Hands-On with the Maen Hudson 38 Automatic

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Based out of Stockholm, Sweden, Maen have so far concentrated on producing clean and classically styled quartz watches at relatively low prices. The brand name is the Old-Dutch word for moon (the company founders are of Dutch origin), and in keeping with that a moonphase complication has been included in two of their three watches to date.

Their latest offering represents a bit of a shift away from that formula while still aiming for the same level of value. Maen’s first-ever dive watch, the Hudson, is a vintage inspired dive watch featuring a Swiss automatic movement and a domed sapphire with a price that starts at €349 (~$419) through Kickstarter’s Super Early Bird pricing. Now, the fact that Maen have opted for a Kickstarter campaign after three successful watches under their belt may cause a little consternation, but it’s worth noting that many brands are using crowdfunding platforms for market awareness as much as they are for funding. With some pretty good specs and a clean design, what’s the catch? Let’s find out.

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$416

Hands-On with the Maen Hudson 38 Automatic

Case
Stainless steel
Movement
ETA 2824
Dial
Black (other options available via KS campaign)
Lume
Super-LumiNova
Lens
Double-domed sapphire
Strap
Stainless steel bracelet, nylon
Water Resistance
100 meters
Dimensions
38mm x 46mm
Thickness
12mm
Lug Width
20mm
Crown
Screw-down
Warranty
Yes
Price
$416

The case dimensions reflect the overall styling of a vintage diver, coming in at a modest 38 millimeters in diameter. The stainless steel case has a mixture of brushed top and polished sides, and there’s a crisp chamfered edge between the two that catches the light. At times the case feels like it belongs to a dress-diver at home under a shirt cuff. The gentle brushing on the top of the lugs is at an angle and loosely follows the line where the bezel meets the case at each lug. On its own this feels like a nice touch, but it feels a little jarring against the brushing of the bracelet.The glossy, black bezel insert is fully indexed, but unfortunately it is not lumed. The bezel is 120-click, and despite the relatively narrow bezel edge it is easy to grip and operate. On this prototype, I did manage to accidentally move the bezel a couple of clicks on occasion while screwing down the crown, but this is a problem that might be nullified by the slightly larger crown that is planned for the final production version.

With an overall height of 12 millimeters, the Hudson is neither especially thick nor thin on paper. Taking into account the added height from the box sapphire crystal, the case and bezel together are actually fairly slim—and that’s exactly how the watch wears on the wrist. On the reverse side, a sapphire display back offers a view of the automatic movement (the final version is due to get a custom engraved rotor). Additionally, there are plans to also offer a slightly different version of the watch with a solid case back, which gives the watch an increased water resistance of 200 meters.

The Hudson’s dial is simple, but well executed. The glossy black finish of the dial is the same as the bezel. The crystal has a double layer of internal anti-reflective coating which helps to lessen the effect of the reflections of the domed crystal, though at some angles there is still distortion from the extreme curvature. The applied hour markers are filled with Super-LumiNova and the polished frames jump out from the black dial. A white date wheel replaces the marker at 3, and I’m pleased to see a no date option being offered as this would be my preference.The expanse of black through the bezel and dial is broken up by the white chapter ring with printed numerals at 15, 30, 45 and 60 breaking up a sub-seconds track. I do like the way the hour indices on the dial sit very close to the chapter ring and look as though they almost creep inwards into the dial, but I feel that the chapter ring would benefit from being slightly thinner.The Hudson’s hands are an unusual combination. The hour and minute hands have an Art Deco vibe that, on paper, should be out of place on this watch, but somehow seem to work. The central portion of the hour hand, the lollipop on the second hand, and the bezel’s 0/60 triangle are all a vibrant, coral red. Initially, I thought it would be a strong and deep red, but in reality it’s closer to pink. Again, that’s something that just works despite my initial surprise. These coral touches, along with the turquoise hidden in the chapter ring, are more than enough to elevate the watch above being just another black-dialed diver.

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The indices, along with the hour and minute hands, are all well-lumed, but, just like the bezel, it feels like a slight misstep to leave the second hand on a dive watch without any lume.

Inside the Hudson is the ETA 2824-2. This caliber is well-known and generally well-regarded in the sub-$1,000 price range, and it’s certainly a selling point for those backing the campaign at the lowest tier. The 2824-2 beats at 28,800 bph and has hacking seconds and a power reserve of 38 hours. The no-date variant of the watch will make use of the same movement, so there will be a “ghost” crown position with the date wheel present, but hidden beneath the dial.

Included with the watch is a 5-link bracelet and a black nylon strap. The bracelet is brushed across all sections with solid end links and it’s a good fit against the case, though as noted above the direction of brushing changes between the lugs and the case. The bracelet feels well-constructed and comfortable on the wrist, tapering from 20 millimeters at the lugs down to 18 millimeters at the clasp. This prototype version features a push-button butterfly style clasp, and though it has a nice look, I would always prefer to see a regular flip-lock clasp on a dive watch. This is to be revised on the final production version. As you would expect from a vintage styled diver, it suits a nylon strap very well and this is probably how I would choose to wear it.

The 38-millimeter diameter is definitely on the small side for a contemporary dive watch, but it does match with the vintage vibes of the piece. On my 7-inch wrist, the Hudson feels great, but at times looks a little small when worn on the bracelet. On the nylon strap. the long lugs appear to be more prominent, and the sizing feels much better.

The Maen Hudson initially presents itself as a vintage-styled dive watch and with long and slim lugs, no crown guards, and 100 meters of water resistance, the watch feels very much like a modern skin-diver. However, with some of the choices made, such as the lack of lume in certain areas, a relatively unique and interesting handset, and the oyster style bracelet, you can also pass this as a modern-day dress-diver. Now that I think about it, the watch is a mixture of both. On a nylon strap it can pass as a modern interpretation of a skin-diver, and on the bracelet or a leather strap it feels at home with a suit as a pure dress-diver, albeit a modestly sized one. Speaking of the size, if the 38-millimeter case is a little too small for you, then you’re in luck; one of the stretch goals (which they’ve already hit) of the Kickstarter campaign is a 42-millimeter version with lug-to-lug distance just over 50 millimeters.

As of this writing, the campaign has blown past its goal with plenty of Super Early Bird spots left. You can check out the campaign, or back it, here.

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Brad stumbled into the watch world in 2011 and has been falling down the rabbit hole ever since. Based in London, Brad's interests lie in anything that ticks, sweeps or hums and is slightly off the beaten track.
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