Is this the best value watch money can buy?

Remember the days of the Nokia 3310? The indestructible brick that had an immortal battery life, made calls and sent texts (that was about it), and featured a game where a black line ate a square dot. At the time they were at the precipice of technology, connecting you to anyone else in the world with the simple press of a button, relegating postage stamps into the cupboards to gather cobwebs alongside racing pigeons and the fountain pen.

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Today, however, the 3310 is laughably inept when compared to the world of Androids and iPhones. We can talk to our mobiles, download apps that will tell us how we sleep, who we should sleep with, what we should eat and where we should go on holiday. Our phones have become our brains; an instrument that many would feel utterly useless and defunct without. It’s sad, but undeniably impressive – it has moved on immeasurably (bar for battery life).

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Project 1 Poole – £115 

We see this in all facets of manufacture and technology: watches; cars; cameras; bikes; televisions – you name it, and the modern-day equivalents will make the originals seem as if they belong in the Mesozoic era. New iterations roll off the production line at a pace that is hard to keep track of; we are capable of achieving 10 times in a year what we used to in a decade – there is no bounds to where we will go next.

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Project 3 Newquay – from £135

But much like fashion, when everything gets too frenetic and tired, we revert back to something simple. We find new in the old. In design, where everything is capable of doing the unimaginable, made up of 22,345 parts and featuring 89 trillion mechanisms, there are those who seek simplicity – modern function with un-modern complication. It’s undoubtedly why Shore Projects have enjoyed such success since launching in late 2013. There is nothing confusing about the dial, nothing byzantine or pretentious – this watch tells the time, with two hands. It does exactly what a watch is meant to do.

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Project 3 Barra – £135

This minimalism was all part of the plan, as a group of sea-loving friends endeavoured to make a simple watch that they actually wanted to wear every day. They needed a watch that would be waterproof, withstand the elements of being bumped around the British countryside, but also look timeless. And they needed it to be affordable. They took influence from vintage designs and blended this with contemporary build quality – the result was a clean, sleek stainless steel watch with crystal sapphire glass, allowing for a water resistance of 100m. And they delivered on the price front too, with watches retailing from just £115, making it surely one of the most appealing on the market.

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In keeping with the fresh and modest design, Shore Projects has integrated an ingenious strap mechanism that makes it easy to swap straps on a daily basis, so the look of the watch can change in just a few seconds. The idea is to create as many colours, styles and patterns as possible so that you never get bored wearing the same one over and over again. Whether on the beach or in the office there’s a strap to match – styles include mesh, leather, polka dot, silicone and classic.

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Project 2 Falmouth – £125

Now I’m not for one minute suggesting that a Shore Projects watch is the Nokia 3310 of horology, rather that they are a Nokia 3310 in an iPhone case – they look young, sophisticated and current, without all the fuss. They aren’t going to tell me how many calories I ate for breakfast, or show my GPS coordinates to the boffs at NASA, and that’s brilliant news, because I merely want a watch that will tell me the time. And it does exactly that extremely well, with style.

CHRISTMAS: we recommend the Shore Projects Gift Box – £170To build your gift box simply select a watch and any 3 interchangeable straps.

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Further Reading