When it comes to the overwhelming plethora of women’s jewellery and handbags, it seems that men have drawn the short straw when it comes to accessorising their looks. However, this is a blessing in disguise, as the simple addition of a well-crafted, stylish watch can elevate even the most basic look to a perfectly polished ensemble. The luxury watch industry itself is an extremely curious creature. In Switzerland, home to almost every high-end brand that matters, it was worth over £14 billion to the national economy in 2013 alone. This is irrespective of the fact that anyone who can afford one likely has a much more accurate timekeeper in their pocket – which can also send emails and check all social media platforms with a single touch. Regardless, the horology industry has expanded significantly over recent years and is dominated by a handful of companies, notably household names Rolex and Omega. But with recognition comes spiraling price tags. Whilst the Swiss legends’ names are built on exemplary engineering, you’re also paying for that crown or Calatrava cross embossed on the dial. Looking further afield means you can find timepieces with less of a markup, and that are less likely to feature on friends’ wrists. Nonetheless, it is fundamental to buy a watch that works for you. The right case to match your wardrobe and lifestyle, a strap that speaks to your personality, even a dial that injects a subtle flash of colour into a staid office uniform, will show that you have considered your purchase rather than simply plumped for the most recognisable brand name you could afford. It’s time to get in the know and discover some lesser-known, yet equally well-made and classic watch brands.
This Japanese institution, largely responsible for Swiss watchmaking’s late-century decline, remains tech-focused and released the world’s first solar-powered GPS watch in 2012.
Daniel Wellington is the perfect watch for the indecisive male. Choose between a silver or rose gold clock face with a NATO or leather strap – and remember that it only takes a couple of seconds to switch the strap and give your watch a whole new look.
3. Skagen Named after Denmark’s northernmost town, the brand’s designs are more obviously Scandinavian. Think clean faces and brushed metals, with an emphasis on trend and affordability.
4. Georg Jensen Best known for its jewellery, Danish brand Georg Jensen also makes beautifully designed watches powered by Swiss automatic movements. Its timepieces are as unadorned as you can get- delicate hands seem to float over acres of white dial, broken up in some designs with a tiny date window or power reserve.
5. Triwa Picture Scandinavian design and the mind steers towards minimalism and affordability. Stockholm’s TRIWA bucks the first trend – its enormous array of watches runs the gamut from white-faced two-handers to flashy gold-plated chronographs – but heeds to the latter, with most timepieces priced under $500.