This is a new model from Helson, the Titanium Gauge, and we have an exclusive first review . This one takes the cool look of their 3500m gauge, scales it down to a mere 1000m, and goes to a full titanium case for a more wearable design. Let's take a look.
- Titanium case with helium escape valve between the top lugs and signed, inset & screwed 7.9mm crown opposite.
- Sapphire crystal, double-domed with antireflective coating
- ETA 2824-2 movement (note that the date function is not used here)
- Lumed 120-click bezel.
- 47.0mm by 16.8mm high (top of crystal), 53.6mm lug to lug.
- 131g on the Isofrane-style strap
Amazingly, this is the smaller version of the Gauge, a watch whose design is based on a vintage depth gauge. The original version from Helson is rated to a ludicrous 3,500m and measures 47mm by 19.4mm in heavyweight bronze:
Not a design for the bashful. Here's a similar angle on the new version:
At 130g, the titanium is actually comfortable to wear; that's only slightly more than my titanium IWC Aquatimer, which is 120g on its bracelet.
The color scheme of grey titanium and matte black dial works very well. With it's lack of reflective surfaces, the watch looks, in a word, bad. Very much a functional design. The minutes (instead of hours) numerals on the dial catch the eye and pique the interest. I also like how the end of the minute hand flies over the angled chapter ring, as does the blacked-out second hand. It's important to have proportional hands on a watch this large.
Even with the steeply angled lugs, it wears tall and seems taller due to vertical sides. The machined buckle is a delight, nicely made and engraved with "Helson."
Attention to detail in seemingly minor areas; it's one of the positives of fine watches.
Cool engraving of an articulated diving suit on the back. Yep, this is number two; number one is currently on the wrist of Peter Helson.
Goes well with a grey shirt and jeans; about the only thing that'd look better is a wetsuit. This is a watch that cries out for adventure. The titanium on the case will quickly acquire scars, each a small reminder of that dive in the Augean. Or maybe of that steel door frame at work.
The metalwork is excellent - note the lack of a gap between bezel and case. Nowhere for sand or mud to get in. It also has an automatic helium escape valve, in case your adventures include decompression chambers and saturation diving. The straps use the same system as the Blackbeard, with a flat blade screwhead on one side for simple changes.
Luminosity is first-rate, of course:
The domed crystal has a very effective anti-reflective coating on it and is visible from extreme angles. The dial has the minute markers on the chapter ring, a design I like as it leaves the dial less cluttered.
Price on the titanium Gauge is $899 from Helson direct.
Like the Helson Blackbeards, this is a fun design that will appeal to some and not at all to others. It's imposing, wearable and of course would be a great dive watch. I like it, though probably not every day.