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Habring2 Erwin Watch

Habring2 Erwin Watch Watch Releases

Like an Oscar-winning indie film, there’s a stubborn, understated brilliance to Habring2 – an Austrian-based independent manufactory whose desire to break its reliance on ETA-based movements has already yielded not one, but two Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève winners. And if past successes are any indication, there’s a third podium contender with the Habring2 Erwin watch – a beautifully rendered 3-hander fitted with a “deadbeat,” or jumping seconds complication based around the brand’s very own in-house manufactured A-11S movement.

Habring2 Erwin Watch Watch Releases

Now, it’s worth mentioning that this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen this complication from Habring2, but it’s the first time that the brand has replicated this complication using its own manual-winding A-11 caliber as a base – as opposed to the ETA/Valjoux base from its 2013 GPDH award-winning “Jumping Seconds” edition. Now, this is significant for several reasons, but largely due to Habring2’s fully manual production, which includes operations like hand-assembling and adjusting anchors, manually bending the balance springs, and the polishing and bluing of each and every screw by hand – time-consuming traditions that hearken an age of watchmaking long before the efficiency of industrial manufacturing. We were lucky enough to witness many of these operations firsthand on our Habring2 manufactory visit, which you can read about here.

Habring2 Erwin Watch Watch Releases

Habring2 Felix (left) & new Habring2 Erwin

The Habring2 Erwin shares much of the visual DNA of its award-winning brother Felix, from the svelte, locally produced 38.5mm stainless steel case, to the brushed silver dial with contrasting, applied red gold-plated hands. But where the Felix is distinguished by its small-seconds aperture at 9:00, the Habring2 Erwin showcases its unique internal complication with a traditional center-mounted seconds hand.

Habring2 Erwin Watch Watch Releases

At this point, there’s an obvious comparison worth drawing to the Jaeger-LeCoultre Geophysic True Seconds – another excellent example utilizing the traditional deadbeat complication. However, Habring2’s A-11S is a manually wound movement (vs. the JLC’s automatic cal. 770) and lacks the overall complexity of the JLC’s included Gyrolab balance. Furthermore, its slick modular movement design prevents the deadbeat complication from adding any noticeable thickness to the movement itself – yielding a dressy 9mm profile once everything’s cased up and on the wrist. Once fully wound, the A-11S (with the ’S’ being Habring2’s designation for the jumping seconds complication) hums – er, ticks – along at 28,800vph (4hz) throughout its expected 48 hours of power reserve.

Habring2 Erwin Watch Watch Releases

The deadbeat seconds is truly a complication for the confident, because not only is the wearer surrendering the smooth sweep of the seconds hand, but the movement at a surface level mimics the predictable ticking behavior of a quartz watch. But the beauty of the modern deadbeat is expressed in what’s not readily visible, and the relative rarity of the complication should be more than enough for those chasing something truly unique in watchmaking. The Habring2 Erwin will be available in two dial variants, each with a price of €5,450 – a relative bargain stacked next to the JLC True Seconds, which retails for a good chunk more.

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  • SuperStrapper

    Better than its predecessor now that it has a centre seconds, but much too boring for this kind of money. Stealth wealth? Maybe, but no one will believe you even after you tell them.

  • Love the brand, and hat’s off for the in-housery. Erwin is handsome, but his older brother Felix, despite being less flashy, has slightly more classical looks IMO.

  • DanW94

    I may be in the minority here, but I find the Habring dial designs and overall aesthetic mundane, I get everything is well done, in-house calibers, etc….but the overall package is a bit of a snooze fest.

    • Sevenmack

      You can get a Christopher Ward Malvern that shares the same aesthetic for a tenth of the price.

  • Andrew Buckley

    I also find the Habring design aesthetic plain dull. And I just don’t get deadbeat seconds. Why design the worst aspects of quartz movements into an automatic watch costing upwards of €5,000? Or am I missing the knowing irony of the true watch aficionado? Why not go the whole hog and put “Made in China” and “Quartz” on the dial, whilst quietly sniggering to oneself that only the true watch expert will realise that this is actually a sophisticated, mechanical watch, built by hand in the Alpine meadows of Central Europe?

    • Any association between the deadbeat second hand and a quartz regulated movement is an extremely recent and shallow association compared to the history of the deadbeat second and the escapements like the anchor, which caused the second hand of many many clocks to tick once or twice per second for decades before the quartz movement came along. I think a lot of people like this complication, and some like it specifically because it confuses even quite well-versed watch enthusiasts.

      The truth is that a quartz movement is capable of delivering a seconds hand sweep smoother than any swiss-lever escapement in existence. A lot of people invest their dislike for quartz in the movement of the second hand and I think its high time this attitude was challenged – not just because there are some lovely deadbeat movements out there, not just because the passing second is way better defined by a single tick than 8 intermediary ones, but also because we are looking in the wrong places for a watch to tell us it is worthy!

      • Sevenmack

        This is true. A Bulova Precisionist/Accutron II/UHF offers a much smoother sweep than the average mechanical — and with higher levels of accuracy to boot. The deadbeat seconds on a mechanical cannot even compare.

        • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

          Bulova was the marque which immediately came to mind..

      • Andrew Buckley

        Blimey! I bow to your superior knowledge.

      • The Deplorable Boogur T. Wang

        Well said; especially the 2nd paragraph.

      • Berndt Norten

        If I bought this watch my wife would surely sing:

        You’ve been looking for love
        In all the wrong places
        Austrian watches–
        You jest they stage ski races

        Deadbeats be gone
        Wasting paper at races
        Two-bit whorological
        Painted faces

        To pay for this watch
        You must learn what your place is

        Bow down before the one you serve
        OR you wont get this watch
        You don’t deserve

      • radikaz

        to me dead beat watch are conversational watch, people w/often ask why a mechanical watch moves like Quartz, hence the next conversation why and how…interesting topic, IMO. Sometime, at certain price point, we leave the technical aspect aside to admire it’s beauties. Harbing2 can make one according to your desired taste, so it’s abt getting into exclusiveness than mechanical excellence.

      • Bill W

        At the risk of sounding like a bit of a rube, I much prefer a smooth sweeping seconds. It is calming to me.

  • Bruce

    Yeah, it looks plain, but the biggest issue I have is the jumping seconds. While it is a technical achievement to a mechanical watch to behave this way, some how I find it counter intuitive.

    • IanE

      The Jumping seconds/dead beat/true beat complication of course precedes quartz watches and only seem inferior to those who dislike the lack of ‘soul’ (or some such thing) in quartz. They actually allow a more precise sense of when each second starts and hence their association with the Geophysic JLC range for instance. I guess it is an acquired taste (just as a dislike for them is an acquired taste!). I’ve come to rather admire them, though I think I’m perhaps influenced by my knowledge of their requirement for sophistication in their movements.

      However, I must say I’m not a fan of Habring2 aesthetics though I admire the Habrings for their endeavours!

      • Bill W

        I do like their foudroyante because you see it spinning as the seconds tick off. It’s mesmerizing and I don’t mind the deadbeat seconds in that application.

  • otaking241

    One nice thing not touched upon here is that Habring2 will work with you to customize their watches just about any way you want to, down to the decoration on the movement. For people who like personalization that’s an unusually attractive proposition.

    For myself, I’ll save my shekels for the JLC. In gold, please.

  • If I wanted to spend 6 grand on a watch that everyone mistook for a cheap quartz, I’d buy a Grand Seiko.

    ::ducks and runs out of the room::

    But seriously, for that look, the price is grey market JLC Master Ultra Thin or Geophysic territory. Habring’s Doppel 3 and two-register Chrono COS are far more interesting and unique.

    • To you sir; to you.
      BTW I just threw a book at you but it missed and you seem to have left the room?

  • word-merchant

    If the jumping second hand doesn’t exactly line up with every dial marker then the entire watch is rendered useless.

    • Totally agree. But camera angle and crystal distortion have to be taken into account. Guess I would just have to see one live.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    This watch was way out of my guesstimate for it by a mile ! . It’s nice enough but nothing special at all verging on really boring. Like Wordy if the second jumping hand didn’t line up EXACTLY i couldn’t wear it. I can’t believe they are charging this much for what else you can get on the market for a similar price. I like the jumping second hand with that very reassuring tick.
    Costs less than the JLC True Seconds and it totally shows .

  • Andrew

    That’s an immensely classy looking watch but I’m not sure I’d appreciate the movement enough to spend that much on it, there are cheaper and just as nice looking quartz ones if you want that tick!

  • HectorAsuipe

    I am very fond of what Habring does and want to own one. This particular model is lovely, but I am not a fan of the true second unless there is something else going on to show its mechanics. In fact, I lust for the Geophysic 1958 and have no interest in the Geophysic True Seconds.
    Other Habring models are more enticing, like the Doppel 3. Hope they come out with a regulateur soon!

  • ??????
    • G Street

      The Foudroyante model makes me grin like a loon every time I see it. It’s like a watch ‘gone wrong’ in the best possible way! I love it.

      • ??????

        Lovely watch 🙂 I don’t usually appreciate asymmetry, but in the case with Foudroyante it makes me happy to look at it (in photos at least).

  • Marius

    In my opinion, true-seconds mechanical watches don`t make much sense due to two reasons.

    1. Mechanical watches using a sweeping seconds hands depict the passage of time in a more accurate manner. After all, time passes in a progressive manner, and if you look up at the sky, you won`t see the sun and moon jump from one place to another.

    2. Most true-seconds watches (in fact, probably ALL of them) have a second-hands that never hits the mark dead-on. For instance, if you look at the JLC True-Seconds you will notice that the seconds hand never hits the mark correctly. So, the whole concept of these watches is basically undermined. To have a better idea, just look at the seconds-hand of a Grand Seiko quartz (that always hits the mark precisely) and compare that with most mechanical true-beat watches.

    • David west

      I disagree with everything above. I am looking at my JLC Geophysic at this moment and can assure you that the seconds hand lines up perfectly with each of the markers.

      • Marius

        Take a look at the Hodinkee video presenting this watch. On the gold reference, the seconds hand never hits the mark. There is also a video by Watches TV.

        • Jeviar Dfirst

          The camera “eyes” doesn’t work as much as our eyes did, different angles and you see different things, and in fact deadbeat second complication was used to be the reference for the timekeeping…until the quartz did. And quartz was made this way to respect the accuracy of those timepiece with deadbeat seconds, which is more accurate to read than when it used the sweep seconds hand (first generation of quartz/battery powered watch) and yeah it last until some Japanese (no offense here, sorry) makes it more affordable that really drop quartz watch value.
          While quartz would last you a good two-five years, deadbeat watches would last forever.
          And yes, it could be adjusted when setting the hand to really hit the markers as I usually do

    • ??????

      1. This point seems irrelevant since the sun and moon do not jump either 1 (true-second) nor 6 (classical 21,600 bph) nor 8 times (modern 28,800 bph), etc. per second. And there is literally NO watch in existance with infinite jumps of the second hand per second.

      2. I believe it is hard but can be adjusted to hit the marks. If not – then how Grand Seiko manages to make it?

    • Disagree. The passage of time is smooth, sure, but the whole point of timekeeping, of horology, of calendars is Man’s attempt to split time into objective and measurable phases. A second is one such measurement and it is best demonstrated in its own unit, not in 8/8ths of its unit.

      Also, I would absolutely expect a dead second to align to its marker, and good ones do, including the JLC which I have observed hands on with two different models and about 4 other DBs. Seeing the hand fail to meet a marker is a criticism of a movement or of a model, not of the whole basis of the complication.

  • Roman

    Looking like an ordinary quartz watch, make it worse has deadbeat seconds.

  • Andre Braz

    Too simple design for this price…

  • At the risk of sounding like a bit of a rube, I much prefer a smooth sweeping seconds. It is calming to me.

    • Bill W


  • cg

    Like Indie films this is more of the same old stuff masquerading as something award winning with a pretentious simplicity, or is it the review?

  • Ronni W

    Remind me to Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control ..:)
    But honestly this watch is sleek and beautiful, but for $5000 price range I prefer the JLC.
    This about brand strength, ..I believe this one is good product

    • Yojimbo

      I’m too lazy to check right now to see how bad the us/cdn exchange is, but in euros that’s over eight grand Canadian at the moment

  • Yojimbo

    It’s a pleasant enough looking watch at first glance. I don’t understand why they’re inconsistent with default band along with the hands and markers between the two watch options it’s like two similar but different watches IMHO.

    That price works out to over eight grand Canadian so that would be a brutally hard pass for me seeing as no matter what deal I could finagle from them, I could overpay for an equally nice Grand Seiko springdrive model and still have a couple grand in my pocket afterwards. Better yet if I had 8k burning a hole in my pocket, pretty much as “miata is always the answer” with getting a smart hooning machine, in this case I’d just get a Seiko cocktail and put the rest into my TFSA 🙂

  • Ulysses31

    I like some other Habring designs but over the years I got the impression that the company specialised in offering good value to the customer. I don’t see that here at all.

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