Melbourne-based Second Hour present the handsome Gin Clear MkIITime+Tide
In a world in which most pro-divers don’t use dive watches and more people rely on their phones to tell the time than ever, why not indulge once more in looking at a unique and capable underwater exploration tool from Second Hour, an Australian-based independent brand? You might remember the Mandala Burst we looked at a few months ago, a modern field and everyday watch that came with great specs and an incredible price. The Gin Clear MkII is no different. For A$1,200, you get 300 metres of water resistance, a gorgeous enamel-like dial, powerful lume, and a unique design. And that’s the strength of micro and independent brands today – to offer good watches that look like no other at a great price. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Gin Clear MkII.
There are many ways in which a watch can stand out. Whether it’s the movement powering the thing, the profile of the case, good lume, or the way it is assembled and finished. As someone who has reviewed many divers over the past three years, one of the ways in which the Gin Clear MkII stands out to me is the case. It has a thin profile and superb finish, with lugs that curve down towards the wrist, a thin mid-case section, and delicate alternations of polished and brushed surfaces. Measuring 40mm in diameter, 47mm lug-to-lug, 12.25mm thick, and having a 20mm lug width, the Gin Clear MkII will surely fit many wrists. On top of that, it boasts an impressive 300-metre water-resistance rating. That should be more than enough for most human beings.
Looking closely at the photos, we notice a slightly bulbous case-back, visually matching the sloped bezel which encircles a flat piece of sapphire crystal. There is a certain continuity in the design throughout the case which helps in making it look compact on the wrist. For reference, my wrist has a circumference of 6.25in/16cm.
While the coin-edged bezel received a fully brushed treatment for maximum functionality, the lumed bezel insert is made of scratch-resistant ceramic. The large screw-down crown, which provides outstanding grip, is further protected by short crown-guards that perfectly integrate with the design of the case. The case-back, for its part, is decorated with the figure of a turtle swimming in the ocean which is embossed and fully polished.
I feel there is a lot to like here by simply looking at the case profile and finish. And I would say that the combination of its dimensions and profile contributes to making the Gin Clear MkII look thin as well as being comfortable to wear. One element to note which I haven’t mentioned yet is the hardening coating on the case and bracelet of 1,200HV on the Vickers’ surface hardening scale. Not too shabby.
There is a lot to like about the dial too. First things first – Second Hour offers four colour options – Ocean Sunset, Sunburst Black, Arctic White and Pastel Blue. Here we are taking a look at the Arctic White which comes with an almost enamel appearance, and the Pastel Blue which has a subtle semi-matte finish. Whichever variant you look at, you’re going to be presented with a trademark design feature of the brand. The hour markers at the 12, 4, and 8 are enlarged to frame the dial and gently direct your gaze towards the hands. The same effect can be seen on the Mandala Burst which I mentioned in the introduction. These three hour markers are applied and in the shape of a tapered triangle that showcases a multi-part construction. More specifically, thick lume elements are sandwiched between pieces of polished metal.
All other hour markers, with the exception of the one found at the 6, are circular and also applied and complemented by polished surrounds. The marker at the six is horizontal and was designed in such a way to make space for a trapezoidal date aperture that comes with a colour-matched date wheel. The sword-shaped hour and minute hands receive fully polished treatment and host large quantities of lume, while the seconds hand has a lumed lollipop element and a red tip, to match the red “30 ATM” inscription printed below the pinion on the dial. Speaking of lume, Second Hour endowed the hands, applied markers, and bezel markings with generous applications of BGW9 SuperLuminova.
To complement the evident pragmatism and duty-oriented nature of the Gin Clear MkII, the bracelet is as well thought-out as the case. The five-link construction, where the thinner links are polished to echo the polished sides of the outer links, is well-machined and articulates perfectly for maximum comfort. The links are held together with screws, have quick-release spring bars, and the clasp is equipped with an on-the-fly micro-adjustment system. This means adjusting the length of the bracelet by a few millimeters is easy. Sometimes I like to wear my watch a tad loose just for the sake of it.
Powering the Gin Clear MkII we find a regulated ETA 2824-2 that beats at 28,800vph and has 38 hours of power reserve. Getting their hands on ETA calibers must not have been easy these days. The 2824-2 is legendary for its longevity, and is one of the most widespread Swiss mechanical movements on the planet. This means any capable watchmaker will be able to easily service it. I like to point this out because if you use the Gin Clear MkII as intended – to dive and go on adventures – it feels reassuring to know that the movement powering your tool watch is not only reliable but can also be easily serviced.
Second Hour Gin Clear MkII price and availability
The Second Hour Gin Clear MkII is readily available on the brand’s website. Price: A$1,200
|Gin Clear MkII
|40mm (D) x 12.25mm (T) x 47mm (LTL)
|Sapphire crystal front
|Pastel blue, orange, white, black
|Five-link steel bracelet, on-the-fly adjustment clasp
|ETA 2824, automatic
|Hours, minutes, seconds, date