Five more watch brands you need to know

by Lewis Butterfield
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Recently we published a list of watch brands you need to know, but have probably never heard of. Well, due to an influx of requests for a follow up to that article, we’re back with some truly special watch manufacturers we at Watchadvice believe you really need to be following.

The next five watch makers listed below, feature some of the most intricate and exceptional handcrafted watchmaking in the world. Of course, with such intricacies one should expect a hefty price tag, but stick around for the final entry for a very pleasant surprise. 

Speake-Marin

Peter Speake-Marin is one of Great Britains finest watch makers, in 2002 he created a brand named “Belle Horlogerie” with a vision of creating truly unique timepieces for a sophisticated collector. In 2012 the brand took on a significant investment and became “Speake-Marin”, with the acquisition of a new workshop dedicated to movement manufacturing, the company has been producing some fantastically intricate designs.

Today, all Speake-Marin watches are equipped with these in-house calibres. Being inspired by modern architecture and design, the brand also modernized the Speake-Marin look, reflected today in the contemporary design of its movements and dials combined with its distinctive timeless case. The same case houses all watches of the collection and is called “Piccadilly” as a homage to the British brand heritage.

Producing a wide range of watches, the brand offers a relatively under the radar, classically designed ‘Academic’ model, through to Haute Horology pieces which include double vertical Tourbillion’s, open worked dual time complications, and an “Art” series that is genuinely breathtaking. 

Laurent Ferrier

The son and grandson of watchmakers, Laurent Ferrier, the emblematic figure of the brand that bears his name, is profoundly attached to the excellence of traditional watchmaking crafts. This is a man producing timepieces that far exceed the quality of his peers in the marketplace. Taking care to treat each element of his watches with the utmost respect, and the greatest levels of care and consideration.

A winner of the GPHG prize, Laurent Ferrier is home to five model lines, the classic, Ecole, square, grand sport, and the bridge.

Laurent Ferrier is the type of brand who builds a class leading sports watch, with a tourbillion, then hides it in the back for just the owner to enjoy. This is a brand with every bit of technical and design prowess a brand could ever hope for. 

Ophion

A brand that prides itself on small batch production, with high levels of precision, Ophion represent an incredible level of value in the independent watch making space. 

At first sight it is clear that the brand has been heavily inspired by the ‘Art deco’ movement, with their signature teardrop lugs and bold hand set. 

A closer inspection reveals that those teardrop lugs are individually, and invisibly welded to the case, a skill reserved for only the very best case makers in horology. 

Ophion offer three lines, each with their own take on the same overarching principals of design. The brand also offers just one movement, which of course is completely hand finished and assembled. 

Here we see symmetrical design and independent bridges, shaping the movements using a historical philosophy rooted in the beauty of hand craftsmanship.

At Ophion decoration follows the aesthetics of an era since past, the hand hammered finish simulates the mercury evaporation originally used back in that era, the heyday of bespoke pocket watches. 

Kudoke

Kudoke creates unique pieces of mechanical art. They create one-of-a-kind mechanical masterpieces, combining distinctive craftsmanship and the power of the imagination of master watchmaker and GPHG laureate Stefan Kudoke.

Focusing on pure watchmaking, the brand offers two pieces which are tailored towards more conventional tastes, the Kudoke 1 and the Kudoke 2. 

These are exceptionally well crafted wristwatches, their simplicity and elegance is undeniable. The calibre inside, an in house movement showcases that sometimes less, is more.

However, if you come for Kudoke, the Kunstwerk collection is the real prize. The German term “Kunstwerk” means “Work of Art.” This collection constitutes the brands artistic flights of hand skeletonized and engraved mechanical art. The beauty of these pieces is in the discovery of the underlying mechanical movement – wheels, springs, levers, all visible through the skeletonized plate and bridges.

Ketelaars

Ketelaars is a one-man operation, headed by its founder and name sake a young and talented watchmaker, Stefan Ketelaars.

Stefan is taking ETA movements and completely hand finishing and redesigning them for his unique creations. Specialising in dial side balance wheels and planetary complications, he is producing some of the most intriguing products on the market.

His use of three-dimensional pace and dial decorations is something not seen to this standard in prices topping six figures. Stefan is able to produce hand crafted watches with dial side escapements for under $7000AUD.

His Terra Luna model, inspired by time, the motion of the earth and the moon, features four elements. The balance wheel that shows the motion of time, the flying regulator sub dial, a moon phase and a 24h earth regulator.

All for approximately $13,000AUD. The price of a time only Rolex Submariner.

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