In the realm of gear and wristwatch reviews, it’s easy to become jaded. After all, how many ways can you dissect a watch? But every so often, a piece comes along that reignites the passion. Enter the Gin Clear MkII from Second Hour Watches.
While the specs are readily available on the Second Hour website, this review is more about the experience. It’s about how Second Hour Watches has managed to craft a high-end wristwatch, ticking all the boxes, without the high-end price tag. My time wearing the Gin Clear has been with the constant thought that this watch is $800, when you remember that, you will see why I give it a thumbs up to buy one.
Having had the privilege to experience a lot of watches lately, from casual meetups to after-hour events, the Gin Clear MkII stands out. It’s comparable to the likes of the Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro 300 I just picked up, but at a $200 savings.
Design & Aesthetics: Versatility at its Finest
The Gin Clear MkII isn’t just a watch; it’s a chameleon.
Its design is a blend of functionality and elegance, allowing it to transition seamlessly from the family day at the beach to the glitz of a gala.
At its core, the Gin Clear MkII is a dive watch, and its design elements pay homage to this heritage. The 300-meter water resistance, the uni-directional rotating bezel, and the Swiss BGW9 SuperLuminova across the bezel, hands, and indices ensure that it’s more than capable of accompanying you on underwater adventures.
The robust construction ensures that it can withstand the pressures of the deep, while the luminous elements guarantee legibility even in the murkiest of waters.
But where the Gin Clear MkII truly shines is in its ability to rise above its utilitarian roots. The slim, contoured case adheres to modern design sensibilities, making it sleek enough to slide under a dress shirt cuff.
The gloss and sunray finish on the dial, combined with the custom-made indices at 12, 4, and 8 o’clock, lend an air of sophistication. The color-matched date wheel and the strategically placed date window at 6 o’clock ensure a balanced and symmetrical look, further enhancing its aesthetic appeal.
Whether you’re attending a business meeting, enjoying a casual day out, or heading to a formal event, the Gin Clear MkII is up to the task. Its design is understated yet distinctive, allowing it to be a conversation starter without overshadowing your ensemble.
Moreover, the variety of color options, from the pristine Arctic White to the deep sunburst black, ensures that there’s a Gin Clear MkII for every occasion and every mood. Pair it with a suit for that upscale event, or with jeans and a tee for a casual day out; the watch adapts, making a statement every time.
In essence, the Gin Clear MkII is a masterclass in design versatility. It’s a testament to Second Hour Watches’ ability to craft a timepiece that’s not bound by labels or categories but is, instead, a reflection of the multifaceted lives we lead.
Build & Quality: A Testament to Craftsmanship
The Gin Clear MkII doesn’t just wear its quality on its sleeve; it embodies it in every facet. From the moment it’s picked up, the watch communicates a sense of solidity and precision that’s rare in its price bracket.
Constructed from 316L Stainless Steel, the watch is both durable and aesthetically pleasing. This grade of steel is renowned not just for its resistance to corrosion, especially in saline environments, but also for its lustrous finish. It’s a material choice that speaks to the watch’s dive heritage while also ensuring longevity.
The surface hardening of 1200 Vickers is another standout feature. In practical terms, this means the watch is incredibly resistant to scratches and wear, ensuring that it retains its pristine look even after years of use.
This level of hardening, significantly above industry average, showcases Second Hour Watches’ commitment to durability.
The sapphire crystal, a material second only to diamond in hardness, ensures the watch face remains unscathed from potential impacts. Coupled with six layers of internal AR coating, it guarantees clarity and legibility in a variety of lighting conditions.
The bracelet, often an overlooked component in many watches, shines in the Gin Clear MkII. The solid screw links and end links provide a sense of heft and durability. The quick-release spring bars are a nod to modern convenience, allowing for easy strap changes, though with a bracelet this well-crafted, one might be hard-pressed to make a switch.
Every interaction with the watch, from adjusting the time using the easy-grip crown to feeling the tactile feedback of the rotating bezel, reinforces its premium build. The embossed Hawksbill Turtle image on the case back is not just a design element; it’s a tactile experience that connects the wearer to the watch’s oceanic inspirations.
In essence, the Gin Clear MkII’s build quality isn’t just about materials or specs; it’s about the experience. It’s the culmination of thoughtful design, meticulous craftsmanship, and a clear vision of what a dive watch can and should be.
Variants & Versatility
Available in multiple colors, including a stunning Arctic White, the Gin Clear MkII is versatile. It’s rugged yet refined, making it suitable for both outdoor adventures and formal events.
No product is without its quirks. The bracelet’s micro-adjustment could benefit from a locking mechanism. And while the hands are robust, a slightly thicker design might enhance the watch’s overall presence. I also would like the bracelet to be completely brushed, but again, thats subjective. I don’t like to be too flashy.
Few watches at this price point offer such value, and the Gin Clear MkII stands as a testament to this. The 300-meter water resistance and the on-the-fly micro-adjustment bracelet are just the tip of the iceberg. The regulated Swiss ETA 2824 automatic movement is the cherry on top.
Beyond its impressive features, it represents a harmonious blend of quality, functionality, and aesthetics without the exorbitant price tag. In an industry where many brands mark up their products based on name recognition or fleeting trends, Second Hour Watches has chosen a different path.
They’ve prioritized genuine craftsmanship and user-centric features, ensuring that every dollar spent on the Gin Clear MkII feels justified. It’s not just about getting a watch; it’s about investing in a timepiece that delivers far beyond its cost, proving that excellence doesn’t always have to break the bank.
A Rare Gem in a Sea of Mediocrity
In the world of watch and gear reviews, I’ve grown increasingly discerning. Over the years, my standards have risen, and my tolerance for subpar products has diminished. It’s not uncommon for me to decline offers of free watches and gear.
The reason? A deluge of companies are churning out products that, frankly, don’t meet the mark. And while it’s never pleasant to critique, it’s even more challenging when a brand reaches out with goodwill, only for its product to fall short. I’ve always believed in honest reviews, and it’s easier to be candid when it’s my own money on the line.
Enter Second Hour Watches and their Gin Clear MkII. They approached me with confidence in their product, urging transparency and honesty in my assessment. And I must say, they’ve given me little to critique. Beyond a few subjective aesthetic preferences, the Gin Clear MkII stands as a beacon of quality in a market that’s often saturated with mediocrity.
The watch doesn’t just get my nod of approval; it’s a testament to what’s possible when a brand is committed to excellence. In a landscape where I’m frequently disappointed, the Gin Clear MkII is a refreshing reminder of the heights horology can achieve.
It’s not just a watch; it’s a statement. And it’s one I’m proud to stand behind.
Blair Witkowski is an avid watch nut, loves pocket knives and flashlights, and when he is not trying to be a good dad to his nine kids, you will find him running or posting pics on Instagram. Besides writing articles for Tech Writer EDC he is also the founder of Lowcountry Style & Living. In addition to writing, he is focused on improving his client’s websites for his other passion, Search Engine Optimization. His wife Jennifer and he live in coastal South Carolina.