EMG Horizon (review) + interview with co-founder

Today we are gonna look at the EMG Horizon watch. The watch has been on my “Must review” list since I’ve seen the first concept drawings of it in Facebook Microbrand watch group. But before we take a look at the watch, we will have a little chat with one of the co-founders of EMG watch company Eric:

What started your watch passion?
I started wearing watches out of necessity for a job I had while in college. I bought some cheap watches from China on eBay to fill that need. While browsing eBay, I came across some Russian watches. I started doing research on them, which led me to Watchuseek. I made my way to the “affordables” sub-forum after a little while. I kept going back, seeing more watches, wanting more watches. Really just snowballed from there.
What makes a good wristwatch for you?
Mostly just have to like the design and be of good quality. Could care less about quartz or mechanical or most specs.
How did you decide to start your own micro brand?
When bored at work, I would sketch out designs when I had time. The thought to actually make one of my designs crossed my mind at times, but never really seemed like a reality, or even a risk I was willing to take. But then I met Derek on Watchuseek. Derek and I started discussing design ideas, and he really liked one of mine. It was actually something I sketched on a post-it note. He turned my sketch in to a render and really started urging me to move forward with it. So I started looking in to options to make it happen. I realized that design was a little bit too expensive for me to start out on. We then decided to go a different direction with our design and hooked up with Eddy (HKED). With Eddy, we came up with the DL63 and were able to bring it to fruition because we could make them in small batches. We just continued from there.
Why did you start your own micro brand?
No real reason other than its what I wanted to do and Derek pushed me to do it. Its been fun making our designs come to life and sharing them with people. I love seeing people get excited about our designs and then talking watches with these people. It’s been fun.
What watches do you have in your personal collection?
I will list a few that aren’t of my own design and that have stayed in my collection.
Seiko Bullhead 6138-0060, worn when my son was born
Okean 3133 Re-Issue, worn in my wedding
Seiko SRP777
Seiko SCED037
Seiko SBSS013
Vostok Mod
Bulova Snorkel Re-Issue, gift from my wife
…Have had numerous other watches that have come and gone
What is your ideal customer?
Love the ones that get very excited about our designs and that just love to chat. I actually don’t mind the ones that offer design suggestions, because that gives me the opportunity to talk about why we did what we did.
How do you see EMG in the future?
Hopefully doing the same thing we are doing now. I just want to keep getting watches out there.




 

So let’s talk about the EMG watch company first. EMG was founded in November 2016 by two active WatchUSeek members, specifically from the F71 Affordables subgroup, Eric Goodlock (goody2141) and Derek Love (chicolabronse). The two co-creators started exchanging ideas for a F71 forum project watch, one thing lead to another and EMG Watches was born. To get started, they recruited the help of F71’s Eddy Tse who is better known as HKED. With his help, they were able to create the DL63 “panda” chronograph based off the 42mm Seagull 1963 ST1901 handwound chronograph. EMG has sold through several small batches of the DL63 and now they have come up with a new watch called Horizon.

How the idea for the Horizon came up? Well, that is another interesting story. They asked on forums and facebook groups what would the watch lovers like them to make and many answered that they would like a Heuer Monaco homage. And they started to draw up concepts, they posted images and asked for advice and in the end, everyone agreed on the design that we see here in this article. I actually was following the whole process since I discovered the Facebook group 2 years ago. And this is why I love microbrands so much and that’s why I have so many of them in my collection. The best thing is that most of the companies are communicating with buyers and asking what they would like, If you are a member of watch forums or facebook groups you will see that many companies post concept drawings asking advice on the design they would like, colour, movement etc. Probably only time I’ve seen big companies doing this was when the Tag Heuer asked which watch and design us buyers would like them to make again and that’s how we got the Autavia in 2017.

The Horizon is available now on pre-order on Kickstarter and at the time I’m writing this 15.08.2018) they have been funded and surpassed their goal by a lot. Now they are backed by 176 backers and almost 50000$. They actually were funded on the first day when the campaign started. The Horizon is available in 5 different dial colours and the price is only 300$ for pre-order and they plan to deliver the watch in February of 2019. If I would you, I would hurry up and get one for yourself as this is one is a really great watch! By backing this on Kickstarter, you will receive one Horizon chronograph with one leather rally strap of your choice and a 5 pocket waxed canvas watch roll.

So let’s dive into the review. The Horizon we are taking a look at today is actually a prototype, but the production watch will look almost the same. The things that will be changed are that production version will have drilled lugs, the screws on the dial will have the engraving to look like screws, the strap will have a little upgrade and the white colour on the dial will be even whiter. As you already know, this is a homage to Heuer Monaco which is a very iconic watch in watch world and racing world too. This one doesn’t copy the Monaco 100% as the dial configuration and colours are different and the case is a bit different too. When I received the watch from post office I was rushing to work and unboxed it while I was on the tram to work. And wow, I was blown away by the watch, all the small details when you look closer to the watch like the glass which is curved only from one side to another. I really like that it is one of a kind, they didn’t go to a Chinese manufacturer and choose the style from the catalogue, they designed it from start to end. Since I got the watch, it went straight to my watch rotation and stole my wrist off other watches for a week, and that happens rarely.

I actually love square case watches, there is something appealing about them. The case is made of 316L stainless steel, measuring at 38mm x 38mm, 46mm lug to lug, 22mm lug width and 11mm thickness (without the crystal). The watch wears larger than the numbers lead you to believe (that’s also just one of the things about square watches). If I have to compare it, it wears like a 42mm round cased watch. The top and bottom sides of the case have a slight curve to them, so the watch doesn’t look like a big brick on the wrist. That is again done so the watch doesn’t look that big. The sides of the watch are polished, but the top and bottom have a nice satin brushed finish. The finishing is done quite good. On the right side, you will find the push-pull crown which is engraved with a gear/cog or maybe it is a car wheel, any case it follows the racing theme of the watch very well. The chrono pushers are quite small, but easy to push, even for my big fingers it was easy. I actually like these square pushers better than the round pump ones that are found on 90% of chronographs these days. There is just something that makes the watch look vintage and more expensive. The case back on the Horizon is a snap-on, I would love if it was held on with screws or anything else, I just don’t like snap-on case backs. On the Horizon’s case back you will find an etched illustration of an old sports car steering wheel over a horizon and sunburst. It is not the best design, but good looking for sure. On top of the watch sits a horizontally curved sapphire crystal, and wow! It distorts the dial like crazy and I know many people don’t like that on watches, but I like it. The water resistance is only 50m, but that is normal for a racing chronograph. It will withstand a rain or hand wash without any problems.

The EMG Watches Horizon will be offered in 5 dial variations, the one we have here has this teal dial colour with white and red accents, the EMG calls this dial “Turquoise”. The dial has the 9 and 3 o’clock chronograph register layout, a very classy one. The dial is very well made and very good looking, nothing seems out of place. In each corner of the dial, we see what appear to be 4 detailed pieces that are styled as flat-head screws. Further, towards the centre, we see the minute and seconds ticks intermingled with simple bar markers for the hour (these markers are also filled with BGW9 Super Luminova). The lume has a nice blue glow and actually pretty good one for a chronograph. The horizontal centre line is where all the action happens. Two registers (chronograph 60 minute counter and 24-hour dial) are subtly highlighted by a thin red line. The centre rectangle is filled in with a white background, which really makes the teal registers pop. The small hands for these registers are also very inclined towards classic racing style chronographs and I like that they chose a white colour for the subdial hands, it really makes them pop. I’m really in love with this dial colour, it is something unique and a throwback to watches from the 70s with those funky colours and racing designs.

The movement that is inside the EMG Horizon is the Seiko VK-64 Mecaquartz movement, which is probably one of the best to use when it comes to quartz. VK-64 offers that satisfying “click” and snapback reset you would expect from a mechanical chronograph. Also being a meca-quartz, you get all that reliability of quartz precision time-keeping. Also with this movement, you get that sweeping seconds hand at 1/5th-second. The VK-64 also has a date wheel, but on Horizon they chose not to use it. I’m glad that they didn’t use it as I hate dates on watches, not from designs standpoint, but I just don’t like resetting the date each time I take the watch from my watch box (yes, I leave the crown out for my quartz pieces so the battery lasts longer).

EMG Horizon comes with a racing/rally-style strap. The strap width is 22mm but tapers down to 18mm. The strap works very well with the racing theme on this watch. Final production Horizons will feature layered vegetable tan leather in the same style. The one we have here for review is pigmented in such way that you can’t see the natural grain of the leather. As I checked the final version will look more natural where you will be able to the leather grain.

Overall this watch is really great. The package you get for the price makes this watch the best one I reviewed so far this year. It is unique (well yes it is a homage, but never done before homage and with some different design cues) and it also has a great wrist presence. For the time it was in for review, I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on this watch. EMG really knows what they are doing. The previous chronograph they made was selling out very fast with each batch and I think this one will be no exception. The only thing I would like them to do is maybe a black PVD coated Horizon, just like the Monaco “Dark Lord”. After I saw this watch in life, I think I will need to buy one before I get my Heuer Monaco, haha.

The Kickstarter project can be found here, and the price is 300$ right now!

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