History is a treasure trove. And the farther back that a legend took place or lived, the longer the shadow it casts. And to understand this upcoming release from Cincinnati Watch Company, you’ll need to be familiar with a name: Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.
Twice, in the years 458 and 439 BCE, this former consul was elevated to the position of dictator in the fledgling Roman Republic. And in each case, immediately after dealing with the crises that prompted his rise, he relinquished control of the government and returned the reins to the Senate.
This resolve and civic integrity echoed down the ages, mirrored by the victories of George Washington and his refusal of monarchical powers. And if you haven’t guessed, this is where the city of Cincinnati draws its name.
What does this have to do with a watch? The eponymous hometown watchmakers are clearly fans of history. Cincinnati Watch Co.’s latest timepiece, “a rugged outdoors watch inspired by the watches worn by members of the military while serving in the field,” draws on the Roman penchant for lengthy titles. Its full name is (deep breath):
The Cincinnati Watch Company Cincinnatus Centurion Black Field Watch ($450). And that’s the last time I’m going to type it all out.
There’s a charity tie-in here, as well, that honors the actual profession of Cincinnatus — farming and feeding. But I’ll come back to that. For now, here’s a rundown of my test loaner from Cincinnati Watch Co.
In short: Do you like field watches? Do you have $450 burning a hole in your toga? Then stop reading this review and go preorder the Cincinnatus Centurion. With its solid movement, excellent sizing, and absolutely gorgeous design, this timepiece is a history-lover’s dream. Our tester may have run a bit fast, but even so, there’s nothing about this watch we don’t like.
Cincinnatus Centurion Field Watch
- Case size 40 mm (48 mm lug-to-lug)
- Case thickness 11.9 mm
- Case material 316L stainless steel w/sapphire display caseback
- Water resistance 100 m (10 ATM)
- Crystal Double-domed sapphire with inner AR coating
- Lume C3 Luminova
- Movement 26-jewel Swiss Sellita SW200-1 b Elabore grade movement
- Power reserve 41 hrs.
- Included strap 20mm “Military Style” nylon strap with “Cincinnatus” engraved on the buckle
- Excellent craftsmanship
- Historical tie-ins, and an outstanding and beautiful design
- Long name
- Limited time preorder discount
Cincinnatus Centurion Field Watch Review
Let’s get the gushing out of the way: I completely adore this dial. It looks like a piece of ancient Roman or Greek pottery, with the textured black beneath the stately bronze of the minute/24-hour ring.
The theme continues in the hands, which range from sword to dagger to a lume-tipped spear. And that touch of red on the seconds? Perfection.
Even the applied indices have this lovely, gilt-edged feel, providing a depth and texture that’s truly eye-catching. The Centurion is also available with a burgundy dial, though the black seems like a natural fit for the overall aesthetic.
Coming back to the lume, the Centurion’s ration of C3 Luminova is spartan, but adequate. Everything looks a bit dull compared to the ProTek from my previous review, but I had no trouble reading the hands and indices at any point overnight.
The case offers a nice mix of brushed and polished steel. The unsigned, screw-down crown is functional, and the overall sizing is a perfect middle ground for most wrists.
And take a look at the sapphire case back, showcasing the Sellita SW200 movement — what a treat, even if it’s often hidden by the strap.
Speaking of which, the included nylon is a touch thicker than the other NATOs in my collection, such as the SB Strap from another Cincinnati company. It’s functional, however, and the heavy-duty feel of its fabric goes perfectly with the military theme.
There was a prickly stitch or two on the wrist-facing surface. But this is common on most such straps, and a quick hit with a file knocked them down.
The signed buckle is also particularly neat. The makers sent along a canvas strap, as well, which proved to be a comfortable option.
Chinks in the Armor
Ready for the complaints? All right, but blink and you’ll miss ‘em.
According to the maker’s website, each Centurion is “regulated in 5 positions by our in-house watchmaker.” A report of this process is then printed out and shipped to the customer along with the timepiece.
This is an excellent bit of added service, demonstrating Cincinnati’s pride in its work.
But, as much as it pains me to say, my tester runs a little fast. Over nearly a week of constant wear, I averaged about +7 seconds per day.
Now, this isn’t the end of the world. As I’ve said previously, I’d much rather have a movement run fast, since it’s easy enough to pop out the crown and wait a few seconds to get things back into sync. And in fairness to the makers, they did state that the tester wouldn’t be coming with the aforementioned report, as the watchmaker was out of town on the day we set up this review.
Still, +7 isn’t all that bad, and your experience will likely ring closer to true.
Honestly, my biggest complaint has to do with typing “Cincinnati Cincinnatus Centurion” again and again. But seriously, I get it. And while the name is certainly a mouthful, it looks pretty nice when split between the 12 and 6-o’clock positions on the dial.
Cincinnatus Field Watch Conclusion
Hot damn, 2023 is shaping up to be interesting. First the Spinnaker Piccard, then the ProTek 3000 Field, and now the Cincinnatus Centurion — each of these weighs in around $500, and all have their own charm. But if I had $450 lying around and needed to choose between the three, this would be my pick of the litter.
Speaking of which, the Cincinnatus Centurion’s preorder sale ends on February 15! After that, buyers will be looking at $550 retail. But even at half a grand, I still think this is an excellent watch. It’s the best-looking piece in the company’s small but attractive catalog, positively bursting at the seams with personality and genuine retro-cool. As mentioned above, the design draws on ancient artistic themes, without feeling heavy-handed or intentionally dated.
But in the grand scheme of things, waxing poetic about expensive wristwatches is a luxury. Now, as in ancient times, there are those who can’t afford it eat. But this particular timepiece, like its namesake, is doing something to help. Per the company’s website, “In the spirit of civic duty, a portion of every sale feeds Cincinnati residents in need. Learn more about Cincinnatus, how Cincinnati was named, and the Freestore Foodbank.”
As thoughtful in its design as it is toward its community. That’s a good look, fellow countrymen.