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Four cool, affordable watches for 2021

You don’t have to spend crazy money to buy a neat watch. Meet anOrdain, Unimatic, Undone and BWC

December 26, 2020 / 12:56 PM IST

The pandemic hasn’t stopped boutique watch brands from mushrooming all over the place, or from launching new collections. Of course, while not all of them make the cut, there are a few that stand out. Here, we present a Scottish brand that does amazing enamel dials; a hip HK watchmaker that offers a plethora of customisations; an Indian boutique brand’s cricket-inspired collection, and an Italian microbrand’s unique take on dive watches.


Watches with enamel dials are usually the preserve of high end watchmakers such as Ulysse Nardin, which owns Donze Cadran, a Le Locle-based firm that also creates enamel dials for other luxury watchmakers. But you don’t really have to spend crazy money to acquire a watch with a perfectly finished enamel dial. For the last couple of years, a tiny Scotland-based manufacturer has been producing affordable timepieces with gorgeous enamel dials.


anOrdain, whose range starts at about Rs 93,000, was set up by designer and entrepreneur Lewis Heath, who was also the co-founder of headphone maker RHA. anOrdain’s smoky dials come in a spectrum of colours, and the watchmaker offers two collections: Model 1 and Model 2. The watches are powered by a Sellita movement; the hands are heat-treated; and the numerals and indices are inspired by cartographic maps of the Scottish Highlands.



Before he launched his hip new watch brand in 2016, Undone co-fonder Michael Young was a well regarded vintage Rolex restorer. The Hong Kong-based company was launched on global crowdfunding platform Kickstarter in 2016, and has since then attracted attention for not just its decidedly cool collection of watches, but also for the customisation options it offers.


Now, while the standard Undone collections, specifically the vintage and minimalist range, are both well-made and excellently designed, the watchmaker also offers a plethora of customisation options online. Buyers can completely customise their watch, from the dial and the case to the movement, hour and minutes hands, and the caseback, among others. Undone sources movements from Seiko for its watches (quartz and automatic), and the timepieces come with a 12-month warranty. The Undone range starts at about Rs 18,000. 

Bangalore Watch Company

If you are curious about watches, you’d have heard of Bangalore Watch Company, India’s first boutique watchmaker. BWC, launched by husband-wife duo Nrupesh Joshi and Mercy Amalraj, started off a couple of years ago with the understated Renaissance Automatic collection, a kind of hat-tip to HMT. This was followed by the impressive Mach 1 pilot watch range last year, which included the Mach 1X that featured dials made out of the skin of a MiG 21. Earlier this month, BWC launched Cover Drive, a line of automatic watches that is inspired by the game of cricket. Cricket-inspired design cues on the watches include the primary 12 O’clock marker that is shaped like the wicket, and the seconds hand that takes the form of a bat.

Bangalore Watch Company Cover Drive range

The Cover Drive range also comes with a mechanism that allows the wear to track elapsed 50 overs, or 20 overs. The collection consists of three watches: the Outfield, which sports a green dial; the Pitch, which has a pale brown dial, and the Pavilion with a matte black dial. The watches are powered by Swiss Automatic movements and their cases are made of surgical-grade steel. 


Milan-based Unimatic probably makes the best — and affordable — tool watches on the planet. Founded by industrial designers Giovanni Moro and Simone Nunziato in 2015, the brand makes just about 3,000 watches a year, but several of them have been best-sellers. Credit for their popularity goes to their minimalistic take on vintage divers and automatic calibers sourced from Seiko.

Modello Due

Their Modello Due field watch, which comes with an RAF grey dial that complements black-coated and  two-piece nylon strap, is a beauty.
Murali K Menon works on content strategy at HaymarketSAC.
first published: Dec 26, 2020 10:58 am
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