BACKGROUND HEXA, who are based in Tampa, Florida are a relatively new boutique watch brand whose aim is to build purpose-built mechanical dive watches with original designs that are innovative and utilitarian. Their first model, the K500 takes its name by combining the 'K' in Kraken, the legendary giant sea monster and the ‘500’ of its 500 meter depth rating.
PACKAGING The K500 came suitably packaged in a custom ‘Hexa’ Seahorse waterproof case in tough black plastic. Carefully wrapped up inside was the K500 watch on its link bracelet along with an Italian black rubber divers strap and the K500’s credit card-style warranty card and a small instruction booklet.
AESTHETIC HEXA set out to design a watch that was original in its design and utilitarian in its form – with the K500 they have achieved that goal. Whilst there are some notes of Sinn’s U series watches; the block hands and markers, the 4 o’clock crown position (inverted to 10 o’clock) and the overall simplicity of the design: specifically the dial layout, the K500 is its own thing.
There is an element of quirkiness with the crown and crown guard set up at 10’clock, you could be forgiven for thinking the watch is upside down on occasion. However the main theme is utility and ruggedness, which comes across loud and clear. I chose bead-blasted because for me it is the epitome of utility.
DIAL The matte black dial of the K500 is with rectangular luminous markers and Arabic numerals (12hr only). The numeral letterforms are based on interstate signage, designed to be absorbed at a glance. The dial is clean and simple. Text has been kept to a minimum. The ‘500M’ text is in red – cool! And the date wheel (4 o’clock) is in black – perfect!
HANDS The K500 is fitted with block hands. The hour and minute hands are in grey and the seconds hand is in red with rectangular luminous pointer.
LUME The K500’s uses luminescence by Lüm-Tec, who are one of the industry-leaders in luminescence technologies. Luminous material has been applied to the dial markers, hands and the bezel’s 12hr marker. The lume has a very bright glow with a light green hue. I would rate it at very good.
BEZEL The K500 has a 60 click-type unidirectional rotational divers bezel with an elapsed dive-time scale engraved and painted in black (5min increments) and a luminous triangular 12hr marker. The clicks are precise with a good amount of springiness to them. Whilst the bezel has good fit, there is tiny amount of movement – it is well within the acceptable range, though.
The bezel’s grip comprises of 12 widely spaced rectangular teeth. The bezel has a nice height to it making it easy to handle and turn. The bezel teeth by their design are a little sharp on their corners.
CASE The K500’s 316L surgical grade Stainless steel case has a diameter of 44mm x 14.75mm (thick) with lug to lug distance of 51mm and a lug width of 22mm. Features include: triple O-Rings, a screw down signed crown and a Hexa integrated crown-guard. The case has an unusual shape. It is blocky and angular with a slight roundness in the middle. I really like how each of the K500’s components compliment each other; the case, bezel, crown, hands, markers all working well in unison.
CROWN This is where things get a little interesting! The basic crown design is excellent – it’s nice and long with three tracks of teeth making for excellent grip. However it would benefit from a slightly wider girth and because of the way that it is positioned in relation to the top left lug’s underside it is inherently fiddly to operate – that’s without taking into account the topsy-turvy upside down time adjustments! The crown stem is rock solid. In short the crown setup looks cool, but might frustrate those of us who are a little less than nimble fingered!
CASEBACK The K500 is fitted with a solid screwdown Stainless steel case back with double O-Rings. It is engraved with a diagonal striped pattern with the HEXA star motif in its center. The watch’s serial number and some basic spec. is running around the caseback perimeter.
CRYSTAL The K500 is fitted with 3mm thick Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on its inside. The crystal is flat and as such works well with the angular theme of the watch.
WATER-resistance Each K500 watch has been individually pressure tested to ensure reliability at 500M (1,640 ft). As well as this it is also shock resistant and resistant to magnetic fields.
MOVEMENT The K500 is powered by a Japanese made Sii NE15/Seiko 6R15 automatic movement with 21,600 vibrations per hour, 23 jewels and 50 hours of power reserve. The movement hacks – meaning that the second hand stops during time-setting, allowing for precise (to the second) setting of the time. The movement has been adjusted to 6 positions in-house to ensure maximum accuracy (very impressive).
BRACELET The K500 comes on a heavy duty 316L Stainless steel 5 Link bracelet with a ratcheting divers clasp. Whilst brick-link bracelets don’t particularly excite me, in this instance it was a fair choice for the K500. Having said that the K500’s case in particular the chunky bezel design could have easily handled a heftier and more substantial bracelet design. Also included with the K500 was an Italian rubber divers strap with a lovely vanilla scent.
BUILD The K500 watches were assembled and tested in the United States by Lüm-Tec. The fit and finish on the watches is excellent. I wouldn’t say that they’re most refined of watches, but certainly everything has been put together nicely. The dial and bezel markings are neat and crisp – all the various components are well fitting.
VALUE The K500 bead-blasted is priced 699USD, which is a more than fair price for the watch.
on the WRIST For a relatively big and clunky watch, the K500 wears pretty well thanks to downwardly angled lugs. The bezel has a lot of height to it, which is quite deceptive because the K500 actually has quite a low profile. HEXA have collaborated with Stone Creek Straps and the Strapsmith to create some lovely custom straps for the K500, which are bound to be a lot more comfortable than the bracelet. Worth checking out!
also CONSIDER It’s hard not to the think of Sinn’s U series watches when you see the K500, so, sure if you’re on a bigger budget and appreciate no nonsense tool watches I would recommended a visit to Sinn. Looks wise the K500 is a uniquely designed watch, so nothing particularly comes to mind, but for similar value for money check out some of the other Boutique brands in my listings.
OVERALL / 5 Some of things that I really appreciated about the K500 were: its slightly unusual design, the Seiko automatic movement adjusted to 6 positions, its fantastic luminescence by Lüm-Tec, the clearly legible (at a glance) dial, excellent bezel height and action and great fit and finish. The only noticeable area for improvement would be the crown’s size and position – aesthetically it makes for an interesting looking watch, but I found it a little awkward and fiddly.
As mentioned at the beginning of the review, HEXA have achieved what they set out to do with the K500. It is very much a tool watch. You can tell that it was designed from the ground up and by an actual designer, which really seems to shine through. For a debut model, the K500 is a worthy contender. It’s reasonably priced and won’t disappoint!
My thanks to Rocky and Vic!