Do not adjust your screens. What hyou’re seeing is the latest update to the Tockr Air Defender collection in all its glorious technicolor. Put your hands together for the Tockr Air Defender Hydro-Dip watch collection, headlined by the joyously trippy Tie Dye model pictured in the lead image.
As you will see from the gallery, each model in this collection is available on one of two straps. There is either a standard-width strap, as one might expect to see on the standard Air Defender range, or customers can plump for an extra-wide “stealth” strap made by Hix out of Oklahoma City. I believe the Hix straps make a very striking impression and fit the proportions of the cases very well, but the materials used in the standard-width straps (especially the electric blue toad leather fitted to the Tie Dye model in the lead image) are very high quality, indeed.
American brand Tockr has decided to radically overhaul one of its core models by treating the Air Defender Chronograph to a visually striking hydrographic image transfer. This is a process that is more often used in motorsport and industrial design. Seeing this kind of aesthetic embellishment from a watch brand (especially at this accessible price point) is practically unheard of.
What is remarkable to me, at first glance, is how incredibly sharp the images are. To bend a flat image around a 3D object so seamlessly does seem incredibly difficult to my mind, which, by the sound of things, it is. At the moment, there are several designs advertised by Tockr, including Tie Dye, Magma, black or blue Carbon, and black or Hulk (green) Camo, but it is also possible for customers to commission a custom Hydro-Dipped case from a library of colorful graphic themes, textures, and designs like pink camo, wood effect, fire, animal prints, and more. The turnaround time for a custom Tockr Hydro-Dip watch is as quick as four weeks. All of these treatments must be applied by an expert, who takes a stainless steel case (which has first been primed for coating), and then passes it through a patterned, water-soluble film that is suspended on a liquid water surface. The film substrate dissolves into ink that is applied to the case by immersion printing. This results in the images enveloping the case and curing to a highly durable, scratch-resistant finish. Because each Tockr Air Defender Chronograph Hydro-Dip watch is decorated by hand, no two will ever be the same.
The watch beneath the fancy coating is no mug, either. The Tockr Air Defender Chronograph watches extol the true spirit of the brand. Inspired by an active lifestyle with aviation-led designs, these watches have their aesthetic roots in the 1970s, when watchmakers started to experiment with more interesting sculptural case designs. At 45mm, the cushion-shaped stainless steel case packs a modern punch with a retro vibe. My favorite part of the Tockr Air Defender case (not counting the Hydro-Dip decoration) is the concave bevel that surrounds the domed sapphire crystal. This gives the watch’s case so much more character and nuance with increasing thickness to the point at which it would be unwearably large.
One advantage of the case size is its inherent robustness, resulting in its wearability. The watch is water-resistant to 100 meters, and the dial is treated with Ultra-luminescent markers to ensure legibility in all light conditions. For added functionality, the rotating inner bezel can be adjusted by pushing the crown at 10 o’clock. Additionally, this hefty housing is home to one of the industry’s most reliable calibers — the evergreen premium Valjoux 7750 Swiss-made automatic movement, given new life by the awesome Tockr skeletonized rotor. The ubiquitous movement has a maximum power reserve of 42 hours and can record up to 12 hours of elapsed time via the chronograph function. The sub-dials on the dial show the going seconds, the 30-minute counter, and the 12-hour counter at 9, 12, and 6 o’clock, respectively. At 3 o’clock, a handy day/date window is applied. The new Tockr Air Defender Chronograph Hydro-Dip watches are custom-painted inpainted in orange, red, or green to coordinate with the housing, but are generally bright flashes of color set against a deep blue or black dial.
From the press shots we’ve received, this is one of the most interesting and exciting watches of the year for me, so far. As such, we’ve scheduled to do a long-term wear review of the Tie Dye model (coming in October), so we can really dig into exactly how this Hydro-Dip process works and discuss its potential for Tockr and the industry as a whole. The Tockr Air Defender Chronograph Hydro-Dip watches retail for $2,850. They also come with a two-year international warranty. Discover the universe of Tockr at tockr.com.