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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my newest is actually a watch I bought last year sometime in May. I love me some micro brands and Hemel has been on my radar for a little while but nothing in their stable was something I didn’t already have in another form. When I received an email about this special “League of Microbrands”HF series piece I was really intrigued. To buy one you had to be a member of their Facebook “League of Microbrands” group and, because I’m not on any social media unless you count Watchuseek, I had to ask my wife to join it under our family’s Facebook account(it’s under our dog’s name…that’s how much I prefer NOT to be on social media…ha ha).

I know this one has a lot going on…it’s basically a pilot/chrono/diver? But for whatever reason it all just clicks with me. It was offered with 3 different movements..the cheapest being the Seagull ST19 with a swan neck regulator. The other two options were Swiss and much more expensive. I’ve actually have had very good luck with the higher end Seagull movements in both my G Gerlach watches so it was an easy decision…on top of that if I bought early it was only $299. That seemed like an AWESOME deal on a great looking automatic chronograph.

Below are the stats from the Hemel website:

• Movement: ST19 w/Swan Neck Regulator. Hand winding mechanical caliber.

• Case: 316L Stainless Steel, polished

• Case Width: 42 mm

• Case Thickness: 13.8 mm

• Lug Width: 22 mm

• Lug to Lug: 49 mm

• Caseback: Screwdown, exhibition, engraved

• Dial: Matte black w/Superluminova C3

• Front Crystal: Double domed sapphire w/AR coating

• Water Resistance: 100 meters

• Crown: Signed, push / pull

• Bezel: 120 click rotating, C3 lume, ceramic.

Two year limited warranty.


It came in a pretty standard cardboard box but included a dog tag with my name on it which I thought was a REALY cool little touch.(I am easily impressed though..ha ha)

What I like:
  • the vintage vibe of it all…from the hands.. to the old aeroplane sub dials.. to the words Air League and Chronograph written in cursive…it just feels like a watch from the 30’s or 40’s to me.
  • the matte black of the face the bezel and how it contrasts with the khaki of the numbers and the hands
  • the exhibition back showing off the hand wound movement. I don’t have anything like this in my collection and find myself looking at the movement for minutes at a time seeing the gears all moving slowly together..especially when the chronograph is engaged…it’s fascinating to me
  • the chronograph pushers engage very positively and feel like quality pieces.
  • the lume is actually pretty good…and includes the numbers on the bezel.
  • The quick release strap is comfortable and works well with the watch though I may put a darker brown strap on it because I tend to think darker always looks better.
  • so far it’s keeping GREAT time…only gained a second in one day and that’s with having the chronograph engaged multiple times.
What I don’t like:

-really the only issue I have is that the crown is not very big and because it’s between the pushers it’s a little hard to engage and wind up the watch….not a deal breaker but I definitely think a bigger crown would have been better…at least something that stuck out from the side of the watch a bit more.


Some of you more astute watch enthusiasts may note that this piece looks a lot like a Blancpain Air Command. I actually didn’t realize it until doing a bit of research after buying in. But to me it’s more of an homage to that watch than anything…there are enough subtle differences in my eyes so I’m perfectly fine with the resemblance. Also…the Air Command costs like 70 times what this cost me…even if I was rich I could never see spending that much money on a watch as much as I dig them….so all good.


Thanks for reading…on to the pics!

Shawn

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Launched on Facebook. Interesting to me "just because" of the movement. Anything with an ST19 is worth a look. I have not seen any complaints about quality. Looks like they made a nice watch :) .

Thanks for all the photos!
 

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Thanks for the review. I also joined their FB group to be eligible to buy this watch, but never pulled the trigger. Looks like a really nice piece.

It’s funny, I never get worked up about numbers being cut off by sub-dials, but since the sub-dials aren’t visible, that lume shot looks off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks guys. Yeah I am pretty happy this one overall. And you're right rxmar....the lume definitely shots do look a bit off with the way the numbers and the sub dials are. But I'm ok with it..ha ha.
 

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Very attractive watch. Another "con" and a deal breaker for me is that the warranty isn't transferable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks man....and I totally get it on the warranty..but I have to say I'm a non flipper...I buy for life...so no worries for me. ha ha

Recently put it on a rubber strap and another leather strap I had in my strap drawer and really dig how it looks on both.

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ALSO. Had someone in a WRUW thread ask me about the blue on the pushers....I told them I thought it was just some kind of blue jewel(fake of course) that was part of the design of the watch. What an IDIOT I was...it was just blue protective plastic!

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So here are the pushers in all their natural glory...boy was that embarrassing. :eek:

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-Shawn
 

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Thank you for the great write-up! It seems like Hemel has done a fine job with this watch. It's a looker. Good that the warranty issue doesn't concern you. But aside from lowering the resale value (if sold during the warranty period) it also means if anyone gets it as a gift there's no warranty, which immediately lowers the value. I was exploring this watch closely and, in large part because of your review, was considering buying one. Until I looked into the details about their warranty. Too bad they dropped the ball there.
 
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