Finding the line between good looks, affordable price and appeal to watch enthusiasts is a difficult venture. Nadim Elgarhy has taken the lessons learned in his other ventures, Makara and Rossling & Co, and produced a titanium diver thats sure to turn heads.
A vintage sport and racing car enthusiast, based in Montreal, Canada, Nadim created Helgray (an anagram of his name) with no employees other than himself. Partnering with other watch component suppliers as well as respected Japanese and Swiss watch movement companies, Helgray is a totally focused watch company. Quality, affordability, low maintenance and unique and attractive designs make up the mission statement of Helgray. For this review, I am wearing the Helgray TCD-01 Full Lume, a titanium quartz dive watch.
The first thing I noticed about the TCD-01 (Full-Lume) is it’s all titanium construction. The watch is 42 mm in diameter, 11mm thick with a lug width of 22 mm and a lug to lug dimension of 50 mm, a perfect size for average and small wrists. This watch hugs my 7 inch wrist. The case and bracelet are completely bead blasted titanium. There are different grades of titanium available for watches. This watch must be using one of the better grades of titanium available, because it hasn’t scratched at all, something that rarely happens for me when I am wearing a titanium or stainless steel watch. The bracelet has nice solid titanium links, end links and clasp as well as the Helgray logo on the folding/locking portion of the clasp. The 120 click unidirectional dive bezel is finished in black PVD with a minimal level of lume. The bezel clicks with a reassuring sound and has virtually no play.
The white dial face is lumed, but unfortunately no better than the bezel. For this reason, I am putting “Full Lume” in parenthesis when referring to the watch’s model name. All of the markings on the face are black, except for the bright red “300M” above the date windows. For me, daytime readability is outstanding, but, if I was an actual diver, I would likely go for the black face model TCD-01 GMT or the orange or blue face versions without a date window. The black skeleton hour and minute hands on this watch perfectly compliment the large thin bright red lollipop second hand. The dimensional tolerances and finish of the case and bracelet are superb. I particularly like the sculptured shape of the lugs and how the gear style crown is protected and signed. The slightly domed sapphire crystal virtually eliminates distortion. The screw down back is tastefully and lightly engraved with pertinent information about the watch.
Inside the TCD-01 (Full-Lume) is a Ronda 509 quartz movement with big date made up of two windows at 6 o’clock. The 509, part of their Powertech 500 line, is a one jewel quartz movement, with a 45 month battery and is rated -10/+20 seconds per month. My example is about five seconds a month fast. Typical of quartz movements, the second hand doesn’t always line up perfectly with the 60 minute/second markers and it occasionally bounces a bit. In my opinion, offering an additional automatic model with an exhibition back would be nice, though I am sure it would cost more. From what I can tell, the movement was assembled at the Ronda facility in Thailand. The watch face is perfectly balanced. It has eight circular markers, numeric markings at 3, 9 and 12 and a small rectangular marker below the date windows.
This watch has become one of my favorite daytime dive watch choices. I particularly like dive watches and this one combines design, quality, comfort and value. This watch is not a cookie cutter homage design and other than the weak lume, it is an excellent quartz watch. I recommend you check out Helgray’s line of titanium dive watches. The current selling price for these watches is $199 USD. I think this is a great deal! Helgray.com
(Editors note: some small changes have been made to this review since it was initially published to better describe the brightness of the lume on this watch)
Bert Kanne is a freelance contributor to MBWW with a love for well made dive watches and chronographs. All photos by Bert Kanne unless otherwise noted.