Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean article! On this shiok Saturday, I’ll be sharing why I love the watch brand Aries Gold – in fact, I think the brand is probably your best bet for under S$200.
And no, this isn’t a sponsored article. Aries Gold didn’t pay me a dime to write this. Instead, the inspiration for this article came from me seeing so many of my peers persisting in buying fashion watches from brands such as MVMT, Fossil, or Vincero. Please, stop buying these cheaply constructed fashion watches. Even if you have a limited budget, it does not mean that you have to settle for a piece of cr*p. As I’m about to show you, you can get a proper mechanical timepiece (with sapphire crystal, warranty and all) for well under S$200.
Without further ado, I’ll share with you 5 reasons why Aries Gold is a much better choice than the aforementioned fashion brands!
Aries Gold – Video
For those that would like to see some hands-on footage of the watches, do check out the Youtube video below!
1) Made-in-Singapore homegrown brand
In case you couldn’t tell by the name of this website, I’m Singaporean. According to Google Analytics, the vast majority of my readers (~70%) are too. Wah So Shiok first started out by shining a spotlight on noteworthy local efforts in watchmaking, and even to this day the vast majority of brands that I cover are homegrown. Local brands will always have a special place in my heart – it’s immensely heartwarming to see a fellow countryman making waves, especially in these COVID times.
Aries Gold was founded in 1970 by Singaporean watchmaker CK Woo. Before he founded the brand, he made a name for himself by offering watch personalisation services. Thereafter, he used the money saved from offering said services to start Aries Gold. Today, Aries Gold remains a family run business, with CK’s sons Elijah and James running the day-to-day operations of the brand. In addition, Aries Gold watches are designed, prototyped, and assembled in Singapore (Aries Gold owns their own local workshop and team of watchmakers), with a significant international presence – their watches are in retail stores in 15 countries. Though there are no shortage of local watch brands, most Singaporean microbrands outsource their production and assembly to Shenzhen, China. There’s no shame in that (even big Swiss brands have important components manufactured in China) but it makes the fact that Aries Gold owns their own local supply chain even more special. When you purchase an Aries Gold watch, you’re supporting a team of local designers, watchmakers, and entrepreneurs – not some factory in China. To borrow a phrase from a certain local politician, knowledge of that fact warms the cockles of my heart.
2) Terrific specifications for the price
Perhaps the most compelling reason, Aries Gold watches possess terrific specifications for the price. For just S$200, the brand offers watches that features sapphire crystal and reliable Japanese (Miyota/Seiko) automatic movements. Needless to say, that’s way superior to a similarly priced fashion watch from MVMT, which only uses a hardened mineral crystal and a generic quartz movement.
If you’re looking for a chronograph, there’s also the Aries Gold Jolter, which features a Miyota 6S50 mecha-quartz movement with a big date complication. For those uninitiated with mecha-quartz movements, a mecha-quartz movement basically allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds – the accuracy (and affordability) of a quartz movement (which also negates the need to wind the watch), and also the sweeping second hand that’s characteristic of a mechanical chronograph. Mecha-quartz chronographs are typically priced at $300-500 USD, so the Aries Gold Jolter – available for S$190 – is undoubtedly the most affordable mecha-quartz chronograph you can find on the market.
There’s even free international shipping (with taxes absorbed), so if you reside overseas, you don’t even have to worry about additional shipping costs – which can be quite hefty given the current COVID situation.
3) Wide array of designs
Another aspect of Aries Gold which I love is its ability to constantly churn out new designs. According to the brand, they are committed to introducing a staggering 12 designs per year. As such, there’s certainly an Aries Gold watch for every taste.
If you have more formal tastes, the Aries Gold 9024 would make a terrific suit-and-tie watch. It has a day/date indicator, applied indices, alpha hands, and a polished case. The watch even features a guilloche texture on the dial, which is rarely seen at this price point. Paired on a black leather strap, the Aries Gold 9024 is a great entry level dress watch.
For those looking for a more versatile everyday watch, the Aries Gold Inspira 9022 should do the trick! It shares a similar dial design to the abovementioned 9024, though the day/date window has been omitted in favour of an open-heart window at 7 o’clock, and the sword hands have been swapped out for polished dauphine hands. Personally, I’m a fan of an open-heart window – seeing the exposed balanced wheel reminds me of the automatic nature of the watch.
If you like a more minimalist aesthetic, then the Aries Gold La Oro 9026 is for you. I understand that a lot of people love minimalist watches – the popularity of brands such as Daniel Wellington and MVMT serves as testament to that. However, the issue with minimalist watches is that they often look generic. Here, the La Oro doesn’t fall into that same trap, with its unique sunburst brown dial (there are other dial variations) and applied baton indices. It has a clean and minimalist design, but one that doesn’t come across as boring by any means.
Finally, for those with sportier tastes, there’s the Aries Gold Jolter 7008! It’s a fully skeletonised, racing-inspired chronograph that will definitely be a conversation starter on the wrist. This is a watch that will definitely be at home with a leather jacket, or a tracksuit. Visually, the dial of the Jolter reminds me of the Tag Heuer Carrera Heuer 02 – and I mean that in a good way! If you’re a fan of avant-garde design, you will definitely love the striking aesthetics of the Aries Gold Jolter 7008. For more information on the watch, you can read my detailed review of the Jolter here.
The above 4 watches are just some of the Aries Gold watches that can be had for below S$200. If you’re willing to expand your budget a little, there’s also the blacked out, tonneau-shaped Cruiser (~S$330), the Seiko Epsom-powered Roadster (~S$330), the cushion-shaped Vanguard (~S$265), and the dressy, skeletonised El Toro (~S$250).
4) Reliable support and warranty claim
When purchasing a mechanical watch – or any mechanical product, for that matter – support is important. Unlike the plethora of microbrands that seem to pop up almost every day, Aries Gold has been in operations for 50 years, so you can be assured that the brand won’t close down anytime soon. If you’re in Singapore, Aries Gold (under the H2 Hub brand) has over 10 retail outlets locally to which you can bring your watch to if you encounter any issues. If you reside overseas, you can simply mail the watch back to Aries Gold, though the servicing process will understandably be a tad longer.
Warranty is a respectable 2 years as well for the mechanical movement, which is the same duration as larger luxury brands such as Bell & Ross, Franck Muller, and Longines. In other words, you can purchase an Aries Gold watch with a piece of mind – the same can’t be said for the cheap automatic watches one can find on Aliexpress. Honestly, I find the after-sales service of the brand pretty impressive, especially considering that Aries Gold mainly sells affordable sub-S$200 watches.
5) All Aries Gold watches can be personalised
As the icing on the cake, customers can choose to have their Aries Gold watches personalised! If your watch has a solid caseback (like my Jolter, shown in the photo below), you can have text of your choice engraved on the back for just an additional $5 USD (after the promo code below). If the watch you’re purchasing has an exhibition caseback, you still can opt for printed text at an additional $10 USD, while having a custom image printed would be $15 USD.
As mentioned above, Aries Gold’s founder CK Woo got his start in the industry in the 1950s and 60s by offering watch personalisation services. I find it heartwarming that more than half a century later, personalisation still remains an important tenet of the Aries Gold brand. Needless to say, this makes Aries Gold watches perfect for as gifts to loved ones, and as a commemorative watch. I’ve seen people having the images of their deceased pets printed on the caseback, people having the initials of their significant other engraved as a birthday/Valentine’s gift, or simply having words that resonates with them engraved, as I did with my Jolter. It’s a great service that I wish more watch brands would adopt, as it makes the watches more personal and meaningful.
Aries Gold is very much a mass-market brand. For that reason, the brand is often not held in high regard by watch enthusiasts locally. If you are a watch collector with a collection of Rolexes, Omegas, Hublot, etc, Aries Gold watches will do nothing for you. Instead, where Aries Gold shines is in that ~S$200 segment, offering a wide variety of thoughtful designs with specifications that punches way beyond their price tags. If you’re a broke student, a fresh grad, a working young adult, or simply someone that doesn’t want to spend that much money on a watch, then Aries Gold is for you. To a lot of people, spending more than S$200 on a watch – an instrument that does nothing but tells time, something which the phone can arguably do better – is ludicrous and I understand that. I feel the same way about sneakers, and will never understand why someone would pay $1000 for a pair of Off-White Jordans. I’ll conclude by saying this – I genuinely don’t believe you can beat the value of Aries Gold watches, especially at the S$200 price point. If you only have S$200 USD to spend, Aries Gold watches are your best bet.
I’m also pleased to announce that Aries Gold has kindly provided the above three watches for me to giveaway! I’ll be running three different giveaway contests on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. If you would like to win the Aries Gold 9024, join the giveaway on Facebook. If you fancy the Aries Gold Inspira 9022, join the giveaway on Instagram. If the Aries Gold La Oro 9026 is your pick out of the lot, join the giveaway on Youtube. Alternatively, you can always join all three giveaways if you would like a shot at winning all three watches! Again, a huge thank you to Aries Gold for making this generous giveaway happen.
Lastly, you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” for a whopping 50% off all watches from Aries Gold’s web-store! After the promo code, all the watches featured in this article – the 9024, Inspira 9022, La Oro 9026, and Jolter 7008 – can be had for well under S$200. Needless to say, I think the abovementioned watches are steals for the price, and a great alternative to fashion watches.
View the full collection of Aries Gold watches here.
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned.
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P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.