The Horizon Nemo

Continuing with the Jules Verne theme, Horizon Watches adds a third dive watch to its line-up.  The Nemo is certainly a good looking timepiece with a fascinating new clasp mechanism.  Is that enough to make it stand out in a crowded field?

by Terence Tee

  • May 17, 2024
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Those who have been following TBC should be familiar with Horizon Watches owner and designer Fred Bekher.  At the age of 21, armed with 3D design expertise, Fred took up a freelance watch design job from a virtual friend he had only met online 11,000km away in Singapore.  8 years later, after more than 100 watch designs produced for over 20 brands, Fred decided to launch his own watch brand.  To the Ukrainian, Horizon Watches is a brand that revives old familiar elements with a modern twist.

The brand is just about ready to launch its newest offering for pre-order on Kickstarter.  Meet the Nemo, a 40mm dive watch with an integrated bracelet and a party trick.  Collectors will be spoilt for choice because there are seven (!) dial options to choose from.  There is the Pistachio (which is…pistachio coloured), the Coral (brushed silver/steel), the Golden Hour (a brushed gold-hued bronze finish), the Ocean (no points if you guessed blue), the Clown (a certain cartoon clownfish comes to mind), the Kelp (a lustrous green that extends onto the bezel) and the TBC favourite, the Abyss (see photos above) which is a vintage throwback nod, complete with a ghost bezel.

A Line, Drawn A Hundred Times

Here at TBC, we are usually leery of dive watches.  A lot of the microbrand designs out there are so derivative that reviewing them would be like splitting hairs.  Horizon Watches billed the Nemo as “an extension of the -N-“, their inaugural dive watch.  The same watch that finished its Kickstarter campaign with more than USD100,000 raised from more than 240 backers in 20 countries.  With the -N- praised for its affordability, size and design, perhaps its successor warrants at least a look-see.

We spent some time with all the Horizon Nemo variants  – courtesy of authorised dealer Red Army Watches – and it was abundantly clear that the Nemo is the practiced culmination of a line drawn a hundred times over.   We see the different dial and bezel treatments according to dial colour, the quality of the bracelet, and the eye-catching markers.  The watch dial is a canvas that Fred expertly carves out space in for seemingly disparate design elements to co-exist.  The numerals and hour lume plots are outsized vis-à-vis the real estate available, but never big enough to be vulgar.  This is visual balance that only a trained eye can bring about.  The same sentiment extends to the dial-work.  Only the Ocean and Pistachio dials have organic wave patterns on the dial.  The Golden Hour and Coral variants are brushed and so, diffuses light in the most eye-catching way possible.  The Clown has a matt finish, which should come as no surprise given its eye-searing colour.  A lot of consideration has gone into making each dial colour special in its own right.

Soooo.  Perhaps we are not looking at a derivative dive watch design then.

Hallmarks Maketh The Brand

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2-piece case construction for the Horizon Pilgrim

A designer-led watch brand will always think and act differently from a factory brand.  Although a young brand, Horizon Watches has already established its brand ethos and design language.  The design of their three watches have centred around four visual cues – numeral design, raised markers, integrated date window display and two-piece case construction.

With the -N-, Horizon Watches gave watch collectors a face they won’t soon forget.  The 3, 6 and 9 numerals are done up in a distinctive Gatsby-esque Art Deco font, which one would argue is period correct, as the first movie adaption of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was in 1916.  The numerals, along with the hour lume plots, are raised, giving the indicators a 3D effect and creating that illusion of depth within the dial.

Another notable design aspect is how the date windows on the brand’s watches are always finessed into the shape of hour markers.  The best example of that is probably on the brand’s second outing – the Pilgrim.  On that watch, the date window at the 3 o’clock position was designed to look exactly like the 6, 9 and 12 markers.  That date wheel even had the same colour lume as the hour markers, making it a playfully ingenious design decision.  On the Nemo, the date window takes the place of the 4 o’clock marker, just like on the -N-.  All the date wheels are lumed to match the hour indicators, no matter the dial colours.

Opting for 2-piece case construction allow for Horizon watches to be able to achieve different finishes on surfaces that might have just been impossible to accomplish reliably on single-piece construction cases.  Form following function, as the case may be, which may not necessarily be what transpires with its competitors.

The Party Trick

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Horizon Watches has decided to go with a butterfly clasp for the integrated bracelet on the Nemo, instead of employing a deployant clasp, .  This new in-house designed butterfly clasp has a proprietary micro-adjustment mechanism, which Horizon has dubbed “MicroSliders”.   It is a simple concept of incorporating an additional link at the end of each side of the bracelet that can be adjusted in either half or full length by way of pressing and sliding a spring-loaded bar that is attached to that last link.  It can even be done on the fly for added convenience.  In the flesh, the mechanism has an easy learning curve.  Once you are familiar with where the pull and push motions need to stop, you are set.

The riveted bracelet links are precisely machined and brush-finished, and draped nicely on all but the skinniest of wrists.  The Nemo bracelet is so well made, it reminded TBC of the also-excellent bracelet on the Tissot PRX.  And because the watch is an integrated bracelet design, those with skinny wrists would get a better fit with the FKM rubber strap alternative that comes with each Horizon Nemo.

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The Heart Of The Captain

Instead of the Seiko NH35 movement in the -N-, Horizon Watches has opted to use the Sellita SW200-1A for the Nemo.  The SW-200-1A is an upgraded version of the SW200, which adds a hacking function for precise time setting.  It also has an improved shock-absorbing system for increased durability and resistance to external shocks.  The use of the same movement in its Pilgrim diver has probably given the brand the assurance to continue using this proven workhorse movement.

Final Thoughts

In the most competitive segment of the watch market,  it is not easy to come up with a design that does not look like a AI-rendered version of the Submariner.  It is apparent that Horizon Watches has pored over every aspect of the Nemo to make the watch stand out in a crowded field.  The Nemo dials are full of details, rewarding those who throw more than a casual gaze at any of 7 dial colours.  TBC believes that the sum of the Nemo’s parts allows the brand to scale the heights of its ambitions.  This is a worthy update to the -N-.

Horizon Watches will be launching their Nemo crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter on 24 May 2024 (Friday).  All seven dial variants will be on offer.  Kickstarter pricing for the Horizon Nemo is USD700 / SGD940Red Army Watches has advised that the MSRP is USD1,170 / SGD1,590 for the Nemo.

Join the brand’s Instagram and Facebook owners’ group for more timely updates about the new release and the brand.

Technical Specifications

Diameter40mm
Height11.8mm
Lug-to-lug47mm
Lug Width22mm
Water Resistance200metres
Material316L stainless steel
MovementSellita SW200-1a

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