Most of us don’t have an unlimited budget to blow on watches, but at the same time it’s important to wear a watch that makes a statement and makes a difference. If for you, following the crowd and mortgaging all your hard earned money on an over hyped Swiss brand is not the way to go, here are five worthy brands a little off the beaten track, yet which still offer plenty of quality, charisma, passion and/or pedigree.
Each of these brands are passionate about the watches they offer, and for the most part still have the active participation of the founder and owner. Here’s how to surprise friends and impress colleagues with your unusual yet well informed choice in watch wear.
1. Sinn Watches
This brand is something of a watch insider legend, frequently receiving favourable comments from the watch cognoscenti. The brand was founded in 1961 by pilot and flight instructor Helmut Sinn. He began his business with his attention focused on flight watches, primarily because he was dissatisfied with the watches that were available for pilot and navigational purposes at that time. He set about designing excellent quality fit for purpose instrument watches, and through to the present day, the culture of high quality instrument watches, not just for pilots but for other professionals such as divers, is the mainstay of the company.
The EZM 13 from Sinn is a mechanical timepiece designed for professional diving. It features an integrated SINN SZ02 chronograph movement. The 60-minute counter at 6 o’clock enables direct and easy reading of the minutes right through from 0 to 60. The positioning of the crown and push-pieces on the left-hand side of the EZM 13 ensure unlimited freedom of movement for the hand. This top quality tool watch comes with Magnetic Field Protection, Ar-Dehumidifying Technology and Temperature Resistance Technology. $2,960
2. Melbourne Watch Company
Founded by Sujain Krishman in 2013, Melbourne Watch Company is a new but very passionate brand from Australia. The company started with the introduction of the Flinders watch, but, available by October this year will be the new and very handsome Portsea, their third and most ambitious watch to date.
The Portsea features the recently released Miyota Cal. 9120 triple-calendar automatic movement, and is designed as a modern twist on the traditional ‘marine chronometer’ timepiece style. Named after a sea-side locale on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula, the elegant 40mm Portsea also features ceramic dials, a solid stamped case back and German leather straps. The white and rose gold version will be available for just AUD 795.00
3. BALL Watch
If there hadn’t been a head on collision between two trains at the Kipton Depot on April 19th 1891, Ball Watch may not have needed Jeweller and Watchmaker Webb C. Ball to overhaul the whole business of accurate timepieces for the railroads. So to a large extent, the development of the watch industry in America can be attributed to the advent and development of American railroads, and BALL played a leading part in the development of reliable watches. Today BALL continue to make excellent watches that keep bang up to date with technology with cutting edge good looks, but at prices within the means of most.
The Trainmaster collection from Ball is wide and impressive. The watch runs on the BALL RR1103 automatic movement. The watch is an elegant 3 hander with a date at 3 0’clock. As with every BALL Watch there micro gas tubes above each numeral so that they are perfectly legible even in the dimmest conditions. $1,999
4. Taller Watches
If you insist on wearing a Swiss watch, there are several lesser known Swiss brands that still offer excellent quality and value for money. One of these is Taller Watches. The name Taller is derived from a European silver coin, the hard currency of the 15th and 16th centuries. The value of this coin was equal to golden money, and it became a symbol of wealth and prosperity. Each of the watches in their collections are limited editions.
Each Taller watch has a 14k gold logo, a sapphire crystal glass and is powered by a Ronda Swiss quartz movement. The watch is limited to 999 pieces, so the chances are, you will be the only person in your circle to own one. You should be able to buy one for around $670.00
5. Orient Watches
If you don’t want to pay a lot of money but you still want top notch quality and an automatic movement, Orient Watches should definitely be on your shopping list. The company celebrates its 65th anniversary next year. One of the big three watchmakers in Japan, Orient continue to make high quality watches with ultra-reliable and precise Japanese automatic movements.
3 Star Lumibrite
This is a classic day/date with hour markers and sweep seconds hand. The watch dial glows in the dark, hence the name Lumibrite. You can pick up one of these watches for around $100.00 and it will just keep going and going…and going. The brand also offers more modern interpretations of dress watches and sporty watches too.