Despite what you may think, you can actually get a very decent timepiece for under a grand. You just have to know where to look. These picks are not just great value for money but are also pretty cool to boot.
Tissot Everytime Swissmatic
Incorporating Tissot’s Swissmatic movement (an adaptation of Swatch’s Sistem 51), this aesthetically simple timepiece is perfect for those taking a tentative first step into the world of mechanical watches and don’t want to invest a huge sum. That said, the watch doesn’t fall short in terms of style—Bauhaus minimalism is the order of the day here, with a basic black or white dial that (depending on the version you pick) features three hands, baton indexes and a simple date window.
Price: From S$610 to S$760
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical
One of our favourites from Baselworld 2018, the Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical is a fuss-free manual-winding watch with military roots. Although it was first designed to meet the needs of soldiers, it’s become somewhat of a cult favourite amongst Hamilton fans. A sandblasted 38mm steel case and NATO strap give the watch a rugged edge while sand-coloured Super-LumiNova hands offer enhanced readability. Just what a soldier in the jungle—concrete or otherwise—needs.
Luminox Navy SEAL 3580
Comprising five colour options, the new Navy SEAL 3580 series now comes with a chronograph and CARBONOX casing. A Luminox trademark, CARBONOX is a carbon compound that’s super tough but also incredibly lightweight so it feels like next to nothing on your wrist. Thanks to the Luminox Light Technology, a self-powered illumination system, you’ll be able to read the time in the dark for up to 25 years—pretty awesome for something that doesn’t require any external light or power source.
Zelos Mako 500m Diver Steel Blue
Flying the flag high for local horology is Zelos, founded in 2014 by Singaporean Elshan Tang. Available online and at multi-label boutique, Watch Wonderland, Zelos is one of the local names you should definitely pay attention to. This Mako diver (named after the world’s fastest shark) features a blue dial with ceramic bezel insert and box sapphire crystal, along with multi-coloured lume on the indexes, bezel and crown. Driving the watch is a Sellita SW200 movement that you can take as far down in the ocean as 500m—more than decent for a standard dive ticker.
Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".