Watch sales are down. Crash. Bang. Wallop. It’s all gone terribly wrong. For the Swiss, that is. All the doom and gloom stories (most of which I’ve written in my role as chief doom-monger) about watch sales falling off a cliff in Hong Kong are, in the main, about Swiss timepieces, with the situation for everybody else remaining so-so.
I’m not here to kick the Swiss when they’re down (they do carry pocket knives, after all) but I thought for once maybe we could look at Hong Kong watch brands that are either doing well, offering something unique or just getting started.
Let’s begin with new and intriguing brand Myku. The brainchild of Hong Kong-based duo Kuan Teo and François Hurtaud, Myku has hit upon a promising niche – offering unique, almost jewellery-like timepieces featuring stone dial faces. For its launch, Myku will offer two dial options – onyx and white marble – with the stone sourced from places such as Brazil and Italy and machined in Germany. Switzerland will see to the assembly of the watches. The design is kept simple, to give the stone a chance to shine and, in person, it does catch the light and the eye. Given the stone-cutting process, no two Mykus are the same, so this is a truly unique piece. The kicker here is that the price is actually affordable, with the watch (above) priced at HK$6,950 and the white marble version at HK$6,200. Myku says it will be releasing more stone options next year, so this is definitely a brand worth keeping an eye on.
Next we have MMT, the watch brand launched in Hong Kong in 2011 by Baptiste Guédez and Thomas Letourneux. MMT garnered a lot of attention for its trendy minimalist pocket watch but, in recent years, it’s added more traditional wristwatches to its product mix. The Circles Mirage Milanese (above) is a delight, again harnessing minimalist design and creating a perfectly balanced timepiece that says a lot by doing little. The watch comes in a brushed-steel case that measures an on-trend 38mm, and the dial is kept completely clean, even forgoing a seconds hand. The strap is steel mesh. The MMT Circles Mirage Milanese is priced at US$329.
Finally, we come to an old favourite – Void, which was set up by Hong Kong-based Swedish designer David Ericsson. Void has grown quickly in the past few years, so much so that Ericsson is sharing the design duties and has brought in rising industrial-design star Patrick Kim-Gustafson to create the PKG01 (above). Another triumph of minimal design, the PKG01 has a few flickers of playfulness, too, with the red dot on the seconds hand, and the bold “3”, “6”, “9” and “12” indices that jump out of the dial. The watch is super thin and you’ll barely notice you’re wearing it. The steel case measures 38mm and the strap is leather. The PKG01 is priced at US$185.