Bond-ish The 24th James Bond film, Spectre, is out this week and, like most men, I cannot wait to see it. As ludicrous, anachronistic, cartoonish and ever so slightly misogynistic as Bond films can be, nothing beats a 007 caper, no matter how hard Matt Damon and Mr Bourne try.
I refuse, however, to lie down for the product-placement juggernaut that the franchise has become and feature in this column the Omega Seamaster 300 Spectre. Well, not this week, at least. Rather we'll focus on watches that are more affordable - those under HK$15,000.
To begin, we have the latest offering from buzzy brand SevenFriday, which is "big on Insta" but not so widely known by Joe Public.
Key to the brand's success on social media has been transparency and, true to form, the back of the new V-Series (right) features a map that details the genesis of the watch. The face looks industrial, inspired as it is by engines. The large 44.3mm by 49.7mm steel case is the platform for a unique dial that tells the time by adding the hours on a rotating centre disc to the hours on a quarter-dial display, with the seconds remaining orthodox. There's also a day/night indicator, a nifty fast strap change innovation and an NFC chip inside that can authenticate the watch electronically. Overall, this is a meaty, in-your-face timepiece that won't be for everyone. But, at HK$9,980, if you're looking for a reasonably priced, reasonably clever watch then the Miyota-movement-powered automatic V-Series V1-01 could be for you.
Omega may have Bond, but Hamilton seems to be in every other Hollywood film - seriously, the list of movies its watches have featured in is impressive. However, the new Khaki Aviation Worldtimer Chrono Quartz (right) hasn't yet made an appearance on the big screen so it's still relatively unknown. It's a busy piece and, as the name suggests, a pilots' watch, with the added delight of being a world time watch, too. The aviation elements are pretty obvious and include a seconds sub dial at the six o'clock position that resembles an altitude indicator. The world-time function indicates all 24 time zones as well as UTC (coordinated universal time). The 45mm case is made of steel and the strap is rubber. Being a quartz watch, the price is kept accessible at HK$9,350 or thereabouts.
Finally, we have the most expensive watch of our three but perhaps the most distinctive. Givenchy came to watches relatively late, but the Seventeen launch watch was a big statement of intent, on Insta and in the real world. A follow-up is always difficult for a newish watchmaker and Givenchy, at least for me, has got it right with the Five Shark (right). The sporty dive piece has echoes of classic watchmaking, with the clear bezel, numerals and large hour indices being covered in luminescence. The dial is kept simple with only a date window at the three o'clock position and all the focus on the strap, which is cut in such a way to give the edges a fin-like quality and create ridges - or "teeth", as the brand calls them - down the centre. The case and bracelet are made of steel and inside is a Swiss quartz movement. The Five Shark comes in four colour combinations but this black on black is my favourite and will set you back HK$13,300.