MHD Watches are the brainchild of car designer Matthew Humphries. Getting his start in the world of automotive design (like, real deal, cars-driving-on-the-road auto design), he turned his car-inspired design eye towards another passion — watches. After seeing his Morgan Aeromax, Supersports, and 3 wheeler on the road, it was time to pay some attention to his wrist. The automotive world and the watch world have always been close, with a lot of interest spanning the two hobbies. From timing races with an old chronograph to dedicated driving watches with tilted dials, the DNA between the machines you drive and their smaller wrist-worn counterparts runs deep.
Today, we’re looking at MHD’s latest watch, the Streamliner. This is the first watch from the brand in which the design process was opened up to feedback from fans of the brand. Matthew showed various design iterations throughout the process and made changes based on feedback. While it sounds like a process that could get hairy (comments section, anyone?), the resulting watch truly is something fun, unique, and very easy to wear. Let’s dig in and take a closer look at the Streamliner from MHD.
Hands-On With The MHD Watches Streamliner
black or silver, sandwich
Rally style Italian leather
Push down, knurled
The MHD features smooth sweeping lines and a mix of finishes on its 40mm 316L stainless steel case. It’s water resistant to 5 ATM (50 meters), so don’t go getting this thing too wet. The first thing that jumped out at me is how well the watch is proportioned. It’s a barrel-shaped case that’s 40mm wide, 47mm from lug to lug, and 12mm thick. The lugs are short and they sweep down rather dramatically, resulting in a 40mm watch that definitely wears smaller than the numbers suggest. It’s not just about the numbers, the three piece case is broken up in a very interesting way that’s unlike anything I’ve seen before.
In profile, you’ll immediately notice the case construction isn’t what you’re accustomed to seeing. The top piece is stainless steel that makes up the top of the case and transitions into the lugs. A finned mid case rests within the bounds of the upper part of the case, looking a bit like the grill of a car. The inside of the grooves is matte black, while the outer portion is polished glossy black, giving it a sense of depth. Finally, the case back rests at the bottom of the watch in the same matching steel as the upper portion of the case. I’m going to refer to the classic “a picture says a thousand words” and save you some time. Make sure you check out all the photos, as there’s a lot about the Streamliner that’s easier to show than to tell.
I really like the approach to finishing on the case. There are a mix of brushed and polished surfaces, but the transitions aren’t on hard angles (which are notably absent from this case design) like you might be used to seeing. On the sloping lugs, the finishing is split between brushed and polished that give a single flat surface an appearance of being angled. It looks great on the watch, and I applaud them for trying something new that adds to the Streamliner’s appeal.
When looking at the watch from the top down, you’ll notice the sector-style sandwich dial that’s surrounded by a bolted down bezel. When I think of bolted down bezels, it’s hard to not picture an Audemars Piguet or Cartier, but this look is really nothing like the two. It’s more raw, almost like a riveted down panel on a car or plane. This slim bezel has a vertically brushed top surface with a polished bevel that adds just a hint of bling. Mirroring the beveled bezel is a sapphire crystal with a slightly more pronounced bevel.
Finally, we’re ready to talk about the dial.
Dial & Hands
On the Streamliner, you’ll find another automotive-inspired design choice. The entire dial is reminiscent of a gauge. Like a sector dial, there are inner and outer rings present. It comes across a bit more intense on the silver version, where the inner ring is a dark navy and the outer ring is brushed steel. In addition to looking like a gauge you’d find in a car, the dial features a two level sandwich-style construction. On the black dial, the base layer is treated with Super LumiNova, giving it an interesting effect when the lights go out. Instead of traditional indices, there are cuts in the upper layer that let the lume shine through in dark conditions. I do wish the effect was a bit more pronounced, as the lume isn’t super bright and does not last very long. I’m glad that MHD went with something different though instead of a plain flat dial.
Further adding to the automotive look are two small indicators at 12 and 6. Up top, you’ll find a power reserve indicator, while down below there’s a 24-hour time display. They’re both integrated tastefully into the dial and don’t block any of the other elements. At three o’clock, you’ll find a circular date window. While it fits the rest of the Streamliner’s vibe, it does look a bit cramped when the date hits double digits.
A set of chromed hour and minute hands point to the time, while a red seconds hand glides around the dial. The hands are like a softened syringe shape — think the same general design, but with smoother edges and a bit more…should we say streamlined. Inside the hands, a rounded bar of lume will glow in low light conditions. I really like how the shape of the luminous portion of the hands is shaped like the hour markers, giving the entire dial a cohesive look and feel. I do find myself wishing that the hands were a bit more legible though. Since they’re completely chromed they can disappear against the black dial depending on the lighting conditions. Perhaps some brushing on one half of the hand would give them that tiny bit of needed contrast to tell the time at an even quicker glance.
Visible through the sapphire casebook, you’ll notice the Miyota 9132 movement doing it’s thing. With a 40 hour power reserve, 28,800 beats per hour, and 26 jewels, this workhorse of a movement is an excellent choice for the Streamliner. It’s a great balance between affordability and performance, fitting right in with the rest of the Streamliner’s vibe. There are some handy features like a quick set date, hacking seconds hand, and the ability to hand wind when getting the watch started. Another interesting feature is the ability that the movement has to display the power reserve up at 12 and a 24 hour indication down by 6. Both of theses elements are worked well into the auto-inspired design of the watch and the additional two readouts contribute to the gauge cluster-like look of the dial.
Strap & Wearability
Both review units came on MHD’s leather rally style strap. Aesthetically, the strap is an excellent match to the watch. The large holes running down the side of the strap are reminiscent of the days that auto enthusiasts drilled out parts of their car in order to reduce weight. They also call back to the driving gloves that were perforated for ventilation. The strap is pliable and comfortable, but the leather is not of the highest quality. It sits firmly in the middle of what you’d expect on a watch in this price range. It’s also worth noting that the Streamliner doesn’t place nice with one piece or nato style straps because of the lug design. It would also look pretty weird having a watch of this style on a nato strap, so if you do decide to pick one up, stick with two piece leather or even a thinner rubber. The Streamliner is also available with a bracelet, giving the watch a sleek, all-steel appearance.
On wrist, the Streamliner is about as comfortable as a watch can get. The 40mm x 47mm case sits on my 6.75” wrist extremely well. Split up into three sections (top and mid case / case back), the balance of the case is great. When on the wrist, the case back nestles in nicely, removing a few millimeters of height from the wearing experience. The short downturned lugs end up meeting with the mid case, giving the watch a nice, flat profile. While 12mm isn’t the tallest of watches out there, the case geometry makes the Streamliner wear even thinner than the already reasonable measurements suggest.
Stylish, unique, and comfortable to wear, the Streamliner from MHD Watches really hits the mark for me. When you open up the design process to the general public, it’s really easy for things to go wrong (Boaty McBoatface comes to mind). I’m happy to report that the fans of MHD have some solid heads on their shoulders, because the watch is really great, especially given the reasonable $636 asking price. For me, the dial and case design really stand out and do an excellent job of calling back to their automotive inspiration. I also like how the watch doesn’t scream “CARS!”. Even if you’re not spending your weekends wrenching on a classic Porsche, you can appreciate the design of the Streamliner. More from MHD Watches.