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Microbrand Corner: November 2023’s Best New Releases

Batavi Atelier

Batavi Atelier

Like a guilloche take on anOrdain’s Model 1, the Batavi Atelier is a blend of field watch utilitarianism with a precious dial. Rather than enamel though, the Dutch brand have opted for something closer to guilloche – specifically, an eye-catching, mandala-esque fish scale pattern. Paired with bold Arabic numerals to keep things readable, it has all the practicality of something more militaristic (complete with 100m water resistance for braving the everyday elements) but with a ton of extra style, particularly with the colour options of sleek grey, aquamarine, and purple.

Sure, they could have opted for more standard shades, but where’s the fun in that? And equipped with a Miyota movement and fittingly accessible price tag, the Batavi Atelier is a lot of fun. Available on either bracelet or strap, this is one of the few times we genuinely wouldn’t know which to plump for.

Price & Specs

  • 39mm stainless steel case with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
  • Miyota calibre 9039 automatic movement with 44-hour power reserve
  • Early bird price €479 (approx. £400), standard price €578 (approx. £500), available at Batavi.

Maison Boanton Ellipse

Maison Boanton Ellipse
Maison Boanton Ellipse

You hear ‘vintage inspired’ and ‘Ellipse’ and you could be forgiven for assuming we were referring to Patek Philippe’s quirky dress watch. Instead, Maison Boanton have taken inspiration from an even earlier piece – and a landmark in horological history – the 1921 Rolex Oyster, the first waterproof watch. That’s most prominently seen in the striking fluted bezel and matching crown, and while the Rolex had an odd octagonal case, the cushion number here is pure 1920s watch design at its best.

The Roman numerals and inner minute track hammer home the Art Deco, roaring 20s feel. Alongside its classically rooted good looks, the Maison Boanton Ellipse also has some solid watchmaking chops with the La Joux Perret G100 automatic movement inside – not the only time you’ll be hearing about that movement in this section.

Price & Specs

  • 40mm stainless steel case with 50m (5 bar) water resistance
  • La Joux Perret G100 automatic movement with 68-hour power reserve
  • €1,926 (approx. £1,665) + VAT, limited to 500 pieces, available at Maison Boanton.

Elka X Series

Elka X Series
Elka X Series Fume

First off, it’s worth noting that Elka’s new collection isn’t actually pronounced ‘Ex’ but is instead ‘Khi’, the Greek way of saying it. With that in mind it’s perhaps not too much of a surprise to see a pair of handsome Khaki (see what they did there?) dials based on the same, beautifully streamlined base as Elka’s previous D Series.

Slimmer and dressier than most field watches, the X nonetheless has that distinctive militaristic flare, with a pair of dials in proper khaki brown or a seriously cool fume version with black at the outer edge and orange numerals. They’re not quite built as ruggedly as your classic A-11 derivative, but paired with railway minute tracks (and a killer movement inside) makes for field style watches eminently suited to slimmer wrists.

Price & Specs

  • 40.8mm stainless steel case with 30m (3 bar) water resistance
  • La Joux Perret G100 automatic movement with 68-hour power reserve
  • From CHF 1,569 (Approx. £1,400), available at Elka.

Apiar Invenire

Apiar Invenire v1.0

The production of Apiar’s Invenire sounds more like sci-fi than watchmaking. The cases are made by lasering fine titanium powder in layers 0.06mm thick, building up in their thousands until you have the chunky, 39mm case. It’s extreme 3D printing, the sort generally only used in aerospace. Paired with algorithmic skeletonisation and a level of customisation few brands can achieve, Apiar are genuinely cutting- edge in the watch space.

Backed by a La Joux Perret G100 movement (yes, that’s three now), that tech-forward production is backed by serious watchmaking chops. And best of all, if you’re into British horology at any rate, everything but the crystal, the hands and the movement (which is still regulated here) is made in the UK. It’s an exciting time for homegrown watch brands.

Price & Specs

  • 40mm stainless steel case with 100m water resistance
  • Miyota 9039 automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve
  • Priced on configuration, from £2,160, available at Apiar.

BŌKEN Nomad

Boken Nomad

Titanium divers are in vogue right now – which is always a good thing given the natural lightweight benefits of the metal – and newly launched BŌKEN are looking to capitalise on that with the sturdy, colourful Nomad series. Available with orange, yellow, blue, and white dials with black bezels (the white dial is also available with a matching white bezel for a cleaner look), all Nomad models are protected by a curvaceous tonneau case.

Inside is a microbrand standard, the Sellita SW200, with a reliable, but these days, baseline 38-hour power reserve. It’s an accessible calibre but one that’s easy to repair – in keeping with the Nomad’s fun, tool watch vibe. There are some serious Doxa vibes going on here, which is never a bad thing, especially when you see the price: you can pre-order the BŌKEN Nomad now for £995. That’s £400 off the eventual retail price of £1,395, which even then isn’t too shabby.

Price & Specs

  • 42mm stainless steel case with 300m water resistance
  • Sellita SW200-1 Élaboré automatic movement with 38-hour power reserve
  • Pre order before 15th November for £995, standard price £1,395, available at Boken.