MICRO MONDAYS: Helicon paints the sunset with the 62 Master Blue HourTime+Tide
You could say there are one of a few ways to make a dive watch stand out – a unique design, a superior movement, an unbeatable price/value ratio, or all of the above. Unfortunately, unique often means expensive, even though the brand cannot always truly justify the why. Often, it’s the fact that something is made in small quantities – in which case there is no economy of scale – that explains the higher asking price. Microbrands are common exceptions to this rule, and today’s proposition is one such watch. The Helicon 62 Master Blue Hour is another colourway of the young brand’s only model, with each colourway a limited production run of 50 pieces. The Blue Hour is the latest variant of this model, equipped with a captivating blue/orange gradient dial, vintage-inspired dimensions and the ol’ reliable NH35 to power it.
The design of the Helicon 62 Master is based on archival drawings the brand’s founders came upon in the basement of a defunct Swiss brand, one that never saw the light of the day. At first glance, we can see the vintage aspect of the 62 Master in the simplicity of the case design – polished, slab-sided flanks and straight, brushed lugs. No polished chamfers and no crown guards, alluding to perhaps a skin diver heritage. What also seems to be a call from the past are the case dimensions, with a diameter coming in at 38.5mm, a lug-to-lug of 48mm, a thickness of 13.9mm, and a lug width of 20mm. These Goldilocks measurements are likely to please many watch collectors, especially those that favour 1950s and `60s diver designs.
Keeping with the yesteryear design is the small screw-down crown which, combined with a screw-down case-back, endows the 62 Master with 200 metres of water resistance. The discreet, coin-edged, 120-click unidirectional bezel comes with a polished treatment and a rare – not to repeat the word “unique” – blue ceramic insert that matches the dial colours – more on that later. The insert comes with a fully graduated and engraved count-up dive scale that is fully, and generously, lumed with thick layers of C3 SuperLuminova, making the bezel interesting to look at as well as being extremely practical.
The hero of the 62 Master Blue Hour is the dial. In particular, the two-tone finish which represents the short interval between day and night, when the sun dips below the horizon, letting its piercing orange hues mix with the dark blue tones of the ocean. This natural occurring event is represented on the 62 Master by mixing two shades of blue and orange, created by an artist the brand worked with. The blue occupies the top portion of the dial while the bottom is matte orange in colour for an ombré finish. What’s more is that each dial is hand-made, in other words, no two dials will have the exact same appearance. That’s yet another way to make a limited edition even more special.
Going beyond the Blue Hour colour scheme, The 62 Master is a proper tool watch, as the dial is legible and well-balanced. The heritage I mentioned above can also be seen in the dial layout, showcasing alternating painted square hour markers and triangular applied markers at the 12, 6, and 9 positions. The latter comes with polished upper surfaces and square tips, matching the design of the other markers. A painted minute track occupies the space between the hour markers and the edge of the dial, and a framed date aperture can be seen at 3 o’clock. Another discreet nod to 1960s divers can be seen on the date wheel: the even numbers are painted red while the odd ones are painted black. Just like the bezel, rest assured that the same, generous, lume application extends to the hour markers and pencil-style hands.
The Helicon 62 Master Blue Hour will be delivered with a three-link, stainless-steel bracelet with solid links and end-links, all secured by screws to make adjusting the bracelet an easy operation. The clasp has a simple design, coming with two push buttons, a fold over safety clasp, three holes of micro-adjustments and a diver’s extension. The clasp remains small, despite being fairly well-packed with features.
Helicon opted for a Seiko NH35, a microbrand classic, to power the 62 Master. This movement beats at 21,600vph (3Hz) and comes with 41 hours of power reserve. With movement technology developing, resulting in better specs at lower prices, the NH35 is a bit of an outdated pick, though its reliable reputation and low service costs will be appealing selling points. The brand went the extra mile in terms of movement protection, however, setting it inside a custom-made, IPS-plated Faraday cage meant to better protect it against shock and magnetism.
Helicon 62 Master Blue Hour pricing and availability
The Helicon 62 Master Blue Hour will be available from Helicon Watches’ website starting today. Price: £680 (inc. VAT and international shipping)