• Philip Dashiell

Hemel Airfoil Takes to the Skies



The Airfoil is a re-imagination of the Air League Chronograph, a timepiece that was specially designed for, and with input from, members of the League of Watch Microbrands Facebook Group.

While the Air League Chronograph was inspired by the Type 20 and Type 21 Pilot Watches worn by French Aeronauts of the mid-twentieth century, the Airfoil expands on the Air League Chronograph design, with a more modern interpretation; this time, paying homage to the British military pilot watches from the 1970s.


The overall presentation of the Airfoil is, in a word, clean. The Arabic numerals on the ceramic, 120-click, rotating bezel w/ 12-hour GMT markers, and dial, presented below a domed, sapphire crystal, create a balanced framework for the aesthetically-matched chronograph registers. There is not one aspect of the bezel and dial on the Airfoil that looks out of place.


The Airfoil is being offered in dial configurations of Black, Navy Blue, and Ivory White. There is no bad dial option in my opinion, but there is just something about the Ivory White iteration. Contrasted by the Black numerals, index markers, and chronograph registers. I've dubbed the Black and Tan look, the Brown Panda.

The Airfoil is powered by the Sea-Gull ST-19 manual, 23-jewel hand-cranker, with a Swan Neck regulator, boasting a generous 45-hour power reserve. The movement choice is fitting, as a manual movement just further adds to the allure of a fleiger timepiece, designed to capture the essence of flight instruments from a bygone era. The Sea-Gull ST-19 is a modern advancement of the Venus 175 movement, which powered vintage timepieces that influenced the Air League Chronograph concept; and the decoration on the Sea-Gull movement presents astounding detail befitting the exhibition caseback.

With a case diameter of 42mm and lug-to-lug of 49mm, the Airfoil should prove to be easily wearable for the majority of watch collectors. The supple, 22mm Vintage Brown strap, is the perfect complement to this pilot, and will further enhance the comfort-level of the Airfoil while on the wrist.


Hemel Watches latest release, the Airfoil, takes flight, and proves to be yet another flying Ace, in a squadron of aeronautic and military-inspired timepieces within the Hemel Watches stable. The Airfoil is currently available through Hemel Watches for $499.99. Please visit www.hemelwatches.com for more information.

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