Comes the first weekend of 2016 and we're back with yet another instalment of the series to start the year on high note. Let's check it out!
<HKD5,000: A Bulova Wrist Alarm
While a minute repeater can cost an arm and a leg, it doesn't mean we cannot afford a mechanical watch that makes sound. Perhaps add the purchase of this nice and loud Bulova into your new year bucket list?
The watch is being offered here for around HKD4,300.
HKD5,000-50,000: A Montblanc Heritage Chronometrie Ultra Slim
Over the past decade or so, we've seen a number of multi-category luxury houses marching into/ re-entering the watchmaking space. Think Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Tiffany & Co., and of course Montblanc. However one common problem facing these luxury empires in their attempt to the world of watchmaking is the difficulty in establishing a distinct identity for their wristwatches from a design/ function perspective. The fact they have been so good at producing nice purses/ jewellery also leads to a situation whereby their watchmaking effort often get overshadowed by other premium product offerings.
Montblanc, mostly known for its beautiful pens and leatherware, has been a welcoming exception. Following its introduction of the Heritage Chronometrie collection in early 2015, Montblanc has delivered to the world an amazing line up of well thought-out, reasonably priced wristwatches with interesting complications while offering a respectable level of brand recognition. We strongly recommend you to take a good look at the extensive collection here.
Featuring in this week's Report is the simplest member of the collection, the Heritage Chronometrie Ultra Slim in 18k red gold. If there's ever such thing as an entry-level dress watch (aka. slim, sub-40mm in diameter watch with time-only function) made in precious metal, this is it. And Montblanc has done everything so damn right this time.
38mm large and only 5.8mm thick, this watch can disappear under the most well fitted French cuff. Featuring an ivory dial with applied baton and numerical hour indexes and hands (both in matching 18k red gold). Turning the watch around and you can get a great view of the robust, extensively finished ETA7001 hand-winding movement that gives you 42 hours of power reserve when fully wound.
The even-better-than-best part? The exact same model, housed in steel case and with sunburst dial finishing can be had for around HKD12,000 here. Same construction, same thickness, even better value.
Montblanc, please accept Lengbeau's most sincere love for you.
HKD50,000-100,000: A Tropical Zenith El Primero A384
As such, vintage El Primeros could go like hot cakes on the secondary market thanks to its scarcity and tremendous collectibility. Today we are looking at a pristine example of an early El Primero, the A384.
The first big thing that made this A384 (manufactured between 1969 and 1970 only) special, are the gracefully aged sub-dials that have turned evenly "tropical" brown, while the applied markers and part of the hands have turned creamy. The features validate the originality of the watch. The hexagonal case shape is yet another big draw, a design so ever reminiscent of the boldness embodied by many wristwatches from the same period.
It is being offered here for around HKD68,000.
HKD100,000-150,000: A Jaquet Droz Decentree
As mechanical watches become more of a luxury/ lifestyle choice, a distinct category of watches has increasingly left its marks on the market - the "Artistic" watches, those that are made valuable by artistic craftsmanship. Think jeweling and in our Jaquet Droz's case here, enameling.
Housed in a 43mm white gold case, the Jaquet Droz Decentree is a limited edition release with only 88 pieces ever made (this one is numbered 76). The dial is everything that makes both Jaquet Droz and the watch special. Boasting three centuries of ornamental skills in their pocket watches and wristwatches, Jaquet Droz is no stranger in making enamel dial of the highest order, which is evident in this Decentree's evenly black, reflective watch face. The complete lack of complication is the logical option here to allow the dial to do the talking. But to keep things from getting staid, both hour/minute dial and the second subdial are off-centered, with second subdial being exceptionally large to give you that bit of pleasant dynamic viewing experience as you go about appreciating the pureness brought by the black enamel dial. Oh, and don't forget that only about 1 in 100 enamel dials are satisfactory for use. Talk about the pursuit of excellent artisanship.
It's being offered here for around HKD110,000.
HKD150,000-200,000: An IWC Portofino Ref. 5251 (aka, the first Portofino)
Let's explain why it's such a humongous timepiece. The movement powering the Ref.5251 was actually an IWC pocketwatch movement which is already 38mm wide in itself. Good thing is, it's only 4.15mm thick so even after encasing it in a 46mm case, it could still sit flat on the wearer's wrist and hide under a cuff.
Much like the Jaquet Droz we've introduced just now, the dial of the 5251 is anything but busy, featuring slim Roman numerals and equally slim hour and minuet hands, tastefully topped with a moonphase indicator generously adorned with a "moon" and "stars" in gold. Putting aside the case size, the rest of the watch are of perfect proportion and very enjoyable to look at.
You could purchase it here for around HKD175,000.