July 14, 2021
by Ariel Adams
The latest in military-style “do anything” sports watches from Switzerland’s Traser is the new P69 Black Stealth timepiece collection. It comes in a few colors, and in this article I feature the P69 Black Stealth Sand version references 109860 and the 109861 on a NATO-style and rubber strap, respectively. According to Traser, the P69 Black Stealth collection takes the brand’s focus “back to its roots” with a series of watches inspired by its original collection from 1989 meant for “tactical forces.” That’s a good story but to be honest, I’m not sure how these [admittedly nice] watches are connected to the brand’s core values any differently than other Traser models. In other words, it isn’t that the P69 doesn’t follow the direction set by Traser with its first watches back in 1989, I just don’t know how the P69 does so more than most of the brand’s other products. It is new, though.
The P69 Black Stealth is also a neat-looking watch that comes in some welcome color variety and offers a good set of features for an affordable price point. It isn’t the largest Traser watch I’ve reviewed, but it is a chunky timepiece and needs to be worn snug on the wrist. The case is a new concept for Traser that feels as inspired by the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak concept as it is other military-style watches out there. The case is rated at 46mm-wide but is closer to 50mm with the crown. It is about 15mm-thick and has a roughly 58mm lug-to-lug distance. The case is also water resistant to 200 meters with a flat, AR-coated sapphire crystal over the dial.
The “Black Stealth” part of this P69 product’s name refers to the matte black PVD coating over the steel case. The matte surface picks up fingerprints a bit easily, but that isn’t anything soft cloth can’t handle. While the Traser P69 is a simple concept, overall, it is enjoyable given the refined lines and ability to feel modern while also still being a traditional Swiss Made watch.
Around the dial is a bi-direction rotating bezel. Finally, we have a Traser with a ceramic bezel insert, and the two-way movement of the bezel makes the watch unique. It isn’t ideal as a diver’s watch (such a two-way moving bezel would technically be considered unsafe for underwater timing purposes), but otherwise, the bezel moving in two directions should be a light novelty for many. The otherwise all-black ceramic bezel has a small tritium gas tube at the 60-minute marker as a lume pip.
For the dial, Traser begins with a steeply sloped flange ring where the minute scale is printed. The minute scale is reprinted for emphasis in slightly raised, glossy-black markings that are interrupted by small applied hour marker frames in brushed steel. Within each is a self-illuminating tritium gas tube rod that is produced by MB-Microtec, Traser’s parent company. These created what they call trigalight markers (the small tritium gas tubes) and these tubes are used in a variety of applications, including tactical weapon sights and a number of timepieces.
The T-25 (measure of volume of tritium in the watch) P69 dial uses tritium gas tubes in each of the hour markers, as well as in each of the hands. Two additional tubes on the dial are placed in horizontal positions as part of the Traser logo. The dial — which has 12- and 24-hour scales — is effective and attractive, but simple and understated despite it being visually “deep.” The hour and minute hands are interesting for being partially polished, partially skeletonized, fitted with a tritium gas tube, and also coated in matte black for most of their length.
In addition to this sand-colored dial for the P69 Black Stealth, Traser offers the watch (at launch) with a dark green dial with orange-colored hands (109858, and 109859), in black with orange-colored hands (109854, and 109855), as well as in blue with black-colored hands (109856, and 109857). The sand-colored version is probably the most interesting given its clear summer desert vibe, but it could also pass for a mountain rock color for explorers and climbers.
The fitted rubber strap is quite comfortable and of a higher quality than you’d expect from most watches at this price level. The strap actually costs a full ~$40 more than the NATO-style strap, which is by no means a budget band, by any means. One of the things I continue to admire about Traser is not only its pragmatic approach to watch design but also its desire to make the products look and feel Swiss Made, but not charging the same bloated prices as some other Swiss brands are prone to for some products.
Inside the P69 Black Stealth watches is a Swiss Made quartz movement produced by Ronda, I believe. The movement offers the time along with a day/date complication. The day and date discs are in black, which, while not as ideal as matching the dial color, are more fashionable and on-theme than if they were the standard white.
While the Traser p69 Black Stealth is a product for some, but not for everyone, it is a faithful manifestation of the core values Traser attempts to impart in its timepieces. Even though the P69 is about as practical as some of the first Traser watches, it is also a thoroughly modern product in design and features, which makes it clear that Traser is closely paying attention to the rest of the wristwatch community. Pluses for the P69 include its attractive case shape, highly legible no-nonsense dial, and fair pricing. The various color options also help more consumers fit the P69 Black Stealth into their active lifestyle of choice. Price for the Traser P69 Black Stealth watch is 495 Swiss Francs on the NATO-style strap and 535 Swiss Francs on the rubber strap. Learn more at the Traser watches website here.