If you’re reading this, then the world hasn’t ended, which, if we’re honest, a few weeks into the new guy’s “reign” in the White House is a distinct possibility. Ramping up my fear is the knowledge that Donald Trump also once dabbled, with horrific results, in watches.
Yes, many years ago, Trump Watches were a thing, gaudy pieces (not made in America, natch) that ripped off classic designs such as the Tag Heuer Monaco and the Rolex Daytona. The tagline for these monstrosities was: “My signature collection of fine timepieces are designed to be on the money, every time.”
I don’t really need to tell you that the venture didn’t exactly catch on with consumers and has been quietly memory holed. Anyway, back to proper watches made by serious companies and, this week, we’ll be focusing on timepieces that cost less than HK$10,000, proving that quality doesn’t always come at a price.
We begin with one of my finds of last year, Myku, an up-and-coming Hong Kong company that specialises in stone dials. Its Malachite dial watch, I’ve got to say, is an absolute stunner. Priced at HK$6,967, the Malachite is all about the green stone dial, which is a thin slice of copper carbonate mineral. To create the limited numbers of watches it makes means going through a lot of stone as cutting it so thin can lead to wastage. But the end result is pieces that are one of a kind as each slither of stone has a different pattern. The movement is a standard Swiss quartz and there are no additional features, but you don’t really buy a watch like this for a chronograph.
Next we have one of my other finds of last year, Dufa. The German brand has the potential to become the next Junghans – beloved by hipsters around the world – and the reasons are much the same. The price, design and build quality are excellent, but mainly the price. Hoo boy, the price! The Weimar GMT will cost you €349 (HK$2,900), which is just incredible once you get an eyeful of the Bauhaus-inspired modernist design, including the wonderful wavy GMT hand. The price is kept down somewhat by the steel case (measuring 38mm) and the Swiss quartz movement, but there’s an air of class with this watch that Trump could only dream about.
Finally, for guys looking for a brand with a bit of history (and who don’t mind long gaps of inactivity), there’s James McCabe, one of a number of watch brands that have been “revived” and which is sold at Nordstrom, so The Donald won’t like that one bit. James McCabe traces its history back to the Northern Irish watchmaker who gave his name to the brand and there’s a distinct British influence to most of the designs. The London Slim watch is a slight departure in its modernist leanings but that’s a real plus. Despite the large 43mm size of the dial, the clean face makes it seem smaller and one of the highlights of the piece is the mesh steel strap. The major highlight, of course, is the price, a steal at HK$2,378.