Exploring the world of watches on a budget

Jubileon Superellipse

I featured Singapore's Jubileon Superellipse last year in one of my crowdfunding roundups. The campaign failed to fund, but since then, they have reevaluated, redesigned, and regrouped for an August 18 Kickstarter launch. They loaned me this silver dial prototype for an advance review. I thought the original project showed promise and I was delighted to find that the new one is greatly improved.

Jubilion Superellipse Silver tan strap
"Superellipse" is a mathematical term for a closed curve forming a box shape like that of this watch. The initial design featured a distinctive 39mm cushion case with a combination of brushed and polished surfaces and a bezel secured with four screws. While the case was a beauty, the dial was rather plain, notable only for its leaf hands and some unappealingly bland lettering. The watch housed an ETA 2824 automatic and was to be produced in Switzerland. The new watch takes the best parts of that equation and builds them into a far more cohesive and satisfying whole. Gone is the ETA, replaced with a Seiko NH35A. The case has grown to 41mm. The dial is totally transformed. Clearly, the Jubileon team has been busy, and I believe that effort has paid off.

I was initially dismayed to learn of the increase in size. Being a small wristed guy I'm wary of larger cushion cases as they tend to look about two sizes bigger than their round counterparts, but the Superellipse wears quite well thanks to its short lugs, 50mm length, and svelte 11.5mm thickness. It was large, but not overly so on my 6.5" wrist.

Jubilion Superellipse Silver  wrist

This is a quality piece, with crisp edges and fine finishing. Of course, it is the Superellipse's eponymous bezel that grabs your attention. The rounded square and its four screws (an element repeated on the case back) are not unique to Jubileon. We've seen similar designs on any number of instrument watches but this one has some elegant touches to take it out of tool watch territory. Polished chamfers run the length of the case and around the edges of the bezel, contrasting the north-south brushing on the side and top surfaces. The crown, rehaut, and the exposed screw heads are polished as well. Such eye-catching brightwork is welcome, lightening up the otherwise sober block of stainless steel.

Jubilion Superellipse Silver  on black carbon strap

Jubileon offers four versions: Matte Black, Cool Gray, Pearl White, and the Silver dial shown here. I sampled black carbon and tan crocodile print leather straps. Made by Hadley-Roma,  are 22mm at the lugs, lightly padded, and taper to 20mm pin buckles. The racy carbon was cool, but I'll take the warm tan leather against the cool silver dial any day.  Milanese mesh is an extra cost option.

Jubilion Superellipse black on carbon, pearl on mesh, gray on black

All of the versions have their appeal, but I particularly appreciate the way the silver sunray dial echoes the similar colors and textures of the case. The dial is entirely new, and in my opinion, it is a vast improvement. Gone is the generic typeface, replaced with just the simple and attractive red and black shield logo incorporating the Jubileon "J" and a small "SG" for Singapore. The logo is approximately the same size as the silver framed 6 o'clock date window, and they balance each other perfectly. Tiny red Roman numerals within a black railroad track index top the applied and polished dart shaped hour markers. The dauphine hands are long, polished, and exhibit a needle-like taper. Both hands and markers are filled with C1 SuperLuminova. Finally, a red second hand gives the face a pop of color. It is elegant, a little sporty, and an immense improvement over the original.

Jubilion Superellipse silver on carbon

Pretty as it is, the Superellipse has all the specifications for a practical watch: sapphire crystal, screw down crown, 100m water resistance, bright lume, and a tough, reliable movement. I know some will mourn the loss of the Swiss movement and perhaps even more so, the "Swiss Made" appellation. I disagree. I have nothing against the Swiss watch industry, but I think we are long past the day that they were the only game in town for quality watches. Chinese manufacturers are capable of top quality work (including much that is then assembled into "Swiss Made" watches, but that is another story) and they can do so at a more attractive price. That last bit may be the best part of this story. Early bird pricing will start at just $279 SGD (about $204 USD) rising to $299 SGD (about $220 USD). Pearl dials and mesh straps carry a $15 premium. This is an excellent price - nearly half that of the original version, and for a more attractive watch that gives up nothing in quality.

For more information or to stay posted on the Kickstarter launch, visit Jubileon on the webFacebook, and Instagram.  ⬩

[Update 8/18/17 - The Kickstarter is live: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jubileon/superellipse-automatic-watch]

Jubilion Superellipse side
Jubilion Superellipse lume

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