Today we are looking at Helgray Silverstone watch. Helgray I found through TheTimeBum blog. From the looks, they were 60s-70s racing era inspired watches.And that was just what I looked for. Last week we took a look at MHD CR-1 and soon will do a VS. blog post.
When you open the cardboard box, you’re presented with a nice leather watch case with the Helgray logo. Good hefty zipper with a decent quality red felt on the inside. Relatively well thought out, and clearly customized for this watch. A nice touch. In side, you will find the watch bracelet, leather strap, and strap removal tool.
The lugs are super angled downward. At first, you would think that this is a problem, I actually heard that the watch digs into the wrist, and it isn’t comfortable to wear. I do like that they hug the wrist very closely.
The case is quite thick for a meca-quartz movement watch.It isn’t a big problem, but I have several meca-quartz pieces that are a lot thinner than this. Would have still been a rugged race watch if it were a bit thinner, but would also add that amount more elegance and sophistication to the overall package. But it’s ok for me. The watch wears light, even on a bracelet. The case has a few nice touches like the brushed/polished transitions and the lug design overall. The crown action is great pushers are solid and give a very solid feel to the operation of the watch. Not too small, not too big, and all have a great finger feel. They came protected with the standard blue protection film.
Sub-Dial hands are a bit hard to read because they are fat compared to the very fine sub-division of the increments of the minutes. Esp of course on the minute counter, the only one that matters for chrono time keeping. In practice, I would have rather a 30 min register and a 12-hour register both tied to the Chrono function. Also for me quite unusual that it hasn’t got a seconds subdial, as many chronographs have. When I opened the box at first I thought that the watch was broken as it wasn’t showing any signs of movement. But then I tested the chrono function and I realized that it hasn’t got seconds subdial.
Watch uses Seiko VK64 movement. This is a meca-quartz chronograph movement which means it’s a quartz watch that when you activate the chronograph function the hand ticks in a more auto-like subdivided manner (e.g. more than 1 tick per second, sweeping effect).
Here are some key facts about the VK meca-quartz moevemnt:
- The chronograph part of the VK mechanism requires more than 20 single parts, exactly like traditional mechanical chronographs such as the ETA 7750.
- Instead of using an extra step motor for each hand axle, all the chronograph hands on the VK are connected through a traditional gear train that only requires 1 step motor.
- The chronograph keeps showing 1/5th of a second as long as it is kept running (up to 20 or 60 minutes based on the version). Past the first 3 minutes, most quartz chronographs only display fractions upon request.
- The VK allows time setting while keeping the chronograph running. On most quartz chronographs, the measurement is simply canceled when the crown is pulled out to set the time.
- The VK does not require any additional battery power to reset the hands. A multi-headed lever based on Seiko’s high-end traditional chronographs uses the motion of the pusher to reset the system.
The crystal is sapphire with inner AR coating. Serious edge effects happening, it’s clearly not double domed, which kind of gives it a cheap look, even though it’s a sapphire with inner AR coating. Otherwise, optical clarity is good on the crystal. The AR coating is not obtrusive and does look good. I should caveat this with saying that the edge effect is not as bad as some other lower end watches I’ve seen with domed crystals and likely this isn’t a big deal for most. But I would have preferred doubled domed (yes I know it adds cost).
The stainless steel bracelet is decent quality, the links and finishing on it are good, it looks good too. But it rattles a lot and is quite loose. The bracelet isn’t the best too but does its job well. The leather strap is a bit better. The double push butterfly deployment is quite thick, but it’s ok, it doesn’t rub into wrist at all. This is the standard double butterfly push button open deployment that’s widely available. Good overall good quality – opens well – closes well. Looks good. Nicely engraved with Helgray logo.
At the price point of $299, it’s a good watch. Many micro’s now are starting to make vintage looking watches and it’s all coming back. And I like it. The package for the Silverstone is good, you get bracelet, leather strap, strap removal tool, travel case and of course the watch itself. That’s a lot for 299$. Would I recommend to buy it? Well, if you like cars, racing, and vintage design, then go with it, Helgray also has many other color options for the Silverstone like Black, Green and White panda dial. And also many other good looking watches.
Price: 299$ @ helgray.com
Case Diameter: 40 mm
Case Thickness: 11.5 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Lug-to-Lug: 47 mm
Crown: 6×3 mm, signed
Crystal: Sapphire, slightly domed, with inner anti-reflective coating
Case Material: 316L stainless steel
Movement: Time Module (Seiko) VK64 meca-quartz chronograph
Strap: 20 mm, leather, tapers down to 18 mm
Clasp: 18 mm deployant, signed
Bonus Bracelet: 20 mm, stainless steel, tapers down to 18 mm, solid end-links
Water Resistance: 5 ATM (50 m)