Hemel Brabant

Today, Hemel Watches releases the latest iteration of their popular HFT20 Flight Series. Named for the Dutch airbase, the Brabant pairs the already awesome HF20 case with a Seiko VK61 movement and a new dial for a bold new look. Hemel provided this watch for review and as a giveaway prize for one lucky person at District Time, Sponsored by NTH Watches!

Hemel Brabant

Like the others in the HFT20 series, the Brabant was inspired by jet age military chronographs, specifically the Breuget/Dodane Type XX. The 42mm wide, 49mm long brushed stainless steel case wears smaller than you might think, while still exhibiting an appropriately tool-watch-worthy heft, thanks in no small part to its 15mm thickness. Its brushed stainless steel case features a flat sapphire crystal, solid decorated caseback, and 100m water resistance. A large, signed, diamond-shaped crown sits between cross-hatched, piston-shaped buttons that respond with a firm, mechanical click. 


Hemel Brabant

Inside the sturdy case is the VK61 MechaQuartz. I’m a big fan these hybrid Seikos as they combine the convenience and accuracy of quartz with a 1/5th-second sweep and the crisp reset of a mechanical chronograph. 

Right away, the VK61 announces its presence with vertically oriented subdials instead of the horizontal placement we saw on the rest of the line-up. This allows the Brabant to flaunt an oversized 9 and 3 that pop out against the smaller and more detailed marking of the registers, seconds index, 24-Hour chapter index, and even the dotted minute index on the bezel. There is a ton of character here, all very much in the style of a multifunctional cockpit instrument. The marking the more It also pushes the brand name and other text (“60-Minute Timer”) across the center of the dial. The 60-minute timer on top and small seconds at the bottom displace the 12 and6 but do not intrude into the other, smaller, numbers. Finally, it wouldn’t be a Hemel without a pop of orange, in this case, in the sweep hand and register needles. 

Hemel Brabant

The hands and numbers are filled with C3 SuperLuminova as are the engraved markers in the glossy ceramic bezel; however, as on the other HF20s, the orange triangle is regular old no-glow paint. Again, I understand the aesthetic, but it does limit the bezel’s utility in low light. 

Hemel Brabant lume

The Brabant’s strap is a traditional, 20mm riveted aviator in Cognac leather that exhibits a lovely pull-up effect when bent. I particularly like the twice-signed, square frame buckle.

Hemel Brabant strap

In addition to the watch, Hemel also provided one of their new lambskin Luxury Watch Rolls. With three pockets, a sewn-in Velcro strap, and a buttery suede interior that can be used as a lens cloth, it is as useful as it is beautiful. I keep a stable of watch rolls and this may very well be one of the nicest I've seen. It sells for $69.99.

Hemel lambskin watch roll

For as much as I liked the rest of the HFT20 line, The Hemel Brabant is my clear favorite. The watch sells for a very tempting $449.99, 5% of which will go to the Bob Woodruff Foundation. For more information or to place an order, see HemelWatches.com. ⬩


Hemel Brabant

Hemel Brabant

Hemel Brabant case back

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