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EMG Watches Horizon V2

An Attainable & Iconic Column Wheel Chronograph

Sometimes a watch is more than just a timekeeping apparatus we strap to our wrist. (Let’s not kid ourselves, it never is just that.) Sometimes it’s a piece of art we fall for because of its intrinsic ability to tell a story about who we are. And other times, we might choose a particular watch because it stands out from what we normally collect and stow away in our dedicated storage boxes. A piece that stands proud from classic-looking watches which we dare to not always show the world. Whichever reason brings you to pulling the trigger on a particular watch over another is entirely up to you (obviously), because you see an appeal in that object that I might not, and vice-versa. And the watch we’re going to take a look at today is that type of watch. One that tells a particular story about its wearer and that will stand out in anybody’s collection for a reasonable fee. (More on that later.)   

As you’ve often heard me say, the market for micro and independent brands is vast. So much so, actually, that it’s hard to be aware of all watches currently available or about to be launched on the market on any given day. And that’s in part due to—or because of—journalists and magazines who decide whether or not this or that watch is worth your attention and pennies. One aspect I particularly appreciate about this segment of horology is the fact that brands make it possible for us to buy and wear a particular type of watch we would otherwise not be able to afford, or even dare look at. (Because they’re too expensive and/or eternally unavailable.) So that’s why I’m happy today to tell you about EMG Watches and the launch of their upcoming Horizon V2


The Horizon V2 will make a statement whether or not you want it. Both from a visual perspective and from a mathematical one as well. Actually, it’s not that big of a watch: 38mm in diameter, 46.5mm lug-to-lug, 13.45mm thick and 22mm lug width. But it’s rectangular and the L2L measurement does increase the watch’s visual wrist print. (Why say “footprint” when talking about something we strap to our wrist? I don’t know.) And the combination of the 13.45mm thickness—which is not huge in and of itself—with the case shape does further increase the visual presence of the Horizon. And the latter fact could also be due to the movement we find inside: the manual-wind Seagull ST1901* column wheel chronograph caliber which, but its very own nature, requires some extra vertical space to fit inside the case. 

*For the nerds out there: the ST1901 is an integrated chronograph meaning that the chronograph complication is built into the main mechanism instead of being added later (in which case it’s called “modular;”) it’s also a column-wheel chronographs (as opposed to cam-actuated ones) which come with higher tolerances and a smoother chrono pusher action. 

With that said, the EMG Watches Horizon V2 is also a robust piece of horology as it is equipped with a domed sapphire crystal, 100 meters of water resistance, and a quality German-made racing leather strap that tapers from 22mm at the lugs to 16mm at the buckle. The little trick with this strap is the floating keeper, also made of leather, which makes me think of RAF-style military straps. A small detail that makes sizing the watch a breeze, as it is easy to tuck away the end of the strap so that it doesn’t stick out (so ugly!) I would also mention the narrow and deep buckle which showcases a delicate alternation of brushed and polished surfaces. You get a lot of watch goodness by simply looking at this strap which I would most likely want to pair to other timekeeping devices I have in my collection. 

Furthermore, one can admire the ST1901 caliber thanks to a see-through mineral case-back. Although I often hear people moan that the Seagull is not the prettiest of chronograph movements to look at (nor the most reliable)—a statement which behooves me to not make sense of—I for one am delighted by the mechanical spectacle that I am being offered here. The Seagull ST1901 is made with the original machinery from Venus dating back to the 1960s which the former bought, so you get a proper mechanical chronograph caliber that is of Swiss design—cool, right?—but which comes with a non-Swiss price tag—which I will get back to later. Promise! 


To go back to the point I made in the introduction—that the EMG Watches Horizon V2 is a statement piece—we shall now talk about its design, starting with the case. We already know its dimensions and we are already aware of the fact that this watch commands much of a visual presence given its design. It’s rectangular and tall, with slab-sided sides, both on the right and left sides of the case and north and south of the dial. It looks a bit like a monumental sculpture, as if someone had etched the case out by hand from a solid block of metal. The prominent aspect of the case is further accentuated by the large chamfers, which are polished on the sides and brushed around the lugs. While the rest of the case—save for tiny sections on the lugs—is fully brushed too. 

Staying on the outside of the watch we find rectangular and angled pushers for the chronograph. The one at the two starts and stops the chronograph function while the pusher at the four resets it. The action of the pushers is indeed very satisfactory—much more than that found on high-end meca-quartz movements—and the chronograph function is nicely paired with a 30-minute totalizer found at the three o’clock on the dial. Note, on close inspection, the red theme going on here: on the seconds hand, on parts of the hour and minute hands, as well as immediately on the outside of the applied and lumed hour markers. The latter are indeed lumed with reasonable amounts of BGW9. (The Horizon V2 is not a diver and I would say the lume is quite good for a chronograph.) 

The other sub-register located at the 9 o’clock indicates the running seconds, and along with the 30-minute totalizer, is framed within a central white rectangular section completed by a thin red line. This visually sets apart one function of the watch—timing an event—from the other—keeping track of the local time passing by ever faster each day. The latter function is indicated here by the baton-style hour and minute hands as well as the aforementioned applied hour markers and the intricately designed minute track. I particularly like how the hour and minute hands match the hour markers from a design standpoint and how the minute track constitutes a piece of watch design on its own. More specifically, I like how the minute hash-marks are mixed with smaller and shorter lines. 

Visually, the minute track is very dynamic and stands out from the rest of the dial, as if Horizon wanted the wearer to be able to easily see it. And I also appreciate the four screws found on each corner of the dial, which I assume truly fulfill a structural function here as well as adding a bit of industrialism to the dial appearance. These screws, in particular, work well with the massiveness of the case profile and angles. While all of this is happening on the dial, I forgot to mention the rather large and deeply-knurled push/pull crown that’s easy to grab and operate. 

The Heart of the Matter

At the heart of the matter here is the fact that EMG Watches went back to the drawing board after a failed attempt to Kickstart the first generation Horizon chronograph. I do mention this here because it is rare—very rare—for a brand to try crowd-funding a second model again after a first unsuccessful attempt. (The only other brand I can think of to have done so is Manime and La F which then successfully funded their second model, La Fidèle.) This shows that EMG Watches believes in its product and was intent on creating something that is indeed worth your time and pennies. At least, that is according to me. And now would be an appropriate time to mention the price at which the Horizon V2 will go for on Kickstarter: $400 USD shipped.

This is arguably a small amount of money to ask for a well-made, interesting looking, and proper column-wheel mechanical chronograph. I did some quick research on the Seagull ST1901 and read that it generally retails for $150 USD. So, theoretically, a third of the total value of the watch is put in the movement which means that EMG could have gone one of two ways—and went neither, actually— by either increasing the retail price of the watch by a few hundred dollars or by cutting corners on design and quality of manufacturing. Somehow, EMG decided to go a third route, and one that was less obvious and the least commonly traveled of pouring a maximum amount of effort into the design of the Horizon V2—to give it a character of its own—whilst offering quality horology. (Keep in mind that the sample reviewed here is a prototype and not a production sample, and I was already impressed with it.) 


At the end of the day, the EMG Watches Horizon V2 is two things. First, a well-made and proper mechanical chronograph with gorgeous movements and solid specs. Second, a watch that is visually stunning to look at and that comes with its own character. Since I know that you—who is reading this article right now—are a watch nerd, you probably have made a mental connection between the Horizon V2 and the TAG Heuer Monaco made famous by Steve McQueen. Yes, the EMG has a design that pays homage to the Carrera, however I would be hard-pressed—and I bet you would too—to suggest a chronograph made by another micro/independent brand that does not pay homage to something we’ve seen before even in the smallest of details. Something iconic which is hard, if not impossible, to avoid representing in a new model. 

Just so you know, the Horizon V2 will debut on Kickstarter on Saturday, March 30th, 2024, and the campaign will run through Monday, April 29th, 2024. You can learn more about EMG Watches here and the Kickstarter campaign here

Thanks for reading. 


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