MHD Watches Introduces the Automotive-Inspired SA2

A distinctive case profile.

Founded by a former car designer, Matthew Humphries Design (MHD) unsurprisingly sells automobile-inspired watches. The most original to date is the SA2, a time-only automatic with a distinctive case that seems familiar but is novel in form.

MHD was founded in 2014 by Matthew Humphries, who, at age 21, became head of design at Morgan Motor Company, the maker of lightweight, retro sports cars that are hand-assembled and distinctly British. Amongst his creations during his stint at Morgan were the Aeromax, Aero SuperSports as well as the peculiar yet cool 3-Wheeler.

Unsurprisingly given Morgan’s quirky and compact cars that still use wood for the body frame, the SA2 is slightly retro, while being notably refined and clean for a watch designed on the automotive-theme – one that is often characterised by eccentric, aesthetically-charged watches. A restrained use of colour allows the design of the SA2 to speak for itself.

“Exoskeleton chassis case”

Available in three different variants, the SA2’s defining feature is undoubtedly its case. While the outline is the common cushion form – at a glance it might be mistaken for yet another retro, cushion-shaped watch – the case is actually a skeletonised frame holding the case middle, a construction inspired by the chassis of a lightweight race car.

Composed of four parts, the round case middle is supported by a thin, cushion-shaped frame with fixed bars at each end for the strap. Wide but slim, the case measures 41mm by 47mm but stands a mere 10mm high.

Also notable is the clever use of finishing to subtly accentuate the lines of the case, which boasts four different surface textures. The case middle and crown are knurled, while the bezel is brushed. This offers an attractive contrast against the outer frame, which has a polished top surface with sandblasted recessed flanks.

The case middle is, however, reminiscent of fellow British brand Bremont, which has made a knurled case middle something of a signature feature. That is in part explained by a similar inspiration; Bremont built its brand around vintage and wartime aircraft, which share a good deal of design elements with Morgan cars.

Obviously modelled on automobile instruments, the dial takes its cues from the tachometer found in the original Porsche 911.

Less apparent is the sandwich construction, with the dial made up of a lower disc in a contrasting colour black, chrome, or coated with Super-Luminova, depending on model  that is visible through cut-outs on the upper disc.

Visible through the sapphire case back is the low cost and robust automatic Miyota 9039 movement that has a hacking function and a power reserve of 42 hours.

Key facts and price

SA2 Launch Edition (black dial with a black-coated inner case)
SA2 Steel Dial
SA2 Heritage White Dial

Diameter: 41 mm by 47 mm
Height: 10 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Miyota 9039
Functions: Hours, minutes and seconds
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 42 days

Strap: NATO-style fabric

Limited edition: 100 pieces each
Availability: Direct from MHD
Price: £645

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