Posted on July 25 2022
The American public had its own way of taking advantage of the newfound optimism, and the car's story best illustrates this.
Soldiers returning from the war craved cars, and the growing economy and car industry were there to supply them. Roads designed for horses were ripped up and family life was changed forever as car ownership became realistic for many. And of course, Ford was there with the Model T.
MHD's founder, Matthew Humphries, is inspired by this golden age of motoring and the Type 2 is his homage to the cars of the era.
MHD Watches Type 2 Automatic
MHD Type 2 Automatic Watch Review
If you're already familiar with MHD then you'll know that the brand is built around founder Matthew Humphries. As Head of Design at Morgan, he was responsible for three cars - the Morgan Aeromax, Supersports and 3 wheeler. His watch designs compliment his motoring creations with a strong emphasis on smooth, flowing lines.
The Type 2 is specifically inspired by his love of 1920s automotive aesthetics.
It's an era that the brand describes as high innovation "where motoring was truly established, designs were unrestricted and not held back by regulations".
But it's not a Ford Model T - in black - that he's paying homage to.
The cars that Matthew notes as having influenced the design of the Type 2 include the 3-litre Bentley, Bugatti Type 35 and a Zagato-bodied Alfa Romeo 8c.
His first sketches for the watch began when he was at a hill racing event for vintage cars. Noting their exposed chassis, Matthew put his initial ideas on paper. It was an ideal time to celebrate the roaring '20s. Exactly one hundred years since these pioneering sports cars had enchanted the survivors of World War 1.
So does the MHD Type 2 deliver?
It does. In spades. Like the MHD Streamliner I recently reviewed, it manages to sit nicely between being authentically vintage and appealing to modern tastes. It has subtle and not-so-subtle references to the '20s but is also sized to be a functional everyday wear.
Again like the Streamliner, the Type 2 is successful because of the attention paid to the small details. There's an overarching theme behind the design, but for me, it's the sum of all the individual elements that make the watch so satisfying.
So let's look at those details and see how they've combined to give MHD another handsome watch.
MHD Type 2 Automatic Watch in Detail
As I noted above, the Type 2 takes its design cues from the zeitgeist of the 1920s. As such you'd expect a watch that channelled the optimism and prosperity of the era, but with a brand emphasis on motorsports.
So the case had to be right. It had to be original.
To recreate the aesthetics of one hundred years ago MHD needed to create a case noticeably different from contemporary watches. The Type 2 would only work if Matthew nailed this. He had to be able to turn his sketches of the hill racing cars into a comfortable and coherent design.
I'm happy to say that this watch does nail it. But at the risk of repeating myself, you need to take a minute to appreciate how he achieved this.
The case - like a chassis - is fundamental to the watch. And this case, despite the industrial style, is more complex than is initially apparent. It's layered and constructed from four pieces of stainless steel. The surfaces are either brushed or polished and the uncommon barrel is knurled and DLC coated. There are gaps - between the lugs and around the centre barrel - that reinforce the exposed engineering look of '20s cars.
At 40mm wide and 11.5mm deep, the Type 2 is a well-proportioned and compact watch. It has neither the dainty feeling of many vintage watches nor the unnecessary bulk of many modern ones. Instead, it's very comfortable and practical. The screwed-down plain bezel is a nice touch and is reminiscent of a Royal Oak.
The dial is matt white and has a somewhat understated look. But once more, it's worth closer examination. At first glance, it may not be obvious, but the Type 2 features a sandwich dial. The markers are laser-cut holes through which a lower chrome dial is visible. It's a distinctive look that is now a well-established part of the brand's DNA.
The strong industrial design does allow for a little colour and this includes rich blue on the hour and minute hands and red on the second hand. The fuel-gauge-like power reserve at the top of the dial also features red and blue accents and adds a motoring detail to the dial. To maintain the symmetry and balance of the dial, the date window is repositioned to 6 o'clock.
The chapter ring is a subtle addition and matches the matt white of the dial.
And of course, this is all protected by a sapphire crystal with a bevelled edge and an anti-reflective coating. This isn't a rugged watch designed for the field, so the lume (Super Luminova) is limited to the hands.
Rounding out this tasteful design is a crown that again features a mix of polished stainless steel and knurled black DLC coating. I found it easy to use and slim enough to be unobtrusive. Again, there's no need for crown guards and the watch benefits from the pared-down style.
At 22mm the lug width is a little wider than I would have expected on a 40mm watch, but as I noted with the Streamliner, it allows the lugs to be slimmer and helps create a sleek profile. The high-quality leather racing strap features a quick-release feature that is fast becoming a standard for brands.
Finally, turning the watch around you're presented with another AR-coated sapphire crystal. On display is a reliable Japanese-made Miyota 9130 automatic movement. I love the consistency of the design, with the case back also featuring screws that match the bezel.
And you do know that this is a limited edition?
Engraved on the rear of the case is the watch's unique edition number. It's a small detail, but it reinforces my point. The MHD Type 2 is a well-thought-out and well-designed watch that succeeds by taking a bold concept and then nailing the small details.
Like previous MHD watches, some of the Type 2's desirability is due to the link that the brand's founder has to the motor industry. But this isn't a famed car designer lending his name to a brand. Instead, this is a well-respected designer using his knowledge and passion for motorsports to create unique watches. It's a continuation of the designer's journey.
I'm a fan. I think that Matthew has been able to transfer his ability to create vintage-inspired cars into a new medium. I suspect it wasn't easy, but the Type 2 is proof that it's achievable.
It has a bold look that won't be for everyone. But if watches inspired by the formative years of car design are your thing, then you'll love this watch. A lot of thought has gone into the design and the execution is flawless. It's got to be worth a closer look.