Posted on October 31 2017
Bertucci Military and Field Watches - Are they Good?
Bertucci have made their name as a specialist in producing field watches. They offer a collection of models that use resin, stainless steel or titanium cases. The cases themselves are distinctive and often feature the crown at 4 o'clock. In this post I'll take you through the collection and show why I think they're a very good brand of tool watches.
Browse any watch shop and you can easily pick out the divers watches. Without even looking closely you'll know what specifications to expect. Water resistance and a rotating bezel are a must. Usually the watch will also have a stainless steel or rubber strap – both better in water than leather.
Think of the same point with other types of watch. An aviators watch will have it's own recognisable style – a large black dial with easily to read bold numerals. A racing watch will have those iconic Chronograph dials and pushers. But a field watch?
What makes a field watch?
Essentially, a field watch is a simple watch designed to be used reliably in the field. For many this will conjure up images of a classic military watch. Think of the iconic British Army G10 or the American GG-W-113 as worn by Steve McQueen.
A field watch is simple. It needs to be durable and easy to read. But it doesn't have to be a military watch.
I recently recently discussed the Rolex Explorer 1, the watch used during the 1953 successful ascent of Everest and my favourite Rolex. This, for me, is a classic field watch. A tool to be used in rugged environments. But you don't have to be scaling Everest. This is the type of watch you'd wear for hill walking, camping, hunting or in your active day to day life. Importantly, you can still wear it when you're not engaging in these outdoor hobbies.
Bertucci American Field Watches
Bertucci burst onto the watch scene with the 2004 release of the A-2T, their bestselling titanium field watch. From there the company released a series of similar styles, all sharing key attributes. The guiding principle was to make a watch for a customer who only wanted one watch. In the companies literature they state that this one watch “would need to possess the qualities of durability, value, singularity of purpose, and versatility. Designed to balance form and function, to be equally rugged and refined”.
In practice this means that there's a consistency to the Bertucci range. This single purpose has lead to a very strong house style.
So regardless of case material, their watch cases adhere to a patented Unibody construction. It's a comfortable case with fixed strap bars designed with durability in mind. The strap pins can't be knocked loose as they are part of the cases construction. Although well known for their titanium watches there's also stainless steel and poly-resin models throughout the range.
There are some mechanical models, however the majority of watches feature Swiss or Japanese all metal quartz movements. The emphasis here is primarily on ruggedness and there's options for watches with a battery life of up to 10 years depending on the movement used. In a range where complications are in opposition to the core ethos, the movements were chosen for simplicity and the subsequent reliability. With one piece heavy duty straps and mineral or sapphire crystal even the cheapest watches in their line are designed to last.
Here I take you through a selection of these watches.
DX3 Field Poly-Resin Field Watch 11027
Opening the Bertucci range are the resin cased watches. The body of the watch is a durable fibre reinforced poly-resin which makes for a light (42.5g) but deceptively tough watch. However, the caseback, crown and band buckles are all stainless steel which, in the case of back and crown, help to secure the watches 50M water rating.
In keeping with most of the range, the crown is placed at 4 o'clock rather than the traditional 3. The thought behind this is that it's an ergonomic improvement that reduces any discomfort from having the crown dig into the back of the wearers hand. The dial, with 24hr markings, is protected by mineral crystal. Overall, they are relatively cheap watches that at a 40mm diameter and with a 22mm band, are actually more substantial than they might first appear. Swiss Super Luminous is used on the dial and hands which rounds outs the total functionality.
A-3P Sportsman Vintage Field Watch 13355
The classically inspired A-3P Sportsman returns the crown to 3 o'clock to give a more traditional aesthetic. Again, a polycarbonate case is used but this time at the increased size of 42mm. It's a nice touch. A vintage style married to the modern fashion for larger watches.
The handset on the Sportsman aids with the traditional look and some of the specifications are slightly upgraded. The water resistance is increased from 50 to 100m and the battery life from 3 to 4 years. Again, the watch is powered by an all metal Japanese quartz movement. Depending on the model there's the choice of a heavy duty D-Type nylon webbing band or an American made leather band.
A-2S Field Watch 11050
These models have a brushed stainless steel version of the Unibody case. With the bold black dial and 24hr numbering the design is consistent with the earlier models, but the metal casing has beefed up the watch to 78g. Like the Sportsman the water resistance is again 100M, although the case is back to 40mm and has the signature 4 o'clock crown. Once more, there's options for both a heavy duty Zulu or a Montanaro leather strap.
A-2T Vintage Titanium Watch 12030
Bertucci made their name with titanium watches and the A-2T is one of the popular lines. The aim was to blend the styling of U.S. Vintage military watches with the modern use of titanium. The result is a watch with an authentic nod to history but a lightweight and durable construction.
This line includes both models with mineral and sapphire crystal. This time with a Swiss lithium quartz movement the battery life has been extended to five years. The whole watch feels like a logical upgrade to the cheaper DX3 Polycarbonate watch.
A-3T Vintage 42 Titanium Watch 13306
The A-3T range are noticeably different to many of the other Bertucci watches. Not a revolutionary change, more of a subtle retro styling not apparent elsewhere. Again the case is a solid Unibody design with a 3 o'clock crown. The main difference is the dial. It's almost colourful, at least that's the case with the Desert Stone watch. It oozes vintage charm. The other models also surprise. They have an additional sub-dial – a complication rarely used by Bertucci. At 42mm there also a little larger than the others.
Bertucci have carved out a niche as a brand that produces American field watches. The range features Bertucci's distinctive case style - made in resin, titanium and stainless steel. There's a wide variety of dial and strap options, depending on which features are of most importance.
As an authorised dealer of the brand I'm a little biased. But I see Bertucci as having a unique role in watchmaking - making tough, reliable and affordable watches for outdoors enthusiasts.