Review: the new Horizon Watches Nautilus

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Once in a while, there are some of us who dream of creating our own watch brand. Many times, these thoughts remain as a dream. However, for Fred Bekher, that turned into reality.

Launched in 2021, Horizon Watches is the brainchild of this Ukrainian gentleman. Fred began his career as a watch designer, where he had helped microbrands to bring their ideas into fruition. After nearly a decade later, Fred decides to take his expertise forward – this time as the owner of his own watch brand.

Horizon Watches Nautilus

The Nautilus is priced between S$865 to S$1,035, depending on the case and bezel material.

The Nautilus, by Horizon Watches, is the brand’s first ever collection. The diver’s watch was inspired by Captain Nemo’s submarine vessel in Jules Verne’s “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea”. This was partially attributed to Fred’s fascination with Sci-fi, which was driven by the works of the French novelist.

The Case, Dial, and Hands

The Horizon is a 42mm piece, with a two-part case construction that is completed with a coin-edge bezel. Notably, the watch can be had in two case options: stainless steel, or bronze. For the latter, there are also configurations where the bezel insert can be made of bronze, instead of the usual black PVD-coated steel variant (as seen in the picture).

Being a diver watch, the Horizon certainly exudes the characteristics of robustness with its thick and chunky case. The watch has a certain heft to it, and its 42mm case certainly provides the watch with substantial wrist presence without being too overly excessive.

Next, we have the dial. The Nautilus is available in four different dial colours, namely: Aegean Blue, Salmon Sand, Myrtle Green, or Cardinal Red. For our review, we were loaned both the Salmon Sand and Cardinal Red versions.

The main dial consists of two sections. The outer section features a brushed finish, and it houses both the indices and Victorian-styled railway minute track. The inner section features two different finishes: a wavy motif for the bronze watches, or a textured center for the stainless steel variant.

Notably, the indices of the Horizon is a little interesting. The watch features 7 circular indices (and a diamond-shaped one at the 12 o’clock position), as well as stylised 3, 6, and 9 indices which were inspired by the design of the Nautilus. The indices, as well as the markers on the bezel insert, are all filled with SuperLuminova, which allows for legibility in the dark.

One particular aspect that we really like is how the brand had incorporated the date window at the 4 o’clock position. The date aperture is similarly shaped with the hour indices, and it integrates seamlessly into the dial design. We feel that this is a brilliant touch, and it certainly makes the watch much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye – without sacrificing functionality over form. It is certainly the best of both worlds.

Lastly, the face of the watch is completed with a pair of Lance-styled hands, and a center seconds hand. The hands are also filled with SuperLuminova to aid time-telling in low-lighting conditions.

Overall, the aesthetics of the Horizon is decent. The design is nice, and we can see certain appeals of the watch. One minor thing to note is the Nautilus-inspired indices. This, perhaps, might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and we reckon that maybe the use of a more conventional indices (such as a rectangular one) could have worked better. Nonetheless, for the brand’s first attempt, we have to admit that it is rather respectable.

The Movement: TMI NH35A

Powering the Nautilus is the Seiko NH35A movement. This self-winding movement has proven to be a workhorse, and we expect nothing less for a diver’s watch. The movement has an autonomy of 40 hours, and as mentioned, features an additional date display at the 4 o’clock position.

The back of the watch is fitted with a solid caseback. The caseback has an etched illustration, and it is protected by a sapphire crystal. The illustration goes well with the theme of the watch, and it also pays tribute to the Jules Verne novel that was the inspiration behind this timepiece.

Concluding Thoughts

The Nautilus is a valiant attempt by Horizon, considering that this is their debut piece. It is a great piece for its price, and we do like how solid the entire timepiece feels. As a tool watch, it does tick some of the right boxes.

Having said that, there are some bits that we reckon could be further refined in the future iterations. The bezel, for instance, could have done with much smoother clicks. The insert can perhaps also do with a layer of lacquer over the luminescence plots as well. Otherwise, as we have mentioned, this is pretty good if we compare it against the other brands within the microbrand category.

Finally, we understand that the Kickstarter project has been oversubscribed, which is a testament to the potential of the project. Congratulations Fred, and we certainly hope to see what Horizon Watches can bring to the table subsequently!

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