Intrigued, this sent me downstairs to get out my vernier calipers. I have a 120 reel of dubious ancestry, purchased new maybe 20 years ago (but carefully handled, and not often used) and I just recently treated myself to one of the legendary Hewes varieties.
The Brand-X measured 2.256 2.245 2.242 2.273(!)
for -0.012 +0.019 around an average of 2.464
The Hewes measured 2.248 2.252 2.247 2.248
for -0.002 +0.003 around an average of 2.459
One might conclude the reputation of Hewes is well-deserved! I find mine to be way easier to load. I also attribute that to the Hewes having a clamp that releases by pushing a wire loop that points away from the film end, as opposed to the Brand-X having a loop you have to sort of push, finagle and force the film end under. I believe the Hewes design allows releasing any tension with the film correctly aligned, that helps a lot. In fact, I had taken to loading the Brand-X without putting the end of the film in the clip, finding that much easier. A fraction of a degree of lateral mis-alignment adds up to quite a problematic error as one tries to wind 25 or 30 inches of film onto a reel.
Isn't it nice when measured facts agree with perceived reality?!