Ok, so yesterday’s post was not so much watch related, as it was watch-brand related. Let’s get back into our normal swing of things – albeit with the same brand. Last summer, we first brought you word of a new analog-digital watch from the guys over at Smith & Bradley. The Kickstarter project was a success, and we are back now to talk about the latest version of the Smith & Bradley Ambush, this time in a stainless steel finish.
That was one of the first things I noticed when Jerommie Smith handed over the box to kick off the review process – that stainless steel finish. Now, I tend to prefer these sorts of finishes over PVD, so that may have something to do with it. What really caught me, though, was just how much lighter – visually – the Smith & Bradley Ambush is in this finish. Not that it’s a light watch – 168g on the bracelet – it just feels crisper and lighter.
As I mentioned in the earlier writeup, this sort of ana-digi configuration is an idea a few brands have executed on (Breitling and MTM come to mind), and it makes sense, giving the ability to pack a lot of functionality within the 44mm case. Here, you have quite a few complications – a second time zone, the date, chronograph and alarm features, and a compass. Now, the compass bit I did not particularly use, but I did play around with it a bit, and it’s a fun feature to fiddle with, and I could have seen it being useful in my backpacking days.
For the most part, however, I live in the world of houses and offices, commuting rather than wandering through the woods. So, that begs the question, is the Smith & Bradley Ambush a watch that works for my every day environment, where the only tactical environments (which the watch was designed for) I see would be courtesy of a video? In a word, yes, it can and does. Sure, a lot of the functions are, well, overkill, for that setting, but that is often something that occurs with high-capability quartz watches (ie, there’s a whole host of stuff on my G-Shock) that I don’t even use.
The first thing you’ll need to tackle would be the weight of the watch. As I mentioned, it’s 168g on the 22mm stainless steel bracelet, so this is not a lightweight watch, even with being quartz-driven. For me, it’s a comfortable weight, as I’ve gotten used to heavier steel divers on my wrist. Of course, you could trim some of that down by switching over to their TPU strap, or swapping in a leather or nylon one from your own collection.
Next up, you’ve got styling to contend with. Due to the uni-directional bezel, the watch does almost have the look of the aforementioned divers. Of course, that bezel is printed with compass points, and not digits for timing, but still – when our eyes see a bezel, we think of something oriented to the water. In this case, it’s a good thing, as it allows the Smith & Bradley Ambush to sort of fly under the radar a bit, especially as we have it here in the matte steel finish. It’s also worth noting that the LCD displays on the dial are a bit stealthy too – depending on the lighting (or how quick you’re looking at the watch), they sort of hide in the dial, which is a plus for me as well, Of course, should you want to light those up, a simple pusher press will accomplish that for you.
You do pick up a sort of military feel from the numerals on the dial, given as they have a stenciled look. Still, that’s not particularly enough for this watch to stand out from it’s “civilian” brethren. For those in the know, when you dig into the details (and see the AR-15 inspirations in the case sides and handset), then yes, there’s a different tone to the watch – but again, that’s something that it does stealthily.
So, for me, the Smith & Bradley Ambush was a watch that worked rather well in my work week. It did not attract any undue attention at the office, and it was a capable companion for my commutes. I would not classify it as an everyday watch, as I find myself in a suit regularly. That said, this is a watch I would certainly wear without hesitation when heading out for some summertime camping, as the backlight and compass functions would be handy. At a price of $645, the Smith & Bradley Ambush is a watch that does not need to trumpet its design and capabilities to the world. What it does, it does well, it does it quietly, and it does it efficiently – perfect attributes for a tool watch of any stripe. smithbradleyltd.com
- Brand & Model: Smith & Bradley Ambush
- Price: $645
- Who’s it for?: This is for the guy who wants just about everything a quartz watch could possibly offer in terms of complications, without the sea of plastic that often accompany watches of that nature
- Would I wear it?: Yes, especially when spending time outdoors
- What I’d change: I’d love to see the audible alarm switched for one that gives the ability for silent (vibrating) alarm, as the digital beeps are easy to miss
- The best thing about it: For all that it offers, how unassuming the watch is at first glance