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Clerc Hydroscaph Limited Edition Chronograph Watch Review

Clerc Hydroscaph Limited Edition Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

I said it before and will confirm it again now, this is probably the best dial that Clerc watches has designed in its modern life. I first covered this very nice Hydroscaph Limited Edition Chronograph watch here. Now after some time on my wrist I can discuss it a bit more.

The basic Hydroscaph watch case has more or less remained the same for Clerc since its inception a few years ago. Though each model has little differences such as were pushers or crowns are placed. The 44.6mm wide case is highly impressive not only for its visual design, but its level of comfort as well as ergonomics. There is also the matter of the 1000 meters of water resistance. I spent more time discussing the base Hydroscaph case here when I reviewed the GMT version.

Clerc Hydroscaph Limited Edition Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The only reason I can think that Clerc made this good looking chronograph a limited edition is because they couldn’t get more movements. Though I can’t be sure. Inside the Hydroscaph Limited Edition Chronograph is what Clerc calls their Caliber C608 automatic. The C608 is a base movement with a custom chronograph module done for Clerc. I am guessing that it was made by Dubois-Depraz or someone similar in Switzerland. The chronograph is a central minute chronograph – which I love. Not just that but it is also a GMT movement.

Clerc Hydroscaph Limited Edition Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

A central chronograph optimizes legibility by using the central dial for the chronograph seconds and minutes. When the chronograph is not activated the hands literally sit right on top of one another. Using the central dial for both the chrono seconds and minute ups the readability factor by a lot. Further, Clerc’s design of the hands makes it so that the hour and minute hands for the time don’t blend in with the chronograph hands.

Having a central chronograph means you can get away with having just two subdials. This offers an elegant symmetrical dial and two large, highly stylized, useful subsidiary dials. Like many people I am intrigued by all the new GMT watches that use subdial GMT hands versus ones on the main dial. This isn’t the first time Clerc has used a subdial for GMT indication and I am glad that this manner of indicating a second timezone seems to work.

Clerc Hydroscaph Limited Edition Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

One of the coolest design features of this updated Hydroscaph watch case are the chronograph pushers. Wing-like in their form, they pivot on joints near the crown. and offering a neat look and are easy to operate. For this model the bezel rotating crown is placed on the left side of the watch.

Clerc will make about four versions of the Hydroscaph Limited Edition Chronograph watch available. This one is in a DLC black coated case with brownish gray and black dial. I personally prefer the model that has orange trim. A third model makes due in polished steel without DLC, and one more after that comes in an 18k rose gold case. For me a DLC coating is a good thing to have given its ability add further wear resistance to an any watch.

Clerc Hydroscaph Limited Edition Chronograph Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Is that vanilla I smell? Yes it is. Clerc supplies the Hydroscaph Limited Edition Chronograph with a scented rubber strap, but the pungent smell never removes from the piece’s masculine allure. The modern style with classic Swiss sentiment really does feel like what Clerc was founded on and continues to produce to this day. There is a fun masculinity and sobriety in this brand… and this piece in particular adds a good sense of visual balance to the equation. It is like a big chunky watch that you can justify to anyone by calling it a piece of art.

As a chronograph and GMT watch the Hydroscaph Limited Edition Chronograph makes sense, but I wouldn’t call it a a perfect traveler’s watch because a subsidiary GMT dial can be hard for some people to read. On this watch I found it OK actually, and you can even see that Clerc used two colors for the dial to indicate day and night – a nice little touch. It is possible for people to not like the dial style, but I personally like the mod-retro angles and bold indexes. The luminant is bright and the style seems to match with the case.

Clerc has produced 500 pieces (each) of these watches which by my calculations means there are about 2000 of them floating around. Priced here at around $11,220, the watch starts at $9,350 in non-DLC coated steel and goes up to $17,100 in rose gold and DLC. They are on the pricey side but not a let down for what you would spend on something else.



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  • kris c

    Want. I also prefer the orange trim version, but I’ve said my piece the last time we talked about this one. Love it.

    Although, the Louis Moinet ‘wing’ chrono pushers predate these, and may be a little bit cooler.

  • Ulysses

    For once, I agree with pretty much everything you said. I quite like the smell of vulcanised rubber though >_>. I also prefer the non-plated versions.

  • Jim Clement

    Nice intelligent dial design. Clerc cases are in a class of their own. I really like this one for a chronograph.

  • Jim Clement

    Whoops! this should have been contained in first comment:

    I did notice that the GMT dial colors were divided from 00:00 to 12:00, then from 12:00 to 24:00. Wouldn’t this make the GMT dial more of an AM/PM indicator, rather than a true Day/Night division?

  • Randall Beaton

    I think that the Clerc Icon 8 dial is far superior to this one. I guess it all depends on your definition of “Modern Life”. Although I really like the brand (and own two of their timepieces), this particular model doesn’t do it for me.

  • TMS

    I’m surprised that no one has commented on the price…I just don’t buy into it. I have a JLC Extreme World Chrono with an in-house chronograph movement, a column wheel vertical clutch one at that, similar size case and with a world timer….all this for a considerable amount of money less than the DLC coated version and I bought it brand new from an AD. I am not gloating, I just want to prove that this watch has been priced against what I would like to think is really formidable competition.

    I am all for independent watch brands and I actually really like the design of this watch but there isnt a hope in hell that I would pay more than $1000 for it. I just dont understand who these brands hope to sell watches to at that price. Either that or the RRP is actually meaningless and they end up all getting sold at discount stores to people thinking they are getting a bargain when they see the original tag but are still getting ripped off.

    I know the mark up on watches must be large but I think prices like this are an insult to the majority of people that end up spend their money. I am no cheapskate but when I spend over $10,000 on a watch then I want to fully understand what I am getting into. A chrono module (DP or otherwise), funky pushers and a scented strap do not amount to 5 figures!!!! Rant over, ha!

    • kris c

      Not that I disagree with your comments, but I’m lost as to why your chrono is better than this one – because it is JLC? If it were part-by-part the exact same movement, only made by Seiko, would you have paid that much for it, or bought it at all? Are you sure you didn’t just end up buying a logo?

      • TMS

        I 100% bought a “logo” but I did not make that choice in order to flaunt that to other people as one might with a pair of designer logo jeans or a t shirt (no one that has asked me about that watch has known who JLC are). I bought the logo after a lot of research about the movement, the patents that JLC obtained in the production of, comparison to similar watches, trying different watches on to compare feel, fit, finish etc and also reading about the heritage of JLC and where that watch fitted into their DNA. This might sound OTT or cheesy or whatever but I couldnt justify spending the cash without this thought process.

        I know a good few people that would make the Seiko choice you have laid out above for that specific reason – Seiko make amazing watches and their movements are arguably unparalleled, although I dont own a Seiko and probably will never – none of their designs seem to appeal to me that much.

        I am not saying this Clerc is a bad watch, I just cant think of the justification that a discerning watch buyer (I would like to think I am one of these?!) could come up with for spending 5 figures on this it!!

        • kris c

          I have not done or witnessed any side-by-side comparisons, so I wouldn’t know for sure, but a patent does not translate to a superior design – just an exclusive one. I could patent a movement made from laquered birch with a hairspring made from vulcanized rubber, but that doesn’t mean it would be any good (in fact, it would suck out loud: probably run for about 3 minutes).

          Fit, feel, and finish are all different categories, and are highly subjective and centric to the end user (wearer), and as such one’s personal opinion cannot be trumped in that case, but a movement patent means little in terms of quality or durability. In fact, I have a colleague that wears JLC, obviously with an in-house movement, that has been as reliable as a sun dial and has spent more time at authorized service centres than on his wrist. Does that make it a bad movement design? No, his is most likely just an unfortunate anomaly, but it was made using the same processes and people as your World Timer.

          That you don’t think the watch/movement in this entry is worth even $1000 reeks somewhat of ignorance, espcially considering you mention enjoying the design. I wouldn’t bat an eye at functionality or reliability claims on a custom-made movement produced by an expert house like Dubois-Depraz.

          • TMS

            Maybe the $1k was a bit drastic but you get the drift…

            What i love about watches is that they are one of the only ways that men can express their style and like you said everything is very subjective and open to debate! Anything I have said is obviously IMHO and I didnt intend to start a this vs. that debate i just tried to make a point using a personal example.

            Check out the JLC 752 – the patents they filed were to do with how the movement is encased in order for it to sit on a shock absorption system to withstand impact from the top, apprently one of the hardest things to do with a watch. pretty interesting stuff….

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