It’s been some time since we’ve had a spate of Armitron watches on our pages, but now we’re getting into the latest batch from the brand. While they may not be the first name that comes to mind, there’s no denying their watches are firmly in the affordable territory. Price isn’t the only thing that us watch folks care about though, is it? Let’s see how the Armitron Visible247 fared in our hands-on review.
First up, we need to cover off on that name – Visible247. Of course, that would be indicating that the dial of the watch is visible, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You might be thinking there’s tritium in there somehow, but that is not the case (and would be quite a feat given the sub-$100 price point). No, what Armitron has done here is created a dial (injection molded, per their spec page) that is luminous. In the blue version we got in, it’s not quite as bright as you might expect from other fully lumed dials, but it does do the job (the other version with a white dial is likely brighter). Now, on that 24/7 claim, that may be a bit of a stretch. Even their own marketing states the charged dial will last for about 4 hours, and in my experience, it faded fast. Also worth noting – since the dial is luminous, the hands and indices are not. It’s still visible, but not what you might expect.
Under the dial, and tucked into the 46mm case of the Armitron Visible247, we’ve got a quartz movement. What movement? What sort of battery life? Well, I can’t tell you that, since on the product page for the watch, in the movement section, it instead talks about the dial. Weird, right? Well, whatever. Even inexpensive quartz movements stay fairly accurate, and in my time with the watch, I didn’t notice any grievous gains or losses. The movement, along with the three-hander time keeping, also provides a date.
On the dial of the Armitron Visible247, the date window feels a touch undersized, especially given how big the watch itself is. The brand tries to overcome this with a white outline around the border of the date window, but that just serves to underscore how small it is. Fortunately, the hands do not suffer the same fate. They’re a good size, both in relation to each other and to the overall size of the dial. Given the size of that dial, it should be no surprise that things are very legible and good for at-a-glance reads of the time.
Text on the dial of the Armitron Visible247 is pretty limited, keeping to the brand, the WR rating (100m) and the compass indications on the chapter ring. All of the extra ink serves to show that this watch is part of the Armitron Adventure lineup. What does that mean? Well, for me, I look at it as a watch that is intended for some hard outdoor use (aka, the trusty beater watch). You could use the chapter ring (along with sun position and the handset) to orient yourself, the WR rating means you don’t need to worry about fording a river, and the textile strap seems to be ready for getting dirty and wet. Until you realize that the back of the strap is leather. Nice for comfort, not so great for going for a swim.
To say that the Armitron Visible247 is a bit of a mixed bag, well, that’s a good summary actually. There’s a lot going for it to say that this is a watch ready for your week-long camping trip – full-glow dial, quartz reliability, steel case, so on and so forth. And the price of $95 for the Armitron Visible247 means, yeah, you won’t mind if you’d rough it up some. Some might prefer a resin-cased digital for that (and we do have something of that kind in from Armitron, keep an eye out for a future review), and I can’t argue with that. For the analog outdoors enthusiasts, though, the Armitron Visible247 might be a good choice. For every day, indoors usage, though, while it’s not for me, I’m curious what you all think (sound off below or in Slack).
That all said, I do like that I’m seeing some newer design direction from Armitron, and the overall appearance of the Armitron Visible247 is appealing (if oversized. I mean, why is a quartz watch this thick?) While it won’t be for the hardcore mountain climbers and backcountry explorers, for the casual weekend car camping gal or guy, it could be a fit. Who knows, maybe you could use the half-polished lugs to signal search craft in an emergency… armitron.com
- Brand & Model: Armitron Visible247
- Price: $95
- Who’s it for? The casual outdoor enthusiast on the hunt for an inexpensive “beater” watch
- Would I wear it? Day to day? No, it’s too large. When camping? Perhaps, though I’d want to swap the strap for rubber or fully-textile
- What I’d change: Slim the case down, enlarge (or delete) the date window, get rid of the leather backing on the textile strap
- The best thing about it: That glowy dial
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