When you’ve been in and around the watch industry for a while, new releases can sometimes seem a little stale. It isn’t that new watches are worse than they used to be. Far from it. In fact, they are technically “better” than ever. But with so much having been done to death, true novelty is hard to come by. Thank goodness, then, for brands like Tockr.

When I first saw the Tockr Air Defender Chronograph I liked it. The first one I encountered has a really nice green sun-ray dial. It was cool. It was current. And it seemed a very on-brand product. But I didn’t rush out to buy one. Why? Because it didn’t make me. It looked a great product at a fair price, but that’s not too hard to find if you’re patient and you do your research. For a watch to get me — a grizzled industry vet — out of my rocking chair, it has to make me feel something. It has to move me. It has to very special indeed.


When I first saw the Tockr Air Defender Chronograph Hydro Dip Tie-Dye, I nearly fell off my chair. “What is this!?” I yelled out loud. “What have they done? How have they done it? It is monstrously majestic! I must have one!” I was mesmerized by its incredible brazenness. The case was decorated in a way that seemed totally alien to me. But it didn’t stop there. The whole package was improved. The dial seemed brighter. The hands popped like little green goblins scurrying around the dial. And the strap — oh joy or joys — was probably the coolest strap I’d ever seen.

If you compare my strap to the one pictured on the press shots, you will see the colors are quite different.

I’ve had the Tockr Air Defender Chronograph Hydro Dip Tie-Dye in my collection for over six months and I stand by that strap statement. Hix, an American company working out of Oklahoma made it for the Texan Tockr. It is glorious. It is also unique. If you compare my strap to the one pictured on the press shots, you will see the colors are quite different. I didn’t ask them to do that. They did it as a little treat — a little surprise. The rotor of my Air Defender is also decorated with the Tie-Dye pattern — another subtle but appreciated modification that makes this model all the more special to me.

Why now?

So having owned this veritable bad boy for so many months, why have I chosen this week to show it off to you? Because something new has arrived. Something new and (possibly) even more badass than my darling Tie-Dye model. There’s a new kid on the block, and he glows in the dark.


I love things that glow. I’m not sure why. It must have something to do with my childhood. At least, I assume it does because I have a very childish reaction to things that light up with the lights get low. There are two new Tockr Air Defender “lume” models available. They go by the monikers of “Camo” and “Marble”. Both come with a Hix strap option. Given that the stitching on said straps is luminous, I think taking the watch on one of them is a no brainer.


So here’s the straight-up truth: These watches are incredible, visual feasts. They will throttle observers’ attention from across any room. The Lume models can even do it in the dark. But they are not for everyone. They are big, bulky, and bombastically brash. But if you are the kind of person that can pull this kind of fire-cracking wrist-candy off, then you can’t ask for much more.

The wearing experience

Look, getting someone to agree that the hydro dipping process that gives these watches their (literally) unique skins is cool is easy. Convincing someone who prefers to wear a 38mm NOMOS Orion Weiss that they need a hydro-dipped Air Defender in their life? Not so easy. But as someone that owns a cache of NOMOS watches and one of these unapologetically bright beasts, allow me to make the case for this Tockr model.


There’s simply nothing like it. I know, I know: you’ve heard it all before. But most of the time, it was a lie. This? This is real. Is it garish? Yes. Is it hulking? You bet. But are these hydro-dipped tickers deeply personal expressions? Of course. And while you may balk at the exterior (which is totally understandable if you prefer more reserved fare), beneath those crazy colors is a very solidly built watch with an irrefutably reliable movement within.


At 45mm, this thing takes no prisoners. I often get accused of wearing watches that are too big for me. And, in this instance, that might be fair. This one is right on the edge of reason for my baby wrist, but as a born attention grabber, I think it works. The way the strap flares out to meet the edge of the lugs certainly reduces its top-heaviness and allows it to sit neatly against the wrist. Additionally, the flat sapphire keeps things as compact as possible at this diameter.

Big on small details

At first glance, this watch could easily be dismissed for being “too much”. But there is thought in this design and plenty of it. I genuinely appreciate some of the touches. The date wheel typeface is wisely chosen. The shape and color of the going seconds hand is refreshingly novel. I cannot fault the solid build quality of the case, the threaded case back, or the crowns and pushers. The rotating inner bezel works beautifully. And the concave glass surround was an inspired move.

The strap, once again, is a real highlight of this model. I love how it is seamlessly integrated into the design. Best of all, Tockr (and Hix) is happy to customize certain elements of the design. The case itself can be coated with anything you like. For one-off watches, this would be pretty expensive (as a certain amount of the special film fused to the outside of the case needs to be made) but for medium to large group runs (say 25-100 pieces) the surcharge becomes manageable. And the result? Well, that’s something very personal indeed.

…is it different enough to deserve discussion and widespread acceptance?

The addition of glow in the dark coatings for the case really does make this family stand out. I really liked the concept before. Now, I am kind of obsessed with the limitless potential of this process. Is it divisive? It sure it. But is it different enough to deserve discussion and widespread acceptance? I truly believe so. Learn more about Tockr and the hydro-dipping process here.

Watch specifications

Air Defender Chronograph Tie-Dye
Blue sun-ray
Case Material
Stainless steel with hyrdo-dipped coating
Case Dimensions
45mm wide
Flat sapphire
Case Back
Open display back, sapphire
Water Resistance
Made by Hix of Oklahoma
Day, date, 12-hour chronograph, timing bezel with 5-minute increments.
$2,850 (the luminous models come in at $3,250)
2 years international.
Special Note(s)
Strap made in the USA