We’ve said it repeatedly over and over here, at MONOCHROME… The sports watch with integrated bracelet is simply the hottest, most desirable and most (commercially) successful watch category these days. Without surprise, we’ve seen dozens of brands entering the genre, from accessible luxury powerhouses to small independent watchmakers. We can’t blame them, as they are simply answering the demand for such watches. And since the idea seems to be working most of the time, there will be even more newcomers. The latest in line is one that we clearly didn’t expect… A Dresden-based brand specialised in refined and classic watches. Here’s the new Lang & Heyne Hektor.
When you think about Lang & Heyne, you might have this kind of watch in mind. Classic, refined, slightly old-school, typically German timepieces of rare execution, with ultra-decorated handmade movements, once again built in a typical Saxon way. Based in Dresden, created by Marco Lang (who has since left the company to create his own brand) and Mirko Heyne, Lang & Heyne is part of a group named Tempus Arte, which also owns Stowa and, important for the rest of this article, a movement manufacturer named Uhren-Werke-Dresden (UWD), based under the same roof as L&H. Knowing the type of watches that have been produced until now under the name Lang & Heyne, saying that this new Hektor model is a surprise is certainly an understatement. It’s a whole new direction for the brand.
The Lang & Heyne Hektor
As you can see from the images provided by the brand, the new Lang & Heyne Hektor is a clear departure from what we’ve been used to see from the Dresden-based manufacture. Not only are the design and style different, but also the overall spirit. If the previous creations were classics with a pronounced Haute Horlogerie touch, including movements made in a very personal style, this new watch moves into sportier territories with more accessible specifications – price-wise and technically speaking.
Without falling entirely into the classic elements of the 1970s-inspired luxury sports watches, such as the RO or the Nautilus (the Hektor is not as thin, not as sharp, not as sporty), it does, however, feature some elements to make it a steel sports watch with integrated bracelet. The case, made of stainless steel, is slightly shaped with lug modules that are integrated into the rest of the case – meaning no classic leather strap here – and combines brushed and polished surfaces. It has a surprising semi-protected crown, recessed into what could be seen as a crown guard module. Overall, the design is smooth and soft, not as angular as other members of the category. Sapphire crystals are found front and bottom and there’s a decent 50m water-resistance.
As for the bracelet, you’ll find a 5-link profile that follows the curvature of the casebands and combines brushed and polished surfaces too. A novelty for the brand, this bracelet is closed by a butterfly folding clasp and is attached to the case by the means of screws.
The dial might be the most surprising element of the watch. If it feels sportier than previous creations, the Lang & Heyne Hektor retains some elements seen in past watches, such as the classically shaped hands. The dial is all about textures; the centre is characterised by a repetitive “petticoat” pattern. On the hour chapter ring with concentric grooves, you’ll find metallic applied markers with the same “petticoat” shape. All elements of the display are filled with Super-Luminova and the seconds hand is gold coloured. But, the boldest element is the metallic part between 6 o’clock and the centre axle of the hands, revealing some part of the movement underneath.
The Lang & Heyne Hektor will be available in three different colours: dark blue, medium grey and dark green. I know we have a tendency to leave personal judgments out of the equation when it comes to design here at MONOCHROME – we all have different perceptions of shapes/colours – but here, I’m rather sceptical about the strange mix of elements. The combination of traditional parts – hands, opening in the dial, overall soft design – with sportier elements – steel bracelet, crown guard – won’t be to everyone’s taste, for sure. I know these are only press images, and we’ll have a better idea if we see the watch in the metal, but for now, I’ll leave my decision on pause. P.S. you can share your initial feelings with us in the comment box at the end of this article.
The Calibre UWD 33.2
The movement of the Lang & Heyne Hektor is also rather different from the handsome handmade calibres we’ve seen in the past from the brand. Yet, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t 1. very appealing 2. not done in-house anymore. In fact, this movement might feel familiar to you. It is produced by Uhren-Werke-Dresden or UWD, a sister company of Lang & Heyne, and was once used by Sinn in a higher-end watch (with a different layout, however).
The Calibre UWD 33.2 is a hand-wound movement (again, a choice that some will probably question, as an automatic would make more sense) that is characterised by an overall light and aerial feel, but also a modern, sharp design. Large, at 33mm in diameter, it is composed of many small triangular bridges holding the wheels of the gear train in place. The architecture is extremely pleasant, and in typical Lang & Heyne traditional, the decoration (if not on the same level as previous creations) is made to high standards. It includes matte surfaces, straight brushes on the main plate and small bridges, polished bevels, polished countersinks. And the pointy parts really make this movement unique.
The movement of the Lang & Heyne Hektor – here a centre seconds calibre – is also technically advanced and relatively thin (4.4mm). It features a self-developed eccentric balance, a fine adjustment and a flying barrel. Also, all frame parts and driving train wheels are made of Arcap, a non-magnetic material with a very special sheen when polished. This movement runs at 3Hz and stores up to 48 hours of power reserve when fully wound.
The Lang & Heyne Hektor, whatever colour of dial chosen, will be priced at EUR 16,900 (incl. German taxes). It is limited to 33 pieces per colour (99 pieces in total). For more details, please visit www.lang-und-heyne.de.