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Second Hour Gin Clear MK II Review

A distinct offering in a packed field

When you think of watch brands, Australia might not be the first image to come to mind. The land down under has gorgeous landscapes, various whacky critters, and an unexplained obsession with mullets and mustaches. Still, it is also home to several small but growing micro brands. The subject of today’s review is brought to us by Second Hour, started in 2019 in Melbourne. Since then, they have released several distinctive stylistic elements and motifs designs. When I got a message asking if I’d like to get hands-on with their newest dive watch, the Gin Clear Mk.II, I jumped. I am getting the chance to experience the Mk.II in the tropics of Far North Queensland, among some of Australia’s most iconic settings, was too great an opportunity to miss.

Arriving back from a week at sea, I was greeted with a double-feature of Gin Clear goodness. Presented in lovely travel cases, I was struck by how much effort the brand has gone to in terms of presentation. Alongside the watch, each case comes with extra links, a screwdriver for resizing the bracelet, a spring bar tool, and a metal two-year warranty card. All these extra goodies give the impression that proper enthusiasts run Second Hour. Having only expected to be sent one review piece, I was pleasantly surprised to find iterations of the Ocean Sunset and Sunburst Black models.

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Case Details

Starting with the case, the dimensions are a perfect 40-20 setup. Saying that, however, does a great disservice to the styling of the case. A relatively long (for me) lug-to-lug distance is counteracted by a lovely curve at each end of the case, allowing the watch to hug the wrist closely. The case is also full of little cues that show the amount of attention that has gone into the design. While the top and flanks of the case are longitudinally brushed, a highly polished chamfer runs along the edge. That chamfer is matched by a similar one on the inside of the lugs-is something I’ve never seen before. Adding functionality into the mix, the bevel along the case makes gripping the bezel an absolute breeze. The bezel is one of the highlights of the Gin Clear. With a sort of blunt saw-tooth grip around the edge and a fully-lumed ceramic insert inside, its 120 clicks of ratchet goodness. Crisp and precise with no backplay, it feels like it belongs to a watch with a significantly higher price tag.

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The bezel inserts also have color-matched triangles with orange for the Ocean Sunset and red for the Sunburst black. Finally, the case back is one of the nicest I’ve come across, with a heavily embossed turtle and wave pattern in the center and all the usual specs around the outside. The details are crisp and clear, more than I expected from this price point. Talking of details, the Gin Clear boasts one of the grippiest crowns I’ve come across, with chunky knurling around the edge and a crisp iteration of the logo on the cap. Most striking, however, is the color-matched ring around the crown; again, orange for the Ocean Sunset and red for the Sunburst Black. Finally, Second Hour coats their watches with hardened coating, giving another element of protection to the watch. While the clasp did pick up some minor scuffs during a scramble up a waterfall, the rest of the case seemed hardly touched despite what I am assuming is quite a while being sent from reviewer to reviewer.

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Second Hour Gin Clear MK II Specs

Case Width




Case Thickness


Lug Width


Water Resistance







Super-LumiNova BGW9




$800 USD ($1,200 AUD)

Dial Details

Moving on to the dial, there are four available colors: orange, pastel blue, white, and black. While I initially thought the orange Ocean Sunset would steal the show, that honor goes to the Sunburst Black. Both dials have perfectly smooth finishes, complimenting the number of details that cover them. The eye is drawn to the large Second Hour logo just above the pinion.
While large, it blends in well with the rest of the design.

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The only text comprises the model name and the water resistance; a very welcome 30 atm. Moving downwards from the text you find the colour-matched date wheel at the six o’clock position. One gripe with the orange version was that I found it a little hard to read, especially when not in bright areas. The markers are another area where the Gin Clear stands out. While most indices take on a classic circular shape, the 12, 4, and 8 are taken up with trapezia that narrow as they reach the center of the dial. Finally, the handset comprises two pencil-style hands for the hours and minutes with a long lollipop hand for the seconds. The hour and minute hands also have a slight bevel, allowing them to catch the light at more angles. The tip of the seconds hand is also colour-matched; white for the orange dial and red for the black. The counterbalance on the seconds hand is yet more evidence of the attention to detail here; taking the form of the brand logo. I will, however, leave the lume for my minor complaints section. Below the dial beats a regulated ETA2824, keeping the sort of time you’d expect at a price point far below what you’d assume.

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On the Wrist

The bracelet brings the whole watch together and yet proves to be both one of the highlights and shortcomings of the design. With its five-link design, the bracelet curves easily around the wrist. The bracelet is eye-catching, with three brushed sections and two high-polished middle links. Again, Second Hour goes the extra mile by adding a highly polished chamfer along the outside edge of the bracelet. This matches up perfectly with the chamfer on the inside of the lugs to create a pair of V-shaped channels at each end of the watch. The end links are solid and match up perfectly with the rest of the case. So often, you see micro brands using off-the-shelf bracelets with mismatching end links; it’s nice to see more attention paid here.

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Another element that adds to the bracelet is a quick-release system; always good to see. Finally, being a diver, the clasp is possibly my favorite feature. It is a sturdy two-button system with a hidden, ratcheting divers’ extension. Living in the sweaty tropics means I’m often adjusting watch straps throughout the day, and it’s nice to see an actual wetsuit-capable adjustment system on a watch at this price point. With stinger season on us, wearing protective clothing from head to toe is crucial. With the bracelet here, it was simple to press a button and pull a few millimeters out of the clasp before securing the watch over my wetsuit.

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As with all watches, there are some areas where the Gin Clear Mk.II falls short. That being said, neither of these are particularly large, nor do they diminish the enjoyment of the watch. The first issue is the lack of lume. The bezel and circular indices are swamped with it, producing a rich blue glow at night. Second Hour needs to apply another layer or two on the hands and, more importantly, on the three trapezoidal markers. There is a decent amount but those features faded far quicker than the rest of the lumed markers.

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The second issue is with the placement of the spring bars on the case. They are close to the case, so it is very difficult to wear the watch on anything other than the stock bracelet. The bracelet is so good it’s hardly a big drawback, but I did find myself wanting to wear the Gin Clears on a NATO or even a rubber strap. For the former, I had to stick to the thinnest natos I could find, and even then, I had to attach the spring bars over the strap rather than being able to just slot the strap through. With anything else, there’s almost no way to do it without something like curved spring bars.

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Final Thoughts

I think Second Hour deserves all the attention they seem to be getting. While this isn’t their first watch or even their first Gin Clear, it is apparent that it is a brand worth keeping an eye on. Both colorways I was sent were of far greater quality than the price tag suggests. Add to that a number of details for the enthusiasts, and I think the Gin Clear Mk.II makes a very distinct mark in a packed field. With four different color palettes to choose from, I think there’s probably a Gin Clear for everyone, especially as we head into summer.

Check out more dive watch reviews at The Watch Clicker here

Check out the Second Hour website here

More Images of the Second Hour Gin Clear MK II

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