Today, we’re going to take a look at a watch that you may notice a few similarities when compared to a watch from last week. Last week is was the quartz-driven Vaer C3; today, we’re going to walk you through the automatic Vaer A3 Tradition.

As I had the watches side-by-side, it was hard not to see the similarities between the Vaer A3 Tradition and the C3. So, I asked the brand about it, and how they differentiate the two internally. While the cases are similar, the A3 has a higher level of finishing, and is slightly thicker to accommodate the automatic movement. The dial is different as well, with the A3 getting a heavier dose of the SuperLuminova than what you’d see on the C3 Tradition. So, similar, yet different.

Speaking of the dial, you’ve got that very classic Explorer-style layout with the triangle and 3-6-9. This is a solid look at most people click with instantly. Though the lume used here has a bit of an aged look, it still stands out very crisply against the black dial, making it very easy to read the time at a glance. The handset are just simple steel (no extra finishing) and lume-filled, while the seconds-hand shows up in a bright white.

Out of the box, the Vaer A3 Tradition was on a tropic strap. This is a nice, basic synthetic, with the “woven” pattern giving a welcome bit of texture to the surface, improving on the looks versus if it were just a flat, smooth finish. That said, while I found the tropic nice (and good for if you intended to swim with the watch) I quickly changed it over to the jubilee bracelet. The change is a cinch, as you’ve got quick-release springbars standard. Once I had it sized (which is a little fiddly, but that’s the nature of a jubilee), it went onto my wrist and immediately felt comfortable.

Aside from bringing some flash with the polished links, the jubilee is able to bend and form to your wrist courtesy of all those little links. I know that I am partial to bracelets on watches in general, but I do think that this is a welcome addition here. The standard 3-link Oyster/Engineer style bracelet feels like it would overpower a smaller watch like this one. Additionally, those who find standard 3-link bracelets just too clunky should have a much more pleasant experience with the five links of the jubilee.

While the C3 had direct ties to the war era it was paying homage to, I find myself drawn more to the Vaer A3 Tradition and it’s overall vintage looks. Just the combination of the smaller case (at 36mm, I felt it was very comfortable, and did not feel undersized on my wrist), the classic dial layout, and even that jubilee. It’s not necessarily a homage to any one watch, but puts you in mind of several different ones. I think that this is the watch that I’d recommend to folks who would have gone towards a Seiko diver in the past, but now are unsure with how their lines have shifted and prices have climbed. A place of refuge among the noise, if you will.

Here, with the Vaer A3 Tradition, we’ve got a solid build and classic design, coming in at a price that won’t break the bank. Think of it as the microbrand diver (yes, this one is good for 100m) that we see a lot of places, just done in a smaller and slightly vintage approach. While this was only my second experience with a watch from Vaer, I came away rather impressed with what they’ve got with this watch. Want to get your own? It starts at $499 direct from Vaer; adding the jubilee bracelet as your second strap tops things out at $599. Oh, and quick hint here (given something we saw under a verbal NDA) – keep an eye out on the Vaer A3 later this year – there’s a very cool-looking new version coming this spring. vaerwatches.com

Tech Specs from Vaer

  • Watch Model: A3 Tradition
  • Case Diameter: 36mm
  • Dial Color: Black
  • H+M Hand Color: Steel
  • S Hand Color: White
  • Case Material: 316L Steel
  • Case Back: Sapphire exhibition
  • Sapphire Crystal: single domed
  • Case Thickness: 9.4mm
  • Thickness w/ Crystal: 11.6mm
  • Lug-to-Lug: 43mm
  • Case Weight: 60g
  • Weight inc. Strap: 78g
  • Water Resistance: 10 ATM (100m)
  • Movement: Miyota 9039
  • Complication: Date
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Regulated Accuracy: -5/+15 sec / day
  • Lume: SuperLuminova C3
  • Strap Size: 20mm

Features

  • Assembled and Tested in America
  • Guaranteed waterproof warranty
  • 24-month warranty
  • Polished highlight chamfering on case & lugs
  • Satin brushed stainless steel case
  • Vaer engraving on crown, caseback and buckles
  • Japanese Miyota 9039 Automatic
  • 28,800 Beat Rate
  • Hacking seconds
  • Parashock anti-shock system
  • Screw-in crown and caseback
  • 25 Layers C3 Super-LumiNova Hands & Numerals
  • Single-domed sapphire crystal w/ internal AR
  • Standard Quick Release 20mm Silicone Strap
  • Free second strap (Nylon or Horween Leather)
  • Optional Made in USA Horween leather strap
  • Signed certificate from assembly technician
  • Premium watch giftbox with embossed Vaer logo
  • Cross-compatible with all Vaer 20mm straps

By Patrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.

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