We may go on and on about Swiss movements and their relative merits, but when was the last time you looked at a watch that made it’s very Swiss-ness obvious? You know, with the red-and-white cross right up there on the dial? If you’re like me, it’s been quite some time. Recently, I had a chance to rectify that oversight when I got a loaner in of the Wenger Roadster Black Night.
Now, if you know me, you know I most often would not be choosing a chronograph to review. Such is the burden I have to bear for you, dear reader. Not that strapping the Wenger Roadster Black Night on to the wrist was a burden. Combine a soft, one-piece leather strap with the (relatively) light weight of a quartz movement, and you get a watch that is comfortable to wear.
Now, most often, a 45mm watch – as we have here with the Wenger Roadster Black Night – is something I’d call out as being just a bit too large. Here, though, it works. It does not wear overly large on the wrist (visually or with any giant lug overhang), and the larger case size allows for the dial to be larger. Why is that important? Well, when you’re cramming three sub-registers onto a dial, allowing them to be larger (given the larger real estate overall) helps to keep things more legible. Fortunately for you and me, the white-on-black color palette also assists in that regard, as the contrasts are sharp.
The handset on the Wenger Roadster Black Night is a good size, extending properly to their respective tracks, with the hour hand being noticeably wider (I’d say close to double) than the minute hand. For someone like myself, who does not use chronograph functionality often, this is another boon. You can read the time quickly, at a glance, and the extra registers do not keep you from the main purpose of the watch. You know, telling the time. For those actually using the chronograph, you get the usual tracking you’d expect (running seconds are at 3 o’clock), with the chrono hands distinctively called out in red.
The largest, of course, would be the chrono seconds. That allows you to do some clever “fast” timing using the tachymetre scale on the fixed bezel. Whether or not you’d be timing those speeds on a watch of this nature is up to the user, but it does add some functionality to the watch with this type of bezel, along with giving you a (very slight) Speedmaster vibe.
Pushers on the Wenger Roadster Black Night are non-locking (so don’t try using them if you’re testing out the 100m WR rating), and respond as you would expect for a quartz chronograph. Not a crisp click like you have a mechanical, but still a nice tactile feel. Oh, one note here. If you are timing something and stop it, and then decide you want to adjust the time or date, well, don’t. You see, pulling out the crown forces the chronograph to reset. I’m guessing that it’s due to the movement protecting itself from any damage, but something you may need to be aware of.
I think my favorite thing on the Wenger Roadster Black Night was the dial itself. Along with it’s use of color, it managed to sneak some texture in the center there (reminiscent of expand steel diamond grating), which is always welcome. Also welcome? The fact that they have a color-matched date wheel. If you can get that matching on a $275 quartz watch, it absolutely mystifies me when the higher-end brands slap a light-colored date wheel under a dark dial. Oh, one last thing that I really dig about the dial? The lume. See, it’s on all the normal spots, but they also lumed the logo. Only a few other brands have done this, and I still enjoy it every time I see it.
As I mentioned in passing there, the Wenger Roadster Black Night is a very affordable Swiss chronograph, coming in at only $275. While it may not be my cup of tea, it is certainly not a watch I’d look down my nose at if I saw it show up on a friend’s wrist. It looks and feels well-built, the quartz movement is going to be plenty accurate, and you’ll be able to verify your car’s speedometer as you go down the road (please, though, only as a passenger). This may be the first Wenger we’ve looked at, but we’re working to see what else we can check out. If you have a particular model (watch, knife, or otherwise) you’d like our thoughts on, please comment below or drop us a line. wenger.ch
- Brand & Model: Wenger Roadster Black Night
- Price: $275
- Who’s it for? You are on the hunt for a solid everyday watch, and like the looks (and functionality) of a chronograph
- Would I wear it? No, not really – but it’s because chronographs don’t do it for me
- What I’d change: You know, I could see this design lending itself to a simple three-hander plus date (in a slimmed down case)
- The best thing about it: The dial – it’s textures, colors, and lume
Tech Specs from Wenger
- Case material: Stainless steel
- Case diameter: 45 millimeters
- Case Thickness: 12 millimeters
- Band Material: Calfskin
- Band width: 22 millimeters
- Band Color: Brown
- Dial color: Black
- Special features: Calendar, Chronograph, Tachometer
- Movement: Swiss quartz
- Water resistant: 100 Meters
- Weight: 107.9g