Minuteman Watches is a micro brand from the small town of Chenoa, Illinois. As their name implies, they are passionate about military style watches. Their latest release is the Independence, an affordable Swiss quartz tool watch, assembled in America.
The watch was designed by Chris Wiegand of Lum-Tec Watches and will be assembled in Mentor, Ohio by Weigand Custom Watches. It is rated for 100m water resistance and will have a barrel shaped, stainless steel case, just 40mm wide. This is good news for those of us who have been pining for a greater variety of mid-sized watches. While it may be modest in diameter, I suspect the case will exhibit strong wrist presence due to its oblong proportions and thick, integrated lugs. Buyers may choose between brushed or black PVD finishes. The crystal is sapphire with an inner anti-reflective coating.
The dial is conservative and straightforward with dual square markers, numerals at 12/6/9, and broad baton hands, treated with a luminant material. Minuteman does not say what compound they are using, but Weigand's watches are famous for their lume so I would expect something rather impressive in this department. The brand name is printed in white at the top of the dial while the Minuteman logo is in black-on-black down below. I have seen this phantom technique employed before and it works very well, especially with logos that may otherwise be large or busy. A white on black date at 3 o'clock rounds it out.
Inside the Independence is a Swiss made Ronda 515 quartz, a sturdy workhorse movement that should serve well in the field. Minuteman backs it up with a 5-year limited warranty and free lifetime battery replacement.
The Independence will retail for $309 but pre-orders are open now at the discounted price of $250 in steel and $275 in black The price is made all the more appealing by Minuteman's commitment to veterans' charities. From the very beginning, they have donated part of their proceeds to a worthy cause. This year, 25 percent of the profit will go to the Fisher House Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides housing near military and VA medical centers for the families of injured servicemen and women.
Expected delivery is early December 2016 - in time for Christmas if all goes according to plan. For more information or to order your own, go to MinutemanWatches.com.