I own quite a few watches, as many of you probably know. Some of my watches could be considered “high-end” and others are better described as every day beaters. Not too long ago I designed my own set of retro compressor case Swiss dive watches that went into a limited product run of 500 pieces each – called the Prometheus Ocean Diver. I mention this to explain that I know a thing or two about watches, their production, their specifications and movements, and some of the tricks of the trade – both good and bad. When I was asked to test an inexpensive watch designed for outdoor adventure activity and every day wear, with features that would typically be well beyond its advertised price point, well I was naturally skeptical.
Form and Function
Selecting a watch is a very personal decision. Some people like shiny, polished dress watches, some like a flat brushed finish or even PVD. Some people like a light colored dial and others prefer dark. I’m not here to tell you what type or style of watch to choose, but that like any piece of gear you should pick the one that’s right for you. And a watch is just another tool – one that tells time (hopefully accurately).
I’m personally drawn to pilot watches and dive watches. I especially like vintage or retro watches styled after some of the amazing designs seen in the 60s. That’s probably why I designed the Ocean Diver watches using a compressor style case and internal rotating bezel – mine were a homage to some of the 60s classics. With all my gear, watches included, I look for simplicity, functionality, and clean design. I have little to no tolerance for clutter of features that offer no use.
I was recently contacted by the owner of weBBem watches to ask if I would be willing to test one of his new watches and provide direct feedback. I’ll freely admit that when I read that the watches came with a woven paracord bracelet I was somewhat reluctant. Paracord bracelets are not really my thing. My initial expectations of the watch were low.
However, when I looked at the Traveler watch online I liked what I saw. The body, case, and dial of the watch were all in line with the style I am fond of. Clean lines, high contrast and high visibility, black dial with great lume, and a rugged look. Part tactical and part old-school dive watch. Based on the body of the watch, and ignoring the paracord strap, I agreed to test the black version of the Traveler model. And boy am I glad I did!
I find it pretty amazing that for a watch with a price point of $130 the weBBem Traveler comes with features and specifications that would be hard to find on similar watches that sell for well over $300. For example: the weBBem Traveler comes with a genuine sapphire crystal, very few watches under $300 and even some more expensive watches like Luminox, use a mineral glass. The weBBem Traveler has a case made from 316L stainless steel, that’s marine grade, a lot of inexpensive watches now use 304 stainless steel to save money and that’s not even corrosion resistant. The Marathon General Purpose watch has a resin case, plastic lens, is WR to only 30M and sells for $200.
WeBBem Traveler Specs
- Sapphire crystal glass
- 316L marine grade stainless steel body
- Japanese quartz movement (Miyota – Citizen)
- 3 year battery life
- Water resistant to 100 meters
- Screw down signature crown
- Secure screw in lug bars
- Super luminous dial markers and hands
- Screw down case back
- Seconds hand “hacking” feature
- Lug width – 24mm
- Width (without crown) – 43mm
- Thickness (without strap) – 11mm
- Price $129 (Nato), $139 (paracord)
The concept of having a paracord bracelet that can be unraveled to provide 80 feet of cord that can be used in an emergency is pretty clever and valid. This is certainly not the first paracord watch strap that I’ve seen, but it is the first commercial version that I know of. However, the bracelet itself was too bulky and stiff for my small (7.5 inch) wrists. Over time and with wear the paracord bracelet did soften up and after soaking it in water a few times (suggested by the owner of weBBem) it got a lot better. Even still it was just too chunky for me.
The Strap Maketh the Watch
I used two small Husky screwdrivers to unscrew the solid lug bars and removed the paracord bracelet. After removing it I discovered that I liked the look of the classic cushion case even more. I was also able to appreciate the simplicity of the watch face or dial design even more. Here’s what the Traveler looks like without a strap.
I used one of my old spare Nato nylon watch straps, which are very comfortable to wear, and put it on the Traveler. To my surprise the result was a very different looking watch. With a Nato strap the watch took on a much more low profile feel and sat better on my wrist. I shared this feedback with the owner of weBBem watches. I was concerned that he would be disappointed that the paracord bracelet didn’t work for me, but instead he decided to begin offering the weBBem watches with the option of a Nato strap.
Conclusion and 20% Off Offer
I’ve been wearing my weBBem Traveler for the past few months and sharing sneak peeks on social media. A lot of you who follow my Instagram account or Facebook page will have seen a photo here and there. I know that many of you expressed an interest in getting one of these watches. If that’s you then you may want to snag one quickly. weBBem has a Thanksgiving sale on now through the weekend offering 20% off their already incredibly low prices.
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Hard to Beat
For the price and specs I think the weBBem Traveler is hard to beat. It’s a well built, solid watch with good looks and a very clear face. Heck the sapphire crystal alone sets it apart from is competitors. Check out the weBBem watch website and stay tuned for a giveaway in the next few days :)