Dryden Heartlander Review

Making the tool watch more exciting

When Tudor released the 39mm Ranger earlier this year, tool watch fans went wild. A more wearable size, fitted bracelet, and updated movement had made their way into the classic tool watch from Tudor. However, when the watch started hitting people’s wrists, most people found it to be a little too much of a tool watch and kind of… bland. Regardless of your opinion on that watch, it leaves a hole in the tool watch segment to be filled.

The Dryden Heartlander could be the perfect watch to fill that void. It has a lot of what makes the Ranger a solid tool watch; numerals at the cardinal positions (except 12), a bold and legible handset, and a wearable size. More important than any of those elements is that it is not dull. Dryden chose bold colors, sunburst dials, and contrasting accents to make the Heartlander feel more contemporary than the Ranger. But, enough about the roots this watch shares with the Ranger; let’s take an objective look at the Dryden Heartlander. 


On the Wrist

Dryden knows how to make a watch that fits well. Their diver, the Pathfinder, was built with the Omega Seamaster 2531.80 in mind, which made it one of the most comfortable dive watches I’ve worn. The Heartlander has a similar case shape, albeit with a fixed bezel, and wears just as comfortably. The lugs dip down and sit flush with the caseback at their tips, giving the on-wrist illusion of sinking into your wrist. There’s nothing worse than a smaller watch that sits flat on the wrist, and the Heartlander avoids that.


As case designs get more complex, watch brands need to pay attention to how those designs translate to comfort on the wrist. The Heartlander has a few bevels throughout the case that give it a dynamic look, and I’ll discuss those later, but it also reduces the perceived size when worn. The wrist-to-crystal measures just under 10mm, and with the polished undercut on the bottom of the case, it looks even thinner.


The numerals and markers stand out prominently from the dial, and the Heartlander is legible. If I had to change one thing about the watch to further aid in legibility, it would be to put in a flat crystal. There’s nothing wrong with the double-domed crystal, but in some lighting conditions (like bright sunlight), the sunburst dial and crystal can create some whacky reflections. This is more of a personal preference than anything else, as I am a sucker for flat crystals. 


Dryden Heartlander Specs

Case Width




Case Thickness


Lug Width






Water Resistance







Super-LumiNova BGW9


Miyota 9039



Dial Details

The Heartlander comes in two dial configurations: Traditional field and classic sport. The watch we’re looking at in this review is the latter. The Traditional field has numerals at every position and a date complication. The applied markers on the classic sport are what got me. The way the numerals come alive off the dial looks terrific and is what I want from a watch like this. It bridges the gap between tool watch functionality and contemporary sports watch aesthetics. 


The handset is what most of us will be familiar with because of the Tudor Ranger. The spade-shaped hour hand, a sword minute hand, and a shovel seconds hand look perfect on this dial layout. The hour and minute hands are heavily brushed. When I was taking photos for this review, I loved zooming in on the hands to see the grain on the hands. The seconds hand is a contrasting orange that matches the Heartlander text on the dial. 


I’m partial to the blue sunburst and orange accents on the dial because of…well…you know…Watch Clicker colors. That said, the sunburst has a nice balance between being flashy and subtle. It is there when you want to show off what a beautiful shade of blue it is but not so vibrant that it is distracting.


Case, Bracelet, & Strap

As mentioned above, the Heartlander comes in 2 primary variants. The only difference in the cases of these variants is the bezel. The field model has a polished bezel, and the sport has a brushed bezel. I like the two variations, but I wonder if the sport should have been the model with the polished bezel. When I think of a field watch, I think under the radar and subdued. I also realize this is nitpicky, and I will stop talking about it now. 


The case design of the Heartlander is complex yet subtly understated. A polished chamfer runs the length of the case on the top and bottom, giving the midcase an extremely thin appearance. The brushed sides feature drilled lug holes, which you won’t need for the quick-release bracelet. A chamfer on the inside of the lugs tapers down as it eventually meets the full width of the lug near the tip. A flat caseback closes in the Miyota 9039 movement. No ghost date position here.


The president-style bracelet articulates beautifully and has a bit of flex that makes it comfortable on the wrist. The links are all solid, so there is no jingle jangle that could cheapen it. This style of bracelet fits this watch perfectly. It presents the watch with a vintage vibe without the awful bracelets of vintage explorer-style and sports watches. A quick-release mechanism will allow you to change the bracelet to other straps without any tools. Dryden chose the right clasp for this watch using a double pushbutton mechanism (no foldover lock). It keeps the clasp thin and sleek.


Dryden has a slew of straps if a bracelet isn’t your thing. They sent along an orange FKM strap that complements the accent colors of this model. While the strap itself isn’t anything novel, it does look great with the watch, and they’re relatively cheap ($25) to pick up from Dryden when purchasing your watch.


Final Thoughts

Dryden isn’t a brand that puts out a new watch every quarter. They take their time crafting their watches and field-testing them to ensure they don’t need further iteration once they’re in production. I like that. I would rather wait a little longer and get something that feels genuinely finished than be disappointed with a watch upon arrival. 

They took this approach with the Pathfinder and again with the Heartlander, and it shines through when you pick up the watch and put it on. It looks and feels so good because they’ve put their heart (pun intended) into it. Dryden has been taking this approach since their inception, and only now are other brands catching up with this philosophy. If you were one of those who found the new Ranger to be a bit on the dull side but like the vibe of that watch, check out the Heartlander. It captures the essence of that watch but makes it exciting. Not an easy thing to do, but Dryden nailed it.

Check out more Dryden reviews at The Watch Clicker here

Check out the Dryden website here

More Images of the Dryden Heartlander

Comments 1
  1. I was hoping to see a review at Watch Clicker. Great article. I decided to purchase the Heartlander field watch. I really like minute markers on a watch with a date. To me, that is a great everyday watch. I’ll be honest though, I had a hard time deciding on the sport and field. I really want both. The gray dial with light blue sport one was really calling me, too.

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