Wrist action When it comes to fashion, I'll admit I'm pretty boring. Floral prints and patterns give me a headache, too much colour scares me and irregular shapes can elicit various states, from confusion and worry to uncontrolled giddiness. I should probably consult a professional about this …
When it comes to watches, however, my wrist becomes a small patch of personality in an otherwise predictable outfit. So, to celebrate creative expression through timepieces, here are three unorthodox, but affordable, watches.
First up is a design classic, which relatively speaking, is still an unknown. The Juvenia Sextant (right) was designed in the 1940s and its distinctive, mathematically inspired dial has proved a hit with collectors (and even a certain Johnny Depp). The watch has had the odd tweak here and there over the years but the basics have remained the same. For the new Sextant III the key change is the size of the case, which has jumped from a positively tiny by today's standards 35mm to 40mm. Despite all this extra dial space, Juvenia, has, thankfully, restrained the impulse to stuff in extra features and the focus remains on the odd but incredibly distracting dial design. As the name suggests, the original inspiration here was the sextant, a navigational device that measures angles between two objects, but Juvenia has simplified things, sort of, by using a protractor to show the hours, the ruler to show minutes and the compass needle to show seconds. On paper that might sound awful but the design works - really well. Moreover, it has more than seven decades of heritage. The features are kept simple, with only a date window and inside is a J015 automatic movement with 42 hours of power reserve. The case is made of steel and the strap is brown alligator leather. The Juvenia Sextant III is priced at HK$36,500.
Another oddly satisfying design is that of the Hamilton Ventura, a modern-looking marvel that was first designed in 1957. Eagle-eyed (or incredibly sad) readers will recognise this watch from the Men in Black movies, or older readers might know it as "the Elvis watch", after Elvis Presley wore it in the frankly awful 1961 film Blue Hawaii. In honour of Elvis, who would have been 80 this year, Hamilton has created the Ventura Elvis80 Auto (right), which is less movie-star Elvis and more comeback special Elvis, and that is a very good thing indeed. Once again the futuristic design is the key feature, the asymmetrical 42.5mm by 44.6mm steel case now coated in black PVD and the watch coming with a sturdy black rubber strap. Inside is a pretty nifty H-10 automatic movement, with an impressive 80 hours of power reserve. The watch also has a date window and is water resistant to 50 metres. If you're an Elvis fan then this is a must (frankly, if you don't like The King you're dead inside), but even if you're not this an iconic watch with a few welcome modern tweaks. The Ventura Elvis80 Auto is priced at HK$11,650.
Last in our round-up of odd but eye-catching watches is the Void V02 (right), which we've featured before but this iteration has had some major design upgrades, not least the introduction of a stainless-steel bracelet strap. Taking its cue from modernist European designs of the 60s and 70s, the V02 has a clever face, with the dial folded on itself to show both hours and minutes on the bottom half of the stainless-steel case. It's tricky to read at first, and perhaps a little gimmicky, but it's definitely something that will elicit a lot of questions and admiring glances. The case has been slimmed down so it's less chunky than older versions with the case measuring 42mm by 36mm. But, once again, the major plus is the introduction of the new steel strap, which in hot and humid climes is a much better option than calf leather. Inside is a Japanese quartz movement which keeps the price down but doesn't lessen the quality and the watch is an eminently affordable HK$2,000.