Collins Hyperion Review

A duo of modern pilot watches with textured dials

Hopefully if you’re paying attention to microbrand watches, you’ve heard of Collins, the eponymous brand from media creator and all around nice guy Jimmy Collins. The watches are all practical and well-made. The brand debuted with the Bronson, a no-nonsense field-ish watch, and their follow-up was the Collins Hyperion, which amounts to an upgraded version of the Bronson. While they’ve already moved on to the third model (the Sonar, review here), I’ve had the Hyperion for a month now and I’m finally ready to share with you my profound and sagacious words on it. Enjoy.


On the Wrist

Dimensions can be misleading. 44mm watches can wear much smaller; 39mm watches, much larger. The Hyperion is not one of those watches. It wears exactly as you’d expect a 40mm watch to wear. I think that’s part of the charm of the Hyperion (and the Bronson before it); there’s a universality and ease to it, while still achieving functionality. Except for the smallest of you, the watch’s proportions allow it to be easily worn on wrists of all sizes.


The dials I had for review—carbon fiber and meteorite—are lovely to have on the wrist. The way both dials play with light is unique and engaging, especially the carbon fiber, with patterning that adds the illusion of depth and movement. The Old Radium lume applied with great effect to the black dial, however, leads to issues with ease of reading on the meteorite dial in direct light, as there simply is not enough contrast.


While the included brown strap is just ok—and I mean just ok—the watch’s design makes swaps easy, and I took advantage of that with great satisfaction.


Dial Details

Given the balance and unassuming design of the case, it’s no surprise that the dials are the stars here. I’ve already mentioned how well they play with light, particularly the carbon fiber dial. The watch also comes in a matte black dial which is both boring and features an ill-executed date window. I can imagine if you must have a date window on your watch, you could go for one of the black dials, but in the immortal words of Homer J. Simpson, “Why eat hamburger when you can have steak?”


The dials have a no-fuss look that matches well with the rest of the watch, and the signature sans serif Collins font furthers that look. Big numerals, sparse dial text, and clean, bold sword hands complete the look. The dial text and markers are the color of Old Radium Super-LumiNova, though the dial text and minute hashes are in fact not lumed. I’m not a fan of the use of this lume for intentional vintage looks, but it’s not used that way here, and as a color choice, it works. I’m especially fond of the fully lumed second hand, which I assume they just dipped into a tiny bucket of Super-LumiNova.


Speaking of which, lume quality should be measured by evenness, brightness, longevity, and charging speed. The Collins Hyperion excels across the board, especially given the apparent minimal application of lume (you’ll see plenty of other watches with mounds of lume in a desperate effort to achieve the right glow). Coming into the house after a quick step out on even an overcast day will leave the watch lit up brightly. I’ll admit it’s not as radiant as my Seiko, but it does a bang-up job compared to many other watches at this price point. And I’ve got a soft spot for any watch that is lumed evenly—and a deep, seething hate for those that aren’t.


Case Details

The case is most laudable for how unassuming it is. It is utilitarian, it might be said. The most dynamic part of the fully brushed case is the barely-there outward slope of the 20mm lugs, which emerge organically from the case itself.  The sloped bezel is prevalent when examined in isolation but blends seamlessly between the mid-case and the gently domed sapphire crystal. Every line on the watch is considered and clean.


And take a look at the perfectly sized, deeply grooved crown at 3 o’clock—purely practical. It doesn’t screw down, and that may rankle some, but the Hyperion is much more about getting outside than getting wet, and the 100m water resistance will more than handle most adventures.


The thickness of the watch may be the only issue, and it’s not a real issue. At 13.5mm, the watch is slightly thicker than its aesthetically similar counterparts (the Sinn 856 is 11mm, the Tudor Ranger is 12mm, the Bell & Ross BR123 is 13mm, and all featuring automatic movements—and higher price tags). But it never bothered me and never made the watch feel chunky on my wrist. Like I said, it’s not an issue, it’s just the only noticeable dimension of the watch.


The Swiss Sellita SW200 movement in the Hyperion is an upgrade from the Seiko movements previously used by Collins. There’s not much that hasn’t already been said about this ETA 2824 clone: it’s reliable, easily serviced, and viewable (with custom rotor!) through a sapphire caseback.

I mentioned above the utter mediocrity of the included strap. It’s truly just fine. I’d say it’s too thick and somewhat cardboardy, and the keepers are thin enough to make me worry they’ll snap every time I fasten the strap. That said, the strap is about as rugged as the case, so it never did give out on me. The often overlooked perk of a perfectly proportioned case, though, is the ease of strap swaps. Nearly everything fits on the Hyperion, and you’re only limited by what’s on the dial (or not at all if you’re a monster who doesn’t care if things complement each other).


Final Thoughts

This watch is not about wrist presence. It’s about having something reliable and unassuming that will please the wearer and be a companion for adventure. But that’s what all Collins watches are really about, it seems. Having handled all of their models at one point or another, you never come away with some guilloche-inspired awe or mechanical astonishment. That’s not why Collins makes watches. They make watches for people to go out and do things. That comes first, and the Hyperion is no different.

Ranging from $545 for the matte black dial with stainless steel case, to $745 for the meteorite dial, the Hyperion is priced perfectly for what it offers: an everyday adventure watch with a Swiss movement that’s assembled and regulated in the U.S., and ready for almost anything you have to throw at it, from door frames to boulders*.

*Please don’t throw a boulder at this or any watch.

Check out more Collins Watch reviews at The Watch Clicker

Check out the Collins website

Case Width40mmThickness13.5mm
Lug-to-lug Height48mmLug Width20mm
CrystalDomed SapphireStrapLeather Strap
Water Resistance100 metersLumeSuper-LumiNova® Old Radium
MovementSellita SW200Price$645-745

More Images of the Collins Hyperion

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