Hemel is using its timeless brand to offer a new look at what a pilot chronograph could be. By utilizing a watch developed through the League of Microbrands Facebook group watch as a platform to build the “Airfoil” line extension, Hemel is poising the brand for a forward view of 2021.
According to Hemel founder, “It’s the one piece that doesn’t look like anything else in the lineup, the one that’s a notion apart, a little bit more chiseled and demurer. It is really about a love for history, but in a non-sentimental way…a respect for design precedent blended with modern lifestyle and capability. And this is why I’m offering an alternate dial for what is essentially the Air League watch but without the commemoration.”
Center stage is the thoughtfully appointed dial which takes direct cues from 1970s era British military pilot watches. The refreshing negative spaces which come in standard black, navy blue and ivory white, hold together and bind austere typographical markers which recall vintage horology like flat threes and fours and the sharp centered M. The port side sub dial tracks the running seconds while a starboard side sub dial records elapsed minutes. A simple ceramic bezel insert tracks a second time zone with C3 luminescent 12-hour GMT markers separated by half hour markers. As a cohesive whole, these individual elements contribute to an examination and subsequent celebration of functional minimalism. They exude an intuitive timelessness leaving more fussy dials to others who wish to make fashion statements.
The entire case is polished to a mirror finish from the coin edged rotating bezel to the screw down exhibition case back. Between the piston pushers is a vintage styled crown that hugs the body. The signed detail matches the double signed detail of the buckle, also finished to a high polish. Watch enthusiasts will appreciate how the domed sapphire crystal, a first for the HF Series, playfully distorts the chapter ring and hourly numerals in an honestly vintage manner. And of course, the engine inside is the ST19 made by Sea-Gull, a modern evolution of the Venus 175 that originally powered the mid-century flight watches that inspire the Air League.
Altogether, the Airfoil offers a more refined motif for Hemel. The narrow bezel, slender strap and polished finish assure a new perception of what the brand is capable of. Available immediately, the Airfoil will retail for $499.99.
The entire Hemel concept was born in New York at Hemel House, the brain child of Marvin Menke. Marvin is an F.I.T. graduate and design industry insider with thirty years experience. Hemel was originally the name of his design consultancy and the watches were initially meant to be a gift for his clients around the holidays or to mark special events. The more he shared the idea with friends and colleagues, the more they encouraged him to bring it to market. Hemel has been in the boutique watch industry since early 2016.
According to Marvin, “I’m really doing the same thing I always have, except now I’m my own client and as such I naturally have all this access to all my own experience in creative design and branding. This allows Hemel to be a truly holistic expression where all touchpoints have the single unifying factor of one creative mind; boutique design in a nutshell.”
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