Some people just have to spend money. Sure, life is better with a $2600 Miele 400 Series cooktop, a $13k Jaclo Spa Rettango ceiling-mounted multi-function flat dream light chromotherapy shower head or a $25k TAG Heuer Carrera Chronograph. But even if you can afford it, that which you own owns you. Besides, most people just want a stove, shower or watch that works. A watch like the Wasson Automatic Field Watch . . .
Strangely, Wasson doesn’t play-up the utilitarian angle. Their website appeals to enthusiasts looking for a timekeeper that’s “bold by design.” That’s a bold goal for a monochromatic watch with arabic numerals printed in a kindergarten-friendly sans serif typeface, with baton indices that call less attention to themselves than a certified public accountant.
To be fair, the WAF’s fat hour and narrow minute hands – a silver-rimmed cross between Obelisque (named after the ancient Egyptians’ narrow, tapering monuments) and syringe (my least favorite way to do drugs) – add a bit of oomph.
The seconds hand’s tiny triangle top – rotating just outside a remarkably unremarkable inner 24-hour track – makes it easy to keep track of passing seconds. The demure silver-framed date window plays kissing cousins with the 3. In the right light, the date’s as plain as day. When shadows fall, it’s goodnight Irene.
Aside from the central three-tower castle logo, the WAF’s design is as generic as CostCo paper towels. But just like CostCo’s Kirkland branding, the Wasson’s plain Jane design is a feature, not a bug.
Lest we forget, the field watch was born for soldiers fighting in the less than salubrious trenches of World War I. Designed for life during wartime, legibility and durability are the genre’s raison d’etre, its defining characteristics.
Thanks in no small part to its big parts and hugely conservative aesthetic, the 42.6mm WAF’s at-a-glance-ability ranks right up there with the 40mm Mondaine Railway Watch.
In terms of survivability, the WAF’s a heavyweight. Literally. Built from robust if pedestrian 316L stainless steel, the 11mm thick timepiece tips the scale at a hair over five ounces.
On the wrist, the Wasson Automatic Field Watch feels more like Rolexian tool time than Hamiltonian nostalgia. A lot of that’s down to the Swiss-made (assembled?) brushed and polished steel case. It’s a bit of a beast, but in a good weigh [sic].
The brushed steel bracelet offers solid construction and, unlike so many microbrands’ bands, no sharp edges. The WAF ships with a Zulu nylon strap (NATO band) in your choice of one of four colors. Swapping the band’s steel feel for fabric fidelity totally changes the vibe – and reminds you of the watch’s weight.
Wasson’s hardly the only microbrand saving money by deploying a stamped-steel clasp and locking mechanism on a quality bracelet. But that’s ground zero for the watch – wearer interface. Going hands-on with the flimsy-feeling interface every time you put on the WAF dings its upmarket aspirations.
Otherwise, there’s nothing cheap about this watch. Including the price.
I wouldn’t say the caliber failed at the first furlong, but Wasson joins Invicta and only a couple of micro-brands (e.g., Dufrane) in using the 25-jewel hacking seconds temporal engine. In this application, it proved accurate to +/- 10 seconds a day – a standard outing for a mass-market mechanical caliber of this caliber.
During my time with the Wasson Automatic Field Watch, I was never beguiled or entranced by its design. Instead, it gradually became my horological Sancho Panza – a faithful companion providing a clear, concise reality check.
Bottom line? The WAF is not the thoroughbred mechanical watch you’re looking for (assuming you are). It’s the workhorse you need.
Model: Wasson Automatic Field Watch
- Case & Bracelet: Brushed Stainless Steel (316L) w/Polished Accents
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Dial: Black w/White Features and Silver Accents
- Illumination: Super LumiNova®
- Case Width: 42.6mm
- Case Width (to crown): 45.6mm
- Case Length (lug to lug): 50mm
- Case Thickness: 11mm
- Lug Width: 22mm
- Weight: 144 Grams/5.1 Ounces
- Water Resistance: 10 ATM (100 Meters/328 Feet)
- Factory Warranty: 2 Years
- Movement: Ronda Mecano R150
- Jewels: 25
- Functions: 3 Hands, Date
- Winding Mechanism: Automatic & Manual
- Average Variance: ± 12 s/d
- Frequency (Vibrations per hour): 28’800 (4 Hz)
- Power Reserve: 40 Hours
RATINGS (out of five stars):
Design * * * *
Clean, simple and dull by design
Legibility * * * * *
The jumbo-sized dial and straightforward markings provide maximum legibility
Comfort * * * *
A heavy old thing to be sure, but excellent build quality makes it easy to forget (in a good way)
Overall * * * *
A tad conservative – in every possible way – but an excellent first effort by a new brand
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