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A stealthy and minimalist take on a diver - Isotope x Scottish Watches Hydrium Alba LE


Although divers are fun and very popular, stealthy and minimalists are characteristics that don’t usually get associate with them, not because it wouldn’t look good, but because it goes against the essence of diving which is legibility. But let’s be real, it is 2022 and many rules (not only in the watch world) have been broken, people use a dress watch with shorts and divers use a computer to reach places that we could only imagine in the 60’s, don’t get me wrong as we will see that the Isotope Alba is a very keen diver and a tool for the propose but, my point is that we are no longer bound by ISO standards as much as we used to do. The Hydrium is a great piece that I had a chance to shoot, wear and enjoy over a week, the color scheme reminds me of the Scottish flag which I believe wasn’t done by accident as the watch is a collaboration with Scottish Watches, the look of the Alba really gives Isotope a chance to shine, the hands are blued heated (the real thing) and then the dial is a milky enamel white, this is only the beginning so let’s dive in (of course) into the actual review of this beauty.


The specifications

The Hydrium Alba has the presence of a big diver but because of the 40mm diameter and 48mm lug to lug case, it wears like a proper skin diver, the micro blasted steel body that Isotope produces is one of the best I’ve seen at this price range, it is clean and gives this tool watch appearance that a diver deserves, the finishing is flawless, no imperfections whatsoever. Let’s get to the best part of the this watch in my opinion which is the dial, if legibility is needed on a diver, well the Alba gets major points as the contrast with the blue accents makes it one of the classiest and minimalist pieces I’ve tried this year, the grey of the case, the black 120 bezel click and the blue strap really hits all my favorite colours without making it shout: ‘look at me…’’, the screw down crown gives this unique diver a 300 meter water resistance, it really has it all but we are not done yet, the watch is powered by a Swiss Landeron 24 automatic, lovely to see something different under the hood, it has a custom rotor hidden under the beautiful engraved case back, the custom rotor that you obviously cannot see really speaks about the attention to detail that Isotope puts into its watches.


On the wrist

As you might think, a 40mm diver with a lug to lug of 48mm, the Alba wears incredibly well, the thickness is under 13mm which is perfect for the style of watch. I wore this piece with some jeans and a shirt, it looks very good. The blue tropical strap that comes with it is of great quality, starts at 22mm at the case making the tapering less aggressive. I was thinking for some reason because of the beefy case, the Alba would be heavier, but it didn't feel like that at all, sure it has the heft but nothing that couldn't be handle, after a full day you really appreciate the weight and how breathable the strap is, it is really a shame that I couldn’t take it to the beach. What I like about wearing the Isotope Alba is that looks like nothing else I have or seen, sure there are different version like the Brunt Tangerine but is incredible how the watch changes with a different color palette, it is almost unrecognizable, a chameleon of a watch. You might think that the watch is throws a lot of summer vibes and you’ll be right, but it works on winter too, kind of like my Explorer II 16750, I believe white, if is executed correctly, it really shines.


Conclusions

The Isotope Alba is a great collaboration between to contemporary places that we watch enthusiast love, we all heard the Scottish Watches podcast, and you might love their take on the hobby or maybe not, but they are honest and approachable just like Isotope, the Alba is a watch made by people who loves watches with the added factor that looks like nothing else. The Alba would be available on the 30th of November which is St. Andrews Day, and it will be limited to 100 pieces. I am not sure you can think of a diver with so many refinements at the moment, specially one with an enamel dial and blued hands, which to me this is a unique opportunity to grab something different, something rather special and not an ISO standard looking watch.





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