It feels like a long time since we previewed the new Halios Laguna back in January but low and behold it is now available for public consumption and Halios’ third watch is a unique take on the retro diver archetype. You may remember the Holotype and the Bluering that we’ve reviewed in the past and if so you will recall we were very impressed by the attention to detail, fit and finish, and style of Halios’ two previous models. Not only is the new Laguna an excellent looking watch but it also has been designed with all of Halios’ knowledge gained after the first two models launched. This new model shows Halios’ maturity, an excellent understanding of their market and a passion for making interesting and exciting sport watches. The new Halios Laguna is slated as a sports watch and has a series of well engineered features and is an excellent snap shot of Halios’ future.
- 43 x 14.5mm stainless steel case
- 49mm L2L
- 22 mm Lugs
- 4mm sapphire crystal with AR
- ETA 2824-2
- 500m WR
- Includes bracelet and Isofrane dive strap
- MSRP: $670
The Laguna’s most instantly noticeable feature is its very unique case design. So many of Halios’ competitors use catalog cases that are not individual to that brands design but available from a case manufacturer. From a cost and practicality perspective this is purely rational but to a dive watch enthusiast or a collector a bespoke case is very important and adds to the individuality of the timepiece. The Laguna’s case is a mix of beautiful angles and curves, the raised ring that encircles the crystal and the long, retro styled arching curves on the case sides hint at the pride that was taken when the Laguna was in its design stages. The finish is also excellent with sharp edges, smooth brushed finishes and excellently grippy crowns. The 4mm thick sapphire crystal is flat and fits flush into the case’s almost bezel-less frame. The case is somehow modern and advanced while adopting a vintage style that is reminiscent of watches like the Seiko 6105 and the Enicar Sherpa Super Dive.
The dial and hand set on the Laguna has seen a refresh since the styles seen on the Holotype and the Bluering. The Laguna features an over-sized sword shaped hand set that is very legible and allows for a massive amount of C3 Superluminova luminous paint which is quite brite and lasts long enough to make the Laguna useful as a bedside clock. The Halios logo is an applied inlay that matches nicely with the chrome border which surrounds the date aperture. The date window is large and the white text on a black wheel works well and allows the date to be read without raising your wrist towards your eyes. The dial is a flat medium black that comes off as slightly grey in bright light. The painted markers on both the dial and the internal rotating bezel are large enough to match the handset. The only colour on this model is the orange “Laguna” which sits above the 500m water resistant rating printed on the lower dial. Given that the Laguna has broken the Halios mold and is not a traditional dive watch we thinks it is awesome that the Laguna has been designed to stand up to 500m worth of pressure. The inclusion of a reflector gives the Laguna a more refined and elegant aesthetic than the last two models from Halios which would have best been described a “tool divers”. The reflector is bidirectional and operated by the crown at 2 o’clock. The action is purposefully heavy but exceptionally smooth as it does not have “clicks” like a traditional dive bezel. The crown does not screw down but turning it requires enough force that accidental rubbing or brushing will not move the bezel. In my experience this is the best internal bezel I have ever operated and the entire experience exudes quality and attention to how the watch will actually be used. Yes, you could use the reflector as a dive timer, but it is more likely people will measure more remedial activities like food prep, short trips and breaks at work and this is what the Laguna has beed designed for – every day life. The crown action on the 4 o’clock crown is also impressive, the actual crown is more of a cap that screws on top of a system that extends from the watch. Compared to normal systems that rely on the operator forcing a crown/stem system into a screw set this is more simple and has a much more confident feel. The crown displays no wobble or play in the stem and the water resistant gasket is even visible when the crown is unscrewed (please see video/photos).
The bracelet lives up to the last two Halios models as it is large, heavy and well made. The Laguna’s bracelet uses single-point screws (where the screw assembly is a single piece that screws into the bracelet link, not into the fitted end of another screw) which means you need only one screwdriver and it is very simple to add or remove links without scratching the bracelet. The fold over clasp has four micro adjustment points and a built in wetsuit extension. The links themselves are solid and have curved outer edges that are both comfortable to wear and look good. The case back on the Laguna features a shark and a wave pattern, a design that was the winner in a Halios contest, it must be very cool for the winner to see their art on the back of a watch. Along with the bracelet Halios has somehow managed to include an Isofrane dive strap. Isofrane was reborn in 2010 but can retrace their history back to making dive watch straps in the 60’s that were not made of rubber but a more friendly compound called Isoprene. This vintage style dive strap looks amazing on the Laguna and is a really nice accessory considering its $100+ price tag when bought separately. Also included with the Laguna is a screwdriver and a pin-bar tool for sizing the bracelet and removing the strap or bracelet from the case. All of these accessories come in a lovely wooden box with fitted inserts and a magnetic latch. I recently bought a $1300 Tag Heuer that didn’t come with anywhere near as nice a kit at the Laguna.
In day to day wear the Laguna is predictably heavy and feels as solid as a watch can. The case, whether fitted to the bracelet, the Isofrane or a leather strap of your choosing looks excellent and thanks to the legible dial design can carry out its time telling duties with ease. This example ran +3 seconds/day which is excellent, even for the dependable Swiss ETA 2824-2 that beats inside. The Laguna is not too tall at 14.5mm but you may have trouble fitting a tight cuff over the watch so I recommend rolling up your sleeves and showing it off. While it seemed like a long wait the Laguna has proven to be yet another excellent watch from Halios and offers surprisingly good value at $670 USD. When you factor in the accessories and the rising cost of sourcing ETA movements Halios’ first non limited edition timepiece is likely also their best value to date. The Halios Laguna is available in the all black model seen here, or the buyer can chose a grey, or orange/black reflector. We don’t think there is a bad choice in the entire lot. Halios’ first step outside of serious dive watches is a legitimate success and the Laguna will likely appeal to a larger audience and expand Halios already considerable fan base.
Stay tuned to WatchReport.com in the coming months as we will be regularly wearing the Laguna and making long term updates on its reliability, practicality and usefulness as a day-to-day sport watch.