10 hipster watch brands you need to know
At first glance, the world of watches is dominated by a handful of companies. Banner brands are household names; Rolex is nestled alongside Lexus and Hyundai in Forbes’ list of the most popular in the world, and even people who tell the time on their phones know that James Bond is wearing Omega.
But with recognition comes the spiraling price tags. Yes, Swiss luxury brands are built on exemplary engineering, but you also pay through the nose to have a logo embossed on the dial. Looking further at underground or hipster watches, you can find watches with less markup and less likely to appear on your friends’ wrists.
It’s time to get acquainted with the 10 best hipster watch brands you can wear today.
Hurry? Here’s our quick review for hipster watches.
This Japanese watch brand was largely responsible for the decline of Swiss watchmaking at the turn of the century, after its quartz watches flooded (and almost drowned) a market still focused on mechanics. The brand remains focused on technology; he was the originator of the world’s first solar-powered GPS watch as well as a dual time zone watch that is kept accurate in two time zones by aerial satellites. Traditionalists should look to its brother Grand Seiko. It makes unparalleled automatic watches from in-house movements and, since it has only been available outside of Japan since 2011, is ideal for those who go against the crowds.
Detroit’s tragic decline from industrial powerhouse to ghost town over the past three decades has taken its toll on its residents. But from the ashes sprang a glimmer of manufacturing light. Shinola first gained fame for its watches, which are made by workers who lost their jobs when the auto industry died, but has since branched out into bicycles and leather goods. Think about traditional pieces with a strong “Made in USA” accent (albeit with Swiss guts) and that’s what you get.
Imagine Scandinavian design and the mind turns to minimalism and affordability. The Stockholm Triwa rivals the former with a huge range of hipster watches that span the gamut from white face two hand chronographs to blingy gold plated chronographs. He does take the latter into account, however, with models of steel bracelets falling around £ 150. We especially love the brand’s eye-catching leather bracelets, which allow you to change up your look inexpensively and will age with wear and tear to add personality to your wrist.
You can covet that Rolex or that Patek, but you don’t have to pay huge sums of money to make a horological statement. By thinking outside of the big brands, you can get more for your money, with hipster bragging points. Take AVI-8; the watch brand produces aviation-inspired timepieces with meticulous attention to detail and eye-catching designs. With six strong collections, a plethora of accessories and novelties available online, it is the easiest way to quickly build a watch wardrobe.
Skagen takes its name from the northernmost town in Denmark, which juts out into the North Sea at the tip of a narrow peninsula. The brand’s designs are obviously Scandinavian – think clean-lined faces and brushed metals – but also slightly on-trend. Every year, you will find all the major Baselworld trends in the brand’s collection, from titanium cases and mesh bracelets to blue dials and black sunray dials. With prices mostly in the mid £ 100, Skagen offers a user-friendly way to delve into the hipster watch styles on point.
Despite a rich history spanning over 150 years and including work with Bauhaus legend Max Bill, Germany’s greatest watchmaker often receives little attention on these shores. Much more fool us, because it produces minimalist automatics at competitive prices – which makes them ideal for the guy looking to buy his first “correct” watch. And due to the aesthetic that has barely changed over the past 50 years, you can be sure that any investment will still be worthwhile when you decide to expand your collection.
Born out of the idea of Jake Kassan and Kramer LaPlante, 22-year-old college dropouts, MVMT (pronounced “movement”) began life on the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform in 2013. Thanks to stylish and hassle-free watches made too As affordable as possible, the hipster watch brand surpassed its target by nearly 1,500% and quickly established itself as one of the fastest growing names in watchmaking in the world. Today, that takes the form of watches constructed from the same high-end materials as brands in the mid-hundreds, but for the price of an evening.
Best known for its jewelry, Danish company Georg Jensen also makes beautiful watches powered by Swiss automatic movements. His timepieces are as simple as possible; delicate hands against white dials, broken in some models with a tiny date window or power reserve. The brand’s watches are best paired with a turtleneck, chunky-rimmed glasses, and the corner desk of a large architectural firm.
Young Belgian brand Komono produces beautiful sunglasses as well as hipster watches, with its product line linked by an emphasis on classic designs made from quality materials (without the accompanying price tags). The brand’s bracelets are known for their eye-catching colors, from all-scarlet cases and dials to more subtle white faces on trendy bracelets. Buying a Komono design is the easy way to add a touch of interest to an outfit, at prices that sure won’t break the bank.
Customizable watches are nothing new – after all, changing bands is the easiest way to keep a watch cool, but Objest takes that idea to a whole new level. Designed in London in collaboration with world-class Swiss watchmakers, customers can customize almost any visible feature, including the dial, hour, minute and second hands, rotor, hardware, date window and bracelets, offering more than a million possible models. Add to that subtle details like a hatch patterned dial that doubles as an hour marker and you’ve got the watch of choice for design lovers.
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