Whilst I referred to this watch in my Tritium comparison post recently I didn’t actually feature a proper review. This I will remedy now. The Traser “Classic Basic Black” watch as it is known or model T4102.240.A2.01 is a mid priced Tritium light source date watch from Swiss manufacturer Traser. More accurately this is mb traser® H3 and is the company-owned watch brand of mb-microtec ag. Thanks to its research, the Swiss company mb-microtec ag has succeeded in manufacturing a self-activated light source (GTLS = gaseous tritium light sources) that is 100 times brighter than any previously available. This is the technology it features in it’s range of watches.
First off – the specification –
Model T4102.240.A2.01 – 2011
Case stainless steel case.
40mm diameter and 10mm depth.
22mm steel expandable bracelet (leather strap version available).
Ronda 715 Quartz movement.
mb-microtec Illuminated dial features – 1-11 green tubes & 12 – orange tube.
h/m/s hands green tubed.
50m Water Resistance.
The case is clean and solid looking with slight brushed satin look apart from the thin top bezel which is polished and being thin it allows the dial to dominate the watch look. It is in fact 35mm diameter and with the black dial background, large white numerals and white hands it is very clear to read. In fact one of the most legible I’ve seen. The date window is @3 and is set in a contrasting white background. A centre seconds hand completes the internal features and all under a flat mineral crystal that is very clear.
So in the dial department I have nothing but praise for this model. It is very legible in all lights, daylight, low light and as fitting for an mb-microtec tritium lit watch – it is especially excellent in total darkness. The Tritium tubes glow bright with the individual hour markers in green, the 12 marker in orange and the hands in green all easily visible. The seconds hand is just as bright and can easily be seen as it tracks around the dial in total darkness. In my opinion it is probably the best by far of any luminous system. Mb-microtec guarantee the light source for 10 years though I have the feeling that these will last considerably more than that before any degradation of light intensity. My oldest mb-microtec illuminated watch is just 6 years old now and it is still as good today as when purchased.
So no complaints at all regarding the dial features, legibility and night use – this watch excels in all these departments. Exterior wise it looks OK, clean steel lines, a slightly angular but not unattractive case shape with the good sized onion crown and with the deceptively large dial it is an easy watch to wear and own, no doubt of that.
However when we come to the steel elastic bracelet, this is another matter entirely. This is a very poor affair, badly finished and very uncomfortable on the wrist – and certainly on mine. As can be seen in the image here neither the finish nor the fit of this bracelet is the quality of the watch. And this a real disappointment and so much so I replaced it with (as shown) a spare silicon deployment strap, which not only suits the watch much better, but is now comfortable to wear. In fact the shape of the case back and the general size of the watch, coupled with my replaced strap, makes this one of the most comfortable watches I now own.
Quality wise regarding the steel finish, whilst it’s definitely not as good as the Traser Big Date, it is certainly OK. I also note that it’s much lighter than the Big Date model at 76g (with my strap) against the rather heavy Big Date at 146g, though that’s good I think as you hardly know you are wearing it. As for the elastic steel strap – I have to view that as a mistake. I recommend the strap version.
Sorry I did not manage to get a picture of the dial in the dark – my skills with my little camera don’t seem up to the job. Suffice to say that there are images on the mb-microtec, H3 Traser and other web sites which show that far more clearly than I can.
The traser H3 web site can be accessed here.
So overall I have to recommend this as a very good all round daily beater utility watch. Superb clarity in day and night conditions, easy to wear, good size for small to large wrists and well priced too. I would disregard the so called “elastic steel bracelet” as an aberration from Traser and purchase the leather version if possible.
Note – Personally I find the easily sourced silicon deployment straps I use on many of my watches are always a good replacement, though usually for replacing the more outlandish rubber diver’s straps favoured by some Makers. In this case however, it was an absolute essential and saved the day as far as the Traser Basic Black was concerned.
It would be nice if Traser take note of customer feedback in this instance and ditch the “elastic” bracelet – let’s hope so.