HFLE, an abbreviation few of you will probably be familiar with, is an acronym that many Dutch watch collectors know. Each year, this abbreviation is stamped on a limited edition watch selected by a democratic voting procedure on the largest Dutch-speaking watch forum in the Netherlands: Horlogeforum.nl. After a bit of back-and-forth between the people of the forum and a watchmaker, a proposal is drawn up and scrutineered by the forum members. This process can result in quite interesting collaborations, and for 2019, the Pellikaan Timing Flying Dutchman GMT has been selected as the Limited Edition for the forum.
To clarify one thing immediately, the acronym HFLE stands for Horloge Forum Limited Edition. An HFLE watch is necessarily a limited edition but is also directed by a set of guidelines established by the forum (production numbers, pricing, proprietary modifications, mandatory HFLE branding). Forum members are allowed to pitch ideas and suggestions, and access to the manufacturers is encouraged. This eventually leads to an actual proposal, and this year, after a head-to-head between Pellikaan Timing and Subdelta, another Dutch watch brand won.
The HFLE idea started in 2003 with a Zeno special edition, and after that microbrands and more mainstream manufacturers joined in the mix. Brands like MeisterSinger, Fortis Glycine and Squale all pitched in through the years. Nothing overly designed or hugely different from existing models, but small alterations to set it apart from the original, mainly with changes of colour. A few gaps in the chronology aside, the watches have a strong following within the forum, with second-hand pieces being snapped up quickly in the market section of the forum. Pellikaan has actually produced an HFLE before, back in 2009, based upon the Flying Dutchman model.
The Pellikaan Timing Flying Dutchman is a watch with understated simplicity and elegance. The dial is obviously the main attraction with this new GMT version. We’ve reviewed the Flying Dutchman before, which was fitted with an ETA/Unitas 6498 hand-wound movement. This new GMT-version of the Flying Dutchman receives an automatic ETA 2893-2 movement with an added 24-hour and date indication.
A centrally mounted GMT-hand indicates the second time zone, with touches of red, over a white and faded Bugatti blue dial with black markings and tracks. Offered in a smaller, stainless steel case than the original hand-wound Flying Dutchman, the GMT sibling measures 41mm across with a height of 13.5mm. We do need to point out one thing though. As this is a suggested model for the watch forum, the dial you see in the pictures is a printed paper version and a Photoshopped version, and not an actual production dial. No actual dial has been produced yet as the Pellikaan Timing Flying Dutchman GMT has only just been selected as the HFLE 2019 watch.
Other design touches are drilled lugs, a sturdy, knurled crown, an Erika’s Original Mirage with a luminous centre line and lumed hands. While the deadline is tight, you can pre-order a watch only as a member of HorlogeForum.nl at a price of EUR 650 including taxes. A pretty smart deal to be honest, which garnered 61 votes through registered pre-orders, out of the eventual 99 available pieces.