Watches

Microbrand Corner: June 2021’s Best New Releases

Tsao Baltimore Legacy

Tsao Baltimore Legacy

Adding yet another intriguing value proposition to the microbrand melting pot stateside, the latest from Maryland-based Tsao Baltimore is, in their own words, an accessible heirloom piece. It certainly has the style credentials down with a dual crown, compressor adjacent look finished with some absolutely stunning sandwich dials, including this royal blue fume number. Each colour is available in steel or bronze, with a GMT or without. That might sound like an overly broad selection except that each is limited to just 75 pieces. Yeah, this is one you’ll want to pre-order.

The Specs

  • 40mm stainless steel or bronze case with 200m water resistance
  • MD-1 calibre automatic movement
  • From $650 USD (approx. £460), available at Tsao Baltimore.

Fine Watches Berlin Valentina Red

Fine Watches Berlin VALENTINA Red

Following the success of their striking, royal coloured charity-slanted timepiece, the VALENTINA Blue, Fine Watches Berlin are ensuring that lightning strikes twice, this time with an eye-catching red edition. Based on the German brand’s signature Teufelsberg model with its asymmetrical small seconds subdial, the combination of red, white and blue is matched by the contrast-stitch strap. It’s bright, bold and, if that weren’t enough, 15% of the proceeds of each watch goes to Stiftung Valentina, a foundation for critically ill children. How could you say no?

The Specs

  • 40.5mm stainless steel case with 50m water resistance
  • Miyota cal. 8218 automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve
  • €698 EUR (approx. £600), limited to 100 pieces, available at Fine Watches Berlin.

Zinvo Rival Marine

Zinvo Rival Marine

Luxury sports watches are generally on the pricey side, but just because a steel watch has an integrated bracelet doesn’t mean it should be inaccessible. The Rival, courtesy of microbrand Zinvo, offers a design inspired by the likes of Gerald Genta but, thanks to quartz movements, without the prohibitive price tag. The Rival Marine, with its impeccably cool and unusually finished blue dial, is the standout of the lot. There are few watches in this price range that have style credentials this solid.

The Specs

  • 42mm stainless steel case with 50m water resistance
  • Quartz movement
  • $249 USD (approx. £180), available at Zinvo Rival.

Valimor Caliburnus II

Valimor Caliburnus II

Rather than the retro charm of the 60s or the vintage era of the 50s, Valimor instead takes their design cues from the Medieval period – hence the Arthurian inspirations behind their new Caliburnus II. Combining a dragon scale bezel with dials made from various colours of synthetic opal or mother-of-pearl, the various Caliburnus II references are as incredible as they are unusual. The standout is the Flame Opal – red, of course – which suits the brand’s aged stainless steel perfectly for an ancient take on modern microbrand watchmaking.

The Specs

  • 42mm aged stainless steel case with 50m water resistance
  • Miyota 8315 automatic movement with 60-hour power reserve
  • From €389 EUR (approx. £335), available at Valimor.

DWISS M3

DWISS M3

It takes some cojones for a microbrand to dive headlong into the arena of luxury sports watches but then that’s something that DWISS have never exactly lacked. The M3, with the brand’s signature displaced hours, a mesmeric multi-level dial and a case that veers close enough to the Nautilus to make it instantly-recognisable. There are three colour options to choose from in the M3 collection, all with the same steel case. One version has an aquatic blue dial, another is black, and the final version is white.

All the design choices for the M3 were made in collaboration with DWISS’s Watch Design Club, an exclusive group of 100 members that were consulted throughout the timepiece’s 12-month development. Each member will be given one of the watches that they helped bring to fruition. As with all DWISS watches, this is an extremely limited-edition timepiece with only 500 of the models being made ever. Despite its exclusivity it’s very accessible at $1,390 or $1,590 (approx. £990/£1,130) depending on if you choose the rubber strap or metal bracelet. If you want one, you’ll have to act fast.

The Specs

  • 42mm stainless steel case with 200m water resistance
  • ETA 2824-2 Elabore automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve
  • From $1,390 USD (approx. £990), available at DWISS.

About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

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