For many watch enthusiasts, there is just something poetic and romantic about hand-wound watches.
Maybe these watches are in their most rudimentary form in terms of power, or maybe they lie in the simple fact that hand-wound movements allow us to have an intimate, tactile relationship with our watch-keepers. time.
For this week’s article, we’ll be looking at six excellent hand-wound watches, priced under S$10,000. After all, it’s always nice to have at least one hand-wound watch in any watch collection. Or maybe a few, if your budget allows.
Tissot Heritage Small Second
The Tissot Heritage collection is, for lack of a better description, a “treasure chest” with many hidden gems. The Heritage Small Second is one of them.
This 42mm timepiece is the modern interpretation of the original timepiece that Tissot produced in 1943. It is a simple three-hand watch, with a small second sub-dial which is placed at the 6 o’clock position. We love the aesthetics of the watch, with its large readable display that closely follows the exact watch the brand produced in 1943. The use of vintage fonts and logos adds an even nicer touch to the watch.
The watch is powered by the ubiquitous ETA 6498-1 – a hand-wound movement that has a respectable 46-hour power reserve. It’s a solid movement, with roots dating back to 1950 where it was originally designed for pocket watches and then converted for use in wristwatches.
Priced at S$1,510, the Tissot Heritage Petite Seconde offers excellent value for money. We really like the look of the watch and how it’s paired with a hand-wound movement. For new collectors, this is surely one of the watches to seriously consider if you want to start your watch collecting journey.
Hanhart 417 ES
After the Tissot Heritage Small Second, we have another vintage reissue. Cue the beautiful and charming Hanhart 417 ES.
Based on the legendary chronograph used by the German Armed Forces in the 1950s, the 417 ES offers collectors a faithful reproduction with reliable and modern mechanics. The 42mm timepiece features all the original touches, such as the fluted bezel and classic typography on the dial.
The watch is notably powered by the humble and robust Sellita SW 510 M movement. It is a hand-wound movement, with an autonomy of approximately 58 hours. All in all, at a price of €1,745 including VAT (approximately S$2,670), we’re hard pressed to find such a solid and beautiful piece that offers as much value as this one.
Grand Seiko SBGW275 Genbi Valley US Limited Edition
Grand Seiko has produced some exceptional pieces over the years, and this particular piece – SBGW275 Genbi Valley US Limited Edition – is quite a special watch in its own right.
This Grand Seiko basically sums up what we want in a watch. It’s well sized at 37.3mm, with a stunningly simple textured dial (produced by a method called Kirazuri, also called “sparkling paint”). The icing on the cake, for us, is the excellent hand-wound caliber 9S64. By combining all of these elements together, we have a distilled mechanical watch in its simplest form – with everything done right.
The Genbi Valley US Limited Edition is limited to a production run of 140 pieces and sells for US$4,900 (about S$6,600). The regular variant, with a cream dial, is priced at S$5,992. Whichever variant you choose, nothing can deny the brilliance and simplicity of this sublime watch.
Omega Speedmaster Professional
When it comes to one of the most legendary watches, nothing quite comes close to the Omega Speedmaster Professional, a watch otherwise known as the “Moonwatch”.
The watch was launched in 1957, as a hand-wound chronograph initially intended for sports or racing. Its association with outer space wasn’t established until a few years later, when NASA selected the Speedmaster for its Gemini and Apollo missions. His position was further cemented on July 21, 1969, when Buzz Aldrin wore his Speedmaster as he exited the spacecraft and took his first step on the moon.
Over the years, the “Moonwatch” has undergone several changes, especially in terms of its movement and the design of its bracelet. However, the main essence of the watch remains. In terms of aesthetics, it still looks like its predecessors, without some subtle cosmetic changes. The latest iteration, with the hand-wound Co-Axial Master Chronometer Caliber 3861 movement, sells for S$9,200. The watch is an icon in its own right, and it certainly deserves a place in any watch collection.
Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso
Continuing the icon theme, we have the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso, with its unique rectangular case and intriguing reversible case. Its provenance, first as a sports watch and now widely adopted by many as a dress watch, is also quite interesting.
The Reverso made its debut in the 1930s, for an interesting reason. At the time, polo players asked César de Trey to produce a timepiece capable of withstanding blows from polo mallets. This gave César the idea of creating a timepiece with a reversible case, and thus the Reverso was born.
Over the years, Jaeger LeCoultre has produced many iterations of the Reverso. For starters, we think the base model – which is a time-only watch – is a good fit. It’s simple, yet so sophisticated on its own. Moreover, the empty background can also be used for engraving purposes. The entry-level model with a hand-wound movement is priced at S$8,650, for the male model. We think this is a great option for someone looking for a dress watch that’s different from the usual crowd.
Habring² Lightning Felix
We end the article with a timepiece from the independent watchmaking scene: Habring² Foudroyante Felix.
Habring² is the brainchild of Richard and Maria Habring, a husband and wife duo who produce wonderful timepieces from Austria. La Foudroyante Félix is one of them. This seemingly simple watch has an interesting complication in the form of the Foudroyante complication. This hand – on the sub-seconds indicator at the 9 o’clock position – ticks 8 times per second. While it doesn’t serve any particular function, the animation is quite a fascinating sight to behold, especially for a seemingly simple dress watch.
Priced at €6,550 (about S$10,175), the 38.5mm watch is a nice looking dress watch that’s a bit different from the norm. The base variant, without the Lightning complication, should cost less than S$10,000. For all collectors looking to enter the rabbit hole of independent watch collecting watches, Habring² certainly offers something compelling that deserves serious consideration.
We hope you enjoyed this week’s selection of watches. There’s something special about each of the six watches we’ve featured today, and most of them certainly deserve a place in any watch collection.
What do you think of hand-wound watches? Do you like them or do you prefer a self-winding watch instead? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.