[VIDEO] Hands-On: the Havid Nagan HN00

I think there’s a certain trajectory to watch collecting that the vast majority of enthusiasts will be familiar with. It’s been discussed at length, and might even represent something of a self fulfilling prophecy at this point. It goes something like this: you start out with the fan favorite affordables, dabble in big Swiss brands that take a depreciation hit and can be found readily on enthusiast buy/sell/trade platforms, discover the insane variety and value of microbrands, and then eventually, if it’s a brand that has meant something to you before you even knew that watch collecting was a thing, you wind up at Rolex. 

This is vastly oversimplified of course, but a version of this has happened to me and many collectors I know personally. Muy own observation though is that it’s what happens next that really determines where you go in the hobby. Because there’s a path where you just keep acquiring Rolex sports watches like Pokemon. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that – they are objectively excellent watches to own. But I think a certain number of collectors have a Tony Soprano, late season 6 moment sometime after picking up that GMT-Master or Submariner, and ask themselves: is this all there is?


[VIDEO] Hands-On: the Havid Nagan HN00

Schwarz-Etienne ASE200
Yes, hands and markers
Water Resistance
100 meters
40.7 x 49mm
Lug Width

There are a lot of collectors who discovered watches within the last ten years or so who are getting to that point where they’re looking for something new, and perhaps something a little adventurous. The watch industry, notoriously, moves slowly, with small incremental changes over decades. The big brands have a tough time, then, keeping up with new, curious, and adventurous collectors and enthusiasts. And I think that’s where brands like Havid Nagan fit in. 

Havid Nagan is part of a growing segment of brands that I like to call micro indies, which can be loosely defined as small independent brands that are not quite old fashioned haute horlogerie but offer a bit of luxury, customization, or old-world craft that microbrands typically do not. These labels and definitions are not written in stone, of course, but I think of brands like anOrdain, Garrick, and Arcanaut as filling out this category in various different ways. 

Havid Nagan’s debut watch, the HN00, was positioned, correctly I think, as something of an avant-garde statement piece when it first saw the light of day in late 2021, early 2022. Brand founder Aren Bazerkanian was inspired by both classical watchmaking (F.P. Journe is a specific influence he’s cited in the past) and modern architecture. The watch, as a result, is playing in both ends of the pool in a way that some might find anachronistic, and others will surely find charming. I’m in the latter camp – I like that Bazerkanian saw fit to indulge his varied interests in his debut watch. It takes some brands several rounds of new releases to find a groove, but the HN00 benefits from the brand founder being true to himself. 

The HN00 has a titanium case that is finished with alternating brushed and polished surfaces, and that finishing is very nicely executed with detailed brushing on the top of the bezel and crisp transitions throughout. It measures just shy of 41mm in diameter but wears like a sub-40mm watch in my opinion, thanks to the integrated lug design. At 11.6mm tall the watch is compact and stout, solid feeling without being cumbersome.

The key to understanding the case, though, is the dramatic arch you’ll see if you glance at it in profile. This, I think, is where the modern architecture influence comes into play. The case has a total of 17 individual components and the geometry is quite complex, with integrated pieces at each end for the strap connection and side and undercuts at odd angles that give the watch a distinct layered and contemporary feel. It’s not necessarily praise to say “I’ve never seen anything like it” (there are plenty of bad ideas out there) but in this instance I see the appeal. 

I measured the lug to lug at a little under 50mm but that’s a misleading number given the ergonomic qualities of the case design. On my 7.5 inch wrist the watch felt very well sized. The visual impression when it’s strapped on is completely unique given the lack of traditional lugs and the unique character of the strap attachment system. I imagine for many it will be a love it or hate it scenario, but even if you’re not a fan of the aesthetic, I think you’d be hard pressed to find fault in the manufacturing, build quality, and finishing, and one would imagine it’s delivering on Bazerkanian’s design vision without any real compromises, which I think is worth applauding for a first effort. 

The watch runs on a modified Schwarz-Etienne ASE200, a micro-rotor caliber with over 80 hours of power reserve. It’s been finished to Havid Nagan’s specifications, and like the case its look is decidedly modern, with visible surfaces being given a dark coating and a mainspring barrel featuring the brand’s logo. It’s a very nice movement and worked well without any issues to speak of during my period of testing. Again, as a first effort, it’s a fairly big swing, and puts the HN00 in a very specific, intentionally upmarket price bracket. 

The movement decision is all the more interesting given the nature of the dial, and this is where I think an important conversation can be had about decision making in watch design, value, and compromises that inevitably need to be made on any serially produced watch. The dial, in my opinion, is absolutely beautiful. I’m a sucker for purple (Havid Nagan calls this color “Plum”) and the radiating barleycorn guilloche pattern looks great, especially when the light is just right. It’s been given what appears to be a generous coat of lacquer that really helps bring out depth in the dial and accentuates the guilloche. As you may have guessed, given that this watch comes in under five figures, features a highly customized titanium case, and runs on a rather pricey movement, this dial is created through a stamping process, and is not cut with a rose engine by hand in the manner of a traditional guilloche dial. 

I don’t fault Havid Nagan in the least for choosing a stamped dial for this project, I just think it’s revealing of what Bazerkanian was prioritizing with this release (it’s worth pointing out here that the limited run of the HN00 is completely sold out at its $8,000 retail price). It illustrates that at every price point, watch brands and designers have to make decisions to get their product to market and sold to real, living and breathing customers. The watch collector who is a student of classical dial making techniques and can easily spot stamped guilloche versus the real deal from across the room probably doesn’t see a lot of value in the HN00. But a collector who is more case oriented, or a lover of titanium, or a movement aficionado will probably find a lot to like in the HN00 and not see the price point as being too unreasonable. 


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

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.