Recently a number of new or lesser known watch brands have come to my attention, so I thought I’d throw together a quick post to share these brands with you gents. Finding good value watches around the $1000 mark seems to be getting easier and easier as new boutique brands emerge with entrepreneurs and enthusiasts recognising that the majority of consumers aren’t in a position (or simply don’t want) to spend $10000 on a watch. To further confirm my point Hodinkee have kicked off a new column called ‘The Value Proposition’, discussing watches under $3000, opening their potential readership substantially. There’s no doubt that this category is growing.
Today I present three brands (or watches for those that only have one product) that I think present great value in the sub $1000 category. You won’t find these on the wrist of anyone you know, guaranteed.
Martenero is a young brand started by friends John Tarantino and Matt O’Dowd based in New York City. Martenero’s ‘About’ page pretty much sums up everything I have to say about wearing a mechanical watch so I suggest you visit it and have a read. John and Matt appear to be doing everything right, from their design to the sourcing of components – these guys are using the best materials available to them and the result is pretty special I think.
The Ace is Martenero’s take on the classic Pilots watch. Under the exhibition caseback is the Japanese Miyota A821 automatic movement with a 45 hour power reserve which has been customised with a Martenero rotor. This simple touch adds some validity to using an exhibition caseback, too often brands drop in stock ETA movements with no customisation and it’s pointless – bravo Martenero. The watch features large Arabic numerals at 3, 6, and 9, with a unique arrow indicator at the 12 o’clock position. Luminous indicators on the dial, with a 24-hour circle at center. A screw-down crown keeps water out to depths up to 100 metres. To make your ‘Ace’ your own you can choose from 3 dial colours, 4 second-hand colours and both a Nato and leather strap in a variety of colours.
Polish company G.Gerlach have popped out of nowhere and wowed me with really sophisticated designs that emulate the fine German companies such as D.Dornblüth & Söhn. The G.Gerlach institution realised that whilst Poland was renowned for producing many things, very few were invented or designed in the country. Thus the company was formed to help promote Polish technical innovation and help Polish designs come to life – producing something they could be proud to say was ‘Made in Poland’.
G.Gerlach do a host of beautiful watches but the ‘Big Date’ on the m/s Batory was the one that caught my eye. Named after famous Polish Transatlantic Liner which features on the caseback, the m/s Batory was one of the most notable tourist attractions of the Polish seaside and among the best-known Polish ships of the time. The m/s Batory has a 40mm case modified to accommodate the automatic SeaGull ST2526 movement. For me this watch wins on beauty and the white enamel dial with blue hands is a real winner.
I was alerted to this watch via the Instagram account of my friend Watch Anish. It’s very rare he features watches under the $10,000 mark (or the $100,000 for that matter) so its inclusion on his feed assured me of its quality. The limited edition 200 unit production of the Meisturwerk Machinen MM-01 timepiece is the first of many models to come from this brand. The MM-01 was inspired by and re-engineered from the historical instruments that faithfully followed loyal U.S troops on many dangerous reconnaissance missions into the jungles of Vietnam.
The MM-01 features a pressure tested three-piece case, anti-magnetic ETA 2836-2 movement, rotating friction bezel, and a hand painted dial & bezel insert that seeks maximum readability. The case is machined from a solid block of 316L Stainless Steel finished with individual serial numbers & engravings followed by a PVD coating. Like the watches it pays homage to it is assembled from the front, with the caseback compressed into the body to assure water tightness for its pressure testing of 100 Meters. Leaving no stone unturned the watch comes packaged in a water tight ‘Pelican’ case, adding to its credibility. There’s no arguing that this is a practical and purposeful tool-watch. One that would suit any adventure or weekend activity thrown at it.