Recently I wore a watch I never really thought I would wear. I was testing out the Clerc Hydroscaph H1 C.O.S.C certified automatic chronometer. One of the reasons I never thought I would wear this watch is because it is a brute of a timepiece. I say a brute because it is a significantly sized workhorse – capable of diving to 1,650 feet below sea level.
Make no mistake — I didn’t do that. I did some snorkeling with it in Florida, though and it performed beautifully in the water. I also lent it to a friend of mine who dives and took it with him on a day under the ocean. He was duly impressed. More importantly, though, this imposing watch didn’t look so gigantic on the wrist at all. Instead, it offered sort of bullish appeal in an impressive sort of way. I actually even enjoyed wearing it on land.
The Hydroscaph is offered in a 43.8mm or 48mm size. I wore the 43.8mm size in black DLC steel case, which is impressive with its architectural sides and bold white-on-black highly legible dial. The watch offers sweep second and date, and has super-strong SuperLuminova luminescent markers and hands.
The watch was first introduced back in 2013 and was designed to combine power and functionality – and it does so in an impressive package. The self-winding chronometer movement, the C609, beats at a frequency of 4 Hz — 28,800 vibrations per hour. The watch offers 42 hours of power reserve.
Eye-catching from the front, the watch is also pretty cool from the back side- where the open worked oscillating weight is visible through the sapphire case back. For deep divers, the watch has a safety function. The bezel is locked using the brand’s C|CLIP mechanism – a retractable flap on a dedicated crown integrated into the case side at 2 o’clock. Returning the C|CLIP to its initial position securely locks the bezel — avoiding risk of accidental deregulation while diving.
So, what did I like about the watch? It was weighty without being too heavy. The case – assembled from 81 components and water resistant to 500 meters – is a bold statement of self-confidence. And the lugs molded nicely along the curve of my wrist. It was big enough to fit over a neoprene diving suit.
What didn’t I like about it? The dark brown alligator strap was just a bit too thick for my liking. Granted, you need a bold strap for this watch, but I found the thickness cumbersome. While the brand offers straps in blue, black, red or khaki vulcanized rubber, as well as the several color choices of alligator, they are most likely the same thickness. I’m not sure it is mean to fit neatly beneath a suit jacket.
The watch is sold in steel or in black DLC and has a choice of dial colors that includes blue, gray and black. It retails for $7,300 – not a bad price at all for an underwater instrument.