When Objest launched its debut line of quartz watches last December, I was immediately torn. I really liked the unique design of the Hach, but the lack of a mechanical movement did prevent me from paying super close attention (whether or not that was smart is another question entirely). Well, now I can right my wrong, as Objest is currently launching a collection of automatic Hach watches and I was able to get some quality hands-on time with a few prototypes. I’m very happy with the results.Â
Objest was founded by Jared Mankelow, a London-based designer who has over a decade of experience and has collaborated with the likes of Conran and Ideo. Objest isn’t a watch brand per se, but rather a lifestyle brand that is starting off its collection with watches. Mankelow knew from the beginning that he wanted to build on the original quartz collection and move into mechanical watches, and he wanted to do it sooner rather than later.
As with the original line of quartz Hach watches, the automatic collection offers lots of customization options. You can choose from four cases (copper, silver, charcoal, and gold), two styles of dial that are each available in three colors (hach or dot, in blue, black, or silver), a black or white date disc, four straps, and a plethora of hand options. It’s actually a little overwhelming when you start playing with different configuration.
The two watches I got were both had charcoal cases and black “hach” dials, but one was entirely monochrome with white and grey hands and black strap, while the other had grey and yellow hands for a pop of color, with a lighter grey strap too. I really liked both color combinations, though it would have been nice to see one of the lighter color combinations for a little contrast. If the finishing and detail on the two models I got though are any indication, I’m sure those color options are nice as well.
Whatever colors and finishes you choose, a few things stay the same across the range. The 42mm case is made of stainless steel (and then gets a DLC, IP or 24k gold treatment for color) and has a rounded, lugless design. The 20mm leather straps slot right into the main body of the case, so the watch sits very low on the wrist. There are sapphire crystals front and back, and inside ticks an ETA 2824-2 movement, which is an automatic movement with a 38-hour power reserve. The watches are all water-resistant to 5 ATM.
The other thing that unifies all the various combinations are the thoughtful design decisions that make the Hach special. First is the dial. The hatch marks (obviously the watch’s namesake) have a two-tone finish to them so they really pop and appear deeper than they are. The changes in directions and patterns have a purpose â the spots where two patterns meet are the hour markers. See it? Yeah, it’s really clever solution to offering a numberless dial without going full-Movado. The hands are also clever, with the hour hand being two-thirds the length of the minute hand and the counterweight of the seconds hand being one-third the length of the minute hand. The proportions don’t scream “Hey, we’re mathematically sound!” at you, but the effect is very pleasing to the eye, no doubt.
On the wrist, the Hach automatic is extremely easy to wear. The rounded case edges, combined with the matte finish, make the watch feel almost like a little river rock. I caught myself playing with it on multiple occasions, tracing the edges and then fiddling with the crown. If you’re not into more minimalist design, you’re probably going to want to stay far away from the Hach, but if you’re into the basic concept, there’s really a lot to like here in the deceptively simple package.
One important thing to note is that the watches I got to handle are early prototypes, so not everything is exactly as it will be on the final watches. The only real glaring difference is the date window. On this watch it’s by the crown on the right side, while the final Hach Automatic has the date window on the left. Otherwise, Mankelow says these are pretty spot-on, save minor finishing changes here and there.
Overall, I was pretty impressed by the Hach Automatic. I’d seen the quartz models previously and was expecting these to be every bit as nicely constructed and I wasn’t disappointed at all. If you’re interested in design and want a watch without obvious branding or over-the-top decoration, I think you’ll enjoy the Hach as well. There’s also the value proposition here, which is pretty great. For well under $1,000 you can get a solidly-built, good-looking automatic watch with a story to tell.
The Hach Automatic is being launched as a Kickstarter, and there are still a few days left to get onboard. At the time of publishing, Objest was close to achieving its goal but not there quite yet. For $449 you can secure one of the first production models, which is well below the anticipated retail price ofÂ Â£699 (approximately $855 at time of publishing).
For more, visit Objest online.