March 21, 2013
by Ariel Adams
Swedish boutique watch brand Halda releases their second watch with the Race Pilot. Their first watch was the Halda Space Discovery, that was pricey, but interesting with its module system. The idea is that the watch case itself can be removed and you can include a digital device or a standard mechanical watch. On a bracelet, the Space Discovery is now complemented by the Racing Pilot which comes on a natural rubber strap, and offers some new things.
Halda wanted to make this a racing world inspired watch so the “Racing” part of the name makes sense. The “Pilot” part eludes me, but given the features in the digital module, a pilot would find the piece useful enough. My biggest problem with the Halda concept is that you need a place to store the other module if you have both. What I think they should have done is made it so that the case itself can flip over, showing a mechanical movement on one side, and a digital display on the other. With a brand like Linde Werdelin, you can at least attach their digital instruments to your mechanical watch – though that does tend to make them a bit bulky.
The Race Pilot watch itself is 45mm wide made from DLC black coated titanium with a steel case back. The design is nice and modern, and I am sure the system for removing and inserting the module is clever enough. Let’s discuss the mechanical module first. Halda is very proud of their relationship with Zenith who supplied the movement. It isn’t an El Primero, but that doesn’t matter much as it isn’t a chronograph. Inside the Race Pilot mechanical watch module is a Zenith caliber 685 automatic movement with the time, date, and power reserve indicator. The complex dial should appeal to those interested in high-end sport watches done in a modern taste. I believe this movement is used in some Zenith Elite watches.
Dial design looks cool in the renders, but I’d need to see it myself in the flesh to make a final determination. The materials Halda uses are those that are only going to look great if manufactured properly. Having said that, it could look really sharp if Halda pushes its suppliers enough.
The Race Pilot digital module is a bit more interesting and offers a few things that help make this watch more than just a super expensive Casio ProTrek. It would have been great if Halda could have used a higher resolution display, but in the interest of battery life I understand why they use these. Still, when the dial looks so similar to a Suunto, it is hard to separate yourself as a brand. This module is also made from DLC coated titanium, and it has three pushers for all the functions.
Some of the more unique features (or noteworthy) of the “Race module” (with the Halda caliber 2012-1 movement) are the red LED status lights on the case, the internal accelerometer (for a G-Force meter), and a “Race Pilot” program that has information on some of the most popular racetracks around the world. Of course, the digital watch also has the typical slew of functions including the time, 1/100th of a second chronograph, calendars, world time, alarm, countdown timer, and a battery power indicator. Pretty much what your smartphone has. If there was ever a time when I wanted smartphones to be wearable, it is now. If only to force luxury watch brands to offer more than just design and a well-constructed package. I want them to DO something special as well.
You can purchase the Halda Race Pilot digital and mechanical modules separately (7,500 Euros and 9,800 Euros respectively, or together as a complete set for 14,000 Euros. haldasweden.com
Movement: Automatic movement by Zenith SA, caliber 685 with 38 jewels and a frequency of 28.800 bhp (4Hz).
Functions: 12-hour display, central minute and hour hand. Small second sub dial and a Power Reserve indicator. Hand and hour indicators with Superluminova. Case: Titanium with black DLC treatment, caseback in solid stainless steel.
Dimensions: Diameter 45 mm, Thickness 16,9 mm.
Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal, anti-reflex treated. Caseback – Domed sapphire crystal with a magnifying effect
Water Resistance: 5 atm Rotor: Specially designed in heavy metal etched with Halda Race Pilot and decorated with Côtes de Genève and Clous de Paris
Power Reserve: Minimum 50 hours
Electronic Movement: Movement by Halda Watch Co, caliber HR 2012-1 with a three axis accelerometer, a low power consumption microprocessor and a tailor made LCD display with LED backlight controlled by an automatic light sensor.
Functions: Race Pilot program, Race Chronograph, Countdown to Race, FIA Formula 1 Countdown, Dual Time, Week Indicator, World Timer, Alarm Clock, Timer (24h), Perpetual Calendar, Power Save Mode.
Case: The case is made of Titanium with black DLC (Diamond-Like Carbon) treatment. The caseback is made out of solid stainless steel.
Dimensions: Diameter 45 mm, Thickness 17,65 mm
Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal, anti-reflex treated
Water Resistance: 5 atm
Battery Lifetime: Minimum 2 years