Today, we’re rounding out the reviews that were due to a set of watches coming in from Vaer. We’ve looked more retro quartz and automatic models, and now we’re headed back to quartz, but one with a very clever trick under it’s dial – the Vaer D4 Arctic Solar.
It’s interesting that we had the Vaer D4 Arctic Solar come in, as we’ve been seeing a number of solar-powered watches featured in articles here (such as this one, or this one). While this watch looks and feels a bit more modern than the previous Vaer watches we looked at, there are still some vintage vibes here. For one, it’s a classic dive watch look, complete with twisted lugs, an aluminum bezel insert (with lume pip) and an aged-look lume applied on the dial.
In other words, the Vaer D4 Arctic Solar has classic dive watch looks that will appeal to a number of folks, especially paired to the the three-link bracelet (though, any of their 20mm quick change straps would slip in there as well). Another thing that the Vaer D4 Arctic Solar has going for it is its sizing. The case itself is just 38mm and 10.6mm thick (including the crystal adds another 2mm), meaning it should fit onto a wide range of wrists. For me, I thought it was a perfect size.
It’s also got a unique profile, as you can see above – it’s like you’ve got a UFO landing on top of the case. In practical terms, it’s not impacting the movement of the bezel, but it does give some design curiosity that wouldn’t be there with a traditional straight-sided bezel.
In terms of what the watch gives you, you’ve got your basic three-hander configuration going on here, powered by the aforementioned solar movement. Along with the 60-minute timing bezel, you’ve got the basic needs for timing covered for your day. And, for a watch like this, I think that’s perfect. It’s clean and legible, not over-crowded by extra complications. By this, I mean it’s there giving you the time (or counting up from where you set the bezel) and nothing else. Paired with the solar movement, and this makes for a perfect outdoors watch. The steel case will be plenty protective, and you can bang on without concern.
When you consider that the Vaer D4 Arctic Solar comes in at $369 for a tropic strap and the basic steel bracelet (the upgraded one we reviewed takes the price to $409) makes for a watch that you’re not going to worry about getting rough with while you’re out, say, hiking, canoeing, and camping. It’ll hold up to all of it, the solar will keep it going, and the quartz accuracy will keep you on task. Sure, some might opt for a resin-cased watch to cut down weight, but I think a watch like the Vaer D4 Arctic Solar is going to look just at home around the campfire as it will when you head into town for a restaurant meal.
Sure, some folks might bemoan the lack of a mechanical movement, but I think solar movements have a place at the table. Like we have in the Vaer D4 Arctic Solar, you can tuck these watches away for up to six months in a drawer and have it still work. It’s the ultimate no-fuss sort of a watch, and that’s what I consider to be a key factor in an outdoors-oriented watch. And hey, when you return back from the wilds, just wipe the watch down, and you’re ready to head back to day-to-day life. If you’re not a fan of the aged lume look, there are also versions with bright white lume, in either black or blue dials. Check them out over at vaerwatches.com
Tech Specs from Vaer
- Watch Model: D4 Arctic
- Case Diameter: 38mm
- Bezel Diameter: 39mm
- Dial Color: Black
- H+M Hand Color: Brushed steel
- S Hand Color: White
- Case Material: 316L Steel
- Case Back: Deep Etched Steel
- Sapphire Crystal: Double Domed
- Bezel: Anodized Aluminum
- Case Thickness: 10.6mm
- Thickness w/ Crystal: 12.7mm
- Lug-to-Lug: 45mm
- Case Weight: 59 grams
- Water Resistance: 20ATM (200m)
- Movement: Epson VS22 Solar
- Power Reserve: 6 months
- Regulated Accuracy: +/- 20 sec / month
- Lume: SuperLuminova C1
- Strap Size: 20mm
- 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
- Japanese Solar Quartz Movement
- 6 Month Power Reserve (no light)
- Hacking seconds
- Screw-in crown and caseback
- Aluminum 120 Click Uni-Directional Bezel
- 15 Layer C1 Super-LumiNova
- Double Domed sapphire w/ internal AR
- Standard Quick Release 20mm Tropic Strap
- Option 316L Bracelet – 20mm to 18mm taper Dive Clasp
- Bracelet with 3 Adjustments, Solid end links
- Optional USA Made Horween leather strap
- Signed certificate from assembly technician
- Watch giftbox with embossed Vaer logo
- Cross-compatible with all Vaer 20mm straps