Back when I was in college, one of my very first jobs in the watch industry was working for Fossil at its Times Square store in New York City. Even then, I largely regarded the enormous publicly traded company as primarily a fashion brand, although I ultimately developed a strong appreciation for Fossil’s diverse manufacturing capabilities, which have only expanded in the years since I worked there. In addition to now serving as the parent company for Zodiac, Fossil also produces watches for numerous other high-profile brands, although the timepieces it sells under its own name are destined for the masses, and here in the United States, you frequently spot them on the wrists of people in everyday life. More recently, Fossil has started to streamline its catalog, and the new Sport Tourer Chronograph serves as an excellent example of where the brand seems to be headed with its future releases.

Before we actually get into the watch itself, it’s worth noting that even the name of the Fossil Sport Tourer Chronograph is a departure from what the brand was producing when I worked there. Back then, the majority of Fossil’s products had gendered human names, and we were encouraged to refer to them by their corresponding pronouns (for example, “Grant features a stainless steel case, and he is fitted with a leather strap”). Needless to say, product training days were borderline cringe-worthy, and the watches were presented in a drastically different manner compared to what you will find elsewhere within the industry. Fossil is clearly no longer adhering to this rather awkward and outdated system, and similar to other recent models, the new Sport Tourer Chronograph has a name that could easily exist within a variety of different brands’ catalogs.

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Beyond the somewhat strange concept of wearing a watch with a human name (I personally do not want to be wearing “Grant” on my wrist), model names like the Sport Tourer Chronograph also make it easier for people to identify with Fossil’s watches and connect with them on a more thematic level. The Fossil Sport Tourer Chronograph is the brand’s series of racing watches, and I’d imagine that far more people identify with the world of motorsports than they do with some name like Grant or Dean (unless they also happen to share that same name). Given that the Fossil Sport Tourer Chronograph is one of the brand’s new 2024 releases, models such as the Grant and Dean can still be found within its current catalog, although it’s undeniable that Fossil’s new approach to naming its watches provides the Sport Tourer Chronograph with a clear identity that alludes to both the type of watch and the people who are most likely to gravitate toward it.

As for the watch itself, the Fossil Sport Tourer Chronograph features a brushed stainless steel case, and it measures 42mm in diameter by 13.5mm thick, with lugs that are set 22mm apart and extend to create a lug-to-lug profile of approximately 50mm. The dial side of the case gets fitted with a domed mineral glass crystal that is surrounded by a tachymeter bezel with an anodized aluminum insert. Meanwhile, the reverse side of the watch receives a solid screw-down caseback with a mirror-polished finish, and the caseback has been left largely unadorned so that owners can take advantage of the free engraving service that Fossil offers for its watches. Access to the movement is granted by a signed push/pull crown flanked by a set of pump-style pushers, and water resistance for the Sport Tourer Chronograph comes in at 50 meters to protect against daily contact.

Unlike many quartz chronograph watches that lack an hour totalizer and instead have one of their three sub-dials dedicated to something like a 24-hour display, the Fossil Sport Tourer Chronograph is a proper 12-hour chronograph with a centrally-mounted seconds hand. Additionally, the overall aesthetic of the Fossil Sport Tourer Chronograph is rather reminiscent of Tudor’s Prince Tiger Chronograph models from the 1990s, and a large part of this is due to the layout of its dial, which features a trio of registers in a 6-9-12 formation, along with large Arabic numeral hour markers and a date window at 3 o’clock. For the ref. FS6044 featured here, the dial is bright yellow, while the textured chronograph registers are black, and the hands and applied hour markers all receive an application of green-glowing luminous material to help increase their low-light visibility.

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Aside from describing it as a “Japanese center second chronograph movement” and stating that it runs on a SR936SW battery, Fossil doesn’t provide any specific details about which caliber is used to power the Sport Tourer Chronograph. However, based upon the layout of its sub-dials and the way that its chronograph hands reset, I’m almost certain that it is the Seiko VK67 meca-quartz chronograph movement, which is very much a known quantity and a highly practical option for a watch at this price point. In addition to being a 12-hour chronograph with a central seconds hand, the Seiko VK67 also offers a battery life of approximately three years, and just like other versions of Seiko’s meca-quartz chronograph series, a mechanical module is used to operate the hands, which means that the pushers offer a tactile click whenever they are pressed. Similarly, the chronograph hands immediately snap back to zero when they are reset (just like a mechanical movement), rather than moving around the dial like on a standard quartz chronograph.

While other versions of the Fossil Sport Tourer Chronograph can be found with either leather straps or metal bracelets, the ref. FS6044 featured here receives a black textured silicone strap. The strap itself tapers from 22mm at the case down to 20mm at its brushed stainless steel pin buckle, and the signed buckle is a bit thicker and more substantial than what you will find on most entry-level watches. Even back when I worked at Fossil, the brand always encouraged buyers to switch up the straps on their watches, and the black silicone strap fitted to the Sport Tourer Chronograph features integrated quick-release springbars to facilitate tool-free exchanges. While the strap itself is objectively serviceable and complements the black and yellow colorway of the model, it is also rather unremarkable, and swapping it out for a slightly more elevated option will go a long way toward enhancing the overall look and feel of the watch.

Aside from the slightly uninspiring strap, I would have loved to see Fossil use a sapphire crystal on the Sport Tourer Chronograph. However, rendering the crystal in sapphire would have inevitably added to the price of this entry-level timepiece, and the benefits of the enhancement would likely do very little to drive sales with a mainstream audience. While a sapphire crystal can frequently be a major selling point for enthusiasts, the average person cares far less about this detail, and a higher price would likely deter more sales than the additional purchases that would result from having a harder crystal material. In a no-compromises environment, improvements to a watch are always possible, but the average Fossil customer is not looking for the absolute apex of horological performance, and they instead simply want a reliable and good-looking watch that can be purchased for a fair price.

I always find it interesting to examine the mainstream watches that exist outside of enthusiast circles, as these timepieces often provide people with their first real experience of owning a watch, and they serve as gateways for individuals to discover this hobby. Additionally, I know of numerous instances where someone received a Fossil as a gift in high school, and they went on to wear that same watch for years until finally upgrading to a more expensive luxury-oriented timepiece. Those watches survived the neglect and carelessness of youth, the drunken nights of college, and the first years of working in the real world. Some people’s collecting journeys take them far beyond Fossil as a brand, while others are more than happy to stick with the company and its perennially attainable offerings; however, it’s undeniable that Fossil creates objectively capable products. With an official retail price of $195 USD for any of the strap-equipped models (or $220 USD for the versions fitted with bracelets) the Fossil Sport Tourer Chronograph falls firmly into the affordable category, and it is perfectly positioned to be the piece that sparks a person’s lifelong interest in watches. For more information on the Fossil Sport Tourer Chronograph, please visit the brand’s website

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