The latest watch in Isotope’s Hydrium dive watch series is a limited edition created in partnership with freediver Johanna Nordblad. Like all of the Hydrium limited editions, this one tells a very specific story through its design, particularly in its use of color, but this release feels a little different as it’s so closely tied to Nordblad herself. It also represents a new chapter in the Isotope line, and has been given the “Pro” moniker for the first time ever.
The Hydrium Pro Nordblad Limited Edition begins with the story of Johanna Nordblad. Nordblad took up scuba diving in her native Finland in 1997, and eventually transitioned to freediving, the sport that would become her true calling. She had a successful competitive freediving career for over a decade, breaking records in the process, but suffered a severe leg injury in 2010 that made diving impossible. She was on crutches for nearly a year, and suffered intense pain that was only alleviated by ice water treatment. It was during this time that Nordblad became interested in combining her love of freediving with cold water, and began practicing under ice. She has since accomplished several incredible diving feats in cold water situations, including swimming 103 meters under ice without fins and wearing only a bathing suit. This achievement set a record at the time, and was chronicled by Netflix in Hold Your Breath: The Ice Dive, an award winning documentary on Nordblad’s diving pursuits.
The new Hydrium pays tribute to Nordblad and features her name prominently on the dial near 6:00. The colorway for this watch is basic black with shots of ice blue in the seconds hand and dial text. White Arabic numerals at the cardinal positions (and white batons elsewhere) provide plenty of contrast with the black dial, and a lumed dive bezel increases legibility even further.
While other Isotope releases take a whimsical approach to whatever it is that inspired their design, the Hydrium Pro Nordblad is notable for beefing up the specs. According to Isotope, the watch has been engineered to exceed specifications for ISO 6425, the official certification that governs what can be called a “Diver’s watch.” The Hydrium Pro is certainly well equipped, with water resistance to 300 meters, a 120 click bezel, and standard dive watch fare like a sapphire crystal and screw down crown. The case is crafted from micro-blasted 316L stainless steel, and measures 40mm in diameter and 14.9mm tall (including the crystal). It runs on an automatic Landeron movement with 40 hours of power reserve and accuracy rated to 12 seconds per day in either direction.
The Hydrium Pro Nordblad is a limited edition of 100 pieces, and carries a retail price of $1,117 (after currency conversion). More information can be found on the Isotope website here.