A Colorful Encounter With The Isotope Hydrium X Blink
Usually, we approach watches seriously. Very seriously, in fact. But once in a while, a watch immediately brings a smile to your face because it is simply fun. It doesn’t happen all that often, but a good example landed on my desk at the end of 2021. The Isotope HydriumX “Will Return” was bold, colorful, and based on a very clever concept. The new Isotope Hydrium X Blink is another colorful addition to the Hydrium lineup. Is it as good as the HydriumX “Will Return”? I had a chance to find out how big the smile on my face would be after wearing the Hydrium X Blink for a couple of days.
The thing I absolutely loved about the Isotope HydriumX “Will Return” is that it was a clever take on such a familiar object. It took the iconic “Will Return” clock door sign and turned it into a watch. As I said in my review of the HydriumX “Will Return”, it’s a genuinely fun play on this clock that we probably all know, usually indicating at what time a shop will reopen after lunch. What stood out most for me is that Isotope founder José Miranda managed to turn that idea into a well-designed and genuinely fun watch. For the new Hydrium X Blink, Miranda used a simple but effective concept. By combining the colors blue and pink, you get Blink. It’s that simple.
Blue + pink = Blink
With the new Isotope Hydrium X Blink, Miranda takes inspiration from the traditional colors used for men and women. By combining them, Miranda hopes this is a watch that is for everyone. The color scheme definitely makes it a great fit for both men and women. But the devil is often in the details, so let’s remind ourselves of those to find out if it is a watch for everyone. The Hydrium series of watches is defined by its 40mm micro-blasted stainless steel case and crown. The modern case shape, in combination with the refined finish, creates a great modern canvas for Miranda to explore different design ideas.
The Hydrium X case takes inspiration from the Streamline Moderne era of the 1930s. It was part of the Art Deco movement and was defined by curved shapes and long, horizontal lines. Despite being rooted in historical design, the profile of the case feels very modern and crisp. I love how it feels very comfortable, almost familiar, but definitely has nice characteristic details. A good example is how the case band effortlessly flows into the short lugs. Because there is no sharp angle, the case has a rectangular feel. The result is a 22mm lug width that also works very well in creating a great visual balance between the case and the strap.
The Hydrium X Blink design
What seems like a very simple case is actually a well-thought-out and intricate design. The case is 40mm, as mentioned, has a lug-to-lug of 48mm, and is 12.9mm thick. If you include the double-domed sapphire crystal, the watch adds up to 14.9mm thick. The Hydrium X case is water resistant to 300 meters, so if you have any aquatic summer plans, the watch is up to the task. I said it before, but the Hydrium X has a really nice case that wears very comfortably and gives Miranda the freedom to create many different designs that will always be recognizable as an Isotope Hydrium X. That’s a great achievement.
The design of the Hydrium X Blink is defined by the salmon-pink dial. But it’s not a plain salmon dial. It actually has this great sparkling effect that makes it come to life. The dial is contrasted by large bright pink hour numerals, a blue minute track, the logo at 12 o’clock, and the model name and other info at 6 o’clock, both also executed in blue. The bright pink handset is modeled after the water-droplet-shaped hands from the door-sign clock that were used for the Hydrium X “Will Return.” The outer edges of the three hands are filled with Super-LumiNova that light up in darker lighting conditions. If you look closely, you will see a very small seconds hand. It turns very subtly and mostly serves as an indication that your watch is running.
Isotope knows the power of small details
The unidirectional 120-click bezel features a blue sapphire insert. The shiny presence of the bezel insert contrasts nicely with the matte appearance of the case and the bezel. As with every Hydrium X model, the bezel insert features a small “Lacrima” (teardrop shape) as the only marker. This time, it is executed in contrasting pink, so you know how to position the bezel. Without a diving scale, the element serves a mostly decorative purpose, but it’s handy for marking specific times that you might need to remember. It’s one of those great details that give the watch exactly the right character. Another great detail is the crown. I mentioned this in the previous review, but the knurled screw-down crown is easy to grip and a joy to operate.
Inside the case, Isotope will equip all 100 pieces of the Hydrium X Blink with a Swiss Landeron 24 caliber. The automatic movement operates at 28,800vph and has 25 jewels and a 40-hour power reserve. I had no prior experience with the movement as the prototype of the Hydrium X “Will Return” that I reviewed was equipped with a Miyota 9039. For the time that I had the watch on my wrist, the Landeron 24 performed its task smoothly. And that’s what I would want from a fun watch like this Hydrium X Blink.
Wearing the Isotope Hydrium X Blink
Once I strapped the watch on my wrist, I was first reminded of how comfortable the 40mm case and the blue Tropic-style strap are together. The watch wears like a charm, and that is a great achievement. The second moment of impact was taking in its colorful presence. While the blue color has the upper hand in the overall aesthetic, the pink details stand out immediately. Now, I don’t shy away from loud colors. On the tennis court, I love wearing bold colors, and in my sneaker collection, I also have some pairs that hurt the eyes. With watches, however, I found out color alone is not enough.
The Hydrium X “Will Return” had the advantage of a full-lume dial. I loved that playful element that made interacting with the watch a joy. It kept me coming back to the watch time and time again. On top of that, the concept reminded me of my multiple visits to the United States, and that created an instant connection between the watch and me. This new Hydrium X Blink is a lot more static in that sense. You either love the color combination of the watch or you don’t. That will be the deciding factor. While the concept behind the colors is nice, it does not connect to me personally as the Hydrium X “Will Return” did.
Final thoughts on the Isotope Hydrium X Blink
Overall, I loved seeing this new addition to the Hydrium X lineup. I think that line of watches is the best of the Isotope brand. Wearing the Hydrium X Blink was a great reminder of how great the Hydrium X Series is. I love its size, case design, great build quality, and overall looks. But while I enjoy the blue-and-pink color combination, the watch didn’t have as much of an impact as the Hydrium X “Will Return” did. On the whole, I felt a greater personal connection with that watch. That is why it remains my absolute favorite of the series.
Having said that, I did adore some of the details of this new Hydrium X Blink. The salmon dial looks absolutely amazing. Both the shade of pink as well as the shimmering effect make for a great “canvas”. I would love to see this dial return in a different version of the Hydrium X. On top of that, I was reminded of the fantastic, legible design with its large numerals and small but bold hands. Combined with the great case design, it shows that Isotope has incredible potential to come up with many more spectacular releases in the Hydrium X series.
And at the €737 list price, I have no doubts that all 100 pieces of the Hydrium X Blink will sell out quickly. This watch comes with a blue tropic strap fitted with a micro-blasted steel buckle. My guess is that you will have to be quick as many of these limited editions sell out fast. With the Hydrium X Blink, it will probably be no different as it makes for a great colorful summer watch.
For more information, visit the official Isotope website, and let us know your thoughts on this new colorful Hydrium X model in the comments section.