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The California

Helgray Watches out of Montreal Canada has a fairly ambitious project, launching 4 new military themed watches on kickstarter.  The watches cetainly have some common DNA across the styles, but they all use unique movements and complications.  Helgray is rolling out the Field Officer, a 3 hander with date; the California, with a sub dial for seconds at 6:00; the GMT, which provides a second time zone; and the Skyfighter, a dual register chronograph with date.

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The Field Officer

All three watches use various Rhoda Swiss movements, and the case (42mm stainless), crystal (flat Hardlex with beveled edge), and strap (20mm buffalo grain) are common across the four options.  For lugs, the makers wanted to go back to a WW I vintage styling, where wire was soldered to stopwatches in order to attach a strap.  In this case, the lugs are shaped like wire, but utilize a spring bar to hold the strap.

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In addition to the case materials, the watches all have common elements in the dial, utilizing similar color schemes and hands throughout the line.   I could see a set of these given to a set of individuals: employees, groomsmen, teammates… so that each person gets a unique watch, but there is a common bond running throughout.  The project hit the funding goal just a few hours in, and continues to do well, so this will go live.  The creator is 1/2 of the team behind another successful watch project on kickstarter, so the inevitable bumps and setbacks that start-ups experience with their first project should be somewhat softened by the previous experience of bringing a watch to market.

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The Skyfighter

Pricing on the watches is set on a tiered schedule, with few (as of this writing) super-early bird deals remaining, ranging from $125 for the Field Officer to $225 for the Skyfighter.  Pricing jumps by $25 to the early bird deals, then by another $25 when those run out.  Pricing includes US shipping, and the production schedule is set for a July/August delivery.

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Watch Overview

  • Brand & Model: Helgray Field Officer, California, GMT, and Skyfighter
  • Price: $125 – $275, depending on the model and timing
  • Who we think it might be for: Anyone who appreciates a clean nostalgic look in a modern package.
  • Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?:  I would definitely recommend it.
  • If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: A larger crown.
  • What spoke to me the most about this watch: I like the clean style, especially on the California and the GMT.

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