This week, I’ll be rounding up 13 of my favourite Singaporean watch brands. If you didn’t already know, there are multiple homegrown watch brands here on our sunny shores, each trying to make their mark in the watch industry. At current standing, there are over 60 Singaporean microbrands – I’ve shortlisted 13 of my personal favourites, brands that I believe will become highly successful in the upcoming future. I’ve met with most of the owners of the brands listed below, and interacted with watches from ALL of them. I’ve listened to their stories, their highs and lows, and I’ve seen the outcome of their hard work. Yet, most of these brands still fly under the radar, with a majority of Singaporeans probably having never heard of any of them. Hopefully this article changes some of that!
With that in mind, the following 13 brands are those that I respect, and believe in. Let’s dive in. Brands are listed in ascending order of affordability.
The most affordable brand on this list, Aries Gold is a brand that some of us would be familiar with. If you didn’t know that it is a homegrown brand – well, now you know!
Who they are: “Amid an ambitious global expansion blueprint, Aries Gold is now an international brand sold in 28 countries (including USA, Australia, Germany) – a hard-earned milestone for the only “Made in Singapore” watch brand. After a successful collaboration with International Rock Band Foo Fighters last year, Aries Gold continues to break new grounds by collaborating with International Rock Band Aerosmith in 2017 to promote their unique code: Combining worldclass design with quality watchmaking.”
My opinion: Aries Gold is a brand that is often scoffed upon by watch enthusiasts, and I think that’s a shame. Personally, I sincerely believe that Aries Gold offers some of the best value propositions that you can get for ~S$300. Take the Jolter for example – you get a mecha-quartz chronograph with a skeletonised dial, a big date aperture, bracelet, sapphire crystal and even lume for just S$318 (after promo code below)! The design language is great as well, and with a wide catalog, there’s bound to be something available for everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned watch collector or someone looking to get his first watch, Aries Gold provides a lot for very little.
Where to buy: Aries Gold’s web-store. Aries Gold is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy a whooping 30% off all Aries Gold watches! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
If Aries Gold is a tad too mainstream for your tastes, Coup De Coeur watches also provide a lot of bang for your buck, and come with a variety of strap options as well!
Who they are: “Coup De Coeur is Singapore’s response to the modern timepiece. Our durable and rugged watches can stand up to the most active lifestyles, while adding a classy aesthetic to your boardroom presentation. Interchangeable coloured straps and unisex designs make these watches a beloved addition to anyone’s daily wardrobe.”
My opinion: To sum it up in one word – value. I sincerely believe that Coup De Coeur offers some of the best bang-for-buck watches in the microbrand market today. Their watches uses a workhorse Seiko NH35A movement, sapphire crystal, and come with a variety of strap options – you can pick one that suits your personality best! Phenomenal value for money – if you’re someone who wants a “proper” mechanical watch but doesn’t wish to spend too much, Coup De Coeur watches are a perfect starting point.
Reviews: I did a review of the Coup De Coeur SGC Classic, which you can read here. I also thereafter did a review of the Coup De Coeur Elan, which can be read here! Between the two, the my preference would be the Elan due to its more intriguing design.
Where to buy: Coup De Coeur’s web-store. Coup De Coeur is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 10% off products on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
Reverie made a huge splash in the microbrand community with their debut watch -the Reverie Sea Spirit- due to its unique guilloche dial. Since then, this Singaporean brand has continued to make guilloche a mainstay in their designs!
Who they are: “Reverie is an independent watch company based in Singapore which creates limited edition timepieces with ornate guilloché dials. Our name stems from our dream to create beautiful watches which stand the test of time.”
My opinion: If you like guilloche, you will love Reverie’s watches. A guilloche dial is key to their design language, and all of their watches will utilise guilloche in some form or another. I find their watches thoughtfully designed – for example, the dial of the Reverie GT has depth and contrast in spades. Yet, it manages to look both clean and complex simultaneously! In my opinion, it’s one of the best -if not the best- affordable dress chronograph in the market today.
Review: I actually did a review of the Reverie GT some time back, which can be found here.
Where to buy: Reverie’s web-store. Reverie is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy $40 USD off products on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
All watches mentioned thus far are special in their own way, but the watches from Humism are truly in a different class of their own. In fact, I would say that the timepieces lean more towards art, rather than horology.
Who they are: “We wanted to completely re-imagine watch design, to create a timepiece that makes the most of this medium’s uniqueness. And the most unique and fundamental part of a watch, as we see it, is movement. We were inspired by the potential of using time’s movement to create visual beauty, and perhaps even philosophical meaning.”
My opinion: Other brands have utilized rotating disks before (Zinvo, Perrelet, etc) but none of them has managed to turn that rotation into art. This watch is so strikingly different from the usual affordable watches – it’s a breath of fresh air, and definitely a conversational starter. Furthermore, the monochromatic design of the dial is minimalist, and yet the kinetic art effect is so stunningly complex. This is a brand that I can’t wait to see more of. The concept of watches as a canvas for art? Absoultely riveting. Oh, 5% of revenue goes towards charity as well. What’s not to like about Humism?
Review: I reviewed the Humism Dasein here.
Where to buy: Humism’s web-store. Humism is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy a free Silver Milanese strap worth $40 USD! Just add the Silver Milanese mesh strap to cart, and quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the additional strap free! (Do note that the promo code only applies to the Silver Milanese, not the Black.)
Advisor watches is an interesting Singaporean watch brand, which offers vintage inspired watch designs for the modern desk divers.
Who they are: “Advisor Watch Company is a young independent micro watch brand from Singapore. Our watch concept and inspiration are derived from I (Iconic design) + M (Modern style). Watches we produced every year is in limited pieces to ensure its exclusivity to our customers. We take pride in the quality and uniqueness of watches we produce.”
My opinion: If you’re a fan of vintage inspired dive watch design, and are on the hunt for an affordable daily beater, then Advisor has got you covered. Their watches, despite being priced affordably, are solidly built – expect sapphire crystal, Seiko NH35 movement, top-grain leather strap, and even lume! The finishing is one of the best I’ve seen at this price point too. In particular, I like the enduring design of the Advisor Ascent (pictured above), and in my opinion it is probably the best supercompressor that you can find for under S$500. It’s affordable, robust, and well designed – what more can you ask for?
Where to buy: Advisor’s web-store. Advisor is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 20% off all purchases! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
A local brand known for their watch straps, Vario made a splash in the crowded Kickstarter watch space recently with their art deco inspired watch, the Empire.
Who they are: “VARIO is an online store for watches and watch accessories that allows users to show off their unique style and grow their personal collection with custom strap designs. Our brand is about variation and striking a balance between sophistication, quality, and fun.”
My opinion: While they offer a variety of stunning straps (the vintage Italian straps are my favourite), I personally believe Vario to be at their strongest with watches. In my opinion, the Vario Empire (pictured above) has to be one of the best dress watches for under S$500. It’s hard to make a distinctive dress watch that doesn’t come across as generic, but Vario nails the design through several art deco inspired touches, as well as a unique guilloche pattern in the centre. Traditionally sized at 38mm, and with a handwound movement to boot, the Vario Empire is a amazing value proposition at under S$500.
Review: I reviewed the Vario Empire here, whilst it was still on Kickstarter.
Where to buy: Vario’s web-store. Vario is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 10% off all purchases! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
If you’re a fan of bulky, chunky watches, the Neminus Master Diver 1000 is one of the most intriguing offerings on the market currently!
Who they are: “NEMINUS aims to provide the market with fresh ideas, innovative concepts and unique materials with modernized manufacturing processes. Like most micro-brands, NEMINUS seeks to design and craft well-made watches that are affordable and readily accessible.”
My opinion: If you like big, chunky dive watches, the Neminus Master Diver 1000 is for you. Despite its affordable price tag, it packs a punch in its specifications – sapphire crystal with multiple layers of AR coating, a bulletproof Seiko NH35A movement, bronze case with ceramic bezel, a helium escape valve, strong Swiss BGW9 Superluminova, as well as a whooping 1000M of WR rating! The design of the watch is no slouch either, with several intriguing aesthetics features such as the two tone cracked dial, “bezel trench”, dodecagonal bezel, and a nice embossed caseback artwork separating the Master Diver 1000 from the plethora of dive watches in the market today.
Review: I reviewed the Neminus Master Diver 1000 here.
Where to buy: Neminus’ Facebook web-store. Neminus is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 10% off all Neminus watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
WULF offers Swiss-made skeletonised watches, as well as multi-complications watches, for an affordable price.
Who they are: “Wulf was formed to offer quality mechanical timepieces with avant-garde designs and personalisation options…The watches are Swiss Made to maintain the highest standard of quality for our customers. Although the design was done in Singapore, the movements are manufactured in Swisstech’s Route de Botyre Switzerland (an independent movement manufacturer), then fully assembled into a complete watch in their assembly facility in Centro Nord Sud Switzerland.“
My opinion: If I can sum WULF as a brand up in one word, it would probably be value. WULF has two jewels in their collection. The first, the WULF Exo, is a great skeletonised dress watch. The second, the WULF Lycan, is an elegant complete calendar watch. Both these Swiss-made watches are priced at right around ~S$700, which is mind-blowing. From a price standpoint, there’s no beating WULF in terms of bang-for-buck – a skeletonised/calendar watch from one of Swatch Group’s entry level brands such as Tissot/Hamilton/Mido would cost twice the price. If you want “Swiss-made” on a budget, a WULF watch won’t let you down.
Review: I reviewed the WULF Exo here.
Where to buy: WULF’s web-store. WULF is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy not only 25% off all WULF watches on their web-store, but also get a free watch winder! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount and the free watch winder.
For those who love Genta-designed watches, but can’t afford the rocketing price tags of Patek Philippe Nautilus or an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo, Spectre Time presents offers a well-made sports watch at a very affordable price.
Who they are: “It started when I finally saved up enough money to purchase my very own “SWISS MADE” luxury automatic wristwatch. I have always been an admirer of wristwatches and that purchase ignited the passion even further. I did enjoy wearing it but it got me thinking and I asked myself, “why spend thousands of dollars on a wristwatch that has a sole function to tell and keep time?”. After much thought, I decided to design and produce my very own wristwatch.”
My opinion: Currently, the Phantom II (pictured above) is undoubtedly Spectre Time’s flagship model. There’s good reason for that – the Phantom II features sapphire crystal (with AR coating), a Swiss STP 1-11 movement, a brilliant bracelet, and Swiss C1 Superluminova! The design is striking too, reminiscent of the iconic luxury Swiss sports watches but remaining original and fresh at the same time. Overall, I think the Spectre Time Phantom II fits a nice niche between ultra affordable – but also directly derivative –Parnis watches and more expensive Swiss options such as the Maurice Lacroix Aikon.
Review: I reviewed the Spectre Time Phantom II here.
Where to buy: Spectre Time’s web-store. Spectre Time is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 10% off all Spectre Time watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
Being the first watch microbrand that I reviewed on this website, BOLDR watches will always have a fond place in my heart.
Who they are: “The BOLDR Supply Company is a outfitter brand for the urban adventurers of the world. Based out of Singapore and Malaysia, run by co-founders Travis, Leon and Isa, BOLDR supplies watches, apparel and gear that’s stylish, functional and #readyforadventure.”
My opinion: Out of all the microbrands listed on this list, BOLDR probably builds the most rugged watches. All their watches are engineered to withstand the elements, jam packed with features, and priced very affordably. Take the BOLDR Globetrotter for example – it’s a sturdily built dive watch with a GMT function, powered by a Swiss automatic movement. The best part about it? It’s priced under S$1000. You will be hard pressed to find a better built, Swiss powered GMT watch for three figures. In addition, their customer service is terrific as well!
Reviews: I reviewed the BOLDR Globetrotter here.
Where to buy: BOLDR’s web-store. BOLDR is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 10% off all variants of the BOLDR Globetrotter on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
One of the rare few watch brands that actively embraces its Chinese roots, Maison Celadon is a Singaporean Made-in-China microbrand that offers beautiful Oriental styled timepieces.
Who they are: “Maison Celadon was founded in 2012 with the sacred mission of designing and bringing to fruition the very finest Chinese luxury watches – watches that are truly worthy of the Made in China with Pride appellation. Over the years, we have tirelessly sought to advance the state of Chinese horology, and to create the highest-quality timepieces, imbued with absolutely original design, embodying fifty centuries of Chinese culture and the illustrious history of our people, assiduously safeguarded with multiple layers of quality control, with the personal service and friendship from the heart as the finishing touch.”
My opinion: As Wei Koh said in his recent interview to The Hour Glass, most watch buyers around the world are actually Asian, and in particular, Chinese. However, there is a distinct lack of quality Chinese watch brands in the market – when one think of Chinese watches, cheap homage brands such as Seagull or FiftyFour often comes into mind. Maison Celadon flips that perception on its head with intricate dials, detailed applied indices, heat-blued hands, and even movements adorned with Chinese calligraphy! For those looking for a high quality, quintessentially Chinese watch, Maison Celadon has got you covered.
Where to buy: Maison Celadon’s web-store. Maison Celadon is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 10% off all Maison Celadon watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
If you’re into exotic materials more commonly seen in luxury timepiece, Vilhelm offers a lot of the same exoticness for a fraction of the price.
Who they are: “Nop’s Vision was to create an unique, contemporary and masculine timepiece that combined the best materials available and being used in the luxury watch market today and price it to the working-class watch-enthusiast who doesn’t want to part with a small fortune in order to own such a luxury timepiece.”
My opinion: For those who are attracted to the fancy, exotic materials commonly seen in luxury timepieces (Richard Mille, Hublot, IWC, etc), but don’t have the pockets of a Arab prince, then Vilhelm is the microbrand for you. Vilhelm’s Talos combines not one, not two, but three materials in its construction – bronze, forged carbon, and steel. The result is a spectacular sports watch that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Did I mention that the Talos is powered by a Swiss Sellita movement, and boasts a 500M WR rating as well as strong BGW9 lume? That’s style and substance.
Review: I reviewed the Vilhelm Talos here.
Where to buy: Vilhelm’s web-store. Vilhelm is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 10% off all Vilhelm watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
Helmed by the same enthusiast (Benjamin Chee) that founded Maison Celadon, Millésime was created to offer vintage styled dress watches that possessed modern day robustness.
Who they are: “Ben sought to create a watch that had the distinguished style without the fragility, lack of water-resistance and irreplaceability of a real vintage watch. A watch he could take yachting, partying or on one of his many voyages around the globe, without needing to worry if an errant flute (or case) of vintage champagne or a choppy jaunt around Lake Como would send a 70 year old priceless vintage watch to horological heaven. He envisioned a design with influences from his two favourite eras of vintage watches, the Art Deco and the 1950s, a design that would look as stylish with a bespoke sportcoat as it would with a dapper tuxedo.”
My opinion: To those looking for an elegant, time-only dress watch (think Patek Phillipe Calatrava, Vacheron Constantin Patrimony, etc), Millésime watches are compelling options. There aren’t many watch microbrands focusing on solely dress watches, and majority of those that do sell watches that look more like a Daniel Wellington rather than the esteemed brands I’ve mentioned above. Millésime excels in its understated details – the elegant curvature of its lugs, the art deco styling of the dial, the exotic dial colours, etc – which separates them from their competition.
Review: Review coming soon!
Where to buy: Millésime’s web-store. Millésime is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 10% off all Millésime watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
Hopefully, this article shows that homegrown watch brands not only exist, but are in fact thriving. As microbrands gain in popularity due to the perpetually rising prices of luxury timepieces, I’m confident that some, if not all of the above Singaporean brands will carve out a niche (if they haven’t already done so) and make a name for themselves. As aforementioned, I’ve met with most of the brand owners mentioned above – all of them are passionate about what they do, and their enthusiasm and passion is heartwarming. I wish them all the best, and hope that this website can play a small role in helping them soar to new heights.
If you enjoyed reading this article, do read another one here, where I rounded up my personal picks on affordable tailors in Singapore. A great watch needs to be paired with great garments!
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!