My New Year’s resolution to budget and save for the future is already in tatters. It seems I was born a spendthrift and I will die a spendthrift (and penniless). I am, however, spending less on watches these days, partly out of parsimony but also because the quality at the affordable end of the market has improved. So, for those looking after the pennies, here are three watches that have all the design chops but won’t cost a fortune.
One of the great affordable design brands is Hong Kong-based Void and the V03C chronograph is the best representation of what it can do. The design owes much to Scandinavian minimalism – unsurprisingly, as its founder and chief designer, David Ericsson, is Swedish.
I love the way the three subdials pack in so much information and yet are still clear and legible, and all this, including a date window, is squeezed into a 38mm steel case.
The company’s logo doesn’t appear on the face, but is machined quite nicely on the head of the crown. Inside is a dependable Miyota quartz movement and the watch has 30 metres of water resistance. The V03C comes in a variety of case colours and strap combinations but I’m a big fan of the mesh bracelet, especially as leather straps don’t hold up too well in the summer heat. The V03C is priced at US$325.
Next we have a cheeky update on the Lip Mach 2000. The original watchwas created in the 1970s by legendary French industrial designer Roger Tallon, so it has a retro-cool vibe.
This piece has been amped up for 2018 with an orange leather strap and orange crown, which go nicely with the anthracite-coloured steel case.
If you work in architecture or have a fondness for black roll-neck jumpers, the watch should pique your interest, but it isn’t just for the design crowd. The case is sized at 42mm by 40mm, so it is not huge on the wrist, and inside is a Ronda quartz movement. This is a statement watch and all this design goodness will set you back HK$2,340.
Finally, we have Junghans, the German company that seems to exist only to show that fine watchmaking doesn’t have to cost the earth. The brand’s wonderfully simple Max Bill 2018 special edition owes its design and name to the late Swiss artist, architect and industrial designer Max Bill. The original Junghans Max Bill was created in 1961 and not much has changed.
The dial is still stripped clean and the retro domed glass remains. The steel case is sized at 38mm and inside is a Junghans quartz movement. Features are kept to a minimum with only a date window.
If you want just the watch, it will cost a tempting HK$5,080, but if you wish to push the boat out, you could get the watch and desk clock set, which is a snip at HK$16,780. OK, that price might not seem like a “snip” to some but the desk clock is gorgeous and, like the watch, features Bill’s art on the back. There are only 222 sets available.