Rolex explorer 1

Behind Big Names And Under The Radar: Great Underdogs Of The Watch World

THM Desk
6 Sept 2022 |
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Any true watch enthusiast knows that the excellence of function, the execution of design, and the durability of the watch supersede fame and name. So, when it comes to the great underdog watches of these great leading watch brands, true watch aficionados will not be shy of adding them to their valued collection. There is something about watches that meet all expectations of excellence but are still living in the shadows that excite us to shed some light on them.

Panerai Radiomir Eilean (PAM01243)

A dive watch that intertwines rich nautical with comfort.

The matte patina-finished stainless steel case of the Panerai Radiomir Eilean (PAM01243) evokes feelings of nostalgia. The lines and edges of the cushion-shaped watch casing neatly mimic the smooth contour lines of the yacht's hull.

panerai radiomir eilean

The screw-down hexagonal caseback is finished in the same patina steel and stamped with "Eilean 1936," the design inspiration for the watch, and is surrounded by a nautical rope ornament etched with the name corresponding to the writing on the ship's boom.

The brown dial and patina steel case of the Panerai Radiomir Eilean is complemented by the strap, which is made of calf leather from Cuoio Toscano. The watch has a casual attitude that is perfect for lazy days spent taking in the seaside view thanks to its gentle tone and upscale comfort.

panerai radiomir caseback

Rolex Explorer 1

Rolex is known for some of the most extravagant and premium watches, however, some of the more adaptable ones fly right under the radar.

rolex explorer

The Rolex Explorer series is without a doubt the most versatile in the collection, making this creation excellent for daily use. In 2021, Rolex introduced the Explorer 1, which has a 36mm dial made of oyster steel and yellow gold. This watch is currently unknown to the majority of watch buyers—a treasure that will eventually be uncovered. This watch is ideal thanks to the addition of gold, Rolex's durability, and the straightforward yet stunning design.


In recent years, the watchmaking world has been obsessed with Bvlgari’s Octo Watches. However, this exquisite design and the dial have hidden behind the curtains for too long.

The BVLGARI BVLGARI Solotempo watch combines elegance with flawless function. The double logo, which drew its design inspiration from the curving letters on ancient Roman coins, still perfectly exemplifies Bvlgari's unrivaled capacity to weave its rich legacy into classic works of art. The watch pays attention to the original design while striking the perfect mix between creative imagination and memory by transforming the classic band into a modern rubber strap.

bvlgari solotempo

The côtes de Genève, chamfering, and snailed finishing of the BVL 191 - Solotempo caliber complement its mechanical manufacturing movement, automatic winding, and date. It boasts a 42-hour power reserve and a 41 mm stainless steel case that has been treated with black Diamond Like Carbon. It is secured to a black rubber strap, an interchangeable brown calf leather strap, and an ardillon buckle.

Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours

Blancpain’s commonly associated with its most famous model, the Fifty Fathoms. As a diver's timepiece, this one is well regarded for its reliability and sleek functionality. However, the Villeret Collection is truly a gem that needs more attention.

Aptly thought of as the house’s most traditional line, it is named after the village, Villeret where the company was founded. These types reflect our primary aesthetic values and are firmly rooted in our history and culture. Their double-stepped slimness, clean dials, and simple designs convey the fundamentals of understated sophistication.

Blancpain Quantieme complet 8 jours

In some cases, abundance of functionality on the dial make it difficult to read, thankfully, the Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours' dial puts all of its indicators in prime focus that lends to easy readability.

Hands made of golden open-worked Feuille float in front of a white dial against the Breguet numbers used to indicate the hours. There are two openings between 12 o'clock and the center of the dial. The window on the left depicts the current weekday, while the one on the right indicates the current month. The discs that announce the day and month are a great fit for the color scheme of the dial.

The Blancpain Villeret Quantième Complet 8 Jours has an elegant stepped bezel that casts flattering shadows. The lugs are narrow and curve slightly downward. The case, which is 42mm in diameter and made of 18-carat red gold, exudes an appropriate level of warmth. Blancpain is a Manufacture that has a long history of producing exceptional mechanisms and the Calibre 6639 exemplifies this technical mastery.

The brands listed are some of the most popular, leading names in the watch world. Yet, despite their famous legacy and history, some of their excellent designs, which do not necessarily cause a hole in your pocket, have not received just enough appreciation. These underdog gems are waiting to be found and unveiled to the watch world.