Tockr Air Defender
I have a soft spot for German style inspired watches, so when I saw the Tockr Air Defender, I needed to check it out. I will get into the inspiration for this watch later on, but I wanted to talk a little bit about how this company came about. I have had a few conversations with Austin Ivey, part owner of Tockr Watches and he did something that is rarely seen these days in the watch world; he funded the company himself. No Kickstarter or crowdfunding was used, he invested his time and money and started Tockr Watches. I know everybody is not able to do that, and it for sure is a big gamble, especially with how competitive the watch market is these days. His partner is located in Switzerland overseeing manufacture and assembling while Austin resides in Texas and works on design, customer service, marketing and more.
Tockr Air Defender Specifications:
- 45mm Stainless Steel Case
- 50mm Lug to Lug
- 15mm Thick
- 22mm Lug Width
- Sapphire Crystal Front and Back
- Valjoux 7750 Automatic Movement
- 100 Meters Water Resistant
- Stainless Bracelet or Leather Strap
Price $1250 on Leather, $1450 on Bracelet
So, obviously the Tockr Air Defender is inspired by Sinn and Tutima Watches, as both brands have a model similar to this. The Sinn 140 ST is where the Tockr Air Defender draws most inspiration in my opinion and while the dial is very similar because of the type of watch and movement used, the case is different, though same shape and it is slightly larger measuring in at 45mm. If you can find the Sinn, it is more than double the price of the Air Defender on the stainless bracelet, and while not made in Germany, the Air Defender is produced in Switzerland. If you are someone that does not like homages or similar designs, this watch will probably not appeal to you. If you have always wanted the Sinn, but it was far out of reach, this is another option now available.
There are a lot of great watches these days and you can find a lot of different reviews on the internet, at many different sites. What I try and do here is not just tell you about what you can see in the pictures and video, but actually discuss the good and the bad. Overall, the Tockr Air Defender is very good, and I love how it looks on my wrist. It is a heavy watch, especially on the bracelet, but it does seem to balance out. The crown and pushers all function well and have nice winding or firm clicks in the case of the chronograph pushers, which is what you expect of a watch at this price point. I will say the least favorite attribute of the Tockr Air Defender is the choice of the high polished finish on the case sides and bracelet center links. This style of watch just begs for an all brushed or bead blasted case in my opinion.
Years ago I loved a clean dial. I never even thought about a chronograph. Full disclosure, I can count on my hands how many times I have used a chronograph to time something, but I do find myself drawn to a chrono more often these days. Because I have always loved Sinn Watches, the type of font and markings on the dial of the Tockr Air Defender draw me in and I love the little orange accents for just the right amount of color on the dial. Unless modified, most Valjoux 7750 watches have the day and date and this is something I appreciate, because while it might sound odd, I sometimes forget what day it is. Date I know, but I like having the day feature for when my brain gets muddled and I don’t know what day of the week it is.
Another area of contention for me is the bracelet, but more specifically the clasp. The bracelet of the Tockr Air Defender is substantial, and while it uses standard friction pins to hold the links, all seems sturdy. I have a feeling they did not want to outright copy the Sinn H link bracelet, so they went with something similar but not exact. I somewhat wish they did though, as I love that style of bracelet and do feel it compliments the watch head. Overlooking that though, the clasp is just not up to par with the rest of the watch. It is a pretty standard push button locking clasp and while signed, is just meh. With a watch such as this and with a beautiful custom rotor seen through the display case back, I just expected more. Austin did inform me they are looking into replacing the clasp, so we will see if that ends up happening on future stock. Also available is a leather strap, which is very nice quality, and will lighten the weight of the watch for sure. The leather strap model is also $200 cheaper than the bracelet version.
As I mention the display case back above, now is as good of a time as any to discuss the movement and custom rotor. Powered by a Valjoux 7750 automatic movement, this is an area Tockr decided to go all out on. Not only is the movement decorated and has a badass custom rotor, but the steel around the sapphire crystal on the back is very nicely machined and engraved. This is definitely one of those watches that even your non watch friends or family would be impressed with when you show it off to them. This is what I like to see when I see a display back. So many just show off a plain movement, with nothing done to it. If you are talking a super high end in house one of a kind movement, I get it. When it is just a plain ETA or Valjoux and you went with a display back just because, I shrug my shoulders. When I look at a display back, I want to be wowed. This absolutely has the wow factor.
Tockr Air Defender Lume
The Tockr Air Defender and Tockr in general is another brand that is bucking the perception that just because you are a “microbrand” that you have to be $500 and under when you start out. While the $1450 price tag is a big chunk of change to shell out, the Air Defender is not what I would call overpriced, especially for what it is. The design is for sure borrowed, but it is a great design and with the movement and movement decoration, sapphire on front and back, above average lume and a comfortable fit, it is equal to many in its price range. If the black dial is not your thing, a blue dial version is available as well, and while there are a few things I do not love, they are a new brand and can only get better with each new model. I feel they are on the right track and while I love this design, I can’t wait to see some original designs from Tockr down the road.