A couple of years back, my wife grew concerned about my travel while wearing an expensive watch. She had read about a robbery in which a man had been shot for his Rolex. It happened at a popular restaurant in Houston, at the same time I was visiting Houston with my Rolex Submariner.
At her uber-strong-suggestion, I started looking for an inexpensive watch to wear on certain travel.
While searching, my 4 requirements for a travel watch were a) a bezel or chronograph to show elapsed time on flights or a task, b) a large display for easy reading, c) a stainless steel non-ostentatious case, and d) appropriate to every day business wear and working out.
The winner for me turned out to be an inexpensive Wenger (Swiss Army) Terragraph Men’s Watch with Swiss quartz movement.
The watch came with 3 complications-
- A 12-hour chronograph function, enough to track most tasks and flights.
- A sweep second hand in a small inner dial (next to the 3).
- A day of the month display
When asked to describing the watch, my wife said, “utilitarian.”
Cosmetically the Terragraph has an attractive white textured face with luminous hands and markers, a Swiss Army Brand Emblem at the 12 o’clock position, and a sapphire crystal on the stainless steel case. It looks solid, and at 43mm, it’s an easy read even without my reading glasses. In that sense it reminds me of an IWC Portuguese.
The one thing I could not abide was the cheap wristband it came with. It was a very dark brown (almost black) calf leather band that was stamped to look like croc. With time, the faux finish began to chip and show the lighter leather beneath.
There is also an issue with a leather band, namely smell caused by perspiration. With time even a high quality band will begin to acquire an odor. Most of us with expensive propriety leather watch bands (like Jaeger LeCoultre) are mindful of this and are careful not to wear the leather bands in summer where we’re likely to be outside perspiring or similar situations. This type of care considerably extends the life of the band and lessens the need for an expensive replacement in a year or two.
The solution I found for my Wenger travel watch was to purchase a unique rubber and leather watchstrap from Rubber B. They make watchbands that have alligator leather on top, with rubber on the bottom. I chose a 22mm with a “Jet Black” rubber base on the inner side, and alligator leather with a "Cognac" finish on top. So when I travel, I have perfectly respectable leather band, which is not affected by perspiration odor. The one caveat is that because of the unique dual rubber/leather construction, the band was stiffer and took longer to break in for comfort.
The small irony here is that the watch band cost more than the watch. But in this case, it was well worth it.
For travel where security is not a concern, my go-to-travel watch is still my Rolex Submariner. Aside from it’s inherent indestructibility, the metal (non-odor catching) Oyster Bracelet come in handy. I don’t have to worry about changing watches to work out in the hotel’s gym or pool, or if I want to go out for an exercise walk in the area I’m visiting. At the same time the watch is completely appropriate for most business meetings or business dinners. I have the old “pre-ceramic bezel” 16610-case, which I believe more elegant than the present day 116610-case. While both cases measure 40mm, the new 116610 looks more “bulky” due to its larger crown-guard and lugs which are almost twice the size of the older model. I find the new crown-guard particularly unaesthetic.
Wenger Terragraph Men’s Watch
Stainless steel case
White textured chrono dial
12 hour chronograph function
Luminous hands and markers
Swiss quartz movement
Original Strap-Dark Brown (almost black) calf leather strap, stamped to make it look like croc.
Claim it’s water resistant to 100 meters.
Price- $150 (estimate)