June 18, 2012
by Ariel Adams
It was a bit hard for me to get into Reactor watches at first. Their CEO is probably going to frown when reading that statement, but it has a happy ending. While some of their watch designs clearly aren’t for me, Reactor has proven themselves to be “function first” minded even though they do like to experiment with some wild designs that aren’t exactly utilitarian. About two years ago I reviewed the Reactor Gamma Ti watch here. In this review, I discuss the Trident. What do they have in common? While being two totally different watches they are both legible, durable, comfortable, and convenient. Love them or hate them – they probably won’t give you any problems.
The Trident is a more military themed watch that can do double duty as a surf watch. That is probably the best way of explaining it. At 40mm wide, it is medium in size, but wears larger due to the thickness of the case and the lug width. Around the case are extra applied metal plates that Reactor claims offer more shock protection overall. There are actually stories of active military personnel explaining how Trident watches which have were subjected to extreme abuse seemed to happily survive. I believe it.
The steel case is water resistant to 200 meters and uses an AR coated mineral crystal. Mineral crystal is actually the officially mandated “military watch” crystal material because it chips versus shatters when damaged. Around the dial is a diver-style rotating timing bezel. The case is available in brushed or PVD black coated steel. This specific ref # 59824 model is newer with a “digicam” pixelated camouflage dial in the style of modern military fatigues. For me “digicam” actually means digital camera, not “digital camouflage” (which doesn’t even make sense). While the hour indicators are a bit tougher to see on this dial versus the black dialed version (for example), legibility is still there in a big way.
Reactor needed to make sure legibility was good in the light or the dark. The hands are black and designed to contrast with the dial very well. They aren’t too short either! Reactor uses their NeverDark (ND) system here which is basically a combination or traditional SuperLumiNova luminant and tritium gas tubes. Tubes are used in the hands and at four hour marker points, while luminant is used to coat the pits of the hands and the Arabic numeral hour markers. One detail different on the actual watch (that I reviewed) versus the one on Reactor’s website is the helpful placement of a 24 hour scale on the flange ring. On the site they have one with a tachymeter scale for some strange reason.
Inside the watch is a Japanese quartz movement that Reactor pairs with a 10 year lithium ion battery. The movement has a day/date indicator as well. It might not be mechanical, but in truth it is cheaper to replace, more accurate, and going to be more reliable in the long term with a 10 year battery. It feels more like a useful instrument this way as well.
On the wrist, the Trident is really a comfortable watch. This is thanks in part to the extra lug piece used to connect the strap to the case. This small point of extra articulation helps the watch conform to your wrist better. While it is available with a metal bracelet, I really like this rubber strap. It is thick and very flexible. This means you can wear the watch snugly for a secure fit, but it also doesn’t feel like it is choking your wrist. Reactor places a piece of metal in the end of the strap designed to look like their logo. This metal segment actually fits into a hole in the strap loop that prevents it from being pulled out easily. I have never seen this detail on non-Reactor watches before, and I really like it. One small issue is that the metal to metal connection from the links to the case causes some squeaking if you move your wrist rapidly back and forth. If you experience this, try applying a bit of lubricant like WD-40.
As a hard-duty or serious sport watch, the Reactor Trident feels like it is up to the task. It certainly has a good enough track record to trust it as much. This is also probably one of the last “beater watches” you’ll ever need if you prefer an analog versus digital watch. Overall I am impressed, and the value is there with a retail price of about $400 for this version of the Reactor Trident Digicam on the rubber strap.