My favourite Micro Mondays from the last 12 monthsFergus Nash
Shining a light on some lesser-known brands is one of my favourite things to do here at Time+Tide, and the weekly Micro Mondays segment helps to keep me informed on new and exciting releases just as much as it does for you. With the onslaught of Kickstarter releases piling in, it’s becoming harder and harder to keep on top of things, but the cream always has a way of rising to the top. Micro Mondays has also evolved quite a bit in the past year, including some retrospective angles and historical journeys. Let’s take a look at some of my personal favourite Micro Monday articles from the last 12 months.
As an example of the articles that aren’t just straightforward reviews, my piece exploring the story behind the Fears Brunswick helped to quench my thirst for history, as you may have seen in my articles about Junghans, Landeron, or the Quartz Crisis. With its origins in a 1920s design, the Fears Brunswick was just the second of the brand’s releases after they were resurrected by Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, the great-great-great-grandson of the original founder Edwin Fear. The modern version has beefed up the case design, applied numerals and skeletonised the hands, blending elements of the vintage and contemporary seamlessly. It’s now been made with a heap of different colours, and even one reference was rendered in platinum for £28,000. It’s not just a great brand, but an inspiring story of rebirth.
The Baltic Aquascaphe Classic is a modern diver that oozes vintage style for a startlingly good price
Another article that wasn’t merely a review was this piece about the Baltic Aquascaphe — the retro-flavoured diver which truly feels like it belongs to the 1960s. Baltic are masters of design, as well as brand personality. They don’t have that same sense of experimentation that some microbrands have, enhancing a feeling of confidence in their releases. The Aquascape has got to be the undeniable fan favourite though, and their recent release with a bronze case and smoky brown dial has cemented itself in my mind as a perfect diver. Time+Tide have recently added Baltic to our shop, and you can read more about it or visit the store for yourself.
The Blok 33 only appeals to a small minority of people who don’t mind a childish watch or want to give them as gifts, but I still think it’s one of the most interesting new releases that I’ve written about. It’s not just thrown together as a cheap watch for kids, but it’s actually been designed from the ground up to help them along. The dial is easily legible, with aids for time management as well as simple reading. The case is durable and well-made, but the left-handed crown also contributes to avoiding any unfortunate knocks or scrapes which are inevitable in the hands of a kid. It’s lightweight, robust, and also uses recycled materials and bioplastics as a commitment to renewables for the next generation.
I’m a massive fan of rectangular watches, and despite going from a $5,000 Cartier Tank Basculante to a $50 Citizen quartz, I do very much miss the flipping action of the Cartier. Vario have been one of the most creative and endearing microbrands of recent years, and the Versa has thrown its hat into the colourfully dialled, rectangular-cased watch ring with a spectacular value-based offering. Not only do you get a gorgeous watch for a fraction of the cost of a big-name brand, but you even get a flippable dial with two individual movements on each side, letting you change up the time zones or just looks at will. With an RRP of only US$428 and limited to 100 pieces per colour, it should come as no surprise that the Vario Versa was entirely sold out. Thankfully, Vario have already announced two new models for pre-order in Gunmetal/White and Silver/Black configurations.
The RZE Valour 38 has become my go-to recommendation when anyone is looking for an affordable field watch, packed full of classic design choices balanced with personality and fantastic value for money. Not only does the lack of logo on the dial prove RZE’s humility in the face of tradition, but also shows how well their established style shines through in the prescribed layout of a military field watch. Other than the stencil-style Arabic numerals and easily-legible hands, you can choose from yellow, blue, green, and grey dials, or a black dial in a black-coated case for an even stealthier vibe. The NH38 movement provides a simple and reliable time-only function that’ll be easy to service, and the UltraHex coating prevents the lightweight titanium case from getting scratched. If you really want to show off an RZE logo, you can spot ones tucked away in the lume beneath 6 o’clock or milled deeply into the crown.