We’ve gone a long time without his-n-hers reviews, and now we’ve got a pair just about back to back (for the other recent one, you can check out the Armitron review here). While the last model focused on a dressier (and all-metal) look, these models from Sprout go for a more casual – and natural – look, with cork being a predominant material.
On the mens model (ref. ST/3401BKBKBK) the cork shows up in the dial, which serves to add a nice warmth,as well as an interesting (and I assume somewhat unique between watches) texture. On the women’s model (ref ST/5516YLCK) the cork shows up on the organic cotton-backed strap.
Cork, obviously, is the main unifying thing in this pairing. They also share a similar three-hander style, and corn resin-based case (and buckles). In terms of overall look, though, they are quite different. So, as we saw with the Armitron reviews earlier, this is again for a couple who would want similar, but not identical, watches.
This time around, we’ll start off with the women’s model. It starts off with a fairly neutral pallete, given it’s cork strap and the beige-colored case. Just so it doesn’t get boring, though, you get a blast of yellow in the dial (and the handset). Given it’s all housed in a 38mm case, this is a watch that gives some wrist presence, without being too overbearing. While I thought having the yellow skeleton hands on top of a yellow dial might make telling the time a bit difficult, this is what my wife thought about the watch.
Of the three different watches I had her helping me review lately, this was her favorite. The combination of the bright yellow face and the cork strap really spoke to her, as did the eco-friendly nature of the watch. She wasn’t as much a fan of the peach color of the case, however, and expressed some concern about the longevity of the cork strap (my thoughts on that in a bit). The watch was quite comfortable for her (given it’s light weight), and she felt the case and dial were a good size for her.
Now, while I thought reading the women’s model might be a bit tricky, I had no such compunctions about the men’s model. The silver numerals, indices, and hands (which are also lumed) stand out sharply against that cork dial, making reading the time a snap. As I mentioned, you do have a modicum of lume on the hands, so you can read the time in the dark – just don’t plan on checking it easily several hours after the lights go down.
In daily wear, the 44mm watch was quite comfortable, owing to it’s lightweight nature. This is in large part due to the corn resin case and quartz movement, but also the Tyvek strap. Yes, that’s right – the strap is made of the same stuff those indestructible envelopes (and house wraps) are made from. This, combined with the case shape/style, make me think that this watch could stand up to some abuse – the very definition of a beater watch.
Sure, it may not be a robust as a metal-encased watch, but I think this would hold it’s own. Frankly, at the prices these watches come at, though (more on that in a bit), it’s an acceptable tradeoff. And, even should the watch succumb to rigors of life, I think the strap will be rather long-lasting.
The women’s strap may not last quite as long, but I think that would be due to the cork potentially drying out and flaking off of it’s cotton backing. I don’t say that because it’s something we saw in the course of our review, but just due to cork’s very nature.
Regardless, both watches come across as a unique eco-oriented take on the affordable quartz three-hander. The women’s model can be yours for only $45.00, and the men’s model is an equally reasonable $55. Not too bad – $100 will get you some coordinating watches. And, should your tastes change a few years down, most of the watch (aside from the battery and movement) are ready to be recycled or composted, minimizing your impact on the environment. An eco-friendly cherry on top, if you will.
Sure, Sprout watches aren’t going to be the heirloom that you pass down for generations. They are, however, fun watches with a unique styling that you can pick up for a song. I also like the fact that, while they are trying their utmost to be “green”, the watches themselves don’t scream that fact out, nor do they look like sacrifices were made in their creation. All in all, an affordable hit, I’d have to say.
- Brand & Model: Sprout His (ST/3401BKBKBK) and Hers (ST/5516YLCK)
- Price: $55 (his), $45 (hers)
- Who’s it for?: The eco-friendly couple looking for similarly styled watches
- Would we wear it?:
- His: While I like the cork dial, this probably wouldn’t make it past other options in the rotations
- Hers:Yes, I certainly would
- What I’d change:
- His: Perhaps a different finish on the numerals/indices would be more fitting to the “earthy” nature of the dial
- Hers: Get a different color on that case – peach just isn’t sitting well.
- The best thing about it:
- His: the look and texture you get from that cork dial – so unlike anything machined
- Hers: A great combination of being eco-friendly and stylish.