The watchmaking industry can sometimes be ambivalent. On the one hand, we hear taglines of “timeless objects made to be transmitted to the future generation” and on the other hand, it’s safe to say that luxury watchmaking has never been closer to fashion and its constantly evolving trends. Customers want to change, to switch, to wear something different depending on their mood or the occasion. And when it comes to watches, that requires quite a budget. But here comes Hegid Watches and its rather unique concept of “dressing” the external parts of the watch, a sort of “DIY-mix-and-match” watch.
This idea of “dressing” the watch came to Henrick Gauché, founder of Hegid, as he was ordering cheap Russian watches on the internet. As he was playing around and disassembling the watches, he put together a watch that suited him but which could he still customise to fit his moods or match the occasion. When he became a professional in the watchmaking industry, this idea of offering reliable mechanics that could be dressed up or down with different options resurfaced. “Thus was born the desire to benefit from a noble mechanics that would give freedom to be dressed according to our mood, to evolve over time,” says Henrick.
Apart from the customary change of strap option offered by many watch brands, the design of a watch is usually frozen, something you cannot customise. Certainly, this can be good, as long as you’re sure you’ll still like the watch 10 years from now… Hegid Watches has responded to the ever-evolving trend for DIY customisation and applied it to watches. The main idea behind Hegid is to let the owner select the aesthetics of his watch.
The “dressing complication” concept
Paris-based brand Hegid has created, independently, a concept where the entire habillage of the watch – the external parts that “dress” the watch – can be changed by the owner, without the intervention of a watchmaker, at home, without tools.
Hegid’s concept is to mix-and-match parts, following your whims – and in a very user-friendly way.
The idea starts with a “capsule”, the only non-interchangeable element of the watch, a central container in steel comprising all the technical elements of the watch. This capsule, available for the moment in two versions (black and brown) with this Inaugural Series (S.I), contains the dial, the hands, the sapphire crystal, the movement and the crown. Technically speaking, Hegid relies mostly on French suppliers (and some Swiss too, of course). The movement is a reliable and well-known ETA clone by Sellita and the capsule is 100m water-resistant (always reassuring).
As we’re talking about an Inaugural Series, and because the ‘originality factor’ at Hegid revolves around the case and the straps, the dial and the central container remain very classic in design. The combination of dial and hands is discreet and classic to endure the test of time.
Let’s look at the “dressing complication”. In short, this involves the merger of two elements; the capsule (the central container) and the carrure (French word for watch case). In 30 seconds, you’ll be able to change from one case to another, without tools. The creators of the brand have patented a simple and intuitive system for these changes. The caseback features a rotating cover that serves as locking system. Step 1: turn the caseback to the unlock position (indicated by an engraved point). Step 2: remove the case and put the new one in place. Step 3: lock the caseback again. Voilà.
Of course, this system wouldn’t be complete without interchangeable strap options. All straps delivered by Hegid feature quick-release spring bars. All in all, you can entirely change the personality of your watch in one minute.
The system, even on the prototype watch we had for this article, is pleasant to use, secured and very well adjusted. Once in place, the watch feels solid, without loose parts. The locking system, thanks to springs in the casebands, is neat and precise. Tolerances in the machining have been reduced to a minimum too, in order to avoid dust or particles blocking the system.
The main idea with Hegid was to give the watch multiple personalities by providing three drastically different styles of carrure. The first one, named Laboratoire Clandestin, is a very classic, relatively small, entirely polished case with a flat bezel. It is the dress watch proposal of the brand, with a 38.5mm diameter and steel cabochons on the tips of the lugs. It has a slightly Art Deco flair but remains sober enough for business attire.
The second option, called Vision, is a sporty, more tool-watch-style case with a rotating bezel. More robust, larger too at 40mm, it is available either with a black or a light grey bezel insert in anodized aluminium (with a luminous dot at 12 o’clock). The bezel has a 60-minute scale, but being bidirectional, it is closer to a pilot’s than a diver’s watch. This version can be considered as the “weekend watch”.
Finally, the third carrure proposed by Hegid, the Expedition, is by far the most daring of the lot. As interchangeability is the name of the game, Hegrid wanted something bold to display the transformability factor of the watch transitioning from a dress watch to something as original as the Expedition. Sharp, squarish (maybe it’s me but it makes me think of a Land Rover), the Expedition measures 42mm x 46mm. It is a big and heavy block of stainless steel with a distinct 1970s flair. It features an original crown protection device on its side. Maybe it won’t be the easiest option, but I think this carrure is full of personality and reflects the strategy of the founders to offer something different.
The concept introduced by Hegid is well developed and, after playing with the different parts, also well constructed. This first “Inaugural Series” is just a way to showcase the possibilities but the brand will evolve in the near future, with new dials and possibly the introduction of complications.
The idea to have multiple watches in one, and to be able to dramatically alter the appearance of your watch in less than one minute, and for a fraction of the price of buying an entirely new watch, is interesting and has potential. This may be not a concept for hardcore watch lovers, but I can easily imagine some enthusiasts being attracted by Hegid’s concept.
The Hegid Inaugural Series comes in a presentation box with extra spaces for new carrures and new straps. This series is limited to 90 pieces for the moment.
As for pricing, Hegid offers packs, with one capsule, 3 or 4 carrures and 3 or 4 straps (meaning 9 to 16 possible combinations). These packs range from EUR 3,200 to EUR 3,600. Complete watches (central capsule, 1 case, 1 strap) are available at EUR 2,800. Cases range from EUR 250 to EUR 350.
You’ll find more details about the possible combinations and the brand at hegid.com.