Today, I had the pleasure of being invited by De Time Pte Ltd again, to share a type of timepiece that never got my attention: Skeleton watch. The watch that bares it all and shows you everything. Even her inner soul.

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I have always been a straight opaque dial, 3-hands,time-only-watch guy. Anything out of this perimeter would be considered exciting to me. The Skeleton watch…well…yeah, it’s a 3-hands-time-only watch, but the “openness” clouds the aesthetics of the watch, and may look busy to some, including me initially. At least until this review.
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De Time Pte Ltd is very proud to be the sole retailer for Aerowatch in Singapore. Although they (Aerowatch) have just begun their expedition to make their name known in Asia, they have a long history since 1910. That’s 116 years.

For any company who can survived two World Wars and the Quartz Crisis deserves my utmost admiration and respect. On top of that, Aerowatch is independent and family owned; another thumbs up in my books.

Aerowatch’s collection is ginormous, and it will take a whole boutique to fill up their full collection. Please visit their website to see their full catalogue here: http://www.aerowatch.com/
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De Time Pte Ltd has specifically only brought in their Big Mechanical Skeleton series under their Renaissance collection. Today, I will be reviewing on their Stainless Steel Big Mechanical Skeleton (SSBMS) reference: 50931 AA01. Here’s the technical specifications taken from their official website:

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

Reference: 50931 AA01
Movement: Hand-winding 16 1/2 Unitas 6497-1, 17 jewels. Skeleton movement with hand-made decoration.
Case: Steel polished, diameter 45.00 mm, domed sapphire crystal, transparent case back, water-resistant at 50 meters.
Dimension: Horn-gap 22.00 mm, total height 11.70 mm.
Dial: Silvered circular ring
Leather strap: Café leather 22.00 mm, engraved folding clasp.

Disclaimer: For courtesy and hygiene reasons, I am reviewing this beautiful time piece with a leather strap from my own collection. It’s a NYH strap, also available at De Time Pte Ltd. Now, on with the review.
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What I like about the watch:

The Size: 45mm in diameter would not be a common size for a dress watch. The largeness of the helps the SSBMS stands out distinctly. Perhaps it’s a constraint of the size of the movement, but it worked out very classily without looking clumsy or sticking out.

The movement: I was a little concern about the origin of Aerowatch’s claim of using the Unitas 6497 at first, as there was no “Swiss Made 17 Jewel” engraved anywhere on the movement. There are so many Asian Unitas 6497 copies in the market, some also very beautifully decorated. This has initially given me the wrong impression, but…here’s the official respond from Aerowatch to clear my doubt:

“… trust the origin of the movement. We are Swiss family owned company and don’t use any copies movements. The Swiss made is indicated on the dial ring. We didn’t engrave Swiss Made on the movement because it wouldn’t look nice with the pattern and we simply don’t have enough space. Those movement are completely decorated and assembled in our factory, their accuracy are excellent.”

‘Nuff said. Aerowatch’s Unitas 6497 are all legit.

Unitas 6497 is the industry-standard for handwinding movement now. It’s reliable, robust, accurate and easily serviceable. That’s what I call a peace of mind.
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What I like about the watch (continue):

The Chapter Ring: Very subtly circling underneath the Sapphire Crystal, the chapter ring is matt, with Aerowatch’s brand on the 12 O’clock position and “Swiss Made” on the 6. A quiet joy to admire in your quiet time while having a meal on your own or working in front of a desk top.

The Blue Lollipop hands: It could be any color or any shape; but I have weakness for blue hands and the lollipop does give the Breguet feel to it. Mr. Napoleon, this one goes out to you.

Hand engraved decorated movement: I am very sure that my photos do not do full justice to the handwork of the watch maker; my apologies for that. Painstaking, endearing and delicate. One must admire the SSBMS, not only as a timepiece, but also work of art and patience.

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What I like about the watch (Continue):

The ticking of the movement: The spring (at the 11 O’Clock) and the gear (10 O’clock) paints an irony in a philosophical way. While the spring is tirelessly and quickly oscillating, but the gear ticks one beat at a time. It gives me a reminder how time moves so quickly, but it’s also important to take one step at a time. A poignant reminder to all of us that time not only must be spent effectively, but also leisurely.

The winding of the crown: Hearing the movement clicks while winding the SSBSM just brings me back to the origin of the wristwatch, a time where before Automatic watches and Quartz watches were invented. Besides the sundial, gnomon or hydro-clocks and other Renaissance era engineering, winding up a watch is as retro as it gets in the 21st century.

Regular watch wearers may find the process of winding an inconvenience, but should not be so. Winding up a watch a critical part of a horology admiring lifestyle. I am 97% sure that some of you might disagree with me, but I am 100% that I am certain that this is a joy to me.

The skeleton feature: Can you imagine if Einstein’s head is transparent when he was alive? Doctors and scientists can finally see what is going inside a genius’s mind. The Aerowatch’s SSBMS bears it all and show it all. It’s like an exclusive private invitation to the mind of Einstein. The SSBMS has nothing to hide but all to show her glorious and the genius of the world of horology.
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What I think the watch can improve on:

The crown: It is plain and unsigned. I hope Aerowatch can consider completing the triple-signed standards for this beautiful timepiece for their future batches.

The casing: The casing is highly polished, but finger prints/marks are easily stained. I would have imagined desk diving hairline scratches would quickly catch on if the wearer is not careful. My personal preference would be a brush steel finishing.

The original leather Strap: The original leather strap that came with it was rather underwhelming. It was thin and it does not feel luxurious enough to match the overall quality of the watch. 

 
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What I think the watch can improve on:

The price point: At a similar price point, a seasoned or experience watch collector would be open to a wide array of Swiss Made watches with stronger branding By topping up just a little more, acquiring a high end Swiss vintage timepiece with a stronger resale value would be plausible as well.

When a watch admirer/collector/trader acquires a timepiece, the story and the romance of the brand is highly critical. This would translate into value of the watch and even affect the demand and supply. Despite their history over a hundred years, Aerowatch’s story does not move or compel me purchase their timepiece in an impulse, unfortunately.

While marketing efforts in another culture takes time to build, Aerowatch can perhaps consider strengthening their customer service and buying experience in the meantime. No one wins in a price war. So instead of price matching or having deeper discounts, meaningful add-ons such as such as additional straps, extended warranty after registering Aerowatch time piece online, or a personal “thank you” note from the CEO after a purchase, are just some of the examples that some brands are practicing.
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Conclusion: The SSBMS is fine and handsome timepiece suitable for important and serious occasion, with excellent attention to details and equipped with a reliable industry standard hand-winding movement.

I say this all the time “The watch only stands 5% and the rest of the 95% goes to the confidence of the wearer”. I wouldn’t wear the Aerowatch SSBMS watch to the beach with my shorts and slippers personally, but who knows? Some would.

It is undeniable that the Aerowatch SSBMS is simply a piece of art, and a very sexy tool as a conversation breaker in any occasion. Yes, even by the beach. In shorts and slippers. For some. But not me.

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Additional notes: The NYH leather strap on the Aerowatch SSBMS is nourished by Strap Shine by Dicon. To find out how you can make your brand new leather straps feel supple and conditioned before wearing it for the first time, please click on http://www.leather-care.sg/watch-care/ or write to us at hello@jaspe.com.sg for more information.
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Special thanks to Mr. Keven Chua and Russell for inviting me to review the Aerowatch SSBSM. She retails for SGD 2,880 and the NYH Leather strap at SGD60. You can find the rest of Big Skeleton Mechanical series and a strong collection of NYH Leather Straps at De Time Pte Ltd 6 Eu Tong Sen Street Clarke Quay @ The Central #01-37 Singapore 059817 Tel: 6221 1788

 

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Thank you for taking time to read the review, until next time please remember to be kind to one another. Blessed wishes in this season of giving.