Hands-On: Playing Around With The Modular Watches From Hegid
Dear Fratelli, in the morning, do you choose a watch to match your outfit or the other way around? I must say, I do a bit of both. Some days, I really feel like wearing a certain watch, and I’ll choose the right clothes to match it. Other days, I just get dressed quickly and then walk over to the watch box to see which watch fits that day’s style best. It’s not always easy to choose the right combination, though. Well, now there’s Hegid who makes those early-morning decisions even more difficult!
You might not immediately notice it when you look at the offerings on the French brand’s website, but when you take a closer look, you can see that the same watch cases appear multiple times. The same is true for the dials. That’s because Hegid offers you the possibility to swap dials and cases around, using the brand’s proprietary modular technology. Currently, you can choose between seven dial designs and nine case designs. The brand will also come out with new designs over the years. Can you already feel the stress of choice creeping up on you? Let’s take a look at the three cases and dials that Hegid sent us to get a feel for the concept.
These look like regular watches
First up is the most dressy piece of the three, the Labaratoire Colorama. It has a 38.5mm all-polished case that is 11mm thick and measures 47mm from lug to lug. It’s a nice size for someone like me who has smaller wrists at around 17cm. It features a white sandwich dial with gray indices and something that looks like a date window at 12 o’clock. But instead of a date, it’s a disk with different colors on it, which you can change according to your mood. There’s even a French flag that you can choose. It’s a nice little stylistic touch.
Next up is the Vision Officielle, which, judging by the black timing bezel, looks like the brand’s dive option. In fact, the bezel is bi-directional, making this more of an aviator’s watch akin to the Sinn 104. It has a 40mm brushed and polished case, which is 12.3mm thick and also 47mm from lug to lug. Again, it’s a well-proportioned watch, and it sits nicely on the wrist. This time, we have a dial that is glossy black in the center and steps down a bit to a matte gray surround. The indices at the quarters have been applied, and the others simply have a thick dot of applied lume. The central portion of the dial also features a crosshair, which works well with the aviation-inspired design.
And then there’s the odd one of the three, the Pearl Mirage. This is a watch with a 39.6mm fully-brushed octagonal case, measuring 11mm thick and 45.2mm from lug to lug. Again, it wears very well on my wrist, even though it’s a fairly flat watch. It features a silver sunburst dial with long applied indices and a date window at 3 o’clock. It feels like a sportier but also more vintage-inspired design. This is especially due to the font chosen for the Mirage name on the dial. If I had to pick one of the three, I’d choose this more daring Mirage!
But now let’s talk about Hegid’s unique selling point — the fact that you can swap the dials and cases around in any way you like! To do so, you have to flip the watches around, and there you find a textured ring with a dot on it. If all is well, that dot will line up with another dot on the case. This means the module is now fixed inside the case. As soon as you turn that textured ring counterclockwise, you’ll be able to take the module out. It’s a cool feeling when you do so for the first time!
The module is about 34mm wide and contains both the Swiss automatic movement and the dial. It measures 11mm thick from sapphire to sapphire and it feels like a well-made product. I twisted the ring around a dozen times, and it didn’t feel like I was doing it any harm. Admittedly, the screw-down crown sticking out from the side does look a bit fragile. But the whole thing is supposed to be able to handle a pressure of up to 10 bar, so I guess it won’t suddenly fall off after an accidental hit.
Even though the watch cases vary in size, the hole for the module is the same size in each. The Vision Officielle just adds a bit of height because of the timing bezel. When you switch the modules around, they fit very well inside each case. There’s almost no play noticeable. As you can see, overall, the watches seem like they’re well made. That was something I was skeptical of when I first heard about the modular design feature. But as soon as you hold these watches, you can feel that the designers at Hegid have really thought this one through.
Playing around a little
It’s fun to play around with the different combinations of cases and modules/dials. The designs of both the cases and dials have been kept quite generic. As a result, pretty much any combination works quite well. And depending on your mood, the weather, or your outfit, you can choose any possible combination. This very much fits the personalized concept that’s so popular these days. But to be honest, I’m not sure for how long this modular concept will stay fun… Especially when you look at the prices that Hegid asks for these watches.
A watch, consisting of one module, a case, and a strap, all of your own choice, will set you back around €3,000. The module costs between €2,400 and €2,850, depending on whether it has a date or not. The various cases go for between €250 and €500, and the straps range from €60 to €220. The brand also offers starter kits with, for example, the three watch cases that I reviewed today, the silver-dialed module, and three straps for €3,500. That’s a nice way to start because it allows you to swap cases.
But it still is quite a significant sum of money. You could get three very nice watches for that kind of cash, and they’ll probably stand out more than the three options you get from Hegid. And don’t even get me started on getting another module. Because at €2,400 minimum, that’s a big additional cost just to be able to play around a little more.
I honestly think that Hegid has executed the modular concept very well. Both the cases and the modules feel well built, and together, they make a sturdy team. And though I don’t really like the fake screws on the side of the 22mm lugs, I still think the designs look quite good as well. But the genericity that is needed to make multiple combinations work well together makes the designs feel a bit plain in the end. And especially for the price, I think you can put together a much nicer three-watch collection of very distinct watches.
In conclusion, I feel that this is a nice concept, but I’m not sure who it is for. Are you interested in a set of cases with a dial module that you can swap around? Or would you also rather buy three different watches? Let me know what you think of the concept in the comments below!
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