November 30, 2013
And, in daily wear, I felt the watch worked quite nicely. There were a few shirt cuffs it wasn’t going to fit under (but that’s why we have more than one watch laying about, right?), sure, but otherwise it was great. For one, the stark simplicity of the dial (with minutes indicated, rather than hours) combined with the generously sized hands meant it was never an issue reading the time. Sure, there’s no date, but for a dive watch that’s intended to head under water, a date complication doesn’t make much sense.
I also liked the fact that our review sample had a lovely chocolate brown dial. This is not a color that you see often in a watch, and it complements the bronze tones of the case quite nicely (you can also opt for a green or black dial from Helson; I think a cobalt blue would be a great future addition). Yes, the shades of brown look a tinge odd when paired with the black rubber strap, but it’s not that bad, as the case takes up most of your wrist (lug to lug is 53mm). Of course, when you pair it with the optional distressed leather strap (in brown), and it all clicks together nicely (of note, both straps feature different bronze buckles).
If that wasn’t enough strap options for you, I did also reach out to our friends over at Crown & Buckle, as they’ve recently released a line of nylon straps that feature bronze hardware. We had a 24mm in olive green show up, and it also worked quite nicely with the Gauge. The bronze of the hardware was a bit more coppery than the case, but as they’re not that close together, it’s not too noticeable. I will say the strap has a nice, quality feel, with a tightly woven look to it. Additionally, as the nylon is a thin strap, it makes the overall package feel a bit thinner on your wrist – something to think about if that’s a concern for you.
Whatever the strap though, I think this is a particularly nice watch. Driven by the workhorse ETA 2824-2 movement, this watch is one that will perform superbly, whether or not you take it in the water. It’s an easy read, and the simple styling makes it so it’s not going to stand out or be too flashy for a trip to the office. In other words, I think it makes for a good daily / weekend wear sort of a piece, provided you’re ready to handle the bulk of the piece. At an asking price of $1,449, it’s not the cheapest 2824-driven watch you’re likely to find. Once you add in the case material, that crazy sapphire crystal (and crazy is a good thing here), and the heavy-duty WR rating, you can understand where the price is coming from. In short, if you’re looking for a diver that’s a bit different from other things out there, this is likely up your alley. helsonwatch.com
>Model: Gauge Bronze
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes – even though I’m not a diver.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: The guy who likes dive watches, but feels that timing bezels clutter things up.
>Best characteristic of watch: The clean brown dial paired with the soon-to-be-oxidized bronze case
>Worst characteristic of watch: The overall size of the piece means this is not a watch for every wrist