OK before we start this thread, I wanted to give a very quick preface. First off, I have been into watches since around 10 years old when my dad used to have work done to modify his Patek and Rolex and wouldn't shut up about it. This was the early 80's before the net, so he'd talk about it to anyone who'd listen, including a 10 year old boy who just wanted to play baseball and make fart noises with his armpits. I am also a vet. I served 12 years in the USAF Security Forces, once called Security Police, and previously known as the Air Police or Provost Marshall. I served from 1995 to 2007. In that time I performed varied tasks such as standing armed at the foot of Air Force 1 in my best dress uniform, to law enforcement patrol and first responder duties to combat schools in the US and S. Korea. I've deployed multiple times for real world and training purposes. In 2003, as a part of OIF I performed convoy route protection and QRF duties between Kuwait and Iraq. I am NOT a Special Forces soldier, yet, due to my job and pure luck, I have been fortunate to get some of the best training in firearms, tactics, field operations etc and so forth. So while I'm not some dude HALO jumping into an enemy compound at zero dark thirty, I have a lot of experience in the field and I am confident I can review related gear. I've broken some of the coolest stuff you can get. lol
OK with that over, let me get to the meat here. I KNOW NIXON IS A FASHION BRAND. (sorry for the yelling), I'm not here to sell anyone a watch, and I don't work for Nixon or anyone affiliated with them. I just found this watch by accident as I was going down the very familiar spiral we all head down at 11pm, while watching nonsense on YouTube before bed. That is literally it.... I never would consider a Nixon before finding this watch. I was almost embarrassed to admit I was going to actively check this watch out. My current small stable of watches consists of a few Citizen Promaster offerings including the Tough, an Orient dress watch, and my Seiko Tuna-lite. Not very impressive I know, but I've owned a few decent mid range watches from TAG and a higher end Victorinox. My dad was the luxury watch guy, although he just wears a Concord Mariner now and has since stopped with the high end stuff.
OK, so I see this product video with some ex SEAL badass selling you on a "team designed" blah blah blah blah blah, OK STFU already right? But I was actually curious..... I recently wanted to get a digital since my 2 year old wants to destroy everything he touches and I just needed something durable, easy to use and slightly "tacticool" (in the military we used to call it Gucciflage, and I'm surprised that isn't used more than Tacticool). I ordered a few G-Shocks to try out (Mudman, Rangeman with negative display, GA2000, which is the new carbon core thing) and a Protrek PRW3100Y-1b (which is arriving Thursday this week). Other than the Protrek which isn't hear yet, I can say, without a doubt, none of the Gs did it for me. Nothing wrong with them, but for what I want, and with my prior experience, I didn't think any of them were good enough.
Back in my "runnin' and gunnin'" days I wore a G-Shock DW6600, which I bought at the base exchange for cheap and it was a great watch. I have no problems with Casio, just some of their designs, while really neat, are completely overdone and unnecessary. That was my main issue recently and what has led me to the Nixon Regulus.
OK so to the Regulus. I watched the video, slept on the thought of "could I be caught dead wearing one?", especially around my friend who wears Omega and Seiko daily... I decided to let my experience and wishes for a specific watch do the purchasing rather than stereotypes and biases. I now live with my wife and child on Vancouver Island, BC (yep I'm a Canuck now), and the common outdoor activites here are surfing, camping, off-roading and extreme sports to name a few. So I called around to the local outdoor places and luckily found a well known local surf shop that had one left in stock. I rushed out to go check it out. The clerk said she couldn't keep them in stock. That was the first positive (as long as she wasn't lying). If local surfers are buying them, then they are at least durable and fashionable enough to attract that crowd. It doesn't mean they are better than a similar brand or look, but it's at least a seal of approval from people who live in the ocean (you can surf year round here).
I asked about warranty issues, since they are an AD. She said, in the time they have stocked them there hasn't been one return for service or replacement due to a build quality issue or someone destroying it and needing to buy a new one. OK someone could have hated it or broke it and not gone back, but either way, it's a good sign.
So I tried it on and I was pretty happy with the look. I have large hands and skinny, boney wrists, so finding a heavy duty digital, or any watch over 42mm that I can wear confidently, is not so easy. My Tuna-light is big but due to the non-existent lugs, it wears small. So this Regulus kinda fits like that watch, even though it's square. I think having the free swinging strap also helps. My main issue with most, but not all Gs is the case to strap design, which just makes the watch wear larger than it needs to.
From watching the product videos (there are 2) I pretty much knew how to operate everything on the watch. With Casio, I've used Gs long enough to know how to pick one up and use it, but I do remember the first few times having to read the manual or watch some videos. The Regulus is literally a pick up and use watch with very little learning. OK so that's another positive.
Features, well.... It's not for everyone. If your idea of a EDC/Field/Apocalypse watch has ABC functions, solar charging, atomic timekeeping and every time zone in the world, then you're NOT GOING TO LIKE THIS WATCH. Let that sink in before you hastily reply to this review in anger. I know this watch may not appeal to you. I don't care, it's fine. This thread is more of an informational from an average dude who's been fortunate enough to have a background to properly review military-type gear. You might know more than me, and that's fine too. If you're a member of DEVGRU and think this review is BS, then fine. If you're a couch commander who likes to count watch features and use that as a measure of real life experience, then that's fine too. This review is for open minded folks, who are looking for an alternative to other brands.
OK, Stop watches.... 2 of them, that can be started, stopped and reset, independently, using 1 button each.... And the stop watches show activity on the other screens..... That is killer! When I was in the military we would use timing devices for all sorts of things. Call and repeat for ranging, how long an event has taken place, time on target, etc and so forth. Now I use it for how long my burgers have been cooking on the grill and other nonsense. Do I need 2 of them? Eh, I dunno, but they are easier to use than other digital brands (other than the Rangeman dedicated button).
The countdown timer.... Again, nothing special here. It's only good for an hour, but hey, it's much more realistic for day to day use for me. Laundry, cooking, how long my boy has been at the park etc.
Alarms, you get 3. Again, nothing special, and definitely less than 5. And unlike my last G I can't set the alarms for specific days and months. But last time I checked, a random alarm I set 3 weeks ago, isn't doing me any favours. Be realistic here guys. That thing beeps and you're like.... Uh what the [email protected] was that for?
OK OK OK, I basically told you that this watch isn't anything special. So you can feel free to laugh at how dumb it is and cry that you read up to this point and won't ever get that time back.....
OK the good and the better.
This watch is built more solid "feeling" than any G-Shock or similar watch I've ever worn. It's not overly large, but somewhere between the 5600 and the King. It fits well on my tiny, girl wrists without making me look like a 44 year old dude pretending to be hip.
The display..... OH the display. It's a negative display (they do have 1 positive display model). This watch is the easiest-to-read digital I have used in recent memory, and that's compared to positive displays. The contrast is very high and the digits are almost HD looking. You can read this watch, without the backlight, even in darkened rooms. Basically unless it's pitch black, you'll be able to read this negative display. Otherwise you have the backlight. Also, I wear glasses now for reading and computer use. I can easily read this watch, even in low light, without my glasses or having to activate the light. Again, if there is a little light in the room, you'll see it just fine. For pitch black you have the back light.
The backlight, you can set it to 1, 2 or 3 seconds and to a "off", low, medium or high intensity. It's a blueish kinda light under the screen, kinda like you see on the Gs. I find the lowest level is about the same level as a G Shock. The medium and high are too bright for me, and would otherwise drain the battery more than I need. As far as the time the light stays on, it's 1, 2 or 3 seconds. Also changing these settings is simple and fast. No deep diving to find the settings.
Silent mode... Wanna tell the watch to STFU because you're about to sneak up on Bin Laden? Or more realistically sneak around your sleeping kid to get some work done while they nap. Simple to turn on and off right on the front of the watch.
The strap, is very comfortable and is free swinging so I think it will appeal a lot of people, rather than the Casio style on a lot of Gs which can be hit or miss. I have found some Gs very comfortable and others to bruise my wrist bones. So YRMV, but this watch has proven easy to wear. Also there are water evacuation ridges on the bottom side to help air flow after being submerged, so you don't get that wet wrist skin sh1t happening. Otherwise it's a love it or hate it thing, but I find it very serviceable, so a long term report will have to follow to talk about durability etc.
The case itself.... Like I said, it's a square, you already know what's up if you know this kinda style. It's familiar if you are into 5600s. what I will say is it feels substantial even though it's light weigh. It just has a quality feel. The buttons (pushers) feel quality and their action has really good spring and you know when you're pushing them. Also, using them with gloved hands will be simple. It's just got a 4-screw stainless case back to access the movement/battery. Nothing special going on here....
OK so the other things I want to quickly (yeah right) touch on as my initial thoughts and the selling points and why I think this MAY appeal to you.
In the 12 years I served I trained a lot. I've been to desert warfare school (ExPERT/Silver Flag Alpha as well as the course at Ft Lewis), Korean peninsula defence school (Commando Warrior and FOAL Eagle for you guys who know)and have knowledge of land navigation, basic survival, and all sorts of things have have ZERO application in my life at the moment. But what I can say is, we had specific tools for specific jobs. If you had a tool that did all jobs and that tool broke, then you're a$$ out and struggling to maintain mission goals. I never used an ABC watch to get from port of Kuwait to Baghdad. In fact those ABC watches that people covet aren't properly calibrated or certified for actual mission use anyway, so pointless in real military needs. The manual even states these devices aren't to be used for mission critical jobs. All of the gear we used was much higher end and much more accurate than the little sensors on these watches. That doesn't mean a compass, barometer or altimeter (or depth sensor for you divers) isn't useful for civilians. Be realistic though, about what you actually think your ABC watch is capable of. But when it comes to the design SPECIFICALLY of the Regulus, why bother putting them in there if they are useless in the field? OK so get rid of that nonsense. Solar charging.... OK so this is a ding against the Regulus, so we'll see how the 5 year battery holds up.... Will I still even be wearing this in 5 years?.... 3 years?.... Next year? Maybe. So that one is up to opinion, but if I still have this, then a visit to my watch guy, a battery and a pressure test for $30 and a few minutes of my time, IS NOT A BIG DEAL. Atomic timekeeping.... Again, I have an atomic watch (citizen pilot) and the Pathfinder that is on the way which I'll likely return (maybe, if the wife yells), but it's not a deal breaker. I don't see the Rolex crowd complaining their Subs don't have atomic time.... OK so get over that.
100m water resistance.... The comments online are hilarious. "No SEAL would wear a watch that's 100m resistant".... OK first off, I was issued a Marathon field watch when I deployed in 2003. It was 50m water resistant and made of poly with an acrylic crystal. It felt like a toy, but it worked perfectly for my whole deployment. No I'm not a diver, but by some of the comments I read, many of you aren't either. And you do not know that combat diving and saturation diving are not the same thing. You do NOT need 200m water resistance for most combat type water operations. The 100m of the Regulus is perfectly serviceable. If you need more, you're relying on other gear anyway, not a watch. But these guys are on rebreathers and navigating waterways at shallower depths. They may use the timing functions but that's about it. Otherwise this watch is fine for most all but deep sea divers. I would not wear this to weld under an oil rig at the floor of the ocean. But I wouldn't use any wrist watch in that scenario anyway. Not unless it was issued to me. Also I haven't welded anything since High School shop class so I'll leave that alone. I do however take it swimming. The YMCA even has a rapid river kinda thing there for fun, as well as a heated therapy pool, hot tub and olympic size pool. I have gone through all these pools one after the other. Varying depths and temperatures as well as the rapid pool with water guns that shoot at you (it's really fun). This watch performs perfectly.
OK conclusion... Yeah I got there finally. You still with me? Ready to flame this review with whatever? OK...
This watch has exactly what the product video says. Some ex SEAL used his name and connections with the "Teams" to develop a G-Shock competitor for Nixon with his old buddies. He knew he couldn't compete with the crazy features that many G-Shock watches have. So what did he do? He gave us something we didn't know we wanted. A simple as hell, tough as boulders, extremely easy to read minimalist digital field watch. They gave it a bit of a "tacticool" look and fancy colours to appeal to the Paul Blarts of the world, and BAM Regulus was created. From my knowledge and experience and wishes in a watch, it's a home run. No it's not as fancy as a Rangeman or a Mudmaster, it's also FAR less annoying to look at, much easier to read and upon initial conclusions will be every bit as durable.
Can you stomach wearing a Nixon around your friends? It's like this watch is that cool girl you wanted to ask out but were afraid you'd be judged over since she wasn't the most popular. Eventually you grew up (I hope) and found real substance in a good woman. This watch might be that good woman. No she can't tell you the elevation of your office chair, and won't alarm you to sudden drops in barometric pressure of the mens room while you pass that burrito... But you can take her anywhere and she'll do what she does, and do it well... Back to that issued Marathon.... It was a 3 hand with date window and 50m water resistance.... It was given to me by the supply chain before going into harm's way. This watch does FAR more than that and is probably much more durable... Think about that before you comment about how you can't live without A, B or C. lol
Final question to ponder. Does this watch over-hype and under-deliver? Or does a Casio, Garmin or Suunto over-hype and deliver false confidence? Think about the feature set and how useful they actually are. At the end of the day they all tell you what time it is. At least the marketing behind the Regulus is to give you a barebones tough digital field watch without the gadget factor.