There are a handful of watchmakers out there who repeatedly create interesting and imaginative watches that embrace the fun of creative designs. Isotope watches are perhaps less obviously playful than some of those brands such as Studio Underd0g, but it’s the way that they take concepts and run with them that impresses me. Take the Old Radium for example, it’s the parody of a revival heritage military pilot’s watch. That’s quite possibly the most niche watch concept ever and only we nerds who read watch publications will understand it. Their latest watch, the Isotope HydriumX Exit is similarly creative.
It’s inspired by one of the most ubiquitous, overlooked and quietly important aspects of every public building. The humble exit sign. The sign that is ignored 99.99% of the time but that saves lives the other 0.01% when it directs people away from fires or other dangers. Or, in a less high stakes example, simply directs you to the lobby of a labyrinthine hotel that you’ve been trying to leave for the past five minutes.
What that means in terms of the actual watch, which is based on the HydriumX design with its 40mm diameter stainless steel case, is a white full lume dial with green accents. The combination of the white and green is instantly evocative of exit signs and the luminescent quality is true to the signs as well.
There are also further nods to exit signs in the form of the arrow shaped seconds hand and the picture of a person running towards a door that’s only visible in low light conditions. The latter has been achieved by painting the image with blue lume while the rest of the dial is green lume. Overall, the styling is subtle enough that at a distance it simply reads as a white and green colourway but the details are specific enough to successfully realise the concept behind the watch.
Housed inside the HydriumX Exit is the Swiss Landeron24 automatic movement with 40-hour power reserve. It’s a work horse movement with decent specs that’s enhanced somewhat by Isotope’s custom perlage and Côtes de Genève finishing, visible through the exhibition caseback.
The Isotope HydriumX Exit is limited to just 100 pieces and is priced at £840. You might be wondering, and I wouldn’t blame you, who would want a watch based on an exit sign? But I do find a genuine surrealist, uncanny artistic value in this watch for the way it takes an everyday object and renders it in a totally different form.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Isotope HydriumX® Exit
- Case/dial: 40mm diameter x 14.9mm thickness, stainless steel case, off-white dial filled with Super-LimiNova
- Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
- Movement: Swiss Landeron calibre, 25 jewels
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: 40h
- Functions: Hours, minutes
- Strap: Black or white FKM rubber or Italian calf leather
- Price/availability: £840 (FKM rubber strap) or £880 (leather strap), limited to 100 pieces
More details at Isotope.