Hemel — which launched its first watch, a military-inspired field watch, on Kickstarter last year — is one of many small, young brands popping up all over the internet as of late, and it has just announced a very interesting new watch at a very tempting price. It’s called the HFT20, and its Hemel’s first chronograph, seemingly inspired by the Type 20/21 military chronograph of the 1950s. The best part? Buyers get to choose between one of two very excellent chronograph movements from Seiko.
For buyers on a tighter budget, the HFT20 can be fitted with the Seiko VK64, a mecha-quartz “hybrid” that retains the accuracy and affordability of a quartz watch but has the feel and movement of a mechanical chronograph. (You can read our explanation on how it works here.) The VK64 has been a stalwart for micro brands creating affordable chrongoraphs in recent years, but for buyers who want to pony up a few extra Benjamins, you can have Seiko’s NE88, a fully mechanical chronograph with a column wheel and vertical clutch that Seiko launched fairly recently in 2014.
They’re both excellent movements, and the HFT20 appears to be a handsome design. The case comes in at 42mm in diameter and comes with an option of a steel GMT bezel, a ceramic black 60-minute bezel or a plain steel bezel. An HFT20 with the mecha-quartz movement costs $450 while the mechanical chronograph will set you back $1,000 — but until August 11, if you preorder either, you can get 40% off. Considering the excellent movements you get to choose from, that’s a hell of a deal.