Hands-On: the Haim Legacy Automatic Collection

Once a small brand has gained some traction, they usually do one of two things: dig deep into a hero product, or continue to delve into their brand ethos to create new things. Haim Watch Company seems to be steadfastly in the latter category. Following initial releases like the L2 and the Descent which featured design codes that clearly linked them together, one would be forgiven for assuming they’d mine these models for all they’re worth. But instead, the Chicago-based brand is building new styles that only expand the definition of what a Haim watch can be.

Their latest collection is their Legacy Automatic. Coming in three colorways, this line-up shows a break from the previous generations of Haim watches and nods at real growth towards higher-quality, and more eye-catching designs. Compare, for example, the original Legacy collection to the Legacy Automatic. While the former has a fairly inconspicuous charm to it, you can begin to see that Haim is ready to cement itself as a brand that can take risks and maintain its mission statement as a microbrand that brings a luxury feel to a relatively affordable price point. 


The Legacy Automatic references boast a lot of firsts for the brand, so I’d like to start with those as a sort of headliner for the collection. For one, it’s the first time and date-only design within the Legacy line-up. Not only that, but it’s Haim’s first custom designed caliber (more on what that really means soon) and is the first watch in Haim’s catalog to be 100% US-assembled, down to the movement. And it’s the first distinctly dressy watch from Haim. With all of these “firsts” I was excited to test the watches out for myself.


Hands-On: the Haim Legacy Automatic Collection

Caliber HWC-1
Water Resistance
50 meters
38 x 45mm
Lug Width

What was first recognizable when I received the set of watches was just how, well, pretty they are. If you’re a watch fan, you’ll know that designs are often recycled over the years and there’s only so much of the same thing one can take. Haim, instead, offers three distinct color varieties that each have their own personality while blending together in a cohesive collection. The three colorways are called: Dark Cobalt, Burgundy Tux, and Stargazer. These names each evoke a sophistication that feels appropriate for their $1350+ price tag.

Within the collection, each color option has a distinct personality to it, making it nearly impossible for me to pick a favorite. Dark Cobalt is a bit playful, with its Breguet numerals and silver accents. Burgundy Tux is a bit more formal, in my opinion, with a burgundy guilloche center and a silver colored seconds track that provides a slight contrast against the metallic hours. And finally there is Stargazer, a truly stellar (see what I did there?) finale to the line-up. The Stargazer is an aventurine dial that sparkles and shines, making the light dance across it when worn throughout the day. While a bit too flashy for my personal taste, I know I can be a bit on the conservative spectrum of watch styles, so I was more drawn to the Cobalt option myself throughout the week I tested all three.

For me, at first glance, the only throughline between these three watches is the fact that they share a silhouette shape. But the more I have been able to test out this specific set of watches, the more I understand the thought process behind Haim including three such distinct variations on a theme. 

Bear with me here as I make an analogy. As a longtime language lover, I don’t see the three colorways of the Legacy Automatic line as distinct languages, nor do I see them as all one in the same; but, in reality, their relationship to one another lies somewhere in the middle. Think of Dark Cobalt, Burgundy, and Stargazer instead as dialects. They’re mutually intelligible to one another, but so far removed from one another that you almost have to pause to orient yourself when presented with each in the collection.

Because of this, I have to ask the question – what does make these three watches coherent? And the answer is the ornate decoration of each dial that punches well above its weight class. With any of the three, you see a trove of design, reminiscent of galaxies and starlit nights in each of the three colorways. All that beauty was packed into a dial, making for a watch that caught my eye – and imagination – more than once when wearing it throughout the day.

At 38mm, it definitely feels dressier when worn, giving it a bit of subtlety when tucked under the cuff of a dress shirt. While I am leaning more and more into a larger watch, I can appreciate the slim profile that this watch has, while also being a better size for both genders, I’m sure. At 10.5mm in height, it remains fairly innocuous when worn and that bit of height shows off the coin-edge bezel which gives a bit of eye candy to an otherwise neglected area of most watches. Haim has ensured that the watch never veers into bulky territory, which I think will appeal to a wider audience.

Something that repeatedly caught my attention about this watch was the balanced use of both brushed and polished titanium. The subtle variation was a great way for me to be able to wear it to dinner with a jacket (as I did with the Cobalt colorway), or to dress it down a bit with a flannel shirt. The mixed finishes on the metal let me sort of play with aesthetics and not feel tied down to wearing this watch solely for one occasion or another. Haim seems to understand that versatility in a watch is an asset to a product, not a hindrance.

The Legacy Automatic collection runs on what the brand describes as a custom-made HWC-1 movement, assembled by Maryland Watch Works. The movement, modeled after the ETA 2824, undergoes aesthetic modifications for a distinctive touch just for the Legacy Automatic line.The HWC-1 boasts 26 Jewels, beats at 28,880 VPH, and offers a 38-hour power reserve. Through the exhibition caseback owners can admire the meticulously crafted movement (with custom finishing to the brand’s specs) in action, adding a visual dimension that I always enjoy in a watch.

Each watch comes with a complementary strap that’s been made in partnership with Delugs. Most of you reading this review will undoubtedly be familiar with Delugs, and so it may not come as a surprise to see Haim highlighting the Singapore-based supplier as partners on this series. The straps were well-made with a soft leather that feels well worth the watch’s price tag. The real beauty of the straps, for me, was not in the color or the feel of the leather, but of the small stitching that ever-so-slightly contrasted against the leather. I know this is a fairly small point, but I’ve seen my fair share of (cheaper) leather straps with stitching that doesn’t always compliment the subtleties of a well-made watch.

A crocodile-skin strap upgrade is also available for an additional $125. And speaking of price, both Dark Cobalt and Burgundy Tux are priced at $1350 while Stargazer retails for $1550. Until the conclusion of the early reservation period (which ends today), early reservation pricing offers a $350 USD discount. From that point forward, production will commence, and watches are expected to be delivered within 120-150 days from the start of production. All three watches in the collection are limited to 50 pieces per dial.

Overall, the Legacy Automatic collection has introduced me to Haim in a new way. While I have been aware of the brand for some time, being able to hold the three watches that make up this collection in my hands has allowed for me to have a deeper appreciation for the design language, craftsmanship, and attention to detail that rivals larger brands in the industry. Haim

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Brett F. Braley-Palko is a writer based out of Pennsylvania. Having a full-time job in the luxury pens industry has given Brett an appreciation and understanding for the EDC market. When not working, Brett has three dogs and an upcoming novel that both keep him pretty busy.