Review of Herc 178 Series Automatic

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Model # 0178bkobk
At a Glance:
Brand/Model:  Herc 178 Series
Movement:  Chinese automatic
Material:  stainless steel case, leather strap
Complications:  day and date display, 24-hour subdial
Price:  MSRP:  $78 USD
Plenty of photos follow the review.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.
For those who appreciate value, features and good looks, Herc has done it again.  I’m not super big on homage-type watches, but this Herc pays tribute to the much-loved Omega Planet Ocean.  What attracted me to this particular Herc was the good looking bezel, great hands and overall sporty nature of the piece.
This model starts with an all stainless steel case that is polished and brushed.  I am amazed at the quality of the finish on the case.  There are no imperfections or sharp edges to contend with.  The case back is all stainless and has a display window, to view the now ubiquitous Herc automatic movement with mild decoration and embossed rotor.  Of course, the movement hacks and manual winds and is keeping very good time.  Power reserve is a fine 44 hours.
The case measures about 43.5mm w/o the beautifully signed, screw down crown; about 47.8mm inclusive of the crown.  Lugs are 22mm, thickness is 15.5mm.  The sapphire coated mineral crystal is slightly raised above the bezel and is very slightly domed.
Factory water resistance is a very modest 3ATM, so don’t plan on getting this one wet.  A screw down crown on a watch with this low degree of water resistance seems silly; I would prefer a standard, non-screw down crown.
The bezel is a 60-click unidirectional type with a typical amount of ‘slop’ in it, but not obnoxiously so.  A lume pip is on the bezel at the 12 position.  The bezel lines up perfectly with the markers on the dial.  The printing on the edge of the bezel at one spot near the 56 mark could be a bit tighter.
The dial is a bit busy, matte black with red arabics at the 12, 3, 6 and 9 positions.  There are also applied luminous markers around the dial at five minute increments.  Lume is very good, but not long lasting.  And practically everything is lumed:  the markers, the hands, the second hand tip and even the tips of the subdials.  Under an 8X lupe, the dial reveals no discernible imperfections.  Well done in this regard!
The hands are steel arrow type and have a rather expensive cut look to them as opposed to a cheaper stamped steel look.  The subdial @ 6 is the 24-hour indicator (something I always appreciate on a watch), subdial @ 9 is the day indicator and the subdial @ 3 is the date indicator. 
I’m not a big fan of day/date subdials because they are usually too small and hard to read, which is pretty much the case here.  At least these are functional subdials and they are actually textured with a circular pattern, giving them a more expensive look.  The pusher @ 2 adjusts the day, the pusher @ 4 adjusts the date.  Both of these pushers have black trim rings on them.  It can be easy to accidentally hit either pusher and change the day and/or date while the watch is being worn.
The crown @ 10 is a faux helium release valve that does absolutely nothing, it’s just a crown on the side of the case that rotates but doesn’t unscrew or move out.  Useless.
The strap is smooth signed leather, padded and slightly glossy black with subdued orange stitching and twin keepers; I think it looks great.  The buckle is signed and is a standard stainless steel variety.  The strap tapers to about 20mm at the buckle.
Again, for the price point, I cannot complain.  The watch came in a black cardboard presentation box, which is different than the dark red rectangular box that all the other Hercs I have ordered have come in.  The instructions are still on CD-ROM, the watch had a hang tag and one nice touch, it had the clear plastic protectors on the rear display back, the crystal and a separate protector on the bezel.
The Herc 178 Series is also available in blue, orange, green and black variations.
Pros:  great Planet Ocean homage looks, gotta love the bezel and hands, all subdials are functional, superb fit and finish for the price point
Cons:  lose the faux helium release valve, subdials are quite hard to read because they’re so small, day/date pushers may be too big for some and are easy to accidentally activate
Verdict:  for the price, it’s another Herc hit, with great looks, a very good automatic movement and style that can’t be beat for the price
Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics.
Excelsior,
-Marc
UPDATE!
I sold this Herc model shortly after I purchased it mainly because the day and date subdials were just too hard to read without my readers on.  The propensity for the pushers to accidentally change the day and/or date while wearing were another annoyance.  But this watch was superbly executed for its price point and if you’re looking for a strong value, a Herc watch is a good choice.
-MCV, 7-29-11

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