If you are in the market for a high-end sports watch, you certainly have no shortage of options in terms of both design and price point. Easily the most exciting area of wrist watch design “innovation” is in the realm of sport watches, where materials, aesthetic designs, functionality, and inspirations are routinely played with and added to. If you are into bold, macho timepieces, then prepare yourself (if you haven’t already) for an often odd and always interesting world of the good, the bad, the weird, and the wonderful. Today, I’d like to look at two versions of the SnyperOne – the original model which now comes in a slew of variants from this Swiss watch companyfirst debuted in around 2010.
The Snyper One watch was originally designed by Jean-Francois Ruchonnet – a talented watch designer and all-around controversial figure in the watch industry. He is responsible for other popular watch designs such as the TAG Heuer Monaco V4. As far as I know, Mr. Ruchonnet is no longer active in the watch industry, or at least in watch design. He actually was a co-founder of the Snyper brand – which is currently under new ownership, as it has been for the last few years.
Snyper’s current owners have continued to develop the brand and have stayed surprisingly true to the original concept which was about creating ultra modern sport watches inspired by military equipment – namely sniper rifles. One of the key gimmicks of Snyper watches was the design of a hard point on the side of the case which was meant serve as a connection point for the attachment of various modules. While different in execution, I am going to place this concept in the same basket as the clip-on Instrument collection that attach to Linde Werdelin watches.
So I will more or less begin by talking about the two modules I got to play with on these Snyper One watches. Detachable and meant to go with the look and feel of the watches, the modules I had were a lighter/cigar cutter, and also an LED flashlight/laser pointer. Oddly sticking off the side of the watch like an attached weapon, these toys are meant to enhance the military fantasy inherent in the design of the watch. I don’t think anyone is claiming that these modules are particularly useful (even if they do work as intended), which places them in the category of “toy.” Is that a bad thing? No. But the person buying a watch like this must not only know these are toys, but also be the type of person who celebrates the idea of playing with toys (as an adult).
If you are an over-funded adolescent who like to play war games, then this is going to be a perfect timepiece to wear with your camouflage pants while playing Call of Duty. Again, nothing wrong with that – but it isn’t for everyone. Thus, we have niche, sniper rifle-inspired luxury timepieces like this.
As someone who has never grown out of loving toys, I am amenable to the notion of a timepiece such as this. With that said, I wear watches like the Snyper One being fully cognizant that it is not a watch for all occasions. First, you need to pull off wearing a watch like this; and second, you need places to wear a watch like this to. Whether you can meet each of those requirements is going to be a personal question that only you can answer.
With that said, between the many variations of the Snyper One watch, there are those which are a bit more mainstream than others. Perhaps I am overstating the niche factor of the Snyper One timepiece, considering watches out there like the Hublot Big Bang UNICO and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore are not that different in theme. Things do change, however, with the module attached to the Snyper One – which, as I am sure you can imagine, is my enduring memory of wearing these very special watches.
At 48mm wide in steel (with other versions that include 18k gold elements), the Snyper One has a sizable feel on the wrist which is compounded by the large lug structures. Actually, with the addition of the side flanks, the more true width of the case is 53mm. That noted, the Snyper One is surprisingly wearable, and if you enjoy bigger watches, I wouldn’t call it uncomfortable either. Attached to the watches is either a rubber or leather strap (of various types) – which each add their own personality to this already avant-garde, uber macho collection.
Interestingly enough, Snyper does offer a metal bracelet but not on the One model. The brand also offers the Snyper Ironcold that does enjoy a metal bracelet option. The Ironclad is remarkably similar to the Snyper One in theme and is arguably a much more versatile watch. Snyper actually produced an Ironclad in 18k rose gold with a matching 18k rose gold bracelet. Now that is a wonderfully niche watch for just the right type of classy militarized despotic personality. I would love to meet – no, wait, become aware of, rather, who the customers of these solid gold Ironclad watches are. It does please me that in our complicated and diverse world, there truly is a watch for everyone.
Perhaps it is because I grew up with action figures and science fiction, but I actually get a big kick out of wearing these Snyper One watches which are here in form of the Snyper One Vintage (with its gunmetal-style case finish) and the Snyper One Yellow (with its black with yellow accents). Back in 2010, I praised the remarkably refined and legible look of Ruchonnet’s designs and said that if the design of Snyper watches appealed to you then they were not half bad. I retain those sentiments today. For whatever reason, I find the scope adjustment knob-style crown on the watch endearing, and am fond of the mostly very legible dials with modern design touches that retain classic senses of aesthetic proportions. The Snyper One Yellow, for instance, has just enough carbon fiber on the dial to be interesting, and the uncommon aged gunmetal finishing of the Vintage model just adds flavor to an already interesting product.
Inside the Snyper One watches are what they refer to as their caliber F101 movements. Apparently sourced from Swiss Concepto, these are decorated Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph movements, originally or in design. A solid workhorse movement, no one hates a 7750, but these are toward the upper end of watch retail prices that I will accept from a timepiece containing a sourced caliber – even if they are a bit more exclusive, coming from Concepto.
The movements have the time and 12-hour chronograph as well as windows for the day and date. The staggered nature of how these last two items of information is displayed is a bit original and adds some more welcome character to the Snyper One watches. Just as a reminder to those that aren’t yet familiar, the 7750 operates at a frequency of 4Hz (28,800bph) with about two full days of power reserve. The movement is further visible through a sapphire crystal display caseback decorated with a “cross hair in scope” motif. Oh, and speaking of that, the Snyper One cases are water-resistant to 100 meters. I want to point out that I appreciate this because these are actually sport watches (and not just parading around as such with 30 meters of water resistance).
Given how “different” the Snyper One (and other watches from the brand) are, I don’t feel the need to talk in extreme detail about the structure of the dial and every contour of the case. You can learn a lot from the pictures, and you’ll quickly know if a Synper watch is something for you or not. If you say “yes” to that question, do yourself a favor and shell out for the modules (at least one of them). What fun is buying a cool toy if you don’t get all the neat accessories? Price for the Snyper One watch is $8,200 (for each of these versions).
>Price: $8,200 each for these reference 10.260.00 (Yellow) and 10.350.00 (Vintage) models
>Size: 48mm wide; 53mm wide with side elements
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: People who not only feel that weapons are “cool,” but who actually acquire them.
>Best characteristic of watch: Given how radical this design is on paper, the end product works if you are keen on the look.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Unfortunately expensive for how niche it is because it is missing a lot of potential customers. Thin line between gimmicky and fun with the case modules.