As a brand, Traser exclusively focuses on tool watches, and this ultimately makes quite a lot of sense given the history and concept behind the company. Traser was originally created in 1989 to produce a timepiece for the US Army that was based upon MIL-W-46374F specifications; however, the company also serves as the watchmaking subsidiary brand for MB-Microtec, which is the Swiss-based manufacturer that produces virtually all of the radioactive gas-filled tritium tubes that are used throughout the industry. These days, Traser watches fall into one of three categories: tactical, outdoor, or diving, and as one of the brand’s latest new releases for 2023, Tracer has added a new limited-edition version of its signature outdoor adventure watch. Officially known as the Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100, this latest rendition expands upon the original model with a new gray colorway, an updated dial design, and even more glowing tritium tubes illuminating its display.

In terms of its overall design and dimensions, the new Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100 is more-or-less identical to its siblings, and the on-wrist experience that it provides will be quite familiar to those who have previous experience with the P68 collection. Crafted from stainless steel with a matte black PVD finish, the case of the P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100 measures 46mm in diameter by 12.8mm thick, with 24mm lugs and an overall lug-to-lug profile of 55.5mm. In many reviews, I often comment how considered proportions or a clever case design help to mitigate what would otherwise be a sizable presence on the wrist, although when it comes to the Traser P68 Pathfinder, it very much wears true to its on-paper dimensions. Despite having the same diameter and even being slightly thinner than the brand’s P99 T Tactical watch that I recently reviewed, the new P68 Pathfinder Automatic ultimately ends up wearing noticeably larger on the wrist.

Advertising Message

The primary reason for the different perceptions of size is due to the fact that the Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100 has an internal rotating bezel, which means that its flat sapphire crystal extends all the way to the outer perimeter of the case and makes the dial appear larger than its actual size. Beyond that, the sides of the case on the P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100 are essentially flat horizontal surfaces, which means that the 46mm diameter applies to the entire middle case, rather than at just the widest point of the watch. Two signed screw-down crowns protrude from the side of the case, with the crown at 3 o’clock dedicated to the movement, while the one positioned at 8 o’clock is used to operate the internal rotating compass bezel. Meanwhile, a solid screw-down caseback is fitted to the reverse side of the watch, and it works together with the two screw-down crowns to help create 100 meters of water resistance.

The dial of the new limited-edition Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100 is where the model differs most from its siblings, and while it still offers the same fundamental appearance, it does have a few notable updates compared to its standard-production siblings. In addition to its gray colorway with white text and bright red accents, the dial now has a prominent vertical line texture embossed into its surface, which provides it with a more dynamic overall appearance, while still maintaining its firmly tool-oriented aesthetic. Additionally, while the handset offers the same partially skeletonized design as the other models from the collection, it now features a gunmetal gray finish with a bright red tip for the hour hand.

More importantly, the dial fitted to the Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100 no longer has a date window at 3 o’clock, and it instead opts for a simplified time-only format with the Arabic numeral at the 3 o’clock location now appearing the same size as the rest of the numerals at the cardinal points. Additionally, rather than being printed on the dial like other models, the large Arabic numerals are now made from glowing Trigalight tritium tubes to match the horizontally placed tritium tube hour markers located around the periphery of the dial. Beyond that, the horizontal tubes themselves have been updated from the standard variety to the extra-wide flat style to further increase their size and visibility. While the majority of the tritium tubes glow green, the ones placed on the seconds hand and at the 12 o’clock marker all emit an orange glow to help offer superior at-a-glance legibility; however, Traser includes even more luminous elements on this particular model.

Advertising Message

Like many other Traser watches, the dial of the P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100 has two smaller green-glowing tubes placed within the brand’s logo on the upper half of the dial, and while all of these previously mentioned glowing components consist of radioactive tritium gas-filled tubes, Super-LumiNova is used for the compass markings on the bezel, and the watch even features a photo-reactive luminous gasket surrounding its crystal to create a rather impressive display in the dark. After extended periods of time without any light exposure, the crystal gasket and luminous markings on the bezel will eventually stop glowing, like the lume on any other watch. However, because the rest of the luminous elements rely on radioactive tritium-based technology, they will perpetually glow for up to 25 years, even in total darkness.

As with virtually all of its watches, Traser makes no specific mention of the exact movement used to power the limited-edition P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100, and you will simply see it described as a “Swiss Made Automatic” on the brand’s official website. That said, I’m fairly confident that this watch runs on some variation of the ubiquitous ETA 2824 or Sellita SW200, and it therefore will offer the familiar specs of an operating frequency of 28,800vph (4 Hz) with an expected power reserve of somewhere in the neighborhood of 38 to 42 hours. While I have no prejudices against this particular movement platform, it’s worth noting that Traser did not use the no-date version of this caliber, which means that not only do you get the irksome “ghost” position when you pull out the crown, but you can even here the calendar mechanism click below the surface of the dial when the crown is rotated in this first position.

Vestigial crown positions are objectively a bit of a horological buzz-kill, although one other minor irksome detail about the Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100 is that the phantom date isn’t properly aligned with the hands, so rather the hearing the calendar mechanism click when the hands pass midnight, you instead hear the date wheel advance under the dial when the hands are displaying a time that is somewhere shortly before 3:40. Realistically speaking, none of these minor drawbacks actually matter when it comes to the functionality of the watch, and once the P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100 is set and strapped to your wrist, details such as “ghost” positions and the alignment of the heads relative to a phantom date ultimately become entirely irrelevant. That said, this limited-edition model is one of Traser’s more premium offerings, and a proper no-date movement would have ultimately elevated the overall attention to detail of the watch.

Traser offers the P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100 in two different configurations, with one fitted with a classic black rubber strap, while the other receives a gray and red striped nylon NATO. Both of the available strap options feature black PVD-finished hardware to match the case, and Traser also produces a variety of other straps that it sells separately on its website. The black rubber strap offers a standard two-piece design with fitted ends to form an integrated appearance of the case, and it tapers from 24mm at the lugs down to 22mm where it connects to its signed tang-style buckle. While the rubber strap itself is fairly well made, the 6 o’clock side doesn’t fit the case quite as precisely as the opposite end, which means that you can feel a slight amount of play that isn’t present on the other side of the strap. Similar to my qualms with the movement, this quirk with the strap doesn’t impact its actual functionality, although it does slightly detract from what is otherwise a very well-executed overall construction.

All things considered, I’m objectively a fan of the concept behind Traser’s P68 Pathfinder series, and the upgraded tritium tube display on the new limited-edition T100 easily makes this particular version one of the most compelling offerings within the collection. However, I’ve always felt that the Traser P68 Pathfinder would ultimately be a bit more successful of a design if it was just a bit smaller, and a version with a case size somewhere in the 40mm to 42mm range would open this model up to a significantly wider audience. A diameter of 46mm is large by all definitions of the term, and only so much can be done to mitigate a 55.5mm lug-to-lug profile. As it currently stands, the Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100 is approaching the upper limits of what most people can comfortably wear on a daily basis, and unless someone specifically intends to wear their watch over the sleeve of a jacket, I think most people would prefer a slightly more compact case for this particular model.

Due to the additional tritium tubes embedded into the surface of its dial, the new Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100 costs slightly more than its siblings, and it is accompanied by an official retail price of $1,270 USD when purchased on a NATO or $1,335 USD should buyers opt for the rubber strap. Additionally, unlike the other models that make up the current lineup, the new P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100 will not be joining the collection as a standard-production offering, and it will instead be produced as a limited edition of 300 examples. With that in mind, given the appeal of this new enhanced tritium tube display, I could easily see Traser producing other versions of this watch at some point in the future that offer this same updated dial design but in different colors and configurations. For more information on the Traser P68 Pathfinder Automatic T100 watch, please visit the brand’s website.

Advertising Message

Subscribe to our Newsletter