Neonos is a team of four industrial designers, who have come together to make a forged carbon watch housing an automatic movement. Called HOLLAND //01, it’s an interesting fusion of modern and heritage.
Forged carbon is a material Patrick has written about before– essentially, it’s a paste of carbon fibers rather than sheets of it laminated. This makes it easier to form any shape conceivable, with a smooth finish as a result. If the traditional woven laminated carbon fiber sheets were used, you’d see the edges of the sheets, and feel them as a rough edge. It’s equipped with a flat sapphire crystal, also a modern touch.
The automatic used here is a Hangzhou 6460, an implementation of the ETA 2836 design with GMT added on. (The ETA 2836 never actually shipped with GMT, but the Chinese variations do.) The 24H hand is settable in half hour increments, and should accomodate any time zone around the world.
The elements drawn from the past are here, too. Look past the lugs, and you’re looking at a cushion case shape, which was the shape made for the early Italian divers. The dial is a sandwich dial, which is also a vintage technique. Rather than applying lume to a dial plate, the numerals cut out of the top layer allow a lumed lower layer to shine through.
What’s cool here, is that you get a 14mm thick, 44 wide watch, water resistant to 300 meters, with a GMT function. By virtue of the materials, it’s should lightweight watch, and wears super comfortably. (It’s a little heavier than I thought it might be, due to the mass of stainless steel forming the lugs and back.) Design-wise, it has blue accents throughout, including the blue 24H hand, the blue crystal casket, and two blue rubber rings on the screw-down crown to give a little grip. The caseback is a stainless steel DLC one, secured with four screws to the case.
This is an interesting one for me. The case resembles a cushion case, but the look is obscured by the large lug system you just don’t find on most cushion cases. Here, because the lugs are integrated with the case back, the lugs are incredibly strong. The back is held on with allen screws that go into threaded metal sockets that are themselves screwed into the case. The whole thing is high quality, in a way that means it should last for a lifetime.
So what didn’t I like? Honestly, not much. The position of the crown, combined with the short length of the crown meant that it was difficult to screw it down firmly. It did have hand-made grip rings on it, but I wished for it to be a little longer. Patrick commented that I was pretty daring submerging a watch I don’t own, much less a one-of-a-kind prototype, and he’s right– it was a risk. I checked the crown each time before getting wet. The position of the crown between 1 and 2 o’clock is intentional. It leaves the option open for a dual crown watch in the future. There will also be a titanium back option, and that should keep the weight down for those who are a little sensitive to it, making it approximately 16 grams lighter. The rubber strap was comfortable, and the lume was bright. If you’re looking for a 300M watch that isn’t a traditional diver type, and you like a GMT, this is a really good looker. http://neonos-watches.com
- Brand & Model: NEONOS HOLLAND //01
- Price: Earlybird pricing starts at $500
- Who we think it might be for: You’re into a water-capable watch, you want lightweight materials, and also like a GMT.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: I love it when every detail of the design has been paid attention. I love that the lugs and case back are a unibody construction, and the way the threads have been secured in the case.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Patrick wasn’t a fan of the lugs. This isn’t a suggestion, but it may not be for all people.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The shape of the case, and GMT with good water resistance, something you see in much more expensive watches.
Tech Specs from Neonos
- Case size: 44mm (57mm lug-to-lug), 14.5mm thickness
- Case material: Forged Carbon (DLC stainless steel back)
- Crystal: flat, sapphire
- Strap: 24mm wide, 4mm thick rubber divers strap with custom DLC buckle.
- Movement: HZ 6460 automatic GMT, 28,800bph, 40 hour power reserve.
- Water Resistance: 300m/30ATM* Water Resistance: 300m/30ATM