Having trouble finding the perfect dress watch? Design your dream watch with the help of this Singaporean watchmaking start-up
If you’re particular about watches, you’ve almost certainly been in a situation where you’ve found your almost perfect watch. The case and dial might be the perfect size and colour, but perhaps the indices and hands just aren’t quite your taste. If you’ve found yourself in a situation like this, the simplest solution might be to simply have one custom-made. So if you’re after a truly bespoke timepiece made exactly the way you want it, I’d point you in the direction of Schaffen.
What is Schaffen?
The Singaporean start-up, founded by brothers Nicholas and Jonathan, was conceived after the brothers found themselves in the aforementioned situation. As such, they went on to design and build their own wristwatch for their father, and included his name signed on the dial.That experience led to the creation of Schaffen and its offering of custom-made dress watches; designing the watch is done through a simple interface on the Schaffen website.
Customising your watch
Schaffen was kind enough to offer me a review piece, one that I customised myself, of course. The process begins with buyers selecting a size (35mm or 40mm) and an optional signature on the dial and the caseback. Instead of the signature on the caseback, you can opt for an engraved caseback featuring the Marina Bay skyline or a limited edition geometric lion design by Philippines-based illustrator, Kerby Rosanes. The buyer then selects a dial, markers (Arabic, numerical, or applique), hands, and finally a strap – the end product being a completely unique watch, all for the price of just $300.
It’s all in the details
While the process of designing your own watch is a fun one, how does the end product hold up? The first thing I noticed was the beautifully designed slab case. Its static bezel is polished to a mirror shine, while the lugs and side of the case are bead-blasted to a matte finish. The standout feature of the watch is its beautiful sunburst dial that’s sure to attract glances. The printing on the dial, including my signature, is sharp, precise and lightly textured. At the heart of the watch, you’ll find a Swiss-made Ronda Caliber 762 Quartz movement. While there’s nothing exciting about this movement, it is a rather robust design that offers a 10 year battery life.
Despite the pedestrian quartz movement at its heart, the watch offers some features that aren’t all too common at its $300 price point. The watch sports a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that should prove more than enough for the trials of daily life (unless you’re a welder or an engineer of an oil rig). Its second rather surprising feature is a full-grain calf leather strap. At this price point, I’d almost be willing to forgive a genuine leather strap.
Perhaps my only disappointment with the watch is the colouring of the blue hands (buyers can also opt for black or silver). In regular indoor lighting, the hands appear almost black. In bright daylight, however, the hands show a dark blue hue that lacks the lustre of Seiko and Orient watches in the same price point. But this appears to be a side-effect of electroplating rather than painting the hands blue.
A watch worthy for any collection
But despite the slightly dull hands, I’m very happy with my timepiece. While its understated good looks and high quality workmanship will make it stand out in any watch collection, Schaffen’s true value is in its customisation options that empower the buyer to create his dream timepiece.
Customise and order your Schaffen watch online here.
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