Guides Watches

The Best Microbrand Watches to Buy in April 2024

Lorca Model No. 1 GMT

Lorca Model No 1 GMT

Somewhere along the line, GMTs lost that glamour innate to the golden age of air travel, the glory days of Pan Am and the like. Now it’s just a raft of GMT-Master II imitators. Which is why it’s great to see something like the Model No. 1 GMT, Lorca’s first watch. Retro white on black crosshair dial (or reversed with silver) with slim, elongated indexes, it reads like a refined pilots’ watch, as it should.

The same goes for the fixed bezel, which rather than being split between two colours, consists of engraved, black-filled numbers in steel. The result is a streamlined, less-is-more approach to one of the most genuinely useful complications around. Finished on a vintage-flavoured mesh bracelet (and a svelte case size to match), it oozes both class and business class.

Price & Specs

  • 36mm stainless steel case with 200m (20 bar) water resistance
  • Soprod C125 R4 automatic GMT movement with 42-hour power reserve
  • £1,424, available at Lorca.

Montford Rubus

Montford Watch Company The Rubus

We’re always happy here at Oracle Time to see a shiny new field watch, especially when it combines affordability and looks like the Rubus. Montford’s debut watch sits at a wrist-pleasing 40mm across with that typical, neo-militaristic, utilitarian feel that defines its specific genre of timekeeping. The main focal point here though is the dial, which at a glance could be mistaken for linen.

Instead, the etched dial’s based on elephants, which alludes to the reason the Rubus exists in the first place: to raise money for wildlife conservation through Tusk, an organisation that helps ‘find sustainable solutions to preserve critical habitats’. That’s good to know, although honestly, we just think it’s a bit of a looker.

Price & Specs

  • 40mm stainless steel case with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
  • Japanese automatic movement with 40-hour power reserve
  • £350, available at Montford Watch Company.

RZE Fortitude GMT

RZE Fortitude GMT

It’s been a minute since we last heard from the insanely accessible, titanium-obsessed Singaporean brand, but RZE are once again showing off that they’re all but untouchable in value with the new Fortitude: now with 100% more time zones. And, funnily enough, 1mm less on the thickness of the case, which for a relatively chunky watch does make a difference.

Maintaining a technical look thanks to the turbine-esque bezel, crosshair sandwich dial and oversized crown, it’s similar in vibe to something like the Oris ProPilot, with more of a milspec twang and a trio of cool dials in black, teal, and red. Oh and it’s as accessible as ever at $649 for pre-order now. That equates to just over £500 for a full titanium true GMT. If you find better, buy it.

Price & Specs

  • 41mm stainless steel case with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
  • Miyota 9075 automatic GMT movement with 42-hour power reserve
  • Pre order for $649 (approx. £520), RRP $699 (approx. £560), available at RZE.

Vario Navi Single Hand

Vario Navi Single Hand

In the past, Vario have always focused on era-specific aesthetics. By that I mean the Trench watch, drawn from early WWI military pieces and the Empire, lavished with the same Art Deco touches as its namesake skyscraper. The Navi however is a little less concrete – and a whole lot more fun.

With its single hand, the Navi shares some definite looks with marine chronometers, but between the cool wavy dials in some gorgeous colours and the numbers written out rather than represented by numerals, it’s perhaps the collection that best represents Vario’s individuality, and it’s all the better for it.

Price & Specs

  • 38mm stainless steel case with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
  • Miyota 82S5 automatic movement with 40-hour power reserve
  • £350, available at Vario.

Namica Okami

Namica Okami

Translating to The Wolf in English, the Okami is what would have happened if Gerald Genta had designed the Casio G-SHOCK. Ostensibly inspired by TV dials – and it does indeed have that gloriously retro 1970s sensibility – the chunky, faceted block of titanium is hardwearing to the extreme thanks to what Namica call their Absolute Titanium Shield; basically a scratch resistant layer for the notoriously scratch resistant metal.

In keeping with Namica’s previous Shirahama, bright colours are also part and parcel here, with the Okami available in a reserved black (the Kuriyama), an incredibly bright ‘turbo’ blue and a distinctive fume purple, with or without kanji numerals. It’s cool, intense and perfectly Japanese, in a very non-Grand Seiko way.

Price & Specs

  • 39mm stainless steel case with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
  • Miyota 9039 automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve
  • Pre order for $500 (approx. £400) available at Namica.

About the author

Sponsored

Sponsored posts include advertising content provided by brands in order to share news, messages and offers with Oracle Time readers. All sponsored posts are subject to editorial guidelines and are usually written by one of the Oracle Time writers, ensuring great quality and that the content is of interest to our audience. The viewpoints and opinions expressed in sponsored content are influenced by the advertiser and do not necessarily reflect those of Oracle Time or its writers.