Hemel burst on the scene with a series of field watches with a simple modern design. We take a hands on look at the Hemel 24.
Hemel began on Kickstarter very recently, in March 2016. The man behind the brand, Marvin Menke, has been a lifelong collector and, working in consumer brand development, decided he wanted to bring his own brand to market. His primary goal has been to bring timeless designs using modern materials and manufacturing methods. All of his watches have a military vibe which translates to easy to read, straightforward to operate, rugged, durable and attractive. Currently Hemel is offering four watch series, all with the same MSRP and all powered by the very popular, Japanese made Miyota 9015 automatic movement.
The 9015 is a 24 jewel, 28,800 bph, 24 jewel, 42 hour reserve workhorse and has become very popular among numerous microbrands, including Benarus, Borealis, Halios and Helson, to name a few. It is a more readily available alternate to the Swiss made ETA 2824 line. I have not run across another automatic movement watch with a more freely spinning rotor. It is not particularly noisy, compared to other automatic movements I currently have on hand. The movement is encircled by a brass retainer ring. The 9015 is both manual wind and hacking and Hemel has attached it to a nicely matched signed, screw down, gear edged crown. In this application, the Hemel 24 of the HM1 series, it is encased in a beautiful barrel shaped, bead blasted 316L case with nicely turned down lugs, for a close wrist fit. The watch is rated 100M/10ATM for water resistance.
This watch is a comfortable 40mm x 13 mm size. The front of the watch has a domed sapphire crystal with anti reflective coating and the back has a flat sapphire crystal to gaze at the 9015 movement. The edge of the bezel next to the crystal has a fine coin edge finish with a step down outer smooth finish bezel. The watch has a nicely done screw down back with subtle watch information engraved around the perimeter. The face is a no nonsense 24 hour military style with white filled needle pointed sword hands, an orange second hand and small triangle markers on the outer edge of the twelve equally sized arabic numerals. C3 Super-LumiNova lume is used on Minute/second markers, the Hemel name in silver and the word “automatic” complete the face. All in all, it is a highly functional and legible design.
The strap is a two piece nylon style with with a very discrete signed “HEMEL” round buckle. Two strap loops are included. One loop is black and one is orange, to match the orange second hand, I presume. The strap should proved to be quite durable as a result of equipping it with metal grommets. This particular watch is inscribed with the words “FOUNDERS EDITION” on the back, being that this is a brand new watch brand. You can really see how the founder put his efforts into making this one of the best military style watches out there. I could not find anything to complain about in this watch. It is a comfortable, durable, highly legible utility timepiece for any man (or woman) with an average or small size wrist. $399.99 hemelwatches.com