For many watch enthusiasts in Singapore, it is of no surprise to hear the term microbrand. However, this term may not be very well perceived by the masses. Many lean towards the stigma that the quality and artistic value of it may often be overlooked.
While I agree with this sentiment, there are brands out there adopting an aficionado mindset catering to purists with high expectations of their timepieces like us. These brands stay true to their craft and are often passion-focused on creating possibly the next “007” rather than an opportunity to scalp this sophisticated industry.
Now let’s take some time to talk about the elephants in the room, or is it really? Look out for promo codes along the way too!
This microbrand has been through tough times to provide the community with tough watches. And yet, BOLDR has always strived to deliver the toughest, functional and stylish watches to the market.
This microband faced major setbacks, back before their brand was established. Despite the positive reception, their Kickstarter campaign was cancelled. Alongside the rise of manufacturing costs and other considerations, they decided to rethink their project too.
With all their efforts gone, they picked themselves up and created the BOLDR “Journey” which immediately represented the pilgrimage they took to create their first timepiece.
Now they currently have 5 different models and the Venture is my personal favourite as it caters to my small wrists. It comes with a 38mm titanium case, 14mm thick and it is fitted with Seiko’s reliable NH35 movement. Similar to other watches, you can expect the Venture to withstand up to 200m underwater.
Perhaps the most notable feature of the Venture is the beautiful contrast between the second hand and the matte black dial.
2) Zelos Watches
The only way to understand what collectors are looking for is when you’re a collector yourself. Elshan Tang who is a watch collector himself and has always been captivated by the beauty and complications of watch movements, founded Zelos Watches in 2014.
Elshan began his watchmaking journey by launching 3 models via Kickstarter and has immediately garnered attention from the watch community. What’s uniquely Zelos was his usage of unconventional materials such as bronze, meteorite discs and more. This gave Zelos an untapped opportunity to come out with courageous designs which actually helped carve a market for the acquired taste.
When you look at the watches Zelos produces, you will understand that it’s built with durability in mind, heck you might even bring it to war and back and it’ll still work fine.
The most significant feature of the watch is probably the huge size (a pity I couldn’t wear it) as it comes with a 49mm lug to lug and a 44mm case. When you dive deeper into the specifications (pun intended) you’ll notice it boasts an impressive 1000m water-resistant for the Hammerhead and their other model, the Abyss can resist up to 3 times of that which we might talk about it some other time. Like BOLDR’s Venture, it also utilises the Seiko NH35 movement.
Take a look here for an in-depth review of the Zelos Hammerhead II.
3) Aries Gold
Third on our list is undisputedly Aries Gold. You may have heard of this microbrand but not many realized that they were born and bred in Singapore.
Unlike BOLDR and Zelos, Aries Gold focuses more on the creation of futuristic dress watches with unique designs for each of their models. They are currently tapping into other markets such as Australia, USA and Germany. This provided them with a few successful collaborations already with renowned bands like Aerosmith and Foo Fighters.
Their latest collaboration with the Rocky franchise provides their dress watches with a newly developed brand positioning. They quote it as the famous “It ain’t how hard you hit” by Sylvester Stallone from the movie Rocky Balboa. As their collaboration suggests, the watches from Aries Gold gives off a chic and elegant vibe one would never miss.
They always say live life the French way and now you can, at least a piece of it. Monsieur (gentlemen in French) is a local microbrand inspired by the French lifestyle whereby their brand suggests “Monsieur captures the essence of bold living with an eclectic taste for adventure.”
This can certainly be seen on some of the interesting designs of their watches as it comes with unique dials.
The proposed value of their watches can be noticed when you look at the specifications. Some of their watches are made with the Ronda Movement from Switzerland which is an upright bang for the buck. Ranomo is my personal favourite though as I lean more toward the chronograph spectra.
The movement used in the Ranomo is the Seagull ST1901 chronograph movement. It has up to 40 hours of power reserve and not to mention the beautiful “chronograph” font on the dial.
Partner of NomadWatchWorks + Discount and Bundle
They are now an official partner with NomadWatchWorks and the watches can be found on NWW’s website. On top of that, if you use the promo code “nomad360” you will receive a 10% discount and when you purchase through NWW you will also be getting a bundle of 3 straps! For more details you can have a look at the article here.
The next microbrand on our list will be none other than Reverie. The brand was founded back in 2014 with a niche in creating guilloché dials AKA “engine-turning”. It is where the intricate geometric patterns are engraved on the dials. This gives the watch a refined look and when paired with a cushion case like the Reverie Sea-Spirit, it couldn’t be anymore near perfect.
Hold your horses if you’re already googling for the Sea-Spirit because unfortunately there were only 125 pieces made worldwide. I wouldn’t be writing about this if it was still available.
They are left with the GT Collection which is a chronograph with the Seiko VK64 mecha-quartz movement. If you’re keen to have a taste of their brand, I wouldn’t wait any longer since there are no updates regarding Sea-Spirit 2.0 or whether more were to be made. So, do keep your eyes peeled!
Venturo, a brand under Gruppo Gamma, which is one of Singapore’s old-timer in the microbrand community offers a particular piece which pays homage to the Rolex Oyster Army which was issued to soldiers during World War II. The Field Watch 2 looks really similar to the Oyster Army, however, it does not lack any form of wrist presence coming in at 42mm diameter as compared to the former at 30mm.
In all honesty, the size of the Field Watch 2 is quite the norm due to the evolution of watches nowadays, it wears well on smaller wrist despite the size due to its tonneau-like case.
If I haven’t mentioned, it comes with 6 colour variations and all of it features a vintage touch with the fauxtina on the hands and markers. It’s quite a strap-monster too as you’re able to pair it with almost any strap from leather to NATOs and you’ll be able to pull it off.
If you would like to read more about Venturo’s Field Watch 2 you can take a look at this article as we delve into the details of the watch, to top things off, a generous US$80 promo code and a giveaway are included in the article as well!
Well if you’d prefer to just continue looking at the rest of the watches and yet still want to note down that promo code, I am kind enough to make your life that little easier. Use “NOMAD360” on their website for your next purchase to enjoy the discount! (Do note the promo ends on 13th June 2020)
You may have heard of Vario when you are searching for some straps for your lovely timepieces. However, as much as they offer a wide variety of unique straps (Harris Tweed is one of them) which we’ve made an article about showcasing some of their lovely straps with promo code included “NOMAD360”, they also have a few appealing watches as well.
They are currently working on their new watch which is the WW1 Trench Watch and as its name suggests, it is a homage to what seems like the first wristwatch that are known as wristlets.
Other than the Trench Watch which hopefully we might get to review it once it launches are the Eclipse and Empire watches that comes in both Handwound and Sweeping Quartz for the Eclipse and Handwound and Automatic for the Empire. Both the models come in a case dimension of 38mm and if you would like to know more about each of the models you can click the link to the respective movements.
8) Sognator Viziorie
“Sognator” being Italian for dreamer and “Viziorie” is Slovak for visionary the owner of this microbrand, Jerfersen Chew has a vision to make luxury watches available to the masses.
Jefersen is a 25 year old pilot in training and if it wasn’t obvious enough, watches, like many of us here, is his endearing hobby. He began collecting watches when he was 18 and since then he wondered, how great would it be if he could create luxury watches at an affordable price point and available to the masses.
That’s where Sognator Viziorie came to life where he sought after unique materials with complex designs and came out with his first meteorite-dialed watch known as The Meteorite. He opted to use the open-hearted Miyota 8S20 movement due to its reliability and accuracy and the folding clasp for the watches to give it a luxurious look.
Jefersen plans to do an official launch via Kickstarter at the end of the year and if you’d like to know more about the watch and an interview with the man himself, you can click on this link to the article.
If you are up to date with the micro brands in Singapore you should be familiar with Neminus a microbrand founded by Perry Khor in 2018. Before Neminus, he founded Elegantsis in 1999 that kickstarted his watchmaking journey. The latter though focuses on producing military timepieces in Taiwan and started to expand globally in 2016 by selling through third-party retailers and a collaboration with a custom motorcycle business based in California.
He learned the fundamentals through Elegantsis and took the next step with Neminus, a brand he defines, “Built For Those Who Dare”.
Neminus currently has 3 collections; The Spaceman, Master Diver 1000 and Xtreme Diver 300 collection and all of it has their unique specifications from water resistant of up to 1000m and swiss grade movements.
For an in-depth read on the company, watch and specifications, you can take a look here where we have written an article about Neminus.
10) Advisor Watches
The last but not the least on our list is Advisor Watches. This microbrand currently has 3 collections namely; Supa Diver Bronze, AstroHelm and Ascent whereby the Supa Diver Bronze is their most notable piece which is currently on pre-orders only.
Their watches may be familiar to you as they share a similar design to Zelos’s Hammerhead with the bronze casing and their AstroHelm collection also shares similarities to the Venturo Field Watch due to its tonneau-shaped-like casing. If you would like to have a good mix of a few microbrands in one brand you can definitely check this microbrand out!
But uniquely it’s own, the Supa Bronze Diver utilises a Swiss Sellita SW200-1 Automatic Movement and cased in Marine-Grade Bronze CuSn8 which can withstand up to 300m of water-resistant.
Final Thoughts and Promo Codes
As you can see, when properly researched, a microbrand can be a hidden gem right at our doorstep . Let’s explore these gems and who knows? A precious timepiece could be ours.
Use “NOMAD360” on their website for your next purchase to enjoy the US$80 discount! (Do note the promo ends on 13th June 2020)
Use our promo code “NOMAD360” for an 8% off!