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Horizon Nemo

From the Genta of the 21st Century

This may very well be a review of the most intriguing and visually striking dive watch I’ve ever come across. Yes, here I come again with my hot take statements for which I will not apologize. Because, my friends, we must face the music: independent brands are on fucking fire and I for one relish observing and test-driving some incredible horological creations the likes of which we haven’t seen in a darn long time. If ever. My original statement, therefore, is even more so emphasized by the last two sentences. And I promise that today you are in for a treat, and one that won’t require you to donate an organ to acquire or even dream of. 

The watch in question is the latest release from Horizon, the Nemo, the brand whose creator and designer, Fred Bekher, is a star in our niche world. Fred designs watches for other brands and you will probably never know about all of his work. When Fred set out to create his own brand, he created it around the world of Jules Vernes and of his book 20000 Leagues Under the Sea. What fascinates me about his work is that Fred has the unique capability to pair inspiration that stems from a very niche world to quality, functional, and legible horology. In other words, his creations are anything but gimmicky. They are proper tool watches through and through. 


As just stated above, Horizon watches not only look incredibly different and unique, but they are also superbly conceptualized and built. The dimensions are right, the materials and components are good, the finish is much better than what you would expect at this price point, and the overall manufacturing is of high quality. On my 6.50”/16.5cm wrist, the Horizon Nemo fits just perfectly thanks to having the following dimensions: 41mm in diameter, 47mm lug-to-lug, 11.85mm thick, and a 22mm lug width. What? A 22mm lug width? Yes, you’ve read that right. And even though it might sound counter-productive, the larger than usual lug width for a 41mm diameter case makes total sense here. 

Indeed, these dimensions help visually by making the watch well proportioned—to the point of exquisite perfection I would say—and physically by making the watch sit more confidently on the wrist. Some larger divers (“larger” for me being anything above 39mm in diameter) tend to be top-heavy due to having a chunkier construction to match the depth rating and functional accouterments of the watch. (e.g., a large crown and rotating bezel, etc.) What I cannot not explain to you from a design and engineering perspective is that indeed the Horizon Nemo sits oh so well on my wrist. It’s akin to a four-wheel drive Audi A4 Quattro (if you are into cars) that behaves like a suction cup on the wrist. 

And the attention to detail in the design—which we’re going to talk about in a little bit—is matched by the attention to detail in the selection of materials and the manufacturing of the watch. For example, the unidirectional bezel comes with firm yet smooth 120 clicks and is made of scratch-resistant sapphire. The application of lume (Old Radium or BGW9 depending on which colorway you go for) is generous and even. The vertical brushing on the case flanks and polishing on the narrow chamfers is superb. The screw-down crown is made in such a way that it’s easy to grip and winding the movement feels premium. (As in it’s firm and consistent throughout, and of course I wouldn’t be able to tell why that is.) 

Perhaps what’s more important is the wonderful options we have to secure the Nemo to the wrist. For the purpose of this review, Horizon sent me a few options including their outstanding and well-engineered bracelet, as well as rubber straps of the highest quality. The bracelet is, as you may have guessed, a work of art in and of itself. The slanted links are held together by screws, the end links come with quick-release spring-bars, and the butterfly clasp comes with micro-adjustment mechanisms on either side of it. This means that one can adjust the length of the bracelet while wearing the watch, and given that it is a butterfly variety, the latter has a compact profile. 


Design wise, the Horizon Nemo is equally superb. I chose to go for the subtitle “From the Genta of the 21st Century” because I find Fred to be uniquely talented to create new designs and his own visual vocabulary. Take the dial for example: bespoke applied Arabic numerals at the cardinal points, lumed date wheel for the date aperture nestled inside the four o’clock marker, an incredible, deep, and well-executed wave pattern on the dial, as well as Fred’s own take on designing what typically is a boring minute track. Here each 5-minute increment is contained within a thin line and hash marks which are connected to a larger circle that goes all around the dial. So each minute is easy to see and globally the minute track is visually well balanced. In other words, we find a fully-graduated minute track which is juxtaposed by a fully-graduated bezel insert. Again, the Nemo is both visually striking and practical. 

Did you notice the polished surrounds on all applied hour markers and how seamlessly the date aperture flows within the dial? I love it. 

Fred’s creative genius further extends to the branding and the case construction. In regards to the former, I particularly appreciate how visually appealing the logo is and the fact that Fred opted for a script typeface for the model name found underneath the pinion. About the latter, Horizon is known for the three-part case construction which is easy to see here: the main part of the case, the bezel, and in-between the two a third piece that elongates to the lugs. The lugs, therefore, come with a step construction I am not familiar with and which makes Fred’s creations distinctive. Moreover, his attention to detail can be seen elsewhere: the thin mid-case and subtle crown guards, as well as the crown, the lower section of which (the one that screws into the case) has a conical profile to perfectly fit the case. 

And as we already touched upon, the stainless steel bracelet is a work of art so are the rubber straps and their buckles where we find once again the step-construction design of the case. My favorite strap is the blue FKM rubber which comes with deep grooves in its center and massive keepers. I didn’t know that a rubber strap could be so elegantly designed. And what I particularly like about the rubber strap is that it does not remove once ounce of refinement. 

The Heart of the Matter

At the heart of the matter is the fact that Fred and Horizon created a beautiful watch, or as I would prefer to say, a model that constitutes a new way to look at dive watches. As you’ve heard me say before (I became a broken record in my late 30s,) I am no designer and I have no idea how hard it must be to design a watch. Or any product for that matter. Globally speaking, most dive watches we see on the market today more or less look the same in terms of the hand and hour marker design. Or where the date aperture is placed or the type of minute track we find. (Generally, quite simple.) Or even in the way the case is designed which either look like a Rolex Submariner, an Omega Speedmaster, or a version of a 1970s skin-diver. (None of which is a bad thing, by the way.) 

Being who I am, I would  like to add this: we cannot put a price tag on innovative design. Cleary Fred spent a lot of time working on the Nemo, hours and hours over the course of many months to both create something that is his own and which works. And as I tried to convey in the introduction, we, watch nerds, don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to acquire something that looks this cool. And here is the icing on the cake: the Horizon Nemo is available via a Kickstarter campaign starting today, Saturday May 25th, 2024, for the discounted price of $630 USD. Note that full retail will be $1,1170 USD which is still little to pay for what you get. Again, a creative design with good specs, superb finish, and a solid construction. 


It is known that dive watches are one of the most popular genres of watches sold by large and smaller brands. It is so, as it is equally known, due to their functional versatility, robust construction, and appealing design. So it ain’t easy for a brand to create yet another diver since watch brands have been designing them for the past seventy years. In other words, there is a high potential for recreating the wheel again and again and again. What Horizon’s Fred proves however is that what I refer to as “micro” and “independent” brands have the advantage of being able to design bold watches because they don’t have a heritage they must preserve. And offering us a unique and well-made diver for as little as $700 USD is a darn bargain. 

If you would like to know more about the brand Horizon click here, and to follow the Kickstarter campaign which debuted today click here.

Thanks for reading. 


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