Armitron is likely a brand most folks don’t pay too much attention to, at least, those who read watch blogs. Right or wrong, it’s just not a brand that attracts attention. That said, they have such a varied catalog it would be all but impossible to find a watch that fits your tastes. One of the nicer-looking pieces I’ve had in from them is the subject of today’s review – the Armitron Explorer.

Now, call off the guard dogs. The brand doesn’t actually call it the Armitron Explorer – that’s my appellation for it. They call it the 20/5048NVSVBN which, well, doesn’t roll off of the tongue. From my time with it, I really started to pick up an Explorer I vibe from the dial, so that’s the name I handed to it. And that is a pet peeve I’ve got with the larger brands producing inexpensive watches – they just don’t give names to what they’re producing. I get it, names are hard. But if you want consumers to be able to remember what you make, a name works SO much better than a thirteen character alphanumeric string.

When I was checking out what the brand had on tap, I was immediately drawn to the combination of the royal blue sunray dial of the Armitron Explorer, particularly paired as it was against the darker brown (croc-embossed) leather strap. This is a classic, casual, color pairing, and makes the case for this being the sort of watch that is perfect for the office. Particularly if you’re headed in for your first office job. Sure, everyone wants something splashy to mark that milestone, but that’s not always possible, or even fiscally prudent.

That’s where pieces like this Armitron Explorer come in. They’re good-looking designs with great capability (quartz accuracy along with day, date, and time – you’ve got your bases covered), and come in at very affordable price points (this particular example runs just $65). You may not think that a watch like this will last you very long -and it may not, if you’re getting into the world of watch collecting. For all the other folks, though, who just want a reliable timepiece? I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how far your cash can take you with a watch like this.

8 lumed indices – and nothing else

While the design of the Armitron Explorer is decent, I won’t go so far as to call it great. And this is all because of one detail. You see, I was surprised to see that the watch had luminous paint. This shows up on the stick indices on the dial, which generally is an unexpected bonus on a watch like this. For some reason, though, that’s the only place Armitron put the paint. There is nary a particle on the polished handset. Which means you aren’t telling any sort of time in the dark. This is a simple fix, though. The brand just needs to get a stripe of luminous paint on the handset, and usability (and design “completion of thought”) is raised.

That’s the one big quibble I’ve got with the Armitron Explorer. Past that, I felt that it was a competent watch that will certainly get the job done for you, day in and day out. The leather strap is decent (no rich leather scent to it, but it also doesn’t smell plasticky), and if it’s not your cup of tea, you’ll certainly have enough left over to pick up something from, say, Crown & Buckle to make it a little more your own. And if the watch itself just isn’t for you, check out that catalog – you might just be surprised at what you can find out there.

Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: Armitron 20/5048NVSVBN
  • Price: $65
  • Who’s it for? You want a reliable, good-looking watch for the office
  • Would I wear it? Yes, but sparingly.
  • What I’d change: Those hands need some luminous paint
  • The best thing about it: It’s a recognizable look (without being a homage) with a classic color combination

Tech Specs from Armitron

  • 40mm case, silver tone
  • WR: 100m
  • Functions: day/date, hours/minutes/seconds
  • Strap: leather, brown

Last Update: March 13, 2019

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