I have been aware of the Minuteman brand for some time now, but the watches they were creating really never piqued my interest. Sure, the concept behind the brand – using watch sales to assist veteran’s charities – is admirable, and now they finally have a watch that I think merits some discussion, regardless of whatever other good work may be done by the brand (just consider it a bonus). So, with that, let’s see what the Minuteman Independence has to offer.
For those not familiar with the brand, Minuteman started out in 2013. Their original intent was to train veterans in watch assembly, but that never quite came to fruition. Instead, they are focusing on designing watches that have a patriotic bent, and use some portion of the proceeds to support a charity that supports veterans. In the case of the Minuteman Independence, 25% of the sales will be going to Fisher House. For the watch itself, folks who may be nervous about backing a young brand will take comfort in who designed, and will be building, the watch.
As it turns out, Chris Wiegand (yes, the same guy who owns Lum-Tec) designed the Minuteman Independence, and his company out of Ohio will be building up the watch. In terms of design, the Minuteman Independence features what I would consider to be a field watch case (similar to what we saw from Bertucci watches or the Filson Journeyman GMT). In this design, you have a built up case with extended, integrated lugs, as well as crown protection. In other words, a beefier case that looks like it can stand up to some bumps and bangs. Considering that the 40mm case is made of stainless steel, and it’s topped with a sapphire crystal, odds are it can take some abuse.
Under that sapphire crystal is what really caught my eye with the Minuteman Independence – it’s dial. While I have a feeling that the photos we’re seeing currently are just renders, the dial looks to be a crisp combination of white indices and numerals over a crisp black dial (with a color-matched date wheel, thankfully). Over the dial you have a handset that looks to have a similar tone to the black PVD case (you can also opt to not get the PVD), which adds a subtle bit of contrast to the whole affair. When you add in that Lum-Tec is in the mix, you have to imagine that the luminous paint applied on the dial and handset should be quite nice as well. I am also a fan of the fairly minimal branding that appears on the dial, with just the brand name up top, and the logo below to balance things out.
Tucked into the case of the Minuteman Independence is a Ronda 515 quartz movement, which should keep things ticking along nicely. Of note, when that battery dies, Minuteman offers a lifetime battery replacement guarantee (on top of their 5-year warranty), so that is a nice bit of value add. Speaking of value, the regular price for the Minuteman Independence is $309, but in their current pre-order period, you can pick one up (with PVD or not) for only $250. The pre-sale is anticipated to run for around 3 months, with delivery expected to start by mid-summer (but no later than December 2016). While I cannot speak to the other watches that Minuteman is producing, the Minuteman Independence certainly is an intriguing one. Do sound off in the comments if you are planning to pick one of these up, or have a Minuteman already in your collection. minutemanwatches.com
- Brand & Model: Minuteman Independence
- Price: $309 ($250 during pre-order period)
- Who we think it might be for: You like the idea of supporting veteran’s charities, and are on the hunt for a field watch
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: Tough to say without seeing “in the steel” photos
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: “Ghost” the branding and logo in so the watch gives almost the appearance of a sterile dial
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The overall feel of the dial, particularly the “double block” indices
Tech Specs from Minuteman
- Assembled in the United States of America.
- 40mm case width without crown.
- Sapphire crystal with anti reflective coating on the inside.
- Ronda 515 Swiss Quartz movement.
- Water resistant to 100 meters.
- Stainless Steel case and crown.
- Individually serial numbered.
- Free lifetime battery replacement.
- 5 year limited warranty.
- Luminous hands and markers