I got to know Jonathan Kopp from Watch Is This when he reviewed my Empire dress watch. We stayed in touch and recently he told me he got his hands on a cool Swiss microbrand Timeless Watch and asked if I would like to check out their maiden watch, the HMS. Intrigued by the Art Deco influence in the design, I said yes and Jonathan sent the watch to me via La Poste. It reached my hands in 3-4 days which is impressively fast given the pandemic.
My first impression of the HMS watch is very positive. There are lots of visual details in the watch for me to admire. The most attention-grabbing part of this watch is its case, so let us start from there. The main body of the case is brushed, but its steel lugs are sandblasted and a rose gold polished ring (4N gold plated) connects each faux-wired lug to the brushed case to give it is unique looks (and a hint of WW1 Trench going into Art Deco). A thin polished line can be seen where where the bezel and case back both meet the case, giving the watch crisp highlights and a refined look. On the 9 o’clock side of the case, there is a plate held by rose gold screws which is inscribed “HMS No 001”. This reminds me of the Orient Express train signage which exude class and exclusivity paying tribute to the Art Deco era. I couldn’t help but wonder if the designer meant to create a model number similar to the RMS Titanic. Upon checking with the designer, Mael Oberkampf informed me HMS actually meant Hours, Minutes and Seconds and the acronym was indeed intended to pay homage to old cruise liners like the RMS Titanic and RMS Queen Mary.
This watch has an unexpected level of detail to its crown. The inner ridge of the PVD black crown is sandblasted whereas the outer surface is polished. On the side of the crown you will find a brushed recessed crown which is signed with an escape-wheel-like ornament in polished silver and rose gold. The crown is extremely easy to handle, and Mael has achieved both form and function.
When you look at the watch straight on, you will notice a concave bezel, which is sandblasted with 12 marker circular indents that highlights the dial beneath the double dome sapphire crystal. I find myself constantly rotating the watch to admire the light play on the bezel and it works together beautifully with the guilloche dial. My Vario Empire also sports a similar guilloche pattern, but what Timeless has done (albeit at a higher price point) is more 3-dimensional and exquisite, so much so that I wish the brand plate did not cover the beautiful guilloche dial.
The numerals on the inner bezel features a similar cut-out treatment as Slim d'Hermes which I adore. If I must nitpick, as a designer myself, I wouldn’t let the baseline of the numbers touch the edge of the inner bezel which looks as if some numbers were slightly cropped; instead, a small gap in between would provide more visual comfort. The railroad minute tracks with the 5 second intervals goes very well in keeping with the locomotive theme. I assume the sandblasted hands that is responsible for tracking the time have its inspiration from locomotive too and adds to the horology experience with its unique design.
Connecting the hands and the guilloche dial is a decorative watch wheel movement exposing a bit of the inner workings of a watch. This is a beautiful touch and connects well visually with the rose gold on the lugs and even the rose gold date wheel. The date is framed by a black base plate with gunmetal border. The black base in turn connects visually with the black crown and cap on the second hand. My eye moves around the watch, just like in a painting, looking at the various details. Personally, I think the black crown draws a bit too much attention and I would prefer to keep the crown silver or rose gold for a more subtle and elegant touch.
When you turn the watch around, you will discover the case back sports the same branding as the crown. Inside the watch is a Swiss STP-1-11 automatic movement (a clone of ETA-2824), which offers 44 hours of power reserve and is used in other mid-range watches such as the Zodiac Sea Wolf. STP stands for Swiss Technology Production, however, you will mostly see this manufacturer simply referred to as STP owned by Fossil Group.
The leather strap is also worth a mention. It is of high quality and thickness and stitches match very well with the watch. I love changing straps so I took out the stock strap and realized it is fitted with curved spring bars which might limit your strap choice but the leather that they supply with the watch is great. Overall, this watch is full of character. It is a modern watch with reference to old school beauty.
Retail pricing starts at 1,450 CHF.
Material: Stainless steel
Finishing: Circular satin finish, fine sandblasted and polished details
Diameter: 41.50 mm
Thickness: 12.80 mm
Crystal: Domed sapphire with anti-reflective coating
Caseback: screw-on caseback, numbered and engraved with the Timeless logo
Crown: Gold & steel; comprised of of 3 parts
Lugs: Faux wired lugs in gold & steel
Water resistance: 50 meters
Guilloché finished centre-dial with decorative hour wheel
Dial ring: Circular satin-brushed anthracite or matte white
Date at 6 o’ clock
Hands: Gold & steel
Swiss made STP-1-11 automatic movement
Power reserve: 44 hours
Calf leather strap
Website (for more info): https://timeless-watch.ch/
ABOUT TIMELESS WATCHES
Founded by Mael Oberkampf, Timeless Watch was founded with a vision to be a microbrand watch company that designs watches that are both beautiful and functional. According to Mael who started as a graphic designer and 3d illustrator with his design practice in 2012 offering 3d design service to watchmakers, he caught the watch bug and had the inspiration for Timeless, combining old industrial design and mixing them with more futuristic details to create a "timeless" design.
Disclaimer: This watch was sent to me to review, but I was not incentivized in any way to make this review. This is in no way sponsored by Timeless Watches or any other entity. All opinions here are my own.
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