On The Wrist Review: Clerc Hydroscaph

Clerc Hyrdoscaph

Last year a fascinating and at times feisty exchange took place on this site regarding the role and professionalism of bloggers. This subject has reappeared on other forums since then, suggesting that we don’t do our research before we write. So, to counter that we’ve decided today to take an educated look at the Clerc Hydroscaph.

The Facts In Brief
Founded in 1874 and still owned by the Clerc family, the main product lines are the Odyssey and Hydroscaph watches. Both are unashamedly large, these are eye-catching time pieces, but I am going to discuss the Steel version of the Hydroscaph and what it is like to live with.

The Hydroscaph
The Hydroscaph is big; as you can see from the picture probably a bit too big for my scrawny wrists but it still fits very nicely. While the lugs aren’t articulated they do reach around the wrist making  the fit snug and and it hugs the wrist. As befits a true diver’s watch the strap is rubber, but in the two weeks I have been wearing the watch it has never once been sweaty or uncomfortable even in a Geneva summer. It has a nice quality feel and is wide and thick enough that it doesn’t look like it is going to perish or crack.

If you prefer it is available with a hornback crocodile strap which is very nice at a small extra cost, but seriously only buy it if you aren’t going diving.

The multi-part case is rated to a depth of 1000m and is constructed using a number of gaskets with all fittings being of the screw-in variety to maintain the seal. The main body has a brushed finish, but the crown is a mixture of both polished and brushed surfaces and this gives it a very superior look and feel. The bezel also rotates and rather than moving freely is altered with a fold out clasp at the 1 o’clock position.

The dial is time, date and GMT and Power Reserve; the first two of which are controlled via the stem while the GMT display at 12 o’clock is set by using the screw-down pusher located between 10 and 11 o’clock. This version came with the lime green hands which I have to say I prefer and are very much on trend. It is not overly done – some other models literally plaster the color all over – but just enough to accentuate the right bits. The dial is split horizontally, textured black to the top and white at the bottom, and whilst some may argue that this could slightly compromise readability I have to say I don’t care as I really like this design very much.

There is an issue that must be addressed with any steel watch – the weight. For the Hydroscaph I would say it is weighty rather than heavy, and although there is a titanium version if you prefer, when I’m buying a diver’s watch I want it to be solid, it has a job to do after all. I don’t think at any point I felt that it was too heavy and my daily watch is considerably lighter. Go with the steel.

I really enjoyed wearing this watch, it’s easy to wear, feels like it would last a lifetime and will not look out-dated in 5 years time. I don’t dive so I might be tempted by that fancy hornback crocodile strap for that extra bit of class but I think that would be my only request.

The Final Word
I am  extremely lucky I get to try out watches on a fairly regular basis but not for some considerable time has a watch provoked so many positive comments from colleagues and friends. This is a quality product, makes a very bold statement while having the cache of being uncommon and reasonably priced, a difficult trick to pull off. This watch would certainly make my Christmas wishlist.

To see more from Clerc please visit their official website: www.clercwatches.com

Ian  Ellery
Ian Ellery is a guest contributor on The Watch Lounge. When he’s not writing about watches he presents his technology radio show in Geneva, collects vintage watches and attends auctions.


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  2. Guy David

    What a great watch. Love the dial. Need to see one in real life. Any dealers of this brand in Holland?

  3. adam bullough


    I have just bought a Clerc Odyssey but cant change the time!!
    What is the trick please????



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