23 Dec 2019

What is a Good Entry-Level Luxury Watch to Buy in Singapore?

Entry level luxury watches to kick off your collection

New to collecting luxury watches? Other than Rolex and Patek Philppe watch, here are some recommendations to get you started.

For many collectors, the “gateway drug” into the world of watch collecting is often a Rolex or Patek Philippe timepiece. Each brand has its perennially popular models, of course. In Rolex’s case, the choice is often the Submariner or GMT-Master II. Meanwhile, Patek Philippe’s Calatrava and Nautilus are the ones that tend to attract more attention from first-timers when it comes to buying a luxury watch in Singapore. The two brands’ popularity isn’t difficult to understand, given how well established they are and their watches’ stellar reputation for being well-made and reliable.

Stepping into the world of horology with either Rolex or Patek Philippe does come at a price though – the watches mentioned above all start above S$10,000, and go for several times that depending on the exact model and reference. The good news is, there are choices aplenty for luxury watch in Singapore if you’re looking to start your collection with a more affordable timepiece. We’ve picked out some options for you to consider, based not just on their accessibility, but also merit of each individual watch, as well as the strength of their respective brands. Each entry here is a historied classic that will make a worthy addition to any luxury watch collection. Enjoy!

Omega Speedmaster

The Speedmaster is Omega’s claim to fame for being the chronograph that the brand sent into space – and to the moon. When the doomed Apollo 13 had to make a manual course correction to correct its trajectory and return its three astronauts to Earth, the 14-second long firing of the rockets was also timed by a Speedmaster.

First introduced in 1957, the Speedmaster’s hallmarks include a hyper-legible tri-compax dial, the baton indexes (with two dots marking 12 o’clock), and a thin bezel printed with a tachymeter scale. Numerous variations of the watch have been introduced over the years for different purposes, including experimental models such as the “Alaska Project” meant for even more extreme environments. The most well-loved model remains the Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch”, which has remained practically unchanged since the revision of its movement from 1968, down to its acrylic Haselite crystal.

IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII

The Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII traces its lineage back to the observation watches produced by IWC in the 1940s, and bears the same design codes of the original. Bold sword-shaped hands, large Arabic numeral indexes, a triangle flanked by two dots at 12 o’clock, and a stark white-on-black colour scheme all serve to make the watch extremely legible – a crucial requirement for flight navigators who issued with the originals.

The Pilot’s Watch has evolved with the times though. At 40mm, it’s an infinitely better fit on the wrist compared to the original’s 55mm sizing. The addition of a simple date window at 3 o’clock is another reflection of the zeitgeist, as is its self-winding movement.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay

Introduced just six years ago, the Heritage Black Bay collection was a major reason for Tudor’s resurgence, and it’s easy to see why given its tastefully designed, well-made, and competitively priced watches. Our vote goes to the original dive watches that started the collection, specifically a later reference in red, with gold accents. The watch epitomises Tudor’s greatest strength as a brand – the ability to draw inspiration from the historical models of its past, and imbue in these ideas a modern sensibility that makes the watch suitable for wear today.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

Originally created with polo players in mind, the Reverso was designed with its iconic reversible case to protect its crystal from impacts during a game. Its aesthetics, meanwhile, reflected the Art Deco style that was in vogue in the 1930s when it was conceived.

Today, the Reverso is a major pillar within Jaeger-LeCoultre’s product line-up, and holds its own as a shaped watch in a market that remains dominated by round watches. Many variants of the watch exists, from dual time models that display the time zones on two separate dials, to artistic ones showcasing metiers d’art, and even several equipped with high complications like multi-axis tourbillons. For a no-frills classic, however, consider the Reverso Classic Medium Small Second shown here, which has a plain case back that can be decorated by Jaeger-LeCoultre to make it unique to its wearer.

TAG Heuer Autavia

The return of the Autavia heralds exciting times ahead for TAG Heuer, but the watch itself is worthy of consideration in the here and now. This “re-edition” preserves the design codes of the original Autavia chronographs, including the large rotating bezel and three-register chronograph layout with snailed sub-dials, but goes beyond being a simple reissue with its modern Heuer-02 calibre. What’s especially appealing here is the usage of the original Heuer logo on the dial, which harks back to the brand’s golden age of developing and producing cutting-edge chronographs. Digital technology may have taken over sports timing, but this watch maintains a link back to that past.

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