One of the few popular questions that we have been always been asked would be something along the line of “what is the best watch to get” or “what is a watch that is worth buying”. While we are pretty much happy to answer these questions, but we reckon that it will be great to write an article on watches that we reckon offers an excellent value proposition as well.
So, you might ask, what constitutes a watch that offers excellent value proposition? Naturally, we will be looking at the price, as well as the sort of complications that are featured in the watch. Brownie points will also be given to finishing, and also if the watch is produced in-house. Resale value also plays a part too, as crazy depreciation is something that not many new collectors will pretty much agree with.
Now that you have got an idea of what we are looking for, here are the six timepieces that we think have pretty much met the criteria that we have set forth.
Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum
We start off the article with one of the our favourite timepiece from this year’s SIHH 2016 – the Montblanc 4810 Orbis Terrarum. If you thought that you have seen this piece before, you are not wrong. This is the successor to the Heritage Spirit Orbis Terrarum, with a slightly larger case and a face-lifted design for the dial.
The new Orbis Terrarum is now fitted with a 43mm case, instead of the 41mm case for the previous model. The map that is featured on the dial now comes with more colours as well. But what makes this piece interesting is its price proposition. At S$9,200, the Orbis Terrarum is priced super attractively as compared to some of its counterparts, such as the Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Timer (S$56,900) or the Jaeger LeCoultre Geophysic Universal Time (S$21,900). Granted, those pieces are fitted with an in-house movement, and they offer better finishing as well. However, if one is looking for a well-priced and decent World Timer, this Montblanc is an excellent alternative with a gorgeous design and an in-house world timer module that works just as fine.
Omega Speedmaster Professional
When it comes to complications, the chronograph is probably one of the most sophisticated and challenging to produce. Hence, it is no surprise that chronographs are usually priced much higher than watches with other complications. Here, we have an iconic chronograph with an interesting provenance and robust movement – the Omega Speedmaster Professional, also affectionately known as the Moonwatch.
The Moonwatch is one of the most well-known timepieces in the world of horology, thanks to its provenance. As suggested by its nickname, the Moonwatch has the honour of being the first watch that was worn on the moon. While its history is interesting, the watch is nothing short of amazing as well. It boasts a reliable movement (the current iteration is fitted with the Calibre 1861/1863 movement), and it features a timeless and classic dial design. The combination is simply perfect, and we think that it is priced reasonably as well at S$6,850. It definitely gives competitors, such as the Rolex Daytona (CHF 11,800, or approximately S$16,600) or the IWC Pilot Chronograph (S$7,650), a run for their money. And well, exactly how many watchmakers out there can actually boast that their timepieces have actually went onto the moon?
Seiko “Baby Tuna”
Diver’s watches are usually associated with the usual suspects, such as the Rolex Submariner/Sea Dweller, or the Omega Seamaster. But there is another cheaper alternative that is often overlooked by many collectors: Seiko. Seiko had produced numerous affordable offerings over the years, and the Baby Tuna is another excellent product that had received rave reviews from both seasoned collectors and amateurs alike.
This particular Baby Tuna, referenced SRP453K1, is a timepiece that features an array of attributes that many collectors are looking for. For a start, the watch is fitted with a blue dial, with a matte blue shroud and shiny blue bezel. Next, it is practical with a water resistance of 200m, as well as a date and day indicator. The best bit, however, would be its price point – the watch costs around S$500, and it is fitted with an in-house automatic Seiko Calibre 4R36. This is another watch that ticks all the right boxes, and one that is priced at a range that is suitable for collectors of all levels and statures.
However, if you are looking at something that is more sophisticated from this Japanese watchmaker, we would also suggest you to check out some of their other collections. The Grand Seiko, as well as Marinemaster, also offers collectors something that is comparable to the Swiss counterparts at a fraction of the price.
NOMOS Tetra neomatik
We then move on to Germany, where horology seems to have caught up with the Swiss. Nomos, understandably, is one of the newcomers to the world of horology from Deutschland, and they have impressed us thoroughly with their collections.
The Tetra neomatik is one of their novelties from the recently concluded Baselworld 2016. The watch, similar to most of the pieces in their repertoire, features a simple Bauhaus-inspired design with minimalism in mind. What makes the brand astounding is the fact that its watches are fitted with an in-house movement, and that they are priced pretty attractively as compared to its counterparts from Switzerland. The Tetra neomatik, for instance, is fitted with the automatic DUW3001 movement and it is priced at S$5,060 for the tiefblau (dark blue) dial option. You can’t really go wrong with this.
Rolex has always been the quintessential brand that every collector should have in a watch collection, and there is a very good reason for that. For the longest time, Rolex had produced some of the most iconic timepieces that the horological industry have seen, and that they are known to be very robust and everlasting.
The Explorer, reference 214270, probably sums it all up. The watch features a solid stainless steel case, combined with great legibility and an almost indestructible in-house movement (in this case, it is the Calibre 3132). Although it is priced slightly higher at approximately CHF 5,500 (approximately S$8,200), this is one heck of a reasonable watch. Why would we say so? Well, firstly, it is a Rolex sports watch. And Rolex sports watches tend to hold their value better than most of the watches out there. Next, it is extremely versatile, and that means that this watch can be worn on different occasions and still looks appropriate. Lastly, and most importantly, it is such a well-built timepiece that it tends to last for a long time. It is possibly the watch to go for (although we will also recommend one to look at the Submariner/Seadweller, or the GMT-Master II), if one is looking to spend a bit of money on a single watch that will probably last you for more than a few decades.
TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T
Saving the best for the last, we have one of the most highly anticipated timepieces in the world of horology: the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T.
This particular watch is interesting not because of the way it looks, or the materials that it is produced with. More importantly, the Carrera Heuer-02T is possibly one of the most affordable Swiss-made timepieces that feature a tourbillon. At CHF 15,000, the watch had certainly attracted some sort of attention. There are definitely a number of watches out there that are fitted with a tourbillon, but not many of them actually comes close to the price point in which TAG Heuer is poising itself at. Furthermore, it comes with an additional chronograph function, and a decent power reserve of around 65 hours. Well, it seems like haute horlogerie is going to be more affordable, and it definitely gets some of the watchmakers/ conglomerate to keep themselves on their toes.
As we have always advocated, good watches do not necessarily need to have a crazy price tag on it. There are excellent watches, such as the watches that we have mentioned above, or alternatives such as the Sinn U1. These watches are priced much lower than some of the more illustrious competitors, and yet they are probably close or on the same par in terms of the quality. Price, in some cases, doesn’t necessarily mean everything.
We believe that amongst the six watches that we have selected today, many can agree that these pieces have met most of the criteria that we have put forth. There is something for everyone, with varying price points and functions. At the lower end of the scale, we have the affordable Seiko Baby Tuna. On the end of the spectrum, we look at those watches with more sophisticated complications, such as the TAG Heuer Carrera Heuer-02T.
Well, so what are some of the watches that you thought would have made it into the list today? Do let us know what we have missed out, and till the next article, ciao!