Character driven This probably isn't a good idea, as mystery is part of my charm, but I'm going to pull back the curtain on this column and reveal how some watches make the cut while the vast majority are consigned to the dustbin of history.
Well, frankly, the vast majority of the thousands of watches released each year are, in a word, horrible. Of the watches that do pass muster, a great number are from big brands that don't really need me talking them up, unless there's something particularly noteworthy. So I tend to look for watches that have personality.
And one watch that has bags of personality is the Victorinox INOX Paracord (above left and right). In essence a tool watch, by that I mean one that is designed to perform a specific function or work in certain environments, the Paracord is also on trend fashion wise as its standout feature is a strap designed by Swedish bracelet maker Naimakka. The military-inspired strap is made of nylon cord and interwoven several times, which makes it pretty much indestructible. Matching it in toughness is the 43mm case, which comes with a removable protective bumper. The dial glass is made of rock-solid sapphire crystal and inside is a Ronda 715 quartz movement. Features are kept pretty simple, with luminous hands and a date window, but water resistance is an impressive 200 metres. The watch comes with an additional rubber strap. The Victorinox INOX Paracord is priced at HK$5,800.
Speaking of straps, 2015 is the year watch brands embraced the trend for switching out straps for different occasions. A number of low- to mid-tier-priced brands now supply extra straps as a given and even the high-end brands are getting in on the act. American watchmaker Fossil is all over the trend with the Wakefield watch, which comes with seven strap options. They include two Nato straps, two in standard leather, a steel bracelet, a racing strap with perforated leather and a silicon rubber strap, and they all come in a nice leather box (top). The steel case is sized at 45mm, the movement is quartz, which keeps the price down, and features include a chronograph and date function. Water resistance is 100 metres. The Wakefield watch set is priced at HK$3,000.
Lastly, we have the new Diesel DZ7353 (right). Diesel is like Marmite - you either love it or hate it. Although I wouldn't wear a Diesel myself - they are usually very big and I have tiny girl wrists - I can see why people are attracted to them. For one thing, they are not boring. The DZ7353 is typical Diesel in the way it turns watchmaking conventions on their head. The case is stainless steel with a black leather overlay, which is unusual and just about works. The time-telling gimmick is pretty cool, with clever use of the corner of the dial allowed for the indicator. Of course, the case is massive, coming in at a manly 51mm. The quartz movement keeps the price low, at HK$2,300.