Usually, on Monochrome, we’re all about the beauty of high-end watches. We love them and we know you love them too. However, we’re also fully aware that not all collectors can afford the watches we cover. So, from time to time, we like to look at more accessible pieces, although ones that we believe are good enough in terms of style and quality. One such watch is the Vario Eclipse, an affordable (properly affordable) hand-wound and dressy watch with some rather cool vintage design features, original straps, and surprisingly designed in Singapore.
Just because we sometimes cover accessible watches does not mean that we are downgrading our usual policy; the watches we cover here on Monochrome are mechanical ones only and they must be on par with our usual style and quality standards. Of course, we can’t expect the same level of details in a watch priced below $300 (yes, the watch you look at is now available for $268, the usual price of designer’s quartz watches you can find in department stores) than from a $5,000 watch. We have to put things in perspective, however, when you think about it, such watches may be priced over 10 times lower, do they offer 10 times less pleasure? Let’s find out.
The Vario Eclipse Watch is a nicely designed, slightly vintage-inspired piece with reasonable diameter, a hand-wound movement (nothing fancy technically-speaking, but indeed, rare in this price range), and which features several pleasant design details. The watch has been created in Singapore, a country where you usually find more collectors than watch brands… However, that being said, they do seem to know how to shape a watch. The case is made of 316L stainless steel, with balanced proportions. It measures 38mm in diameter and 11mm in height (crystal included), meaning that it not only looks good on most men’s wrists – and could even work as a dressy watch – but it can also be fitted on young ladies’ wrist – we all know the concept of the boyfriend’s watch…
The case is simple, with a pleasing smooth shape, a thin bezel opening on a large dial, narrow lugs to keep things elegant, and fully polished throughout, just for the extra shine. Overall, there’s nothing extraordinary in this watch, however considering the price level, it feels qualitative. There’s not much difference here between this watch and some “Swiss-Made” watches with a retail price close to $1,000. When you put the price tag in perspective, you understand that you have a very decent package for what you paid.
The dial of the Vario Eclipse Watch is in the same vein: simple, legible, quite elegant and slightly vintage-inspired. It is available in various colours, ranging from the present black to dark grey, emerald blue, silver, ruby red or light topaz blue – see the different options here. All the dials feature a subtle sun-ray brushed pattern, offering nice reflection and texture. Also, the dial is curved on the periphery (very 1960s-inspired) adding a lot to the way the watch reflects the light. This domed dial brings a nice qualitative feel too. The display remains classical, and just like its style, quite vintage: thin baton hands, discreet minute and hour indexes, no date window.
One nice feature is the strap, made in an original material, some Harris Tweed fabrics (Harris Tweed was a popular handwoven fabric in the 60s), quite in line with the overall look of the watch. Available in several patterns and colours, it adds charm to the watch. The strap on the watch we had for this article appeared to be rather stiff at first, but it gained in suppleness after a few hours on the wrist (more styles are available on the brand’s website, and these traps are priced at $30).
Inside the Vario Eclipse Watch is a hand-wound movement, something that is not particularly common in this price range – where we usually find automatic Miyota or Seiko movements. Here, Vario went for a movement that suits the overall 1960s concept, bringing back the pleasure of winding the watch in the morning (a sort of ritual…) The movement is a Miyota 6T33, with 4Hz frequency, 17 jewels and 40h power reserve. The movement is hidden behind a plain caseback, a wise choice knowing that these entry-level movements are not the most appealing in terms of finishing. (note: a quartz version also exists, however, a surprising one, as it features a sweeping second and not a second hand that jumps once per second).
The Vario Eclipse Watch is overall a pleasant watch, with a nice and elegant design. Considering the price it comes for, it becomes even more interesting. It allows access to mechanical watches and an original design for an accessible price. In fact, there’s not much to complain here. Details can be found here, as well as pre-orders.
Technical Specifications – Vario Eclipse Watch
- Case: 38mm diameter x 11mm height – stainless steel, polished – sapphire crystal on the dial side – 50m water resistant
- Movement: Miyota 6T33 – hand-wound – 4Hz frequency – 17 jewels – 40h power reserve – hours, minutes, seconds
- Strap: Harris Tweed in various colours, steel pin buckle
- Price: $268