Dive watches are inherently plain. The motif of dive watches, which comprise of a uni-directional bezel and beefy case silhouette is a rather ubiquitous design choice. As such, brand owners are compelled to add onto that blank canvas, creating their own version of it. In this article, we look at a brand which did just that. Today, We’re looking at the Helm One from Monsieur watches, their inaugural entry into dive watches.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room. Dive watch tends to have blocky or circular indices around the dial, which makes telling an analog dial easy. Inherently, hour markers would be distinct on a dial and filled with lume, and would take their respective 12 positions.
The Helm One series clearly went against the traditional norm of time-telling, but how does tell the time with their new design in place?
First of all, the hour markers still exist, however, in this unusual case, the dial design indicates the hours. The design takes the form of a ship’s helm and serves both as visual and practical use. In my opinion, it’s a rather ingenious idea to implement this in their dive-watch as it makes a fitting and creative part of the watch. I hit Calvin, the brand owner, with the “Why a ship’s helm?” question and he gave a remarkable response – A ship’s helm symbolises navigation for a ship’s crew, for this watch, it provides that same purpose of guiding the user through time-telling. The symmetry and the subtlety of the design makes showing it on the dial-side purposeful, instead of just residing in the case-back.
Reading the dial of the Monsieur Helm One
Upon a closer look, you would realise that this sandwich dial splits the dial without being cluttered with texts. In fact, there’s not a line of text on the dial.
The handle of the helm indicates 10-minutes markers while the recesses around the edge of the dial indicates 5-minute markers.
Now, you might be wondering, is a sandwich dial necessary? Everything could be printed on a single dial. Well, it turns out, the back-plate of the dial is lume-filled with the BGW9 Superluminova. On the other hand, C1 lume fills the hands and bezel inserts, which provides contrast for easy readability in low-light situations. Whenever I’m in the dark and glance down at this on my wrist, I get slightly taken aback at what’s staring back.
Aside from the interesting dial design, the Helm One also works as a capable dive-watch too.
With 300-meter water resistance and a diver’s extension, it’s practical while still remaining minimal with a text-less dial and a lack of crown-guard. The finishing is nothing to write home about, but you usually get a lot less for your money when paying a $250 USD(~$334 SGD) price tag.
The diver’s extension exists as a ratchet clasp. To activate the extension, the user simply needs to slide and hold the button to freely change the length. I never had a watch with this function before and it felt satisfying to play with it from time-to-time. Although it’s a fact that not many would wear a dive watch over a wet-suit anyway, it’s an appealing addition to any dive-watch.
Specifications of Helm One:
Case diameter: 41mm
Water Resistance: 300m
Case Material: 316L S.S case; original S.S brush
Bezel: 316L S.S bezel + Ceramic bezel insert (filled with Swiss SuperLuminova C1 together with hands); brushed; uni-directonal turning bezel 120 clicks;
Dial: Sandwich sandblasted dial with Swiss Superluminova BGW9
Glass: Double domed sapphire crystal, 1.5mm domed ; AR coating;
Lug to Lug: 48.50mm/ Lug Width: 20mm
A fragrance pairing for your Helm One
You’ve heard of wine-and-cheese pairing, now get ready for dive-watch and perfume pairing.
Truthfully, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that. But being a fragrance-lover myself, I was curious to know more.
While the scent has yet to be confirmed, Monsieur hopes to develop something to pair remarkably with the watch. After all, the ethos of the pairing is to compliment the usual watch on the wrists – pulse points of a body where fragrance works best.
The perfume comes in a matte black atomizer and is specifically curated for the Helm One. The ideal fragrance profile is a fresh floral yet manly one, emulating a person walking by the beach. As an industry’s first, I’m thrilled to experience what the concluded pairing for the Monsieur Helm One series
I have a 6.5-inch wrist and the Helm One on a bracelet isn’t out of place at all. Although the case profile is slightly bulky because of the water resistance, the watch conforms nicely to the wrist due to the articulation between the bracelet end-link and the first link. The no crown-guard design seems to accentuate the symmetry of the dial, visually slimming the watch.
I wore the Graphite Black Helm One’s prototype for this review. It’s certainly not a striking colour, but the conspicuous dial definitely holds a level of presence on the wrist. Altogether, the case, with its colour is reminiscent of the black Tudor Black Bay 58, in this case, the polished hands contrast incredibly well with the matte dial with gloss accents.
The bezel has a really nice action to it, each click is sharp and distinct, for a prototype, I am impressed with how it turned out, and look forward to the actual release in the hands of their new owners.
If you’re someone who’s looking for a diver that provides a little bit more visual interest, the Helm One is a watch that looks great in a 41mm package. Available colours include Graphite Black, Navy Green and Icy Blue. Pre-Orders at the price of $250 USD(~$334 SGD).