I've been on the hunt for a tritium tube watch with arabic numerals for a couple of months. After looking at the usual suspects, namely Traser, Ball, Nite, Lum Tec, Luminox et al, I came upon an interesting little micro-brand from Germany called Bombfrog.
They only make (from what I can tell) one model with tritium and it's a diver. I was originally wanting something a little thinner, like a field style watch. I came very close to getting the Traser Officer Pro, but I couldn't get over the non-PVD crown on a PVD watch, just looked odd to me.
So I read some reviews of this series from Bombfrog and they were pretty positive. They used to sell in the US via a distributor, Brady Straps, but when I contacted them they said they no longer rep them. So Bombfrog has an online store and sure enough, they ship to the US. Unfortunately, the BT 25 I was looking for, with the Bombfrog logo on the dial, was out of stock.
I emailed them and got a quick reply back from the owner, Dirk (whose last name is Assmann, which cracks me up as a Seinfeld fan!) and he said they're working on a "version 4" of this watch. He said he'd email me when it's available and a few weeks later he did and I pulled the trigger!
That was 2+ weeks ago and despite them shipping quickly (ordered on Sat, shipped Mon) it took exactly 2 weeks to get to me from Germany. Here are the specs from their website with a little editing to clean up:
Material: stainless steel 316L
Case: 51 mm
Bezel: unidirectional rotatable, 120 clicks with blue Swiss H3-Tritium-tube
Bezel: 44.5 mm
Glass: non reflective sapphire glass
Movement: automatic movement, Seiko NH35
Dial: Black, luminous index Gaseous tritium light source / Swiss mb microtec trigalight
Date Display: Yes
Bracelet: NATO- strap
Lug with: 22 mm
Water-Resistance: Up to 900 feets (30 ATM)
Weight: 130 grams
It's definitely chunky, but not as bad as I thought on my 7.5" wrist. I immediately ditched the cheapo Nato strap included and tried a Da Luca 2-piece Nato. It looked good, but I found the finishing on the wrist to be rough and uncomfortable, so it's going back. I had a Isofrane with a DLC buckle so that's what it's on now and I'm reasonably happy with it.
So on to the watch, initial impressions:
- it's big but fits well on my wrist with nicely curved lugs
- the dial is well executed and very legible; I was initially uncertain about the new sub-minute markers around the outside of the dial (which was not on version 3), but I don’t mind it
- the crown feels substantial and winds very smoothly, surprisingly so given the relatively cheap movement
- setting was fine, it hacks and the hands move very quikly per crown rotation
- the lume is fantastic (as it should be) with orange markers illuminating the 12 position and all hours and hands lumed in blue, very bright (MB Microtech)
- the bezel clicks nicely, no play and it has a flat, non-glossy finish
- the crown is thick and has a knurled, grippy surface, reminds me of a Promaster (it is not signed however)
- the PVD seems good so far, I had the usual spring pin issues and tried to be careful but had it pop out a few times on the underside lugs and no scratches
All in all, this is a solid, nice looking automatic diver / tactical watch with great tritium execution and a reliable, known quantity movement. .The company seems responsive and the price was right at about $400 USD shipped. .Now on to some pics!
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