Hexa K500 Watch Review

Hexa K500 Watch Review

Hexa K500 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

If there's one way to describe the Hexa K500 it would be unapologetic. Over the last few years there have been a number of new companies specifically started in order to specialize in dive watches at reasonable prices. As more and more models come to market, these companies need to find ways for their watches to stand out from the crowd. Often they are split between taking design cues from the past or attempting to come up with a wildly new, and often outlandish, design unlike any other. The first method has been done ad infinitum and the other can be polarizing at best.

Hexa appears to have taken the surprisingly different route of practicality. I can almost picture a team of people sitting around a table (after a day of diving of course) and compiling a list of features that their ideal dive watch would have. If you were unable to substantiate your request it would be stricken from consideration. I have no idea if that is how the K500 came to be but it really wouldn't surprise me in the least. When I say that the K500 is a dive watch I don't mean that in the sense that it is in the style you would consider a dive watch, I mean that it was obviously designed for use while diving. That's an important distinction and to that end the Hexa K500 is brilliant.

Hexa K500 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The dial and hands of the K500 bear more than a passing resemblance to that of the Sinn U1. This is in no way a negative mark against the K500. There are enough differences to say that the K500 is not a copy of the U1 but both dive watches were designed for visibility and usability so some overlapping is understandable, though we feel it is important to mention it was influenced by German Sinn.

There are five bezel/case finish combinations on the K500 but all feature the same dial and hand set. The flat black dial is clean and offers fantastic legibility. Five minute intervals are marked with blocks of lume and larger blocks at 3, 6, and 9 o'clock as well as an Arabic numeral denoting 12 o'clock. The Hexa name and logo adorn the dial just below the 12 o'clock numeral while an understated grey "AUTOMATIC" and red "500M" sit on separate lines above the 6 o'clock position. There is a small date window near the 4 o'clock position. It's incredibly unobtrusive and you would be forgiven if you didn't notice it from a casual glance with the thin white numerals on a black background. This is the perfect implementation for the date on a dive watch in my opinion. Given a choice of having one or not I will almost always rather have a date indication on my watch. I don't always need it but invariably I am not wearing one when I want it.

Hexa states that luminance is by American Lüm-Tec and this is lume worth noting. If you transition from a brighter environment to a slightly lesser one, you will definitely be seeing this watch glow. If you happened to find yourself at a 3+hour progressive rock concert where the use of cell phones is discouraged you would still be able to check the time during the last encore with ease. Laugh if you must but I consider it a valid test (don't judge me).

Hexa K500 Watch Review   wrist time watch reviews

The hands of the K500 can best be described as light grey blocks.  You'll often find similar hour and minute hand styles as either black or a bright contrasting color. Black hands leave the generous lume blocks to float on the equally black dial while bright hands standout from the luminance and draw attention away from the time-indicating tip. What Hexa did was give you a neutral color which allows for full visibility of the hand while not camouflaging itself against the dial. The seconds hand of the K500 is thin and red which allows for just enough contrast to be spotted quickly with the addition of a sizable luminous block towards the tip.

Hexa gave the K500 an aggressive cog-like grip on a 60-click unidirectional bezel. With the bezel being completely flat across the face of the watch I was initially concerned that the bezel would get caught on various objects or clothing and turn but that has not happened once. Perhaps a bevel on the outer edge would add a little more polish to the look of the K500 but it also might detract from the equipment vibe of the watch. I applaud Hexa for making the bezel 60-click. Would you honestly trust your air supply to the nearest thirty seconds or just round? You're more likely to pad that rounded number as well. 120-click bezels have never made sense to me.

One common style element of popular dive watches I wouldn't mind seeing on the K500 is a differentiation between fifteen minutes and the rest of the hour along the bezel indications but there are worse things to be wanting of. A prominent triangle with ample lume marks the bezel's zero. The five-minute intervals are called out in Arabic numerals based on the font used for interstate signage which were designed to be extremely legible at speed. The bezel does feel rather busy but not needlessly so and the bezel rotation feels very good. It strikes the perfect balance between ease of use and prevention of accidental turning.

14 comments
tomalaerts
tomalaerts

(part 2)

The sandblasted case, grey dial and grey strap of the Q500 make for a look that is at the same time subdued yet very technical.
I think that the lower contrast of the dial makes it less perfect for real diving but for people like me who just swim it doesn't matter.
I also bought the green strap (didn't try it yet).
a fun detail that was not mentioned in the great review here is that the rubber straps are vanilla scented !

General quality of the Q500 seems nice enough - I expect it is virtually the same as the K500 in this respect.
The Lüm-tec lume works reasonably well, better than most, but once again my Sumo and Monster are still the best in this respect !
The toothy bezel is fun to grasp but turning it actually feels cheaper than the sumptous action of the Sumo bezel. But, nothing to worry about.
It is, as also noted in the review of the K500, very comfortable to wear with its rubber strap.

So, all in all the Q500 (and I expect the K500 as well of course) is a very nice leisure time and diving watch if you like the technical design - I know I do.
Quality / finish / price is convincing for a boutique brand, and both Japanese movements should be superbly reliable in their own way.

There are some other attractive boutique brand alternatives in the same pricing range, think Squale Atmos 20 series, Vostok Europe Anchar, certain Steinharts, etc but none to my knowledge have that specific, very German technical look.

tomalaerts
tomalaerts

(part 1)

The movement is the same as the one in the justly famous Seiko Sumo, where it proves to be dependable and rather accurate. It is a step up from their 7s (and now 4r) series movements.
In essence this K500 offers a more toolish boutique alternative to the more dressed Sumo at a slighlty higher price (depending on how you procure a Sumo).
The looks indeed echo some aspects of Sinn, but it is really not an homage. I like the blocky looks of markers and hands, and that the date doesn't overlap with a marker.

I was very tempted by it, and would likely have taken the plunge if the all-sandblasted version were still available.
In the end I took advantage of their irresistible introductory pricing of its sister model Q500 - same case, grey dial, grey rubber strap and a Miyota quartz movement. At a launch price a hair below $300 - totally tempting for an impulse buy! Now it is slightly more expensive but still ok. And it comes in a great box!
Yes, yes, automatic is more cool but to be frank I have already so many mechanical watches I need to wind and set before use, so having something that is always at the ready is a fun extra in the collection.
Also, with the quartz variant the somewhat counterintuitive crown operation isn't important as you'll rarely need to touch it.

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

Good review on a watch with sober pricing and a great movement. Zero style points in my book, but to each his own.

DG Cayse
DG Cayse

Good review Mr. Morin. I like this watch. I also like the metal bracelet with the options for end links...good thinking on Hexas part. This is a well thought out piece.

The "Sii NE15/Seiko 6R15...adjusted to six positions by Hexa." seals the deal for me. I will be among the first to give Seiko full credit for durability of their calibers, but time keeping accuracy is not one of their strong suits. The additional adjustments should make full use of the abilities of this movement. 

This one goes on the list....just have to discover how to hide it from the wife...;)

nateb123
nateb123

Was this designed as a single top-down rendering in Illustrator?  The third dimension looks like a massive afterthought here with the unfortunate case shape and flat bezel.  Makes it look cheap, even if it isn't.

Jus_ad_bellum
Jus_ad_bellum

" The Italian rubber" rofl, is this an actual thing now?

mch2469
mch2469

I do like it .. Got to agree with those comments regarding Diver watch design for new brands..and it can be a very eclectic range of choices..


However the Sinn look is undeniable .. but what I think stands out as a positive is the way the crown has been protected by the case... the Sinn is well known for its thin tube on the crown and therefore somewhat of a weak point as a working watch...this seems to address that without going down a crown guard route...

Lug lengths are reasonably short too which is good... 

 Of course the Sinn biggest selling point is the grade of steel used and expandable crystal fitment but value wise this is a great option..


I would like to see some funky dial colours ..as I think like the Sinn, Doxa etc this style would look good with a Flourescent Orange or Yellow :)


Thank you for a nice review :)

Ryan B
Ryan B

I'm a sucker for the minimalistic / rugged tank look, this watch does that very well.

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

I wonder how the Seiko 6R15 in this watch compares to the 4R36 movement used in the 2nd generation Seiko 'Monster' watches. Both automatic movements seem to support hand winding and hacking (which the original Monsters did not have). 

Thanks for the review. Very much an honest dive tool watch (suitable for more the just desk diving).

MarkCarson
MarkCarson

@Jus_ad_bellum From what I hear, the best rubber straps (and perhaps the only ones really made with natural rubber vice silicone or even worse polyurethane) come from Italy. So this is one of the quality items that the Italians are known for (yeah, I know the list is a short one).

AMorin
AMorin

@MarkCarson I believe Seiko uses the 6R15 in their "Sumo" watches. My "Blue Monster" uses the non-hacking 7S36 and I unfortunately don't have a new "Monster" around for comparison.

CG
CG

Great tailored suits and fine leather shoes, some great Chianti, some very fast and well made motorcycles, great pasta dishes, tall dark haired fiery women, oh and those mostly red cars from Modena, gold jewelry from Florence ok that's a modest short list... watch bands? Who knew?