Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A Week that Turned into a Month that Turned into...

This review started out pretty much the same as all the rest. Watch arrives, I wear it for a week, sometimes two and write it up.  That is how it usually happens.

Courtesy of Hager
As it turned out, this was not a usual review.  This was the Hager GMT Traveler.

More than a few months ago, I received the Hager GMT Traveler for review.  And the first week went very well.  So well, in fact, that I asked if it might be possible to extend for a little while longer.  And that seemed to be okay as well.  But as I have literally moved across the country, and the seasons have changed three times (although if this is spring in the Metro Boston Area, I am playing this season under protest), it is time to wrap this up.

Salem, MA April 5, 2016
So let's get down to it!

For those of you who don't know, Hager is a brand based in Hagerstown, Maryland.  They have been steadily building a loyal fan base that is now starting to blossom into a full-fledged brand that has become a darling of the Maryland area.  The premise is pretty straight forward - a good looking watch, assembled to last, and offered at a fair price.

So let's talk about the watch -

The watch that was sent to me is the GMT Traveler. The basics are:

42 mm DLC treated stainless steel case.  Screw down case back and crown, also DLC treated.  Stainless steel bracelet with push button clasp also DLC treated.

The finish on the case is outstanding.  Yes, I said outstanding.  All too often brands tend to go cheap on the quality control for case finishing in terms of treatments, but not so in this case.  

What is interesting to me was that Hager opted to treat the case back as well as the watch case and bracelet.  Not everyone would opt for this, it was a nice touch.

The bracelet fits smoothly on the wrist and owing to the link design does not pinch or tug.

It is rated as being water resistant to 200 meters or 660 feet.  While I did not go that far into the briny deep, I can say that it held up well to swimming in Santa Barbara.  I feel confident that owing to the attention to detail given the rest of the watch that at 200 meters the Hager GMT Traveler's "insides" will be safe and dry.

The bezel is ratcheting and bi-directional with a very satisfying click.  The bezel insert is blue ceramic and marked with 24 hour indications to accommodate the GMT hand with the numbers alternating with indices.  The GMT hand is easily adjusted by the crown in the "date set" (second) position.  The black GMT hand is tipped with a lume filled arrow that is outlined in red to provide even better legibility.

The dial is clear and legible, with a triangle at 12 o'clock, dots at 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11 with bars at 3, 6 and 9 o'clock.  The lume is good.  While I have seen some dive watch dials that are brighter, I have also seen more that are much worse.  On the lume score, Hager is ahead of the curve.

The watch has been incredibly comfortable to wear over this extended review, and owing to the sane case size of 42 mm it is very versatile and not outlandishly big on the wrist.

The timekeeping has been first rate with an average deviation of a little over 9 seconds per day during the initial one week test.  

The movement is ETA's 2836.  It has performed flawlessly and has been a real joy.  The setting and winding action has been smooth and consistent, with no "hinkiness".

So let's cut to the chase - should you buy this watch?

HELL (insert more extreme expletive here)ing yes!

At a retail price of $800 you are getting a fantastic watch for the money.  And although I have heard others describe it as a "dress diver", this is no "show pony".  It is ready to stand up to what you dish out.

Here are the pertinents -


Caliber: HGR 60 automatic movement (based on the ETA 2836 caliber) 

Functions: Quick correction of day and date, hours, minutes and seconds, second hand reset, date display at 4:30H and an adjustable 24 hour GMT hand that clicks positively while setting the time

Total Diameter: 11.5 linge (25.6mm)

Height: 5.67mm

Jewels: 26 Jewels

Power Reserve: 40 Hours

Beat Rate: 4Hz/28'800 vibrations per hour /Novodiac Shock Absorber

Accuracy: -5/+30 seconds per day

Technical Specifications

Material: 316L Marine grade stainless steel or Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) coated

Diameter: 42mm without crown

Height: 14.5 with solid back

Length: 50mm lug to lug

Lug Width: 22mm

Finish: Brushed with polished sides and beveled edges

Water Resistance: 200m/660ft

Case Back: Solid steel screwed

Crystal: Domed, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment inside

Dial: Double flange with applied luminous indexes
Bezel: 24 click graduated bi-directional black ceramic luminous bezel
Hands: Black outlined sword hands and GMT 24 hour hand with lumed with blue
Crown: Screw-down signed with company logo
Bracelet: Stainless Steel with brushed and polished links and two button clasp
Packaging Case: Delivered with a special customized scuba tank watch box

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