Collins has established a solid design theme with its previous offerings and the Hyperion does not diverge the formula so much as it improves upon it. The stainless steel case is nearly identical to that of the Bronson, measuring 40mm wide, 48mm long, and 12mm thick. It retains the same flat sides, crisp edges, and fixed bevelled bezel, but where the first watch was blasted for a matte finish, the Hyperion has circular brushing on the top surfaces and longitudinal brushing along the sides, which goes far to emphasize the case’s athletic lines. A black PVD coating is optional. The display case back has also been modified, allowing a better look at the Hyperion’s 26 jewel, 28.8k bph, Swiss Sellita SW200 automatic movement, and custom rotor.
These watches are intended for real-world use, and as such, they are built to take a few knocks. The Hyperion wears a 100m water resistance rating and a domed, anti-reflective coated sapphire crystal (the rear exhibition window is sapphire as well).
Collins Brand’s aesthetics are firmly rooted in vintage recording studio equipment, and you can see that influence in the tall typeface and delightful “volume knob” crown. The Hyperion’s dial is more open than previous models’, employing numbers at only the four primary hours. The black date window is in the 4:30 position, drawing less attention than the Bronson’s bracketed 3:00 date. Pilot style, black, dagger-shaped hands make their return, but the delicate, “volume unit meter needle” has been replaced with a more conventional second hand. Sure, it loses some of its studio cred, but makes up for it with vastly improved legibility.
Old Radium SuperLuminova graces the hands, markers, and even the brand name for a mellow, aged look in the daytime and a bright green glow at night. Tan on black may be my favorite color scheme for any watch. It looks lovely here too, but Collins has another trick up his sleeve: carbon fiber. I have not seen the material on a Hyperion dial, (photo courtesy of Collins) but I did see a carbon Bronson at the DC Watch Show a couple of years ago and it blew me away. The high gloss and mesmerizing weave give it such amazing depth that the printed markers appeared to float over it. I said then that if they ever made another one, I would buy it, and I just did. Seriously, you would have had to fight me for one of those beauties.
I sampled the watch on its thick green nylon Zulu and handsome oil-tanned leather straps and found that like previous Collins watches, the Hyperion was an excellent fit on my 6.75” wrist, displaying satisfying tool watch presence without being overpowering. Both the nylon and leather straps feature signed hardware. The engraving on the Zulu’s upper keeper is a particularly nice touch.
Collins’ took an evolutionary approach to the new watch. It may have familiar elements, but having sampled both the original Bronson and the next-generation Hyperion (and the Chronograph to boot), I can tell you the Hyperion is the superior watch. I really like the Bronson, its Seiko movement, and its $325 starting price, but the Hyperion’s finish, domed crystal, and Sellita movement put it a notch above.
Pre-order pricing is higher than previous Collins models, but still rather aggressive. Super Early Birds will get the first 20 watches for as low as $395 for a brushed steel finish, $425 for black PVD, and $455 for that dazzling carbon fiber dial. Of course, prices will rise as the early tiers sell out, but all of the Kickstarter backers will enjoy significant savings compared to the starting retail price of $695, which is, frankly, exactly what you would expect to pay for a watch like this.