The Watch I Wish I Had as a Kid
I grew up with the dream-inducing stories of Jules Verne, especially Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. I could picture myself riding the rough seas on a tiny wooden vessel searching for the giant whale. The imagery linked to this story is that of unusual seafaring equipment that looked otherworldly. Like old diving helmets made of heavy metals and perhaps strange looking submarines. Whichever equipment I would have used in this story, I would have wanted to strap the appropriate watch on my wrist—something only possible if the book would have been written in the 21st century. In any case, and regardless of my wild imagination, sharing this anecdote was a way to bring us to the topic of this review: the Horizon Pilgrim.
Horizon is a brand you may have never heard of. It was created in 2021 by Fred Bekher, a seasoned industrial designer, and Sugiharto Kusumadi, an entrepreneur. Fred wanted to bring his own vision for horology to the watch world. The experience of designing watches for other brands helped him fine-tune his own taste in watches. Although I don’t know much about Fred, it is clear that he has a certain fascination for the world of Jules Verne (like I do). The latter inspired Horizon’s first collection, the Nautilus as well as the Pilgrim, its second model. As we will see, the Pilgrim constitutes a different take on the super-compressor style diver in that it looks unique although it comes with commonly agreed upon solid specifications.
Designed for 19th Century Fictional Adventurers
Without getting into abysmal details on Jules Verne’s book (nice pun, uh?) let’s say that the Pilgrim comes with many visual details that set it apart from any other super-compressor style diver I’ve seen before. Because not only is the Pilgrim a capable tool watch, it’s essentially the visual representation of a child’s dream (I mean this in a good way). First of all, the case is quite unique. It comes with a multi-part construction which can easily be spotted with the naked eye. It seems that there is a long piece that makes up part of the lugs and which sits sandwiched between the mid-case and the fixed outer bezel. It looks good visually, reminding me of the frame of a boat or perhaps a tank. Fred designed the case this way to sharpen contrasts between polished and brushed surfaces.
The case has a beefy profile with wide polished lugs that turn into chamfers running alongside the case sides. The two-part lugs, actually, turn down dramatically toward the wrist so that the watch sits flush against the wrist. The fixed outer bezel is massive and comes with an upper brushed flat section and a two-step polished outer section. The overall otherworldly look described above is reinforced by the two screw-down crowns. They come with plenty of knurling to make them easy to operate and have a concave section at the tip (If you look at the crowns straight on and picture a smiley face underneath, you get a happy emoji!). The crown at the 4 winds and sets the movement while the crown at the 2 actuates the inner rotating bezel. I can’t help but to feel that I’m looking at a bizarrely charming machine sitting on my wrist.
The Dial is The Star of the Show
To me, it is the Pilgrim’s dial that demands the most attention. The dial opening is small but legible. All of the markers are applied, and we see trapezoidal markers at the cardinal points and circular ones everywhere else. The marker at the 3 comes with a trick up its sleeve, though: it is actually a date aperture. Fred embedded the date aperture within the applied marker, giving it the same size and appearance to the point where the date disc is white (to match the colour of the lume) and the numerals for the date are printed with the same font as that of the 6, 9, and 12 hour markers. Fred opted for this font for maximum
legibility and so that it would fill up the whole frame. Furthermore, the date numerals are printed in a way so that they match the trapezoidal shape of the date aperture.
The hands are large and easy to see, and the hour hand reminds me of a harpoon. It is made of two sections, a wide stem and a triangular tip, and I find it very legible. The pencil-style minute hand reaches the small minute track and the lollipop seconds hand has a counter-balance that resembles an infinity sign with shaper angles. With the wide inner rotating bezel and its dramatic down slope, the dial opening is factually small. This, combined with the beefy case, makes the Pilgrim look kind of badass. Because of the way the crowns are designed, mostly the fact that they sit high, makes the Pilgrim the first super-compressor style diver on which I can activate the crown at the two without having to remove the watch from my wrist.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
47mm Lug to Lug
22mm Lug Width
Screw Down Crowns & Case Back
Interior Rotating Bezel
200m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Flat Sapphire Crystal|
Date Window @ 3
Arrow and Pencil Hands
38-Hour Power Reserve
|Strap||Tapered FKM Rubber Strap|
The Pilgrim is A Proper Diver
Besides having good looks—insofar you are into this kind of design—the Pilgrim is, actually, a serious tool watch. Although it is only a super-compressor style diver (and not a “true one” however it might matter to you,) it comes with 200 meters of water resistance thanks to a screw-down case-back and, as mentioned above, the two screw-down crowns. For those who plan on diving deep with the Pilgrim, know that it is endowed with healthy applications of BGW9 lume on the hands and indices—which should be enough to reach the Mariana Trench. All of the dial goodness is easy to see given that the Pilgrim comes with a flat piece of sapphire crystal complete with multiple layers of inner anti-reflective coating.
In terms of case dimensions, you may be concerned by the fact that I described the Pilgrim as being beefy and feeling as sturdy as a tank on the wrist. But fear not. The case measures 41mm in diameter, 47mm lug-to-lug, 12.4mm in height, and comes with a 22mm lug width. The descriptive words I chose earlier in this review refer to the overall case shape and design. The provided FKM rubber strap is thick, however supple, and tapers to 16mm at the buckle. Such an unusual looking diver doesn’t need to come with an unusual movement, however. The Pilgrim is powered by a Swiss made Sellita SW200-a caliber which beats at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and comes with 38 hours of power reserve.
As a watch journalist, I sometimes feel a little “meh” because I see the same watches coming with more or less similar designs and specifications. Not that there is anything wrong with that—to each is own, of course—however, sometimes I yearn to get my hands on something very different. I don’t fancy machine-looking watches that are, for the most part, not wearable. But I do like to see an original design that I would feel comfortable wearing on a daily basis. This is the sweet spot that the Horizon Pilgrim hits for me. I personally love the design and the specs, and I could easily see myself adding one to my modest
If you don’t fancy the blue dial presented here, know that the Pilgrim comes in three additional colours: black, green, and teal, each coming with cream-coloured lume and accents. Horizon is currently taking pre-orders for a reduced price of $687.53 with an estimated delivery of September 2023. Full retail will be $831.91 after that (prices vary based on conversion rates between the American and the Singapore dollar). You can learn more about Horizon here.
Vincent Deschamps is a museum professional, originally from France, with more than 10 years experience as a researcher, producing visitor experiences for national and international organizations. He is also the founder of mainspring.watch. You can follow Vincent on Instagram.
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