Hello everyone! This week, I’m doing a roundup of some of my favourite watch microbrands priced above S$500. After I published my previous listicle on affordable watch microbrands, several readers feedbacked that they would love to read another one, this time on microbrands with a higher price tag. As such, I’ve compiled this list of microbrands above S$500 that I love!
Before I continue, I want to stress this – I’ve personally interacted with watches from the brands in this list, and my below opinions are based upon my personal experience with the watches. This list is NOT exhaustive, nor definitive. There are plenty of awesome microbrands that are not on this list, simply because I have either not personally interacted with their watches before, or that they don’t have a web-store/are fully out of stock at the moment.
With that cleared up, let’s get into this listicle!
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.
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.
Review: I reviewed the Bolido Halo here.
Where to buy: Bolido’s web-store. Bolido is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 10% off all Bolido 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.
For those looking for an unconventional watch, DWISS fits the bill perfectly.
Who they are: “DWISS is a multi-design awarded Swiss brand of authentic and unique Swiss made timepieces that is innovating how time is displayed, pioneering the use of new materials and revolutionizing sales channels. Its watches deviate from tradition by showcasing the time in formats never explored before, making each watch instantly memorable and iconic. They are all limited-edition luxury watches with the highest-grade Swiss movements and craftsmanship.”
My opinion: DWISS watches are big, bold, and offers a unique take on the everyday act of time telling. Intricately designed, and possessing superb build quality, this Swiss microbrand offers intriguing watches that have garnered a whole host of design awards over the years. Furthermore, the finishing of DWISS watches are top notch – one of the best amongst the microbrands I’ve handled till date. If you’re into the unconventional, DWISS watches pack a lot of design ingenuity and a high level of build quality and finishing for not a lot of money.
Review: I reviewed the DWISS RC-1 here.
Where to buy: DWISS’ web-store. DWISS is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy a whooping 20% off all DWISS 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.
Known for their exotic dials, Valimor watches look like a million bucks, but have a surprisingly affordable price tag.
Who they are: “Through rigorous selection of materials, and the utilization of international product methods, VALIMOR aims to offer an incredible value for your money. Each watch features completely genuine and original designs unlike anything you’ve ever seen. We hope to provide you with a high-quality watch that gives you the confidence to step outside the lines and stand out from the crowd.”
My opinion: Valimor watches are one of my personal favourites. Just look at it! It looks like something Jon Snow might wear, if he ever gets to ascend the Iron Throne. In particular, I find the Valimor Caliburnus simply jaw-dropping. Valimor uses a variety of exotic materials in the dials of the various Caliburnus variants, including granite, aventurine, lapis lazuli, agate, marble, and jasper. These are materials often seen in ornate jewelry, and Valimor has harnessed their beauty in the form of these exotic looking watches! That ornate bezel/crown, paired with the textured granite dial, and the intricate bracelet – that’s a showstopper. Oh, did I mention the aged steel case finishing?
Review: I reviewed the Valimor Caliburnus here.
Where to buy: Valimor’s web-store. Valimor is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 10% off all Valimor watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
With an intriguing case design, Phantoms should be near the top of your list if you’re into unconventional looking watches!
Who they are: “Phantoms promotes a futuristic fantasy for those who love conceptual style watches. We make watches that are unrealistically complicated in both design and engineering aspects. Fusing both traditional craftsmanship and modern technology to suit the holistic relationship between the movement and the exterior of the watch. Each timepiece we create has its own soul, bringing out different attributes & power to the owner of the watch. We deliver the art & science of watchmaking to your soul, embracing the uniqueness of ourselves through the art we create. We break boundaries, encourage new ground breaking style that lead the trend of modern timepieces.”
My opinion: Phantoms watches are undeniably cool – they are just a heck lot of fun on the wrist. The watches are reminiscent of Richard Mille watches (silicone strap, sporty look, tonneau case, skeletonised dial), but cost a literal fraction (0.5% of an entry level Richard Mille, to be exact) of an RM. However, while their watches are evoke the feel of more illustrious counterparts, Phantoms watches still feel refreshing original, especially in the layered skeletonised dial and their intricate case construction. For those looking for a fun sports watch, Phantoms (especially the Blade series) certainly ticks a lot of boxes!
Review: Review coming soon.
Where to buy: Phantoms’ web-store. Phantoms is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 10% off all Phantoms watches 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.
Review: Review coming soon.
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.
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.
Ever lusted over a tourbillion watch, but dismissed it as an object of desire attainable only by millionaires? Well, that’s where Manufaktur Waldhoff comes in.
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: There are other affordable (sub-S$1000) tourbillion watches in the market, but in my opinion the Manufaktur Waldhoff Ultramatic is the best of the lot. Unlike most other affordable tourbillion watches, Manufaktur Waldhoff uses an individually hand-made Peacock 5212 co-axial tourbillion movement. The Liaoning Peacock Watch Company – which manufactures this movement – supplies watch ébauches (including tourbillions!) to several Swiss luxury watch companies, so one can be assured about the quality of the movement. In addition, the Ultramatics are well finished, and possess a visually captivating dial that boasts depth and texture. If you don’t need a tourbillion in your life, Manufaktur Waldhoff offers other stunning timepieces as well, such as the incredibly affordable Capital – an intricately skeletonised dress watch that looks amazing in the metal. What’s not to like?
Where to buy: Manufaktur Waldhoff’s web-store. Manufaktur Waldhoff is also a partner of Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy a crazy 30% off all Manufaktur Waldhoff 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 Wahsoshiok – readers enjoy 10% off all Spectre Time watches on their web-store! Just quote “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy the discount.
That wraps up this listicle on premium (S$500-S$1500) watch microbrands! The S$500-S$1500 price segment is a tough place to operate in – established watch maisons such as Tissot, Hamilton, Mido, and Seiko offers some absolute stunners at this price point. Nevertheless, I sincerely believe that all the aforementioned microbrands above offers something special that differentiates them from their competition – innovative designs, exotic materials, great value, impressive finishing and build quality, etc. I encourage you to take the path less taken, and try a watch from one of these amazing watch microbrands. I promise you won’t regret it!
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!