Isotope is an independent England-based brand launched in 2016 by José and Joana Miranda. It offers watches that stand out for their originality and visual appeal, are pretty accessible, and meet the expectations of watch enthusiasts looking for fresh ideas. When Isotope owners felt it was time to update the brand’s logo, Miranda turned to Romaric André, a man known for his distinctive design language. André offered to create something extra, a timepiece to pay homage to the old, dying logo and chose to play with the Isotope Hydrium series. The play resulted in the new Isotope Hydrium Seconde/Seconde/ limited-edition watch.
Seconde/Seconde/ is a brand name for Romaric André, a financial auditor in the past who once sought to bring new meaning to vintage timepieces by interfering with original dials (by swapping out hands with replacements of his design), to some amusement, but was quickly recognized as a talent and in recent years got to work with Vulcain, Nivada Grenchen, Louis Erard, Bamford and H. Moser & Cie. Seconde/Seconde/ collabs are fun little objects, worth a look if only to make you smile, and serious enough to get the attention of the GPHG – Le Régulateur Louis Erard X seconde/seconde/ was nominated to compete in the Challenge category last year, but lost to M.A.D. Editions. Perhaps André’s work with Isotope will get noticed, too.
The Hydrium Seconde/Seconde/ is a watch with solid water-resistance credentials (1000ft/300m), typical for the Isotope Hydrium line. The 40mm diameter stainless steel case is topped with a unidirectional 120-click bezel, the crown is a screw-down type, and the sapphire crystal is anti-reflective. The screwed exhibition caseback reveals an automatic Landeron movement with 40 hours of power reserve, decorated with perlage and Côtes de Genève, and the screws are blued, so the presentation is on the level. Isotope mentions accuracy +12 seconde/-12 seconde per day, but the fifty customers purchasing this collab timepiece will not be that much concerned about the tech specs.
The dial of the Hydrium Seconde/Seconde/is the USP. The black matte surface with the white railroad track-style minute chapter ring and little Super-LumiNova squares for hour markers is a perfect stage for the drama-infused spectacle. The old Isotope logo now reads Otopsie (autopsy), with tiny green arrows indicating where the I and S have been positioned before Isotope decided to let it rest forever; note the Failing Heartbeat second hand. Hopefully, doctors or nurses within the NHS will not take advantage of the opportunity to own the Hydrium Seconde/Seconde/ for fear of becoming seriously misunderstood.
The new logo is nowhere to be found on this watch. Still, the upside-down teardrop shape, which the brand calls Lacrima (teardrop in Italian) and incorporated in the new Isotope logo, can be seen in green on the black crystal bezel insert. This teardrop shape appears in many Isotope creations, and so do the i-hands to indicate hours and minutes. The new Isotope Hydrium Seconde/Seconde, a limited edition of 50 pieces, is offered on a quick-release soft black leather strap with a signed microblasted steel buckle.