If you have to keep track of time, do it in style.

The fundamental concept that time is the one commodity we all share is strikingly profound. There are few other ideas that connect everyone so deeply.

None of us knows how much time we have, but it is the most precious gift we are given. Marking the passing of time can be as simple as a glance at your wristwatch, but this act pays homage to the journey we call “life.”

Over the years, we’ve crafted a number of increasingly complex devices to reflect the passing of sand though the hourglass, but somewhere along this progression, there was a golden age, when simplicity was key—when function was fashion.

It’s here that Bertucci Watches stakes its claim with fine examples such as the A-2S Pantera Six, A-3P Sportsman Vintage Field and A-5S Ballistic Illuminated models.

Powerful Origins

Field watches are based in simplicity. They’re low-profile, rugged, simple devices that evolved from military service dating back to World War I. Called “trench watches,” these wrist-worn variants marked the transition from the pocket watch and were crucial for coordinating timed maneuvers. Accordingly, they had to be durable and accurate.

Luminosity was also crucial in low-light scenarios. These timepieces were even referenced in Knowledge for War: Every Officer’s Handbook for the Front, a 1916 guide that pointed out the importance of timing in charges and artillery strikes. The result was a simplistic, nearly infallible timepiece that was accurate and could be seen in the dark without supplemental light.

The Field Watch Evolved

The tradition of the great field watch has been continued by Bertucci, which engineers and assembles its products in the U.S.A. In fact, Bertucci even features modern stories of its watches in service on its website. One, in particular, told of a U.S. Navy SEAL whose wrist and hand were saved from a bullet by the quality materials used to create Bertucci’s products.

I received three models for test and evaluation that represented a range of price points and features. Each one held true to the high standards espoused by the company.

A-3P Sportsman Vintage Field

The A-3P Sportsman Vintage Field watch is classic Americana distilled into a field watch at a price that won’t break the bank. The piece is rugged, with a fiber-reinforced, polycarbonate case that’s also very light. At 42mm, it’s a good, medium size and is easily readable without appearing too large on smaller wrists. The case is black, as is the watch’s face. The hours (12- and 24-hour formats) and hands are white, with green-tinted triangles at each hour. The hands and markers are treated with Swiss Super Luminous material (“lume”) that glows in dark environments.

Bertucci has patented the ergonomic offset of the crown at the 4:00 position. This means that at severe angles, the hand won’t have the crown jamming into it as it would were it located at the traditional 3:00 position. The hardened mineral crystal is impact and scratch resistant, and the movement is Japanese quartz.

The band I received with this watch was a green, B-type, heavy-duty webbing (22mm wide) that featured reinforced stitching and stainless steel hardware in the three-ring fashion. I’ve used NATO-type nylon straps before, and some stayed wet for hours after a shower. The band included with this watch dried out quickly. The A-3P field watch is a great value.

The A3-P has a four-year battery life, is water resistant to 100 meters and comes with a three-year warranty.

During testing, I appreciated how light and comfortable this watch was. Despite this, it told the time accurately and was easy to read because of the high-contrast white numbers and hands on the black watch face. The lume was great when exposed to ambient light, but I couldn’t count on it to tell the time if I woke up in the middle of the night.

(Note: I saw a liquid-filled compass attached to a watch band on Bertucci’s social media page and requested one for testing. It fit the band of the A3-P perfectly and was a great addition that provided additional navigational information to this watch. Plus, it added to the overall field watch esthetic.)

A-2S Pantera Six

Next in the lineup is the A-2S Pantera Six—a combination of classic elements, including notables from yesteryear, such as stainless steel and leather. Although nylon straps are pretty common in the field watch category, this throwback harnesses the original strap material but punches it up to modern standards.

The A-2S has a 40mm stainless steel case that’s marginally weightier than the A-3P. Nevertheless, the flat, brushed, matte finish is gorgeous, especially when paired with the “Ironstone brown” leather strap. This watch is reminiscent of what you’d see a pilot wear on a bombing mission in a B-25 Mitchell.

The A-2S features a Swiss quartz movement and is tucked under a hardened mineral crystal. It comes with a three-year warranty, and the battery life is three and three-quarter years. It’s water resistant to 100 meters.

With a black watch face and white numbers, hands and triangles, viewing the time on this high-contrast piece only takes a glance. Once again, the Swiss Super Luminous material was used to highlight the hands and markers. These areas absorb ambient light and hold the glow for some time.

The leather band of this watch is simply … cool. I’ve had leather watchbands before that I’d never trusted to a shower or a swim. This would never work on a field watch, and Bertucci knew it. This comfortable band was designed to be waterproof and includes tan stitching that holds the jacquard webbing lining underneath.

Despite multiple soakings, the band didn’t stretch or shrink. I also liked the three-ring-style hardware with the roller on the main buckle to aid in finding just the right fit. This is a classy timepiece that’s built with quality materials and styling cues that’ll remind you of an oft-forgotten era.

A-5S Ballista Illuminated

The A-5S Ballista grabbed my attention immediately because of its all-black features, white hands and markers. It whispered “tactical” to my sensibilities. The Ballista is aptly named, because it’s likely one of the more-feature-rich and tougher models Bertucci offers.

At 45mm, its black, stainless steel case is bigger than the others, but the 26mm band slightly offsets the appearance. The case and all other stainless hardware are coated with “Ion” (or PVD) for a nonreflective, black surface.

Unlike the first two Bertucci models, the A-5S has removable band lug bars. This enables the user to install traditional bands or still use the nylon variant so popular with this style of watch.

The high-contrast, black watch face with white markers and hands has wonderful visibility—even to aging eyes. The movement is Swiss and includes a “low battery” alert for the lithium battery, which is expected to run for 10 years. This model also comes with a date indicator. The workings are all covered by a scratch-resistant, hardened sapphire crystal.

The A-5S is water resistant up to 200 meters and comes with a three-year warranty.

Luminosity is taken to another level with this watch, because the Ballista comes with Swiss tritium installed. That’s right—the same material that’s used in night sights highlights critical markers on this timepiece. This means it doesn’t require an external light source to charge; it consistently glows on its own.

Notably, the hands and hour markers glow green, although the 12-/24-hour marker is orange for quick orientation. These tiny, gas-filled tubes are supposed to keep emitting light for 25 years. No matter how dark things are when you wake up, this watch’ll let you know what time it is without you having to press a button or get a glow-up from another source.

Testing this watch was a treat! The A-5S appeals as the final evolutionary step of all the important things a field watch could have hoped to be: It’s nearly bombproof; its battery lasts for a decade; it has Swiss accuracy; it tells the date; and no amount of darkness can prevent you from telling the time accurately.

Trench warfare is long gone, but the qualities that made a good field watch back then still hold true. The A-5S embodies them all, and I could easily imagine it being used by armed forces in various arenas of combat to this day. Thankfully, you can also buy into this quality to go fly fishing, mountaineering, SCUBA diving or … sipping lattés at your local coffee shop.

An Array of Quality Choices

The field watch reminds us of when tactical and strategic decisions were made and executed according to timed plans. Lives hung in the balance, so accuracy and durability were extremely important. Later, when fashion moved forward, and wars weren’t being fought, cheap, disposable options for look-alike items became the norm.

Bertucci’s products hearken back to a time when quality was still important. With the A-3P, you can inexpensively buy into the romance of the field watch. It’s built of quality materials, so you can experience the spirit of an accurate and durable timekeeper that’ll provide years of durable service.

The A-2S is like a time machine—transporting you back 80 years every time you glance at your wrist. However, it still provides accurate timing with a comfortable and classic look.

For those seeking a higher standard, the A-5S modernizes the whole idea of the field watch with advanced movement, durability and luminosity.

All in all, you won’t go wrong with any of these three Bertucci field watches.

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