The following three entry level watches are prime examples of what is possible, with a somewhat limited budget. All three are sub 2,000$, feature mechanical movements and fit perfectly together in a collection, as there is no overlap. You have the quintessential every day watch, the consummate sports watch and the intricate, yet subtle dress watch.
Introducing the Muhle Glashutte Terrasport Beobachter, the Anonimo Nautilo and the MeisterSinger Phanero. The Muhle represents a clean, easy to read, comfortable everyday watch. The Anonimo is obviously, a fun weekend / sports watch. Lastly, the MeisterSinger is a quirky, yet exquisite dress(ier) watch.
All thee feature stainless steel cases, with the Aninomo boasting a solid case back, which is screwed down, while the other two have display backs, which are held down my screws. The Anonimo features the greatest water resistance, with a rating of 200m. The Muhle is next with a rating of 50m water-resistance, while the svelte Meistersinger is rated to a “please don’t get me wet” 30m.
While both the Anonimo and Glashutte feature screw-down crowns, I would be quite hesitant to take the latter anywhere near a swimming pool or the beach. The Anonimo, on the other hand, could take anything you can throw at it. I know many will snarl at its meagre 200m rating, but I would easily trade 100m or more, to have a thinner watch on my wrist. As a result, despite its impressive girth, the Anonimo is comparatively slim and fits under cuffs with ease.
The Anonimo’s dial looks blue in most pictures due to the generous anti-reflective coating that is underneath its domed sapphire crystal. It is in fact black, with circular texture and applied markers. You can see design elements from the old Anonimo, but its revival has brought with it refreshing design elements, that bring the Nautilo into the 21st century. It is big and daring, but still subtle enough not to draw to much attention to itself. More of a “hum... hey, that watch looks interesting, let me ask him what it is” and less “whoa that is a monster watch, I could never pull it off." In keeping with design symmetry, this one features a date window at 6pm, which is my preferred position.
The diminutive MeisterSinger is no slouch in design symmetry. The dial is perfectly balanced and the blued steel applied hour numerals are exquisite. The latter paired with the LONE blued hand make this watch incredibly attractive and difficult to put down, partly because of to the learning curve of telling the time in such an unorthodox manner. Though the learning curve is somewhat steep, but once you get used to it, it is quite fun and a reminder that most daily time telling does not necessitate the knowledge of the seconds or even precise minutes. When I wear it and look down, I immediately feel less stressed.
Both the Muhle and Anonimo feature Sellita SW-200 movements (quality ETA clone), but Muhle adds a special woodpecker neck regulator system, a custom rotor, characteristic surface finishing and blued screws. The Anonimo does not feature a display back and my best guess is that the Sellita movement is pretty pedestrian looking inside. That said, both watches have been performing admirably and keep time within chronometer specks when worn.
Unlike the other two, the MeisterSinger features a manual wind Sellita SW-210 movement, which is very nicely decorated with Geneva waves and blued screws. Winding this one is pure joy, as the motion is ultra smooth and effortless. One of my biggest pet peeves over the years is seeing giant watches with exhibition case backs displaying tiny movements. At 35mm, this watch’s movement fits in there perfectly. Performance has been slightly better than the other two.
The Muhle is on a somewhat stiff buffalo strap, which did not take long to conform to my wrist, despite its thickness it has become extremely comfortable. I just wish the buckle would have been brushed stainless steel to match the rest of the watch.
The Anonimo is on a high-grade, great smelling, rubber strap, with equally impressive signature buckle. It is quite stiff and sharp and has yet to completely conformed to my wrist, but it still very wearable. The quality is remarkable and it feels extremely secure once strapped on. I would like Anonimo to eventually develop a stainless steel bracelet for this model, as I believe there would be a demand for it. I know I would certainly prefer it.
The MeisterSinger is on a dark brown suede strap, which is very supple and it conformed immediately to my wrist. It is thin and narrow, which compliments the watch very nicely and the buckle is polished, to match the entire design. This one would be fun to experiment with different straps. In fact, the MeisterSinger website has a tool to swap straps from alligator to stainless steel mesh and everything in between. Nice touch!
I have to admit, if I had to pick one favorite of the three, I would have a very hard time choosing. All three merit a place within a collection and just like I would not wear the Anonimo with a suit, I would not wear the MeisterSinger on a beach vacation. If you are looking at beginning a collection, I cannot see why these three would not make for a great start.
For more information on these models and others from these brands, click on the following links: