Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

Tockr Air-Defender Lume

A retro, aviation-inspired chronograph and the first watch series to feature luminescent hydro-dipped cases.

| By Erik Slaven | 3 min read |

Tockr was founded in Austin, Texas by pilot Austin Ivey (co-founded by Sophy Rindler) in 2017 with the goal of producing accessible aviation-inspired watches. His grandfather flew C-47 transport planes in World War II and Austin has combined a lifelong passion of both flying and watches. The brand was among the first to use hydrographic printing for cases, probably best known for customizing car panels, and has now advanced to luminescent hydro-dipped cases – an industry first. With a range of printed designs that illuminate from every angle, the new Tockr Air-Defender Lume series really stands out.

In its short history, Tockr has developed a reputation for using unusual materials and design methods, including dials made from historic aircraft or battleship metal. We’ve seen comparable dials from Bangalore Watch Company’s MACH 1X and REC Watches’ P-51, but hydro dipping with integrated luminescent is certainly new. It starts with a 45mm stainless steel cushion case that’s blasted and primed. After a minimum drying time of twelve hours, a series of up to eight luminescent, pigmented coats are applied in either green or turquoise blue with an hour drying time between layers. If all goes well without defects, the case is prepared for hydro dipping. 

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Using a temperature-controlled water bath, a water-soluble patterned film only four microns thick floats on the surface. It’s sprayed with a chemical to dissolve the film, leaving just the ink, and the case is carefully dipped into the bath at a 45-degree angle where the ink chemically bonds. The resulting hydro-dipped pattern seamlessly envelops the case and the handwork involved ensures that no two cases are exactly alike. Following a careful cleaning process and 24-hour drying period, two coats of durable sealant are applied. This entire process can take up to ten days and the resulting case glows in its entirety with unique patterns including black and white, green marble and camouflage.

The matte black dial features three sub-dials with a 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock and small seconds at 9 o’clock. A day-date complication sits at 3 o’clock. The syringe-style hour and minute hands have lume inserts, as does the triangular seconds hand and applied indices every hour. An internal rotating bezel with Arabic numerals printed every five minutes is controlled by a screw-down crown at 10 o’clock. The standard screw-down crown at 3 o’clock sets the date and time, while flat and slightly angled pushers on either side control the chronograph functions. A sapphire crystal with an anti-reflective coating covers the dial with a sapphire exhibition caseback revealing the Swiss automatic. All cases are water-resistant to 100 metres. 

The heart of the Tockr Air-Defender Lume is the ubiquitous, well-proven ETA/Valjoux 7750 automatic. It has 25 jewels, beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a 42-hour power reserve. It doesn’t have a column wheel (three-plane cam style) and comes with Incabloc shock protection. Functions include central hours, minutes and chronograph seconds, small seconds at 9 o’clock, 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock and 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock with a day-date complication at 3 o’clock. The height of the hands has been customized along with the skeletonized rotor. 

The Tockr Air-Defender Lume series comes with American-made straps from HIX Design studio in Oklahoma City. These “stealth” straps have a hand-stitched luminescent thread to complement the case and unique styling that includes a raised, perforated leather section near the lugs with multiple colour options. The new models retail for USD 3,250 and come with a two-year international warranty. For more information and to make a purchase, visit the Tockr website.

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