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Get ready to be judged – The Isotope Hydrium X ‘‘The Judge’’

Nicknames can be great, if they complement a style or a feature, they usually stay, most of the times, people enjoy them, and I think is a nice way to get familiar with the person. When it comes to watches you can have endless explanations, for example the Rolex 116710 aka Batman is one of the first examples of that come to mind, even thought that the modern incarnation of the cape crusader is a full black suit, the black and blue of the bezel probably remind us to the earlier Adam West adaptations from the comic book, collectors said that when your watch has a nickname, it means that the watch made it. It is also notable that these nicknames can be given by the brand or by the community and they often make people forget those long serial numbers which are complex and boring, Grand Seiko is guilty of this with their beautiful ‘Snowflake’, amazing watch with a terrible name: the SBGA211, not very appealing isn’t? Well as a marketing tool it works and yours truly doesn’t pay much attention to long numbers that denotes a piece, I always use the Hulk, the Steve McQueen, The Sophia Loren, the Ed White, the Padellone, Pepsi, Coke… and in this case ‘’The Judge’’. To me it makes more sense as is a variation of an existing model where colours bring the personality of the watch, in the case of the Isotpe Hydirum we are very familiar with the beautiful but utilitarian micro blasted case, it is a piece that can really morph with different pallets and the most famous for me is the original ‘’Will Return’’ watch which inspired on those vintage clock door signs, the colour scheme just works and because it was a limited edition of 100 watches, well they are all long gone.

Even if there aren’t more coming, this doesn’t mean that Isotope shouldn’t play with the looks of this line, the design is very good, and it can work with a variety of colours. The latest iteration is based on a judge robe (black and red), in my case, it reminds me of the Sylvester Stallone movie from the 90s recently remade, the deep red bezel and the matte black dial makes me think of the character’s helmet, but at the same time, it can also be traced to the UK legal system where this type of judges usually act on civil matters. Anyhow, the watch is very striking, and it really shows that no matter how iconic a watch design is, colour really sticks into your mind. I manage to spend a good time with this new Isotope creation and I know they have a winner, let’s begin.

The specifications

The case is 40mm wide and 48mm lug to lug, it fits perfect on my 6.25 inch wrist, the case is micro blasted, creating this grey effect that looks like titanium but it keeps the weight of steel which I might add, it is something that has divided the community for a while now, some people are just not a fan of titanium, they said the lightness reminds them of lack of quality, well not here, not with ‘’the Judge’’. The dial of the Hydrium X gets all the attention, a matte black with bold white lettering makes the watch one of the most legible divers I’ve reviewed this year, no date to keep the symmetry in place leaving the numbers breathe well. The hands which are in different shades of red, create a great contrast on the black as expected but, the eyes always find a way to look at that beautiful red shinny bezel, together with the grey, black and white, just works, a small ‘lacrima’ in white also makes an appearance to track timings as you wish. The Swiss Landeron movement completes the package and works wonders, and this time can be seen from the back but make no mistakes, this is a serious diver giving the owner a 300 meters of waters resistance, screw down crown and SuperLuminova when you hit the bottom of the sea.

On the wrist

We already know this case and with its dimensions and with a thickness under 13mm, works very well in a variety of wrists, it is easy to pull, the Hydrium X its a sports watch which it’s what is made for but also works with a casual attire, it is a conversation piece, it will go unnoticed when it needs to. The watch comes in a 22mm black tropic rubber strap, its so well made, flexible and allows your wrist breath, the quick release also means that you can exchange it with other options, again a grey nato does wonders on ‘’the Judge’’. The legibility as mentioned is excellent, the white numerals that surround the ‘lacrima’ motif in the middle of the dial are bold and full of SuperLuminova, easy to read and with the minute tracking done internally, I can imagine the amount of time spent to design a watch where almost everything feels new, everything is a novelty.


This new Hydrium X is a very good addition to the line-up, I think one of my favourites yet and the reason is because there is nothing like it, every diver is blue and tries to look like the Black Bay 58 (which I own and love) but is a bit tiresome that designers don’t try to go further or more innovative, sure divers like the Tudor are tried and tested and are the cornerstone of diving but, if you want to be different and more driven by design then I am glad that Isotope is breaking the mould, recreational diving is a sport that should be fun, it is an adventure and our watches should reflect that, the Rolex Submariner is such an icon but it is so serious, not judging those who own one but maybe it is time to relax and enjoy what a can be a unique take on a diver.

Spec Sheet

Micro-blasted case, 316L stainless steel

Anti-reflective crystal sapphire

Case diameter 40mm X 48mm (with lugs)

Screw-down crown at 3 o’clock

Height 12.9mm

Black dial, Arabic numbers filled with Super-LumiNova®

Hydrium™ X screw-down exhibition case back

Isotope Lacrima hands with Super-LumiNova®

Uni-directional bezel with 120 clicks

Water-resistance 300m / 30 atm / 1000 ft

Swiss Landeron Mechanical Movement

22mm Black FKM strap with signed micro-blasted Steel Buckle

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