Hi guys, and welcome to another Singaporean watch review. This Sunday, I’m reviewing the Step Tracker “Watch” by our very own Health Promotion Board!

The Health Promotion Board (HPB) Step Tracker, seen here in a blue rubber strap.

The Singapore Health Promotion Board gave these away for free as part of their National Steps Challenge campaign, in a bid to get Singaporeans to alter their sedentary lifestyles and walk more. I’ve seen these on the wrist of several of my friends, many of whom use it as a watch – an instrument to tell time. Out of sheer curiosity, I had to try one on. I spent the entire of 1st April with it on my wrist – here are my thoughts!

Health Promotion Board – the Brand

You guys know I’m a fan of local efforts – it doesn’t get more Singaporean than a governmental establishment! The Health Promotion Board (HPB) was established in 2001 as an entity that’s “committed to promoting healthy living in Singapore”. According to them, “HPB is a credible and authoritative source of evidence-based health information that seeks to empower the Singapore public with knowledge and skills to take ownership of their health and live a healthy lifestyle.” What a noble goal!

This is their maiden watch effort – backed by our mighty government, can HPB become a powerhouse in watchmaking?

I adore HPB! I truly love what they stand for – unfortunately my body doesn’t reflect that. Anyway, I think that their current marketing campaign is a masterstroke. Giving out watches for free for a worthy cause such as making people fitter? Man, you won’t see Rolex doing that! In today’s age of perpetually skyrocketing luxury watch prices, what HPB is doing is sorely welcomed. I guess some things are only possible when institutions are funded by the government! (and our tax money, but let’s ignore that for now)

HPB Step Tracker – Functionality

For something that’s free, there’s a surprising amount of functionality!

Firstly, we get an perpetual calendar, as well as a power reserve indicator.

The first screen not only shows you the time, but also the date, day of the week, month, AND a power reserve indicator! Wow. Essentially, it’s a perpetual calendar! For HPB to be able to fit a perpetual calendar module into such a svelte form factor is absolutely amazing. Forget Kari Voutilainen, Roger W. Smith or Romain Gauthier – those folks over at HPB deserve top prizes at GPHG (Grand Prix Horlogerie Geneve – the Oscars of watchmaking)!

True to its name, the watch measures the amount of steps you take as well.

In addition to the multiple complications present on the first screen, there’s also a step tracker included! With this on your wrist, one can track the amount of steps one has taken throughout the day. For the day, I set myself a target of 10000 steps, so unfortunately I’m still some way off. Nevertheless, it’s so refreshing to see a watch not only as an instrument to tell time, but also as a health accessory.

It even calculates the distance you have walked! Mind-blowing stuff.

There’s a distance tracker included with the watch as well, making it a viable companion for runs. A “perpetual calendar” display, step tracker, AND a distance tracker, all bundled into one? Name me a more complicated watch than that! Watches are often described as a companion in life – what’s more poetic than a display showing you just how far you have progressed from the start? I’m in absolute love with this little watch.

The strap is detachable!

In a stroke of design brilliance, the strap is actually detachable! When pulled out, the strap reveals a USB-port for you to plug into your computer and charge. No more winding the watch every morning – just plug this into your computer before you sleep every night! A revolutionary concept in watchmaking.

Overall, the HPB Step Tracker “Watch” blew my mind. It’s chock-full of functionality, making it more complicated than most of the top-end haute horlogerie pieces out there. To top it off, this was free! You literally cannot find a more bang-for-buck timepiece out there.

Shootout: HPB Step Tracker “Watch” vs Patek Philippe 5320G

I’ve so much respect for the watchmaking behind this watch that I’m comparing HPB to one of the foremost watch maison in the industry – Patek Philippe.

The Patek Philippe 5320G, priced at S$109,000

In terms of functionality, I would say that the HPB Step Tracker “Watch” actually beats the revered Patek Philippe 5320G! Both are capable of showing the day, date, and month (without adjustment for February and leap year). The Patek does have a moonphase display, but the HPB step tracker has a power reserve indicator, a step tracker, AND a distance tracker to boot. In terms of daily practicality, I find the functionality of HPB’s step tracker much more relevant in daily life than a moonphase aperture. Also, is wearing the Patek Philippe 5320G going to encourage me to adopt a healthier lifestyle? Heck no – I’m much more likely to go fine dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant and down countless bottles of wine instead!

In terms of design, I have to say that I prefer the looks of the HPB Step Tracker as well. That cute little rubber strap coupled with the Matrix-like svelte form factor of the watch case just endears it to my heart. I love the versatility as well – it looks just as good when I’m out on a run (if I ever decide to start exercising) as it does under a shirt cuff. On the other hand, the Patek Philippe is really just restricted to dress occasions.

In terms of value, the HPB Step Tracker trounces the Patek Philippe 5320G all the way back to the Swiss Alps. The Step Tracker “Watch” is free – the Patek Philippe costs S$109,000! Are you serious Patek? Do you think money grows on trees? Why would I spend 6 figures on a watch when something that is free has more functionality? Inexplicable pricing by Patek Philippe, probably conjured up by a Swiss marketer who had too much to drink. As such, I believe the HPB Step Tracker “Watch” to be superior than the Patek Philippe 5320G in every aspect – functionality, design, and value – making it the winner of this shoot-out!

Oh, and HPB joined Instagram ages before Patek Philippe did.

Conclusion: so the HPB Step Tracker “shiok” or not?

I’m so glad I tried the HPB Step Tracker for a day – it has changed my life completely. Getting so much functionality out of a free watch, it made me question myself: “Why do I keep spending so much money on luxury watches, most of whom do nothing more than just telling time?” So goodbye luxury timepieces, and hello HPB Step Tracker! From today onwards, this is going to be the only watch that I’ll wear.

I pump my wrist aloft in the air, as I realize that I no longer need to waste money on multiple luxury watches.

Thank you, HPB. With the HPB Step Tracker on my wrist, I’m now en route not only to a healthier lifestyle, but also a thriftier one. I’m going to save the money from not spending on luxury timepieces, and invest them into salads, gym memberships, and gluten-free milk. 5 years down the road, if you see me with 6 packs, chiseled chest and budging biceps, you can pinpoint this exact moment when I tried on the HPB Step Tracker as the turning point.

With that done and dusted, it’s time for me to get off my computer – the gym is calling me, beckoning me like a siren’s call. I’ll be grabbing the HPB’s Step Tracker on the way out for sure!

P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!

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P.S.S.S This is an April’s fool article. Please do not unsubscribe!

P.S.S.S.S I actually love the Patek Philippe 5320G. It’s my grail watch – one day when I make it in this world, I’ll get that watch.

Photo Credits:

Nigel Gomes, @the_lone_cadre

Health Promotion Board