Watches

Microbrand Corner: March 2021’s Best New Releases

Unimatic X Norwegian Rain U1-NR-NRN

Unimatic X Norwegian Rain U1-NR-NRN

A collaboration between ultra-limited Italian watch brand Unimatic and ultra-cool performance outerwear brand Norwegian Rain, this pair of timepieces – one stainless steel, one DLC black – are defined by their unique take on a sandwich dial, with green oxidised copper giving way to bright brushed copper underneath and matched with skeletonised copper hands. Paired with Unimatic’s ever-rugged U1 case, we want one. Good luck though; with a total of 93 pieces, they’re probably sold out already.

The Specs

  • 40mm stainless steel case with 300m water resistance
  • Seiko NH35A automatic movement with 41-hour power reserve
  • £730.80, available at Unimatic Watches.

Horage Autark T5

Horage Autark T5

Translating to ‘independence’ Biel-based watchmaker Horage have certainly been forging their own path over the last couple of years, with modular in-house movements and cool, quirky designs. For their latest, they’ve given that industrial style a naturalistic twang with the new Autark T5, the stand-out of which is this ‘Jura Green’ number. It lacks the notched bezel of the HV version but shares the silicon escapement movement and titanium case material.

The Specs

  • 39mm titanium case with 100m water resistance
  • K1 automatic movement with 65-hour power reserve
  • CHF 3,500 (approx. £2,800), available at Horage.

Fine Watches Berlin Teufelsberg Rosé #4

Fine Watches Berlin TEUFELSBERG Rosé #4

The father-and-daughter duo behind Fine Watches Berlin have a penchant for understated, elegant designs that straddle the line between classical dress watches and Bauhaus cool. Their latest in the Teufelsberg collection takes that one step further, pairing the stripped back round case and minimal white dial with luxurious rose gold numerals and flashes of playful blue and red. It’s a retro, bi-colour look and, as is the case with all of their watches, far more affordable than it looks.

The Specs

  • 40.5mm stainless steel case with 50m water resistance
  • Miyota cal. 8218 automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve
  • €698,00 (approx. £605), available at Fine Watches Berlin.

Instrmnt The Dress Watch

Instrmnt The Dress Watch

Any good dress would should be an understated, elegant, less-is-more affair without all the bells, whistles and rugged cases of other timepieces. Instrmnt, with their design-led, industrial approach to watchmaking have built one entirely fit for purpose. The Dress Watch is a svelte 36mm across with a beautifully minimal white dial, evoking the formal timepieces of the sixties. Equipped with a fuss-free and reliable Swiss quartz movement from Ronda, it’s also nicely accessible.

The Specs

  • 36mm stainless steel case with 50m water resistance
  • Ronda 772 quartz movement with 34-month battery life
  • £180, available at Instrmnt.

Second Hour The Mandala

Second Hour The Mandala

Bringing the quirky, colourful design of their incredibly successful Gin Clear Diver to a dressier timepiece, The Mandala treads carefully between sports and elegance. The impressively decorated dial with its mandala swirls is eye-catching enough in black and grey, but for our money it’s all about the incredible salmon. Backed by a solid case and an eye for detail above and beyond what they’ve done before, The Mandala is a huge leap from where Second Hour were before, proof that they’re a brand to keep a close eye on.

The Specs

  • 40mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance
  • Miyota 9039 automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve
  • $740 AUD (Approx. £410), available at Second Hour.

Wolbrook Skindiver WT Professional Chrono-Mecaquartz

Wolbrook Skindiver WT Professional Chrono-Mecaquartz

For most diving watches their stripped back, time-only look is a necessity, a focal point of underwater survivability. On the flipside though, it does restrict exactly how useful they are, how many situations you can actually use your timepiece. Given most collectors’ watches won’t see the water, that’s pretty limiting. The latest edition of Wolbrook’s legendary Skindiver however has no such limits.

The Skindiver WT Professional Chrono-Meca-Quartz sounds like a technical beast because it is. Not only does it include an incredibly precise movement in the form of Seiko’s famous Meca-Quartz, but it uses said movement to power a solid chronograph. An underwater chronograph is generally a risk in a diving watch, particularly when it doesn’t have screw-down pushers, as is the case here.

Wolbrook Skindiver WT Professional Chrono-Mecaquartz

Despite that though, the Skindiver WI Professional Chrono-Meca-Quartz boasts 100m water resistance. That’s not really enough to go deep-sea diving, but more than enough for everyday water risks. Wolbrook has really leaned into that daily wear vibe with their dual-scale bezel, too. The inner edge uses a classic diving scale with minute track, while the outer can be used as a worldtimer. It’s still a 120-click unidirectional number, meaning it won’t get knocked in a way that makes you think you have more air than you do.

The worldtimer addition just means it’s useful out of the water, too. The dial, while obviously technical, is still easy to read, even underwater. That’s because only the local time indexes and hands are lumed, drawing attention to the necessary info in low-light conditions without distraction. Essentially, when it’s needed this version of the Skindiver is a perfectly practical diver.

Wolbrook Skindiver WT Professional Chrono-Mecaquartz

When it’s not, it works as a great everyday timepiece. Combined with a comfortable bund strap and an incredibly accurate movement with about three years of battery life, the Wolbrook Skindiver WT Professional Chrono-Meca-Quartz proves that not every decent diver needs to be militantly utilitarian. The fact that it’s surprisingly affordable is just the icing on the cake.

Price & Specs:

Case/dial: 40mm diameter x 13mm thickness, stainless steel   |   Water resistance: 100m   |   Movement:  Seiko VK64 Meca-Quartz   |   Functions: Hour, minutes, sweeping seconds, date, 60s & min timing,  24h time display   |   Strap: Italian vegetable tanned leather or beads of rice steel bracelet   |   Price: From £258, available at Wolbrook.

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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