The One Hard Black II Review
by Robert-Jan Broer for Watchuseek
Famous for their link to skiing and diving, the very functional Danish design of both the watches and instruments and the use of comics to praise their brand and concept, Linde Werdelin has managed to put them selves on the horological map in only a few years time. This would probably not be possible if their watches did not get the respect by numerous watch fans, like yourself.
Ever since they started with The One, Linde Werdelin seems to progress each year in designing and developing new watches. This year, Linde Werdelin showed being capable in designing the SpidoSpeed chronograph in a case that is at least as stunning as the revolutionary SpidoLite case. Unmistakably having the Linde Werdelin DNA, like all previous models, the SpidoSpeed can also be fitted with a The Rock or The Reef instrument.
Linde Werdelin sells 80% of their timepieces without an instrument, but one should know that the concept of a Linde Werdelin timepiece is that it is a mechanical sports watch with an add-on digital instrument for diving or skiing purposes. At the beginning of this century, Morten Linde and Jorn Werdelin were breaking their heads on how-to design and manufacture a device that is both. The result should be a timepiece that also would fit their needs as professionals, in their mid-30s and sporty. I think they have designed and produced a watch that it is spot-on, always recognizable for being a Linde Werdelin and never bores when looking at it.
In 2009, right after the BaselWorld show where the Linde Werdelin team introduced me to the 3-Timer (review here), I decided to order one of these models with a brown dial. It is a great timepiece with an incredible cool design that has – in my opinion – some influences from some of the other great sports watches like the Royal Oak, Nautilus and Hublot.
Just recently, I got the opportunity to try The One Hard Black II together with The Rock instrument. I was wondering whether this timepiece would be different from my own 3-Timer and I wanted to fiddle around with The Rock instrument of course.
One of the first things that occurred to me after unpacking the watch, is the stealthy look of this The One Hard Black II DLC. Besides that, after strapping it to my wrist, the weight made me have to look up the specification on the Linde Werdelin website. It feels so light, that I was tricked into thinking it was a DLCed titanium case. This is not the case however, it is stainless steel – like the normal The One – with DLC treatment. The buckle has been DLCed as well.
Next in the box was this The Rock instrument, for those who ski and climb. The anodised aluminium case fits perfectly to the Hard Black II DLC timepiece. You will read more about The Rock instrument later on in this review.
The Case, Bezel and Dial
The DLC case of the The One Hard Black II has the same dimensions as my 3-Timer, 44mm wide, 46mm from lug to lug and 12mm in height. Please note that this watch does wear smaller than the specifications might implicate.
Just like the The Rock instrument, the case back of this watch is anodized aluminum. It has 5 holes that are meant for opening the screw-in case back by a capable watchmaker in case of service or repair.
The uni directional bezel clicks in 2 steps per ‘minute’ and has a clear and loud click when doing so. There is a little bit of play in the bezel, but I assume this has to do with the fact that I received a sample watch. My own 3-Timer has no play at all. The black bezel has a luminous triangle at 12 o’clock which aluminates perfectly in the dark. Numerals have been engraved in the bezel as well, although I can image these are hard to see when you are diving or swimming with this watch. It does look cool though.
The black crown is a screw-down type, to secure the watch against dust and water. Linde Werdelin guarantees that The One has a water resistancy of 300 meters.
Luminous markers and numerals on the outer ring below the sapphire crystal makes this watch come alive. When it is becoming dark or in the twilight, the dial and hands are still very readable. During the day, you will notice the round patterns and the different levels in the dial. Just like the other Linde Werdelin watches, the date disc has the same color as the dial.
On the dial at 12 o’clock, the LW logo is printed as well as the Linde Werdelin wording below it. On 6 o’clock, the wearer can read that it has an automatic movement and that the watch is water resistant to 300 meters / 1000ft.
Here comes the part that a number of people seem to dislike about Linde Werdelin, the use of rather common movements. Something they have changed in their latest creations such as the Oktopus Moonphase, and SpidoSpeed.
Although there is nothing wrong with the movement Linde Werdelin used, it seems that some of the watch collectors have trouble paying a certain amount for a watch that has an ETA movement. The ETA2892-A2 movement that LW uses for this watch has been here since the early 1980s, and has definitely proven itself ever since. ‘Big brands’ like Omega, Breitling and IWC has been using them as well, some times even lesser versions of the automatic ETA movements. I can’t elaborate on the level of finish that LW has required from ETA, but since there is a solid case back, there is no peeking anyway.
The One Hard Black II DLC I tried for two weeks keeps perfect time though. That’s what it is all about, I couldn’t care less about glancing at a movement since a few years, unless it is something really interesting or impressive. I do understand that this is a personal taste of course.
Linde Werdelin sent me an example with an all black alligator strap. I have the same strap for my 3-Timer and it seems to be made with the greatest care. The strap is attached with two screws and have a piece of metal inside near the lugs of the watch, to prevent the strap from ‘breaking’ or ‘cracking’. Since it is a sample watch, the alligator strap is perfectly soft already. From my own experience, I can tell you that this might take a while though. But once it is, it is one of the best straps I’ve ever worn. Normally, Linde Werdelin delivers this watch on a black alligator strap with yellow stitching, to match the hour markers and hands of the watch.
As you can see on the picture, The Rock attaches to the watchcase and suddenly becomes a professional instrument. I am not a professional skier or climber, but I can imagine it has the proper functionality if you are one of them.
The Rock has 4 buttons: an escape button, a ‘left’, a ‘right’ and an enter button. With L and R you can navigate through the menu of the small wrist computer, with the enter button (center-below) you can see a more detailed view of a certain function and with the escape button on the upper-left, you can leave that detail-view again.
Once you press a button, you see a summary view, with the time, date, year, current altitude and – important – the batter power. When clicking the R button, you see accordingly the : altitude menu, the barometer menu, temperature, freeze level, compass, inclination sensor (degree of slope), chronograph and a logbook. When clicking the enter button on each of these menus, you will see things like historic data and other setting possibilities.
Water resistant to 30 meters, this doesn’t mean you should swim with it. Get The Reef for functionality you will need on and below the water surface.
When attached to the watch, the dimensions rapidly grow and it would look really silly walking around with it. Just so you know.
Applying and removing the instrument from the LW watch is very easy. To attach, just slide it over the left side of the watch and push down the right side till it says ‘click’. Removing is just the opposite, press the two buttons (springs) on the right and keep your thumb on the left side of the instrument to prevent it from falling. You can now easily lift it of the watch.
To summarize, The One Hard Black II DLC was a joy to wear for the last two weeks. It is a versatile watch, as I wore it with a suit as well as with a polo shirt during the weekends and evenings. It is a stealth watch when wearing it with casual clothes and becomes a very notable watch when combining it with a dress shirt and a suit. I got positive comments on the watch in both situations though, even from people who have nothing going on with watches.
I also took it with me during a GTG of a bunch of Rolex and AP people and most of the guys really liked the LW The One Hard Black II DLC. The people who didn’t, do not care about Royal Oaks as well, or were more or less hesitant to buy a watch that does not have a famous brand name on the dial. With a list price of 5.160,- Euro this watch does not come cheap, but then again, it is not a cheap watch. The case has such a high level of finish, it really makes up for having a ‘non spectacular’ movement. Same goes for the strap and buckle, all made with the highest level of care and quality.
Also, with a limited run of 88 pieces for this The One Hard Black II DLC, you can be certain of having something unique strapped around your wrist.
The Rock is a very impressive looking and functioning instrument. Although I am not a professional who needs this kind of functionality, I can imagine it is a welcome add-on for those who do. I don’t have a clue what similar instruments or sports watches with similar functionality cost, but the price of 1140,- Euro seems justified when considering the fact it has the same level of care and quality as the timepiece.
At the time of wearing this The One Hard Black II DLC and writing the review, Linde Werdelin started delivering the first batches of SpidoSpeed chronograph watches. I would like to stress the fact that the ‘base’ models by Linde Werdelin are still worth considering and checking out if you are in the running to buy a new sports watch watch with its own DNA.