Tool watch, dress watch, dress watch tool watch; what to wear, what to wear? H2O Watch has an idea that maybe you don’t need to decide any more, you can get a nice tool watch that is elegant enough to wear as a dress watch, and does not have the price tag of a Panerai attached. The H2O Watch Hydra is currently open for pre-order, letting you pick from case finish/material, dial color, bezel design, and even crown to create a watch that fits your style, from the boardroom to the beach.
I have not had a chance to get an H2O watch hands-on, but the designs look great, and from other sites, the watches are well built and attractive. Previously I looked at the Kalmar 2 and the extreme versions of the same watch, rated to 6,000 or 8,000 meters. I love the look of the Kalmar 2 (the extreme versions are too extreme for me), but it is not an understated design by any measure. This is where the H2O Watch Hydra comes in. The 44mm watch comes in Titanium, DLC Titanium and Copper Bronze, and the customization allows you to mix and match the materials to create something unique and distinctive.
All of the watches have the Swiss Unitas 6497 hand wound movement, and the both the DLC and bronze dials are sandwich style with a sunburst pattern, BGW9 Super-LumiNova, a chromed handset, and a sapphire exhibition caseback. There is also the choice of a flat or domed sapphire crystal. With the flat crystal the watch stands 10.3mm, and the dome adds 2mm, so it is still going to be a presence on the wrist, but the cleaner bezel (with or without markings) will go a long way to making it blend in when dressed up. Uncharacteristically, the company is not listing a depth rating with the watch, but H2O Watch is a dive watch company, so I would expect it to be sufficient for the purpose (contact them if this is an important feature).
The base price for the titanium watch with the flat sapphire crystal is $770. If you are in the US, you can escape the VAT that is charged to customers in the EU. The PVD or Bronze case and the domed sapphire crystal each add $55 (the other options are price neutral), so the pre-order cost for US customers tops out at $880, or $1,047 if you live somewhere where the VAT is applicable. The watches are on pre-order, and production is slated to take about 9 months, with delivery expected in the first quarter of 2016. Ordering and paying the total in full will get you an extra black canvass strap, and returning H2O Watch customers will get a black Horween strap. The watch itself is shipped on a black leather strap. h2o-watch.com
- Brand & Model: H2O Watch Hydra
- Price: $770 – $880
- Who we think it might be for: Fans of dive watches that want to tone it down, just a bit.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Affirmative.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: An option for a bezel with a dot of lume.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: Everything?
Tech Specs from H2O Watch
- Movement: Unitas 6497
- Functions: Small second hand
- Case: Titanium or copper bronze
- Crystal: Flat or domed sapphire
- Water resistance: Not Specified
- Lug width: 22mm
- Straps: Black Leather
- Diameter: 44 mm
- Case Height: 10.3mm (flat crystal) or 12.3 mm (domed crystal)