When I learned of Hemel Watches collaborating with Mathey-Tissot to produce a small run of TypeXX chronographs, I was greatly interested. This collaboration felt genuine to me because Hemel had long based much of its catalog on the historically significant Type20 and TypeXX chronographs, which were originally French mil-spec units for pilots.
Despite believing the subjective experience of watches is ultimately all we have, I am not one of those egalitarian folks who believes that because someone enjoys a watch it thus belongs in this world. Watch critics like that really aren’t critics at all. They practice what a colleague recently called reportage, as if by using the French word sucking up to advertisers for a living was somehow sophisticated.
Like all of Hemel’s watches, the Airfoil foregoes superfluous – and often dubious – claims to being “Swiss Made,” or “Assembled in America,” or whatever Euro-centric claim so many smaller watch brands feel they can get away with. Hemels’ marketing materials and watch dials are refreshingly bereft of these shaky claims of single-origin manufacturing, which I’ve dubbed “Vintage Nationalism.”