I wouldn’t want to imply here that the dial is not well manufactured or an afterthought in any way. Like I said, it’s incredibly beautiful, and a human being applies paint to these dials by hand. While they are “machine made,” it’s not as simple as pushing a button and watching dials come out of a Wonka-esque contraption. There’s skill involved in the milling of the dials, and they’re made by craftspeople who operate at a very high level.
And Havid Nagan, to their credit, doesn’t hide the fact that the dial is stamped. Indeed, if you scroll back on the brand’s Instagram, you’ll find Bazerkanian boasting of the dial’s high quality and running through the manufacturing process in detail. Their choice to use modern manufacturing to their advantage and celebrate it reminds me a lot of how Ophion positioned their OPH 786, still one of the most beautiful watches I’ve reviewed for Worn & Wound, which proudly replicated traditional handcraft with the very best CNC machining processes available. It’s a lesson, I think, in understanding that being a purist (in this case, insisting on a hand-made dial) is kind of useless. It only would have resulted in a far more expensive watch and what amounts to bragging rights for owners who will demand their friends examine the watch under magnification at meetups. I’m not saying I wouldn’t prefer an engine turned dial if money were no object, but money is an object, both for the consumer and the brand producing the watch. All things considered, presentation matters a whole lot. The watch looks great, regardless of how the dial was made.
Another key decision that was made in the production and design of this watch was to forego a running seconds hand. I think this was a good choice for the HN00. It adds to the anachronistic qualities of the watch, and feels like a move that many other brands not only wouldn’t make, but wouldn’t even consider as an option. It lends the dial a stillness that I appreciate, and forces you to focus on the texture and color, both of which are strengths of the HN00. Dial furniture is simple and understated, with just enough lume to tell the time in an underlit room, but not enough to make this feel like a true sports watch.
I remain incredibly interested in watches in this micro indie category, as I think they offer an opportunity for collectors who have been involved in the hobby for a while and might be getting tired of the same old thing an opportunity to branch out, and discover what really appeals to them horologically speaking. It’s exciting to get your hands on a new watch from a new brand that’s trying something new, and pulling out all of the stops to impress their customers. Havid Nagan has already announced a follow up to the HN00, the HN01 Lucine, which further refines the case while still adhering to the design language established here, while adding a moonphase complication. Whether watches like this are personally appealing or not is almost irrelevant. They offer an exciting alternative to the mainstream, and enrich the conversation around independent watchmaking throughout the entire community. Havid Nagan