Although many people have gotten into the habit of reaching into their pocket to see what time it is, the wristwatch overtook the pocket watch the first time around for a reason: you don’t need any hands to see the time. This is especially useful when you’re traveling: carrying bags, handing over ID and a boarding pass, dealing with a hotel room key and a wandering kid at the same time.
I’ve got all kinds of hi-tech watches that do everything but brush my teeth, but when I know I’m crossing time zones, I leave all them at home and go for a reliable analog watch that’s easy. I don’t want to have to carry an instruction manual along to reset the time. But I also want it to be rugged enough to hold up to adventure activities and the occasional rain shower.
This Vortech travel watch from Momentum fits the bill. On top of all those other attributes, it looks fancy enough to be your business meeting watch as well.
The Vortech does a lot of cool things without being in your face about it. There’s a second time zone hand in yellow you can set to keep track of the kids’ bedtime at home. It’s got a small, unobtrusive second hand on a small inner dial. The alarm is a faint red hand you barely see except when you need to and one red button turns it on or off with two beeps or one. The white hands and numbers absorb enough light to stay bright all night long—handy when you get woken up and need to know what time it is without fumbling around. (Whatever they’ve put on there to keep shining all night is called “Super Luminova.” Sounds like a good band name. Or a Mexican wrestler.)
The water resistance is on par with a diver’s watch. It’s rated to go down to 100 meters, so I think it can handle your beach romp or mountain hike. The crown actually screws back into the case after you’ve set the watch to ensure no water gets in.
This is a high-quality titanium case watch with a “virtually scratch-proof” face, so it ain’t cheap. Momentum is a brand of the St. Moritz Swiss watch company, so you can expect fine craftsmanship in a watch built to last. With the black leather and rubber band, the Vortech lists for a non-Timex price of $285. One with a metal band is more. It comes with a two-year warranty, which you can extend by having a servicing after two years. (Hey, you’ll be near-due for a new battery anyway.)
The Momentum Vortech is lighter than it looks, about half the weight of some sports watches I’ve reviewed. My only complaint is the volume of the alarm. It’s billed as a “loud wake-up alarm” in the description, but like most watch alarms with no real speaker, it shouldn’t be relied on to wake you for an early flight unless you’re a light sleeper in a very quiet room. (In my tests I dozed through it twice.)