Review : The Pursuit of Halios

If I was going to fall, and fall hard, for a new watch on the block it was going to be a diver.

My horological adolescent foundations were laid on principles around 120 clicks in a unidirectional plain and a waterproof competence that laughed in the face of water enriched environments.

I was already, by this time, used to wearing a 47mm Oris titanium slab with its helium valve (useful in my local business park) and a crystal so thick you’d imagine Robertson’s Jam to have consulted on the design.  I’d progressed to my first grail … the Submariner of course … which I know is a tad cliché, but iconic none the less and definitely points to the kind of rugged, tool based character which I covet daily across Instagram.

Into my consciousness stepped the Halios Seaforth, just after the first series had sold out.

Listen to the Scottish Watches Podcast here

Perhaps I have to credit Worn and Wound for the introduction (my failing memory suggests this is most likely) but the chatter spoke of universal positive feedback from the Canadian outfit and a watch greater than the sum of its individual, brushed steel parts.

My eye had been turned; my intrigue piqued; the chase had begun.

Now I imagine most of you will not know the history here.  Limited production, early issues with runs selling out in the time it takes to say “My internet is lagging” as watch obsessives from across the four corners of the globe battled to secure a piece of Vancouver’s finest (n.b. it turned out that those with Apple pay appeared to have a far quicker shopping experience but that’s logistics).  I had come to the party late and my only hope to secure my precious was the wonders of eBay.

It didn’t take too long to be fair (who said obsessive?).  Into my clutches appeared my first Seaforth.  I’d paid £720 for a secondhand, $600 microbrand watch with a Miyota movement (sounds crazy I know but you can’t fight geography!).  It was in great condition apart from a fairly deep scratch between the lugs where the previous owner had clearly been practising his formative skills in strap changing.

The chase complete … a 41mm steel, sunray blue dial with a 12-hour bezel … an inherent beauty that, to this day provides an aesthetic glow.  It quickly became the daily beater, the holiday watch, the weekly wear and over the weeks and months began to edge out some of the more expensive watches in the collection.

Essentially this is because it’s a dream to wear.  It hugs the wrist, plays nicely with shirt cuffs and has a domed sapphire to provide the odd welcome tactile distraction throughout the course of the day.  Also a simple three-hander with applied markers, a festival of steel with the odd polished highlight – what is not to like.

Series 2 followed … some different colour variations and an ETA movement being the key changes.  I had my heart set on a blue pastel dial with a sapphire bezel.  The blue pastel shade was now Halios folk-law and had its own following on IG (teampastel) and looked the business.  Seconds ticked to the global launch time .. 200MB of bandwidth at the ready ……BOOM … page refreshing x1000 and after 2 minutes of panic I’d missed the pastel blue but was the proud owner of a Bahama Yellow with the Series selling out in seconds.

Now I did love the new acquisition.  It was rugged and bold and I felt it played in the same hemisphere as your stereotype yellow Seiko chronos or your bright orange Doxa’s (not that I know) but despite the love, I couldn’t help feeling it was a younger mans watch.  It was a watch I struggled to sell (emotionally not physically – it went in minutes) but it eventually went via eBay.

A far more relaxed ordering process and mock-ups of the new watches accompanied series 3.

It wasn’t possible to be 100% clear what you were ordering as there were no physical prototypes and to celebrate the fact I went for two – the aspirational blue pastel and a DLC coated sunburst grey (which had to be badass in my view).  Months went by and the love affair hit a few snags on delivery.

The DLC version appeared first, a lovely watch but was I mistaken to think DLC would be a matt finish. In this case, I was mistaken, and I couldn’t get passed it.  Sold via eBay.

The pastel blue then came but the watch didn’t actually work.  Halios were great about it and provided a replacement (in time) and it was a striking watch … very unique … I had been after it for so long but for some reason, I didn’t love it on the wrist.

It went the same way and was sold via eBay once I saw the Sunburst Grey come up for sale in steel.

So we come to the present day.  My relationship with the brand continues.  My first love – the Miyota blue dial remains a favourite. It works so well with a number of straps from a host of leather options or seek out some of  thewatchdude2’s photos for a killer shark mesh option!

The latest Grey dial (ETA, fixed bezel), is almost perfect with its sunburst dial and blue highlights – I wish it were 2 or 3 mm smaller but, well, you can’t have everything.  News from Canada suggests the Seaforth is aiming for a bronze version plus a move to two new smaller models – the Fairwind (39mm) and the Universa (38mm).  Early ordering is via Forasec for European folk and you can also see a teaser for a new steel bracelet there.

The Seaforth has been a voyage of discovery in many respects.  I’ve had to buy a number to get hands-on which invariably is the only way you can truly understand how you will respond to a watch – possibly why we should encourage the RedBars of this world which provides a little more tangible access to a host of brands (come on Leeds lets do it!).  It’s ironic I keep coming back to the first, the series one, the inferior movement, the between lug scratch but as I heard Jack Forster of Hodinkee fame quote the other day “The heart has its reasons of which reason knows not” (or something like that).  What will Halios follow the Seaforth with? My name is already down for the pre-order pre-info.

My eye has been turned; my intrigue piqued; the chase has begun …

Find out more about Helios watches at https://halioswatches.com/

Follow Jon on the gram at @Jonwatchsmith