As a watch reviewer, I am fortunate enough to always be linked up with brand owners directly through a mutual friend or sometime through the watches itself. I was lucky to be introduced to Havaan Tuvali early this year, by Minxiang of Watch Wonderland. Knowing that I would be in Taipei for a family trip, I quickly made an arrangement to meet up with the brand owner of Havaan Tuvali, Mr. Eric Yeh for a cup of coffee and to have a random talk about Havaan Tuvali and other watch topics related.
So a quick intro about Mr. Eric and Havaan Tuvali. He is the founder & owner of the brand and a very humble guy indeed. He created the brand few years ago, but prior to that, he was in the watch repair industry (and still is until today…). Havaan Tuvali has so far released 2 models – Squadron One (pilot) and Code Zero-6 (diver). I was able to play around with both watches while we were talking and sipping our coffee, and I must say, both are very well built. Some information that may or may not have been advertised, but both of the models are assembled fully in Taiwan, with parts coming from China, Hong Kong, locally and Switzerland. Besides that, Code Zero-6 dial is 100% hand made locally by Mr. Eric himself because of the temperature feature.
So here’s my quick view of both Squadron One and Code Zero-6 :
What I like about it ?
- Swiss movement at a very affordable price ! Seriously, a Sellita SW290-1 movement for US$399 on a Squadron One and US$599 on a Code Zero-6.
- Squadron One : Not your typical pilot theme watch. Squadron One comes with the slide rule bezel (bi-directional rotation), gauge design from the plane’s cockpit for the sub-dial second, the quality built of the case, the stripe (normally found on racing theme dials, but rarely on a pilot theme) and lastly the case shape, which resembles slightly towards Panerai style.
- A full thorough review have been conducted by our own MBWW, Bert – click here for Squadron One review
- Code Zero-6 : One of the key feature of the watch besides telling time is telling temperature ! How cool is that and a key differentiator to other microbrands. I also like how Eric plays with the colour combination for each of the dial and hands. The unidirectional bezel feels solid and just smooth when rotating.
What could have been better, but this is just my opinion… ?
- Squadron One : No luminous on the sub-dial second. I didn’t like the date feature’s position, would rather have it removed for a cleaner look on the dial.
- Code Zero-6 : The temperature measurement is based on Celcius, so to those that are used to Fahrenheit will have difficulty in telling the temperature on the watch. Maybe some other indicator around it ?
Here’s some of my Q&A for him :
- What got you into watch repair and what inspire you from watch repair to creating a watch brand of your own?
When you love watches too much, the natural step would be of course to make you own. One reason is
because I couldn’t afford the watches that I like, and the ones I could afford are not of my taste. I
always had plans to start my own brand, so I took apprenticeship in a watch repair shop to learn how to
service and repair mechanical watch for a few years to prepare myself for it, but I never really have a
timetable for when to start. It was actually an impulsive decision that I started my own watch brand,
my ex-employer did not give me the raise I asked for, that night I tell myself, “screw it, it’s now or
never”, so that month I quit my job and decided it was time to fulfill my dream of making watches.
- How did you thought of Havaan Tuvali brand name ?
Our brand name, Havaan Tuvali originates from the Taiwanese aboriginal Burun tribal language,
meaning “the deer’s sunset”. The ancient Burun people believed that at sun’s down, when the deer
came out from the forest to browse for food and water, it signaled the time for people to finish up their
day’s work. In some way, it was also how they told time.
- How different is Havaan Tuvali from other microbrand ?
I basically do everything from ground up myself; from the first sketch of the drawing to the final
assembly of the watch. With my watch repair background, I regulate and test every movement, and I
introduced something new that have not been done by other brands with each model, such as the
patented sub seconds display on the Squadron One and the temperature indicators on the Code Zero-6
- Do you have any new models lined up for this year or next ?
I’m working on a new model which is slanted to release next year, it will carry the thermometer function
as well and case size will be smaller in the 39~41mm range. Retro design language and production will
be limited to 100 pieces.
- I noticed that Havaan Tuvali is self funded rather than going through the crowdfunding platform like most microbrand do. Why have you chose this route ?
I was never a fan of crowdfunding websites, maybe it’s just my personal habit, as a consumer, when I
see something I like, I want to buy to get it ASAP, I don’t have the patience to wait months for the
factory to make them. I carry that habit when I start my brand, I want my customers to be able to
receive the watches in days after they click that buy button.
- As a microbrand owner, I would like to know what is your definition of a microbrand watch ?
A microbrand watch should be different from the mainstream watch brands either design-wise or
technology-wise , it should be fresh and be a true watch enthusiast’s watch, not just a product to make
money out of. Quantity to be kept low and customers can communicate with the owners directly.
Finally, to end my article, anyone interested to know more about Havaan Tuvali, you can check them out at their website or facebook and if you are in Singapore, you can check out Watch Wonderland and if you are in Poland between 29 – 30 September, do check Havaan Tuvali out as Mr. Eric will be there himself presenting his collection at the Aurochronos Festival.