Lorier has quickly become one of my favorite microbrands. The New York-based brand has built a comprehensive collection of recognizable and accessible watches in a very short time. The latest addition is a blend of two extremely popular genres — diver’s and pilot’s watches. The result is the Lorier Hydra Series III, the name referring to the multifaceted monster from Greek mythology. This is a dive watch with a flyer GMT function and the brand’s signature vintage vibes. So is this a jack of all trades and a master of none? Or is this all the watch you could ever need? Let’s find out!

I got a chance to spend time with both the standard Lorier Hydra on the bracelet and the blacked-out Hydra Zulu. Here is how we got on.

Lorier Hydra GMT and Hydra Zulu

But first, a little ode to Lorier

I don’t often start a review with an ode to a brand, but I want to make an exception here. I started this article by stating that Lorier is one of my favorite microbrands, and I feel that demands some explanation. Admittedly, I don’t own any Lorier watches. I tend to steer clear of vintage-inspired watches nowadays. So why do I like Lorier’s watches so much?

It has everything to do with the brand’s philosophy and designs. I love how owners Lauren and Lorenzo approach the vintage-inspired theme. They do it transparently, paying open homage to certain watches without copying them. Their watches also manage to look vintage-inspired in a non-sentimental way, which is a thin line to walk.

And then there is the fact that the designs are very cohesive and thoroughly considered. You can see that they were dreamed up by passionate people who know watches. So many microbrands in this segment look derivative or botched together. When picking a Lorier, you may not get endless features or the last word in build and finishing, but the design will be spot on. Moving up from here, you see the law of diminishing returns kicking in. You truly do get a lot for your money here. So that is why I like Lorier. Now that I have set the bar nice and high, let’s see if the Hydra SIII models can live up to it.

The Lorier Hydra aims to be a GADA diver

Lorier markets the Hydra as a do-it-all flyer/diver. By the look of it, it is very much a dive watch. But it is also equipped with a GMT complication, and its looks are quite classy. This would look right at home anywhere except for the most formal of occasions. So, stylistically, I would agree this could be a “go anywhere, do anything” (GADA) watch. Or, at least, the regular model could be. The Zulu, not so much.

To me, the combination of a dive watch and a GMT makes great sense. I know some consider it sacrilege, but I am not one of them. I am much more likely to find myself in the water while traveling than when at home. So a travel-time complication in a stylistically versatile dive watch makes sense. This could be your one watch to take on holiday or even business trips if you are not required to be in three-piece suits.

Except for the GMT complication, I don’t see the pilot’s elements in the Lorier Hydra. The customary three vintage watches that served as inspiration — which Lorier always indicates on the website — are all divers. The Omega Seamaster 300 ref. 166.024, Rolex Sea-Dweller “Double Red” ref. 1665, and the Universal Genève Polerouter Sub all had their impact on the Hydra. Still, in true Lorier fashion, the watch doesn’t come out overly derivative of a single one of them.

Lorier Hydra SIII

The Lorier Hydra’s specifications

The Lorier Hydra is executed in stainless steel, measuring 41mm across, 46mm from lug to lug, and 12.2mm thick plus a 2.4mm domed Hesalite crystal. Lorier committed to using Hesalite, and it proves to be the right choice here. On the Hydra, it offers beautiful clarity and distortion of the dial underneath. The Lorier Hydra is also water resistant to 200 meters. A screw-down crown and screw-in case back provide peace of mind.

Inside ticks the relatively new Miyota 9075, a Japanese-made flyer GMT caliber. It also features a date indicator displayed through an aperture at 6 o’clock on the dial. This is very cleverly hidden within the overall dial design, not breaking up the balance or flow of the dial design at all.

Surrounding the dial is a fully lumed 24-hour scale. This ring and the GMT hand are fitted with a different color lume from the local time-telling hands and indices. The narrow bezel has lumed markings too. The Hydra comes on a simple flat-link bracelet with three holes for micro-adjustment. A microsuede travel pouch, a tube of Polywatch, and a polishing cloth are also included.

Lorier Hydra Zulu on wrist

The Lorier Hydra Zulu

If the standard Hydra is a bit too mundane for you, there is the Hydra Zulu. This one takes its inspiration from the 1980s, the over-the-top action movies of the era, and the watches featured in them. The TAG Heuer ref. 980.031N, Porsche Design Chronograph 1, and Seiko H558-5009 are used as inspiration to trigger memories of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator and Tom Cruise in Top Gun.

Lorier Hydra Zulu dial close-up

And with some success, I might add. The Zulu is technically identical to the previous Lorier Hydra but with a fully black DLC-coated case and black dial. The lume for the indices and three main hands is orange, and the lumed 24-hour ring is minty-green Super-LumiNova C3. Combined with the supremely cool rubber strap from Bonetto Cinturini, this makes for a striking look.

From a design perspective, I think the Zulu is spot on. I find it equal parts handsome and fun. The rubber strap is a perfect match, completing the ’80s vibe. It is promising to see Lorier expand its sources of inspiration to more recent stuff. It makes me curious to see where the brand will go next.

Lorier Hydra Zulu flat

Wearing the Lorier Hydra and Hydra Zulu

The wearing experience of these two watches requires some explanation. You see, the spec sheet says they’re 41mm wide, but that is the mid-case. The bezel measures only about 38mm across. Paired with the short 46mm lug-to-lug, this makes for a squat stance. The broad base gives it the rugged look of a larger diver, while the small bezel gives it the refinement of a small diver. It combines both worlds for quite a neat wearing experience.

Lorier Hydra on wrist

At 14.6mm with the crystal, the Hydra is quite thick. A lot of that is hidden in the domed case back and the Hesalite crystal, though. Still, it certainly isn’t a slender watch. However, the aforementioned squat stance does ensure that it isn’t cumbersome.

My overall impression of both is that these are, once again, very pretty watches from Lorier. They are a tad rough around the edges in terms of finishing. Then again, they cost about the same as a regular service of one of the watches they were inspired by. You get a solid caliber, proper water resistance, and very attractive looks for the money. There isn’t much that I can fault there.

Lorier Hydra SIII and Hydra Zulu

Closing thoughts

All in all, these two additions to Lorier’s lineup are very much worthy of your consideration if you are looking for a relatively affordable vintage-inspired sports watch. The classic looks and great feature set of the Lorier Hydra make for an extremely versatile travel watch. The Zulu adds some fun and playfulness to the equation.

So, to answer the question at the start of the article: the Lorier Hydra could indeed be all the watch you may ever need. You could do much worse. When a watch strives to be all things at once, it can turn out bland and generic. That has certainly not happened here. Lorier has added a capable GADA travel-diver and a fun ’80s throwback watch to its collection and even gave it a seriously competitive price. Kudos, Lorier!

Both the Hydra and the Hydra Zulu are priced at US$599. They are available for pre-order through the Lorier website. The Hydra is expected back in stock in December, and the Zulu will be available again in the summer/fall of 2024.

What do you think of the new Lorier Hydra and Hydra Zulu? Let us know in the comments below!

Watch specifications

Hydra and Hydra Zulu (Series III)
Hydra: Admiralty gray with Super-Luminova indices (BGW9) and 24-hour scale (C1), date window / Zulu: Black with Super-Luminova indices (orange) and 24-hour scale (C3), date window
Case Material
Stainless steel, Hesalite bezel insert with Super-Luminova (BGW9/orange) markings
Case Dimensions
41mm (diameter) × 46mm (lug-to-lug) × 14.6mm (thickness with crystal)
Domed Hesalite
Case Back
Stainless steel, screw-in
Miyota 9075 — flyer GMT, automatic and hand winding, 28,800vph frequency, 42-hour power reserve, 24 jewels
Water Resistance
Hydra: Stainless steel flat-link bracelet in steel / Zulu: Vanilla-scented rubber strap by Bonetto Cinturini
Two time zones (independent 12-hour hand, minutes, seconds, 24-hour GMT hand and scale), date, 60-minute dive bezel
Available for pre-order now. Hydra expected back in stock in December 2023 and Hydra Zulu expected in summer/fall 2024.