Firstly, this is an entirely unbiased review. I am not being paid for doing this review.
Review updated at the bottom of the post
ArmourLite is a wrist watch manufacturer based in the USA. All ArmourLite watches are designed to meet the demanding needs of law enforcement officers, military personnel, first responders and
outdoorsmen. All ArmourLite watches share the same characteristics, they combine shatter-proof glass, tritium illumination markers (more on tritium in a bit) and solid steel cases (apart from the Isobrite range, which have polycarbon cases).
ArmourLite have five different series: Professional; Colorburst; Captain Field; Isobrite; and Women’s. This review is about the ArmourLite Captain Field Series Watch (AL308). AL308 simply refers to the style/strap choice. Apart from appearance and straps, all Captain Field Series watches have the same specification.
ArmourLite Captain Field Series Watch (AL308)
ArmourLite Captain Field Specifications
- Movement: Swiss Ronda 715Li Quartz
- Features: Date
- Crystal: Shatterproof, scratch-resistant, high-impact-resistant
- Case Material: Stainless Steel
- Case Color: Steel
- Case Diameter: 43mm
- Case Thickness: 16mm
- Crown: Screw-down
- Bezel: None
- Dial Color: Black and white
- Hands Color: Metallic and red
- Band Material: Leather
- Band Color: Black
- Band Width: 20mm
- Band Clasp: Buckle
- Tritium Markers: Green
- Water Resistance: 100 Meters (10 ATM)
- Battery: 10 years
- Warranty: 2 years
Firstly a note on the packaging, the watch arrived very well packed. It comes in a great looking leather-like box, which immediately makes you think – ‘hello, this is a high quality item’. Also included are the instructions and a nice booklet detailing the technology and listing the other ArmourLite watches available. Top marks so far!
So what’s so great about this and other ArmourLite watches? Well to be honest, ArmourLite have raised the bar…
The thing is, there are other watch manufacturers who make tactical/tough tritium watches, but what ArmourLite did was study these other watches, looked for their weaknesses and then improve on them with their own range of watches.
For example, most high quality tough/tactical watches come with some kind of scratch resistant crystal glass. The problem is, scratch resistant isn’t scratch proof and it definitely isn’t shatter-proof. ArmourLite improved upon this shortcoming in three ways –
- Firstly they worked with a speciality glass manufacturer and came up with a highly scratch resistant glass which is also shatter-proof.
- Secondly, there is rubber retaining ring that sits under the crystal to absorb shock.
- Thirdly, all ArmourLite watches are fitted with a rubber bumper around the watch face, which further protects from the watch face from scratches and bumps. Why all high end tactical watches don’t come with a bumper of some kind, or the glass recessed in some way is a complete mystery to me.
See my (not great!) close up, where you can see the black bumper around the watch face.
The Tritium Illumination Markers
Tritium is a natural isotope. One of the main uses of tritium is self-activated lighting using tritium gas in small glass vials. The vials are coated with a very thin layer of phosphorescent powder. The powder allows the energy created by the long-lasting tritium gas to be converted into light. The amazing thing about the tritium gas vial markers is that they remain continuously illuminated for over 20 years. They maintain their illumination right through the night and do not fade like the markers on most watches, so you can rest assured that whatever the light conditions, you’ll be able to tell the time.
The tritium markers are on each of the hour points and the hour and minute hands. The one little annoyance I have is that on this model, there is no tritium marker on the second hand, instead it has traditional watch illumination which fades over time. To be fair, this is one of the cheaper watches ArmourLite manufacture and most of the more expensive models do have tritium on the second hand, but personally I would have liked to have seen it included here as well. At the end of the day, it is not likely to be vital to be able to see the second hand in the middle of the night, but it is a little annoyance.
See the tritium illumination in the dark below.
This particular watch has a solid stainless steel case with great detail and some nice branding. I should say that although the case is made from stainless steel, it doesn’t feel heavy on the wrist.
The watch is waterproof to 100 meters, which means it is suitable for swimming/snorkling etc.
The movement has a Swiss Ronda 715Li Quartz, which is very accurate and well known for its durability and ability to function in demanding conditions. I have tested the watch over the last few weeks and it hasn’t lost a second. Very accurate time keeping.
The watch I have has a black leather strap, it is perfectly fine, but nothing spectacular. The Captain Field series comes with either leather or metal straps.
This watch has an amazing battery life of 10 years! This is great as this is actually one of the few watches that will still be working and looking great in 10 years time.
The watch has a 2 year guarantee.
This ArmourLite Captain Field Series Watch (AL308) currently retails at $250.00 with free shipping.
I think ArmourLite are an innovative company who design and build watches that are designed to improve upon the weaknesses of their competitor’s watches. What makes them truly amazing is that they usually manage to achieve this whilst still selling their watches at a lower price than many of their rivals, and for that they should be applauded. It would be very easy to say – well my watch is better than that watch, so I am going to charge $100 more for it. ArmourLite haven’t done this, they have stayed true to their roots of providing watches that will last for years and years and that are affordable for law enforcement officers, military personnel, first responders etc.
Would I recommend the ArmourLite Captain Field Series Watch (AL308)?
HELL YES! Sure, it costs $250, but you are getting a lot of watch for your money. It is bomb-proof, it has amazing tritium illumination, it has an superb battery life of 10 years and a 2 year guarantee. Durability and longevity aside, this is also a great looking, unassuming watch, which suits me fine to be honest. I am fed up with all tactical/tough watches being absolutely huge, with flashy bezels around the watch face. I mean seriously, who honestly ever uses the bezels? The only negative I have to say about this watch is the lack of a tritium marker on the second hand and that’s it.
The bottom line – this is a high quality, durable and dependable watch that will out-perform and outlast most other watches in its category At this price range, it has better glass, movement, battery life and guarantee than most of the competitors, so in that respect, it provides much better value for money. If this is the kind of watch you are after, this watch is highly recommended by me.
For more information, or if you would like to purchase an ArmourLite watch, head over to the ArmourLite website.
Review Update: I have been wearing the Captain Field watch daily for the last month. The watch still looks brand new, there is not a mark on it. The main thing I wanted to update the review about is the timekeeping accuracy of the watch.
The accuracy of this watch is phenomenal! I have a radio controlled clock and a radio controlled watch, both are kept 100% accurate by daily updates via radio signal. I synchronized the Captain Field watch to these and over the last month, the watch has gained approximately a second each week, if I round it all off, let’s say it gains one minute a year at this rate. That is phenomenal timekeeping by anyone’s standards. Highly recommended!