Torgoen is best known for its Swiss made pilot's watches, but every so often they branch out and release something more terrestrial. Their latest is the T7T Scorpion Tactical Watch. Based on the T07 E6B Flight Computer. It shares the earlier model's case, rotating internal bezel, and Swiss quartz movement, but modifies its appearance and some of its functions to create a sharp looking military themed piece that is big, bad, and menacingly black. The company says they designed it "for special ops forces and hardcore extreme sports enthusiasts" and describe it as "strong enough for the battlefield yet stylish enough for a cocktail party", conjuring images of James Bond, Ethan Hunt, and (with enough cocktails) Sterling Archer.
Of course, The Time Bum was not about to test this thing in a gunfight on the roof of a speeding train. My "tactical" activities are more like sizing up the shortest line at the grocery store. Still, I dig the military/tactical aesthetic, and they did say it was suitable for cocktails, so I pulled on my tactical turtleneck*, mixed a Martini (shaken, not stirred), and opened the box from Torgoen.
The watch arrives in a black watertight carrying case with a pressure release knob. I have no use for display boxes, so I appreciate it when the packaging enhances the experience of getting your watch, and I award extra bonus points it is something useful. Torgoen has nailed it. Once you unsnap the latches and raise the lid, you will find the watch nestled in the cut foam liner, flanked by its manual, spring bar tool, and rubber and canvas straps. It is an impressive presentation, and it would take little to turn the box into a handy travel case for a few watches. Well done, Torgoen. Well done.
This is a large watch, measuring 43.7mm wide, 52mm long, and 14mm thick. Hex screws decorate the four corners and appear to be drilled through the angular lugs, but don't try to remove them as they are strictly for show. Standard 24mm spring pins do the job. A fixed bezel with engraved compass markings surrounds a flat sapphire crystal. The whole thing is blacked out with an anti-reflective PVD plating. The black case on the T7T is a vast improvement over its companion. I've always felt the T07's two-tone was a bit fussy. In contrast, the T7T's flat black is downright sinister.
As you might have gathered from its dimensions, wrist presence is not a problem. It is a big watch by any standard, but I still managed to pull it off on my 6.5" wrist; a feat aided by the case's slight curvature and angled lugs. Three crowns protrude from its flat sides and interestingly, all three have different textures: the top is knurled with and operates the internal bezel, the center has widely spaced channels and sets the primary time and date, and the third is gear toothed and sets the second time zone. None screws down, but that should not be necessary for 100 meters of water resistance.
Three versions are available, all with black dials and cases, but distinguished by the color of their straps, hour markers, and accents: the T7TA is olive/white/orange, the T7TB is black/white/white, and the T7TC provided for this review is tan/tan/black. All three are attractive, but I'm a sucker for vintage lume, and I like the way the unpainted bezel on the T7T maintains the monolithic look of the case and lets the internal, 60-minute bezel take the stage.
Perhaps my favorite element on the watch is the two-layer dial with its thick rectangular hour markers and the oversize 12/3/9 cut away to reveal the khaki tan SuperLuminova beneath. I love the sandwich dial on this watch because it adds dimension and the stencil cut numbers underscore the military theme. The Swiss Ronda 6203B movement beneath is a 5 jewel, gold plated quartz with a large 12 o'clock date display at the top of the dial and a 12-hour dial for a second time zone at the bottom. The big numbers balance the complications although the date nearly eliminates the 12. I generally don't like complications that intrude on the numbers, but it works here, showing just enough of the 12 to maintain design continuity. Luminous sword hands on both time zones cap it off in an appropriately martial fashion.
I wish the designers had stopped here, but they also squeezed in a military time index - barely, and not entirely successfully. The 24 at the top has been awkwardly bumped out of place by the date, and the 12-hour register leaves no room for the lower three markers. What is left is only marginally useful. The numbers are small enough that their presence doesn't detract, but they are entirely unnecessary, and the dial would have been a happier place without them. That quibble aside, the dial is highly legible in daylight and thanks to a generous application of SuperLuminova, at night as well.
Strap swappers will rejoice when they see that Torgoen has provided three attachment options. The first is a solid link, engineer style bracelet with a signed, push-button release clasp, and fitted end links. It is a quality piece that looks the business and provides a wide range of adjustment to suit almost any wrist. Look carefully before you try to press those pins free. I discovered they are a smaller gauge than those in my link remover. [Update: I recently had the chance to chat with my watchmaker about how he sized this bracelet. He informed me that the T7T uses a pin and collar system that is incredibly tight. Removing them involved bent tools, broken pins, liberal application of oil, and many choice words not suitable for a family blog. Unless you relish a challenge, it is best to take this bracelet to the pros.]
The second option is a leather-backed canvas strap. The T7TC comes in khaki tan with black leather keepers and a signed black buckle. The color compliments the vintage lume and is a good option for summer. Although the kit comes with spring pins and a removal tool, the canvas strap has integrated quick release pins for easy replacement.
The third option is a black synthetic rubber strap, textured in a diamond pattern that mirrors the knurling on the first crown. I found it to be far more comfortable than most poly straps I have encountered. Its weatherproof properties make it an excellent choice when your special operations turn wet or muddy. The tail bears the Torgoen name in raised tan letters. This much branding might be over the top for some, but it looks good on the strap. Like the others, the buckle is signed.
All said and done, I enjoyed the T7TC. I won't use it to battle terrorists while dangling from a helicopter (and I suspect you won't either) but I appreciate its bold looks, solid specs, and well-considered accessories. The Scorpion Tactical Series sells for $730 on the Torgoen site, and they just happen to be running a 20% sale on that model this month. Just use code JULY20.
Pro: Aggressive appearance
Con: A tad busy. Sizing the bracelet is job for experts.
Sum: A fun timepiece with a nice selection of extras. The Time Bum approves.
* I'm not saying I invented the turtleneck, but I was the first person to recognize its potential as a tactical garment. The tactical turtleneck. The... tactleneck! - Sterling Archer