Best MicroBrands under $500

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Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by bbattle » December 11th 2021, 10:36am

This is one of the best "Best of....." lists I've seen for watches. I like the Lorier Neptune and the Yema Rallygraf and of course, the Laco flieger.
https://coolmaterial.com/style/the-best ... under-500/

I noticed that the list doesn't include anything over 40mm in width. The Maratec titanium dive watch looks pretty cool but at 14.4mm thick, a bit too chunky for me. Maybe it's just the picture that makes it so.

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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by jason_recliner » December 11th 2021, 4:59pm

Some really nice watches at amazing prices. The article is let down a little by the heavily processed stock images. E.g. a lot of discussion about the interesting UC case shape but the reader can't actually see it.
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by TemerityBEddiePhluff » December 11th 2021, 5:08pm

Really good article, what a nice surprise. I'd split that list down the middle - I like a few brands, wouldn't get near the others. I own the Laco they talk about there and really enjoy it - however, I can't figure out how anyone would call Laco a "microbrand." I always thought micros were those StartKicker/only sold on the web newbies. I'm probably outta the loop that way.
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by bbattle » December 11th 2021, 7:40pm

jason_recliner wrote:
December 11th 2021, 4:59pm
Some really nice watches at amazing prices. The article is let down a little by the heavily processed stock images. E.g. a lot of discussion about the interesting UC case shape but the reader can't actually see it.
Best I could do is link the website: https://www.unimaticwatches.com/uc2/
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by 3Flushes » December 12th 2021, 3:12am

bbattle wrote:
December 11th 2021, 7:40pm
jason_recliner wrote:
December 11th 2021, 4:59pm
Some really nice watches at amazing prices. The article is let down a little by the heavily processed stock images. E.g. a lot of discussion about the interesting UC case shape but the reader can't actually see it.
Best I could do is link the website: https://www.unimaticwatches.com/uc2/
Sharp looking - the website describes the UC2 as both a dive watch and a field watch - but no dive bezel. The UC3 2 register chronograph - diver, 300m WR with a 120 click rotating bezel is also very cool looking - Seiko meca-quartz VK 64 movement $600'ish.
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by 3Flushes » December 12th 2021, 8:41pm

jason_recliner wrote:
December 12th 2021, 6:57am
Yeah, I really like the Unimatics. Cool new brand. I wonder how much is actually made in Italy though.
They are marked "made in Italy" which imparts, as far as I can tell, that a product so marked must be 100% conceived, designed, made, and packaged, in Italy. Given labeling law wasn't my major, I can't be certain, and it does appear there may be some wiggle room. Consider the following:


Italy
The “Made in Italy” labeling requirements – an initiative funded by the Italian government and one that is considered a national economic resource – requires that products be completely manufactured in the country: components, design, the works. In 2011, the Italian Supreme Court clarified the standard in a case in which a leather goods manufacturer had been found to have imported leather goods made in China with the indication ‘vera pelle Italy’ (‘genuine leather Italy’). The lower court found that the goods were effectively made in China with Italian leather and that a small adhesive label on the product – bearing the words ‘Made in PRC’ – indicated their Chinese origin. Nevertheless, the Appeals Court ruled against the manufacturer, holding that the adhesive label was insufficient to prevent consumers from being misled as to the origin of the products.

The Supreme Court overturned the decision, confirming that ‘origin’ does not refer to provenance from a particular place; rather, it refers to provenance from a specific manufacturer which guarantees quality control in the manufacturing process and bears sole responsibility in respect of consumers. The fact that a product is manufactured abroad on behalf of an Italian manufacturer that guarantees its quality is irrelevant if the words‘Made in Italy’ are used fraudulently to suggest to consumers that the product has been manufactured entirely in Italy.
I have no clue what would constitute such a fraud - it would seem to me that including the mark "Made in Italy" means just that given the definition for its use.

https://www.thefashionlaw.com/the-law-o ... d-to-know/

The article also lists the labeling requirements for the US and France.

Wikipedia states definitively:

In 2009, the Italian law 135[6] stated that only products totally made in Italy (planning, manufacturing and packaging) are allowed to use the labels Made in Italy, 100% Made in Italy, 100% Italia, tutto italiano in every language, with or without the flag of Italy. Each abuse is punished by the Italian law.[7]

The above is based on the following reference from the Way Back Machine:

[7]V Made in Italy e lotta alla contraffazione Archived 2014-03-24 at the Wayback Machine leg16.camera.it


https://web.archive.org/web/20140324050 ... raffazione
The text is posted in Italian, although there are English translations that support the 100% standard- this is the actual legislation and shouldn't be too tough to translate to English if you are so inclined in your mind to.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Made_in_Italy

Given the advanced levels of manufacturing in Italy, particularly in the automotive industry, it's not inconceivable that Unimatics could be 100% made in Italy (cases and other machined parts, dials, handsets, straps, bracelets, crystals and Sew fourth). Given Unimatic is transparent about their use of sourced movements, I suspect they would still qualify to use the mark. Had they not revealed the source of the movements, and say, assigned movements with UM caliber numbers, perhaps such would constitute the type fraud the Italian Supreme Court spoke about in their ruling.

At any rate, the Italian standard appears to be amongst the strictest in the world on par with that of France where manufacturers must prove their products have earned the privilege of being marked "Made in France". The US requires 95% of the components in a product marked "Made in the USA" be 100% made in the USA. In fact, since looking into marking regulations, after a cursory search, the FH's 60% benchmark is actually among the weakest in the world .
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by jason_recliner » December 12th 2021, 8:51pm

Yes, many European countries have been extremely protective of their provenance. It's similar to the Italian D.O.P and French champagne requirements. Manufacturing capabilities indeed appear to be advanced in Italy. It would be nice to think they are at least making their cases, dials and crystals in Italy.
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by 3Flushes » December 13th 2021, 12:22am

I really like the looks of the Unimatic chronograph, I'd buy one but for the movement.

Too bad Miyota or Seiko doesn't make economical automatic chronograph movements in the 90XX, or NHXX series of movements. There's the ETA 2894 or the Valjoux's and the Selita clones, there's even a 2824-2 or two in the Unimatic catalog, but it is of note that there is no chronograph or otherwise complicationed (beyond date) automatic micro on the market for less than $850 + that I am aware of, and damn few, even at that price.

Hell, the Unimatic chrono with the jippo - strippo Seiko hybrid movement is a little north of $600. How tough would it be for Seiko to put the mechanical chrono module in the mecaquartz movement into the NH35? Seiko seems happy to be in the supplied movement business, and if Miyota can make 90XX's with complete calendar, power reserve, skeletonized, offset seconds, and open heart complications in every configuration imaginable, why not a chronograph or two?

Micros and startups primarily limit their offerings to a barrage of dive watches, most of which stink on ice, field watches, or fliegers; apparently, even the aforementioned premium Miyotas add too much cost to a project, although the Maratec in the OP is run by a 9015 for $475. Given the reluctance of micro projects to use more complicated movements, even those that are economically priced, the resulting micro market is repetitive and boring, distinguished one from another primarily by the line of bullshit promoting the project.
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by conjurer » December 13th 2021, 1:08am

I would rather choke on my own vomit than buy almost any microbrands. Almost all of them are shit. Regarding a microbrand that uses an automatic chronograph movement, there aren't any, because the only auto chrono movement worth a shit is the Valjoux 7750, and it's not that great, unless you get a great warranty, and no micros offer this.

Fuck micros. Save your money and buy a name brand.
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by jason_recliner » December 13th 2021, 2:20am

conjurer wrote:
December 13th 2021, 1:08am
I would rather choke on my own vomit than buy almost any microbrands. Almost all of them are shit. Regarding a microbrand that uses an automatic chronograph movement, there aren't any, because the only auto chrono movement worth a shit is the Valjoux 7750, and it's not that great, unless you get a great warranty, and no micros offer this.

Fuck micros. Save your money and buy a name brand.
The problem with a lot of the "name brands" is that they're a bit boring after a while. A handful innovate or do some interesting styling now and then but for the most part it's just slightly rehashed generic designs. After a couple they can become a bit meh. Not very inspiring, and not particularly stylish. There's a bunch of micros also doing boring generic (usually dive) watches but then there's companies like Unimatic proving to be forward thinking, agile, and willing to take a risk. In other words, they're cool.
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by 3Flushes » December 13th 2021, 2:28am

conjurer wrote:
December 13th 2021, 1:08am
...Regarding a microbrand that uses an automatic chronograph movement, there aren't any...
There are a couple, Farer, Baltic (now uses the ST19 about $600) or Halios for example, but they use the 2894 and the 7750 or clones thereof and sell for prices that rival those of well made and established brands.

I'd buy the Unimatic chronograph with a decent movement for $500 - $600. Seiko NHXX with a chrono module, perhaps - if they would make one, that is. It would seem there's a fillable gap in the market by golly.
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by codguy » December 13th 2021, 9:09am

.
conjurer wrote:
December 13th 2021, 1:08am
Fuck micros. Save your money and buy a name brand.
This ^^
jason_recliner wrote:
December 13th 2021, 2:20am
The problem with a lot of the "name brands" is that they're a bit boring after a while. A handful innovate or do some interesting styling now and then but for the most part it's just slightly rehashed generic designs. After a couple they can become a bit meh. Not very inspiring, and not particularly stylish.
This is why Invicta , XO Skeleton and similar are sooo cutting edge, inspiring, stylish and popular......... they take excitement to a hole nother level.
:sarc:
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by 3Flushes » December 14th 2021, 3:20am

jason_recliner wrote:
December 13th 2021, 7:06am
Seiko used to auto chronographs. Pretty sure there was even an Invicta with them!
They've got them all right, but not at a price point micros consider viable. Seiko makes the NE 88, a modular automatic chrono, but the price is higher than the 2894. Hell, getting a 90XX into a micro is a rarity, and they are reasonable at retail. And manufacturers of any standing don't buy at Otto's joint for retail.

Perhaps the way to go is the ST19. It's a fully integrated column wheel movement, basically, the Venus 175, purchased lock, stock, and barrel by Tianjin in the early 60's. It comes in 2 and 3 register configurations and has a good record for durability. Yema's entry on the OP list uses one. Might be that it's time to just buy one of the red star TWF 1963's and forget it already.
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by bbattle » December 14th 2021, 6:38am

Here's a possible choice for 3 Flushes and his automatic chronograph fetish:

Image
"Inside of the case beats the automatic, Swiss-made Sellita SW510 BH Elaboré movement, which was customized to feature a skeleton framework and a bespoke high-end bridge with an engraved Farer monogram pattern.
Specifications: Price: $1,955, Case Size: 41mm, Thickness: 13.5mm, Lug-to-Lug: 44mm, Lug Width: 20mm, Water Resistance: 100m, Movement: Automatic, Swiss made Sellita SW510 BH Elaboré movement, Power Reserve: 58 hours, Crystal: Sapphire"

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"For the Chronograph 1, Kurono Tokyo chose the automatic Seiko NE86A chronograph movement. Labeled as one of Seiko’s most premium calibers, the 311-part movement, combines traditional chronograph features like a column wheel, vertical clutch, and a magic lever winding system, with a unique three-pointed hammer system that starts, stops, and resets all three wheels simultaneously. Beating at a frequency of 28,800 BPH, the movement provides approximately 45 hours of power reserve."


I got the above examples from this list. the rest have handwound or quartz/mechaquartz movements.
https://horologisto.com/best-microbrand ... h-watches/
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by bbattle » December 14th 2021, 10:01am

conjurer wrote:
December 14th 2021, 9:39am
When I think microbrand, I think some mook living in his mother's basement, ordering wartchs on his laptop from China, in between whacking off to internet porn. While Farer might have some jerkoffs on its staff, I really don't consider them a microbrand.
That's what I think when I see most of the Kickstarter watches.

Microbrand to me just means "small operation with over the top backstory". Thinking about it, my definition could also apply to Rolex, given that since Apple sells more watches than all of Switzerland, Rolex could be considered a "small operation". :mrgreen:

How about this: Microbrand means small watch company I never heard of that may or may not be designing some fugly watches and may or may not care what basement in Shenzen they were made in. https://www.watchmkr.com/
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by koimaster » December 14th 2021, 10:50am

bbattle wrote:
December 14th 2021, 6:56am
I did find this Kickstarter watch; not sure if any ever got shipped or not.

Image
this KS watch uses the ETA 2894-2
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ma ... eta-2894-2
https://www.maenwatches.com/pages/skymaster

https://www.maenwatches.com/pages/green ... omatic-gmt

https://www.maenwatches.com/pages/hudso ... collection


To be certain these watches at 38mm are far too small for the sophisticated buyers of tv watches such as this one below.

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With the lilt of Irish laughter

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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by DoctorIvey » December 14th 2021, 2:17pm

conjurer wrote:
December 14th 2021, 9:39am
When I think microbrand, I think some mook living in his mother's basement, ordering wartchs on his laptop from China, in between whacking off to internet porn. While Farer might have some jerkoffs on its staff, I really don't consider them a microbrand.
Woah! Why so harsh? I really don’t see the need to belittle the mook whacking off to internet porn.
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Re: Best MicroBrands under $500

Post by jason_recliner » December 14th 2021, 3:58pm

conjurer wrote:
December 14th 2021, 9:39am
When I think microbrand, I think some mook living in his mother's basement, ordering wartchs on his laptop from China, in between whacking off to internet porn. While Farer might have some jerkoffs on its staff, I really don't consider them a microbrand.
Haha! That's pretty funny. I'm going to go out on a (likely very short) limb and suggest most guys buying microbrand watches are getting more, higher quality, pussy than the grey haired old men typically buying brand name watches. And hence less likely to be jerking off to porn! Lords excluded, of course.
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