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A Brand's Story : Horizon by Extropian

Horizon
GMT
Chronograph
The N
The Pilgrim
Brand's story
A Brand's Story : Horizon by Extropian

We love original ideas. They are the genesis of any project and often, when well executed they can be responsible for creating a new trend. This applies to anything like food, music and of course watches. For the latter, in our hobby, it is very difficult to be original. The brands must strike a good balance between something original but also familiar, because we as watch lovers, are very hard to please.

When we see a similar design, we believe is a bland copy and when it is too different, then we disregard it as non-special. I sometimes believe that we as enthusiast do not know what we want, and all of this happens because everything can be very subjective. We can have the best specifications on a watch, but it wouldn’t make a difference if the looks are not approved by many.

So how can a brand get it right? Well, when launching an original design, the brand might want to have a quality safety net. Looks and design are very subjective buy the finishing, specs and execution are the only parts that cannot be interpreted by the public, they are factual. Take for example mighty watches like the Royal Oak or the Hublot Big Bang, they were considered outrageous at first, expensive, but the quality element was in no doubt and with time, people started to appreciate it.

Horizon Watches has this similar approach. A very attractive design language (to us) that feels very different to anything out there and at the same time, the quality its present.

Let us take look on this newcomer that is bringing some incredible pieces to the market.

How it all begins?

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There is a bit of everything at Horizon Watches. A good back story and know how. The backstory begins with Jules Verne as a protagonist. That is a big twist you might be thinking, but it is a passion that I can relate to. To be more specific it was books like Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas which are the inspiration for the watches. You might not see them as a theme in their dials and cases but there are subtle traces of those stories within the watch.

The owner’s ‘know how’ made the idea to flourish. Design and style are engrained on his DNA. This makes everything much easier when it comes to start a project. Designing a watch might feel like an easy task because we know what we like but it is completely the opposite, knowing what you like can also be a barrier.

With both experience and passion, 12 years ago the idea started to grow and today we have a full range of products which we will explore in more detail.

Who made it happen?

Fred Bekher is the creator of Horizon Watches. He crafted his experience designing watches for other brands. We spoke plenty times with Fred, he is passionate about watchmaking and not only with his pieces which is a good thing. We enjoy that his approach is not to create a watch that sells fast but a watch that is unique and well-crafted. A bold statement in the price range they operate.

This bold statement is not to be confused with arrogance as the brand has a great approach towards enthusiasts, but again design as project must be a non-democratic process. If you listen too much external opinion, you can lose all objectivity on what the final product should be. Feedback is always needed but too much of it and Horizon could potentially end up making a Rolex Submariner equivalent, this is not what we want as a community.

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When you handle a Horizon watch, you really feel the unique approach to their watchmaking, nothing looks like other watches, from lugs, hands and dials. This is a testament coming from the experience gained by creating more watch designs for other brands.

What is the brand philosophy?

High quality products that look like nothing else. This is a constant element you can find on the full range. The affordability it is also a key point for Horizon. Is not a brand that is looking to operate in the 2000 USD+ bracket but their watches certainly look as they can compete here.

Based in Singapore, the brand also wants to bring something unique to other territories. It is clearly a brand that takes inspiration on vintage watches with modern capabilities, this allows them to enter more territories than any other brands which are based in Asia.

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The style and design

As previously mentioned, the main source of inspiration for the brand are those beautiful stories from Jules Verne. A writer that empowers complex characters with lots of emotions, usually heroic in nature and unbreakable principles. Some of these characterises can be seen on the watches, they are strong propositions with lots of hidden gems. As an example, we believe that Horizon Watches is one of the few brands that can integrate a date window to perfection. Their Pilgrim watch is a great example, when we first saw the watch, we thought it was a non-date version.

We would also say that the watches have this futuristic vibe to it, but not a future interpreted today but more of a future seen from the 50’s and 60’s, a post art deco style with twist. Just take a look at some of the elements of the case and dial, you will notice several design cues such as the style of rail track or the angular lugs, it all blends nicely.

The dial colours are also a good differentiator. They feel somehow muted, and I do not mean this is a bad way. They match the style of the brand; they are not loud nor glossy which to me would be a ‘no go’ when it comes to diving. Instead, they opt for grainy textures that create more complexity and depth to the dials.

The watches at Horizon are definitely tool ones. They are made to perform and reach depths just like those Jules Verne’s adventures. But having said that, they are also very elegant, mainly because of the finishing transition from polished to brushed, they look like they could easily go with a suit, especially when you add the steel bracelet. They have a ‘’chic’’ aura to them.

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Who is their target audience?

There are two camps of people that would enjoy Horizon. The first one is the true driving professional, as we mentioned these watches are ready to perform. The current line up can reach out to depths up to 300 meters without breaking a sweat (hard to do under water).

The other one it us. The normal watch enthusiast who wants something different, a watch that has its own design language and it’s built with quality in mind.  As said before, it would have to be a watch enthusiast because we are the ones who will smile when we see those hidden easter eggs on the watch.

It doesn’t matter if you are a true hardcore diver or a desk one, their sizes also reflect their versatility. Is not an instrument watch but more a companion for everyday use which widens more their customer’s base.

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Their current line up

There are currently 2 offerings at Horizon Watches, let’s take a look:

  • The N: inspired by the captain Nemo’s submarine in Jules Verne’s story, the N is their main 300 meters diver from the brand. One of their first offerings with great touches such as a perfectly integrated date as marker, a thin and elegant bezel and options for a bronze or steel case. The watch has been a tremendous hit for the brand.

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  • The Pilgrim: the watch is named after the ship from the story: Dick Sand a captain at fifteen. It’s a Supercompressor style watch, very handsome and with great details all around. The 2 crowns give a 60’s vibe that its matched by the rubber strap. Grainy dials and futuristic fonts add a touch of modernity. They all come in steel and there is also the option for the full metal bracelet.

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What is coming?

Although we are currently under embargo, we can say that Horizon Watches has been working hard. The novelties will bring a similar design language for an entirely array of new models. To us it is very interesting to see the take of brand in a particular watch, how would Horizon do a GMT (this is not a spoiler) or how would their chronograph look like.

We really enjoy our time with these pieces. When an original idea comes in front of you with a compelling story, the final product becomes more personal. Which is key to have a successful brand.

It takes a lot of time to stay focused to bring new watches that can continue a work done previously and as we mentioned, Fred is not interested on making a purely commercial success, he is interested on sharing his story through his watches. There is certain nobility to his approach, certainly something that we see on Jules Verne’s characters, a true inspiration from the French writer born in Nantes.

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Article written by Robbie and Watches

Created the 2023-12-05

Modified the 2023-12-07

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