Oh boy, in retrospect it seems the poll wasn't such a smart idea, since it's put up on top. This way you probably expect some short question and then you fill in your answer. Actually, it's more like an extensive review with at the end a small question. So feel free to skip the poll, since I don't seem to be able to remove it. Just consider it a review with lots of illustrations. Sorry for the confusion
Some members, especially Dutch members, will know this watch already. Why? Because it has been the Dutch Horloge Forum Limited Edition from 2009. Others might know the brand from the beautifull review about a PT2, one of the first models.
This is my personal impression of the Pellikaan HFLE. Some of the pictures shown are from the web. Later you will find out why that is. Also, sincere apologies for my amateur camera and photography skill. Or actually, lack of it...
Anyhow, back to the watch itself. What I noticed as one of the first things when I got my hands on it, was it's weight. It felt nice and hefty, like you really have something in your hands. I like a little weight around the wrist (not the waist! ;)). The second thing what stepped out to me was it's size. Lot's of the HF members had some doubts about the 45mm case diameter. I too had my doubts. I mean a Panerai Radiomir was on the border, only because of the wired liugs. These do not stick out as much as regular lugs.
But I was pleasantly suprised. On my wrist the watch is still huge, but the lugs were elegantly curved with the wrist. I don't like it when the lugs 'stick out' over the length of ones wrist.
The dial is very in balance. Partially it's perhaps because of the + that runs over the whole face. The used lines are relatively quite thin, making the overal feeling of the dial even larger. Fortunately it doesn't cause a 'blote billen gezicht'. It kinda means in Dutch that the watch face looks too empty.
The indexrings both improve the watch it's balanced feel and gives you something to look on the dial, but without making it very busy. Also what I like about the + that runs over the dial, is that it goed precisely between the I and K, and splits right through the subdial. In the buttom there is written Dutch Made. So cool to live in the Netherlands and having a watch with Dutch Made on it :-P
The subdial of the limited edition has the large small secondshand, while the regular model has a smaller subdial and secondshand. The big seconds hands makes this watch look a bit more tough, so it sports nicely with a more rough strap.
In the end, I like the small secondshands more. It gives the watch an even more balanced feel to it, with the subdial fitting neatly between the 5 and 7 o'clock index, while slightly touching the minutesring. That's why I had mine modded.
The pictures of the HFLE are from fellow forum members, because mine doesn't look like this any more. This way, mine now matches very nicely with it's alligator strap IMHO, but later more about that.
Usually I like hands that are more prominently on a watch, like the skeleton plongeur hands on the SMP. But with this watch the slim Breguet hands look pretty decent. Perhaps a bit too decent. Because it makes matching tougher straps a bit difficult with this type of hands. Matching straps is imho much easier with the more neutral styled hands on a Luminor 1950. But fortunately the dial of the watch isn't too classic with for example Roman numbers on the face. So I still dare to put a worn looking Toshi strap on it.
What I especially appreciate about it, is that it's creator upholds the philosopy that a watch should also be readible in the dark. Even with classic hands like these. So, each one has been supplied with SuperLuminova by hand. And not just the holes (which I have seen before), but the complete Breguet hands are covered with lume, leaving the hole intact. So in the dark you can see the outlines of the hands perfectly. As far as I know Pellikaan is the only one who has done this.
I have pretty bad eyes, so usually I prefer hands that have a clear distinct in design between the hour and minute hands, like with Plongeur hands. But suprisingly these Breguet style hands are very good distinguishable in the dark. Thanks to the slightly thicker body of the hour hand, it's easy to keep them separate from eachother.
What I find to be a real nice little detail, is that even the seconds hand has been applied with Luminova. I get a little anxious when I can't see a watch running. I allways have the feeling that it run out of juice. And with the lume, it forms in the dark the 6 o'clock index. But only every 60 seconds ;)
For me a special touch, is that when I went back to pick up my watch after the mod, I noticed the seconds hand did not glow. A normal person wouldn't have seen it in daytime. But a WIS like myself pays extra attention to stuff like this. Since Hubert does the luming himself and has no extra stock, he put the one in his own watch into mine!
Do note that since it's a hand made process there might be some slight imperfections of the lume on the hands. Like some parts being a bit thicker than others. My seconds hands shows this clearly when getting a Halogen boost of light. But after a while the Luminova glows less bright and the differences won't be so noticeable. Besides the parts in his own watch were 'try-outs', so mine probably has some more flaws than others. My larger HFLE seconds hand for example was done better. But hey, I think it has a nice touch to have "his" seconds hand now, so I take the little flaws for granted :D
Something most people don't think about, but can be pretty important in daily use, is the sapphire glass. This has be quite a big big piece, looking at it diameter. The glass also has a coating on the inside, which reduces annoying reflections. It would have been possible to have a two sided coating, but due to the nasty effect when the coating gets scratched or faded, I actually prefer the single inside coating.
The sapphire glass doesn't 'feel' as solid as on a Seamaster, Submariner of Luminor. When ticking on the glass it doesn't sound as heavy. Perhaps this is caused by the size or construction. If someone knows, I am happy to learn about it.
One other nice property of sapphire glass over mineral or plexi, is its translucence. Someone once told me that when he's looking at this watch, it's like looking to a picture. The hands and the elements on the dial, it's like they are all drawn onto a black board or something. Sometimes it looks like a picture... The translucence of the glass strongly increases this effect. No distortions, no reflections that disturb the picture. A pretty unique feeling it has.
The case of this watch is has it's own twitch. Usually when you see watches with this kind of case, they have matt lugs matt and a shiny bezel. With the Pellikaan it's the other way around. The lugs are nicely polished, while the bezel and the side of the watch are brushed. Because of the overall matted finish, it gets a more toolwatch feeling to it. But with the polished lugs it still has something classy.
The shiny lugs have another, less obvious, advantage. My problem with a lot of huge watches, is that the lugs are 'sticking out/over' my wrist. That is for me oversized and over the edge. The nice thing with these lugs is not only that they are nicely curved and follow the form of your wrist, but the shiny polished finish make the lugs less... how do I say this... notable/obvious. You don't see the lugs so well, decreasing the feeling that it (might) 'stick out/over' once wrist. I mean, I have seen beautifull 47mm Flieger watches, but there is no way that I can pull them off with those lugs obviously sticking out.
Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention, the lugs don't have lug-holes, so be sure to use pushpins with double flange. I mean, the lugs look very neat this way, but I once had thick pushpin on it without double flange. And there was no way to get them off. Not even at the specialist. The only way was to get a saw...
To continue with the side of the case, it's nicely constructed and I like the sideview a lot. Let me tell you why. On some of my watches the thick caseback is located more on the inside of the case. This way it looks like the watch is floating on my wrist. The Seadweller for example does this. With the Pellikaan the caseback is almost as wide as the case. It closely hugs my whole wrist, leaving no gap to be seen. Another thing I like of the sideview, is that the watch stands on it's lugs. I know most watches do, but some don't. And with such a high caseback, it might got close. Later more on that.
The crown is a Flieger crown. My first. The form is well known, if you look closely and compares it for example with those of Steinhart, this one looks a bit tougher with it's broad edge.
Although the crown is pretty big and some have it stabbing into the back of their hand, I fortunately don't have too much problem with it. I prefer to wear my watch behind the 'knuckle', leaving enough space for the crown. A smaller Onion crown might be more comfortable, but makes it looks so decent. This big crown gives the Pellikaan a bit toughness. And of course it is really easy for winding up. It is after all a handwound watch.
The caseback is screw down and supplied with sapphire glass. My favorit combination. Easy to open, great water resistance, extra attention for using coated sapphire instead of mineral glass, makes it that more enjoyable to watch the movement do it's work. I mean mineral glass for the caseback is good enough, but having sapphire makes it even better to me. Since this is a limited edition for a Dutch watch forum, it has a different printing on the ring with of course the limited edition number.
The caseback is pretty high though, causing a pretty noticable gap. I guess it has been a design decision, since now the caseback has the same height as the bezel, making the sideview more in balance.
The movement is an ETA 6498. An obvious choice of the designer, since he wanted a movement which is easily serviceble, with widely available parts, and I guess all watchmakers are well known with it. A proven workhorse, yet nicely decorated with Cotes de Geneve and blued steel screws.
One thing I have mixed feelings about, is it's inscription. It is pretty different and gives it it's own character. Like an autograph from it's maker. But because it's done with the hand, it looks a bit messy to me. Don't worry, it's not very noticeable and I believe he stopped doing it.
But if there are inscriptions, I prefer neat ones. Even if that means the use of machines is needed, for example these
The supplied nato strap was a big turnoff for me. The principle and it's system is very pratical, secure and comfortable, but I don't like the looks of such a thin strap on such a big and thick watch.
Fortunately, Pellikaan also has some nice calf leather straps in different colors for a casual look, or a nice black alligator strap for the more dressy occasions. Like I said before, I like my smaller seconds hands dial more, since I think it matches a lot better with the dressy alligator.
Both the calf and the alligator are well padded to give them enough volume for this big clock. The calf straps are straight, while the alligator goes from 22 to 18mm.
On the inside you find an inscription with the brand, the place it's made and a signature of the man himself.
Although I like 24mm straps, 22mm probably is the better choice for this watch. It's not too small to feel lady-like, but also not so huge that it looses it's dressy-side. Only wish the alligator strap went from 22 to 20 instead of 18mm.
Oh yeah, you might have noticed I like to change straps on this watch. The way it gets a different look with each change really surprised me. At first I found it to be a dressy watch on the alligator strap. But with another it becomes more casual or even get toolish. So it's nice to play with different straps, try out different looks and match them with your outfits.
The buckles that come with the calf straps are of the pumped-up Pre-V type. The nicely brushed finish adds to the tough look and compensate the dressy elements, hence giving the watch a bit more casual sphere. The alligator strap is supplied with a polished stainless steel folding clasp to increase the longevity of the leather. It's also a more secure way of putting the watch on or taking it off. I've heard friends tell they've accidently dropped some of their heavier watches. Mechanical watches... Ouch!
Each buckle is inscripted, but it has evolved over the years. The inscriptions on the inside of the strap and the buckles started out as his signature. Than his signature changed, so did the inscriptions. But still there were customers who missed a more clear link with the brand itself, so a new inscription was born. One with "PELLIKAAN timing" on it. And then from engraving to lasering. I like that the upper part of the words "PELLIKAAN" is so close to the edge of the buckle. But the size could have been a little bit bigger for my taste, so that the lower part almost touch the indention for the thorn (is that how you call the part the sticks through the holes in the strap?). Though some like to see the brand, I kinda dig the idea of a signature. Like a seperate signature edition for some more expensive/special models.
A polished Pre-V Panerai style buckle also looks nice on the Pellikaan. I especially like that the 'legs' are more sharply formed, going from broad to thin. Just like the broad watch case to the small and elegant lugs.
To conclude, on a first glance it looks like any other ordinary watch, but a bit bigger. When you look for the details, it's quite something different than the rest. And with it's clever design, the watch combines greatly with a large range of straps, shifting it from a cool casual watch to an eye-catching dressy companion.
Oh yeah, beside this limited edition he of course has his regular models, other limited editions, special projects like the one for the Dutch football club FC Utrecht,
custom works like the golden Pellikaan,
and currently he's busy designing a more dressy version. So lot's of exciting stuff is going on here.
I was wondering about something, though. I put it into a poll.