In a world where many know the price of everything but the value of nothing, it can get a little tiresome sometimes. This is especially true in the world of watches, where only a few selected brands are favoured by the majority thanks to its resale value.
There are, of course, reasons to the popularity of such highly sought-after timepieces. After all, these are minimally great watches, and most do come with a strong provenance and great designs. But can we do more than that?
In this week’s article, we would like to share with the community the vibrancy of watch collecting, in the form of cool and intriguing timepieces that most might not even know that they existed. In fact, some of these watches are from brands that we are familiar with.
So, without any further ado, let us get started!
Hamilton Khaki Takeoff Auto Chrono Limited Edition
From the brand that brings us the Ventura, Pulsar, and ODC X-02, Hamilton does not fall short when it comes to intriguing watch designs.
The Khaki Takeoff Auto Chrono is one of the cool watches that have caught our attention. The concept, admittedly, is pretty novel. The dynamic timepiece is shaped like a stopwatch, and its watch head can be detached from the body to transform itself into an instrument that can be either used as a table clock (the package comes with an interesting presentation box, with 4 complimentary cockpit instruments) or an in-flight cockpit clock.
The watch, as we understand, is powered by the H-31 Caliber. It is based on the ever-reliable Valjoux 7750 movement, and it features a decent power reserve of approximately 60 hours. On top of that, it contains a chronograph function, as well as a date indicator. Overall, we think that this is a fun and reliable timekeeper, and a relatively affordable one as well.
A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Kalenderwoche
The A. Lange & Söhne 1815 is a timepiece that many should perhaps be familiar with, but there is a rather special version that only the hardcore fans will know. Cue the 1815 Kalenderwoche.
Introduced in 2006, the timepiece – which is limited to 50 pieces in platinum, yellow gold, and pink gold – is a special timepiece that was produced to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the legendary Munich retailer Huber. The watch is as German as it gets, especially with the week indicator where it is pretty much used only by German people predominantly in business context.
The 38.4mm is an extraordinary piece, and one that is rather unusual indeed. We absolutely love such gems, and there is certainly something charming about a timepiece that tells more than just time.
Romain Jerome Subcraft
Even though Romain Jerome has only been around for less than two decades with its bankruptcy declaration in 2020, the brand has given us some interesting watches within its short lifespan.
The Subcraft, which was a derivation of the Spacecraft, is one of such watches. A collaboration between Romain Jerome and Alain Silberstein, the watch was born after the latter thought that the original Spacecraft was too angular. The resulting timepiece is one that is organic, akin to a smooth piece of pebble. Together with the linear retrograde hours, the Subcraft is an interesting watch that is unusual all round (no pun intended).
Powering the timepiece is a Jean-Marc Wiederrecht designed Caliber RJ2000-A, with a respectable power reserve of 38 hours. The watch is limited to a production of 99 pieces, and it might perhaps be one of our favourite watches from the now-defunct watch manufacturer.
Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph
When it comes to Jaquet Droz, it is perhaps a brand that most collectors are not well-acquainted with. However, it does have some compelling offerings that should command some attention.
The Grande Seconde Off-Centered Chronograph is one fine example. The 43mm watch is impressive on paper, featuring a monopusher chronograph and retrograde date display. Design-wise, the timepiece also features some interesting touches, such as the use of an onyx dial, as well as off-center displays.
While Jaquet Droz may not be the top option for most collectors, it offers great timepieces. What we also like is the fact that while it has unusual and fun touches, the watches still retain a respectable image. Who says dressier watches need to be boring?
Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Tourbillon with Three Golden Bridges
Girard-Perregaux is a brand with a rich history, and the Tourbillon with Three Golden Bridge is one of the icons for the legendary watch manufacturer.
The timepiece can trace its roots back to 1887, when Constant Girard’s Tourbillon with Three Golden Bridges won the first prize in the Universal Exhibition in Paris. The entire movement of the watch is built within three bridges, which are aligned parallel to each other – and incidentally aligning the barrel, gear train, and tourbillon along the same axis. There is something harmonious and poetic about its construction, and this is certainly well-captured by the sensuous Vintage 1945 case – which sets the foundation for the 70th Anniversary timepiece.
While GP has seen a resurgence in interest to the brand, most notably attributed to the popular Laureato collection, there are still a number of hidden gems that are worth a look. This magnificent GP is an example of that.
De Bethune DB28 Digitale
De Bethune is a brand that we have often admired, for its bold designs and incredible attention to detail. The DB28 Digitale is one such timepiece that encapsulates all that is magical about this manufacturer.
The DB28 Digitale is a rather brilliant watch, with everything that we want from an uber-cool watch. This piece features a retrograde minute display, jumping hour function, three-dimensional moon phase indicator, and a pair of intriguing articulated lugs. The execution, notably, is stunning, especially with the blued titanium bits that contrasted nicely with the titanium case.
This is a timepiece that has it all. Paired with some exquisite finishing on the movement as well, the DB28 Digitale is a drop-dead gorgeous watch that is mind-blowing on most accounts. This is a winner in our books.
As what we have always said, the selections are always just the tip of the iceberg. While we have chosen some compelling pieces, there are definitely many more watches that also deserve a spot on the list.
What we ultimately hope is that collectors can look beyond brand equity and explore watches beyond their “comfort zone” – for the lack of a better expression. These watches do not necessarily need to be expensive; the likes of Hamilton and Rado (not featured in today’s article) offer great pieces at a relatively reasonable price point as well. That is the beauty of watch collecting, and that collectors should not be afraid to express their personality through watches (and fashion).