They say everything in Texas is bigger, and Austin Ivey and the team at Tockr definitely prove that with the Air-Defender Chronograph. Just one look and you will know why this chronograph gets its “Hulk” nickname. But more on that later. Many would consider Tockr the new kid on the block considering they started the business in 2016. Tockr didn’t start up as many of the new micro brands have by using Kickstarter.
The founder, Austin Ivey, used his own money to start the company. That shows a true entrepreneurial spirit that is rare these days. Someone who is willing to put his own money where his mouth is. The Tockr “Hulk” Air-Defender Chronograph is the fourth in the series of Tockr Air-Defender chronographs. This edition will only see 100 examples made.
The case is made from 316L stainless steel. Some would consider the 15mm thick by 45mm wide by 50mm tip to tip case to be a bit on the large side. But, with my 7 ¼ inch wrist and a cushion case shape, it fits very comfortably. The cushion case has both brushed and polished surfaces with sharp transitions that simply look amazing. The top of the case is brushed. When you look at it, you can see the brushing goes in a circular pattern with the dial in the middle. The sides and bottom are polished. When you look at the case from the sides, you will notice that the bottom of the case is slightly concaved upward. Definitely different than one is used to when looking at cushion cases.
The water resistance is 100m thanks to the screw down caseback and screw down crowns. Speaking of which, there are two brushed, unsigned crowns. One at 3 o’clock to adjust the time/date, and another at 10 o’clock to adjust the internal bezel. Then you have brushed, angled button pushers at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock for the chronograph functions. On the display caseback, it is relief engraved, “Born in Austin TX-Made in Switzerland-316L Stainless Steel-Reference 4447 179/500-10 ATM Waterproof-Automatic Chronograph.” That’s right, waterproof. It is a bold statement to make.
Inside the case beats the heart of the Tockr Air-Defender Chronograph. It is a Valjoux 7750 movement with 25 jewels. The Valjoux 7750 has an approximate power reserve of 42 hours and beats at a very smooth looking 28,800 bph. Looking through the display caseback’s sapphire crystal, you can see the beautifully perlage-finished bridge plates on the movement as well as a rotor shaped like turbine blades on a modern jet engine.
The blades are a polished black color and stand out very well against metallic surfaces of the movement. The blades also transition to a brushed counterweight in the shape of a semi-circle with three raised edges in which the center edge is the plateau. It gives this part of the rotor a beautiful raised 3D effect.
Behind the sapphire crystal, that is slightly raised and chamfered, is a dial that has this beautiful deep green burst that transitions to a matte black. The dial looks busy but is still legible none the less. The stick hour indexes and fence post hour and minute hands are lumed with C3 Super-LumiNova for visibility in the dark. The chronograph seconds track is divided into ¼ seconds and seconds. The hour markers also have numerical five-minute delineations. The three sub-dials are a 12-hour totalizer at 6 o’clock, a running seconds at 9 o’clock, and a 30-minute totalizer at 12 o’clock. The hands of the totalizers (for legibility) are white needle-shaped, and the hand for the running seconds is a green triangle with lume on top.
The internal bezel is black with minute indexes with numerals at the 5s. The internal bezel is also bidirectional and is controlled by the screw down crown at the 10 o’clock position. The bezel’s movement is very fluid and very sensitive. The chronograph sweep seconds hand is black at the bottom half and green at the top half. At the three o’clock position you have the Tockr logo, the day and date windows, and the words ‘Automatic Chronograph.’ The day and date wheels are black with white letters/numbers. I know a lot of people do not like day/date apertures, but I am one of those people who still wear a watch to tell the time and the date. Yes, I have a smartphone, but wearing a watch (or pocket watch) gives me that tactile feeling that I enjoy.
The strap is from HIX Design, nicknamed the “Stealth” strap, that measures 22mm at the lugs but then expands out another 7mm on each side. It gives the Air-Defender a bracelet-like look, meaning that it gives it a smooth transition from the outer sides of the lugs to the strap. The upper part of the strap is a dark green leather with black stitching. There are holes in the green leather that show black leather below it. The shape and thickness of the strap remind me of those leather bracelets from the early to mid-70s. On the bottom of the strap, it has Tockr and HIX logos on one side and Made in the USA on the other. The strap feels solid and good on the wrist. The Nappa leather used is very thick and hearty.
It features quick change spring bars which allow for easy strap changes. Also, at 22mm, there’s a wide range of other straps from which you could choose. And Tockr was nice enough to supply mine with two extra straps along with the HIX Design strap. One is a premium black calf leather strap that dresses things up a bit. The second strap is a simple silicone strap that makes this tool watch all the more useful. All three straps are signed Tockr. And just when I thought Tockr was done giving me things, inside the watch box is a beautiful HIX Design leather wallet that matches the design and colors of the HIX Design “Stealth” strap.
It should be noted that the production models will have AR coating on both sides of both sapphire crystals. Also, the HIX Design “Stealth” strap is a $250 option that can be ordered and with whatever strap you do order, you will also receive an extra silicone strap. My opinion (if that matters to anyone) is that this is one solidly built chronograph. In the time that I have worn it, it has only lost 5 seconds. The lume shines like a flashlight. The dial, as busy as it is, is very legible and I could read all of the functions easily as I used them. The pushers give a very solid and satisfying click when pressed, the screw down crowns operate effortlessly, and the screwing action is very smooth. This comes from being milled very precisely.
All the metalworking done on the Air-Defender Chronograph is done extremely well. Because of my day job, metalworking is one thing I know very well. With the color of the dial and the HIX Design “Stealth” strap, the “Hulk” nickname is very apt for this chronograph. It definitely has a commanding presence on the wrist. I have received numerous compliments on this piece. The $1,600 USD base price tag may scare a lot of people, considering this is a microbrand. But, if you stop and take a real good look at what you are getting, you will see a watch that swings way above its price point. I tell you what, if you don’t believe me, go see one in the metal for yourself. Although I would recommend bringing a loupe with you. That way you can see the fit and finish in all its glory. I am so thankful to aBlogToWatch and Tockr for the giveaway. And I am very proud to add this piece to my growing collection.