If you like watches, then you’ve undoubtedly watched some of the home shopping television shows dedicated to selling watches. Brands like Invicta, Sturhling Original, Android, and Renato have become household names by making it possible for middle class consumers to afford sophisticated timepieces with mechanical movements, European design features, and a combination of Asian and Swiss components. However, since these brands are constantly being advertised via infomercial, some of the novelty and exclusivity of owning a fine timepiece has been diminished.
Just as Rolex owners might be plagued by questions about the authenticity of their watches, the owner of a television brand watch might be questioned about the ubiquitous “easy pay” arrangements of the home shopping channels. Plus, it seems that almost everyone who is into watches has at least one Invicta now. As cool as these TV brand watches are, the human drive to be unique has some collectors looking to find watches that few others own. Since there are literally hundreds of watch brands, words like unique, exclusive, rare, and exotic are not necessarily synonymous with expensive. Here are some alternatives to the television watch brands:
AVI-8. When a watch is going to be strapped to your wrist all day, it will catch your eye and capture moments of attention throughout your day. Inspired by the great Hawker aircraft of British aviation history, AVI-8 brand watches will capture your eyes and ignite daydreams. With collections like Hawker Hurricane, Hawker Hunter, Hawker Harrier II, Lancaster Bomber and Flyboy your imagination will soar with every glance at your wrist. Many of these aviation inspired watches have features inspired aircraft features like the bubble turrets of the famed Lancaster bomber. ($270 and up, avi-8.co.uk)
Diesel. If you want to zig when everyone else is zagging, you can go big with a Diesel watch. Diesel is the king of big watches. The case diameter of a Diesel watch usually ranges from 58 to 65 millimeters. But, Flava-Flav alarm clock dimensions aside, Diesel watches are readable, sharp looking, timepieces with a variety of innovative case designs. These watches will be noticed. ($70 and up, DieselTimeFrames.com)
Insignum. German design and quality control meets with Asian sourcing and premium Japanese movements to bring a fine line of innovative premium watches to market at affordable price points. Styles range from traditional dive watches like the Insignum Subwave to bold designs like the Insignum Activa and Campus models. Unfortunately, Insignum watches are becoming rare in North America as the company focuses on Europe. If you snatch one up while supplies last, it’s unlikely that your neighbors will find one without traveling to Europe. This guarantees that you’ll have a unique timepiece for many years to come. ($150 to $500, ZuluTimeZone.com)
Modify. In the eighties, Swatch watches came on the scene with all kinds of cool color combinations and unusual faces. At one point, they became the horological equivalent of beanie babies. Today, Modify watches has a similarly hip and affordable option for casual watch collectors. They make colorful watch bands and interchangeable watch face modules. Collectors can mix and match these fun watches to suit their mood and make a statement. You can even build your watch collection on-line to get the straps and faces that fit your sense of style. (Watch Faces from $20, Watch Straps from $10, modifywatches.com)
NFW. If you are looking for a square watch, but don’t want a Bell & Ross imitator, NFW builds very tough, waterproof, watches in their own unique style. Even the round-faced watches from this small, uncompromising, watch company convey strength and quality. ($279 to $479, ZuluTimeZone.com)
Orient. In a world full of Asian-sourced watches that intimate quasi-European origins, Orient proudly proclaims their Asian heritage. They have built a quality brand that delivers a wide variety of well-designed watches that can go toe-to-toe with long established names in the watch business. Orient also covers the full spectrum of fashion needs from the Diver to Dress watch. ($205 and up, orientwatchusa.com)
These are but a few of the different watch brands that you’ll find with a little searching. When it comes to watch collecting, it is still very possible to follow your own road. You can find a unique watch that perfectly expresses your sense of style. When it comes to holiday gift giving, you can also find a watch that is unique, unusual, and shows that you spent a little time and thought in finding the perfect watch for the recipient.