There are polished stainless steel watches, and then there’s the new mirror-finished Isotope x Revolution Mercury, a watch inspired by different interpretations of mercury (liquid metal, mythological, and modernist design) and the first to sport a mirror-polished convex dial. There’s a novelty and a sense of whimsy in creating a timepiece this shiny. It isn’t all that practical, but it must be fascinating to wear. Additionally, the Mercury is a welcome addition to the Isotope catalog, which is currently occupied primarily by sporty and purpose-driven watches. The independent British brand known for unorthodox designs has filled the void left by a lack of dressier options with a watch that is quite unlike anything else and unapologetically Isotope.

While the watch looks like mercury with its silvery, polished stainless steel finish, it draws inspiration from other meanings of the word as well, including the Roman god Mercury, also known in Greek mythology as Hermes, and the bullet-shaped Mercury train designed by mid-century architect Henry Dreyfuss. Isotope has nicely incorporated Mercury’s eponymous muses into the watch, starting with the most obvious, the dial.

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Isotope’s signature Lacrima – aka teardrop – takes its place prominently at 12 o’clock, almost as if drops of liquid mercury had rolled around and beaded up together just above the hands. The three-part convex dial is mirror-polished, making it the first of its kind, according to Isotope and Revolution. It was no easy feat to achieve, either. Since the domed dial distorts reflection, it took Isotope engineers months to perfect the polishing techniques required to create uniformity throughout the curved surface. Each component of the three-part dial (the dial, subdial, and the ring surrounding the subdial) is first polished using the Sallaz technique, a process known for producing mirrored surfaces, and is then hand-polished.  The result is the first curved dial with a mirror finish.

The hour and minute hands (made entirely by hand) are intended to recall the laurel wreaths of Roman mythology and come together at their respective hour markers to form one elegant leaf. Lastly, the small seconds sub-dial framed by a polished ring is reminiscent of the headlight on the front of the Mercury Streamline train. Leaving out the hour markers was a smart move here. The empty dial showcases the mirror finish and keeps the wearer’s focus on the three muses represented by the Lacrima at 12 o’clock, leaf-shaped hands, and the subdial.

The curved lines of the case and polished steel resemble the Streamline Moderne aesthetic of the Mercury train and drive home the concept of a “mirror watch.” The new Isotope x Revolution Mercury also carries on the brand’s tradition of incorporating the Lacrima into the lugs by designing each lug in a half-teardrop shape. The lugs are also slightly raised from the rest of the case, which creates a bit more dimension and, I think, a nice break from the ultra-sleek look of the watch. Isotope claims the Mercury fits “like a glove” with a concave caseback, approachable 38mm diameter, and 10mm profile. It also features a domed AR sapphire crystal to accentuate the convex dial and a screw-in sapphire crystal caseback for a nice view of the decorations on the hand-wound caliber I-7, a modified ETA/Peseux 7001 movement with a 42-hour power reserve. The case also features 20mm lugs and a quick-release suede leather strap.

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I haven’t had a chance to examine the Mercury in the metal, but I can only imagine how hard it will be to keep it clean. However, I suppose that’s the novelty of a mirror-polished watch that doesn’t follow the typical rules of watchmaking. Instead, it demonstrates different polishing techniques meant to be admired and appreciated in all its shiny glory. The inevitable fingerprints that come with owning and admiring such a watch are part of the territory.

The amount of value for the level of artistry, hand-polishing, and time that went into developing and producing a watch at this price point is another major selling point. According to Isotope, it scrapped more than half the dials that were made to achieve the 150 needed for this limited edition run. Furthermore, design elements, such as a three-part dial and hand-crafted leaf-shaped hands, aren’t very common on watches at this price point. The Isotope x Revolution Mercury is priced at $2,588 USD and is available now in a limited run of 150 watches. For more information on the Isotope x Revolution Mercury, please visit the Isotope or Revolution website.

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