Torgoen is a brand that I have become more familiar with over the past year or so and I got to know them as a smaller Swiss company that offers a variety of aviation-related styles in their lineup. Such dedication for this arguably niche market may seem odd at first but makes perfect sense when we mention that the founder of Torgoen, Benzi Rosenski, is actually a private pilot. And while there are some more complex “flight computer” style watches, the brand also offers many more models that are more accessible (i.e., less complex to read and use) and should have a broader appeal. Regardless of the style, however, they have all been quartz-driven, a self-imposed trend that changes now, with the introduction of the Torgoen T32 Automatic – this aviation-inspired Swiss made watch in stealthy black that you still have a few days to win in our August 2014 giveaway.
Looking at the Torgoen T32, you can very much see what is considered a vintage aviation look – though, these days, this re-modernized style is clearly living its renaissance with its bold indices and high-contrast dials. In some ways, it almost had a bit of a Lum-Tec look and feel to it in my opinion (a good association, in my book). With the flat dial and case finish, the lumed numerals and indices stand out sharply, making the watch easily legible both during the day or night.
That is about all there is to say about the Torgoen T32 dial – it’s clean, it’s legible, and there is not much to change in this sort of a style. Well, ok, perhaps there is. While the minute hand is appropriately sized, the hour hand comes off a bit undersized. I think here a simple widening of the hand a touch would do wonders for the look. Oh, yes, and one other thing – the date wheel over at 4 o’clock. Being as it is already inverted in comparison to the dial colors, it is surprising to see a white outline around the cutout. For my tastes, I would rather have a dark date wheel and no outline, allowing the date complication to fade away until it is needed.
All of this sits in a 43mm case that has a smoothly-applied matte finish, with a sapphire crystal on top. If you go looking, there is a bit of a polished surface to be found, right on the periphery of the domed crown. That really is the only place to find a shine, other than the movement components, visible through the screw-down display caseback itself which, although not coated, has a matte finish as well. While we are checking out the back of the Torgoen T32, we should note those little nubs on the strap.
As you might surmise, these little nubs set into the spring bars are there to make changing straps a lot easier, without necessitating the use of a spring bar removal tool. I think these are a nice proposition, especially for folks who may not be comfortable working with standard spring bars for a strap change (or may not want to travel with the tool). That said, when I spoke to some strap makers about these, they were generally “down” on them as a whole, as they reportedly introduce complexity to the manufacturing of straps; and if they break, the end user really has no way of fixing or replacing them. So, that is one thing to keep in mind.
From an established brand like Torgoen, I expected a nice leather strap. Perhaps not super high-end, but still a nice one. For the most part, they delivered on this. The strap was comfortable and flexible, fitting to my wrist easily. It was, however, a noisy strap. It exhibited a squeak in between the lugs that I more commonly associate with a cheaper quality of strap. Now, it may just be due to the edge finishing, but it is a bit of an irritant (at least for me) to have that additional noise any time I move my wrist.
Back on the plus side of the equation, this is one of the longest stock straps I have had in, which will be a boon to those with bigger wrists – or someone who might want to wear it over a jacket. Also, the rather common 22 millimeter lug width accepts a virtually infinite number of great aftermarket straps, so finding new alternatives – and changing the stealthy black looks of the watch – should be easy!
Regardless of the wear scenario, this is a comfortable and well-fitting watch on my 7.25″ wrist. I enjoyed the clean styling, and appreciated the well-applied lume (it is no Seiko Monster, but it certainly does quite nicely). While the all-black scheme is a bit darker than I normally prefer for my wrist, I thought the Torgoen T32 worked well as a daily wear piece, as it is unassuming.
Lest you think that it is getting to be a boring watch, I will point you to the left side of the Torgoen T32, where there is a little plaque mounted. This dresses up the side of the watch, of course, and also gives you the serial number of the particular watch. Sure, it is not something that is strictly needed, per se, but it does help mark the Torgoen T32 out as being different than others of similar ilk.
Then again, that Valanvron 24 movement inside also does a similar job of setting the watch apart. Who is Valanvron? Well, as we note in our giveaway of the Torgoen T32 (linked to above), it is one of the suppliers of movements that have come onto the scene with ETA tightening supply. And while only time will tell how serviceability and longevity are for this new movement, it functioned just fine, without any noticeable issues whatsoever.
All told, it is a tidy package for an asking price of $680. Yes, at that price, you do have quite a few options in the entry- to mid-level Aviator watches and with the Torgoen T32 Automatic, you are opting for a new movement make and are going with a brand with long ties into aviation. And while some might call the watch plain, I rather liked the arguably spartan, albeit highly functional layout. As they say, however, to each their own. torgoen.com
>Model: T32 (ref. T32103)
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes, but I’d have to change out the strap pretty early on.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: While this is a good one for aviator watch folks, I think it would be a good one for the collector who is into movements, and wants to pick up a Valanvron.
>Best characteristic of watch: The clean layout combined with a very strong lume showing.
>Worst characteristic of watch: The squeaky strap, for sure.