Helson Blackbeard Watch Review

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

When I saw the announcement for this watch I knew I had to review it. A cool indie diver from Helson with an embossed Jolly Roger on the dial? Awesome.

Done in the style of the vintage Blancpain Fifty Fathoms (the bezel especially), the Blackbeard is thoroughly modern in execution: ETA 2824 movement, water resistant to 500m, domed sapphire crystal with double inner anti-reflective coating, lumed acrylic bezel, and the piece de resistance, a SuperLuminova BGW9 dial with hands-down coolest lume dial ever:

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

If that doesn't make your inner child squeal with delight, than you probably won't be as enamored as I am. Personally, what I like most about the watch is that the pirate theme is almost invisible. The embossed (or maybe printed) lume on the dial is invisible at normal distances:

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The matching 6.8mm crown:

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

and caseback:

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

but none of them are noticeable. The dial is super clean; it and the bezel have only hour markings, for a relaxed, casual feel. It makes for a versatile watch with a secret for the wearer. As I'll show below, the result is amazingly versatile in appearance.

On the Isofrane-style rubber strap (included) it looks sporty:

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Switch to the 4mm mesh, and it looks bulletproof and masculine:

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

By the way, the mesh is superb, with a unique seatbelt-style buckle:

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

It also comes with a conventional flip-lock pushbutton buckle you can use instead. Very thoughtful.

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Helson also includes a very nice Zulu strap that's quite comfortable:

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Also very unusual are the lugs. Instead of a threaded bar or standard spring bars, Helson uses a 1.75mm bar that threads into one of the lugs:

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Looks like this:

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Easy and fast to swap straps, and unusually strong.

Given the ease of changing straps and the 22mm lugs, I dug into my box of straps and found a couple that really change up the style. First off, a curved-end black calfskin from my Yes Inca. The ends don't quite fit, but I think with calfskin you could effortlessly wear the Blackbeard with a suit and no one would notice.

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

It's a bit tall for cuffs at 16mm, but do-able.

The watch is medium size and weight, 110g bare, 155 with the mesh bracelet, about 130g on leather or rubber. 42.4mm by 16.5mm, 50.5mm lug-to-lug. Very wearable.

I also had an orange-red from my Prometheus Ocean Diver that really makes the watch pop. A bold, summer-y look that I quite like. Heck, it's a pirate watch, right?

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The watch lists for $750, and Helson is famous for turnaround -- I got this review loaner in 3 days flat. It arrives in a waterproof hard plastic cylinder:

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Inside is open-cell foam:

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

Nice attention to detail. Even the most aggressive delivery won't be a problem here.

Overall I really like this watch. It's very well made, and the simple black/white/tan color scheme is adaptable to a wide range of circumstances. Legibility is first-rate, if a bit busy at night, and the hidden pirate theme is a delight.

Mine kept chronometer-grade time, with smooth winding, precise hand movement and overall feel of high quality. As you can see from the macro shots, the case finishing is quite good, and overall I'd rate the value as excellent. All Helson watches have a one year international warranty, and their reputation is excellent.

Helson Blackbeard Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

It's been swimming, down to the bottom of the local pool, cycling and even played volleyball. My four-year-old daughter calls it 'the skull watch' and thinks its super cool. What more could you ask?

My thanks to Peter Helson for the review loaner. Learn more or order yours at their product page.

18 comments
asovo
asovo

great review! Now I am think to get the Helson watch.

CG
CG

Rec'd my Blackbeard (time only) white face Helson today just 2 days or so after ordering! Fast ship from Hong Kong! It is very robust for what I consider a small/medium dive watch. With the intro of dive computers years ago; knowing your dive tables has become obsolete with most sport divers but I always like to have a simple uncomplicated backup and this is it. I am impressed with the workmanship and precision of this watch... does not feel flimsy like modern Seiko divers and seems more of a dedicated dive watch in it's retro simplicity. Gotta say the Jolly Roger on the white face is far more subtle in day time, the closeup photos in your review make it stand out but in person it's very subdued. I'm liking this watch the more I look at it... mesh band is quite comfortable. Thanks for the recommendation.

Nick Orloff
Nick Orloff

Ariel, you're an enabler .... Great review, and as a result there is now a whiteface Blackbeard in my collection.

Arrived today, straight onto the wrist ... I just love the Jolly Roger on the dial and my kids think the lume is cool.

Arrrr.

ChrisDeskDiver
ChrisDeskDiver

great review..nice to see another fan of the Black Beard - I have the black one and am really enjoying it.

Dave
Dave

When I read your review, I just had to have this watch - not so much because it is a dive watch, but because of the skull & crossbones theme - pirate history has always been a hobby of mine... Now that I think about it, I felt the exact same way when I saw the Corum Privateer - and I hunted until found one...

The watch was quite well made and very sturdy - nothing fancy, but nicely put together. I am worried about the bezel scratching, but we will see.... The gold print on the bezel makes this a watch that I probably wouldn't wear to see a client, but it is very striking and the simplicity of the face is nice - the hands are a bit thin for the watch, but it is easy to tell time at a glance... I didn't need another watch on a steel or rubber band - my Oris and Panerai have rubber bands... Unfortunately, I did not receive the Zulu strap with the watch, but a quick visit to divestrap.com took care of that.... Overall - this is a nice watch that will get a lot of weekend wear...

Chris
Chris

That is so cool. A bit of the 60s Blancpain in the design. I don't think I've seen a watch that made me grin so much in a long time. Were I not looking to buy a camera this week, I'm pretty sure this watch would be mine.

AV De Jesus II
AV De Jesus II

Been waiting for a Helson watch review for the looongest time! At last! The Blackbeard is a definite must-have! Can you make one for the chrono model as well?

Ronny
Ronny

Love it, awesome bezel and very nice mesh.
Beautiful diver!

Jerry
Jerry

Another oversized tacky watch.....just what the world needs

Michael
Michael

Overall I like Helson.
Am I being picky when I say the hour-hand is not long enough for the dial?(This seems to be a problem with a lot of brands).

Ulysses
Ulysses

A big fan of Helson - they know how to make manly watches. Nothing too fancy or elaborate, just handsome solid slabs of metal. I don't like the skull and crossbones but since it's so discreet I don't mind.

Mojosan
Mojosan

Love it. White face with black bezel and black strap is great.

Just pulled the trigger.

kris.c
kris.c

Thats NOT an isofrane? Its a dead-ringer - why wouldn;t they use their own style?

Anyway, cool stuff. I'd own one, even if the brushed case and polished mesh are a head scratcher. Everything should be bead or sand blasted - then it would be a homerun.

Speedmaster
Speedmaster

Fantastic, I love everything about that!!!

Helsonfan
Helsonfan

Wish the bezel was constructed of a more scratch resistant material. That domed acrylic will not stay pristine very long.

admin
admin

Oh nice. When a watch makes kids happy you know you have a winner.

phubbard
phubbard

Paul, actually, but yes we're glad to share the love. I bought my review watch, too, it's a keeper and my daughter think's its just awesome.

admin
admin

Enjoy it Dave.

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