The young German brand will soon start selling its 2011 Bombfrog BT25 Tactic diver illuminated by long-lasting tritium tubes.
While most independent brands tend to power their timepieces with Swiss-made movements, Bombfrog decided to try a different way with its new model.
To animate their fresh BT25 Tactic diver, guys from Bombfrog used a Japanese self-winding movement built by Seiko.
It is a recently introduced Seiko NH15 that, unfortunately, won’t stun you with its specs even if you are not a true ahem connoisseur. Gaining on losing +55/-35 seconds a day respectively (as per official specs), this slow beating mechanism is not terribly accurate, and the lack of hacking seconds (when the central seconds hand immediately jumps to 12 o’clock as soon as you start setting precise time) may be a bit irritating. On the other hand, gaining more than 2 seconds per hour in the most extreme scenario, the mechanism makes the hacking second function pretty much worthless: it won’t show the correct time for more than a dozen of minutes.
I can’t say anything about its reliability yet: it’s a new movement and there is just not enough data.
The caliber is hidden inside a fairly large 44 mm x 51 mm stainless steel case.
Being almost 15 millimeters thick, the timekeeper body’s proportions look well-chosen. You probably won’t feel any sort of discomfort wearing it with most brands of casual dress.
Despite its deliberately rugged look, I must say that the case still doesn’t feel rough, it is even nice in its own kind of way.
The winding (yes, this automatic movement can be wound by hand, which is convenient if you don’t plan to wear this piece daily, but don’t have a winder) crown is long enough to be easily operated, yet short enough not to cause any sort of discomfort for those who prefer to wear their timepieces lower on their wrists. Regretfully, it is also long enough for the pair of integrated crown guards not to be able to properly do their job. If you plan to use it as a true tactical time measuring device, keep that in mind.
Dial & Legibility
Its black dial features 13 tritium tubes serving as hour indexes (the one at 12 o’clock comprises a pair of tubes) and the diver’s legibility is further increased thanks to three more tritium tubes incorporated into the hour, the minute and the second hands.
The small date aperture between 4 and 5 o’clock looks somewhat out of place here, but I can live with that.
As you can see, even without the micro-tubes the layout with its black and white color scheme is easily readable in any lighting scenario. It could have looked a bit boring, but the frog inside something that looks like an old-school hand grenade brings a nice grain of pepper making the watch not as dull.
Availability & Price
The German brand plans to start selling the BT25 Tacticin January 2011 at an affordable price of €263.00. From where I stand, the price sort of negates all negative moments of the BT25 Tactic: after all, you get yourself a fairly exclusive (I highly doubt that they will make them by millions like similarly priced products from Casio or Seiko) accessory with good design, nice ergonomics, and an adequate set of features. What more to ask?
Build quality: 4/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Bombfrog BT25 Tactic specification
Price: €263 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber Seiko NH15, Made in Japan
Number of jewels: 21 jewels
Movement frequency: 21,600 vph
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds (non-hacking), date
Power reserve: More than 40 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Dimensions: 44.00 mm x 51.00 mm
Lug width: 22 mm
Case height: 14.60 mm
Hands: Steel, luminous (tritium tubes)
Hour markers: Luminous (tritium tubes)
Water resistance: 300 meters
Strap: Textile NATO strap
Back: Bolted, engraved