There’s value in having a watch in your collection that can go anywhere and do anything. If working at a desk throughout the week, heading out with friends for the night, and then maybe a little time outdoors to soak up some of that precious vitamin D that the sun so generously provides sounds like you, then you’re probably into a watch that can do it all with ease. That’s where I think the Dryden Heartlander fits in — pretty much everywhere. This 38mm timepiece is just the right size, boasts just the right specs, and sports an affordable price tag that makes it a seriously great option for an everyday timepiece. Typically, I tend to favor watches that can cut it no matter what I’m doing, and the ones that are more single-purpose don’t tend to get worn nearly as much. If I had a Heartlander, I could see it pulling daily duty with ease. Let’s take a closer look at these small, but mighty watches from Dryden. First, some specs:
Hands-On: The Dryden Heartlander Hits A Sweet Spot
Coming in at a very reasonable 38mm by 46mm lug-to-lug, the Heartlander is easy to wear on the wrist. At 11.2mm tall (this measurement includes the domed crystal), it stays out of the way, easily sliding under a cuff. For my modest 6.75” wrist, the 38mm case wears really, really well. It hits that goldilocks size where everything about it looks and feels right. More about that later. The case is water resistant to 100 meters, which is a respectable number for a field watch. It’s crafted from stainless steel and assembled in the United States.
Dryden is offering the Heartlander in a variety of dial designs, which also sport different case finishing, depending on which model you should choose. Some models have a brushed bezel, while others are rocking the polished look. I think this is an excellent way to punch up the look of the watch, giving it a different look and feel while only really changing one key element. Finishing on the case is nicely done, with brushed lugs and sides being separated by a highly polished bevel. The small cuts on the inside of the lugs are polished too, giving the lugs a slim and sleek appearance while adding more visual appeal. Curving gently downwards towards your wrist, the lugs make the watch wear comfortably on a bracelet or strap.
In profile, the Heartlander’s slim mid case is made to appear even slimmer than it is thanks to the polished bevels on both the top and bottom edges. The caseback hangs below the case and nestles into your wrist, removing much of it from the equation when looking at the watch on your wrist from the side. Up top, the bezel and domed crystal give the watch some nice wrist presence, while never being over the top.
One of the standout features is the large, 6.5mm knurled crown that resides at 3 o’clock on the right side of the case. It’s easy to twist thanks to the texture. Setting the time and date is a breeze and the beefy crown gives off a rugged vibe that furthers the field watch aesthetic that the Heartlander is going for.
Dial + Hands
There are a total of eight variations of the Heartlander, each with a different dial treatment. They fall into two main categories: a 3-6-9 style no-date field dial with applied indices called the “Classic Sport ”, and a more traditional 1-12 dial with printed indices and a date display at 6 (“Traditional Field”). The fact that there are eight different options make it easy to find something you like. We had the pleasure of checking out the Classic Sport in Blue Sunburst and Autumn Rust, as well as the Traditional Field in a handsome Black and Gold. All watches feature an arrow-style hour hand that’s reminiscent of that on the classic Tudor Ranger. For the minutes, a pretty standard pencil-ish hand gets the job done. I do like the small rectangular lume plot that’s mounted to the seconds hand, it gives off a fun vintage look.
One of the things that stood out immediately is the quality and execution of the dial. The printing is all top notch and the applied indices look excellent. They feature some of the higher quality dial work I’ve seen from smaller brands. I’m not huge on their wordmark logo at 12, but I do really like the cursive typeface they’ve used for the Heartlander name just above 6 o’clock. Playful colors and premium quality result in some really interesting watches that stand out from the pack of black dials and fauxtina lume field watches that make up a solid chunk of field watch offerings currently on the market.
Inside the Heartlander, you’ll find one of two movements. If you opt for the no-date, a Miyota 9039 ticks away. If you like a date display on your watch, the Miyota 9015 will be inside. Both movements are from the same Miyota 9000 series, which is a reliable and affordable movement that’s proven itself in the watch scene over the past few years. The movements beat at 28,800bph, which sends the seconds hand around the dial with a smooth sweep. When fully wound (via automatic rotor or hand winding the crown), the watch will run for a respectable 42 hours. Each movement is regulated and assembled in the USA, which is a nice touch knowing that they got some extra attention between arriving at the factory and being worn on your wrist.
Strap + Wearability
Each Heartlander ships on a 20mm bracelet that features highly articulated links and a strong taper to 16mm at the clasp. The bracelets are comfortable and easy to adjust, thanks to the screw-in adjustment pins (thank god it’s not a pin and collar). The look of the bracelet meshes well with the watch, resulting in a handsome and cohesive overall look. On the underside of the bracelet, a medium-sized clasp keeps everything secured. There are four micro adjustment holes that you can use to dial in the fit of the bracelet. Between the small link size and four micro adjust holes, I had no problem finding a comfortable size for my wrist. To open the clasp, simply push the two buttons (one on either side of the clasp) to unlock it, and be on your way. If the bracelet isn’t your thing, Dryden offers a wide range of nylon and rubber straps that will work well with the Heartlander as separate options on their site.
On wrist, the Heartlander is really easy to wear. It’s comfortable, legible, sized just right — it checks a lot of boxes for me. My favorite of the bunch I’ve been able to check out is the black and gold Traditional Field. It’s hard to come up with something to put in this section, the watch is just so inoffensive and easy to wear. That alone should say a lot.
Whether it’s the size, dial options, solid finishing, or very reasonable $500 price tag, there’s a lot to like about the Dryden Heartlander. I could see people who want a lot of bang for their buck and may not be too enthused by the larger brand’s offerings for a field watch gravitating towards the Dryden. I’ve enjoyed the time I spend with the watch quite a bit and I can honestly say it’s hard to find something not to like. The Heartlander delivers on what it promises in practically every way. It’s not trying to be anything it’s not, and that’s why I find it so appealing. Head over to Dryden to check out all of the interesting dial configurations and let us know in the comments below what you think of this solid offering from an up and coming brand.