Lew & Huey Spectre II

Back in January 2014, I reviewed the original Lew & Huey Spectre. I liked this big, barrel-cased pilot's watch and particularly praised its bold take on a military dial. Yesterday, Janis Trading Company opened orders for the Spectre II, a new spin on the old Spectre, featuring a different dial and both a link bracelet and rubber strap. The Time Bum borrowed two pre-production models for this review. 

Lew & Huey Spectre II
The Spectre II is a limited edition of 200 units assembled in the USA. It shares much with the original model. The case, domed anti-reflective sapphire crystal, and Seiko NH35 automatic movement are identical, and this is a good thing. I liked the Spectre's radially brushed surface, polished chamfer, and recessed screw-down crown back then, and I dig them just as much today. Water resistance is a useful 200m. Like the ur-Spectre, Sparky the Lew & Huey dog graces the crown and case back, but not the dial. In the past three years, neither the Spectre nor I have grown, so the 44mm wide, 48mm long, and 15mm thick watch still fills my 6.5" wrist. 

Lew & Huey Spectre II

The dial is entirely new. Where the old model added flash to a military layout, the new one adopts a more traditional look, although not so much as to be boring. Thick white lumed baton markers mark the hours labeled on the angled rehaut with one end and minutes on the dial with the other, separated by checkered seconds index. The numbers are small, and everything is positioned so far the edge, leaving the dial open and uncrowded, in stark contrast to the original, which filled its dial to the center. Its hands are long pencil shapes with black bases and white lume. The minute hand is needle tipped to reach the outermost index. Second hands are painted in an accent color that will also be luminous on the production models (the ones photographed here are not). 

Lew & Huey Spectre II  lume

Unlike other Lew & Huey watches, the Spectre II gets a unique logo: a head-on view of an AC-130 Spectre gunship, which ties this piece to its namesake better than the tail section counterweight did on the original. Model name and depth rating are printed on the lower half of the dial in a low, lean typeface in small caps font. I appreciate the attention to the text, particularly the large "C" in Spectre that mirrors the aircraft outline on top. 

Buyers may choose a black or sunray blue dial; and an orange, yellow, or light blue second hand. A date window is also optional. I am not generally a date window kind of guy, but the black-on-white disc mimics the color and shape of the long markers closely enough to integrate almost seamlessly into the dial. 

Lew & Huey Spectre II

Bracelet and strap options are brand new. The old notched pilot strap is jettisoned in favor of a brushed H-link bracelet with a signed, flip-lock clasp. It is a quality piece, and I like the way it balances the big case, making the whole thing appear flatter against my wrist, but the end links are bound to polarize opinion. They flare outward into points that reach the clipped ends of the Spectre's stubby lugs. While I can see how the angles are intended to follow the lines of the case, I don't like the gap they create. 

Lew & Huey Spectre II

Of course, the bracelet is only one option. Buyers also get a 22mm rubber strap in a choice of colors that match either the dial or the second hand. Not having one of these on hand, I tried the Spectre II on some leather. The black one looked slick on a notched pilot strap I pilfered from a Sinn, and the brown leather from a Lew & Huey Phantom made a lovely pairing with the sunray blue. If you are so inclined, both the original notched pilot and Phantom straps are still available for purchase at JanisTrading.com. Its worth noting that while the lugs appear short, there is sufficient room behind them to accept all but the fattest leather straps.

Lew & Huey Spectre II

For as much fun as the original Spectre was, I think the new model is an improvement. It retains all that I liked best about the case and specs, and I prefer the new version's more open layout. The bracelet was a bit of a letdown, but that is offset by the rubber strap included in the package. The Spectre II is available for pre-order directly from JanisTrading.com for $400 (full retail will be $500). ⬩

Lew & Huey Spectre II


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