DISCLAIMER : Yup, I'm a watch AD. When it comes to certain brands, I'm biased (ie. Omega, Hamilton, ArmourLite, etc.).
Movement: Rhonda 715 Li / Swiss Quartz – 10 year battery life
Case material: Carbon reinforced poly resin
Case size: 47 mm
Case height: 13 mm
Water resistance: 20 atm / 200 m / 600 feet
Strap: NATO / Silicone-Rubber
Options: NATO strap, rubber strap, bund leather band
Purchased - 5/2012.
With the proliferation of tritium illuminated watches over the past few
years, it’s really hard to find something that stands out. Luminox,
Traser and a handful of new brands seem to be carving chunks out of the
“tactical tritium watch market” but there aren’t really a lot of
differences between them. They tend to use poly cases, mineral crystals
and basic tritium illumination. Luminox and Traser are the staples here
but Smith & Wesson, UZI, TWATECH, and Caliber seem to be popping in
at the bottom end of the market as well. So what’s so special about the
First of all, for those unfamiliar with the ArmourLite brand, their
primary claim to fame is that they’ve licensed a tougher, mil-spec
version of Gorilla Glass which is commonly found high end PDAs and
applied it to watches. Makes sense, the stuff is exceedingly durable
and very scratch resistant. In fact, the flavor ArmourLite uses is
claimed to be virtually shatterproof and almost impossible to scratch.
For their first carbon / poly cased watch they went a bit more
traditional. The ISOBrite seems to get it’s name from the T-100 tritium
illumination. First thing I noticed about the watch is that holy crap,
it’s so bright! I have a few of the standard T-25 tritium illuminated
watches in my collection (once you go tritium, you’ll be spoiled for
life) and couldn’t believe how much brighter the T-100 tritium vials
are. Subjectively I’d say that we’re talking 2x – 4x as bright as the
regular tritium watches.
Next up, they went with sapphire. I talked to Ashley, the owner, and he
said that using the ArmourGlass requires a completely different case
construction and they decided that for their first lightweight watch
they would use a more traditional design. Since the sapphire crystal is
often considered top grade in durability anyway this makes some sense.
The ISOBrite is a serious looking piece of gear. The H3 tritium
illumination system stays legible even in complete darkness without
having to “charge” the illumination. With the T-100 variant the thing is
bright enough to be seen from space. Alright, that might be a slight
exaggeration but it’s pretty bright. By looking at the case construction
you can see that this isn’t just a dainty desk diver, it’s meant to be
to be worn and take a licking.
I like big watches and this one doesn’t disappoint. With a diameter of
47mm, there’s no denying the fact that it’s bigger than most normal
sized sport watches. Still, the ultra-light case material also makes the
watch feel smaller than the dimensions first suggest even though the
face is quite large. It has a good feel to it.
The watch is comes in a nice black faux-carbon case with red stitching
(very chick) with both a silicone-rubber strap and a high quality NATO
strap. The straps are quite large and designed fit on the wrist directly
or over a diving suit. With a 22mm lug width you can also slap on any
standard strap you desire.
Hours, minutes, seconds and date and uni-directional graduated divers’
bezel. WR 200m with a double o-ring sealed crown. In addition, the watch
uses the Rhonda 715 Li long-life movement which has a claimed 10 year
battery life. I’ll probably lose or break the thing before I even need
to change a battery. It’s a nice feature though as I don’t have to worry
about corrupting the water tight o-ring when changing batteries every
Bands / Straps:
Both the NATO or rubber strap are large 22mm pieces but very
comfortable. On my not-so-massive 6.75” wrist I was actually using the
third to last hole on the silicone-rubber strap. The strap has a nice
soft feel but didn’t have a “rubbery” smell to it. The NATO strap was
comfortable and really has a nice quality feel to it. It’s not just a
flimsy piece of nylon, this is a really nice strap and I’m surprised
that it’s just included in the package.
NATO Strap – Good.
Rubber Strap – Very good.
Though on the large side (at 47mm dia.), the uni-directional bezel has a
nice look with clear and readable font. It actually has two tritium
pips at both the 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions. It also seems very
secure so I don’t think it’ll have the issues that some of the TWATECH
watches I’ve read about which had issues with the bezel popping off.
The carbon reinforced poly resin construction of the case makes it
considerably lighter than if it was manufactured from steel or even
titanium but there’s a little added weight due to the sapphire crystal
so it’s a tiny bit heavier than a standard Luminox. Supposedly this
material is stronger and more impact resistant than the fiberglass resin
used in other watches but I haven’t tried putting it to the ArmourLite
hammer test that they show on their steel cased watches. The case back
is held on by four screws at the corners and seems very secure.
The case is fitted with a massive sapphire crystal. This is a big deal
for me. I’ve had pretty good luck with mineral crystal watches but
inevitably they all scratch at some point. On the other hand I’ve got 5
year old sapphire crystal watches that still look like new.
Rating - Very Good.
The tritium filled hands, hour markers & locator dot on bezel are
easily read in low/no light situations, and underwater. The addition of
military time in smaller white numbers on the outside of the larger
numbers is a great addition. The T-100 tritium illumination is just
amazing; the difference is just that big. Deep Blue has a T-100 watch
and after seeing difference can see what the big deal is about.
The date window is located between the 4 and 5 o’clock and is also functional.
Rating – AWESOME!
The ISOBrite uses the Rhonda 715 Li long-life movement which is supposed
to have a 10 year battery life. I’ll probably lose or break the thing
before I even need to change a battery. It’s a nice feature though as I
don’t have to worry about corrupting the water tight o-ring when
changing batteries every other year. Plus you’re going to save a few
bucks by not having to get it serviced every few years.
Rating - Excellent.
This watch averaged a +1 seconds per week gain over a test period of one
month, with regular weekly use. Being a Swiss Quartz movement, I
wouldn’t expect much different. I do wonder if it stays this consistent
over the full 10 years of the battery life but I imagine it’ll be a
while before I find out.
Rating - Excellent.
Even though the watch is large, the light weight make it an easy wear. I
would prefer a different crown placement, possibly at the 4 o’clock or
10 o’clock since I wear the watch on my left hand, but it’s not a
bother. The crown doesn’t dig into your wrist and the low overall weight
mean little “watch fatigue”, I never feel like having to take the watch
off during the day to let my wrist breathe. The illumination is
fantastic but was almost a little too bright when I went to the movie
theatre to catch “Ted” this past weekend. Even my friends commented that
they could read the watch for 4 seats down. It’s not blinding and
you’re not going to use it instead of a flashlight, but it is bright.
Rating – Very Good.
• Crown – rated to 200m means it solid but a screw down crown would have
been nice although all the polycarbonate case watches (ie. Luminox,
Traser) seem to use the push-down crown now.
• Size – I like it but at 47mm it might be too big for some folks. The light weight helps a lot though.
Value for money:
At a MSRP of $500 this isn’t a cheap watch. Still, you can find it for a
bit less and you really are getting a lot of watch for your money. The
T-100 tritium illumination isn’t cheap and is very hard to find. If you
like stellar illumination, the watch has it. The build quality and
tolerances seem excellent and ArmourLite is known to make virtually
bomb-proof watches. The 2 year warranty is excellent and they take it
You’re not going to run into many people with the same watch, which is a
plus for me. The bright T-100 illumination and large size means that a
lot of people will come up and ask about the watch. If you like subtle,
this ain’t it.
Rating - Excellent