When you think about a watch many things come to mind, usually is a round object with gold and a white face, why? well watches are round, they are luxury items hence the gold and no one draws a black face on a watch, they just don't, so whatever happened on the TOCKR designing studio when they created the Air defender will always by a mystery, but I am so glad they did think outside the box. The Air defender is a series of chronograph that contains that 70's flair with modernity at it's best. The chronographs are as robust and macho as anything with a great feeling of quality at the same time, these air defenders served as the base for the Hydro Dipped series, I was lucky enough to received 2 versions of this different but beautiful series.
The thing that strike me the most was that not only the watches were big and bold but that the treatment applied made the watches more legible in the dark, I can definitely see a pilot wearing a lume case on a cockpit, sometimes when watch brands do limited editions of a tool watch the piece usually becomes less useable of what it was intended for, for example converting a dive watch in gold or making a chronograph with a sub dial to call a superhero (yes you know who you are), these are nice touches but the team at TOCKR went on a different direction, in my eyes the Hydro Dipped is not just a cooler version of the Air Defender, the Hydro Dipped it's a proper tool watch.
The watch is 45mm with cushion shape case that hugs the wrist very well. With its origins in aviation, the watch houses no other than a Valjoux 7750 which is a treat to operate, we are all aware of the virtues of this movement and I am glad that it is in here because of the reliability, another plus for me is that the watch has that typical sub dial layout which gives me a hint of nostalgia for chronographs of the 70's and 80's.
The movement is visible from the sapphire case back, it has a custom rotor which is also treated with hydrographic printing. I was counting the amount of complication that the watch packs and the Hydro Dipped has seconds, minutes and hours subdials, then it has a date and day complication and an internal rotating bezel which feels amazing with a crown at 10 o'clock, you do not need me to tell you again that it is a serious mechanical tool on your wrist. The features do not stop here, the hands and markers are lumed for an optimal reading in the dark but the real unsung hero is the case, weather is dark or not the case stands out like nothing else I have ever worn, during the day the Tie Dye version looks like a Van Gogh painting, its a beautiful thing to behold, I got lost in the curves of the patterns more than once and while I was doing this review.
At night I usually put on the Marble HIX which made me smile every time I entered a dark room, my wrist glowed like I was a character from a video game, I found that awesome, I loved the watch so much that it became my daily wearer for the next 2 weeks.
The process of creating this beautiful cases is not a walk in the park starting with a fully naked case, then a white base paint follow by many layers of lume application and then the hydro dipping process takes place.
On the wrist:
The watch feels right in my small 6.25 wrist and it is because it is supposed be big bold and legible, I attribute this comfort to the cushion shape case which sits on the wrist like a nice cup on a saucer, the short lugs also give a very short lug to lug distance.
The watch as you expected is very easy to read, the layout of the registers makes perfect balance with the day and date complication at 3 o'clock and the inner rotation bezel is easily accessible from the crown at 10 making the whole piece feel very balanced and well thought out, this is of course the strength of the design that we can also find on the Air Defender series. to complete the look we were supplied with some awesome strap options, the leather straps is a hand made piece done in partnership with HIX Studio in Oklahoma city and the thread itself is dipped into a specific solution with lume pigments, now that is a first!
I remember when I met Serge Aebischer at Basel last year, he showed me all the novelties including the Air Defender in Panda configuration, his way of explaining the brand with such passion showed me immediately that TOCKR is not the kind of company that does things half way, they really go all in to create what it can be one of the coolest watches I've tried so far, I believe that with this watch the company has created a new design language and I am sure in no time people will be saying when a watch is so bold, so different.. they would be saying: ''that watch is so TOCKR''.
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