The limited-edition 2009 Clerc Hydroscaph Gold Tourbillon (ref. TRB-HY-GOLD) diver offers a highly complicated self-winding (most probably in-house) movement, which is packed inside a huge, rugged-looking case that measures whole 50 millimeters in diameter and looks like it can withstand a nuclear depth charge blast of epic proportions. And if you are into all things unusual, you may also like that this limited edition timekeeper sports one of the most uncommon bezels among currently available luxury divers.
Although in some cases it may take a whole decade for even the most financially capable brands to develop a new complication movement, the Swiss-based Clerc SA managed to perform the task of creating a new, even more exclusive member of their highly successful Hydroscaph line of heavy-duty diving instruments in less than five months.
Replacing the original GMT indicator with a retrograde 31-day calendar, installing a 60-minute tourbillon module and partly skeletonizing the multilayered dial, Clerc has effectively created one of the most exclusive diving instruments on this blue planet.
Their new Hydroscaph Gold Tourbillon sports a healthy 50-millimeter case, which easily dwarfs such deep-see monsters as this year’s 46-mm Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic Navy SEALs, 45-mm DOXA SUB 5000T Seaconqueror, and even the enormous 46-millimeter Favre-Leuba Bathy V.2 mechanical depth meter.
Although huge, this particular timepiece doesn’t make an impression of an awkwardly-shaped chunky piece of metal.
Au contraire, the limited-edition Hydroscaph looks like a real diving instrument created for real professional use. Of course, given the choice, I would have preferred an original Hydroscaph GMT Diver 1000m with its more subdued titanium case and more legible dial layout.
However, even the most luxurious Limited Edition Gold Tourbillon model still leaves an impression that was made for work, not just for show.
My only complaint regarding this watch is the Gargantuan Helium-escape valve protruding at the 10 o’clock position.
To my taste, this unavoidable part of a heavy-duty diving instrument draws too much attention to itself. It would be much better if Clerc’s engineers somehow managed to put the valve 3-4 millimeters lower, partly hiding it in titanium part of the case.
Well, to hell with that! I also don’t like the six Arabic numerals that are printed on the Hydroscaph LE’s sapphire crystal, also subtracting from the dial’s overall legibility and further cluttering the design. And the tourbillon modules that are well-known for their unreliability in harsh conditions also isn’t the best choice for a “diver” officially rated for depths of 500 meters (1500 feet.)
Well, as I have already pointed out, I would rather buy the original Hydroscaph model. Otherwise, this looks like a beautiful diving tool for millionaires.
Clerc still stays mum about the model’s price, but I highly doubt that it will cost less than $100,000. Or, better, €100,000.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 3/5
Nighttime Legibility: 1/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Clerc Hydroscaph Gold Tourbillon (ref. TRB-HY-GOLD) specification
Functions & Complications: Hours, minutes, retrograde date indicator, power reserve, tourbillon
Power reserve: 120 hours
Case: 18-karat rose gold, high-grade titanium
Size: 50.00 mm
Height: 16.00 mm
Dial: Black, skeletonized
Water resistance: 500 meters
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-glare coating, 4.00 mm thick