In December 2019, I had the opportunity to discover a new brand, Hentschel, during a dinner we organized with the Hentschel Team.
We could see some of their watches, the H1 Chronometer, the H2 and the H2 Sport, but better, they let two watches for some 6 months to Mike H and myself, for us to live with them. Well, 3 months later, we faced an unexpected situation with the Covid and we couldn't do what we planned for them, mostly travels, but it was enough time to judge these two timepieces.
I first had the H2 and its ruthenium dial and ruthenium movement, while Mike H started with the H1 Chronometer, and, in May, we decided to change. I already wrote my feelings on the H2, I will now share my feelings on the H1 Chronometer.
The H1 Chronometer is a classic looking watch, made with great care, housing a manual winding chronometer movement which speaks very loud to me, as there are not so many manual winding chronometers, nowadays.
Let's see all this in the details.
1/ THE CASE:
I tested the 39, 5 mm version. It also exists in a 37 mm case, which is a very good size, in my opinion. Still, the 39, 5 mm doesn't wear too big, which is a good point. The proportions are very good for me, as the case, without its sapphire, is 8 mm high, and with its domed sapphire, 10 mm high.
The case is polished, the lugs are nicely curved, and welded, offering a very elegant profile.
Here is a picture from the side, which also allows us to admire the slightly domed sapphire.
As we speak of the sapphire, I have to say, to be complete, that it receives a double anti reflection coating.
The crown is discrete, which is a good point, but not very pleasant to wind, because of its small size.
The case makes me prefer the H1 to the H2. Indeed, I find the H1 more elegant, but this is just my personal taste, while the H2 is more macho.
2/ THE DIAL:
It may look simple, the dial is treated with great care: Made in brass, the dial is sandblasted, then it is silver coated, then once again sandblasted before receiving a layer of protective lacquer.
The arabic numbers, the letters and indices are printed. The leaf shaped hands are made in steel, and they are heated blue.
A classic and pleasant scenery:
3/ THE MOVEMENT:
A watch can be good, cool, but to be a great one, it has to house a great movement. The H1 Chronometer certainly qualifies, in my opinion, as the Cal HUW 1130 Premium is very interesting, and not only good looking.
Good looking, it is, indisputably, with its classic and pleasant decoration. But it is also nicely finished with all the codes of classic watchmaking, here, such as the perlage for the mainplate, stripes on the bridges, bevelled and polished edges, heated blue screws, the golden chatons, " snail " decoration of the wheels, and the presence of a swan neck.
Made of nickel silver, the surfaces are coated in black or white rhodium ( here, white, on the H2, black ).
This is a manual winding movement, which beats at the pace of 18, 000 vibrations per hour and which offers a power reserve of 37 hours.
The main interest, at least for me, of this H1 is to be a Chronometer. Think about it, how many manual winding chronometers do we have in the market, nowadays? Not that many!
The Glashutte Original ( funny, it is another german brand... ) offers a very nice one, but at another level of price... As well as... Kari Voutilainen, but at a stratospheric price.
I would have expected a hacking second, it is not the case, here. It is a choice from Hentschel, as he doesn't like the fact that a piece of metal is in contact with the delicate balance wheel in order to stop it, according to him. But I have also been told that he is working on that matter.
The movement is not submitted to the COSC, for two reasons:
- The higher costs,
- The COSC certifies the movements which are NOT encased.
Hentschel respects the strict chronometers testing rules from the former German Naval Institute. The complete watches are regulated and tested for 6 weeks in 6 positions. The tolerance is - 4 / + 6 seconds per day. If the watch runs over this tolerance, Hentschel corrects this, free of charge.
Why this choice from Hentschel? You have to know that Hamburg had more than 200 watchmakers building ships chronometers or servicing / repairing them.
Andrea Hentschel' uncle was the last chronometer tester for the German Naval Institute in Hamburg, before it closed.
4/ PERSONAL IMPRESSIONS:
I could test the H1 Chronometer and the H2, and I could see for some hours the H2 Sport.
Among these watches, my heart beats for the H1 Chronometer and the H2 Sport.
The H1 Chronometer, because it is a manual winding chronometer, a rare feature, and a nicely designed case and movement.
The H2 Sport because I find it extremely cool and original with its bezel and its strong case, while I was less interested by the H2 which I found just too " in between " the H1 Chronometer and the H2 Sport.
The H1 Chronometer was a pleasant companion. I didn't like the small crown that much, I have to say, as it was, as I said, a pain to wind, but the watch is nice, well made, and pretty accurate ( 8 seconds per day, regularly, so, it is easy to make it run a bit less fast ).
I love the case and the movement a lot, the blued hands, too.
The silver dial is elegant, but maybe a bit too elegant for my personal taste. I would keep the arabic numbers, but treat the dial in a different way: Lacquered, or even better, enameled, to give it more depth and warmth.
The finishings of the movement? I find it very good, for this level of price. To be picky, I would go for deeper anglages, just to reach perfection, and give it a tad longer power reserve, as 37 hours is a bit short. A hacking second would be welcome, too.
Would I go for a Hentschel watch? Yes, probably. Would I suggest it as a watch for our Community, a Watchprosite Edition, for us? Same answer: I would like that idea!
Which one? I hesitate a lot between the H1 Chronometer in 37 mm or 39, 5mm and the H2 Sport, but in both cases, with a different dial, and why not, a hacking second. But if I had the choice, I would go for the H1 Chronometer, too, with time passing.
Looking forward to reading your comments and thoughts,