EHF Mk Zero Watch Review

EHF Mk Zero Watch Review

EHF Mk Zero Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

This is the EHF Mk Zero, here for review from the new Swiss company, EHF Horlogere. Founded in 2011, EHF is five people who are trying to bring hand craftsmanship to affordable watches. I first heard about them when they posted a rather audacious tutorial on their blog of "how to assemble a 'Swiss Made' pilot watch on the cheap." (well worth a read, by the way.) I contacted them and they kindly sent us a watch for review and have also agreed to give it away to a lucky reader in a contest this fall. So read on, and perhaps you'll be the person who ends up enjoying this very piece.

As a new company with moonlighting watchmakers, EHF starts with catalog movements from ETA, in this case an ETA 6497, finished by Soprod to Elabore grade. EHF spends one to two days per movement, plating with black rhodium, hand-beveling the bridges and timing the completed movements. It's a level of attention that, as they point out, you don't normally see done under $5k or so.

EHF Mk Zero Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Closeup:

EHF Mk Zero Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The black rhodium plating also provides more color and contrast, yielding a movement that is quite striking. Kind of reminds me of the Glashutte PanoInverse. Not Patek-level finishing, but quite good.

The case is of unusual construction, matte-finished black titanium over stainless steel. I've never seen that before, and don't know how it'll wear, but I like the low-key appearance. The Mk Zero is 42mm wide by 10.5 thick, 78g including the strap, 22mm lugs and a 6.9mm non-screwdown crown. Sapphire crystal, lumed hands and dial. 50.2mm lug to lug.

The dials are printed in Le Locle for EHF, and in full sunlight you can see a speckle texture:

EHF Mk Zero Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The variably-sized numerals give a retro, funky, aviator feel to the watch. I've worn it for a business meeting, and it works pretty well for that, not too formal, and not at all flashy. One of the options on their site is gold hands, and I'd suggest going that route as the black-bordered ones are less visible than I would like.

EHF uses a wonderful, butter-soft buffalo strap from Kuki that is comfortable out of the box. I am instantly a fan.

EHF Mk Zero Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

EHF Mk Zero Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Box and packaging are good, reinforced leather travel case that you can re-use.

EHF Mk Zero Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

That picture shows one issue with this piece, which is the lack of an anti-reflective coating on the crystal that makes the dial less visible. I know that others disagree, but personally I am a big proponent of them. I do like the travel case though. This one is super well protected and great for tossing into your carry-on luggage.

EHF Mk Zero Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

My wrist is an average 7.25". As is usually the case with 649x movements, I have a bit of overhang over my wrist.

EHF Mk Zero Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Nice and slim.

Case finishing is good, even and well detailed:

EHF Mk Zero Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

EHF Mk Zero Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Luminosity is pretty good, here I am borrowing EHF's picture:

EHF Mk Zero Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

As you'd expect from a hand-adjusted ETA, timekeeping is easily chronometer-grade when wound once a day. Nice smooth winding, evidence of well-finished gear train. I enjoy the daily routine/ritual of winding a watch, and that's a big part of the appeal here in my opinion.

Overall, I quite like the watch and the direction EHF is going. I recommend subscribing to their very informative blog, as it's a fascinating and candid account of their progress, sources, projects and goals. I wish more watch companies blogged! Their candor in sourcing, finishing, and watchmaking is something I greatly appreciate and wish them tremendous success. I will be quite sad to send this one to our contest winner.

List price for the EHF Mk Zero is $1,450 USD. For a hand-finished and tuned Swiss watch? Hell yes!

22 comments
esoegyanto
esoegyanto

Good work Phubbard! (Sorry forgot to mention you in my comment :D)

esoegyanto
esoegyanto

It's a really nice watch, reasonable priced and really-really like the finishing of the watch. I'm a big fan of IWC, and really surprised to see that Le Locle's craftsmanship is on par with big names.

Good review Ariel!!

Oh, I've been to Le Locle. It's a beautiful town! No wonder they could produce such a nice timepiece :D

malomoto
malomoto

You can sometime discover a well priced timepiece with the boutique brands . . . on an unrelated topic, the name change is much better than ABTRead . . . bravo Ariel !!

Cmac1031
Cmac1031

Very nice quality and tremendous movement. This reminds me of orient very detail oriented "SmartWatchmaking" u can actually afford. In this regard I think boutiques n small private company's can make a stand out product. Don't get me wrong I love my omega and respect brands like Patek and glashutte but most of us cannot afford that level of refinement :). Thanks for the well written article!

umarraj
umarraj

I look forward to this smart manual watch. I persoanlly prefer watches from botique makers primarily because attention to detail (cannot expect Victorinox Swiss Army for instance to do any decoration on a generic ETA for under $1500) and  value for money. Also they stand out..........

I would like a logo on the crown. A bit of let down.........

Hogard
Hogard

Btw, their blog is brilliant for those who are interested in watchmaking as much as collecting. Some good stuff on there!

Still no preference over boutique watches... just love to tinker myself.

Hogard
Hogard

I prefere good quality watches. For now I have been collecting vintage watches since new ones usually have astronomical prices. 

Got no preference over boutique watches though usually they do excell in quality. 

This is a great example of a good value for a nice looking elabore movement. It looks like a neat complete set. Though I can only give my personal opinion when I would be able to feel and judge the watch myself.

I think that not adding a logo on the crown is a bit sloppy. A watch is all about details.

Another enjoyable read! Thumbs up!

Dinky Toy
Dinky Toy

This has been my favourite watch blog for some time but I do have some comments on both the review and the watch.

The review:

What does EHF stand for?

Where is the video?

What's with the dirt on the lugs on the top where they join the case?

The watch:

What's that line between the 4 and the 5 on the dial (see 4th photo from top)?

The case is generic.

The dial font is bland and terrible.

Boring speckled dial.

Flat printed dial at this price level...

EHF has no logo?

The crown is not signed.

I bet the buckle is not signed either.

If Swiss made, then why no mention of this on dial or some where?

Let's just say that this one is just not for me but I feel that at this price level one has to be REALLY excited about the movement to justify the asking price for such a bland piece missing so many details. I am happy they skipped the train track design for once.

morek
morek

I think the finish looks great.  Overall, I would like it a lot better if the crown was signed.

bichondaddy
bichondaddy

Maybe if the watch had a different colored dial....but I don't purchase watches with black dials.  A cream colored dial would suit me...as then I could take that black strap off it and add a nice XL tan strap with black stitching ( since I have an 8.75" wrist ) and have a really nice looking watch.  As it sits now....it's just over priced and like others have said...you can find a similar watch on ebay for much less. 

NWP
NWP

                       I like it! In my opinion it might look a little better if their EHF was in smaller font.

BNG
BNG

Interesting...we'll see how they go!

Henry Miller
Henry Miller

It is understandable how this watch may offend those seeking and accustomed to "bling. "

This timepiece is obviously not directed to this consumer.

The craftmanship of this piece is in its essence and in its construction.

Factors not readily conveyed to the mass-market audience.

Well made and well thought out...Bravo!

asovo
asovo

oh c'mom.. $1450 for this? for what I think this poor case look like made in china, poor watch band with fine 6497 inside.

the fine 6497 may cost under $300 on the market. hand made case? for real? dont look like for me. 

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

Its too bland for what it is. I like the black case - I've wanted a black DLC pilot style as of recently, but with a b-type dial and proper handset.

I agree with Russ, there are $300 completely assembled watches with eta 6497's availble on eBay, they just don't have this logo on them. No, the finishing is not at this level, but at the end of the day, how many people will find that worth an extra $1000+?

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

Ya gotta love what these guys do for the price. They seem less about design (case, dial, hands) bur all about the movement. This is a watchmaker's watch, not a designer's watch.

Yes, you could replicate a cruder copy of this watch for a quarter of the price. That would be better bang for the buck if you never looked at the movement. But the movement is the whole point. And by that measure, they are a bargain.

DangerussArt
DangerussArt

With a bit of shopping On ebay and Ofrei and I promise I could recreate the equivalent or better of this watch for under $500.  Considering my assembly of those parts might take a half hour or less, I'm perfectly happy to not pay the extra grand something just like this. VSA offers a far better looking Swiss 6497 based watch with a great looking dimensional and applique dial for under half what these guys are asking. Sorry Paul, this is just not a value in my opinion.

Ariel Adams
Ariel Adams

Thanks for the comment. This review was done by contributor Paul, who at this time doesn't do video (but I am trying to change that). It is true that this is a polarizing piece being both attractive and appealing to some people and perhaps a bit bland and overpriced to others.

WatchOtaku
WatchOtaku

@DangerussArt Russ - read the very first link. They explain in detail how to do precisely that; assemble from ebay and otto frei. The extra cost is a day or two of handwork in teardown, plating, lube, etc, etc.

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