Over the last couple of weeks, I spent a lot of time scouring the web learning about the watch that recently caught my attention. At the same time, I tried many times to justify my eventual purchase since I already own a Tissot Visodate automatic. I love that watch. I bought it 6 years ago and although it no longer became my daily watch after it was replaced by the Apple Watch, it still works flawlessly. Such is the beauty of mechanical watches. If you take care of them well, a good mechanical watch is practically forever.
So it became very hard to justify the need to get a second one. Am I going to start a new watch-collecting hobby? Will I go crazy and blow my budget over watches in the future? Do I have a collecting strategy as most watch collectors recommend when choosing the watches to buy and enjoy, especially when you’re on a budget? Answers to these questions are still in a constant state of flux. I am still figuring it out. However, after reading a lot more about the world of horology (and updating my knowledge about that world after my last purchase 6 years ago), I may have a watch collection strategy that I can confidently stick to. It is a strategy that will take many years as I slowly (but surely) amass my watch collection.
But enough of that. Let’s get to the good stuff.
For several years, I have already toyed with the idea of getting a second mechanical watch. The first one, the Tissot Visodate, bought 6 years ago has sentimental value. I bought it on my first bonus paycheck, on my first full-time job upon graduation from university. In other words, buying that watch held meaning. It was a moment to celebrate a major milestone in my life. I bought it for around $800 at that time. It was a substantial purchase but well worth it as that watch has always been touted as the best entry watch into the world of mechanical Swiss-made watches. It is dressy, it is elegant, has a strong design heritage that reflects the Tissot brand, and last but not least, has a day-date complication all for under $1000. Tissot is under The Swatch Group, which also owns the ETA movement, and the Tissot Visodate uses a reliable ETA movement.
The second watch which I am about to buy will mark a second major milestone in my life. Turning 35 and being able to purchase a home.
This year in 2022 I am well on my way to kickstarting my process of buying a house that I can call home. And I think the second watch will mark this occasion.
This second watch is from a small German watchmaker, Múhle Glashutte. One of their watches, the Terrasport II, recently caught my eye.
It is a pilot watch, plain and simple. Also known as a Flieger watch, it is worn by pilots to read the time quickly through its simplistic and highly legible design. Big numbers, clear second, minute and hour hands. The pilot watch has become a mainstay in the world of horology, with many big brands producing similar designs (some with modern re-interpretation as to what defines a pilot watch) such as Stowa, Hamilton, IWC, Sinn, and Laco just to name a few.
For many years while reading up on Swiss watches, I was always drawn to the IWC watch Pilot Automatic Spitfire. The Automatic Spitfire is a very elegant watch that includes a textile strap. But it is too expensive for me. Costing about $7500 for a watch, is well beyond my reach. It does not even have a crystal sapphire case backing for me to admire the watch complication from within.
So I settled on an alternative. Remarkably, the design from Múhle’s Terrasport II is almost similar to IWC’s spitfire, all for around $2000. That is practically more than 3 times cheaper than the alternative.
To IWC’s credit, they have their own in-house movement including their watches, so I’m guessing most parts are made and assembled in-house. The power of the brand including its reputable Swiss brand allows them to command a price premium. But despite all that I am still happ0y getting Múhle’s version because it is so strikingly similar for just a fraction of the cost.
What makes Múhle’s Terrasport II so much cheaper is that first, they used a Selita movement. Selita is a competitor to the ETA movement and is considered another big player in providing various complications to several watchmakers. And Múhle, despite a long history as a German company, did not initially make watches in the beginning. And so their history behind watchmaking is more recent than the powerhouses of Swiss watch brands like IWC. What they lack in history, however, they made it up in terms of workmanship, innovative engineering, and reliability.
Despite using a Selita movement, they took the effort to modify it heavily to give it a distinctive mark that is uniquely Múhle Glashutte. They incorporated various unique design elements in the movement that can only be found within the company’s watches. While at its core the movement is by Selita, they made it even better and gave it a Múhle signature.
I took my time researching to look for a reputable online vendor that sells the Terrasport II. I wanted to try my luck if any online authorised resellers selling watches from Múhle would sell below the recommended retail price.
I came across First Class Watches, an online watch store that happened to sell the Terrasport II. They were selling slightly below RRP, with free air shipping with the added convenience of paying any customs duties in advance when shipping the item to Singapore.
I was even luckier when I stumbled on a discount code that gave me a 15% discount on my online purchase. And the discount code actually worked! With the discount and free shipping, I saved close to a total of $500 as compared to buying the watch from the Múhle itself.
I have never bought anything from First Class Watches before but my research tells me that it seems to be a legitimate business. I am still taking a risk. I don’t know the condition of the watch when it arrives soon. I am very confident that it is an original watch, brand new and with an original 2-year manufacturer’s warranty. I guess time will tell. If the buying experience is smooth sailing till the end, and the watch that they shipped is pristine and new, saving $500 was well worth the risk.
Now that I have the classic dress watch from Tissot, I am excited to include a Pilot watch in my growing collection.
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