Top positive review
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Great value for classic design
on January 23, 2014
This watch at around $100 is a great value for a classic design. However there are some things to keep in mind.
You might be wondering, why is the watch so much less than say, the usual price for a watch by Wenger or Victorinox?
The answer IMHO is two fold. First, when I've bought (and I have bought three Wengers so far from Amazon, including the Battalion II Diver and a couple of sport watches like this one), the sale price of around $80 or so, has been a function of a battery with less than a year left of life. So be aware when the price drops like this, usually it is because the battery is nearing replacement. Obviously no vendor can sell a non-functioning watch.
The sad fact of quartz watches is that you will have to spend about $45-55 to replace the battery and waterproof seals, and you are better off going to a reputable watch center that is an authorized repair center for Seiko, Citizen, Casio, Victorinox etc.
The second reason for the great price is that Wenger makes "goofs" in design.
First a few words about the difference between Wenger and Victorinox. Both make authorized Swiss Army knives and watches. The Victorinox Swiss Army knives are generally considered better. The little pen knife that comes in the set is nice, but the Victorinox version I have in my pocket right now is nicer, sharper and more durable steel, in a slimmer design. The watches however use the same movement, IIRC supplied by Swiss watch giant ETA, the parent of Swatch.
The dirty secret is that only a few watch companies make their own quartz or mechanical movements. A few giants like Seiko and ETA supply most of the quartz and mechanical movements, only say Rolex and a few others make their own.
Wenger was purchased a few years ago by Victorinox, but they have a different design philosophy than Victorinox in watch faces. Victorinox is fairly conservative, and don't offer much beyond the standard arabic numeral (aka "military style" seen on Navy SEAL favorite Luminox and the Timex Weekender) watch faces and the various Rolex style buttons and bars without any numerals.
Wenger on the other hand has had some "goofs" which make them more affordable, mainly less contrast between the numerals and watch face. This stands out in cream/white colored face watches with arabic numerals not very dark. I've had good luck purchasing such watches, their only downside is dim lighting makes it hard to pick out the numbers.
Here, the "goof" is that the bezel yes DOES rotate, but Wenger put a "60" mark instead of the usual diving watch style triangle with a luminous marker.
You can't use this in the dark to time things, there is no luminous marker as in say the Seiko Monster line.
The watch is also slightly oversized. Not the hockey puck that you see on hipsters wrists, but about 20% bigger than the Battalion II Diver from Wenger for example. This makes the watch more vulnerable to dings but easier to see.
The watch shines in being just like those clocks at school, easy to read and with a rotating bezel (just no triangle) ... in decent light.
You will NOT be able to see this in say, a car at night when you are away from a street light, but then that's true of my Seiko Orange Monster. Dark faced watches with light colored bars/numbers are the way to go. The Battalion II Diver from Wenger, the Orient Black Mako, both of which I own, work fine in that application or in the early morning light after the sun has risen but not filled the bedroom with light.
This is just a function of light colored (white, cream, beige, even orange) faced watches. For me, that's not a concern, and the easy and clean functionality of the classic Arabic Numeral design make this a winner.
I'm an average sized guy, the watch was a bit disappointing when I first unboxed it, but on the wrist sat fine. It's about the size of the Orient XL Mako, which makes it easier to see the time at a glance but also requires more care of the watch to avoid bumping into things. It does not look like a hockey puck on your wrist. But it is a bit bigger than standard sized mens watches.
The stainless steel bracelet is your standard Wenger/Victorinox affair. Not as nice as say, the Seiko Orange Monster with the quick deployment release but does the job and is ... well stainless steel. A classic look.
Lume is the usual Wenger/Victorinox minimal affair. Legible but the lume is not bright and fades fairly quickly after being charged with light. Nothing like the legendary Seiko Monster lume or even the Orient Mako lume.
I'd recommend this watch highly, as long as you realize it:
1. Is a light-faced watch with the design compromises: degraded low light legibility and enhanced good light readability. The Black on White numbers shine in normal light and are illegible in dim light.
2. Has a "goof" which is no triangle just the number 60 for the rotating bezel.
3. Is likely running low on the battery -- you'll have to replace it within a year not three at this price point (around $100).
I love the watch though -- you can't go wrong with a Wenger as long as you know the pros and cons.