Mondaine Men’s Night Vision Tritium Sport Watch Review

Mondaine Men’s Night Vision Tritium Sport Watch Review

Mondaine Men's Night Vision Tritium Sport Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Maybe one of the most interesting Mondaine watches I have worn lately - this "Night Vision" version of their famous Swiss Railways watch comes with tritium gas tubes as well as a big date indicator. Still, it retains that classic look one seeks when wearing a watch like this.

You really need to travel in Switzerland a bit (at least by train) to fully understand that this indeed is the look of the clocks in the train stations around Switzerland. The national railway logo in red and white accompanied by SBB CFF FFS is right there on the dial as well. I still have no idea what those nine letters stand for by the way. They seem a bit excessive if you ask me. Oh well, that is Swiss tradition for you.

Mondaine Men's Night Vision Tritium Sport Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

I would never consider a standard Mondaine watch a sport watch. It is much more a simple casual watch in my opinion. Though Mondaine brands this one as a sport piece. It's full name is the Mondaine Men's Night Vision Tritium Sport (ref. A669.30308.14SBB). Is the sport name because of the tritium gas tubes? Sort of, but I don't think that should automatically make it, or any other watch that you can see in the dark more easily a sport watch. Tritium gas tubes are small tubes filled with a mild (and safe) radioactive compound that glows naturally for about 20-25 years. These tubes are placed in the watch hour and minute hands, as well as near each hour marker. This allows for rather easy viewing of the time in the dark.

Aside from the tubes in the hands, you really can't see the other tubes unless you are in the dark. They are integrated into the flange ring and seen through the 12 little angular holes. The standard applied hour markers in white are what are more visible in normal light. What I believe Mondaine was going for here was to retain the core look of the watch but also add the functionality of the gas tubes.

Mondaine Men's Night Vision Tritium Sport Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The watch comes in both black and white dial versions. The white dialed version has black hands and hour indicators. Both are highly legible. On the dial is also the big-date indicator which is part of the Swiss quartz movement (from Ronda I believe). The dial is covered with a domed mineral crystal - which is acceptable for the price. The crystal is very clear with almost no dial distortion.

Mondaine Men's Night Vision Tritium Sport Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

On the wrist this model is 41mm wide in a brushed steel case. I love the inset red lacquer in the crown where the "M" logo is. That is a nice stylized touch. The watch case is water resistant to 30 meters. A bit low for a watch with "sport" in the name. Adding a screw down crown could easily have increase that to 50-100 meters I believe. The watch actually wears smaller than 41mm because the widest part of the case is in the middle. You'll notice that the bezel rounds in a bit, helping to create the illusion that the watch wears smaller than it is.

Mondaine Men's Night Vision Tritium Sport Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Attached to the case is a nice rugged feeling leather strap in black with white contrast stitching. There is a Mondaine signed buckle on it. Wearing comfort for the watch is what you'd come to expect from this watch size and shape. It will become increasingly comfortable as the strap rounds to your particular wrist. For a convenient and slightly avant garde conservative watch with some added functionality, the Mondaine Big Date NIght Vision Swiss Railways watch is an easy choice. Price is $325.

Thanks to Mondaine for the review unit. Opinions are 100% independent.

What do you think?
  • Thumbs up (0)
  • Interesting (0)
  • Classy (0)
  • I love it! (0)
  • I want it! (0)
  • Arnaud

    From Wikipedia: SBB CFF FFS is the Swiss Federal Railways (German: SBB, Schweizerische Bundesbahnen; French: CFF, Chemins de fer fédéraux suisses; Italian: FFS, Ferrovie federali svizzere; Romansh: Viafiers federalas svizras; the abbreviations VFS (Romansh) and SFR (English) are not in official use).

    That’s what happens when you have so many official languages.

    • Oh yea! Cause of the language thing. That makes sense.

  • Jan F.

    yea no shit. altho fellas, noone in switzerland in their right mind sports these, cuz if u take the train to work everyday, the last thing u want to see on your wrist is the clock u see monday mornings u r runing late to work xD

    • Chris

      Funny, I’ve seen more Mondaine’s on wrists in German train stations than any other place I’ve been. Maybe the Germans just like to be reminded of their punctuality and amazing rail system.

  • Martin

    Arnaud has it correct. In light of Switzerland’s history it is important culturally that each of the separate languages be acknowledged and respected. I live in Zurich and have pondered buying this watch, but I have to admit that it was more as a novelty and keepsake to remind me of Switzerland while travelling. I’ve never seen one on a Swiss person’s wrist. That said, I haven’t seen many watches on wrists here. The Swiss are generally very reserved about such things and watches are covered while in public so as to avoid seeming to show off.

  • kris c

    A family member of mine spent about 3 1/2 weeks travelling around Germany and Switzerland this summer. They are not into watches and find my obsession amusing at best. I of course asked that they pick me up some local magazines on the subject, and take pictures whe never they see a boutique.

    They travelled by train only, and came back saying that in Germany, too many people wear the same watch. They did not want to ask anyone directly what it was, and had a few blurry shots from their phones, but how do you mistake a Mondaine for anything else?

    The conversation went like this: “…we only got a few crummy iPhone pictures, but here is one where you can kinda…|yeah thats a Mondaine Railway with big date”.

    They found it laughable, not impressive. It was likened to an old boozebag that can tell the difference between a $4 bottle of sherry and a $5 bottle by simply smelling it. You have to be a watch nerd to understand I guess.

  • Ulysses

    I find Mondaine watches hard to tell apart from a casual glance alone. This, like most of them, is humble and simple and to me a bit bland. Just because their hallmark is the “railway” watch doesn’t mean they can’t diversify and create other lines. Omega don’t limit themselves to “Moon” watches just because that’s one of their most famous models. On the plus side I like the satin finish on the case and the signed crown is a nice touch. Reasonable price too, if you’re into that sort of thing. If I wanted a clear, easy to read Swiss watch i’d get a Swatch “Suit” variant.

    • Kennie

      I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m really liking that bright red M on the crown.

      • Victor

        Mondaine does create a lot of other watches, with vastly differing designs. Check out their designers line or artist and architecture to see what I mean. These aren’t as common and not advertised as much.

  • Mondaine’s simple elegance makes this watch an easy choice for anyone who is looking for wearing comfort, and a nice look. For a similar style with the same casing and night vision, at less than half the price, check out Bianci’s new Sports Automatic model for only $149!
    It’s got a beautiful face with a 316L surgical stainless steel case with a see-through exhibition in the back. The pilot strap and super luminous night vision dial and numbers make this watch super cool.

    • Victor

      Looks nice but not quite the same night vision. The Mondaine’s tritium gas filled tubes don’t require any illumination to glow, but will glow consistently for 15-25 years. The Bianci has what I assume to be standard lume found on a lot of watches, and honestly probably not the best.

  • skyboy

    I love the watches, thinking of getting one, assuming it lasts 20-25 years can the gas be replaced (and how expensive would it be) to renew the luminosity of the watch, or does it die and become a useless feature?

    • GatorJ

      @skyboy The half-life of tritium is around 12.5 years, so after that time the vials will glow half as brightly as when new…in 25 years, 1/4 as brightly.  Ball is the only manufacturer indicating they will replace tritium tubes of which I am aware.  Without mentioning a price, it was said not to be too expensive and was something that could be performed when the watch was sent in for servicing.

  • GatorJ

    I have this exact watch in the PVD finish.  Being a huge fan of Ball watches, I was initially drawn to the Night Vision due to the use of tritium tubes, initially unaware of the Mondaine heritage.  I have not had a watch grow on me as quickly or as strongly as this in a long time.  It is without question the most readable timepiece in any lighting conditions I own, including my Ball watches, which is probably the reason I tend to grab for it first.  The PVD finish has held up perfectly and the size is perfect.  I wish Mondaine would expand the Night Vision line, they’ve managed to do a brilliant  job of integrating tritium tubes into their classic design.

  • Pingback: Mondaine SBB Vintage Limited Edition Watch Hands-On - A BLOG TO WATCH()

  • Andy Romano

    The letters SBB CFF and FFS are the abbreviations for Swiss Federal Railways in the three official languages of Switzerland SBB German, C FF French and FFS Italian.

  • tbayguy1963

    GatorJ The only thing I dont like is they could not be bothered to put a different coloured tube at 12 oclock to help with alignment in the dark. Its brighter than a Ball.  Those things are almost nothing but tubes 🙂   I wish I could own a Ball watch.