Cadence Oarsman watch 9

One of the best things about what I do is the opportunity to hear from enthusiastic watch companies who want to share knowledge of their watches with me. This has resulted in my learning not only about a dizzying variety of watches, but also a variety of reasons people make watches. We tend to think of watches as satisfying a sole purpose (to tell the time), but in reality a simple wrist watch can do so much more. Of these things I am thinking of one particular metaphysical function – to evoke emotions.

That’s right. In fact I dare say you’ve never bought a watch devoid of an emotional reason. You don’t just get them for practical purposes like a radio. There is another element. Something about how you feel when wearing or looking at a watch. At one end of the spectrum, this is how ultra luxury watch companies sell any watches – as there are inherently no practical reasons a watch should cost in the several hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here however the focus is on a watch under $200, and I’d like to explore the emotional as well as practical elements that it has.

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This is the Cadence Oarsman Aviator from an American company located in Philadelphia. Cadence is most known for their rowing watches, and the Oarsman is an extension on this concept. Instead of being one of their digital rowing training watches, the Oarsman has a bit of a different function. It allows you to measure the stroke rate (between 20 and 60 strokes per a minute) of a rowing team or rower that you are watching. Using a Japanese quartz chronograph movement, the seconds subdial has been altered to allow for  a proper measurement. The large white subdial measures 1/20 of  second intervals and has a cool looking spiral set of numbers from 20 – 60. Using the special rowing rate function is quite easy. You start the chronograph when a rower begins a stroke and you end the chronograph when a lower completes the stoke. Then looking at the red hand on the white subdial, you can see how many stokes per a minute that rower is rowing at.

Cadence Oarsman watch 4

The hand in the white subdial doubles as the seconds hand for the regular time. But there is a little twist. By pressing the lower chronograph pusher while the chronograph is not operating, you can “turn on or off” or the seconds hand. Meaning it can tick for the seconds or just stay in the top pointing default position. I rather liked that function. Otherwise the chronograph functions as a normal 12 hour chronograph would. There are two other subdials, one for the hours and one for the minutes, and the larger red seconds hand is for the chronograph seconds. The movement also features a date window.

You’ll notice that the watch looks like an aviator style watch, but is a rowing watch. Frankly, I don’t know what a “rowing watch” is meant to look like, so it is just fine with me that Cadence made the Oarsman in the mold of an aviator style watch. The hour markers display the minutes , which is common in come pilot style watches. The print on the dial is white and crisp against the black dial. While there is luminant on the hands of the watch, there is none on the dial itself. For a watch at this price point, the dial is painted nicely. I also like the hands of the watch. They have an excellent ability to standout – which made it easy to tell the time. I would have liked for the hands to be a bit longer though. Also, the hands are stamped from brass.

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Cadence Oarsman watch 7 Cadence Oarsman watch 8

The watch case is in 316L steel and 42mm wide. It feel bigger due to the thin bezel. It has a mineral crystal, and the caseback screws down. The watch is water resistant to 50 meters, which means it should survive if you are at the back of a rowing team watching them, and all of a sudden the boat capsizes and you fall into the water. I would have liked the crown and the pushers to be a bit larger, but they are suitable. The watch dial does not indicate the Cadence brand. You’ll have to flip the watch over to see that. Instead you just have the name of the model, “Oarsman.” I suppose this helps reduce clutter on the dial. So I appreciate it.

Cadence did a good job in choosing the watch strap. It is black with contrast stitching, and has a nice thickness to it. The surface has the look of distressed leather, and the best part is that the strap is very smooth, and very soft. Straps like this need to be changed a bit more frequently that tougher straps, but they are a pleasure to wear and touch.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to make of the Oarsman watch when I fist looked at it. I’d never thought of a rowing watch, and didn’t understand the pilot watch connection. However, after a few days of wearing it, the watch really grew on me, and I am now a fan. Not only is the price good, but I love the way the watch looks. There are very few pilot watches with dials that look as interesting, and still simple, and the rowing theme kept creeping back in my mind in a positive way. Cadence feels that the rowing theme has a lot of positive messages about teamwork, dedication, and follow-through. I totally agree, and for those of you who have ever rowed, you will get this. For the rest of us, I think the rowing theme adds a nice icing on the cake, making already decent watch, just a bit more exotic. The watch is deceptively simple, and it is quite satisfying. For the price of $168.95, it is a good deal for a handsome and functional watch, and deserving of the Good Value Award. Cadence even gives you a 5 year limited warranty.

Buy the Oarsman watch at Cadence’s website here.

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