This Filipino-made watch is gaining int'l fans 2
The Argos Odyssey is powered by the Seiko NH35A automatic movement, which has a 41-hour power reserve.

This Filipino-made watch brand is gaining the attention of international timepiece followers

“Ang goal natin is to put the Philippines on the map of watchmaking…”
ANCX Staff | Jul 19 2023

Watch enthusiasts online are talking about a new microbrand watch called Argos. With its elegant and understated look, it has been compared to luxury watch brands like the Swiss Omega Aqua Terra, the British Pinion Neutron, and the Japanese Grand Seiko Snowflake. It was also included in the list of recommended watches this month by UK-based luxury watch magazine Oracle Time

But the real pride of this watch comes from its heritage. According to its website, Argos watches are “designed and assembled in the Philippines…integrating the skills of local craftsmen with world-class materials to create reliable, durable, and versatile timepieces.”

Argos Warch
The strap can be easily changed to suit different looks, from corporate to casual.

The idea to put up the watch brand started when Ivan Jeff Soberano, an electrical engineer, began his watch obsession in 2019 during a trip to Japan. Over the pandemic, he had a lot of time in his hands and dabbled in a lot of research on watches. Realizing that collecting timepieces is an expensive hobby, he thought that one way to really enjoy it is by generating income from it. He brought up the idea to three other friends and in March of 2021, Argos Watches was born.

The brand was named after Odysseus' faithful and loyal dog in Homer's Odyssey. The founders wanted their watch to be a reliable companion, just like Argos was to Odysseus. Meanwhile, they decided to name the brand’s first series of watches “The Odyssey,” drawing inspiration from elements related to a journey. Hence, the orange-tipped seconds hand inspired by a compass arrow and the dial texture inspired by sand.

Ivan admits he is a big fan of the Grand Seiko Snowflake which is known for its textured dial. It’s clearly an inspiration in creating The Odyssey. In his YouTube review of the Argos watch, Sieg Suarez, founder of the Watch Manila website, praised the Argos bracelet which he said is comparable to its competitors. He also highlighted the cream dial, which he said has a beautiful texture reminiscent of the Grand Seiko. That the watch was dive-tested to a depth of 70 feet (21.336 meters) is quite an impressive achievement, wrote Sieg, for a watch that is marketed as a daily companion. He also likes that the brand “does not bank on the Filipino pride marketing,” and instead tries to keep its quality at par with other fine watch brands.

The flagship Argos watch
The flagship Argos watch is powered by a Japanese automatic movement. With a simple motion of the wrist, the watch's mechanism is activated.

Ivan says he has buyers from the US, Singapore, Germany and France. “We have a customer from Germany, talagang sinadya pa niya ang store namin dito sa Pilipinas to buy our watch.” Ivan adds that many US customers are saying “the watch is very well executed for its price point.” An Odyssey watch, which is available in a blue and cream dial, costs 392 USD including shipping fee. In the Philippines, it sells for P17,999.

According to Ivan, part of their goals for Argos is to provide sustainable living for Filipino watch technicians. “When you think of watchmakers, you think of countries, not the brand—the Japanese, Swiss, French, Americans. Ang goal natin is to put the Philippines in the map of watchmaking, to have our own manufacturing here. With access to supply line and technology, it’s not impossible to grow the watch industry here,” he says. “We’re committing one to two decades of our life to do that.”

Argos watches may be purchased online via the brand's official website. You may also visit their showrooms at The Cabean Cafe, 131 D. Tuazon, Santa Mesa Heights, Quezon City; and at Godfather Metro South, Unit B 2nd floor, 386 El Grande Ave, Parañaque City.