“It looks like one of those giant pencils.” That’s my daughter’s none-too-flattering take on the Torgoen T10 Turnstone. The 44mm T10 can’t be seen from outer space, but it can be spotted across a football field. If you have good eyesight. A lot of people don’t, not being 16 and all. The Torgoen T10, a watch for old folks? Yes and no. Let’s start with yes . . .
The National Eye Institute reports that five to 10 percent of Americans are farsighted. Millions of watch wearers can’t quickly read a small or complicated watch face without bringing it to their face, donning a pair of cheaters or taking off their glasses.
If you can’t relate, wait. As my father used to say, getting older’s not for pussies. Meanwhile, the Torgoen T10 is to legibility what a Bugatti Veyron is to sports cars. The glossy lume-coated 12, 3, 9 and 6 Arabic numbers and uninterrupted Jumbotron indices catch the eye in femtoseconds, or thereabouts.
In a world of Submariner clones, the T10’s 316L stainless steel case is blissfully bezel-free, barely visible when viewed from above. Combined with a minimally bulbous 40mm crystal fashioned from super-hardened K1 mineral glass, the T10 offers all the optical clarity of a perfectly cleaned aquarium.
The T10 may be huge, but it is thick: 14mm. As a Texan whose long-sleeved shirts hang unmolested in my closet for nine months of the year, that’s not an issue. I’m more focused on the watch’s 3.5-ounce heft — which occupies the sweet spot between a featherlight Seiko titanium and Rolexian stolidity.
The T10’s 24mm wide lugs say hello to the black, Torgoen-embossed rubber straps at roughly an 80 degree angle, and stay there. Resting upside down, the T10 looks like a dead bug. The watch sits perfectly on my 7″ wrist; it occupies every inch of real estate on smaller-wristed humans.
Affixed with rubber, boasting 100m of closed case water resistance, the T10 is eminently dunkable, though as a dive watch the Torgoen makes an excellent nighttime-capable altimeter.
Not really, but that’s where Torgoen’s founder and head designer found his inspiration. Benzi Rozenski reckons his T10’s are an affordable alternative to the pricey IWC, Bel & Ross and Rolex Air King pilot watches of the world.
To keep the price down and assure reliability, the Torgoen T10’s motivated by a time-tested Swiss Quartz Ronda movement. The 515S.2’s torque is suited to the T10’s heavy hands, and the power saving mechanism reduces power consumption by roughly 70 percent, ensuring a two-year battery life.
The T10’s design trumps the competition by its sheer size and what it leaves out: almost everything. I’m particularly enamored by Rozenski’s decision to darken the dial’s center, especially the second hand’s blacked-out base.
A tiny date window occupying the T10’s lower left quadrant dings its minimalism. The market may demand a date complication, but the date chicklet runs completely counter to the T10’s XXXL gestalt. On the positive side, the Torgoen T10 branding under the 12 and the diminutive 100m typography on the dial’s bottom are both perfectly judged.
Torgoen offer the T10 in 16 flavors. Five clock-in at $250. The seven that come with a leather strap cost $220 (available separately for retrofit for $88). I consider the rubber-strapped black Turnstone and its $177 monochromatic brethren all that’s required: watches that best meet Rozenski’s affordability remit.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive, durable, easy-to-read, swimming pool-compatible pilot’s watch, the Torgoen T10 fits the bill. You don’t have to be visually impaired (i.e. old) to appreciate its aesthetic appeal, but it helps.
Torgoen T10 Turnstone
Click here to buy (no commission)
Strap color: Black
Strap Material: Rubber
Lug width: 24mm
Case material: Solid high-grade (316L) stainless steel
Dial case diameter: 44mm
Case thickness: 14mm
Back: Screw down stainless steel
Weight: 3.5 OZ / 0.10 kg.
Crystal: Super hardened K1 mineral glass
Crystal Diameter: 40mm
Lume: Non-radioactive long lasting luminescence
Movement: Swiss Quartz Rhonda 515S.2
Water resistance: 10ATm/100M/330ft
RATINGS (out of five stars)
Design * * * *
Everything you want in a pilot’s watch and one thing you don’t (a tiny date window).
Legibility * * * * *
More readable than my novel (and that’s saying something).
Tactility * * * *
Good heft, smoothly polished steel case, comfortable rubber strap. The stem feels a bit flimsy in operation.
Customer Service * * * * *
Watch arrived on time in perfect condition. Phone contact knew their onions.
Overall * * * * *
Excellent minimalist design, rock solid construction and priced to go. The date window is useless and annoying but I’m going to let it slide.