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Affordable Limited Edition Watches

Rado True Face

How to spot and buy them.

An affordable limited edition watch is not an oxymoron. Contrary to widespread wisdom, we don’t have to take huge blows to our bank accounts to cop an affordable limited edition timepiece that 1) isn’t a sucky rip-off, and 2) is actually worth something.

There ARE bargains to be had; one just needs to know where to look. And by ‘bargains’, let’s just cap our budget to S$4,000 – a limit that would set reasonable expectations for the quality and collectability of the timepieces.

So where shall we start?

It is the easiest and most obvious place to start. And not just any mid-luxury brand, but one with brand equity and lineage. (Important note: the price tags of timepieces are not the most effective barometer here.) At the end of the day, you want to be sure that you are putting money on creations from reputable sources.

Oris movement
Oris, with watches identified by their red rotors, is known for offering affordable mechanical watches

Besides considerations such as style preferences and fit – essential criteria for all watches, limited edition or otherwise – one has to think about whether the special edition timepieces offer 1) the right combination of value and exclusivity; 2) interesting enough back stories; and 3) to be really legit about it, if they fit in with the DNA of the brand.

Tissot award certificates
Tissot is one of the few mid-luxury brands with a track record of winning chronometry prizes

Given the two aforementioned criteria, we sussed out three options from 2017 that are worth checking out.

First up, Rado, the most awarded watch brand for design prizes. This year, Rado enlisted likeminded creatives, including a fashion designer, an architect, graphic designers and industrial product designers to offer six unique limited editions of
the round-cased, high-tech ceramic-clad Rado True collection. We would go for the True Face (below), by Polish designer Oskar Zieta, which features a high-gloss mirrored metallic dial that creates the illusion of volume, and retails for S$3,100.

Rado True Face
Rado True Face

Next, we have Longines, which commemorates the 60th anniversary of its Flagship range with a range of classy, 1950s-style tickers that recall the original design – think sensibly sized 38.5mm cases, thin and round profiles, and fuss-free dials.

There are more exclusive versions in rose or yellow gold, capped at 60 pieces each, that costs over 10-G a pop. If you want in without too much damage, consider the version in stainless steel (below). Limited to 1,957 pieces, it is priced at a much more affordable S$3,040.

Longines 60th Anniversary Heritage Flagship
Longines 60th Anniversary Heritage Flagship in steel

Last but not least, Tissot offers a new version of its hugely popular Chemin des Tourelles watch this year with the Chemin des Tourelles Helvetic Pride Special Edition, a watch that punches above its weight with mechanical prowess, attention to detail and a super attractive price point (S$1,330).

Tissot Chemin des Tourelles Helvetic Pride Special Edition
Tissot Chemin des Tourelles Helvetic Pride Special Edition

Fitted with the automatic Powermatic 80 movement that offers up to 80 hours of power reserve, the watch aptly incorporates very Swiss elements—a Swiss franc coin embedded in the caseback, and features Helvetia, the female national emblem of Switzerland.

Although the watch is not strictly a limited edition, Tissot is known to cap the production run of their special edition timepieces to one year. This means that the Chemin des Tourelles Helvetic Pride Special Edition may just be a very sought-after limited edition by the time 2018 rolls around.

Ex Editor-In Chief

Alvin promises not to be a douche when talking about watches. He may have scoured the Basel and Geneva watch fairs for the past 15 years, and played an instrumental role to the growth of Singapore's pioneering horological and men's lifestyle publications, but the intrepid scribe seeks to learn something new with each story he writes.

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