With the expense of Christmas and New Year’s Eve behind us, and the very real expense of the Lunar New Year looming, the last thing most of you want to be thinking about, probably, is buying a watch. But this column has always prided itself on being inclusive (not to mention the need to fill a weekly brief), and there are going to be some of you out there who have a little Christmas money burning a hole in your pocket, guys with hopeless shopping addictions and fellas who are simply reckless with money who need a bit of guidance. So, this week, we are looking at three relatively affordable and rather intriguing pieces.
One of my favourite finds of last year was watch brand Myku, which has hit upon an interesting niche – precious-stone dials. The still relatively new company turned some heads with its white and black marble dial watches, which, by dint of process and application, made each piece not only unique but, given the initially small production runs, available in very limited editions. Now gaining a bit of traction, Myku has branched out into other precious stones and the new Obsidian model is a real beauty. Offered in four tones of the deep-grey igneous rock, the watch is all about the sheen and shine of the dial, with the stone cut and polished in a painstaking process. The watch aspect itself is almost secondary – a simple three-hand arrangement with a Swiss-made quartz movement inside the 38mm case. Priced at HK$6,974 and limited to 10 pieces, the Myku Obsidian also comes in a handcrafted wooden box designed by Start From Zero.
If you were lucky enough to receive a Mr Porter voucher for Christmas and are stuck for what to buy, you should give its ever-increasing range of watches a gander, as there’re some real bargains in there as well as one or two design classics. One of those classics is the Mondaine Simply Elegant, priced at a very tempting HK$1,995. The Simply Elegant is based on the iconic railway clocks found in stations throughout Switzerland and, as such, the central focus of the design is legibility, with just large hour and minute markers and a distinctive red lollipop seconds hand. The dial itself is clean, with no additional indicators (although there are versions with date and day windows), reinforcing the minimalist approach to telling the time. The steel case measures an unobtrusive 41mm and houses a quartz movement.
Finally, an affordable gem from one of the more recognisable brands is the Tissot Heritage 1936 Mechanical. Priced at HK$7,720, the Heritage 1936 was one of the standouts from Tissot last year and should still find an audience in 2017, due to its lovely vintage styling and elegant construction, not to mention price. The large 43mm steel case evokes pocket-watch design and we love the looped lugs that are just perfect for swapping out the brown leather strap that comes with the watch with all manner of other versions, to change the look and feel of the timepiece. Features are pretty simple, with only a small seconds sub-dial. The movement inside is an ETA 6498-1 – a work horse in the Swiss watch industry – which is visible through the glass caseback.