Isotope is a British watch brand that we’ve covered fairly extensively on Worn & Wound. They take a unique approach to watch design that incorporates a signature shape (the lacrima, resembling a teardrop) and frequently makes use of vibrant color. Their range of HydriumX divers are a lot of fun and have proven to be fan favorites, and I reviewed their GMT back in March of 2021. The brand lives and dies by their playful designs: some resonate strongly, but others simply may not strike a chord. That’s perfectly OK, though. It’s the cost of doing things your own way, and a natural side effect of operating within a design language that doesn’t rely too much on watch historical design tropes.
So I was curious to check out one of their latest releases, the Old Radium Bronze Tobacco. The Old Radium line is Isotope’s take on a pilot’s watch, a genre that is well understood in the broader consciousness of watch collectors, and notably challenging to iterate on. Many brands issue pilot’s watches that effectively look the same, and only the most hardcore connoisseurs will pick out the seemingly smallest differences in dial layout, case shape, and so forth. Isotope’s approach with the Old Radium is actually quite similar to what they’re doing with dive watches via the HydriumX line: taking the frame of something common, and filling it with something whimsical.