EMG Horizon

EMG co-founders Eric and Derek met while working on a Watchuseek forum watch project a couple of years ago. They teamed up with microbrand veteran HKEd to produce the attractively retro styled DL63 mechanical chronograph. Buoyed by its success, they pressed forward with their next model, the Horizon Chronograph, soon to be launched on Kickstarter. They sent me a prototype for evaluation.

For the Horizon, EMG chose a quartz movement, or more precisely the popular Seiko VK64 MechaQuartz movement that mates a quartz timekeeper with a mechanical chronograph module. This provides a smooth 1/5th-second sweep, firm actuation on the buttons, and a crisp snap-back on reset.


Let’s get something out of the way; the Horizon looks like a Heuer Monaco. It’s got a 38mm square case and dial, bar markers, 9 and 3 register layout, etc. There is no mystery to its inspiration, but is the resemblance really that close? Is this just another homage watch? Well, I just happened to have my own Monaco on hand for comparison. Placing the two side-by-side, it is easier to see how the EMG fellows tweaked the Heuer’s design for their own unique spin.


While the watches have nearly identical dimensions, the Horizon appears to have a larger dial and smaller case than the Monaco. The illusion can be chalked up to differences in case details and the shapes of their crystals. Both watches have bowed sides but where the Monaco’s is flat on top and framed by a polished chamfer, accentuating the top surface of the case. The Horizon, on the other hand, has a single brushed angle connecting the dial aperture to the polished case sides, blurring the distinction between the two surfaces and minimizing the frame effect around the dial. As for the crystals, the angled sides of the Monaco’s tall acrylic box eats about a millimeter of its perimeter where the left-right curve of the Horizon’s sapphire carries right to the edges. Of course, there is no winner here. Both shapes are lovely. Other details differ as well, like the larger crown and pushers on the Horizon, but they have minimal impact on the overall perception of size.


On the Horizon’s back side, you will find an etched illustration of an old sports car steering wheel over a horizon and sunburst. It is not the most ornate caseback, but it is simple, attractive, and right on point for this watch. The push-pull crown is signed and deeply fluted. Water resistance is only 50m, but that is perfectly appropriate for a racing watch.


The Horizon’s dial makes the clearest departure from the Monaco. Four exposed screw heads dot the corners. A fat white band runs behind the subdials, and a white ring displays the index. It looks like a 1970’s rally design, but not like any Monaco I can recall. Text is discreet and well balanced, just the simple EMG logo at the top and in tiny typeface, the model name, chronograph, and water resistance at the bottom. Applied brushed markers are a nice touch, as are the orange accents that adorn each hour, the inside of the index track, the sweephand, and the frame around the center stripe. It’s a pleasant addition that enhances the face without overwhelming it. The background color is a very Monaco choice indeed, a muted matte slate blue that harkens back to the 1969 original. Four other variants will be offered, including navy and red, turquoise and red, and black with white or red (no stripe). BGW9 SuperLuminova on the markers and hands lights it up at night.


A 22mm leather rally strap finishes it off. It is supple, matte finished, and seems to be of very good quality. The orange-tan color complements the accent color on the dial. It fastens with a brushed 20mm buckle.


On my 6.5” wrist, the EMG maintains a healthy presence that belies its 38mm width, but a lug-to-lug length of 46mm keeps it from looking overly bulky. The case is only 11mm thick but the vertical sides and 1mm high arc of the crystal make it seem taller. I love that crystal, by the way. I spent a ridiculous amount of time playing with the crazy edge distortions while taking these pictures.


In the end, I appreciate what EMG has done here. They took the Monaco and made it their own. Microbrands do this all the time, but it is a riskier venture when your source material is something so distinctive and beloved. EMG pulled it off. The Horizon is a fine watch that stands on its own, not as a Monaco wannabe.

The Horizon will launch on Kickstarter soon. Pricing is $250 initially, increasing to $350 for the final. For more information see EMGwatches.com.


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