In our recently published review of the Isotope Goutte d’Eau, I teased the fact that the brand had something in the works for those who might not exactly care for a dive watch aesthetic. In this case, you’ve still got the teardrop inspiration – albeit inverted – in a much different look and style. This, friends, is what the Isotope Old Radium is offering.
As you might guess from that name, the Isotope Old Radium is going for an older vintage look, at least via it’s luminous paint, and the arrow indication on the dial (don’t worry, I’m fairly certain this is a modern, non-Radium-containing, paint) (and for what that’s important, check out this book review for The Radium Girls). Specifically, it’s going for an old military look. This is done in a curious manner, as you’ve got what would look to be a field watch, paired to a modern Nato-style B10 strap. The handset mixes things up a bit, as those would more commonly be found on the good old Flieger watch.
In a sense, this is what our buddy Chris Vail has done with his NTH subs, in taking components of various designs and mixing them together (to great effect) and coming up with something that is simultaneously a homage and unique. I’m sure that this is not the first time Flieger hands have appeared on a field watch, but it’s still something that makes the Isotope Old Radium more than “just another” homage to something from the past. Throw in how predominant the teardrop shape is on the dial (owing to the two-tone effect), and they’ve really come up with a look that is unique to the brand.
You’ll notice in the photos of the Isotope Old Radium that we had two different dial designs, one with a date and one without. This is owing to the fact that Isotope will be giving you a choice of two different movements to be placed into the 40mm titanium case (one that’s untreated, so it should develop an interesting patina). For the non-date aficionados, you’ll have a reliable quartz ticking away, while those who cherish the extra date complication will have some automatic options along for the ride (see the specs below). Either worked quite well, and really, it boils down to if you’re after a purist look, or you want to get an affordable mechanical on your wrist (and you’re more of a restomod sort of person, I suppose).
On the wrist, the compact 40mm titanium case wears very light, particularly on the nylon strap (and if you really want to cut the weight, the quartz is for you). The estimated pricing for the Isotope Old Radium start at £260 for the quartz version, and going to £400 for the NH35a automatic, and tops out at £560 for the SW200-1. The Isotope Old Radium is planned to launch in 2020, so you’ve got some time to save up for this tidy titanium homage. If you want to stay in the loop, you can simply sign up for the brand’s newsletter at their site, and you’ll get word when the watch is released. isotopewatches.com
- Brand & Model: Isotope Old Radium
- Price: $ /will be similar to the Isotope Goutte d’Eau/
- Who’s it for? You want a compact (and light) take on a vintage military watch
- Would I wear it? Now again, sure, I would
- What I’d change: If we’re giving options, perhaps an option on a subtler teardrop dial might work
- The best thing about it: It’s light, tough, and easy to read. What’s not to like?
Tech Specs from Isotope
- Case: 40mm, titanium.
- Watch case, crown and screw down case back in Titanium
- 47mm lug-to-lug
- 20mm lugs
- Height between 10.8mm and 11.3mm (depending on final movement selections)
- Lume: Superluminova Old Radium
- WR: 100m
- Miyota Quartz Super 2035 no date, Japan made
- Seiko NH35a with date/no date, Japan made
- Sellita SW200-1 with date/no date, Swiss made
- Crystal: sapphire with anti-reflective coating
- Caseback: etched (for the quartz) or exhibition (for the mechanical)