This week, I’ll be rounding up 7 of my favourite underrated Singaporean watch brands. If you didn’t already know, there are multiple watch brands here on our sunny shores of Singapore, each trying to make their mark in the watch industry. At current standing, there are over 80 Singaporean watch brands – I’ve shortlisted 7 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. These brands are pretty affordable too – all the watches highlighted in this listicle can be had for less than $500. Yet, most of these brands still fly under the radar, with a majority of Singaporeans and watch enthusiasts at large probably having never heard of any of them. Hopefully, this article changes some of that.
With that in mind, these are the 7 affordable Singaporean watch brands that I respect and believe in.
Update: I’m pleased to list some of the below-mentioned watch brands on my new web-store, The Shiok Shop. If you’re looking for bang-for-buck deals, do check out the web-store.
The “biggest” 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 Singapore watch 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 ground by collaborating with International Rock Band Aerosmith in 2017 to promote their unique code: Combining world class 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. I sincerely believe that Aries Gold offers some of the best value propositions that you can get for $300+. Take the Voltramic (pictured above) for example – it’s certainly the brand’s most striking design to date, pairing a skeletonised dial with a faceted octagonal bezel and an integrated bracelet. The specifications are good for the price too, with sapphire crystal, a workhorse Seiko movement, and Superlumiova lume. I particularly like the blacked-out variant with the golden dial – it’s stealthy with a touch of luxe, and eye-catching without being overly ostentatious. Whether you’re a seasoned watch collector or someone looking to get his first watch, Aries Gold provides a lot for very little.
Review: I reviewed the Aries Gold Jolter here, the Aries Gold Cruiser here, the Aries Gold Roadster here, the Aries Gold El Toro here, the Aries Gold Vanguard here, the Aries Gold Black Sea here, the Aries Gold Dreadnought here, the Aries Gold Diplomat here, the Aries Gold Great White here, and the Aries Gold Voltramic here. I also did an article on why I believe that they are one of the best watch brands under S$200 here.
Where to buy: Click here. Aries Gold is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers can enjoy 20% off all products on their web-store. Simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy the discount. A curated selection of Aries Gold watches can also be found on The Shiok Shop.
Vesuviate offers some of the most sturdy, bang-for-buck watches that I’ve personally reviewed.
Who they are: The brand describes its goal as “to create the ultimate tool-watch designed for people living an active lifestyle and engineered for those inspired by their passion for diving, flying, racing, sailing, sports, and more.” That makes sense, given YK’s background as a supply chain engineer and auditor. In fact, all Vesuviate watches are treated with a surface treatment that “helps guarantee the performance of [its] watches in the most demanding environments”, all offered at an affordable price.
My opinion: I have deep respect for Vesuviate’s brand mission, which is to offer robust watches that will withstand the trials and tribulations of any adventure. To that end, the Volare GMT is a triumph. It is genuinely the best put-together watch I’ve seen in the S$500 price point, with its heat-treated case and bracelet elevating it heads and shoulders above its competition. If you’re looking for a no-nonsense GMT watch that won’t break the bank, then you can’t do much better than the Vesuviate Volare GMT. I have no doubts that the watch will last me years.
Reviews: I reviewed the Vesuviate Volare GMT here.
Where to buy: Vesuviate’s web-store. Vesuviate is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off products on their web-store. Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount. A curated selection of Vesuviate watches can also be found on The Shiok Shop.
Perhaps the best value proposition I’ve reviewed, Kent Hall & Co’s Nova Skeleton series offers a lot for very little.
Who they are: Based in Singapore, Kent Hall & Co was first founded in 2015, before shuttering operations in 2019. However, the brand recently reopened its doors with a focus to “bring unique mechanical watches to the everyday watch collector”, and introduced the aptly named Revival series, which offers an automatic, skeletonised integrated sports watch (in a variety of finishes) at an affordable price.
My opinion: The integrated sports watch is in vogue stylistically, and with Kent Hall & Co you don’t have to fork out an arm and a leg (or endure an eternal waiting list) to scratch the itch. For less than S$250, the Nova Skelton features a sapphire crystal, an automatic movement, Swiss Superluminova, and a robust metal bracelet. It’s also eminently captivating due to its skeletonised dial and integrated bracelet. It’s possibly the most affordable of its kind on the market, making it a great entry point into the world of horology.
Where to buy: Kent Hall and Co’s web-store. Kent Hall and Co is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off products on their web-store. Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount. A curated selection of Kent Hall & Co watches can also be found on The Shiok Shop.
Reverie made a huge splash in the microbrand community with its 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: With beautiful guilloche dials as its trademark, Reverie offers watches that are a touch more sophisticated than the norm. Take the abovepictured Reverie Diver for instance. Affordable dive watches are a dime a dozen, but the striking guilloche dial and 12-hour bezel of the Reverie Diver set it apart from its peers. Specifications are great for the price too – sapphire crystal, 200m WR rating, a solid bracelet (with an additional rubber strap), Miyota 9039 movement, and dual Swiss Superluminova are all features on the Reverie Diver. If dive watches aren’t your thing, consider the Reverie GT – also available on Ths Shiok Shop – which is the brand’s lovely take on a dressy sports chronograph.
Where to buy: Reverie’s web-store. Reverie is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy $30 USD off products on their web-store. Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount. A curated selection of Reverie watches can also be found on The Shiok Shop.
Advisor Watches is an interesting Singaporean watch brand, which offers vintage-inspired watch designs for 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). The watches we produce every year are in limited pieces to ensure their 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) – it is probably the best supercompressor that you can find for under S$500.
Where to buy: Advisor’s web-store. Advisor is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy US$40 off all purchases. Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount. A curated selection of Advisor watches can also be found on The Shiok Shop.
One of the younger brands on this list, Gane reminds me of why I fell in love with local microbrands in the first place.
Who they are: GANE was founded by Raymond Pee in 2020. The brand states that the name is derived from Hagane – the Japanese word for steel – with “brushed steel metalwork” being a mainstay of GANE watches. The mission is to deliver “old school cool automatic timepieces”, which Raymond elaborates on in a CNA interview with Aun Koh (brother of Revolution’s Wei Koh) here.
My opinion: Gane represents the manifestation of its founder’s artistic vision, thus encapsulating the ethos of what a microbrand watch should be. The Type C (pictured above) has decent specifications and a well-conceived aesthetic that displays a maturity rarely seen in debut collections. It’s well put together and remains fairly affordable. It’s one of the most impressive microbrand watches that I’ve reviewed in recent years. Singapore may not be short of watch microbrands, but GANE is a notable addition.
Review: I reviewed the Gane Type C here.
Last but certainly not least, it’s no overstatement to describe Humism watches as art on the wrist.
Who they are: Humism is a Singaporean watch effort, that aims to “turn the movement of time into mesmerizing art.” According to Humism, it views watches as an “art canvas”, seeking to “re-imagine watch design, to create a timepiece that makes the most of this medium’s uniqueness.” Humism describes itself as “as much an art studio as a watch brand”.
My opinion: Humism is easily one of my favourite microbrands for a simple reason – its offerings are eminently unique. Its originality is a breath of fresh air, with its watches functioning as art on the wrist. The watches are well-built too, featuring sapphire crystal and a robust Seiko automatic movement. For less than S$500, Humism watches are affordable conversation starters. There’s nothing quite like Humism’s watches, which is high praise in itself.
Review: I reviewed Humism here.
Upcoming Kickstarter Campaigns from Singapore watch brands:
There are also a few local efforts launching on Kickstarter soon – here are some noteworthy ones:
After a hiatus, Arcturus is back with a bang.
I first reviewed the Arcturus LC-1 Lion City 6 years ago. Despite that length of time, I still have the LC-1 – it remains one of my personal favourites in my microbrand collection. After what seems like a lifetime, Arcturus is finally ready with its sophomore attempt, and will be launching the LC-2 Vanda Tourbillion in malachite, aventurine and guilloche dials. The lineup looks amazing, and I can’t wait to do a hands-on review on one.
Expected launch: Q1 2024
UBIQ is a new microbrand on the block, offering colourway designs that put the fun back on the wrist.
UBIQ Watches’ maiden collection is the Dual, and it’s one of the more unique microbrand launches I’ve seen in recent memory. Not only are the models in fresh and fun colourways, but the watches also feature a dual-timing bezel (therefore the name), allowing the wearer to track both a second time zone and elapsed time. How’s that for style and functionality?
Expected launch: Q1 2024
Last but not least is Bauche, offering intricately layered watches that are simply visually arresting.
Bauche describes its inaugural collection, the Carina Nebula, as “a portal to a different world, an encapsulation of our collective fascination with the cosmos”. With a lineup of layered dials, the watches certainly deliver a Louis Monet-esque otherworldly aesthetic. Each dial comprises three layers – mother-of-pearl, guilloche (stamped), and meteorite. The Carina Nebula is a medley of textures on the wrist, and I can’t wait to try one on.
Expected launch: Q1 2024
If you found this tailoring listicle helpful, do check out some of my other listicles below:
- 6 Affordable Briefcases in Singapore
- 12 places to get Watch Straps in Singapore
- 6 Perfume Brands in Singapore to check out
- 6 Affordable Wallets in Singapore
- 9 Affordable Tailors in Singapore (Complete Guide!)
- 4 Affordable Dress Shoes in Singapore
- 11 Affordable Hotels for Staycations in Singapore
Hopefully, this article shows that homegrown watch brands not only exist, but are 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 are heartwarming. I wish them all the best and hope that this website can play a small role in helping them soar to new heights.
The majority of watch brands mentioned in this listicle can be found on The Shiok Shop, which serves as a curation of my favourite local items that I’ve reviewed. If you’re looking for the best prices, check the new web-store out.
P.S: Check out The Shiok Store here – it serves as a curation of my favourite products from my favourite brands.
P.P.S: Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
P.P.P.P.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.