Horloscaphe | When passion leads you to a new life.
I’m very happy to share with you today my quite recent discovery of Horloscaphe. This brand was founded in 2017, by a french independent watchmaker, Hacène Mouhoubi, who is designing and assembling all his watches on his own.
It is not so easy to know who is the man. He is obviously discreet and you won’t find a lot of articles about him, nor the brand. I would be very happy if this review could contribute to increase his reputation. I hope that you will be convinced he deserves it when you finish reading this review. In the meantime, you may read his Linkedin profile. You will learn that he had a first professional life as an electrician in industry and construction, before going back to school in order to get a diploma in watchmaking, and, a few years later, create his own brand. Hacène Mouhoubi is also very fan of diving.
The first HORLOSCAPHE NC001 (NC stands for “Nageur de Combat” / “Combat Swimmer”), a quartz watch, 200m waterproof, was launched in October 2018 through a crowdfunding operation on Kickstarter. It’s worth visiting the dedicated page for its video and exclusive pictures (including Hacène Mouhoubi portrait… Yes! I know now what the man looks like!). It met with immediate success. This watch was quickly followed by the “Fluid version”, limited to 40 units. “Fluid” because the watch was filled with a special liquid, increasing its waterproofness to 1000 meters. Uh… Don’t try this on your own watch…
As far as I’m concerned, I have a great preference for mechanical watches. Reason why I was very, VERY, impatient that Hacène Mouhoubi created a mechanical NC watch. And this happened!
All right. Diving watches are made for men of action. You’ve read enough. Time to move on to pictures!
Horloscaphe NC001 | Form follows function.
The NC001 is the perfect illustration of the well known design principle “Form follows function”. Readability is the priority. Consequently, the mate black dial, magnified by an anti-reflection sapphire glass (2,8 mm thick!), is free of any unnecessary inscription.
You have to turn the watch over to find engraved on the screwed caseback, also very uncluttered, the technical information (the watch is 200 m waterproof) that other brands do not hesitate to proudly display on the front of their watches.
Back to dial. The Horloscaphe logo is proudly displayed on the upper half of the dial. This logo has been inspired by the famous WW2 Italien MAIALE pocket submarine
At six O’clock, you may read a discreet “Fabriqué en France / Made in France” inscription.
And that’s all!. The NC001 is not a “chatty” watch, and I like this very much.
MAIALE | WW2 Italian pocket submarine
Each review is an opportunity to discover something. Here, I have been curious to know more about the SLC pocket submarine which inspired Horloscaphe logo. This lead me to know better about the amazing story of elite divers infiltrated enemy fleets to lay explosive mines below the waterline of ships during WW2. They used pocket submarines to carry the explosive charges that they would then place on the hull of the ships to be sunk.
The MAIALE (Italian word for pig, because of the difficulty to steer the machine), also called SLC (Siluro a Lenta Corsa), is the most famous of these human torpedos. It was designed in 1929 by two italian officers, Tesei and Toschi. It inspired later the british army to develop its own X Craft torpedo in 1943. Japan also built this kind of pocket submarine, the Kaiten, but in the kamikaze way. “Kaiten” literally means “turn the heaven”. Divers piloting it were not supposed to return…
The two above pictures are screenshots from the very interesting documentary “Maiale. Secret weapon of Regia Marina” produced by World of Warships Official Channel. It’s really worth watching it!
Horloscaphe NC001 | Case and crown
The Horloscaphe case shape and design are devoid of any fantasy or stylistic effect. Only simple and tense lines. The lugs are drilled to allow a kick and easy change of strap. Every detail of this watch tells it is a tool watch.
Even the surface finishing is reduced to the minimum. A satin brushing on each surface. No contrast between mirror polished and brushed surfaces that you would find on a lot of watches. But what what would be the functional benefit of a more sophisticated finish? None. Form follows function 😉 This watch is not designed to be admired, but to be used and wear signs of the daily – and maybe sometimes rough – life of its owners.
The thick screw-down crown is also very easy to handle. The firm winding inspires confidence.
The crown face is decorated with the acid hetched Horloscaphe logo.
The STP automatic movement
The Horloscaphe NC001 is the first watch of the brand equipped with a mechanical movement. This is the novelty which led me to buy this watch. Indeed, I don’t like quartz movements very much because the step-by-step run of the second hand has something robotic and cold, unlike the warm heartbeat of the mechanical movement.
Would you buy a luxury car without paying a minimum attention to the engine? The technical specifications on Horloscaphe Website modestly explains that the NC001 is animated by an automatic STP (Swiss Technology Production), I quote: “Frequency 28,800 per hour, 4 Hz 26 jewels, 44-hour power reserve, Setting +0 + 10s” (Bravo for the very good setting!).
This description is a bit frustrating for me. A good reason to look for more information on STP official website. Among the products displayed, I think Hacene Mouhoubi may have chose the STP1-11 or the STP5-15. I bet on the STP5-15, despite its “Open hart” of no use for the NC001, because it is a no date movement. The STP1-11 has a date disc and should need a modification of the setting lever spring in order to avoid the useless intermediary “dead notch” when setting the time.
… and I lost my bet! Hacène Mouhoubi was kind enough to give me the right information. The Horloscaphe NC001 is equipped with a specially modified STP1-11, without date disc and with a two positions only setting lever spring (hour setting, winding).
The STP1-11 is very similar to the ETA 2824-2 and the Sellita SW200-1. If interested to know more about these movements, you may read this comparative article on WacthintimeCom.
Any way, I’m pretty sure that you will like this very well done corporate video, showing the assembly line robots and watchmakers doing work that makes me dream of a second life.
The NC001 Bezel
The bezel of my NC001 is made of stainless steel and is 4mm large. It has a very strong presence on the wrist. As you have noticed on previous pictures, it is super readable (form follows function), thanks to large white lacked marks, contrasting with the black matte PVD coating. The pictures below shows the finishing great quality.
The 60 clicks bezel is very easy to handle thanks to its very chiselled denture. I think that the locking bi-blade spring could have been a bit firmer, for the bezel tends to jump easily two or three notches during the day without specific manipulation.
An applied insert, filled with SuperLuminova® C3, takes place at twelve o’clock.
Horloscaphe NC001 | Readability is all!
The NC001 readability is exceptional. The snow white numerals and graduations are imposing and offer a strong contrast with the matte black dial. This feeling is strengthened by the SuperLuminova® thickness.
And the same goes for the hands. I’m very fond of their “ghost” heads, barely visible thanks to the matte black paint that blends with the dial. They are the reason why I chose this version of the watch rather than the “brushed steel bezel” one.
The BW9 SuperLuminova® does the job. On a dive watch, readability is all!
Horloscaphe NC001 | Which strap suits the best?
Like any military inspired watch, this Horloscaphe does like NATO straps. The NC001 has got a 20mm “between lugs” width.
However, a NATO strap adds almost 3mm of thickness (same as the bezel…) under the caseback. This may lead to a floating feeling of the watch on the wrist, even more if it’s a baby wrist like mine. I know that a few watch owners do not like NATO for this reason. And also because it makes scratches on the polished caseback of their Rolex… But, guys, the NC001 is a true toolwatch ! (I have probably just lost a few friends with this poor joke).
But fortunately, the offer of 2 parts straps is sufficiently abundant for everyone to find his happiness. After a few tests, including a classic TROPIC style rubber strap, I finally adopted a Zuludiver sailcloth strap. What do you think?
This Horloscaphe is a true toolwatch, very easy to wear during your daily life. It has already convinced professional soldiers if I believe testimonial published pictures on Facebook. What better proof of its reliability? Cherry on the cake, you will discover on Horloscaphe official website, that the NC001 is a very affordable watch. So why deprive yourself of it?
Follow Horloscaphe thread on Facebook, or on Instagram. You can also join Horloscaphe Gang on Facebook, to share your passion with other aficionados. the Uh… You may also check MY instagram thread in order to be informed of the next review and share this article if you liked it 😉
Now you will excuse me: I have a perilous mission to complete. See you soon on Clock me Tender!