I know I’ve preached a million times, on- and offline, about the necessity for us men to only put our money in high-end timepieces because really, other than sports cars and clothes, there’s not really much out there that us guys can indulge our dirhams in. Women have their diamonds and Cartier love bracelets and Bvlgari B.zero1’s among other things, and we have just these ticking wristwatches to keep ourselves happy.
I’ve always recommended people to go for whatever their money can buy as long as it’s Swiss-made, automatic, and bears a marque that has a minimum 100-year history, so you know you’re investing in a heritage of fine watchmaking. I’ve advocated going the vintage route for those who can’t quite stomach plopping down AED 40,000 for a simple Date Just (guys, if you’re thinking of Rolex, don’t even consider the Air King for goodness’ sake). It’s all well and good, but I’ve forgotten that having solid everyday watch that doesn’t come with a five-digit price tag is just as important as growing your luxury timepiece collection. Here are a few reasons.
First of all, it doesn’t make sense to have only one expensive watch to wear everyday. No matter how pretty you think that AP Royal Oak on your wrist is, you will eventually get tired of it. You need variety in your life. Second, your pricey watch cannot take the stresses of daily wear, they’re best kept for important occasions. Actually, with the sophisticated watchmaking techniques used in manufacturing these pieces, they probably could, but you certainly cannot take seeing the effects of wear and tear eat away slowly at your prized possessions. Third, it’s not the best of ideas to wear a watch that could spell the end of you. We travel to weird places all the time, and while we take for granted the level of safety that we enjoy in the UAE, it’s perhaps a stretch to expect the same in other countries. Maybe you’ll survive a mugging and being held at gunpoint, but I would end up in a mental institution if I were ever coerced into giving away a V Acheron I owned. As a case in point, I decided on wearing a simple Tag Heuer 4000 on a recent trip to Rome, because I’d heard so many horror stories about petty criminals victimizing tourists in the city that I just didn’t want to risk it.
With these in mind, I went on a quest to find an everyday watch. Even with a lower budget, I wanted this watch to be sturdy and well-made, something that can withstand banging against the wall every now and then, because, trust me, these things tend to happen no matter how careful you are. I wanted it to have an automatic movement as well; I cannot bear looking at that annoying quartz tick. I wanted a piece that communicates quality – you’d be surprised you can still get such a thing without having to take a loan on a watch! I had my requirements set, now all I had to do was ask around and look around to find a winner.
My friends at All About Watches, a multi-brand retail concept carrying over 35 labels with stores across the GCC, recently introduced me to Alexandre Christie. It’s not the most popular watch brand here, but I’ve heard it’s catching on pretty quick among local shoppers. This exercise wasn’t about being a watch snob anyway as I was looking for something to wear on a daily basis.
Alexandre Christie at All About Watches
After a quick look at the collection, which ranges from simple quartz dress watches to more outlandish designs with multiple complications, I could understand why the brand quickly established a foothold on the market. The workmanship on the pieces are quite good. The watches are hefty and solid, and there is nothing clunky or flimsy about them that you would normally expect from the relatively affordable entry point.
I ended up taking two pieces, both powered by reliable Japanese Miyota automatic movements that you can admire through the clear glass caseback. The dials of both watches feature a motorsport-inspired theme, with intricate work demonstrated by the details of the design. My first piece is what is matte, Batman-esque black that wraps all around the case, with brush metal accents, a pop of red here and there, and strong lume applied to the hour and minute hands. Featuring second and 24-hour complications, both styles feature a turbine that rotates to indicate the exact time down to the second – and I think this is what got me completely sold on the designs.
The second piece, while looking quite similar to the first, features more of an interesting mix between highly-polished and textured stainless steel on the case. The lines and curves of the case, together with the four screws on the corners of the face, form an X with the circular dial sitting right in the middle. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m an X-Men dork and I picked it up because it reminds me of the franchise every time I’m wearing it. It’s also a limited edition, with the unique serial number etched on the bottom of the face, so it’s definitely getting a permanent place in my collection! Side note: Don’t bother with the Apocalypse movie that opens today, though – it’s a complete joke!
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