There are so many pedestrian Kickstarter watch projects out there that some of the more interesting ones often struggle to bubble up to the surface. So I’ve always been cautious when approached by micro-brands about a possible review.
However, I had no hesitation when Maen Watches called to enquire if I would be interested in giving their Hudson 38 Automatic Date a once-over. Based in Stockholm, Maen (that’s old Dutch for moon) was founded by two Dutchmen who have a penchant for giving their watches New York-inspired names. If you think a Swedish company founded by two Dutchmen inspired by an American city wasn’t enough of a multicultural mosaic, know this – the Hudson is assembled in Lugano, Switzerland.
It’s clear to see where this watch gets its inspiration from – it is a homage to vintage Rolex Submariners, the Big Crown Ref. 6538 in particular. Cue the big crown, small case size, lollipop seconds hand and the red triangular marker on the dial.
The watch uses a 316L stainless steel case that has pleasing proportions – 38 mm diameter and and 10.2 mm in height. This ensures it is slim enough to slip under the cuff of your dress shirt. The case is a mix of polished and brushed surfaces and features a polished chamfered edge that runs from lug-to-lug. A coin-edge uni-directional bezel with a black aluminum insert, graduated to 120 clicks, frames the domed sapphire crystal which has an anti-reflective (AR) coating on the inside of the glass.
The sandblasted black dial has polished steel baton indices filled with SuperLuminova. The hands used to indicate time have been generously coated with SuperLuminova too for optimum visibility in low light. However, the seconds hand has no luminescent markings. A date window is a jarring addition at 3 o’clock. While this is a legible dial. I wish they had used better typography to the print the name of the brand. This is a very subjective view but that insipid font does the dial no favors. A few welcome red accents on the dial match the red triangular marker on the bezel.
The watch is fitted with a screw-down sapphire crystal caseback – a concession to modernity – although a version with a closed steel back is also available. While the sapphire crystal casebook ensures the watch is water-resistant to 100 meters only, the closed caseback version is depth-rated to 200 meters.
A five-link brushed steel bracelet with a double lock deployant clasp is used to secure the watch on the wrist. It’s good to seen a steel bracelet being offered at this price (€399). The bracelet is comfortable on the wrist although I did find the unfastening the clasp a bit of bother at times. An additional Nato strap is also provided with the watch.
The watch is powered by an ETA 2824-2 movement and is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback. A proven workhorse, it has a power reserve of 38 hours and an escapement that beats at 4 Hz (28,800 vph).
Apart from the minor quibbles I mentioned, I can’t fault the Hudson 38 Automatic Date. For €399, this is a lot of watch – a vintage-inspired diver with a steel bracelet powered by a bonafide Swiss movement, all assembled in Switzerland. I’m not suggesting that you stop looking longingly at a Rolex "Big Crown" and get a Hudson 38 Automatic Date instead but if you are in the market for an affordable homage piece, you know where to go now.