There is no doubt that Basel World and SIHH, the two largest Watch shows in the world are very different in tone.
SIHH is definitely on average filled with watches at a much higher price point than Basel.
Basel has the Seiko and Citizens of the world selling watches from a few weeks pocket money up, while I reckon the “cheapest” if that is a fair phrase to use, brand at SIHH is probably Baume and Mercier whose watches at SIHH this year still start at several thousands of pounds.
However, as we approach the end of day 3 at SIHH, two brands do appear to be poking their heads into some interesting value propositions.
That is not to say that the watches are cheap, more that their new releases look like giving more than the average bang for your hard-earned buck and dare I say it that unlike a certain brand who has already had enough of a kicking this week that I will not mention them again, actually supply watches that people are asking for in sizes that people of both sexes want to wear.
These two brands are IWC and Montblanc.
Both have produced a full range of watches, this year all with a good value proposition, and you should seek out the full range to view in particular the smaller size IWCs, but I will focus on two watches in particular which really are right up there in terms of value.
Now before I go further these watches are still over £10,000 so don’t shoot the messenger there is virtually nothing under that price at SIHH, but these two watches have a lot of nice features that similarly priced watches elsewhere get nowhere near.
First the IWC Timezoner.
If you have tuned into our podcast you may have heard me speak briefly about this watch already. For some reason, the entire Timezoner range from IWC has completely passed me by. There is only one IWC agent near and I have never come across it there.
It just shows you that despite the obsession with this hobby there is always stuff you miss, which I guess is why blogs and podcasts are great resources for everyone even those writing them.
Now, this watch retails at $12,400 we will see how this converts to GBP soon no doubt. So what do you get for the money?
You get 46mm of loveliness in steel limited to a production of 250 in celebration of “Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight” a project that IWC is supporting to restore a Spitfire and then fly it around the globe.
It uses an IWC in house calibre so “props” for that, and sorry for that….the movement specifically being the IWC 82760, but that is not the party piece of the piece, the trick shot is contained in the bezel that controls the GMT/worldtimer function.
The setting of the second timezone is unlike any other watch with a similar complication. Instead of messing about with the watch crown you push down the bezel and rotate it until the GMT display is where you want it. Other than ease and speed of use one of the other benefits is it enables you to advance and decline the date quickly and with ease.
The strap is a cool green but I suspect the Timezoner will look great on a range of aftermarket straps if that is your game.
What is true that most of us who are not jet-setters will just enjoy fiddling with the bezel in any number of boring meetings and to paraphrase a well-known advert while the watch may still be upwards of £10K that distraction may well be priceless.
Our second “value” watch is from Montblanc, and this really is a stunner.
The MB Heritage Perpetual Calendar
Montblanc really is coming into its own, producing interesting watches with loads of character and a bit of twist for great prices, you can see in the developing range the handiwork of the equally characterful bow tie-clad Managing Director of MB watches Davide Cerrato.
So what about this watch then.
Well, it is available in gold and steel but it is the steel to focus on here.
Retailing in the region of 15,000 Euro it is a perpetual calendar with a trick.
One of the issues with mechanical perpetual calendars is what happens when they run out of gas. If your watch has side case pushers for Day, Date, Month, Moon phase and even Year it can be a real pain in the tonsils to keep resetting it if it is not your daily wearer.
There are some solutions to this.
Most I suspect just wind it up for the time and maybe set the date and forget about the rest, others invest in a watch winder so that the watch is always powered and so the calendar always up to date.
Some brands have designed their way around it, specifically IWC with the Kurt Klaus Calendar module that links all the calendar information together and enables its control through single turns of the crown while others like Vacheron Constantin completely but brilliantly over-engineer the whole process and produces a watch with a stand by mode of 65 days.
All are solutions but all have problems.
Specifically, the smartest solution is the IWC way but this has the drawback of only working in one direction, meaning if you set the watch accidentally to a future date you have to let the watch power down and wait to catch up or take it to a watchmaker to catch it up, neither are great solutions.
MB has solved this with a combo of crown controlled setting but with pushers that you can also individually cycle and so correct any forward setting errors.
So a cracking advance on the operation of the perpetual calendar complication, that should sound not too bad for the price on steel, but there is more.
That more is what at the time of writing make this watch my nomination for use in the actual real world once all the champers has stopped flowing at SIHH and that is that is it also has a GMT function, spot the second hours hand in the picture and unlike GMT hands in most sport watches this comes with the ability to hide the second hour hand behind the main one to tidy up the dial when not in use.
I love this watch and will make some efforts once the show is over to try and find it at the local AD for a closer look.
It is a classy looking piece of wrist adornment in either Gold or Silver for anyone that really has no need to wear a sports watch or a diver every day.
@rickticktalk loves a good perpetual and loves even more a good GMT so it is fair to say he is in love
@rikkiwatches who is Kurt Klaus? is he related to Santa? Is he in a Klan?