The most recognizable independent luxury watch brands are ones that carry huge price tags. An F.P. Journe Chronometre Bleu - the entry-level watch - costs $39,800. At De Bethune, the entry-level DB27 costs a cool $40,000. In a world where Richard Mille and Greubel Forsey routinely charge as much as $1 million for chic independent brand luxury watches, are there any values to be had? YES! Tonight's show focuses on independent brand watches that are priced at $10,000 or less.
Armand Billard of France is an industrial designer by trade. However, he's also a watch craftsman -- and self-taught. Armand's focus is elaborate dial concepts and execution of these visions by hand. From aventurine to stone to meteorite and guilloche dials, there's very little that Armand does not offer on his SB04 watch model. Literally thousands of permutations are available for under $10,000, and it is possible to create a totally unique SB04 from among the options offered. At 40mm or 37mm in titanium or steel, the SB04 is an ideally sized canvas on which to create a truly unique luxury watch.
Garrick Watches of Norfolk, UK focuses on the modern revival of traditional British watchmaking. The new Garrick S6 is a 42mm steel or gold dress watch that combines a pocket watch-style manual wind movement with elaborate dial options. Hammered dials, textured dials, engine turned dials, and different styles of hands are on the table; colors can be customized across a large range of options. the Unitas 6498-based movement includes custom color gilding, an engraved barrel cover, and various styles of finish.
Torsti Laine is a Finnish watchmaker practicing his trade in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. His Gelidus G3 is a 40.5mm steel dress watch that offers much of the style of Kari Voutilainen and the Gronefeld brothers, but at far lower prices. Custom dials, unique movement relief decoration, and artful use of traditional movement bienfacture yield a luxury watch that boasts up to 80 percent of the detail of more famous options at perhaps 5-10 percent of their prices.
Dan Royter of Brooklyn is a self-taught watchmaker who focuses on chronograph watches capably finished and accessibly priced. Dan learned movement decoration alongside traditional mechanical watchmaking by trial and error, and he has been a great guide for Tim in his own study of watch craft. Dan's DR02 chronograph is highly customizable with unique colors, engraving, straps, movement gilding, and upcoming options including engine-turned dials. Dan includes extra straps, timing sheets, and personal notes with all of his timepieces.
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