As a brand specializing in tactical and highly-utilitarian timepieces that use tritium tube illumination technology, ProTek is naturally a popular choice among law enforcement, first responders, and military personnel. Given that ProTek was founded by Barry Cohen, who is also the person who originally started Luminox, there are some inherent similarities between the two brands when it comes to how they approach watchmaking, and in much the same way that Luminox originally built its reputation by producing watches used by Navy SEALs, ProTek has recently been designated as an Official Watch of the United States Marine Corps. Launched earlier this year in 2023, the ProTek USMC Series 1010 collection builds upon the core design of the brand’s Series 1000 carbon composite dive watch to create an ultra-rugged and function-forward range of timepieces that pays tribute to one of America’s oldest and most celebrated military organizations.
Given that ProTek already had a winning formula with its Series 1000 diver, there was no need to completely reinvent the wheel when producing a watch specifically for the United States Marines. Consequently, the new ProTek USMC Series 1010 collection is essentially a special-edition version of the brand’s most function-forward model, rather than being a completely new timepiece. What this means is that you get the same angular carbon composite case that measures 42mm in diameter by 13.95mm-thick with 22mm lugs and an overall lug-to-lug profile of 49.5mm. Fitted to the top of the case is a flat anti-reflective sapphire crystal, while the reverse side of the watch receives a solid screw-down stainless steel caseback that features a deep and detailed engraving of the United States Marine Corps emblem. Similar to the standard Series 1000 models, the new USMC collection features an ample 300 meters of water resistance, and ProTek individually pressure tests all of its watches in both dry and wet conditions to ensure that they are properly sealed against moisture and dirt.
Sitting between angular guards at the 3 o’clock location is an unsigned stainless steel screw-down crown with a black PVD treatment and a rubberized ring that matches the specific colorway of each watch. Meanwhile, the opposite side of the case flares out at 9 o’clock to mirror the shape of the crown guards, and in addition to creating an aesthetically-pleasing symmetrical profile, this case design also provides greater protection for the bezel, without increasing the overall size of the watch. While the 42mm case diameter does not include the crown guards or the protrusion on the 9 o’clock side of the case, the fairly short lugs and flat caseback profile help to create a surprisingly compact overall package on the wrist. Additionally, due to the lightweight carbon composite construction of the case and bezel, the entire weight of the ProTek USMC Series 1010 dive watch comes in at just 73.2 grams, and this includes its thick rubber strap and chunky signed pin buckle that has a matching black PVD finish.
The crown itself is easy to grip, and the case tube that it screws down onto has plenty of threads to help ensure that it will not easily be stripped due to hasty or careless operation. While the amount of threads on a crown/tube assembly is hardly an exciting point of discussion, it is a rather important detail that can often be overlooked on watches that feature a screw-down crown design. Back when I used to work on the service side of the watch industry, crowns and tubes were among the most commonly replaced external components due to the fact that the threads get worn over time and eventually lose their ability to properly create a seal or even entirely stop being able to secure the crown to the case. Having a quartz movement helps to reduce the frequency that you will need to unscrew the crown (thus reducing wear), and given the number of threads on the crown and tube, I highly doubt most ProTrek USMC Series 1010 owners will encounter issues with this often-vulnerable connection point.
Surrounding the crystal is a unidirectional rotating bezel made from carbon composite that features a 60-minute elapsed time scale with a luminous tritium tube embedded at the zero marker. In addition to featuring large numerals every ten minutes, the bezel also includes a fully demarcated 60-minute scale along its interior to provide users with the ability to more accurately measure exact intervals of elapsed time. The bezel rotates with a 60-click motion, and the action of the bezel is surprisingly solid and satisfying, especially given its carbon composite construction. Back-play is entirely non-existent, and while the amount of force required to rotate the bezel is slightly more than what you will find on most other watches, this helps to ensure that it won’t easily be knocked out of place by being bumped on a surface or rubbed against an article of clothing. Additionally, the raised sections on the bezel ensure that it remains easy to grip in either wet or dry conditions, and one further benefit of these raised segments (which bring the overall height of the watch up to 14.5mm) is that that they slightly stick up above the rim of the crystal to offer additional protection against impacts and abrasions.
The dials fitted to the ProTrek Official USMC Series 1010 watches offer much of the same core design and layout as the standard Series 1000 models, with a matte black surface, white Arabic numeral hour markers, and a date window at the 3 o’clock location. Surrounding the dial is an angled chapter ring with a printed minute track that features horizontally mounted tritium tubes and an accenting ring in the specific colorway of each watch. The dial surface includes both 12-hour and 24-hour markings to help offer a clear indication of either timekeeping format, and rather than featuring ProTek’s shield logo on the upper half of the dial with the brand’s name on the lower half, the dials fitted to the new USMC Series 1010 collection skip the shield emblem entirely, and simply have the “ProTek” name below the 12 o’clock marker, with “United States Marine Corps” printed opposite it on the lower half. While I don’t have any personal connection to the Marines, I still prefer the overall aesthetic of these dials compared to those fitted to the standard Series 1000 models, as I feel that it offers better visual balance and a more utilitarian overall appearance.
At the center of the dial are a trio of matte-finished hands that have luminous tritium gas-filled tubes mounted inside them. The hour and minute hands have a partially skeletonized design, and they appear in a thoroughly modern shape that could best be described as a mixture of dauphine and syringe styles. Meanwhile, the seconds hand features a thin body with a large counterweight to help offset the added mass of the tritium tube that sits about two-thirds of the way toward its tip. In my previous review of the Protek Series 3000 field watch, one minor point of criticism that I had was that the minute hand felt slightly undersized relative to the placement of its minute track. That said, this issue of proportions does not exist at all on the new ProTrek USMC Series 1010, and the tip of the minute hand extends all the way to reach each of the markers that are printed along its angled rehaut.
ProTrek’s tritium tube illumination system is formally known as ProGlo, and it uses Trigalight technology to create a continuously glowing display that will perpetually glow for up to 25 years without requiring any light exposure to “charge” the lume like on most watches. Rather than offering torch levels of brightness and fading the longer that they remain in the dark (like with traditional photoluminescent paint), tritium gas-filled tubes emit a solid and constant glow that ultimately becomes most visible in the darkest of settings. Additionally, since the brightness of the glow is based on the radioactive decay of the tritium gas itself, a key advantage of this technology is that the tubes will emit the same amount of glow regardless of whether or not they receive any light exposure throughout the day. On the ProTrek USMC Series 1010 collection, the luminous tritium tubes on the hands, hour markers, and bezel all glow green; however, the tube located at the 12 o’clock position emits an orange glow to help offer a better orientation of the time in dark settings.
Powering the ProTrek Official USMC Series 1010 collection is the Miyota 2S60 movement, which is a simple three-handed quartz caliber that offers the added utility of a quickset date display. Running on a single CR2012 battery cell and offering an accuracy rating of +/- 20 seconds per month, the Miyota 2S60 is hardly noteworthy from either an aesthetic or horological perspective; however, it is a highly practical option for a rugged and function-forward timepiece, as it offers an exceptionally long 10-year battery life and is universally considered to be quite reliable. While there will inevitably be some individuals who wish that this model featured a solar-powered movement, the ProTrek USMC Series 1010 was designed to be a highly utilitarian grab-and-go wristwatch, and the ultra-long battery life of the Miyota 2S60 allows these watches to run for up to a decade at a time, regardless of whether they are worn daily on your wrist on kept as a spare timekeeping companion inside of a travel bag.
The ProTrek Official United States Marine Corps Series 1010 includes a total of nine different models, although the lineup actually only spans five different colorways, with the other four watches being alternate options that include matching colored rubber straps. Alongside the “Blackout” model that features an entirely black colorway are options in red, blue, green, and a tan/khaki color known as “desert” that is exclusively available for the new USMC collection. Additionally, while red, blue, and green were already options for the standard Series 1000 carbon composite diver, the specific hues of the colors used for the USMC Series 1010 are actually different, and all of them are the exact Pantone colors of the United States Marine Corps. The colors appear on the rubberized crown insert and also within the minute track, and aside from the stealthy “Blackout” edition, all of the different colorways are available with either a standard black rubber strap, or with a rubber strap that matches the specific color of each watch.
ProTek Official United States Marine Corps Series 1010 Dive Watch Collection:
- Ref. 1011 – “Blackout” – black accents w/ black rubber strap
- Ref. 1012 – “Red” – red accents w/ black rubber strap
- Ref. 1012R – “Red” – red accents w/ red rubber strap
- Ref. 1013 – “Blue” – blue accents w/ black rubber strap
- Ref. 1013B – “Blue” – blue accents w/ blue rubber strap
- Ref. 1015 – “Green” – green accents w/ black rubber strap
- Ref. 1015G – “Green” – green accents w/ green rubber strap
- Ref. 1016 – “Desert” – desert accents w/ black rubber strap
- Ref. 1016D – “Desert” – desert accents w/ desert rubber strap
Aside from their colors, the straps fitted to the ProTrek Official USMC Series 1010 watches are identical to those that can be found on the standard Series 1000 carbon composite diver, and they are made from genuine rubber with a lightly textured outer surface and a wavy pattern on the interior to promote airflow and increase comfort. To help extend the life of the straps, the springbar holes feature metal reinforcements, and having a rigid structure within the strap at this crucial connection point helps to reduce torsion on the actual springbars themselves. All things considered, the rubber straps fitted to the Protek USMC Series 1010 leave very little to be desired, and it strikes a nice balance of offering plenty of length without being long to the point of being cumbersome when worn over a bare wrist in daily life.
Other than minor details relating to my personal aesthetic preferences, there isn’t anything that I would actually change about the design or construction of the ProTrek Official USMC Series 1010, and while I don’t have any personal connection to the United States Marine Corps, I think these watches might be some of the best-looking models in ProTek’s entire lineup. I objectively prefer the appearance of the dial without the silver ProTek shield logo, and the tan/khaki “desert” colorway is particularly fitting for the rugged design of this particular watch. Additionally, with an official retail price of $450 USD for any of the nine different colorways, the ProTrek Official USMC Series 1010 costs the exact same as the brand’s regular Series 1000 watches, meaning that buyers can opt for one of these USMC-branded models without paying any type of premium. All things considered, when you compare the ProTrek Official USMC Series 1010 to similar watches from other brands that also feature tritium tube illumination technology, you will be hard-pressed to find another option that delivers quite the same specs at this firmly attainable price point, and the ProTrek USMC Series 1010 is the definition of a rugged timepiece that offers a true set-it-and-forget-it ownership experience. For more information on the ProTek Official USMC Series 1010, please visit the brand’s website.