Not long ago, the watch to release as a new brand was a dive watch. They were almost a sure thing when you wanted to ensure your watch would sell out or meet a funding goal. While dive watches are still immensly popular, other types of watches are creeping into that market share. Field watches, sports watches, and dress watches are slowly becoming the watch to launch when you want to stand out.
Texas-based brand, Trafford Watch Co., is launching its second watch, the Crossroads. I’ll admit that I had not heard of Trafford before the launch of this watch, but I’m happy I know about them now. They are among the brands looking to elevate themselves above the slew of dive watches with something genuinely eye-catching. One look at the Crossroads, and immediately, excitement sparks in your mind. The rectangular case shape, use of color, and attractive proportions will make the Crossroads a success. Let’s take a closer look.
On the Wrist
Rectangular or TV dial watches can be challenging to get right. When the width and length of the watch are different (i.e., not circular), care needs to be taken with the dimensions. Too narrow and long, and it will appear to be a Tank homage. Too wide, and it can be uncomfortable on the wrist. The Crossroads nailed it in the dimensions department at 36mm wide, 38mm long, 46mm lug-to-lug, and 10mm wrist-to-crystal (11mm case height). It feels like wearing a traditional round watch that is 39-40mm wide, so don’t let the 36mm width deter you.
The case is slightly curved, which helps the rectangular shape feel natural when worn. The stout lugs accomdodate 20mm straps and have a gentle curve as they angle toward the strap. They have an Art Deco look, which works perfectly with the watch’s overall look.
I won’t classify this as a dress watch. It leans more toward the sports watch category, but it has dressy vibes. This could easily be worn with a suit or formal attire and not look the slightest bit out of place. I bring that up because sports watches with dressy aspects to them can suffer from hard-to-read dials. The Crossroads can skirt around this by using white skeleton hands, contrasting beautifully against the green dial and giving the wearer all the legibility they could ever need.
Trafford Crossroads Specs
After I posted a few photos of the Crossroads on Instagram, I had people tell me they saw Farer in the design cues. Honestly, I didn’t see it until someone pointed it out, but if Trafford was using Farer to inspire their color schemes, I have to tip my hat to them. It is not easy to combine various colors on a watch dial and make it work, and green, orange, red, and white can quickly go awry if wielded by an unskilled hand. The bottom line is that the Crossroads’ color sceheme is just plain fun, and it brings in many colors without feeling overwhelming or loud, precisely what you want in a watch like this.
The green sunburst dial flares to life in almost any type of light but can dip into a deep hunter green when it is dark. As I mentioned above, the skeleton hands are entirely white, making them easy to see at any time. They extend enough to the Arabic numerals, so there isn’t confusion about which hand is which. You’ll be in for a pleasant surprise when the lume glows; the hands look downright awesome with the numerals as a backdrop.
The chapter ring is black with white and orange hashes, and it ties in with the orange accents on the rest of the dial and further elevates the use of color. There is a subtle stepdown from the numerals where the branding text is, which adds a little more dimension to the already deep dial. If I had to change one thing on the dial, I would reduce the curve of Trafford slightly so that it matches the curve of the top of the case. A little nitpicky, but it would be one of those design elements that make you go “wow” when you see it.
Case & Strap
The case of the Crossroads is a masterclass in simple yet effective design. The case shape is softened by gentle curves, reducing the harsh geometric look some rectangular watches can have. This extends beyond the face of the watch as the entire case carries these curves. The length of the case has a curve, the crystal is curved, and the only flat thing on the entire watch is the caseback.
My favorite element on the case is the crown and how it integrates with the case. The crown is thin and wide, which provides excellent grip while staying away from your wrist when you bend it. It is easy to wind when popped out (this is a push/pull crown). Trafford added a small cutout on the case around the crown, giving the wearer a more manageable time popping the crown out. The cutout goes up and around the case, so when you need to pull the crown, your fingernail can gain purchase to grab onto.
The strap is full-grain Italian leather, and while I believe a few people had worn my review sample before it made its way to me, it looked brand new and was nicely broken in. For those that care about such things, it has quick-release spring bars and a 20mm lug width, so everyone should have plenty of straps to throw on this watch. The buckle has the Trafford logo in red engraved into it and provides a nice branded touch.
We don’t review a lot of Kickstarter watches on this site, and we didn’t in the past because so many were derivitive. That is starting to change as watch buyers are more discerning and don’t want another homage to a Submariner.
I was scrolling through stories on Instagram when I first saw the Crossroads. I skipped past it and immediately scrolled back because, in that split-second glance, it sucked me in. That isn’t easy to do, and this is one watch I’m happy I could get my hands on to review. It is a superb design, and after I got to know Nathan (the owner of Trafford), I knew it was also made by a remarkable person. Don’t sleep on this watch, or Trafford, because they will be one to watch.
Check out more sports watch reviews at The Watch Clicker here
Check out the Trafford Kickstarter here