Cincinnati Watch Co. Cincinnatus Field

Review and photos by Mike Razak

Let us start at the end. The Cincinnati Watch Co. Cincinnatus Field is an absolute steal at the preorder price of $239 ($299 retail, though they'll likely sell out before then). A final batch of 50 pieces is available as of 9:00 P.M. last night and I know for a fact that at least six of those have already sold (I had to update that number twice while writing). The Cincinnatus is what I would call a gentleman’s field watch, and I'll get into why below. The dial has a wonderful texture and great design, and the finishing is tops. It wants for a larger crown but doesn’t suffer for the one it’s got.  This watch is just more proof that you don’t need to break the bank to have a great timepiece. If that wasn’t enough, owner Rick Bell is once again donating a portion of proceeds to a local charity in Cincinnati, this time Freestore Foodbank. If you aren’t yet convinced, feel free to read.

The Cincinnatus (named for the Roman statesman for which the American city was named) clocks in at 39mm and just 12.4mm thick. For a 39mm watch, that may seem to be on the wrong side of thick, but it’s not something I noticed at all, despite worrying that I would; the watch sits well on the wrist. The entirety of the midcase features a brushed finish with exceptionally crisp edges (on par with higher-end watches). Outside of the dial texture, the 20mm lugs are my favorite feature of the watch. They slope down towards their sides as they curve toward the wrist, and instead of an abrupt corner at their ends, they feature a gentle curve down and around to the caseback.

The fixed bezel is polished on its slope and brushed on its narrow top, providing some contrast in the case, which I always tend towards. Both the lugs and the polished bezel give the watch that gentlemanly feel I mentioned up top. The screwdown crown at 3 o’clock allows for 100m water resistance and is standard fair, with the CWC logo etched in. It could stand to be a millimeter or so larger, nor do I think that change would have disrupted the aesthetics of the watch. As it is, it meets the minimum requirements for functionality and shouldn’t cause significant frustration except for those with the very stubbiest of fingers.

Time to dial in on that dial. Texture! Texture! Read all about it!

Ok. I'm done. While I’m always a fan of applied indices and such, this watch doesn’t need them as it has plenty of vivid depth just from the sandy texture of it’s matte black dial. The dial is at once distinguished and rugged, again lending credence to the idea of the gentleman’s field watch. At the periphery is a golden minute track with a large triangle at 12 and smaller ones at each other hour. Just inside those markers are the 24-hour numbers. Moving in are Arabic numerals, with enlarged numbers at the cardinal hours. Take a close look—real close—and you’ll see that each number is outlined in gold. A great touch! The open 9 and open 6, too, are inexplicably cool—maybe it’s the nonchalance and carefree spirit that an unclosed number conveys. In the northern hemisphere is the brand in a sans serif font, while the southern features the model name in a serif font; it’s a contrast I rather like as it allows the brand name to remain consistent across watches, while adding specific fonts for each model.

The gold sword-style hands are perfectly sized. The minute body extends to the minut track with its pointer extending to the tracks far edge; the hour tip extends just to the widest portion of the minute hand. The seconds hand features a lumed tip and a red pointer beyond that, also reaching the outer edge of the minute track. The primary numerals and the hands all feature BGW9 Super-LumiNova. As I’ve mentioned before, while evenness is a factor, it’s the least important factor so long as all the lumed portions shine brightly enough. As such, the watch just squeaks by in this segment: the lume is uneven between the hands and the numerals, and while plenty bright on the hands, is only just adequate on the numerals. 

The entire dial on the Cincinnatus is well-proportioned, legible, and enjoyable every time you glance at it. So much so that you’ll likely be looking more often at the dial itself than the time. And did you see how it pops when the sun hits it? Oh boy. 

Flipping the watch right on over, you’re greeted with the brilliant gold of the gilt automatic Seiko NH71A. This is a rare movement, even in its non-gilt form (NH70). A close look reveals that the movement is actually skeletonized (or what passes for skeltonized at Seiko). This isn’t part of the appeal of the movement in this watch, as you look straight into the back of the dial. Rather, the choice of this movement allowed for quality and prettiness, with a non-date, hacking, handwinding, and 24 jewels. And GOLD! This movement will be just as robust as your NH35, so buy with confidence. Plus Rick regulates everything to make sure they are within spec. Surrounding the sapphire display is the steel ring of the screwdown caseback, which is adorned with all your fun details, plus the full name of that old Roman statesman: Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. Say that three times fast.

At 20mm, these lugs have no issue with strap swaps, and the entire watch handles them well. The watch comes standard on a throwaway black NATO—there are better NATO straps out there and if that’s your jam, you should get one. Additionally, the watch comes with a 2-piece canvas strap. I would’ve preferred a bit more supple material and a taper, but the strap pairs nicely with the watch and doesn’t take long to break in. Further, it comes affixed with a killer branded buckle. As you can see, this watch can handle a variety of colors and the textured dial allows it to match up with textured straps quite nicely.

Have you heard enough? Did you like my dial jokes? What about all the pretty pictures? Isn’t the watch nice? Or did you get fixated on that crown thing? Are your fingers really that stubby? They probably aren’t. Do you even have a gentleman’s field watch in you collection? You probably didn’t even know that style existed. But here we are, at the end of the review, and the watch is just $239. Your call.

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