Preview: Helgray Hornet

Nadim Elghary of Helgray is back on Kickstarter with the Hornet, a dual-crown watch named for the 1980's American fighter jet. I'll review the Hornet's specifications, design, and overall value, but I must warn you that when I see the words "1980's fighter jet" I compulsively quote from the cheezy 1986 action/romance Top Gun. Yes, I know Tom Cruise as Maverick flew an F14 Tomcat, not an F18 Hornet, but it's close enough. Hang on, you're about to enter the danger zone!

Maverick: I feel the need...
Goose ...the need for speed!

The Hornet has a large stainless steel case measuring 42mm wide and 47mm long with integrated lugs. It is not oversized, but I would expect the thick and slab-sided barrel shape will wear large. These aggressive dimensions are further enhanced by a double domed sapphire crystal that raises the overall height to 13mm. The surface is brushed north-to-south and broken by a polished, chamfered edge that runs its length. It is a smart, aggressive shape reminiscent of certain early 1970's sports watches, but perhaps one that has bulked up at the gym. Buyers may choose steel or PVD black.  

Iceman: Every time you go up in the air, you're unsafe. I don't like you because you're dangerous.

Two crowns sprout from the case at 2 and 4 o'clock and just in case you didn't notice, the upper crown is red. I expect this will be a love-it-or-hate-it feature. Some will delight in the bold pop of color while others will undoubtedly cringe. I'm afraid it may be a bit much for my taste, but I'll reserve judgement until I see it in person. The crowns are gasketed for 100 meters water resistance.

Goose: The Defense Department regrets to inform you that your sons are dead because they were stupid. 

The red crown operates a 12-hour, Arabic number, internal bezel that allows the user to track a second time zone by aligning it with the hour hand. The black dial is neat and uncluttered with a applied stick markers and an offset seconds dial at 7 o'clock. I particularly like the handset's white outline and fat arrow. The bezel, hour markers, and hands are all treated with BGW9 SuperLuminova.

Iceman: You can be my wingman, anytime.

The Hornet is supplied with a riveted strap that harkens back to World War Two pilot's watches. It is an  appropriate choice for this watch and should complement the burly case. Inside, you will find a Miyota 1L45, a tiny, no-jewel quartz unit. This is the least interesting movement we've seen in a Helgray, but it is inexpensive and should do its job without fuss.

Maverick: Mustang, this is Maverick, requesting fly-by.
Air Boss Johnson: Negative, Ghost Rider. The pattern is full.

The Helgray Hornet will sell for $349 and early backers can still get one for as little as $249. This is not unreasonable, but puts the Hornet in a very crowded field, competing against a slew of other quartz aviation watches and even some affordable automatics. Its sharp looks and double-domed sapphire help to set it apart, but the relatively prosaic movement may hold it back.

For more information visit the Helgray Hornet Kickstarter page.







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