Meet the Bertucci DX3 Field watch, a basic companion with a single outdoor aspiration – keeping accurate time.
Does your watch have a compass? How about a thermometer, or maybe a GPS uplink? Yeah, neither does mine. Or, at least, this one doesn’t.
Bertucci DX3 Field Review
Knowing your gear is an important part of stepping out into the wilderness. The basic model DX3 ($65 on Amazon) has a 40-mm fiber-reinforced poly-resin case. At 1.5 ounces, it feels relatively light on the wrist.
Inside sits an “all-metal” Japanese quartz movement, featuring three-year battery life. Additional steel can be found on the crown, case back, and the hardware attached to the 22-mm canvas band.
Rounding out the package is a hardened mineral crystal, beneath which they’ve included 24-hour markings and “Swiss super luminous” hands.
Bertucci DX3: What You Get
Above all, a watch should tell and keep good time. In this respect, the Field performs admirably. It gained less than two seconds over its weeks of testing, which is good for a watch in this price range. A good thing, too, since setting it can be a little finicky. Pressing the crown back into place sometimes bumps the minute hand a fraction of a millimeter, moving it away from the desired marker. Folks who obsess about these sorts of details (like me) may find some frustration here.
Let’s talk about the band. Normally, I advocate for rubber or NATO straps on my field watches. This usually involves a switch to an aftermarket option. Not so with the DX3. Bertucci cuts out the middleman, shipping their watches with thick, canvas straps. It’s a little stiff at first, and there may be a gnarly spot or two you’ll need to file down, but my stock band wore in nicely after only a day or two of wear.
Should you decide to make the swap, the DX3 makes it rather simple. Since the entire case is molded from a single piece of resin, there are no spring bars to speak of. Simply pull the strap through and slip a new one into its place. Another plus with the Field is its water resistance. While you won’t be seeing the same 200-meter capability found on a stainless steel diver, Bertucci’s resin case is good for 50 meters. This is plenty for showering or light swimming, but I wouldn’t recommend prolonged submersion. While obviously you won’t be hitting 50 meters deep in casual swimming, it’s a lower pressure threshold and is more likely to leak than those rated to deeper depths.
What You Don’t Get With the Bertucci DX3
First and foremost, I miss having a date window. This was apparent after only a few hours of wear. There have been several instances in which I’ve needed to pull out my phone to determine the correct day of the month. If I’m going to do that anyway, what’s the point of having the time on my wrist? Bertucci offers a date window on several of their pricier models, and, if I had it to do again, I’d spend the extra cash.
Then there’s the lume. For those not familiar with the term, “lume” is short for “luminous compound,” a substance applied to the hands and dial of a watch. This stuff absorbs light during the day, allowing it to glow in the dark. A quick glance at the Field’s face proclaims this to be a “Swiss super luminous” watch. This is a bit of an exaggeration. True, it does emit a decent enough glow, but it fades after a relatively short amount of time. It’ll probably work for you in the darkness of your tent, but it’ll be a struggle in all but the dimmest lighting.
Bertucci DX3 Compared to Competition
The field watch arena is a competitive place. Heck, just look at Bertucci’s own website, with its multiple incarnations of the DX3. But how does it stack up against some of the other available all-stars? Take a look at the photo below.
That, my friends, is a Citizen BM8180 ($90). It’s my go-to recommendation in the realm of sub-$100 field watches. It’s got solar power, a day/date window, and 100 meters of water resistance packed into a stainless steel case. The Bertucci bests it on two fronts – the band and the price. This model generally retails for about $30 more than the basic DX3.
Then there’s the Seiko SNK809 ($69), a watch that’s been embraced by hipsters everywhere. It’s one of the cheapest mechanical timepieces you can buy, with an attractive design retailing for slightly more than the Bertucci. But where the DX3’s quartz setup keeps excellent time, my SNK809 lost an average of 30 seconds per day. That’s even more disappointing than its water resistance, which, depending on who you believe, is as low as 30 meters. Don’t be fooled by the cool kids: This Seiko is a relic from a much darker time in watchmaking.
So, where do I land on the DX3 Field? Somewhere in the middle. If you’re looking for a basic, no-frills field watch, this is a perfectly viable choice. It keeps excellent time and rides effortlessly on your wrist. I like the look, though I’d advocate for the step up to stainless steel. It’s a more polished offering than most similarly priced Timex offerings, though maybe not as bombproof as Casio’s Duro ($60) or a low-end G-SHOCK.
But so much of watch buying comes down to taste. If you like what you see here, then I wholeheartedly recommend the DX3. It’s a solid watch from an interesting brand, outclassing most of what you’ll find at your local big-box retailer. With the scope of its catalog, you’re sure to find something compelling.