There was a point in my life where I didn’t care much what time it was and being on time for an appointment or late by a few minutes didn’t matter much. Then came the Army and a couple decades of police work and fatherhood, etc. Time matters. Being on time matters. Having a device on your wrist that keeps accurate time and will take all the abuse you throw at it matters. At several trade shows I’d seen the MTM (Multi-Time-Machine) watch booth, and the watches looked cool but I’d never had the opportunity to test one out. I’ve had that opportunity now and am suitably impressed. Here’s why.
First off you need to understand that while watches are designed these days to perform a great many functions, to me they – first and foremost – must keep accurate time. How accurate? Well, the more accurate they are the better, but truth be told most of us can live quite easily with a watch that is off as much as a minute per month. While that sounds like a lot to many watch enthusiasts, it’s realistic. Reality is also that modern quality watches usually have no trouble keeping time within a few seconds each month – or even each year. So, how do you measure the watch’s accuracy?
When I first received it for testing, I made sure it was charged (more about that in a minute). Then I got online to The Official U.S. Time Clock website. I selected my time zone, and the website provides the current correct time to within 1/10th of one second. I set the watch to that time when I got it more than a month ago. As I prepared to write this review after all the other testing was done (detailed momentarily) I checked the watch’s time against that website time. The watch was off less than a second as far as I could tell. Just prior to publishing this I checked again and it’s still within one second of The Official U.S. Time Clock. That’s accurate enough for me.
Now let’s talk about some of the down and dirty design features of the Black Falcon. First off, it ain’t little. I mean, this is a pretty big watch. The case size is 42mm not including the crown and it’s 13mm thick. I don’t have delicate wrists and this watch is almost as long top to bottom – pin to pin – as my is wide. Weighing in at 3.5 ounces it isn’t particularly light either – I mean, that’s almost a quarter pound – for a watch! It is listed as water resistant to 330 feet or 100 meters (however you prefer to say it) although I didn’t test it to that depth. The “glass” of the watch is listed as tempered scratch resistant crystal (and everything I put it through didn’t scratch it). There is a unidirectional ratcheting bezel that has large numbers marked for 15, 30, 45 and 60 minute time passage. I consider it more than suitable for diving. The watch was delivered on a nylon strap in a watertight box with its recharger stand. Let me talk about that for a minute.
Because of the other features of this watch – which we’ll discuss momentarily – it is impractical to have to replace the battery in this watch. It is FAR more practical to have to recharge it. That presents a challenge. I mean, think about it. How do you charge your digital camera? You plug it in. That port in the camera prevents it from being watertight. If you bypass that challenge by putting in a rechargeable battery pack that you have to take out to recharge you solve the problem, BUT… how practical is that in something the size of a watch? I don’t know about you all but I’m not comfortable taking apart my watch every 30 to 90 days to charge it and then count on my own abilities to get it back together watertight.
The MTM solution is rather revolutionary: the watch is charged electromagnetically by placing it on top of the charging stand which does plug in. I like that a WHOLE lot better than having to plug in the watch or recharge a battery pack or – as is the case with some watches – returning it to a service center for a battery replacement. Can you imagine doing that quarterly? Me neither.
Now, why would this watch need to be recharged so frequently? Probably because of the nine LED lights mounted in the face. Six of them are hidden behind / under the markers at 12, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10. These specific-shade-of-blue LEDs illuminate the watch face and hands so that you can see the time in low / no light conditions. The blue light is also the exact proper color to best recharge the luminosity of the hands and numbers. The other three LEDs are white and mounted in a triangular fashion on the face at the 12, 4 and 8. With a second push of the light button (which is locked by a small screw down sleeve to keep you from pushing it accidentally) these three white LEDs illuminate for 20 seconds. The light they produce is enough to read a document by or to navigate by in low / no light conditions. Remember this: Those lights are also bright enough to be targeted on a dark night and a good sniper can probably range you and fire on you in 20 seconds – especially with today’s technology. Always remember your light discipline.
As a final point about the design features, the watch is available in a brushed steel or black finish on a steel band, a rubber wrist strap, or a ballistic nylon band (the one I got for testing).
So, now that we’ve covered all the design features and I’ve pre-tested that it keeps time, let’s look at how well it kept time while I tried to break it (within reason). When I spoke to the rep at MTM about these watches he related to me a story about someone who had taken the watch off the band and used it as a hockey puck. I’m not a big fan of hockey, don’t have a rink handy, don’t own a stick and can’t imagine I’d have a hope of slapping the watch hard enough to go any distance. So instead, I did what any good redneck would do.
I was feeling abusive, so I tied it to the bumper of my Jeep Cherokee and drove down my gravel street with it back and forth three times. That’s a 1/4 mile drive each way for about 3/4 of a mile of dragging on gravel, being bounced along. My average speed was about 15 MPH because the road simply doesn’t support going any faster than that. The watch still worked when I was done. It was kind of dirty though, so I rinsed it off and took a look. A few minor scratches in the case were there but the glass was still scratch free. What next?
Taking my fishing pole and the watch I headed down to our local beach (on the Chesapeake Bay), tied the watch strap to the line (making sure it was very secure because I didn’t want to gift the bay with the watch) and then proceeded to cast and reel in the watch 25 times. With no floater on the line the watch was dragging the bottom each time I reeled it in, being dragged through the sand and whatever refuse was on the bottom including some gravel and shells (of course). It survived. No issues.
Hmmm… for a lack of anything better to do I tied and taped it around one of my dog’s tennis balls that we play fetch with and threw the ball a couple dozen times for him to bring back. Admittedly it was only in the yard, but I managed to hit a tree a few times and the dog unceremoniously dropped the ball on the concrete at my feet each time he brought it back. Thoroughly saturated with dog spit and dirt from the yard, the watch still worked. I took it off the ball, rinsed it off and took it inside to check the time against The Official U.S. Time Clock. Yep, it was still less than one second off. The next time I go to the range I think I’m going to mount it on a target and shoot it with some 8-shot from 7 and 15 yards. If I do, I’ll keep you advised.
Needless to say, I’m suitably impressed with this time piece. Sure, if it’s on a soldier’s or cop’s wrist it might get shot or blown up, but short of that I can’t imagine what it’s going to go through that would be more abusive than that which I put it through. So, I can recommend this watch. MSRP is $835 but I bet if you search around you can find one for a tad less.
For more info about the company or any of their line of watches check them out online at www.specialopswatch.com.