Hemel Air League Chronograph Special Edition

Regular readers know that Marvin Menke of Hemel Watches has been busy cranking out some amazing watches these past few years, but you might not know of his side project, The League of Microbrands. Now over 6,700 members strong, The League is a Facebook community focusing on micro and independent brand watches. Given the group's focus, and Marvin's background, a League watch was inevitable. It started as a simple modification to the existing Hemel HFT20 but quickly turned into a completely new project from the ground up. 
Hemel Air League Chronograph Special Edition
Like the rest of the HF series, the Air League Chronograph borrows heavily from Dodane and Breuget Type 20 and 21 watches originally issued to mid-twentieth century French military pilots. The concept was put to the League members and a lively design discussion ensued. Every aesthetic and technical detail was discussed, debated and voted on. 

The result is an updated version of the classic jet age pilot's watch. It is bigger than the vintage originals, featuring a polished case that is 42mm wide and 49mm long with a 22mm lug width. Under the domed and AR-coated sapphire crystal is a matte black dial treated with C3 SuperLuminova, as is the glossy ceramic bezel insert. Water resistance is 100m - just in case you need to pull a Capitan Sully. 

Perhaps the most intriguing part of the project is the "three bears" choice of movements. You can get a Seagull ST19 hand winder for $299, a clone of the 7753 automatic for $499, or the Mac Daddy Swiss Sellita SW510 automatic for $1199. The gold plated and blue screwed ST19 gets an exhibition case back. The other two are solid. All case backs will be engraved.  

For my money, I’d get the ST19. This bicompax, column-wheel chrono dates back to the 1940’s when it was developed by Venus. Seagull has made it since the early 1960’s, most famously in the 1963 Chinese Air Force Watch. It has 23 jewels, a 21.6k bph vibration rate, and a 45-hour power reserve. The units to be used in this watch be upgraded with swan-neck regulators. 

This is a great deal, but if you want in at these prices, you must first be a League member. And why not? It's free, fun, and gets you a heck of a deal. You've got until June 30 to preorder. The Air League will be delivered this fall. 

For more info, visit HemelWatches.com and The League of Microbrand Watches. ⬩
Hemel Air League Chronograph Special Edition


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