Hello everyone! This week, I’ll be doing a roundup of my favourite affordable (under $1000 SGD) watch microbrands. I’ve previously done listicles of affordable tailors, watch straps, dress shoes, work bags, wallets, perfumes and even fountain pens – and figured, why not do an article on affordable watch microbrands as well?
Before I continue, I want to stress this – I regularly wear watches from the brands mentioned below, and my below opinions are based upon my personal experience with the watches. To clarify, this list is NOT exhaustive, nor definitive. There are plenty of awesome affordable microbrands that are not on this list, simply because I have not personally interacted with their watches before/do not wear their watches on a regular basis.
With that cleared up, let’s get into this listicle! The brands are listed in ascending order of price.
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$200. 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$190 (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.
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, and the Aries Gold Black Sea 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 a crazy 50% off all products on their web-store. Simply quote “WAHSOSHIOK” upon checkout to enjoy the discount!
If you’re a fan of the aesthetics of fashion watches, check out the Vescari Chestor!
Who they are: Vescari is a Dutch microbrand, offering watches that “combines modern day specifications with a timeless look”.
My opinion: The Chestor is best for those who are looking for an affordable, good-looking watch as the perfect complement to their outfit. In other words, I think the Chestor is best seen as a superior alternative to the Daniel Wellington/MVMT/Fossil/etc watches that one might be considering to get, due to it being both better composed as well as an overall better value proposition. Ultimately, the Chestor is a striking watch that – in my opinion – is a much better option than many of the fashion watches out there. If you’re a student, or a young fresh graduate who just want something affordable that will look good on the wrist, then do check out the Vescari Chestor!
Review: I reviewed the Vescari Chestor here.
Where to buy: Vescari’s web-store. Vescari is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 20% off products on their web-store, as well as a free watch strap! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount
If you’re looking for an affordable mechanical chronograph, look no further than Monsieur!
Who they are: “Inspired by the French lifestyle, Monsieur captures the essence of bold living with an eclectic taste for adventure. Monsieur was created with one idea in mind, not everyone has to pay for an overpriced timepiece.”
My opinion: The Monsieur Ranomo is a vintage-inspired racing chronograph that derives its inspiration from the Rolex Daytona and the Zenith El Primero. The watch comes in both Panda (pictured above) and reverse Panda configurations, which should prove popular amongst watch and racing enthusiasts. In my opinion, the Monsieur Ranomo is a great alternative to much more expensive timepieces such as the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph, or even the Hamilton Intra-Matic Chronograph. If you want to own a chronograph with a Panda dial, you can now do so with the Monsieur Ranomo without breaking the bank.
Review: I reviewed the Monsieur Ranomo here.
Where to buy: Monsieur’s web-store. Monsieur is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 10% off all Monsieur watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
One of the most affordable brands on this list, Coup De Coeur watches provide a lot of bang for your buck.
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! All that can be yours for as low as $224 SGD (after promo code below). 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, 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 Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off products on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
Best known for their affordable customisable watches, UNDONE has managed to establish themselves in their niche despite the relatively short span of time that they have been around. With a focus on collaborative watches this year, it looks like UNDONE is set to grow from strength to strength!
Who they are: “Established in 2014, UNDONE is the world’s leading custom watch label founded by a team of dedicated watch industry veterans. The core philosophy of the company is enabling everyone from all walks of life to create their unique personalized watch at a great value without sacrificing quality. By combining traditional watchmaking with modern-day technology, UNDONE grants people the power to narrate their perception of time through their tailor-made watches. The production of all UNDONE brand products is made in-house, allowing their team to have full control over every aspect that goes into the making of their unique watches.”
My opinion: If you like customising your watches, you can’t go wrong with UNDONE. The UNDONE customisation tool is a breeze and a joy to use, and one really gets the satisfaction when strapping a custom made (to one’s design impetus!) watch on the wrist. Despite the custom made nature of most of their watches, UNDONE’s prices are fairly reasonable – prices (after promo code below) starts at just $204 USD/ ~$290 SGD for the Urban Chronograph when paired with a perlon strap. Overall, I find UNDONE watches great for not only meaningful gifts, but also an outlet for one to express their individuality.
Reviews: I have reviewed multiple UNDONE watches till date – I reviewed the UNDONE Aqua, the UNDONE Urban Vintage, the UNDONE Urban Tropical, the UNDONE Urban Ultraman, the UNDONE Urban Peanuts, the UNDONE Basecamp, the UNDONE Monopoly, the UNDONE Type XX, the UNDONE Zen Cartograph, the UNDONE Batman, and the UNDONE Terra. The UNDONE Urban Chronograph (pictured above) is currently my favourite due to its vintage looks, though I love the Urban Type XX (the featured image in this post) as well for its clean “panda” look.
Where to buy: UNDONE’s web-store. UNDONE is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off products on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
Hailing from Canada, Aevum specialises in motorsports inspired timepieces. Renowned for the bang-for-buck value of their watches, they are one of the most respected affordable microbrands in North America.
Who they are: “We design and build our watches with passion, including automotive aesthetics in a way that includes all types of enthusiasts. Whether you’ve got a hand-built drag pass car pushing 9’s, a weekend track day machine that you can boast was faster in the corners than your rival or a daily driver that you’ll never let go of; Aevum has you covered.”
My opinion: Aevum probably offers the best affordable motorsports-themed watches in the microbrand sphere. The build quality of their watches is near unparalleled for the price, the racing inspiration is evident in their designs, and the founder of Aevum (Bryan) is a genuine petrolhead who currently works as a technician for Mercedes – his passion shines through in his watches. As the icing on the cake, Bryan even includes a hand-crafted strap (crafted by him personally!) with each watch purchase. In fact, I can safely say that the straps on Aevum watches are by far the best I’ve seen at this price point. To me, Aevum encapsulates the allure of microbrands watches – pure passion at an affordable price.
Review: I reviewed the Aevum Advance here.
Where to buy: Aevum’s web-store. Aevum is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy $30 CAD off all watch purchases! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
Formally known as MILÉNEAL, Montage is a watch label best known for offering beautiful dress watches at an affordable price point. Their latest offering is the Prestige, a series of automatic dress watches with fume dials that are terrific value for money.
Who they are: Previously named as MILÉNEAL, Montage “…create timepieces that are of flavorful combination between Vintage & Contemporary.” Just like how the word ‘montage’ has the meaning of piecing together separate sections and fragments to create a whole new composite, Montage seeks to put together different quality parts to make a complete timepiece that is meant to complement your style.
My opinion: I think the Montage Prestige is the best dress watch that you can buy under S$300. The fact that you get a Miyota 9015 movement for under S$300 is impressive in its own right, but Montage takes it up a notch by pairing the movement with a gorgeous fume dial. The Montage Prestige possesses both form and function, and it puts its similarly priced fashion watches counterparts to absolute shame. If you’re someone looking for a nice “first watch” but don’t want to spend a lot of money, the Montage Prestige is perfect for you. Even for seasoned watch collectors, I think the Montage Prestige will definitely add something different to your collection – unless you already own a Moser of course!
Review: I reviewed the Montage Prestige here.
Where to buy: Montage’s web-store. Montage is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off all Montage watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
Ever lusted over a skeletonised watch, but dismissed it as out of your budget? Well, you can get one without breaking the bank from Manufaktur Waldhoff!
Who they are: “Manufaktur Waldhoff was started in 2015 by a Swiss Watch Designer, and Manfred Starck Uhren Gmbh, a watch manufacturer based in Pforzheim, to create a line of high-end Automatic watches. We combined the skills of a Swiss watch designer with high-tech engineering and time-tested craft of a German watch manufacturer. Our primary goal is to create extraordinary mechanical timepieces, entirely assembled and calibrated by hand, in-house, in our own workshop. We are product people and want our products to speak for themselves.”
My opinion: It’s hard enough to find a fully skeletonised watch under $1000, much less $500, but somehow Manufaktur Waldhoff delivers a stunning watch with the Capital. Look at it! Not only does it look stunning, it’s technically impressive as well, boasting 80 hours of power reserve. That’s a lot of bang for your buck! Most affordable skeleton watches look cheap – think Aliexpress watches – but not the Capital. It’s wonderfully finished, and punches way above its price tag. Honestly, I don’t think you can find a better skeletonised watch than the Capital at under S$500.
Where to buy: Manufaktur Waldhoff’s web-store. Manufaktur Waldhoff is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy a crazy 30% off all Manufaktur Waldhoff watches 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.
Where to buy: Reverie’s web-store. Reverie is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy $40 USD off products on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
A Malaysian microbrand, the Herve Alvia (pictured below) is one of my favourite microbrand watches of 2020.
Who they are: According to Herve, their vision is to design a future classic: a new watch, born in the 21st century, with cues from the greats gone by. They strive to offer watches that would meld past and present to form a timepiece that could be carried into the future, pairing vintage aesthetics with modern technology for accuracy, reliability and style. With this in mind, their maiden watch – the Alvia – was born.
My opinion: To be honest, I’m not quite sure why Herve isn’t as recognized, or as “hyped” in the microbrand watch world as some of the other brands are. I think the Alvia is a terrific maiden offering from Herve – I will say that the Herve Alvia is perhaps the best watch that I’ve reviewed this year. It has rock-solid specifications, a thoughtful design, all at a wonderfully low price point. It’s a perfect balance of vintage and modern styling, and wears beautifully on the wrist. If you’re looking for a vintage-inspired everyday watch, I honestly think that the Herve Alvia is your best bet under S$500.
Review: I reviewed the Herve Alvia here.
Where to buy: Herve’s web-store. Herve is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off all Herve watches on their web-store! 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, while it was still on Kickstarter.
Where to buy: Vario’s web-store. Vario is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 8% off all purchases! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
If you’re into unconventional watches, then Lytt Labs is definitely for you!
Who they are: “Unrestricted by the rules of classic watchmaking nor heritage, the founders set forth with a clear and simple vision – to provide a unique and forward-thinking approach to watchmaking, ensuring that each piece is both thought-provoking and a conversation starter.”
My opinion: Lytt Labs’ watches aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those that are tired of regular round watches, Lytt Labs offers unconventionally designed timepieces at affordable prices. In particular, I love the Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy (pictured above) due to its decent specifications and intriguing design. I love the amount of detail present in the watch – there’s an alternative way to read seconds on the watch, a golden honeycomb dial texture, a Millennial Falcon-like seconds disc, a bevelled cushion case, faceted crown and caseback, and even the incorporation of a QR code on the back! It’s a smartly executed design that overall, allows for the unconventional, sci-fi feel of the watch to really shine. Unlike most of its competitors (SevenFriday, Eight Dynamics, Orodeus, etc), Lytt Labs is able to offer their watches at a very affordable price. If you’re on a budget, yet still desire a conversation starter, check out Lytt Labs!
Review: I reviewed the Lytt Labs Inception Prodigy here.
Where to buy: Lytt Lab’s web-store. Lytt Labs is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 15% off all watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount. After the discount and 15% cashback from Lytt Labs’ “Strap It On” program, the Inception Prodigy would cost just S$469.
Next on this list is another 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 costing less than S$500, are solidly built – expect sapphire crystal, Seiko NH35 movement, top-grain leather strap, and even Swiss 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 the money. 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 Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off all purchases! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
An American microbrand, Egard strives to offer bang-for-buck watches with innovative designs.
Who they are: “Forged as a tribute to the bond between a son and his father, Égard produces exceptional timepieces that do more than simply tell time — they capture moments.”
My opinion: If you’re on the hunt for a conversation starter, but don’t want to burn a hole in your wallet, then Egard is a great brand to shop from. They specialise in offering unique designs – such as the Icon V1 pictured above – at very affordable pricing. The specifications are good too, with most of their watches featuring sapphire crystal and a reliable automatic movement. Egard does have a bunch of other intriguing affordable watches as well, such as the engraved Poseidon. Overall, Egard excels at churning out bang-for-buck offerings with its own unique design DNA.
Where to buy: Egard’s web-store. Egard is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 15% off products on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK15” to enjoy the discount!
For those looking for the perfect mix between sports and dress, check out the Pompeak Gentlemen’s!
Who they are: Pompeak describes themselves as “an independent, British company born out of frustration with the poor offerings of the affordable watch market”. They further state that they “design the watches [they] want to wear, and work to make them as affordable as possible”.
My opinion: I appreciated how the Pompeak Gentlemen’s serves the perfect balance of sport and dress. On paper, the Pompeak Gentlemen’s can be classified as a sports watch due to its 100M WR rating, screw-down crown, and stainless steel bracelet. You can wear the watch while swimming without any problems. However, due to its dial and polished aesthetic, it’s a very dressy watch as well, and fits right in even with a suit and tie. In this particular regard, the Pompeak Gentlemen’s reminds me of its luxury counterparts such as the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Like them, the Pompeak Gentlemen’s is incredibly versatile, and could be a one-watch collection for some. I like the specifications too – sapphire crystal, 100M WR rating, reliable Miyota 82S5 movement, a sturdy metal bracelet, and Swiss BGW9 Superluminova.
Review: I reviewed the Pompeak Gentlemen’s here.
Where to buy: Pompeak’s web-store. Pompeak is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off products on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount!
If you’re looking for bang-for-buck dive watches, Phoibos will be right up your alley.
Who they are: “Phoibos was founded in 2016 by the Chinese couple of Ethan Guo and Emily Feng. Inspired by a trip to Greece they took, Ethan and Emily named their watch brand after ancient Greek mythology. Phoibos is the alternative name to Apollo, the Greek God of Sun and Light. Translated, Phoibos means ‘Bright, Shining, One’”
My opinion: Phoibos offers a lot of value for money. Take the Proteus (with a meteorite dial) for example. For $377 USD, you get sapphire crystal, a workhorse Seiko NH35A movement, Swiss Superluminova, a superb bracelet, ceramic bezel, 300M WR rating, and a meteorite dial. In fact, the Phoibos Proteus is probably the most affordable option if you’re on the hunt for a meteorite dial watch – that in itself is saying something. If you’re looking for a tough as nails watch that comes with the bragging rights of having a slice of the moon on your wrist, then the Phoibos Proteus is a no-brainer. There’s also a recently introduced Proteus with an aged steel case (but without the meteorite dial), priced at just $269 USD after the discount code below.
Where to buy: Phoibos’ web-store. Phoibos is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off all watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
For those looking for an affordable sports watch, Klo & Co offers one of the best options in the market currently.
Who they are: Klo & Co is a Filipino brand, and was founded in 2015 by the trio of Kenn, Bryan, and Ralph. The three are true watch enthusiasts, and came up with the idea for the brand over a meal and some coffee. They believe that “exceptional watch design should be accessible to all who appreciate it”, and that their watches “express this belief through sophisticated design, remarkable quality, and outstanding overall value”.
My opinion: Sports watches are the rage nowadays, with timepieces such as the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak commanding prices way above retail. Unfortunately, that also means that owning a Genta-designed watch is out of the question for mere mortals like us. If you have a limited budget, and want to capture the look and feel of a Genta-like sports watch, the Klo & Co Alpesailer is a fantastic option. It only costs a tad above S$500, comes with sapphire crystal and a Seiko NH35 automatic movement, and is triple finished (brushed, polished, beveled)! I don’t think you can find a better sports watch at this price point.
Review: I reviewed the Klo & Co Alpesailer here.
Where to buy: Klo & Co’s web-store. Klo & Co is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy free shipping off all watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the offer.
If you’re into watches that are different and unique, Achtung is a brand that you must check out.
My opinion: I’m absolutely in awe of the Achtung Galaxy. It was love at first sight when I saw it in the metal. The sunburst blue dial was mesmerizing, the floating stars captivating, and the unique hands intriguing. Its cushion case was impressively finished, especially considering its price tag. As an overall package, the Galaxy is striking but not gaudy, eye-catching with the right amount of taste. While I suspect it may still not be everyone’s cup of tea, the Galaxy is definitely something different, a timepiece that is so off the beaten track that it will be a worthy addition to any watch collection. I’ll say this – the Achtung Galaxy is my favourite microbrand watch of this year.
Review: I reviewed the Achtung Galaxy here.
Where to buy: TVG’s (the exclusive distributor for Achtung watches here in Singapore) web-store. TVG is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off products on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
The Vintro Le Mans 1952 Automatic would be the perfect pick for those looking for an affordable mechanical chronograph.
My opinion: The Vintro Le Mans 1952 Automatic is a great value proposition – you’re getting an automatic column-wheel chronograph (based upon the legendary Venus 175 movement) for just S$600+! I’ve seen other microbrands selling mecha-quartz chronographs for more. As a lover of vintage watches myself, I absolutely love the dial of the Le Mans 1952 Chronograph, which is a retro beauty. It’s quite unique as well due to the incorporation of both a tachymeter and a telemeter scale on the dial. If you love its vintage styling, but still find the price a tad too high, there’s also a mecha-quartz version available.
Review: I did a review of the Vintro Le Mans 1952 Automatic here.
Where to buy: Vintro’s web-store. Vintro is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off products 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: H2’s Hub web-store (H2 Hub is the Authorised Dealer of WULF watches locally). H2 Hub is also a partner of Wah So Shiok –readers enjoy 5% off all watches on their web-store (including Seiko, Citizen, G-shock and more)! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
If you’re a photography enthusiast, you will love the TACS Automatic Vintage Lens II.
Who they are: TACS is a Hong Kong microbrand founded by Motegi San. The brand adheres a core philosophy – that design should be simple, minimalist and pure. To that end, founder Motegi San seeks to make timepieces that capture the essence of unique ideas, turning them into thought-provoking designs that are both aesthetically appealing and functional.
My opinion: The TACS AVL II is a must-have for photography enthusiasts. The watch encapsulates the spirit of photography in every aspect of its design. It has solid specifications too, with good build quality that should last you quite some time. While it is not exactly inexpensive, the AVL II is still relatively affordable especially when you compare it to the likes of the Leica L1 and L2 watches. The biggest stumbling block (no pun intended) is probably the chunky 47mm case diameter of the watch. If you happen to be passionate about photography and have a preference for larger watches, then the TACS AVL II will be the perfect watch for you.
Review: I reviewed the TACS AVL II here.
Where to buy: TACS’ web-store. TACS is also a partner of Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off all TACS watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
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 Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy S$100 off the Phantom II! 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 Wah So Shiok – readers enjoy 10% off all Neminus watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
Helmed by the industry veterans of Pierre Nobs (founder of Ventura) and Simon Husslein, Bolido is a newly established Swiss microbrand looking to break new ground in watch design.
Who they are: “Our vision: To create a new breed of watch. One that matches our perception of architectural design and functionality. Conceived so that it can be manufactured 100% in Switzerland at a completely un-Swiss price.”
My opinion: If you appreciate watch design, Bolido is the brand for you. The engineering of their watches are complete ingenuity – the watches feature a monocoque case construction, a uniquely milled crown design at 12 o’clock, as well as an innovative caseback design that allows watchmakers to access the internals of the watch with the simple removal of a screw. In addition, all Bolido watches are 100% Swiss-made! Despite the engineering feats encapsulated in their watches, as well as Swiss manufacturing, all Bolido watches are priced very affordably – you don’t necessarily have to burn a hole in your pocket to get a true Swiss watch.
That wraps up this listicle on affordable microbrands! Despite the affordable price tags (all under $1000 SGD) of watches from the aforementioned brands, they are all (in my opinion) great value propositions. Each brand has their own strengths, and offer something unique to the table – there’s something for everyone here!
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!