By Benjamin Clymer | Hodinkee
A lot of what we do at Hodinkee is identifying brands that deserve some attention from watch fans around the world. In this article, we are going to be talking about five brands that fly under the radar at the moment, but that probably won’t be for very long. These brands range from the inexpensive alternatives to a Casio, to those that cost as much as a Rolex. Each of these companies is doing something great with watches – something that deserves a closer look.
The lowest-priced of the five brands in this list, Vostok-Europe, is a young company out of post-Soviet Russia. Their N1 Rocket was recently honored with a watch of the year award and it offers an in-house automatic movement, PVD coated case, and great design; best of all, it won’t set you back any more than a night on the town in NYC. To find a good looking watch with a European automatic movement for this price is really rare, and Vostok-Europe is poised to lead the charge of Russian brands in the US. The N1 Rocket Black line retails for around $300 and is available at Russia2All.
Designed and produced right here in the USA, LUM-TEC has been making waves with their affordable, sporty watches since day one. We featured a review of their run away hit, the M-Series Chronograph, and it has quickly become a favorite of guys around the country. LUM-TEC watches are produced in limited-run series, most of which don’t go any higher than 200 pieces. They generally come with two or three different straps (depending on the model) and they are changing what you should expect from a sub $500 watch. LUM-TEC has begun to put automatic movements into their watches for model year 2009, and the buzz around them only continues to grow. Check out LUM-TEC to see what this brand has to offer you.
Perrelet is not a new brand at all; in fact, they are even credited with inventing the automatic movement way back in 1770 for some of their pocket watches. While Perrelet has been seemingly dormant for the last few decades, they have reinvented their brand, and we have seen a huge surge in interest here in the US. Their Turbine model, which won’t even be available until October 2009, has already made the rounds on a lot of gadget blogs. We expect to see these watches on the wrists of aficionados the world over, come the end of the year. Visit Perrelet for a glimpse of what this revived brand has to offer.
These guys just may be producing the ultimate gadget watches. They have gone and done what many people said couldn’t (and shouldn’t) be done by coupling high quality mechanical timepieces with advanced digital technology. Their watches are masculine, stylish, and elegant, and they offer the ability to strap an advanced digital instrument to the watch face, so you can track heart rate, altitude, temperature, and a host of other useful pieces of information whether you’re skiing or diving. The SpidoLite is their breakout model, using a vintage automatic movement and a titanium skeletonized case, this is THE watch you’d want to wear while scaling Everest, and, in fact, that’s exactly what it was designed for. Linde Werdelins are soon to be available in the US, but they currently offer free shipping from their headquarters in the UK. Linde Werdelin
Maurice de Mauriac Zurich
MdM Zurich is essentially a one-man shop, but that one man happens to be one of the finest watchmakers in the world. In a former life, Daniel Dreifuss, owner and watchmaker at MdM Zurich, made watches for European Royalty and American celebrities, until he started a brand to produce high quality watches that more people could afford. These watches use some of the best movements around (similar to what you’ll find in Breitling, Cartier, and IWC), but Dreifuss’s watches have a distinctive flair to them. On top of that, you can completely customize your watch to how you want it to look. Consider MdM as a very reasonable alternative to your Omega, Rolex Submariner, or IWC. They cost roughly the same amount, and you are getting a truly personalized watch from a legendary watch maker with Maurice de Mauriac Zurich. Check out MauriceDeMauriac for some examples.
Benjamin Clymer is the author of popular vintage watch blog Hodinkee.