Compass watches are always of interest to me, whether current or as in this case a Kickstarter project – which I understand is already fully funded and November this year should be available. Smith & Bradley are a fairly new US Company run by watch enthusiasts who decided that there was a niche in the market for a seriously practical model that might well be suited to the Law Enforcement profession or indeed any outdoor enthusiast too.
This is the “Ambush” analog/digital model (I have a love of combi’s I admit) and this one appears to be pretty well specified. It uses a Swiss Quartz movement a digital display not unlike a Breitling Aerospace and a compass step motor function not unlike the Tissot T-Touch (though without the touch display). On first looks I rather like it. The 316 Stainless Steel 44mm diameter case (ex crown) is black PVD coated and the crystal is a coated Anti-reflection Sapphire. The case back is stainless steel and screw fit. Function wise it features Alarm, Digital Compass using the analog hands as pointers, Dual Time and Chronograph.
It also caters for night use by having SuperLuminova analog hands and also a selectable blue digital back light which seems pretty good. Battery life is around 39 months (Renata) and there is a low battery indicator. The Compass mode uses the Minute hand to point to True North (there are declination settings you can set) and interestingly the Hour hand with the red dot shows your heading in compass mode. The digital display will show all data for direction and heading in degrees.
I also like the fact (as in the night image) when the digital function is being used the analog hands will move out of the way to a default 10 -2 position, thus not obscuring the displays ( a feature of the Tissot T=touch also).
So an interesting watch on many levels for me in that they are non mainstream and yet have put a lot of thought into their watch. They have used a solid Swiss ana/digi movement and planned out the features very carefully and avoided the pitfall of many larger Brands – dial clutter. This dial in comparison is neat, functional and very legible – and they have my congratulations. Another feature is they use standard lug strap arrangements so NATO and other standard alternative straps can be easily used. Again well done!
This model also feature a 10Bar (100m) Water Resistance.
Sadly I never spotted this watch or indeed the Kickstarter promotion when it first appeared, so am very late to the table, but I’m sure once it appears and hopefully (or eventually) available to the general public – I’ll be there!