he identity of Scotland goes far beyond haggis, kilts, and bagpipes. As the most northern part of the United Kingdom, it offers some of the most breathtaking scenery and a welcome combination of nature, historic sites, and energetic cities.
Scotland also plays an essential role in the history of Isotope. At a dinner party in Glasgow in 1913, radiochemist Frederick Soddy was discussing his discovery of radioelements with unique half-lives. As the Periodic Table has no room for them, a close friend of his wife, Dr Margaret Todd, suggested calling them Isotopes.
A very appropriate name as in Greek, this means ’(coming from the) same place.’ Soddy adopted the name, publishing his theory in the December issue of ’Nature,’ that same year and being awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1921.
Like Isotope’s straightforward approach to watchmaking, Scottish Watches also doesn’t beat around the bush. Founded in 2019, their extraordinary expertise and honest point of view have resulted in a loyal following, even from far beyond the borders of Scotland. They are the second-largest watch-oriented podcast in the world, with over 400 episodes to date.
Given Isotope’s strong connection and love for Scotland in general, and the Island of Arran in particular, a unique partnership was born. The result is the Hydrium Alba.
The name Alba comes from old Scottish Gaelic, referring to what we now know as Scotland. This no-nonsense diving watch comes with a new sense of refinement, representing the national colours of Scotland by combining a pure white enamelled dial with beautiful heat-blued hands. The contrast between the rugged 40mm large case made of 316L stainless steel with a micro-blasted finish and the mysterious gloss provided by the enamelled dial is a rarity in a diving watch.
The Isotope Hydrium Alba is powered by a Swiss Landeron calibre 24. This automatic movement runs at 4Hz and offers a power reserve of 40 hours. To underscore the rugged nature of the watch, Isotope keeps this well-decorated movement hidden underneath a closed case back. However, a deep engraving of a divers’ helmet ensures that the back of the Hydrium Alba remains as attractive to look at as the front.
The precious enamelled dial is protected by double-domed sapphire crystal, framed by a black 120-click bezel with a sapphire insert. Its understated appearance is strengthened by Isotope’s decision to not include a date function, achieving a cleaner and more powerful appearance.
With a water resistance of 300m/1.000 ft, the Hydrium Alba is perfect for underwater exploration of any of the over 30.000 freshwater ’lochs’ you can find in Scotland. You want to wear this watch when launching your expedition to find the legendary monster of Loch Ness, although your time is probably better spent enjoying the beaches and hospitality of the Island of Arran with it.
Like the previous versions of the Hydrium, Isotope also printed a railroad track to mark the hours, minutes, and seconds on the dial of the Alba, this time opting for a blue colour matching the hue of the hands.
As the brand’s signature Lacrima and the index ring are slightly elevated, the enamel was increasingly difficult to apply. The challenges that this gave were, in the end, worth the trouble. The changes in height provide a wonderful play of light, in which the unique milky shimmer of the enamel comes even more to life, underscoring the fact that the Hydrium Alba isn’t like any other diving watch.
The Isotope X Scottish Watches Hydrium Alba is a Limited edition of 100 pieces. Pre-orders open November 30 and it’s offered exclusively online at £700 (ex VAT).
- Micro-blasted case, 316L stainless steel
- Case diameter 40mm X 48mm (with lugs)
- Height 12.9mm (14.9mm with double domed Sapphire Crystal)
- HydriumTM X screw-down exhibition case back
- Uni-directional bezel with 120 clicks
- Anti-reflective crystal sapphire
- Screw-down crown at 3 o’clock
- Pure White enamelled dial, Railroad Track in Blue
- Isotope “i” hands Flame Blue Heated and filled with Super-LumiNova®
- Water-resistance 300m / 30 atm / 1000 ft
- 22mm Quick-release Blue FKM strap with signed micro-blasted
- Steel Buckle
- Swiss Landeron Mechanical Movement
- Automatic, self-winding
- Power reserve 40 hours
- 28 Jewels, 28800A/h
- Accuracy -12/+12 s/day
- Decorated, Côtes de Genève, Perlage