7 Lesser-Known Watch Brands You Should Be Wearing Now
Brand name recognition can be a big thing among watch aficionados, but if you really want to get people talking, how about sporting a timepiece from a company they likely have never heard of?
There’s an undeniable cool factor to being an early adapter, the first one in your circle to know a name or wear a trend. Let everyone else try to outdo each other with their gleaming dials and exorbitant price tags. You are a true maverick, one who refuses to roll with the pack and instead chooses a timepiece simply because 1) it looks good, and 2) only a true insider would have any idea how much it really costs.
For those who are looking to break away from the mainstream, here is a list of names for your consideration.
1| Georg Jensen
If minimalism is your thing, you might find your watch soulmate in the creations of this Danish brand. With barely any adornment save for super skinny hands set against a stark black or white dial, the no-muss, no-fuss aesthetic is exactly what the Scandinavians do best.
Try: The perfect blank slate, the clean lines of the Koppel (named for its designer, Henning Koppel) embody perfection in simplicity.
2| Thomas Earnshaw
Perhaps the coolest thing about this London-based company is its provenance: Thomas Earnshaw was born in England in 1749 and was responsible for refining marine chronometers back in his day, one of which was carried by Charles Darwin on his landmark voyage to uncover the Origin of Species. The eponymous brand still carries Earnshaw’s legacy today, with watches that look great on your wrist whether you’re traveling the world or staying firmly in place.
Try: The Meteorite is exactly that, with a dial fashioned out of the Muonionalusta meteorite found in northern Scandinavia. Hence, no two dials are exactly the same.
Put your hands up for Detroit! The decline of the city’s automotive industry helped pave the way for this Michigan-based brand, where timepieces, leather goods, jewelry, audio products, bicycles, and more are assembled by hand. Swiss manufacturer Ronda AG was tapped to train the team, and the company takes pride in watches that are both good-looking and built to last.
Try: The Runwell was the first model launched by the brand in 2013; the fact that the watch’s pedigree is spelled out on the dial only makes it cooler.
4| Giuliano Mazzuoli
Whether it’s pasta or an impeccable suit, there are just some things the Italians know how to do really, really well. If you’re searching for that same unapologetic sensibility in a timepiece, look to this brand with watches created by the Florence-based designer. Mazzuoli got his start making notebooks and writing instruments before turning his eye toward watches, studying the tower clock movements in the Chianti hills.
Try: The Manometro, which translates to “pressure gauge,” was inspired by the actual pressure gauge of an old air compressor. Mazzuoli road tested the design himself, wearing a prototype on his wrist that elicited so many compliments, he knew it had to be reproduced.
If you truly want a watch that’s unlike anyone else’s on the planet, why not go ahead and create one? Designed in London but made in Switzerland, the brand offers pieces that are fully customizable, from the dial to the rotor, case, crown, buckle, and date window. And you can choose the strap, too, but we think you would have figured that out by now.
Try: Build your dream watch from scratch with the Hach Automatic. The best part about this bespoke piece is the waiting time, as the finished product can be delivered in as little as three weeks.
6| Linde Werdelin
This is a watch for the ultimate outdoorsman, created by outdoorsmen. The story goes that in the ’90s, Jorn Werdelin skied off a cliff in the Swiss Alps during bad weather and broke his back. A few years later, he teamed up with his friend and fellow Dane, Morten Linde, to create a sports watch that would combine the worlds of digital and analog, to be worn for both trekking the mountains and exploring the sea.
Try: The skeletonized designs of the Spido line help make the pieces extremely lightweight. The Spidolite 3DTP Carbon-3D Movement is their lightest yet, with the outer case weighing in at just 3.8 grams.
7| Roger W. Smith
There’s a chance you may have heard of Roger W. Smith, as he has been described as the most famous of the lesser-known watch brands. But to get your hands on a watch by him is the true feat, reserved for only the most discerning of connoisseurs. Smith designs and assembles the watches himself at his studio in the Isle of Man and produces only 10 pieces a year. That’s the equivalent of real swag on your wrist, and instant respect from anyone who recognizes it.
Try: If you’re going to own a piece of horological history, might as well go all out. The George Daniels Anniversary Watch is a collaboration with Smith’s mentor and one of the last watches the legend created before his death in 2011.