Traska Summiteer

You know what I like the most about 60's vintage watches? The proportions. Sure, there were some bruisers back then too, but by and large, the style was slimmer, more compact, and for a smaller wristed fellow like me, better suited to daily wear than many modern pieces. When I pick up a new "vintage-inspired" watch, this is what I am looking for. Many watches convincingly mimic a vintage look, but few really "get" the vintage feel. The Traska Summiteer has got it. The watch has yet to be released, but if you want a sneak peek, head down to District Time by NTH Watches this weekend and check it out. 

Traska Summiteer Charcoal Black
As you might have guessed from the name, the Summiteer draws its inspiration from the original  Rolex Explorer (let's just leave the Rolex/Smiths Mt. Everest controversy out of it for now) while adopting a sleeker interpretation of the iconic 3/6/9 dial; most notably in long and thin hour markers and the numbers' geometric typeface (Futura, perhaps?). These elements are printed in bright BGW9 lume. A recessed center lends the matte dial some dimension. Polished and lumed MilSub sword hands and a spear-tipped second hand (red on this charcoal black version) finish it off. It is a clean, practical layout, and while the watch's inspiration is unmistakable, no one would ever mistake it for an homage. 

Traska Summiteer Charcoal Black

Lovely as the dial may be, I'd say the real action is in the case design. It is 38mm wide, and that alone sets it apart from the crowd. Mid-sized watches are growing in popularity, but it is still uncommon to find a 38mm microbrand. Better still, it is just 10mm thick, which is crazy thin for a 100m automatic watch. Slim, polished edges on the bezel and along the upper edge of the case enliven the otherwise businesslike brushing on its surface, dressing it up enough to pair with a suit. This is handy considering how handsome it looks and how easily it slides under a shirt cuff. A slight downturn to the lugs makes it all the more comfortable. The finishing is impeccable and Traska ensures that it will stay that way with a proprietary anti-scratch coating. They did the same on the earlier Freediver model that I own. I am not terribly hard on my watches but they do pick up the odd scratches and scuffs - but not the Traska. So far, that one is unscathed so I can only assume the coating works as advertised.

Traska Summiteer Charcoal Black wrist

The crown is coin-edged, signed, and screws down. I am pleased to see that Traska kept its proportions in check, eschewing the common fat cylinder and opting instead for a broad, flat shape that better suits the case. After all, the Summiteer is a field watch, not a diver. 
Traska Summiteer Charcoal Black case back

As if this were not enough, Traska outfits the watch with one of the best bracelets I've tried in recent memory. The slim H-links taper from 20mm to 16mm. The low-profile, push-button clasp is signed, decorated with perlage inside, and accented with polished chamfers. Four micro-adjustments ensure a proper fit. Traska says they based it on traditional Gay Frères models, and I absolutely see it. The watch and bracelet fairly melt against your wrist. If you decide you are not the bracelet type or if you just want to try a different band, drilled lugs make the swap easy. 

Traska Summiteer Charcoal Black

Sapphire crystals front and rear provide protection and a view of the Miyota 9039 inside. This movement goes far to make the Summiteer the svelte beauty that it is. Part of the familiar 9xxx family, the 9039 spec sheet reads much like the more common 9015, retaining the 24 jewels, 28.8k bph, and 42-hour power reserve while shedding the date complication and few precious fractions of a millimeter in both thickness and hand height. Those tiny reductions make a huge difference. You just could not make this watch with a different movement. A fatter, 9015 equipped Summiteer would still be a nice watch, but it would lose the proportions that make it so delightful. 

The Summiteer will launch on Kickstarter on October 22. Variants include Midnight Blue and an intriguing Sage Green in addition to the Charcoal Black pictured here. List price is $500 but early birds will be able to get on board for $400. If the Explorer type of field watch appeals to you (and why wouldn't it?) I recommend you give the Summiteer a serious look. Traska has cooked up a good one. 

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