This past weekend, we had the pleasure of attending the 2013 WatchBuys Road Show where we got our hands on a wide selection of beautiful German timepieces from larger brands like Sinn, to one-off masterpieces like the BenzingerOne. As many of you already know, WatchBuys is a direct-to-customer American distributor for many German watch brands such as Sinn and Nomos Glashutte. There are outstanding “deals” to be found on WatchBuys.com, but not because these watches are being offered at a discount. Rather, since WatchBuys is technically serving as a distributor or direct importer, rather than retailer, the usual retail markup that one pays when they buy a watch at a chain store or jeweler isn’t included. In other words, that Sinn U1 you’ve been coveting for so long wouldn’t cost $2,000 at Macy’s…try three times that amount.
It also happens to be the case that a number of the watches WatchBuys carries aren’t typically available in your local watch store. So, WatchBuys will occasionally hold a national Road Show where they go across the United States, meeting their customers face-to-face and showing-off ome of their collection. Robert Hickson, owner of WatchBuys was nice enough to spend some time with us at the Road Show in Manhattan on April 6th, walking us through the many pieces they sell. Here are some of our favorites.
Sinn 103 Ti TESTAF
Sinn is the first watch brand to release timepieces with a newly developed technical standard for aviator watches, TESTAF. Developed by Lothar Schmidt, Managing Director and owner of Sinn, and Dr. Frank Janser, a professor of the Aerospace Technology School at the Aachen University of Applied Sciences, the TESTAF standard is intended to be the hallmark for aviator watches capable of meeting all standards for practical use by pilots. The 103 Ti TESTAF is faithful to the 103 line, with a bead blasted titanium case, unique orange hands and is powered by a Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph. In addition to the 103, Sinn has produced a TESTAF certified version of the EZM 10.
Bruno Sohnle Mechanik Series
The Mechankik Series of Bruno Sohnle timepieces are new to the WatchBuys lineup, and mark yet another brand with a remarkable value proposition. From the WatchBuys website “This movement is built and finished in the style of early Glashutte pocket watches, and carries forward traditions in German watchmaking that date back hundreds of years. This type of finish is unique to watches built in east Germany.” The finishing on all of the pieces from this Series that we saw at the Road Show was superb, and the decoration on the movements inside were absolutely stunning. Best of all, these pieces range from just $2,160 to $2,870.
The MeisterSinger Neo immediately caught our attention. Petite at just 36mm, the Neo features a striking design that perfectly pairs the classic with the contemporary. A simple, uncluttered dial with classicly styled arabic numerals and acrylic crystal provide the Neo with timeless appeal. Meanwhile, the inclusion of a contrasting date indicator and sharp needle hand typical to the MeisterSinger line give the Neo a modern spin. At $990, the Neo is a value given its truly unique design and superb finishing. Needless to say, it was a pleasure to see in person.
Probably the crowning jewel of the WatchBuys Road Show, the BenzingerOne stands out as a truly one-of-a-kind piece that, despite carrying a price tag of over $20,000, is well worth every penny. The product of Jochen Benzinger, master engraver, and Hermann Grieb, master watchmaker, the BenzingerOne is a marvel to look at and features a restored Vacheron Constantin Maltese Cross Regulator movement that you won’t see anywhere else. The care and precision that went into the hand engraving of this piece is almost unbelievable. It’s truly a piece of art, and we couldn’t be happier to have been able to handle it. This piece is exclusive to WatchBuys, and will be the first in a series of one-of-one pieces released by the duo of Benzinger and Grieb.
The WatchBuys Road Show is still taking place and may be coming to a city near you. For more information about the Road Shows or any of the watches mentioned above, check out WatchBuys.com.