Second Hour Gin Clear Diver

Second Hour Watches is preparing a Kickstarter campaign for its debut model, the Gin Clear Diver. I'll admit, I had never heard the term "gin clear" before. I get it, of course. "Gin clear water" is easy to picture, even if I prefer the view through my gin to be blurred by tonic water bubbles and a wedge of lime. For this review, Second Hour gave me a turn with one of their traveling prototypes, decked out in a lovely Pastel Blue.

Second Hour Gin Clear Diver Pastel Blue

The Gin Clear Diver's case measures 41.5mm across and 49mm long. A 42.5mm bezel increases the size a touch; the extra millimeter making it that much easier to grab the 120-click bezel. Thickness from the case back to the top of the domed sapphire crystal is 13.5mm, and lug-to-lug length is 49mm. Its H-link bracelet is 22mm at the fitted end-links, tapering to a 20mm signed, flip-lock, push-button clasp. All the links are solid, screwed, and reassuringly weighty. The whole package is by no means small, but properly sporty given its status as a 200m diver, and it is still a reasonable fit on my 6.75" wrist.   

Second Hour Gin Clear Diver Pastel Blue wrist shot

Specific design features like the flat sides, the 7mm crown (signed and screw-down), the chunky guards flanking them, and the absence of any slimming chamfers on the case reinforces the Gin Clear's tool watch presence, visually beefing it up all around. All surfaces are bushed except for the polished crown, bezel, the beveled edges on the clasp, and the sides of the bracelet. While it is certainly handsome, as it is, I felt that polished bevels along the outside edges of the lugs would refine the Gin Clear's appearance and better tie in the other polished elements. It seems I was not alone. Second Hour plans to do just that before production. 

Second Hour Gin Clear Diver Pastel Blue

Which brings me to the often inevitable roadblock in evaluating prototypes: the changes. This is one of those watches that will see several significant alterations before production. I'll point them out as we go along. For the case and bracelet, the lugs will get their dash of flash and will also be drilled (always a welcome touch), the end links will be redesigned for a better fit (as it is, they are just the tiniest bit too short), and the guards will be reduced to make the crown that much more accessible (I had no issues). 

Second Hour Gin Clear Diver Pastel Blue

Moving on, we get to my favorite features of the Gin Clear, namely the black ceramic bezel insert and the gorgeous, Pastel Blue dial. Second Hour will offer the watch in Arctic White, Black Sand, and Cream Sand as well (red, green, and blue enamel sunray dials are stretch goals), but you know this Bum can't resist an original color. I find this Robin's Egg hue to be particularly striking, showing just the slightest metallic sheen that makes for a particularly pleasing background for the polished markers, hands, and date window frame. Second Hour has chosen an unusual layout here, placing the distinctive quadrangle markers at 12, 4, and 8. I like it, though I suspect some will find it disconcerting. A no-date dial will be produced if stretch goals are met.

Second Hour Gin Clear Diver Pastel Blue

More of an issue for me is the dial text. The brand has a fairly detailed logo consisting of a cross in an eight-pointed star, under which is the Second Hour name. On the prototype, this is underlined, adding to the complexity, but that line will be deleted in production, and the font will be smaller, both of which should help bring it into balance. There are three additional lines of text in the lower half. Now, the Gin Clear has plenty of room for all this, but the surface under the printing is embossed, actually making the letters less legible than if they had been printed on a flat surface. It's a small thing, but once I noticed it, I found it hard to ignore. 

Second Hour Gin Clear Diver Pastel Blue

On the other hand, the Second Hour's second hand is rather cool. Its red tip and lumed dot grab your eye, and then you notice a counterweight shaped like the logo's outline that is large enough to cast a clear shadow on the dial. I dig it, and yet, I can't help thinking it fights with the larger logo already printed on the dial. 

Second Hour Gin Clear Diver Pastel Blue

When the lights go down, the BGW9 SuperLuminova gets its glow on, illuminating the hands, markers, and bezel insert. You all know I love a glossy ceramic bezel insert filled with lume. Better still, because everyone can use a little more lume, Second Hour will engrave the bezel 0.1mm deeper to squeeze more of the bright stuff in there. While they are at it, they will also lightly brush the ceramic to tone down reflections and improve visibility. That is a noble goal, but knowing that they are de-glossing that ceramic makes me die a little inside. As far as I'm concerned, a shiny finish is the best part of any ceramic bezel. How this compromise will work out remains to be seen. On the other hand, I do appreciate glare reduction on the crystal, and Second Hour has applied multiple layers of inner AR coating to great effect.

Second Hour Gin Clear Diver Pastel Blue lume

The case back bears an embossed illustration of a sea turtle and the model name on its matte surface, as well as the usual specifications engraved into the surrounding ring. I would have probably chosen a picture of something tipsier, but Second Hour wisely steered clear of that. My only real criticism is that letters of the model name are soft, and their edges not well defined. Behind the turtle is a Swiss Sellita SW200, the increasingly common, 26-jewel, 28.8k bph, ETA 2824-2 clone we all know and love. 
Second Hour Gin Clear Diver case back

Second Hour plans to launch the Gin Clear Kickstarter Campaign in late March or early April with Super Early Bird pricing starting at $385, which is a hefty discount on the $570 retail price. The prototype looks promising, although there are still some items to be ironed out. If the Gin Clear Diver suits you, head over to secondhour.com.au and sign up for updates and alerts. ⬩

Second Hour Gin Clear Diver clasp

Second Hour Gin Clear Diver Pastel Blue

Second Hour Gin Clear Diver Pastel Blue

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