Hot on the heels of releasing the most purpose-built dive watch that the brand has put forward thus far, Isotope has taken the Hydrium collection in the complete opposite direction for its follow-up release of 2023 to create a new space-themed version of the brand’s fan-favorite diver. Known as the Isotope Hydrium NASA, the new limited-edition timepiece has received NASA’s official approval to use the famous space agency’s logo, and while I’m not always the biggest fan of NASA-branded watches, I think this one looks particularly promising. I’ve already inquired about the possibility of having a sample sent for a full hands-on review, but here is an initial first look at the new Isotope Hydrium NASA watch.
Crafted from stainless steel and measuring 40mm in diameter by 48mm lug-to-lug, the underlying case design of the new Isotope Hydrium NASA is the same as what can be found across the rest of the greater Hydrium collection of watches. If you want my full thoughts on this case, you can check out my hands-on review of the Isotope HydriumX “The Judge” (tldr: I’m a big fan of its fun and almost cartoon-like approach to the classic diver concept). That said, rather than featuring a micro-blasted finish like the rest of the models from the Hydrium lineup, the case of the new Isotope Hydrium NASA features a Cerakote coating that both increases its hardness and provides it with a distressed appearance that is inspired by the partially-burnt heat shields of spacecraft, which are subjected to enormous temperatures as they re-enter Earth’s atmosphere.
Similarly, just like previous iterations of the Hydrium and HydriumX, a domed sapphire crystal sits above the dial, a screw-down display caseback is fitted to the reverse side of the watch, and a signed winding crown is located at the 3 o’clock location, which screws down to help guarantee the Hydrium NASA’s generous 300-meter depth rating. Despite this particular model’s space exploration associations, the Hydrium series itself is still based upon the core blueprint of a dive watch, and the top of the new Isotope Hydrium NASA’s case is completed by a 120-click unidirectional rotating timing bezel that is fitted with a fully-demarcated luminous sapphire insert.
The dial fitted to the Isotope Hydrium NASA features a white fully-luminous surface with subtle dark blue accents for both its minute track and the outline of the lacrima (teardrop) shape that occupies the center. The NASA logo appears in its signature red color inside the lacrima on the lower half of the dial, and these same colors are mirrored on the hands, with the hour and minute hand finished dark blue, while the seconds hand is bright red to match the NASA signature on the dial. Between its full-lume dial surface, luminous handset, and matching luminous bezel insert, nearly the entire face of the Isotope Hydrium NASA glows in the dark. This only further adds to what is already a very fun and compelling overall package.
Just like most of the other three-handed Isotope watches, the new Hydrium NASA is powered by a Swiss Landeron automatic movement, which is based upon the core architecture of the familiar ETA 2824 and runs at a frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with a power reserve of approximately 40 hours. Similar to a number of other Hydrium and HydriumX models, the 22mm lugs are fitted with a gray tropic-style FKM rubber strap; however, the new Isotope Hydrium NASA also comes with an additional white fabric Hook Strap that prominently features the red NASA logo, and which was made exclusively for Isotope by Nick Mankey Designs.
The Isotope Hydrium NASA will be produced as a limited edition of 200 pieces, and it will be accompanied by an official retail price of £825 GBP (or approximately $1,000 USD at the time of writing), which places it right in line with the rest of the brand’s catalog. While this does make it negligibly more expensive than some of the other current-production Hydrium and HydriumX models, this is likely due to the fact that it comes with both a standard rubber strap and the matching NASA-branded fabric strap from Nick Mankey Designs. While the Hydrium itself is a diver, Isotope’s fun and futuristic aesthetic lends itself particularly well to a space-themed watch. Additionally, Cerakote is available in many different colors and appearances; however, the Hydrium itself is already a proven formula, and based upon the press photos alone, the new Isotope Hydrium NASA looks like it will be tons of fun on the wrist. For more information on the Isotope Hydrium NASA watch, please visit the brand’s website.