February 27, 2012
by Ariel Adams
In case you may have forgotten a wrist watch is a tool. Yea, I know… weird right? Originally these items were meant to be convenient ways of viewing and reading the time while you were doing other things. This was of course before all that fashion and style stuff rained on utility’s little parade. The good news is that for those people looking for a low-fuss utilitarian watch there are lots of options – like something from ArmourLite.
The idea behind this watch is simple. Offer a tactical style timepiece with a Swiss quartz movement that has tritium gas tube illumination and is highly durable. The brand makes claims about how the watch survives being run over with a truck and how the crystal is virtually shatter-proof (they also say that it has a 6000 Vickers hardness rating). The steel case is double tempered and has a special rubber retaining ring for the movement that is supposed to absorb shock. Not that this is the only watch to have such features but they are nice. All-in-all it is enough to know that this is a beater watch through and through.
This particular model is the ArmourLite Professional Stealth AL46 (AL-46). There are other models as well with quartz chronograph movements and non PVD black cases. This is a decent looking action watch with a no nonsense face and practical demeanor. On the wrist it wears a bit smaller than its 45mm wide stature might suggest. That is because it bulges at the sides and has a thick bezel. I would say it wears like a medium-large watch. The bezel does rotate and the case is water resistant to 100 meters. Apparently the steel case is designed in a special way to be very shock-resistant as well. You should do your own drive-over-it-with-a-car test.
To be shatter-resistant the crystal is mineral and set deep into the case. There is a protective ring around the bezel which ensures a buffer zone between the top of the watch and the crystal. The dial is pretty straight forward with both 12 and 24 hour indicators. Legibility is high on the military style face with a little dash of red color for character.
Inside the watch is a Swiss quartz movement with a day/date complication. I wonder what the dial would like look with black date discs. The hands on the dial might be considered a bit short, but I understand the issue. Quartz movements aren’t good at accommodating heavy hands, and these have tritium gas tubes in them. Thankfully the seconds hand also has a tube in it.
In case you are among the few people not familiar with tritium gas tubes – they are small tubes filled with a safe amount of irradiated material that glows naturally for many years. These are used for convenient viewing of dials in the dark. They are handy, cool, and quite useful.
The AL46 comes with a few strap options. There are two rubber strap styles and this 22mm wide PVD black metal bracelet. The bracelet has a double-locking deployment with a micro-adjust. It isn’t anything fancy but looks good and functions well. On the wrist the Al46 is comfortable and does not cause any complaints – though some people who are sensitive to protruding crowns might have an issue. I am not one of these people given where watches sit on my wrist, but it does affect some people.
ArmourLite watches don’t complain, and just do their job. I like their warranty description that just says “2 year no-nonsense manufacturer warranty.” Assuming they live up to it – that is the type of unflinching determination you want from your watch brand. The message is clear – if something is wrong they will fix or replace it. If you’ve dealt with warranty issues with other brands then you know how nice this must sound. Price for the ArmourLite Professional Al46 watch is $435 but is marked at a sale price of $350 on their authorized dealer website Tuff-Writer here.