There are countless new watches launched every year from well-established brands and newcomers looking to have their slice of the pie. It’s impossible to put an actual number on it, as the industry is extremely widespread, making it difficult to sift out the interesting ones from the not-so-interesting ones. And today, we feel we have an interesting one for you. The Singaporean-based brand Horon is launching on Kickstarter soon, and we’ve had a chance to review a late-stage prototype of the Horon Ocean Hunter Leviathan.
Horon is founded by Percy Chan and Kenrick Yap with the notion of creating cool, reliable and robust mechanical watches. The childhood friends have had a life-long passion for watches, culminating in the birth of their very own brand. They state that they want to make no compromises on quality, materials and designs yet remain relatively affordable in the process. And admittedly, going through some of the specs of the Ocean Hunter early on, it looks very promising from the outset.
One thing became quite clear straight after unboxing the watch. The external components feel sturdy, like really sturdy. It has a bit of heft to it, which I quite like in a dive watch. Putting it on the scale indicated that it weighs 194 grams. This puts it close to a Seiko King Samurai on a steel bracelet (205 grams).
The Horon Ocean Hunter has a 42mm wide and 14.4mm thick case. The lug-to-lug dimension is 49.1mm, which means it wears on the larger side. The case has a nice barrel-shaped profile with finely brushed surfaces and polished bevels. On top, there’s a unidirectional rotating bezel with a circular brushed two-tone ceramic insert. The insert has a luminous 60-minute scale in crisp, white font. The large, grippy screw-down crown is finished with a luminous Horon logo.
The screw-in caseback has a bit of a bowl shape, which elevates the case off your wrist a little. It’s perfectly smooth to the touch, so no issues with comfort there. It also has a sapphire crystal, which gives you a full view of the movement. The Ocean Hunter’s construction ensures a water-resistance of 300m.
A total of four models will be launched when the campaign goes live; we had the black and blue Ocean Hunter Leviathan for this review. The other models are the Hydra (black and grey), Naga (orange and blue) and the Kraken (meteorite). Each dial is constructed with multiple components on different levels, adding great depth to the dials. The meteorite version lacks the ring underneath the indices but makes up for it with its unique pattern.
The centre section and the ring that holds the applied hour indices are decorated with two different guilloché patterns. The two-tone sloped outer flange has a printed scale in white. The central hour and minute hands have a sword-like shape and a Super-LumiNova insert. The seconds hand has a red tip with a luminous centre. At 6 o’clock, a framed date window reveals the black date wheel underneath. Overall, everything is perfectly legible and looks quite fresh and solid.
We used to shy away from the vast majority of crowdfunded watch projects due, primarily, to the choice of movement paired with not ‘feeling’ the design or execution. Nowadays, though, we regularly see sensible, reliable choices being made by these newcomers, such as the Swiss automatic movement used by Horon. This elevates it a little to become more than “just” a project watch. It makes a watch easily serviced when needed, which is reassuring when going out on a limb on a brand’s first-ever model.
The Sellita SW 200-1 is a very well-known Swiss-made movement. It can be seen through the sapphire crystal caseback, and has a winding rotor with the Horon logo and a wave-like pattern laser-etched into it. It’s not something extremely special to look at, but it does the job it needs to do very well. It runs at a frequency of 28,800vph and delivers 38 hours of autonomy when fully wound.
All four Horon Ocean Hunter models come on a stainless steel three-link bracelet. This is fitted with a folding clasp, diving extension and quick-release spring bars. Just like the case, the bracelet feels really solid and gives the watch a sturdy feeling on the wrist. Horon also supplies the Ocean Hunter with a rubber strap.
Overall the Horon Ocean Hunter Leviathan ticks many of the right boxes. It feels really solid, can be worn free of care thanks to its 300m water-resistance and sits well on the wrist. The dial offers something different, as guilloché decoration is often reserved for dressier watches. The colour combinations are a mix of classic styles and more daring ones with orange and blue. The choice of movement is also to be applauded, as well as the practicality of the bracelet.
The only minor complaint I have is the construction of the first link. This extends the lug-to-lug size by about 5mm, which is quite a lot and pushes the lug-to-lug size well over 50mm. On my wrist, all 19.5cm in circumference, that’s not a big issue, and I even like larger watches from time to time. For some, however, this might be a dealbreaker. It might be resolved with the rubber strap, but we can’t confirm this as the prototype we had came without it.
During the Kickstarter launch campaign, the Early Bird prices are set at USD 499 for the Leviathan, Naga and Hydra models, and USD 599 for the Kraken with a meteorite dial. Following the campaign, the watches will retail for USD 699 and USD 799 respectively. Considering the solid build quality, the interesting combinations of colours and textures, and the reliable Sellita movement, that sounds like quite a good deal to me!
For more information, please visit HoronWatches.com.
Sponsored post: This article is sponsored by Horon Watches. However, it reflects the writer’s opinion and has been written according to MONOCHROME’s editorial policy.