I am definitely falling in love more and more each day with classic Italian watch making. There is something truly magical with the horological art that is produced by the old school Italian watchmakers. No I am not talking about the new school Panerai that tries to pass off their watches as still retaining that Florentine magic of old, I am talking about watchmakers like Ennebi for example. Having reviewed several watches from Pontvs/FN I see first hand that classic magic that they pull inspiration from, but the real magic happens when the infuse their watches with Pontvs/FN DNA. The blasted brass case with the oversized crown on the Hydra is some of that DNA I am referring to.
The 43mm case on the Hydra is nothing short of awesome. There are some details that I love and that makes this case really special. Just look at the shape and angles on the lug that gradually is integrated into the crown guard. This in my opinion is watchmaking wow factor. Pontvs added more detail to the lugs by drilling the lugs for the screw bars holding the strap. This adds to the rugged appeal of the Hydra in my opinion, plus I prefer drilled lugs for that ease of strap changing goodness. The large oversized silver crown is just magical. This adds so much to the profile/wrist presence on the Hydra. The edges and size of the crown make for extreme ease of operation, especially here in the mid-west December glove weather fun. I had no problem testing this crown out with my leather gloves on.
I love that the markers on the bezel are raised. For some reason this detail reminds me of something naval from the WW2 era. The bezel has some nice areas of added lume as does the crown. Of course this watch has some wrist pressure in well lit environments but it also kicks it when the lights go off. I’m not talking a faint glow either here, these lume details glow like a badass flashlight. Well done Pontvs. The case back does not suffer for lack of detail because of the engraved face of the god himself PONTVS.
Let me start with the positives of the dial on the Hydra, which the hands are an excellent starting point. Perfectly proportioned to the dial itself. Beautiful shape and color. Add in the arrow tip second hand and you have a winning trio here. The texturing on the dial adds a killer touch of depth of detail and allows the text to not only be legible but it also allows it to jump off the dial a bit giving it an almost 3-dimensional appearance. This Hydra has a blue dial, but it isn’t the same blue dial that I am accustomed to with Pontvs/FN watches. This shade of blue is falls kind of flat and doesn’t have a fluid cohesiveness against the case color/style. I personally found this a little disappointing but if you find yourself sharing my opinion about the blue fortunately Pontvs offers a black dial which looks so much better in my opinion. But maybe I have become too much of a creature of habit. Maybe I need to broaden my dial tastes more so.
The Hydra is a nice watch that is packed full of beautiful details that are reminders of the classic Italian watch making of yesteryear, but the Hydra also possesses details of the Pontvs/FN DNA nature that brings it all together into a nice little package. While this might not be my favorite offering from the good guys from Pontvs/FN, it still is a nice piece especially if you factor in the $390 USD asking price if you are looking to add a budget friendly watch to your collection. The Hydra is a comfortable watch to wear and a watch that has badass wrist presence as well thanks to the case design.
There are a few areas that can benefit from a bit of adjustment which is a first for me with Pontvs/FN. There is no such thing as a perfect watch and in my previous reviews I have made suggestions for improvements. The bezel rotation is rough and not in a tight/no play rough. It feels and sounds like there is sand inside the bezel. It’s that gritty rough. The raised markers on the bezel are another area of quality control management. The numerals look to be 75% stamped. I’m not sure if Pontvs was going for that distressed/worn look or not and maybe it has to do with the blasted finish. The last area that I believe could use some reworking are the choice of style of applied markers. The ones used here would look more fitting on a dressier style piece. Something more rugged looking would have been a better choice to add cohesiveness between case and dial. Are these deal breakers? I will leave that up to you as we all have our own wonderfully unique and individualized opinions that make this hobby personalized.
****update**** I have to admit after spending more time with the Hydra outdoors, the dial color has grown on me. The texture detail of the dial really creates some nice depth.
I want to thank you all for reading and sharing in my nutty obsession. I have never lost touch of why I started this blog. I continue to grow each year, but it’s always been about helping people like myself learn more about those unique options out there. My blog isn’t about gaining sponsorship, gaining money, it’s about sharing a passion.
I also want to thank Pontvs/FN for allowing this one man operation the honor and opportunity to review their watches. I am truly grateful.
-LIMITED TO 150 PIECES.
–Case Size: 43mm
-Lug to lug: 50mm
-Movement: Automatic NH35A
-Crystal: Sapphire with AR coating.
-Water Resistance: 200mt / 20 ATM
-Case Material: Naval grade blasted Brass (70% Cu) with lume application and screw down strap bars.
-Crown: Steel with lume application.
-Lume: Swiss C1 Superluminova.
-Straps: 24mm NATO with brass buckles and leather with brass buckle.
-Caseback: Blasted steel with Pontvs logo engraving, each piece is numbered.
-Box: Handmade wooden box.