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Bertucci Field Watches Review

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When it comes to watches that you strap on before heading off into the great outdoors, you’ve got no shortage of choice. Then again, when there are a class of watches known as field watches, well, that seems like an appropriately named device. While most brands might have one or two models in their lineup that could be called a field watch, Bertucci actually opts to keep their whole lineup conforming to that mold. As you’ll see in our review, however, they do manage to mix things up a bit within that singular design idea.

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The first watch we’ll take a look at (of the two we were sent) is one of their “retro” models, the A4-T Vintage 44 (ref. 13401). In our particular configuration, we had the black dial paired with their “vintage brown” band. Before we get to that, though, it’s probably worthwhile to discuss the case of the watch. For starters, it’s made of titanium (something most, if not all, of their lineup has in common). This is a handy material to use for two reasons – it’s strong, and it’s lightweight (in the case of the A4-T, we had a weight of 70g on the strap).

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They further carry along the idea of toughness by making the lug bars (also titanium) integrated to the case. In other words, you don’t take any spring pins or posts out to change the strap (because you can’t). This explains why we see the large screw heads on the strap. These are functional – not just decorative – and would be utilized if you wanted to swap the strap out. So, let’s get back to that band. The lighter brown color certainly goes give an more vintage feel to this particular watch. Quality-wise, I’d call it middle-of-the-road.

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It’s by no means a cheap, plasticky feeling (or smelling) strap, nor is it the most luxurious leather (I tend to judge this based on feel and smell) I’ve run across. It’s perhaps a tad stiffer than you’d hope to have out of the box, especially for one that isn’t particularly thick, but the waterproof top grain leather should break in and conform to your wrist in the long run. For my test period, I just had a bit more of a on my wrist than I’d prefer, which was due to two factors – the squared-off lug geometry and the stiffness of the leather. Then again, this particular watch (with it’s 44mm case and 1″ (~25.4mm) band width) is aimed at larger wrists (mine comes in at 7.25″).

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On the dial front, they carry forth the vintage feel with what they label as an “authentic” WWII dial. I’m not intimately familiar with the watches of the era, so I can’t speak to that. I can say that it’s a cleanly-styled dial, and one that’s rather easy to read at a glance. This is due in large part to the contrast of white on black, the lack of anything too extraneous, and the luminous diamond handset spinning around. There’s not much more I can say about this dial. Covered up by the scratch-resistant mineral crystal, it’s a dial that just plain works.

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All in all, this is a watch that should stand up to whatever abuse you might throw at it in the outdoors, keeping accurate time (courtesy of the Swiss quartz movement) while it’s 5-year battery keeps things running. Should you not be a fan of the somewhat military-inspired look, but like the idea of a titanium cased field watch, then you just need to cast your eye around the rest of the Bertucci catalog. To that end, we were also sent over a model from their Super Sport lineup.

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While the A4-T presented as a no-nonsense watch in it’s brushed finish, the A2-T Super Sport (ref. 12065) brings a lot of color to the table (in this case, blue; the others in the line offer brown or the aforementioned brushed finish). As we saw before, the case is made of titanium, has integrated titanium lug bars and a titanium screw-down crown. The case size has dropped to 40mm, and the band is 7/8″ wide (~22mm), which makes for a more compact watch, better equipped for smaller wrists. Swapping in the nylon band for leather also helps to cut some weight; our sample measured in at a paltry 62g.

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Of course, when it comes to nylon B10-style straps, you can introduce a lot of color to a watch as well. In the Super Sport lineup, Bertucci goes with a color pallete that matches what you see in the dial, as well as creating a racing stripe pattern that continues from the strap on to the dial. This is something I’ve not seen very often, and I find it to be well-executed here. They even went so far as to re-orient the numerals at the 12 o’clock position to keep the line clean, which is a nice design touch.

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We also have a change of handset on the watch. While I do wish the hour hand was a tad longer, the tower-style hands complement the overall design of the watch, and I suppose follow the 60s inspiration they were going with here. Of the two watches we had in, I found the Super Sport to be the more comfortable of the two. I think this was in large part due to the smaller case size, combined with the overall flexibility you have from a nylon strap. That’s of note here, since we have the same squared-off lug geometry seen on the Vintage. For my wrist, the nylon just helped the fit be that much better.

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In daily wear, both watches performed quite nicely. With their light weight, you can practically forget that you have a watch on until you need to check the time. When you add the 100m WR rating and 5-year battery to the weight, you’ve got a watch that’s truly set it and forget it, because it’s just going to keep running. The Vintage model is definitely the bulkier of the two, but I was still able to slip it under a cuff easily enough. It’s also the model that I’d say is the most likely to work if you’re wanting a watch for both the office and the weekend – it’s overall styling is subtle enough to work for a business casual setting.

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That said, I think the Super Sport was my favorite of the two. This is primarily due to the overall styling and use of color – with warmer weather on the way, many (myself included, it seems) will be looking to brighten things up a bit, and a bright watch is certainly one way to do that. It was also helpful that the smaller size of the A2-T and it’s nylon strap just plain fit my wrist better. Of course, should you prefer the larger and more sedate A4-T, you can opt for one of their nylon straps (or pick up a spare) instead of the leather. At the affordable prices Bertucci is asking ($229 for the A4-T Vintage, $199 for the A2-T Super Sport), these are a good choice, I’d think, for a watch to take you into the summer – lightweight, and ready to head out on whatever ventures lay in store. bertucciwatches.com

Review Summary
  • Brand & Model: Bertucci A4-T Vintage and A2-T Super Sport
  • Price: $199 (A2-T), $229 (A4-T)
  • Who’s it for?: This is for the guy looking for a tough and lightweight watch, either in a military-inspired style or with some bold coloration
  • Would I wear it?:  The Super Sport would definitely see wrist time; I’m not quite as certain about the A4-T Vintage
  • What I’d change: For the A4-T, a smaller diameter would be nice.  On the Super Sport, some adjustments to the handset seem to be in order
  • The best thing about it: First and foremost, the lightweight; secondarily the toughness of the titanium and fixed lug bars.

James McCabe Master Review

 

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Today, we’ll be taking a look at the second James McCabe model that was sent over for review. While the first one we reviewed was a bit of a mixed bag for me, today’s model I found to be a better option – at least for my tastes and wrist size. As we saw before, James McCabe doesn’t go in for fancy names on their lineup. This watch line is known simply as the Master; our specific reference for the review is the JM-1011-03.

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This watch is another dress piece, there’s no doubt about that. You’ve got a polished case (this time in a rose gold tone; 43mm x 12mm), croc-embossed strap, polished numerals and indices, and the sword-style handset. Fortunately for my wrist, they went for a more conventional lug design and geometry, so this one fit on my wrist a great deal better – so we were definitely off to a better start. As with the Lurgan, we do have a cutout on the dial exposing the balance wheel, which is partially obscured again. In this implementation, though, it wasn’t as big of a deal in my eyes.

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That’s because you can actually see vast portions of the Sea Gull TY 2809 movement (customized a bit for the brand) through the translucent dial (in this case, in a shade of brown). This is one of the more intriguing, and readable, methods that I’ve seen for implementing a skeleton watch. On one hand, you can see a majority of the movement through the dial, and on the other, you’ve got a dial that’s very easy to read at a glance – no searching for the handset (which can sometimes be hard to pick out on a skeleton watch, as I’m sure you’ve seen).

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This just made for a rather interesting look – giving you some great visual interest when you want in, and an otherwise mostly brown-toned (the outer ring is black) dress watch for when you didn’t. Flipping the watch over, you see a good-sized exhibition window, which further exposes the skeletonized bits of the movement (and the rotor). Unlike the Lurgan, the Master also seems appropriately sized for the movement that it contains.

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Wearing the watch was without an issue. The sizing was spot on for me (though, it does have a generously long strap, so it should fit larger wrists), and slipped easily under a cuff. With the overall color scheme, it seems pretty much aimed at the office environment, though it would easily work with a suit or sport coat, should the need arise.

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If you couldn’t tell, this was definitely my favorite of the two watches James McCabe sent over. There’s no word on what the movement is, precisely – but since it’s not called out, my guess is that it’s of Chinese origin. Not that that’s a bad thing in my book, it’s just an educated guess. When it comes to affordable skeletonized movements, China is where the brands seem to go.

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In the end, this is another affordable option from the folks at James McCabe. Should you not like the earthy color palette used in this example, they do have a few other options (you can see them here). Coming in at a price of around $333, direct from James McCabe, this is a rather unique implementation of a skeleton watch that would probably be one of my top recommendations for someone looking for this style of watch. mccabewatches.com
Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: James McCabe Master (JM-1011-03)
  • Price: ~ $333
  • Who’s it for?: The guy looking for an easy-to-read skeleton watch that’s ready for the office
  • Would I wear it?: I’m not sure how much time it would get in the rotation, but I could definitely see wearing this one now and again
  • What I’d change: Well, let’s get clever here. How about a polarized layer that you could rotate to slide between completely obscuring and fully displaying the movement?
  • The best thing about it: The slick implementation of displaying a skeletonized movement

 

Backgrounds courtesy of Gustin

Hands-On With The Devon Tread 2 “Shiny” Edition

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Ohhh… shiny! The Devon Tread has been an object of much fascination over the years and the launch of the Tread 2 has proven that the company can actually deliver on their promises. I’m pleased to say that the $10,000 Tread 2 is the coolest watch I’ve worn in a long time and I’m even willing to overlook the quartz motors and built-in computers and say “Yeah, buy this thing if you can.”

That’s saying a lot. First off, this guy is about $10,000 for a rechargeable quartz watch that is actually more of a computer. The motors are controlled by a built-in chip and the sole button and two-way actuator are the only way to control the time and features. The watch only has a chronograph and seconds display for those who want a bit more meat. That said, the watch is a feast for the eyes and arguably a conversation-starter.

James McCabe Lurgan Review

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Here on WWR, I like bringing your attention to newer brands you may not be aware of. If those brands happen to be offering some nicely affordable pieces in their catalog, well, all the better. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the first of two pieces that we had in from James McCabe.

As it sometimes goes with the smaller brands, you either get a clever name for the watch, or a reference number (rarely both). Here, we do actually have both. The broader line that this watch is from is the Lurgan; our specific review sample is the JM-1007-01. Ostensibly, this is a dress watch, given the croc-embossed strap, polished cased, and Breguet-style hands – and I could see it being used for that purpose, on the right wrist. My wrist, however, wasn’t the right one. While this is a larger case (45mm x 13mm), it’s not the biggest I’ve seen – until you incorporate the lug length.

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Normally, the lugs aren’t something I pay a great deal of attention to, unless it’s something unique (like we saw on the Refined Hardware Gatsby), or it’s a particularly good fit to my wrist. On this particular watch, we have lugs that look and feel like they’re longer than you might otherwise expect. Some of this is I’m sure due to accommodate the lug bar – but even so, it felt excessive to me. And looked that way when I wore it, almost like I was a little kid wearing my dad’s watch, in some form.

Surprisingly enough, the oversize onion crown didn’t present any issues for me. I fully expected to have it digging into my wrist throughout the day, and that simply wasn’t something that happened. So, past the obvious style it imparts, it does give a very nicely functional use when you adjust (or set) the time, or feel like giving the automatic movement a wind. Oh, and that movement?  It’s a Miyota 8S27.

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For this particular movement, you can see two sides of it. The first is of course the cutout on the dial. While I’m generally like these (as they give you a nice reminder of the machine at work), here you have the balance wheel obscured a great deal by how it’s mounted in the movement – which definitely takes away some of the appeal. Flip the case over, and you can see the partially decorated back of the movement, and skeletonized rotor. To my way of thinking, this would have been better served with a solid caseback. Opening it up just shows how uninteresting (visually) the movement is, and how much smaller it is than the case it’s housed in.

Ok, ok, I know it seems like I’ve been particularly critical of this watch. It’s not what I set out to do, but there were just details that kind of gnawed at me a bit. Let’s turn our focus, then, to what I think was well done in the piece. As a whole, I liked how they handled the dial. The polished indices are on top of a grooved track (perhaps reminiscent of an LP) that both serves to differentiate parts of the dial, and keep the markers from disappearing on a white background. Given the larger case size, they used it well to make for a very readable dial, helped along with appropriately sized hands (perhaps the hour hand could have been a tad longer).

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While I normally don’t care for off-balance dials as we have here, I didn’t find it to be a major deterrent. It’s just enough of a tweak that it makes it different from what else you may find, but not so obnoxiously off-kilter that you feel like you’re looking through a funhouse mirror. I did also appreciate the inclusion of a 24h subdial (the one over at 9 o’clock). While this is by no means necessary in a dress piece, it’s a nice bit of data to have, especially if this is a watch you’re not wearing frequently. Then again, I just like having a GMT indication, so it could be personal preference working in it’s favor.

In the end, the watch was a bit of a mixed bag. With it’s overall styling, this is a watch I really wanted to like. Given some of the other details I mentioned though (lug length, how the movement is displayed), it keeps me from giving a resounding recommendation on the watch. If you’ve got larger wrists, though, and are looking for your first mechanical, this could be a reasonable option for you. Coming in at a price of $387 (direct), it’s also one that won’t break the bank. mccabewatches.com

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Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: James McCabe Lurgan (JM-1007-01)
  • Price: $387
  • Who’s it for?: Someone looking for a big dress watch showing off it’s mechanical heart
  • Would I wear it?: No – the lug configuration simply makes it too large for my wrist
  • What I’d change: Shorten the lugs (and then use a curved lug bar) and remove the windows (front and back) on the movement
  • The best thing about it: The overall look of the dial – it puts me in mind of a “black tie” sort of setting

Backgrounds courtesy of Gustin and Renaissance Art

 

TIME-IT T-Block Review

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The last time that we had TIME-IT on our pages, we were taking a look at a watch that called to mind the slap bracelets of the 80s, with a full complement of LEDs (for indicating the time) bringing the look into the 21st century (link). For their latest, they’ve kept going with the LEDs display, but this time it’s re-organized into something that’s a bit more of a “regular” watch.

You’ll notice that the word regular was in quotes there – though the T-Block is in more of a standard configuration, the readout is anything but regular. With a press of a button (just like the LED watches of the 70s and 80s) the linear displays light up, reading out the time.

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On the top line, you’ve got the hours indicated (no 24-hour time format here, simple 1-12), with the next two lines indicating the minutes. The first one of those carries the 10s digits, and then the bottom line indicates the exact minute. So, to read this watch, you’re doing a sort of left-to-right, top-to-bottom scan; the same is done for reading the date as well.

Now, this sort of readout isn’t anything that different than what we’ve seen before, both from TIME-IT as well as other brands. What makes this one a bit different is how it’s packaged. The case itself presents almost as a solid block, and it has some odd (at first) stepping to it. You quickly realize that the front of the case is simply picking up the pattern evident in the integrated strap, going for a cohesive look.

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While I appreciate the overall look, I was a tad disappointed in the strap. It’s a harder plastic material which, while light weight, doesn’t have the greatest feel on the wrist – something with a softer feel would be much nicer here, be it silicone or rubber. The strap itself is also paired to a deployant clasp.

Once you’ve got the strap cut down to size (this is an iterative process, as you definitely don’t want to cut too much off at once), you re-attached the plastic bits that the clasp is on, and you’re ready to go. Given the materials used on the clasp, it’s a bit of a wiggling game to get things aligned properly and locked in place. On the plus side, once it’s latched, I didn’t have any issues with it coming undone.

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In regular wear, the T-Block is a very light weight watch, which helps of course to up the comfort level. Reading the time is a fairly simple affair once you get used to the readout (just press a button). Just be aware that, if you’re in very bright sunshine, it can be a bit tricky to read the LEDs. This isn’t so much a hit against this particular watch, but something that plagues many LED watches.

All in all, this is a watch I put in the “fun” category. The T-Block isn’t one you’re likely to be passing on down the generations, but it is a piece that you’ll enjoy wearing (if you’re into the retro-futuristic LED style) and will likely pick up some comments, as it looks quite unlike ones that have come before. And, at a price of around $190 (in a variety of colors), it’s not a watch that will break the bank. timeitwatch.com

Review Summary
  • Brand & Model: Time-IT T-Block
  • Price: $190
  • Who’s it for?: Someone looking for a lightweight, LED-driven watch
  • Would I wear it?: Perhaps, but infrequently – it’s just not a good fit for my personal tastes
  • What I’d change:  I think the strap and clasp could use some attention, and perhaps some upgrades in materials
  • The best thing about it: The “solid block” look of the case, and how the stepped pattern carries over into the strap

Torgoen T5 GMT Watch Review

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If you’re even passingly familiar with my writing on watches, you’ll know that I’ve really been drawn to GMT watches over the past year or so. Add in the fact that I like showcasing good, affordable watches here on WWR, and our latest review on a Torgoen watch really clicks on a few different levels.

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This particular model (ref. T05201) hails from their T5 series, which are of course denoted by the inclusion of a GMT complication, courtesy of the quartz Ronda 515 movement contained within. Across the line, you get some stylistic variances, but they are fairly similar (at least to my casual glance through the catalog). On our sample, the brushed finish of the metal combined with the black dial make for a good everyday sort of watch, at least from the perspective of style.

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On the wrist, the 42mm case sat pretty well on my wrist, though the shortened lugs didn’t have much room to curve down, so they did sit a touch above my wrist. Surprisingly enough for a quartz watch, this one measures in at an overall thickness of 14.6mm, a height I’m more used to seeing on dive watches (the T5 does carry a 100m WR rating). I didn’t have any issues with slipping this one under a shirt sleeve, though, due to the rounded (and narrow) bezel that surrounds the curved mineral crystal.

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On the wrist, the 175g watch (surprisingly) doesn’t weigh you down, and the solid link bracelet conforms to the wrist well enough (though not quite as well as if it were actually a 5-link bracelet as it first appears to be). With the bracelet, I did want to call out the deployant clasp. Often times on a more affordable model, the clasp will get short shrift, and be a simple fold-over variety, perhaps with an additional flip lock bit. On this one, the deployant is a single-sided push button, which really gives the piece a more polished look. It is a tad bulkier than a regular flip-lock clasp, though, so you may want to consider that if the bulk is an issue for you (it wasn’t for me, and I spend most of my day at a keyboard).

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The crown being over at the 4 o’clock position also helps with the comfort, ensuring you don’t have a crown and it’s guard digging into your wrist throughout the day. This also gives a good line then for the date window to follow (which, unfortunately, is a white window, where a black one would have blended better). It’s with that crown that you can of course adjust the date and time, as well as independently set the bright red GMT hand, should you wish to track a second time zone.

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In daily wear, I found the T5 to be a perfectly competent watch. It worked well both while I was at the office or back around home, and the steel case definitely gives it a rugged feel, so you’re not afraid that it’s going to take a hit if your weekend gets a bit adventurous. While there are a few design tweaks that I would have like to have seen (to correspond with my own tastes), there are of course tradeoffs to be had when you’re working within a pricepoint. In that vein, though, I think Torgoen did a good job here. Coming in at a price of $238, this isn’t a watch that feels cheap, and it’s a solid option for someone looking for an affordable GMT watch. If you’d like to explore some of the other styles (that are at even lower prices, check out Amazon).  torgoen.com

Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: Torgoen T5 GMT (T05201)
  • Price: $238
  • Who’s it for?: The guy looking for a GMT-enabled watch that works well for both the office and the weekend
  • Would I wear it?: Yes, though perhaps not this exact style from the lineup
  • What I’d change: Simplest thing, swap out that date wheel for a black one. More complex, perhaps, work on thinning out the case
  • The best thing about it: For a watch at this pricepoint, the locking deployant clasp really is quite nice

 

Yes, that grey denim is from the folks over at Gustin

HMT Janata Review

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It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that I brought you a review of the HMT Pilot, an extremely affordable (under $50) hand-wound watch out of India. That post garnered a lot of interest, and to this day I still get inquiries as to where, exactly, I picked the watch up, as people wanted to get their own. Today, we’ll have a look at a slightly different model, the Janata.

Cloudy Sky Leather Button Stud Strap Review

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Reviews of watch straps have slowed down here a bit, but one of our more recent discoveries from last year is back with a new style for your consideration. If you recall, the last time we took a look at Cloudy Sky (here), we covered a one-piece strap that is custom fit to your wrist, and we came away impressed. This time around, we’ve got another one-piece strap, with something a bit different.

Void V03M Automatic Review

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Not too long ago, we brought you word of Void’s first automatic watch, the V03M (right here). At the end of that article, we mentioned we were working on getting in a review sample, and this is the day we deliver on that effort, with our hands-on review of the little guy.

Miró Watches, Hands On

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Miró Watches is a relatively new brand, founded in 2012, bringing a clean, minimalist look to their watches.  Though the name is taken from a Spanish (Catalonian) Surrealist Artist, the design cues for the watch are pure Scandinavian, simple and functional.  Miró was kind enough to loan me a quartz watch in the Creme/Honey combination, but there are 5 different dial colors and 4 different strap options, so you have plenty of options.