Hands-On: the Heinrich Helicoprion “Buzzsaw”

Last year, Heinrich introduced an eye-catching dial in an all new case. Each of Heinrich’s watches up to this point have been described as vintage inspired with strong 70s vibes.The Helicoprion “Buzzsaw” is no different, with the dial taking fairly direct inspiration from Universal Genève’s Unisonic “Buzzsaw” tuning fork watch from the late 1960s and ‘70s. Whether we will see a reincarnation of this design from Universal Genève under Breitling’s stewardship remains to be seen, but if you are crying out for a funky dial design at an affordable price, this could be the watch for you.

The Helicoprion name comes from an extinct genus of shark-like fish, which had a spiral of teeth in its lower jaw – the teeth increasing in size as it spiraled outwards. This creature, along with Heinrich’s latest watch, has also been dubbed the “Buzzsaw” due to the similar circular tooth configuration seen on the blade of a circular saw. While the Universal Genève reference also saw each tooth shifting to a darker or lighter shade as they increased in size, the Heinrich Helicoprion dial markings are presented in a single color as the teeth grow between each hour (or five minute) index.


Hands-On: the Heinrich Helicoprion “Buzzsaw”

Stainless steel
Miyota 9015 or Sellita SW200
Beads of rice bracelet
Water Resistance
200 meters
40 x 47.8mm
Lug Width
screw down

There are six different dial configurations available for the Helicoprion. Three feature a circular brushed silver outer dial area with either black, green or blue buzzsaw markings standing out against it, with a darker central section in black, green or blue. The other three dials are fully black, blue or brown with the funky markings making a much more subtle appearance. As you’ll note from the photographs, I’ve been sent two of the more vibrant and retro bi-colour options as well as the all-blue version.

I have to say that the blue and silver colorway is my personal favorite. This was true after handling them for the first time back in September, and is still the case today after spending time with these three recently. I find the shade of blue offers enough vibrancy without being overpowering. As such, the buzzsaw shape formed by the brushed silver section is quite prominent too. The green is perhaps less saturated than I might have liked, and the all-blue version too reserved. I believe that a funky retro pattern on a dial should make a statement. That said, the patterns on all three are more prominent out in the sunshine. The dial finishing, to my naked eye or seen through a macro, seems impressive, with fine brushing, polished indices and a nicely polished chamfer around the date wheel. The dauphine hands are also well finished, with reasonable lumed areas in all three. The lume plot of the seconds hand also perfectly eclipses the date window at six o’clock.

Aside from the dial, there is perhaps nothing else about the watch that looks back to the Universal Genève for inspiration, and that’s a good thing. I’m all for bringing the best part of an older reference, but putting it inside a completely different vehicle. The case of the Helicoprion is very much a sports watch, complete with brushed surfaces, bezel screws and a decent amount of water resistance. The vertically brushed bezel might not be to everyone’s taste, but at least all of the 12 screw heads seem to line up.

Viewed straight on, the lugs appear to taper dramatically towards their tips, but this is really an illusion created by the rather large polished chamfer that runs the length of the case.A similar chamfer runs around the edge of the polished bezel, and the same pattern is effectively repeated through the box sapphire above. These steps help to visually break up the case height, which comes in at around 13.5mm in total. The sapphire crystal is very slightly domed on top, and features both internal and external anti-reflective coatings.

Inside the watch is an automatic movement, but you’ll get to choose which one when purchasing. Heinrich allows the buyer to either select the capable Miyota 9015 (with specs listed as +/-10 seconds per day) or to pay roughly €135 more to pick the Sellita SW200-1 (+/-7 seconds per day). Whichever you select, it will be covered with a solid screw-down case back with buzzsaw design. I have to say it’s refreshing to let the prospective buyer have this choice, and I don’t really have any negative experience with either caliber. As used in the Helicoprion, the date window is placed at the bottom of the dial with a color-matched date wheel.

The bracelet of the watch is perhaps my least favorite part, but that is mainly due to my own thoughts of beads-of-rice bracelets in their entirety. I don’t like the look and never have. However, I’ll admit that most (this one included) do feel very comfortable on the wrist. Here, the stainless steel bracelet is malleable, weighty enough to counter that of the watch head and avoid it slopping around the wrist, and also offers on the fly micro-adjustment to let you get a perfect fit throughout the day. I’m told that on the final version of the watch, the clasp will be reduced significantly in length from 50mm down to 34mm. Although I haven’t felt any discomfort due to the clasp, I can see this being a welcome alteration.

All in all, Heinrich has produced a capable sports watch in a very wearable size. The brand has built its reputation so far on retro designs with a strong 1970’s influence. The buzzsaw dial markings are a perfect fit, though with the tamer “all one color” options there is a little less on offer that makes this watch stand out. With two good automatic movements to choose from, and pre-order prices starting at €558 the Helicoprion feels like a pretty good all-rounder. Heinrich

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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.