Hoffman Racing 40 Panda Chronograph (Review)

Today we are gonna look at a brand that I have been following since they only had design sketches and they were far from production-ready watches and now I have one in for a review!  I was really excited to finally working with Hoffman watches btw, and that happens rarely with other companies!

So the company is called Hoffman is a New York-based watch brand, established in 2016 to make sports watches. And they were brought to life with the help of us watch enthusiasts through Kickstarter. They got 872 backers who pledged $191,830 which is pretty huge for a new company, but not surprising as their designs are really good and appealing + the prices are crazy low if you ask me!

The model they sent me is called the Racing 40 which is their mecha-quartz version, but they also have a mechanical version with the Sea-Gull ST19 movement which we will be getting later and I will also do a review and comparison article with the quartz one, so stay tuned for that! The Racing 40 comes in a lot of colour combos (steel, yellow gold, rose gold, black colour cases) and dials in such unusual colours like green or yellow, at least these colours are unusual for this style of watch.

The watch arrived in a nice rectangular black box, it isn’t anything special, but it is neatly packed. Inside the box, you will find the watch, of course, the warranty and instructions manual. The first impressions are just wow, the watch looks definitely more expensive than it is. The size is really good, I think the 40mm is the perfect size for a chronograph. Finishing and everything were really good. Maybe the one thing that I don’t like that much is the faux alligator strap, I think they need to add racing style perforated leather strap in brown or black colour with red accents or something, as the alligator one feels a bit too dressy for a sports watch.

The case of the Hoffman Racing 40 is made of 316L stainless steel. The case is very well manufactured with nice sharp lines. The finishing on the case also is done spectacularly in satin-brushed and polished finishing. The case is classic round shape with lugs. The case diameter is 40mm, the thickness is 12mm and from lug to lug it measures at 48mm. The case proportions, in my opinion, are just perfect, as most of the companies that release these kinds of watches are making them in 42mm. On top of the watch, we have a fixed bezel with an aluminium insert in black colour with Tachymeter scale in white colour. At 3 o’clock we have a push-pull crown and two pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock. Due to the mecha-quartz movement, the pushers feel very clicky and has that mechanical feel to them. The solid screw-down case back is held on with 6 small screws. The case back is engraved with Hoffman logo and some specifications around the edge. The water resistance is 5ATM (50m), but I wouldn’t risk going in the water with this one as it has none screw-down chronograph pushers and if you accidentally push one of them underwater, the watch will be flooded with water. On top of the watch sits a flat sapphire crystal with AR coating which works really good compared to some watches in the past I had in for review.

The dial is dual-layered with a white upper dial, and a black lower dial. The dial is very simple, not much going on, and I kind of like it! As it makes it more legible, my watchmaker says that dial needs to be simple, so you can easily read time and have no distractions on the dial for your eyes to see the time! The one thing maybe I would replace on the dial would be the tet about water resistance, it would better look with “Racing 40” or maybe even “Racing Chronograph” writing. At 9 o’clock we have a black 60min counter subdial and the subdial at 3 o’clock is for 24h which is very useful actually. There is a small amount of lume on the hands and hour markers, which is quite useful in darker situations. Hoffman team really did a great job designing the dial, I really like the simplicity of the dial, it isn’t like super simple, but it also isn’t cluttered with a ton of text and subdials and everything, also I like that there is no date! I just don’t like date windows on chronographs.

The movement that is inside the watch is the Seiko VK64. The VK64 movement has a fly-back feature and a non-running second hand to make the tachymeter more effective. This movement I think is one of the best affordable quartz movements in the market. I have it in a couple of my watches and it works perfectly. The battery life on these is somewhere between 2-3 years, but some of my other examples are 4 years old and still are running with the same battery that they came with.

I already mentioned that the strap the Racing 40 comes with, kind of doesn’t go with the style of the watch, so Hoffman, please include some racing straps in brown, black, maybe with perforated holes or something that goes with that Racing name. The strap doesn’t match the style, but it isn’t a bad one actually. Usually, these all generic faux alligator straps are pretty bad on 99% of watches, but this one is very well made actually, it is very supple, it is comfortable to wear. These straps usually are very stiff and smell like plastic, but this one actually has that leather scent to it. The strap is 20mm wide at the lugs and has a nice taper to 18mm at the buckle. The tang style buckle is just a regular one, nothing special, but it does its job. The one thing that I like about micro brands are the built-in quick release spring bars that make strap change a very fast and easy job, you don’t need to use any tools, and there is no risk to scratch the case.

Overall I really love this watch! It really is very well made and you get a whole lot of a watch for the price of only 219$ (now at 189$ for a limited time). You get a very nicely made case, sapphire crystal, great Seiko mecha-quartz movement and great design! I already can’t wait to check out the mechanical version and do a comparison article with this one. If you are in the market for a great chronograph on a budget, then this is it! It really is a stunner! 

Price: 219$ (now at 189$ for a limited time) @ hoffmanwatches.com

  1. Width 40mm x length 48mm x thickness 12mm
  2. Seiko VK64 mechanical quartz movement
  3. 5 ATM / 50 meters water resistance
  4. 316 stainless steel case
  5. Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating
  6. Leather strap 20MM, tapered to 18MM 
  7. Bezel: Tachymeter
  8. Movement: Seiko VK64
  9. Indicators: Hour, minutes, chronograph minutes and seconds, 24-hour time

     

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