If you haven’t figured it out by now, Hager draws a lot of inspiration for their watches from the military and military aviation. For the Hager U-2 Dragonlady, that inspiration is very clear – the high-altitude reconnaisance plane first dreamed up in 1953 (more on the plane here). Somewhat surprisingly, even almost 70 years down the road, the U-2 is still being put to use. In that way, then, the Hager U-2 Dragonlady honors the plane, both past and present.
While I’m no pilot myself, I understand that for any military watch that’s intended to be used as a functional tool, legibility is a key criteria. That’s what so many of these watches feature black-and-white color schemes, and most commonly that’s a black dial with white indices and hands. It’s a sharp contrast between the two, and you’ve no problem picking out what you’re looking for. The one other color you have here is red, which shows up on the lower portion of the dial, and the stylized airplane on the chronograph seconds hand.
While there’s no denying the mechanical “gee whiz” factor of a mechanical chronograph, when you’re looking for absolute durability and accuracy, it’s hard to beat quartz. So, what Hager has used to power the Hager U-2 Dragonlady is a movement we’re well-familiar with here at WWR, the Seiko VK64 Hybrid Chronograph movement. While the quartz handles the heavy lifting, there’s a mechanical module as well. This allows you to get the crisp click on the pushers (rather than a mushy beep of a full quartz) that a mechanical has. You also get the crisp snapback to 12 when you reset it. Handy for when you need to quickly start timing something new, and hey, it just look cool doing that rather than trundling all the way around the dial.
The movement of the Hager U-2 Dragonlady is going to be durable, and we all know the accuracy of quartz. Still, you don’t want to leave the movement more exposed than it needs to be. Here, it’s wrapped by a 41mm stainless steel case (16mm thick) that carries a water resistance rating of 200m (just don’t operate those pushers under water, ok?) Paired as it is to a beefy solid-link bracelet that has it’s own slide lock extension, your watch will be ok if you need to hop in the water.
While I myself don’t find a lot of need for a chronograph in my life, it’s hard to argue against a mecha-quartz being a good route to go should you be looking for one. And sure, you can get ones with more registers, but the Hager U-2 Dragonlady is giving you what you need – main time, a 24-hour indicator, and a 60 minute chronograph accumulator as well as the date. Frankly, if you’re timing something for longer than 60 minutes, my money is on you forgetting your watch is doing that, and therefore is better suited to something, say, fully digital.
Make no mistake – the Hager U-2 Dragonlady is a beefy toolwatch, and your approach to it should be commensurate. In other words, this is a watch that’s meant to be worn and used. It’s ok if it picks up the dings and scratches of life, that’s just a sign of a machine being put to the task it was designed for. You can pick up your own Hager U-2 Dragonlady for $650 directly from hagerwatches.com.
Tech Specs from Hager
- Caliber: Seiko VK64 Hybrid Chronograph movement that combines technologies found in quartz and mechanical movements.
- Functions: Quick correction of day and date, hours, minutes and Tachymeter hand that doubles as a second hand, date display at 6 o’clock. Chronograph: 60-min timer at 9 o’clock, 24-hour counter at 6 o’clock.
- Total Diameter: 13.5 linge (30.80mm x 29.10mm)
- Height: 5.10mm
- Accuracy: +/-1 second a day, less than +/- 20 seconds per month at normal temps. Requires watch cell 394 (SR936SW). The battery life is about 3 years with normal operation.
- Material: 316L Marine grade stainless steel
- Diameter: 41mm
- Height: 16mm to top of the crystal
- Length: 51mm lug to lug
- Lug Width: 22mm
- Finish: Brushed with polished sides and beveled edges
- Water Resistance: 200m/660ft
- Case Back: Solid steel screwed
- Crystal: Domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment
- Dial: Black dial with faceted hour markers
- Bezel: Tachometer scale engraved on the metal bezel to enhance the legibility of the dial
- Hands: luminance baton hour hands and tachymeter aircraft shaped hand
- Crown: Recessed screw-down signed with company logo
- Bracelet: Stainless Steel with brushed links, two button clasp and slide lock extension.