HAIM is a Chicago-based watch brand that I’ll never be able to separate from the American Rock and Roll band composed of the HAIM sisters. Since receiving the Legacy Automatic for review, two things have occurred to me. First, the HAIM song “The Steps” is super duper catchy. Second, there are some really interesting horological goings-on in Chicago right now. Before HAIM, I was familiar with Oak and Oscar but I wasn’t overly plugged in with any other Chicago-based watch brands.

When HAIM reached out two things grabbed my eye, first the watch was made out of Titanium. That’s a big win for me. Second, HAIM was claiming to use the Caliber HWS-1 movement, a 100% US-assembled watch movement. That’s unusual and made me want to take a closer look at this watch.

HAIM is a brand that can easily be overlooked in all the noise of the “micro” or independent watch manufacturer cacophony out there. There are so many cookie-cutter brands now that I think you need to have something specific to separate yourself from the pack. HAIM’s desire to bring actual watchmaking back to America may serve to do just that.

The Legacy follows HAIM’s L2 Chronograph model in their lineup. This is HAIM’s first time/date dress watch in the collection and feels like a natural progression of their catalog. Their previous legacy chronographs either ran on Meca-Quartz movements or the ST1901 Seagull mechanical movement. So, implementing this American-assembled mechanical movement seems like a natural move.

Elegant case design

The Legacy Automatic comes in a 38mm x 45mm L2L x 11mm thick titanium case. The bezel has a delicate coin edge running around the perimeter. The bezel is nicely polished and the rounded case edges have a soft vertical brushing. One stand-out feature is the hollow lugs. These give the Legacy a nice vintage dressy feel to it.

Flipping the watch over you’re treated to a wide sapphire display back. Around the edges, HAIM has engraved all the details of the watch itself. This is a great touch in my opinion. We’ll touch more on the movement later, but it looks great.

The crown is a push/pull crown, with no threading. The width of the crown is just under 6mm and, to be honest, it is a little touchy to manipulate when it’s pressed in. If you’re trying to hand-wind the watch before putting it on, it’s just a little tricky to get a grip on it.

On the wrist the Legacy Automatic wears great. The size of the watch itself is well suited to a variety of wrist sizes. The titanium also makes this watch a featherweight, you barely know it’s there once you put it on.

Intricate movement finishing

The Legacy’s dial is really where the watch begins to stand out from the crowd. You have a multi-layered and multi-textured dial with polished Breguet numerals running along the perimeter. The very center of the dial has a Guilloche texture applied to it. At three o’clock there’s a polished date window. The date wheel itself is white-backed with black numerals. This dial, in my opinion, is what gives this watch its overall dressy appearance. Brands that employ a lot of different textures on dials can occasionally suffer from having too many conflicting elements. HAIM, however, was able to very adeptly pair the Guilloche with the other dial elements to great effect.

The Legacy’s dial is legible, attractive, and looks premium. If there was anything I could truly critique it might be that I wished the date wheel blended in more than it does. The white wheel with black text does feel somewhat out of place on this watch. Or perhaps to add some sort of luminous element. The dial is entirely un-lumed and while not uncommon for a dressier piece, I’ll always take lume if I can.

A movement with a story

The movement used in the Legacy Automatic was the biggest draw for me when it came to this watch. HAIM’s founder Zakir expressed his desire to help revitalize American watchmaking with this particular release but I have to admit that when I see brands advertising US-made movements, I scratch my head a little bit. As far as I know, there are only one or two places in the US that could do this at scale. You have smaller more bespoke operations like RGM Watch Co. in Pennsylvania or Weiss Watches here in Nashville. Maybe someplace like Fine Timepiece Solutions, which calls themselves the “first industrial watch movement supplier based in the USA” but HAIM is not using their Americhron movement… So I asked Zaki for some detail here and he told me that the Legacy Automatic is using a movement called the HWC-01 also known as the MWW 7081, which is based on the ETA 2824’s architecture and comes from an operation called Maryland Watch Works.

MWW supplies this movement to HAIM who then customizes it even further. Digging into this a little further I found that while this movement is assembled in the USA (and named after the intersection of I-70 and I-80 where MWW is located), the movement components are made up of both Swiss and other internationally manufactured pieces. So, does this ruin the spirit in which HAIM is presenting this? No, I don’t think so. I’m not an expert on global manufacturing and how supply chains work, but I don’t think sourcing the various parts from Swiss and other origins takes away from HAIM’s goal. There are costs associated with each decision and I believe that they made the choices necessary to find a good balance.

Alright… so what about the movement itself? Seeing that it’s based on the tried and true ETA 2824, I expect excellent performance from the HWC-01. HAIM has also further modified the movement itself opting for a gold accent palette. You can see this in the rotor, surround, and gear train. One of the traits the movement kept from the base MWW movement is the dark bead-blasted rhodium finish on the bridges as well as the blued screws. It’s a good-looking movement that the team at HAIM took great care in making their own.

Matching leather strap

HAIM has partnered with Delugs to create these nicely textured leather straps. They come with quick-release spring bars and a signed buckle. This isn’t a watch you’d wear on a NATO or rubber, leather is the ticket here.

The competition

The Baltic MR01. This watch shares a lot of DNA with the Legacy Automatic with its Breguet numerals and unique movement choices. The MR01 is priced at only €545 however, making it a compelling budget alternative. Granted, you’re not getting Titanium or as premium of a movement.

For slightly more money you could also consider a Nomos Club 701.1. The Clubs are priced right around $1,500 and that will get you a German-made time-only watch using Nomos’ in-house Alpha movement. I can’t think of a greater value proposition than this watch. Fantastic price for a ton of German engineering and a brand that has the chops to back it up.

Lastly, if a dress watch is what you seek and you’re not too particular about the numerals or the Titanium a well-recognized option would be a Seiko Presage. Something like the SRPB41 or SRPJ13… both blue-dialed watches with a ton of visual interest: Seiko’s 4R35 movements, and bracelets to boot.

But what the Legacy does that none of these other options do is connect back to watches made in the US. I believe the Legacy represents HAIM’s first good-faith step towards attempting to bring their manufacturing entirely under the US umbrella and something like that is worth the consideration. I’m looking forward to what the brand has up their sleeve next.

The final word

I’d say that the aspect of the Legacy Automatic that drew me in was the movement but what kept me interested was the overall fit and finish of the watch plus the choices of finishes on the dial. The watch is interesting to look at and exceedingly comfortable on the wrist. Like I stated earlier, I think it can be difficult to stand out from the crowd in the world of independent watch brands and I think HAIM is doing a good job of doing that.

For my wrist, the Legacy Automatic is a bit dressier than what I would normally wear but if you require something that could be dressed up easily I do believe this would be a good option. The Legacy Automatic will be priced at $1,350 with the option for a $100 Croc-leather strap upgrade.

HAIM Watch Company

1 thought on “HAIM Legacy Automatic: A ‘Micro’ Release You May Have Overlooked”

  1. Thank You and you are correct I overlooked this Micro brand. Excellent review! Being from suburban Chicago, I am always looking for watch brands that suit my interests. HAIM fits that bill and is a local company. I am gravitating more toward automatic and mechanical watches as of late. This review led me to their website and I was able to look over their other collections. I am always impressed with your detail and research. I am new, and admittedly late to the watch collector party. I am always thankful for the TBWS blog as a resource to advance my education. I find your reviews very interesting and as always I learn something of interest.

    Thanks Again;


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