over again.
The watch, which its namesake suggests, is meant to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Presage collection. It is available in two different variants, namely the black Urushi lacquered dial, or the white enamel dial. While both are nice, but we feel that the former is slightly special – after all, the dial is produced by using the sap from Japanese lacquer trees, and it is applied a layer at a time before being polished by hand. It goes through this process several times, which results in the shine that we see from the dial itself. The black dial is brilliant, and it definitely contrast very well with both the steel case, as well as the silver markings.
Powered by Seiko’s Caliber 8R48, the self-winding movement features a vertical clutch and column wheel for the chronograph. It has a power reserve of around 45 hours, and the finishing is pretty decent. The 42mm timepiece retails at €2,800 (approximately S$4,260), and they are limited to a production run of 1,000 pieces for each of the two dial variants.
There are actually many nice watches out there in the modestly priced range. Again, we highly recommend collectors to diversify and explore the different offerings from different manufacturers. The best way to do so is to consider entry-level models, before committing further. At the very least, if the watch does not suit you, there isn’t as much losses incurred as well.
So, what are your thoughts on our selection? What are the watches that you reckon are worth a consideration as well, at this similar price range? Let us know in the comments section below!