Guides Watches

The Best Microbrand Watches to Buy in June 2024

Sheffield Allsport Diver 1A UK Only

Sheffield Allsport Diver 1A UK Edition

When Jay Turkbas received an old Sheffield diver all the way back in 1970 it started a love with the Swiss brand (yes, despite the name they were originally Swiss) until it was shuttered in 1972. Rather than pine for its loss however, he decided instead to revive it himself over 70 years later with the Allsport 1.

Now that revival has gone further with a more diver-friendly version of the sports watch, complete with an automatic movement for an insane amount of value. The 200m steel diver, complete with unidirectional rotating bezel, anti-glare sapphire crystal and a workhorse Seiko calibre will set you back just £150, with a look that’s straight out of old mil-spec instruments. That’s more bang for your buck than an explosive dollar bill.

Price & Specs

  • 40mm stainless steel case with 200m (20 bar) water resistance
  • Seiko NH35 automatic movement with 41-hour power reserve
  • £150, available at Sheffield Watches.

Sphaera Epoch Classic

SPHAERA Epoch Classic Rusty

Last year Sphaera burst onto the watch scene with their inaugural timepiece, the Desk Diver. It was a watch dedicated to the time- honoured tradition of wearing your  diving style timepiece ‘from the boardroom to the beach’ (if not necessarily underwater) and as such wasn’t quite a proper tool watch.

Now the Epoch has used much the same aesthetic template but upped things to a professional standard with 200m water resistance, meaning that yes, it still looks killer in the board room. And now you can genuinely wear it on your long weekend diving wrecks.

Price & Specs

  • 40.5mm stainless steel case with 200m (20 bar) water resistance
  • STP1-21 automatic movement with 44-hour power reserve
  • €1,550 (approx. £1,330), available at Sphaera.

RZE Urbanist

RZE Urbanist

A more urban slant on the rugged titanium cool that’s made RZE an adventuring go-to, the Urbanist offers a series of five colours, including RZE’s signature yellow (a particular highlight), with more facets in its case and bezel than a prestige drama. However, while three models are in plain grey titanium, two are not: the khaki Prairie Tan and the green-and-black Lodgepole Pine.

Not only are these set apart by their coloured Cerakote coatings, but 15% of proceeds for the models go to charity: the STARS Rocky Mountain air ambulance service for the Prairie, Canada’s Project Forest re-foresting initiative for the Lodgepole Pine. The collection as a whole is cool, but that dark green case is probably the coolest – even more so because, in typical RZE style, it’s incredibly affordable.

Price & Specs

  • 36mm titanium case with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
  • Miyota solar movement
  • $259 (approx. £210), available at RZE.

Waldor & Co Continual 39 Amalfi

Waldor and Co Continual 39 Amalfi

If you think of Sweden, you may be more inclined to think of snowy fjords than Mediterranean coastline, yet the watches of Waldor & Co are all about glorious coastal sunshine and the classic, glamorous elegance that entails. Enter the Continual 39 Amalfi. A gorgeous 39mm stainless steel dress watch, the Roman numerals and leaf hands are a throwback to more traditional, ornate watchmaking.

Finished on a textured leather strap with white contrast stitching to match the case and numerals, it’s a solid flash of pared-back elegance for a lot less than most dress watches in the same vein.

Price & Specs

  • 39mm stainless steel case with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
  • Miyota 9039 automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve
  • £599, available at Waldor & Co.

ZRC Grands Fonds 1,000m

ZRC Grands Fonds 1000m

While they may have cut their teeth recreating the historic French Navy watch of 1964, ZRC have used that retro aesthetic to expand into a handsome range of dive watches with very anachronistically high performance. Enter the latest take in a beautiful Osmium Blue and a limit-pushing 1,000m water resistance.

It still has the quirks of that archival design, including the dotted diving bezel with three dots at 12 o’clock, the rugged monobloc case and the crown at six o’clock, just with better specs inside and out, and a slim, Sellita SW300-1 movement inside. It’s an upgrade in every way that emphasises why we loved ZRC in the first place.

Price & Specs

  • 41.5mm stainless steel case with 1,000m (100 bar) water resitance
  • Sellita SW300-1 automatic movement with 56-hour power reserve
  • €3,290 (approx. £2,820), available at ZRC.

Arcanaut Experimental: Arc II – Bonehead

Arcanaut Experimental Arc II Bonehead

Lume dials are quickly becoming less of a niche outlier and more of a horological sub-genre in their own right – meaning glow-in-the-dark needs to do more than its name suggests to really stand out. Enter the Bonehead from the pan-Scandinavian mad-makers at Arcanaut.

With a marrow-textured dial that glows a gorgeous blue, it makes the most of their signature uber-modern case shape, here with striking edge finishing to highlight that silhouette. The Bonehead has a lot going on and honestly, you can expect plenty more to come. While this Experimental collection debut launch is limited to 33 pieces, it’s the start of crazier things to come.

Price & Specs

  • 40.52mm stainless steel case with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
  • Soprod A10 automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve
  • £3,777, available at Arcanaut, limited to 33 pieces

Ocean to Orbit Lhotse

Ocean to Orbit Lhotse

The debut watch from Aussie microbrand Ocean to Orbit ticks every box for a 1950s adventure watch: a rugged-yet-elegant case that can take a few knocks, solid legibility and a proven track record. That last point is because it’s already been used to summit the Himalayas – hence the name, Lhotse.

Unlike the monochromatic explorer watches of the past however, Ocean to Orbit’s modern twist includes a vertically brushed blue dial, among others, that hammers home it’s go everywhere, do anything credentials, whether that’s climbing above 8,000m or heading for a post-work drink.

Price & Specs

  • 38.5mm stainless steel case with 100m (10 bar) water resistance
  • STP 1-21 automatic movement with 40-hour power reserve
  • $795 (approx. £630), available at Ocean to Orbit.

DWISS M3S

DWISS M3S

There’s wrist presence then there’s this. DWISS’ signature mysterious hours is already an eye-full of haute horological fun, but the latest run ups the ante with brightly coloured highlights just in time for summer. You’d never think it was a Sellita movement underneath, and with the new colours pairing incredibly well on a sporty rubber strap, and a case water resistant to 200m, the M3S is much more practical than you’d expect.

And in typical DWISS style, the value for money here is mind- boggling. If you want your wrist game to look a million dollars without spending even a fraction of that, look no further.

Price & Specs

  • 42mm stainless steel case with 200m (20 bar) water resistance
  • Sellita SW200-1 Elabore automatic movement with 42-hour power reserve
  • £1,109, limited to 500 pieces, available at DWISS.

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