Reviewing The Lorier Hydra II Dive Watch

Reviewing The Lorier Hydra II Dive Watch

Fabian Iber



I get hands on with one of the nicest vintage-inspired dive watches available from a microbrand - The Hydra II

It’s no secret that the watch world is undoubtedly saturated with microbrands, so standing out above all the noise is a real challenge for any young watch brand. For me however, there is a microbrand that’s really making a splash in the vintage-style diver market – and that’s Lorier.

Lorier is a New York based brand, co-owned by husband-and-wife team Lorenzo and Lauren Ortega who focus on creating vintage inspired timepieces that are versatile enough to be worn for pretty much any occasion. Lorier have been kind enough to send us their Hydra II dive watch for review – so let’s jump right into it.

Lorier Hydra II

The Lorier Hydra II - Image credit WatchGecko.

The Case

As you might have guessed with the Hydra II its design is based off its predecessor, though it has a much thinner case thanks to the upgraded movement (but we’ll get to that in a bit). Measuring at a total 11.55mm including the crystal on a 39mm case, I found the Hydra II very unobtrusive and comfortable to wear. Its sleeker design did allow me to dress it up or down easily just as Lorier intended.

I think opting for the 39mm case struck a good balance for larger and smaller wristed folk. When compared to the original Hydra you can see how the two are related, sharing similar design traits like the elongated straight-edged lugs. Though they’re more cousins than sisters, with a new redesigned case with an internal bezel the Hydra II really stands out on its own merits, while keeping the essence of its predecessor that made it special.

What’ll probably divide opinions on this case are the two crowns turning the interior bezel and setting the time/date. Positioned at 2 and 4 they sit pretty thick on the otherwise slender case. This is a common trait for Super Compressor watches however, and we don’t see many Super Compressor-style watches these days - especially affordable ones at that! So, the large crowns don’t bother me, in fact I think they’re a nice design-tribute to classic Super Compressors like the Benrus Ultra Deep – but at a less eye-watering price tag at $499.

Speaking of Ultra Deep, let’s talk about this dive watch’s performance in water. The 100-meter (or 330-feet) water resistance doesn’t sound like much, though it does technically qualify the Hydra II as a dive watch. What is reassuring however, is that each Hydra is pressure tested to function at these depths. So, if you’re a recreational swimmer, or like me have an inner ear problem that won’t let you dive to deep depths anyway, 100 metres is more than enough.

Lorier Hydra II

The Lorier Hydra II stainless-steel case - Image credit WatchGecko.

The Surfaces

The Lorier Hydra II uses 316L marine-grade stainless steel on the case, caseback, dual crowns and bracelet. The surfaces are brushed and feature polished edges around the lugs. This catches the light beautifully and the brushed finish reassures me that this watch is durable enough for everyday wear. The caseback has been left relatively bare, though does feature an elegant circular motif of the Lorier logo surrounding the caseback resembling a laurel crown. This does leave plenty of room for engraving if that’s your thing.

Lorier Hydra II caseback

The Lorier Hydra II engraved caseback - Image credit WatchGecko.

The Dial

Lorier has made some clear refinements on their original Hydra dial design, with a more streamlined appearance featuring crisp white lines as hour markers, and slim gold minute markers. These really compliment the arrow shaped hands and do a great job at framing the date window at 6 o’clock.

Legibility in low-light conditions was also not an issue thanks to the Swiss Super-LumiNova BGW9 coating the hands, indices and inner bezel marker at 12 o’clock. The other bezel markers are not lumed however, though the lumed triangular marker is a welcome detail that the previous Lorier Hydra didn’t feature.

The dial is reminiscent of vintage gilt watches but executed in a tasteful way that feels contemporary. The Hydra II definitely looks vintage inspired, the slimmed-down details still stand out against the black dial and gives the design breathing-space. Overall, I think Lorier nailed it at designing a vintage looking dial with sleek proportions that pulls the Hydra II into the 21st century.

Lorier Hydra II dial

The Lorier Hydra II close up of the Lorier dial - Image credit WatchGecko.

The Crystal

Lorier is known for their fondness for hesalite crystals. It has a warmth to it that doesn’t smudge or glare to the extent that sapphire crystals do. The Hydra’s domed hesalite crystal is a great alternative to the old acrylic crystals you’ll find on vintage watches like the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust. It’s another nod to a bygone era of watches that vintage watch-lovers would really appreciate.

That said, there is the issue with scratching. Acrylic crystals are more prone to scratches than their sapphire counterparts, so keep that in mind if you’re going to be using this watch for any outdoor activities. Most scratches can be buffed out however, and Lorier do include PolyWatch and a soft cloth in their packaging just in case.

Lorier Hydra II

The Lorier Hydra II and its hesalite crystal - Image credit WatchGecko.

The Bezel

The biggest change from the original Lorier Hydra must be the new internal bezel. It’s been streamlined to better integrate with the 6’oclock date window and now features numerals, making it easier to read, track time elapsed or use a second time-zone. Turning the internal bezel using the 2 o’clock crown is pretty satisfying, the crowns have knurled finish that feels tactile, and the bezel turns smoothly with enough resistance that it won’t accidentally rotate against my wrist.

The Lorier Hydra II bezel

The Lorier Hydra II and its internal bezel - Image credit WatchGecko.

The Movement

The Hydra II uses a reliable self-winding Miyota 9015 movement which allows the watch to be as thin as it is, compared to the Seiko NH35A from the last Hydra watch. This also gives the Hydra II a higher beat rate at 28,000vph for a noticeably smoother seconds hand sweep, better accuracy of -10 to +30 seconds a day and a power reserve up to 42 hours. While the Miyota movement is nothing exclusive, it allows the Hydra II to be accurate and reliable without driving up the price of the watch.

The Bracelet

The first thing I noticed when I put on the Hydra II is how streamlined the bracelet is. Coupled with how low the case sits, the watch hugged my wrist comfortably with a low profile that made it easy to wear under shirts. The stainless-steel bracelet tapers from 20mm to 16mm which gives the watch a nice oval shape, with polished surfaces all the way down to the engraved push-button clasp. Lorier also included a screwdriver in their packaging that made link adjustments easy to do if you don’t own a watch maintenance kit.

The Lorier Hydra II bracelet

The Lorier Hydra II on the Lorier stainless-steel bracelet - Image credit WatchGecko.

All in all, the Hydra II was very comfortable to wear, and I found it also worked very well on a selection of straps. I wanted to try the Hydra II on our WatchGecko Military Style straps to take advantage of the watch’s lightweight and compact design, and it looks great. Below you’ll see the Hydra II on our Vintage Watch Company Military Watch Strap, which brings out the gold accents of the dial.

The Lorier Hydra II on our VWC Military Watch Strap - Image credit WatchGecko.

For a more classic look I also found leather straps complemented the Hydra II and tried it out on a Radstock Vintage black leather strap. I believe vintage watch lovers would really enjoy this combination.

Lorier Hydra II on a Radstock Leather Strap

The Lorier Hydra II on our Radstock Vintage leather watch strap - Image credit WatchGecko.

Final Thoughts

I’ve really enjoyed my short time with the Hydra II and felt reluctant to send it back. Though the acrylic crystal made my clumsy-self a bit apprehensive, I’m impressed with the construction of the watch – yet it’s the design that really won me over. Lorier have reimaged the Super Compressor in a way that feels refreshing and tasteful without sacrificing the subtle design cues that inspired it. That said, there’s also a clear aesthetic to the brand that’s consistent throughout their collections and uniquely their own, which I find commendable for such a young brand. It’s a handsome watch with plenty versatility that stands on its own and will appeal to fans of vintage Super Compressors looking for an affordable alternative.

You can read more about the Hydra II on Lorier's website here.

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Fabian Iber

About the Author: Fabian Iber

About the Author: Fabian Iber

I’m a writer for WatchGecko Magazine, gravitating more towards anything that ticks off the beaten track with the occasional diver sprinkled in and enjoy seeing how microbrands are impacting the watch world.

More Articles by Fabian Iber