Where do you find inspiration from? For my art pieces that I have been doing this year for my reviews, I let the watch itself inspire a thought which usually ends up connecting to something that was important to me in my past. As much as I love original watch designs, watch companies use inspiration as well just as I have with my art pieces. What kind of bothers me though, is I see these companies getting slammed for the lack of originality, while those doing the slamming don’t have a clue to where and how that inspiration holds a certain amount of personal importance to the watch designer. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain watches that are made to look like another, and the only drive behind that inspiration is to make money. It only works well when a company designs a watch based on inspiration, but infuses the watch with their own unique DNA. A homage piece can possess that certain magic or it can also just be a soulless shell of a watch.
Today we will be exploring a piece from Advisor Watches, their Astrohelm. When I received the watch I could immediately see where the inspiration was drawn from, but the real question in my mind was, how well was it executed and is their enough of Advisors DNA in the piece. I can’t say that I wasn’t disappointed by the choice of the case materials used here, which is stainless steel with IP plated rose gold. Brass or bronze would have been my preferred choice for the fact that I like watching the cool patina formation. 44mm x 14mm is where the Astrohelm comes in terms of size which actually wears smaller on the wrist than the dimensions imply because of the short curve lugs. As one expects from this style of watch the bezel is of course fixed and creates a nice border for the double domed sapphire crystal. While I am speaking about the crystal, I have to mention that this is my favorite part of the case as I am quite the sucker for domed crystal.
This case has a blinding high polished finish and it definitely catches the light from all angles. On the Astrohelm you will find a screw down style crown. The crown is pretty easy to grip and operate, there is a slight grit-grind feel to the crown as I unscrew it, not a fully smooth transition from screwed to unscrewed. Fortunately the crown operation for setting the time, date and manually winding functions just fine without fail of any kind. The crown is unsigned, which in my opinion most crowns should be signed. I said many times before the crown is an extension of the watch’s personality. A unsigned crown gives an unfinished overall look to the case.
The Astrohelm has an exhibition case back which allows you to see the NH35 movement. Advisor did spice it up with a touch of detail by printing their logo on the underside of the caseback crystal. One thing about the movement though that I have to mention because it is one of my personal pet peeves, the movement holder is made of plastic. For me personally this can be a deal breaker because plastic becomes brittle as it ages and begins to break apart over time causing problems within the movement. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Crazy Horse brown leather strap is held in place by screw bars and real drilled lugs. The strap itself is made of soft leather with white stitching and features a signed buckle with matches the case in both material used and finish. The strap feels really good when on the wrist.
The dial on the Astrohelm is quite unique which where the brushed antique plating comes into play. At first I thought the dial was wood, I had to do a triple look to realize that it wasn’t made of wood. I really like the look of the dial as it is something different and you can see that Advisor DNA being used here. The dial received a “old radium” vintage lume treatment to the markers and hands. This was the obvious choice in my opinion given that the dial has that brushed antique plated dial.
Keeping true to that antique feel Advisor went with that 1930’s California dial layout for the markers on the Astrohelm. The hour and minute hands are a good complement to the dial, the seconds hand is rather plane and lacks any lume. I do appreciate that the seconds hand extends to the railroad styled minute track which does assist with more accurate timing. The second hand could have had an added degree of detail like an addition of an arrowhead tip or a something along those lines just to give an overall finished look to this dial.
The Astrohelm has been infused with Advisor’s DNA, but is it enough to make a second look to consider this piece? That’s a question only you can answer for yourself. The highlights worth mentioning here is you do get a unique antique styled dial with “old radium” lume, an awesome double domed sapphire crystal and drilled lugs with screw bars. The changes that I would make would be changing out the plastic movement holder, add a signed crown, an engraved solid caseback(as I am sure like me, how many NH35 movements do we need to see) and a more detailed seconds hand with lume. The Astrohelm comes is at $249 USD.
Thank you all for reading and as always your comments and questions are welcome below.
Thanks to Advisor Watches.
Special Release Limited Edition (100 Pieces)
• Stainless Steel (IP Plated Rose Gold)
• Brushed Antique Plating Dial
• Diameter 44 mm
• Height 14 mm
• Lug Width 24 mm
• Double Domed Sapphire Crystal
• Japan NH35 Automatic
• Date Function
• Open Back Case Featuring Movement
• Water Resistance 10 ATM
• California Dial Vintage
• Luminous Vintage “Old Radium”
• Hour and Minute with Luminous Vintage “Old Radium”
• 24 mm Crazy Horse Brown Leather Strap
• One year limited international warranty