Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean article! On this shiok Saturday, I’m reviewing a bunch of watch storage solutions from local watch accessories label, Nomad Watch Works.
Nomad Watch Works is best known for their wide variety of bang-for-buck straps, and recently they have ventured into offering watch storage options! The brand kindly sent me a few of their watch storage offerings – a watch box, a watch roll, and a valet tray – for me to review. Let’s see if they are any good!
Nomad Watch Works – the Brand
I’ve previously covered Nomad Watch Works as a brand in my initial review of their straps here. In addition, I reviewed some of their more recent straps here. If you are interested in either the brand story or their straps, do check out the articles above!
With a capacity of 20 watch slots, the watch box that Nomad Watch Works sent me features a two-tier layout of 10 slots each. I quite like this design, which saves considerable space as compared to a traditional 20 slots watch box.
When fully shut, the watch box measures just 34.5cm wide! That’s a svelte size – in fact, that’s slimmer than most of the 6 slots watch boxes out there. This will definitely fit on a dresser (or wherever you put your watch boxes) with ease. I love the fact that it has both form and function. It reminds me of those space-saving transformable furniture that has been the hype recently. In Singapore where our apartments are generally quite small, the small form factor of this 20 slots watch box definitely comes in handy.
The watch box is made out of MDF board, which should be pretty during. I should highlight that MDF isn’t real wood, at least not in the traditional sense. Instead, MDF is “an engineered wood product made by breaking down hardwood or softwood residuals into wood fibres, often in a defibrator, combining it with wax and a resin binder, and forming it into panels by applying high temperature and pressure.” As compared to plywood – which is cheaper – MDF is stronger, denser, and more durable. It’s widely used in furniture – my computer table is made from MDF! It’s significantly lighter than solid wood, and unlike solid wood, you won’t have to worry about rot, water damage, termites, etc. It may not look as luxurious as solid wood, but it’s more practical and economical. Here, the Nomad Watch Works watch box is varnished, giving the watch box a premium look. It’s a nice touch, and definitely separates this watch box from those generic ones found on Lazada/Qoo10/Shopee.
Nomad Watch Works states that the cushion pillows are made from “soft suede”, and I love it. I’ve owned those generic watch boxes before, and the first thing that goes is the terrible cardboard pillows, which turn yellow and stiff. Here, the suede cushion pillows are soft and supple to the touch. Given that it’s leather, it’s also unlikely to stain and discolour unlike the cardboard pillows of cheaper watch boxes. Really liked these pillows!
The entire interior of the watch box is made out of suede as well, giving the Nomad Watch Works watch box an overall sense of class. This is further enhanced by the screwed hinges, which are gold plated. I’m pleased to see that the hinges are screwed. The hinges of a watch box are often one of the first aspects to fail and fall apart, but they look sturdily constructed here.
Overall, I think that the Nomad Watch Works 20 slot watch box is a terrific value proposition, considering the quality of the materials used and its sturdy construction. Its two-tier storage system is space-saving as well. Considering that something similar from a “bigger name” like WULF costs thrice the price, I think this is perfect for those looking for a quality watch box without breaking the bank.
Next, let’s take a look at Nomad Watch Works’s leather valet tray!
Described as “a safe place for organizing all your everyday carry items”, Nomad Watch Works states that having a valet tray puts an end to “unnecessary leaving-the-house frenzy”. While there is a watch slot, it’s not specifically a watch storage option as there are plenty of other compartments for your daily essentials.
In addition to a designated space for your watch, there are also compartments for your spectacles, keys, coins, earphones, phone, and other accessories. The phone compartment has charging notches to allow for easy cable access, which is a nice detail. There’s also a covered compartment, which is ideal for storing either valuables or private items that are best kept out of public eye. I must say, I found the organization very convenient, and it has prevented me from searching for my misplaced essentials many a time. Very useful.
Like the above-reviewed watch box, the materials of the Nomad Watch Works valet tray are all pretty good! The leather feels nice to the touch, though it is only genuine leather and not top/full-grain, so it won’t patina over time. That being said, given that the valet tray is only ~S$70 (after the promo code below) I can’t really complain – full-grain leather straps already cost more than that! At the very least, it’s definitely better than the PU leather found on cheaper generic trays, which tends to peel over time especially in Singapore’s humid climate. In addition, the stitching looks rather good too, with tidy lines and no loose or fraying threads.
The same leather is used for the sides of the valet tray as well. Again, it feels pretty good to the touch, and at this price point, I’m actually surprised at the amount of leather that’s on display here.
There’s also a small compartment with a flap. I personally used it to store my fountain pens, though I suspect it would be useful to store precious jewelry (rings, necklaces, bracelets, etc) as well.
Like the watch box, the valet tray is lined with soft suede. Unlike the watch box, it’s not actual suede, but microsuede. Microsuede is a synthetic material with small, tightly woven fibres that’s meant to mimic the soft feel and raised texture of actual suede. Unlike actual suede however, microsuede is more durable and stain-resistant, and also more economical to produce. Here, I don’t mind the usage of microsuede at all. Like the aforementioned MDF wood used in the watch box, microsuede usage is widespread amongst furniture, especially sofas. It feels like suede, is more durable than suede, and is often cheaper. What’s not to like? I should also mention that the valet tray comes in two different colour variants, the brown I’m reviewing, and a more subtle black. Between the two, my pick will definitely have to be the brown – it just looks more premium. There’s a rakish vibe that the brown variant exudes which the black variant cannot compare to. Go for the brown!
Overall, the Nomad Watch Works valet tray is aesthetically pleasing, constructed out of materials that feel good to the touch, practical as an organiser, and bang-for-buck. It’s definitely good value at ~S$70 – that’s the price of an average watch strap! If you’re in need of an organiser, the valet tray would be a great addition to your dresser. I must say, I found the valet tray immensely useful in my time reviewing it – I no longer have to search for where my spectacles/keys/earphones/portable charger are before going out. An affordable, but also practical purchase.
Last but not least, Nomad Watch Works also sent me their leather watch & strap roll.
There are 3 watch slots, 5 strap compartments, with an additional 2 spaces for watch tools! However, I found that it’s best to leave the first strap slot empty, as it’s the one that gets folded up when you fold the watch roll, as seen by the creases on the leather. You wouldn’t want your nice leather strap to get creased! Nevertheless, that still leaves you with 4 strap compartments, which in my opinion is more than enough – it’s already more than the number of watch slots!
Like the valet tray and watch box that I reviewed above, the leather watch and strap roll features some nice materials. Firstly, the same genuine leather found in the valet tray are used for the compartments here. It’s pretty nice to the touch, and adds to the premium feel of the watch and strap roll. The stitching looks good too, without any fraying or loose threads.
Secondly, the watch and strap roll uses a similar microsuede fabric to the one found on valet tray. However, there is a slight difference. While the microsuede fabric felt more textured and “suede-like” on the valet tray, the microsuede fabric here has a more velvety, silk-like touch to it. It definitely feels much smoother to the touch. I think this is deliberate, as the microsuede fabric will come into direct contact with your watch/strap, so having it finished in a smoother texture prevents any accidental scruffs or scratches from occurring. In any case, it definitely feels very nice to the touch, and again it elevates the premium feel of the watch and strap roll.
The entire exterior of Nomad Watch Works’ watch and strap roll is fashioned out of genuine leather, the same that is used for its interior compartments. Even the fastener is made out of leather! I must say, I was pretty impressed at the sheer amount of leather that is on display here, especially considering its ~S$60 price point. Most watch rolls at this price point are either made out of canvas or PU leather, with similar full genuine leather rolls costing twice the price. I think this watch and strap roll is best for travellers, who can take a few watches and have several straps to mix things up for a different look every day of the week. If you’re travelling overseas for a week, you’re not going to bring 7 watches in case it gets lost. 3 watches + 4 additional straps sounds like a much safer alternative, yet ensuring that you will literally have a new look on your wrist every day. If you’re looking for a pure watch roll, Nomad Watch Works does offer a watch roll with 6 watch slots here.
Like the valet tray, this watch and strap roll comes in two different colour options, black and brown (shown above). Again, my advice would be to go for the brown. The caramel colour of the brown microsuede fabric pairs perfectly with the dark brown of the leather compartments, in my opinion. Look at it – it just pops! Definitely the more luxurious looking variant.
I should also mention that the watch and strap rolls come in a nice little pouch, with an imprinted Nomad Watch Works logo. All in all, I think the watch and strap pouch is a terrific value proposition. Like the watch box and valet tray, it punches above its price point by featuring quality materials. Aesthetically, it looks and feels premium too! In addition, a watch roll with strap slots is pretty rare in the market – in fact, I don’t know of any other brand that sells these kind of “hybrid” watch and strap rolls. If you are a strap enthusiast, the Nomad Watch Works watch and strap roll will be perfect for you.
Conclusion – so Nomad Watch Works watch storage “shiok” or not?
Definitely. Nomad Watch Works have always been great at delivering value, but this time I think they have thoroughly outdone themselves. All the items I reviewed above all featured quality materials, look aesthetically pleasing, and marries form with function. If I had to pick, my favourite would have to be the 20 slot watch box due to how space-saving it is, though the valet tray is a definite close second due to its organizer layout.
For those interested, you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off all products from Nomad Watch Works store-wide! After the discout, the 20 slot watch box would cost just S$80, the valet tray would can be had at merely S$71, with the watch and strap roll coming in at S$62. Those are prices that are half, sometimes even a third of the prices of more established brands. If you’re looking for bang-for-buck watch storage options, do check out Nomad Watch Works’ offerings!
View the full range of Nomad Watch Works products 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!
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.