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Throwback Sundays: Six Uncommon Watches to Begin 2017 with a Bang, from Our Archives

We look at six uncommon watches to begin 2017 on a high note.
by Robin Lim on January 1, 2017

A new year brings new beginnings – and what can be a more fabulous way to kick-off 2017 with a new watch? Say an uncommon watch?

For us, this is also an apt time to try out something different. Something that goes beyond the ordinary. Well, why not? After all, it has always been a resolution of many to move out from the comfort zone.

So, for today’s article, we are looking at timepieces that are from the “Not your usual suspects” list. What are the watches that we have selected? Let’s find out!

 

NOMOS Tetra neomatik

 

The new Nomos Tetra neomatik, with two different dial variants.

 

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. It is priced at S$4,920, and it is paired with a Shell Cordovan strap with NOMOS’ winged clasp.

 

Rolex Air-King

 

The Rolex Air King. One glance, and you can tell that it is a modern Rolex.

 

For many collectors, reaching a milestone in life probably calls for the ownership of a Rolex timepiece. After all, there aren’t many brands that signify successes and achievements more aptly than that.

In the recent Baselworld, Rolex introduced a few novelties. The one that caught our attention is the new Air-King. The watch comes with a rather contemporary design, featuring a a splash of colours (such as green wordings and yellow crown) and a rather unusual combination of both minute and hour indices on the dial. It is definitely a tad different from the usual Rolex offerings, and we think that it is a breath of fresh air with the more contemporary aesthetics.

Read also:   SIHH 2017 IWC and the Legacy of Leonardo Da Vinci

So, if you are looking to buy yourself a Rolex to cap-off a wonderful 2016 (or kick-start 2017 on a good note), you might want to stand out from the crowd with the new Air-King. It is a solid and reliable timepiece, matched with a modern and good-looking dial. The watch retails at S$8,260.

 

Habring² Doppel 3 Split Seconds Chronograph

 

The Habring² Doppel 3. The Doppel 3 is the third generation of split seconds chronographs from Habring², following in the footsteps of the GPHG winning Doppel 2.

 

In the world of watch collecting, the Independents are probably one area where many ordinary collectors will not venture into. There are two main reasons for it – first is the lack of brand exposure, and the second is probably the inaccessible price tag. However, Habring² might be a potential game-changer here.

Habring² is the brainchild of Richard and Maria Habring. They are a husband and wife outfit, operating out of Völkermarkt, Austria. Richard Habring is no stranger in the horological world, as his contributions in IWC includes his famous split-second chronograph mechanism which was used on the IWC Doppelchronograph and the IWC Il Destriero Scafusia. He then moved back to Austria and began working independently, after he married Maria whom he met while he was working in Dresden.

The Austrian watchmaker offers several interesting pieces, with an excellent price point to match. One of them is the Doppel 3, which features his ingenious split-second chronograph mechanism. It is based on the Valjoux 7760, which is similar to the original IWC Doppelchronograph. Our full review covers the details on the movement and the clever design he incorporates within. Incidentally, the start-stop-rest functions are powered by a single pusher, similar to a monopusher chronograph. The best of all is its price tag. The Doppel 3 retails at S$10,500 – which is something reasonable for an independently produced and split-seconds chronograph timepiece with a limited production of 20 pieces annually.

 

Speake-Marin London Chronograph

 

The Speake Marin London Chronograph, with an interesting three-dimensional dial.

 

Read also:   Throwback Sundays: Six Recommendations for Tool Watches from Our Archives

We continue the theme of independent watchmaking with Peter Speake-Marin, an Englishman who base his operations in Switzerland.

Ever since he went solo in 2002, Peter had produced some rather memorable timepieces over the last decade or so. The charismatic Englishman is perhaps most famous for his Piccadilly and Spirit collection, in which the former features the iconic Piccadilly case which is the cornerstone of Peter’s designs.

This year, to commemorate Peter’s roots in London’s Hackney College and his position as an antique watch repairer in Piccadilly, he had decided to produce the London Chronograph. The twin-counter chronograph features a gothic-theme, with a three-dimensional “floating” sub-dial and its signature 42mm Piccadilly case. The combination is rather interesting, especially with the colour scheme (which consists of red, blue, and black). Interestingly, the watch is powered by the vintage Valjoux 92 movement as well – a fitting tribute to the vintage chronographs that he had repaired during his earlier days in the trade.

The London Chronograph is definitely another stunning piece from another exceptional independent watchmaker. It is a tad different from the crowd, and yet it is still a reasonably beautiful timepiece. Its retail price at CHF 16,000 (approximately S$22,745) is slightly pricey, but we reckon that it will definitely add an interesting dimension to one’s watch collection.

 

H. Moser & Cie. Swiss Alp Watch S

 

The Moser Swiss Alp Watch S. A play on the Apple Watch.

 

H. Moser & Cie, or Moser for short, is another intriguing brand that had defied trends and continuously pushed for the recognition of traditional Swiss watchmaking. One of the most recent developments in the industry is the Apple Watch, which some people think that it may potentially disrupt the watchmaking industry. And what’s Moser’s response to that? The “Anti-Apple” timepiece, or also known as the Swiss Alp Watch S.

The Swiss Alp Watch S features a rounded rectangular case, and its similarities with the Apple Watch ends there. The watch is fitted with a stunning midnight blue fume dial, which produces the “sunburst” effect that gives it a different shade of blue at various angle/lighting conditions. It is complemented with a pair of leaf-shaped hands. On the flip side, the sapphire crystal caseback showcases the magnificent HMC 324 movement. The manual-winding movement has a stunning finish, and it boasts a staggering power reserve of around 4 days. In addition, the movement has an interchangeable Moser escapement, and the original Straumann Hairspring with stabilized Breguet overcoil.

Read also:   Lange Arkade

Priced at S$38,640, this white gold Moser is definitely not a timepiece for the weak-hearted. However, if your pockets are deep enough, it might potentially be a fascinating timepiece to add into one’s collection.

 

Bexei Dignitas Pure

 

The Bexei Dignitas Pure, with a ring from Chrome Hearts.

 

We wrap up the article with another attractive and uncommon timepiece: the Bexei Dignitas Pure.

The man behind Bexei is Aaron Becsei, a young watchmaker hailed from Budapest, Hungary. The Dignitas is one of the lines in Bexei’s works, in which it is distinguished by the rounded rectangular case. This particular model, also known as the Pure (which means there is no other complications), is fitted with a dial that is customized according to the preference of the owner. Our review example is owned by a Deployant friend who wanted it to be based on the design of Chrome Hearts, which combines both goth and bohemian style beautifully. The overall product is rather enthralling.

An interesting fact is that almost everything that is found on the watch is made by Bexei himself, which includes the movement, case, dial and hands. Which is why the watch can be customized, just like what our friend had requested for his watch. The list price of this manual-winding piece is at €38,500 (approximately S$58,600), in either yellow, rose or white gold. This is a lovely timepiece, and one that is superb enough to kick off 2017 on a high note.

 

Concluding Thoughts

 

In today’s selection, most of the pieces are from either independent brands, or independent watchmakers themselves. It speaks a fair bit – in the sense that most of these unusual creations comes from such brands. The reason is rather simple. These brands can produce whatever they want based on their own discretions, without having to seek approval from the conglomerates or the holding company. That is why we get to see more creative and unusual designs, rather than the more conservative and “safer” alternatives that we so often get from many other mainstream brands. There is nothing wrong with latter, it is just that it may tend to get a little repetitive and boring after a while.

So, do you agree with the choices that we have made today? What are some of the watches that you would have selected instead? Let us know in the comments section below, and may we wish you a wonderful year ahead!

 


Also published on Medium.

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