They say there are two sure things in this world, death and taxes. I’d argue that there is a third: Traska’s new watch selling out immediately. The Traska Venturer is the latest addition to their growing lineup of well-designed tool watches, and it is likely their least traditional design. That didn’t stop it from selling out at launch as it gave watch lovers something that was missing from the Traska lineup, an internal rotating bezel. The Commuter was my favorite watch from Traska, but has the slightly larger and more functional Venturer taken the crown? Let’s jump in and find out.
On the Wrist
Whatever or whomever Traska is using to decide on the proportions for their cases, it must be like my wrist. Their watches have always fit well and I’m happy to say the Venturer is no exception. The more likely reason is that they are designing their watches to a fit a certain ratio of case width to lug-to-lug to thickness. There are similarities between all the watches in their catalog and the Venturer is close to the Summiteer (review here) case. The only difference that I can notice is the additional crown at 10 o’clock. On the spec sheet, the bezel on the Venturer is taller, but it is hard to notice with the naked eye.
What is going on with the additional crown, anyway? If it controls the internal bezel, why isn’t it set up with 2 and 4 o’clock crowns like every other internal bezel watch out there? Is the Venturer trying to be an homage to the Omega Seamaster? The answer is more exciting than that and reveals Traska founder Jon Mack’s obsession with watches. The crown position is based on the JLC Master Control Geographic, the first watch Jon Mack can remember lusting over. The Geographic uses the additional crown at 10 o’clock for a subdial which operates like a GMT complication would, except that it is contained in a subdial instead of a 4th hand. Obviously that complication would be far too expensive for a smaller brand to manufacture so Traska went for the next best thing, a 12-hour bezel.
The Venturer manages to combine a tool watch and a dress watch into one with this setup. The dial layout is carried over from the Commuter, while the inner rotating bezel that surrounds the dial gives the watch a clear-cut tool watch vibe. Internal bezels don’t normally light my fire, but there is something about the understated dial layout and the thin inner bezel that help the Venturer simply look… cooler. The 10 o’clock crown also helps the watch look different than other inner-bezel watches. I’m not the biggest fan of the 10 o’clock helium escape valve on the Seamasters, but it works on the Venturer, likely because it is a much more functional crown.
I’ve already spent some time talking about the dial, but there is more to it than just a watch with an inner rotating 12-hour bezel. Traska has always done a fine job with the finishing and layout of their dials. However, the Venturer dial feels more complete than that of its smaller brother, the Commuter.
The Commuter (date version) felt a little bit off to me because of the date window placement. It seemed like it was floating out in the middle of the dial. This is what likely led to fans of Traska calling for the release of the no-date version. The Venturer does not have this problem. Not only is the date window properly placed at the very bottom of the dial, but the date complication also is far more useful on a watch meant for traveling.
The hands and markers are simple batons, but the execution of them leads to a clean dial layout that does not distract the wearer from reading the time and moving on. This simplicity is carried over to the 12-hour inner bezel with crisp numerals and marks. If you’re using the 12-hour inner bezel to track another time zone, it is quick and easy to read. As with all other Traska watches, the dial text is kept to a minimum with Traska’s branding at 12 o’clock and Automatic at 6 o’clock.
Case & Bracelet
If you’re uninitiated with Traska watches, the entire case and bracelet is treated with a proprietary hardness coating that makes them extremely scratch-resistant. I’ve reviewed every watch Traska has released and I have never had one show any scratches during the time I had them for review. This includes actually using them during the review periods where other watches may have started to show some scratches. It is impressive for the price point, although it does give the stainless steel a slightly darker hue than untreated stainless steel.
The case has a gentle turn-down at the lugs that keeps the relatively short lug-to-lug of 46mm from making the watch appear larger on the wrist. I’m a fan of short lug-to-lugs, but when they don’t feature lugs that turn-down like this, they can pop off the wrist making the watch look larger than it is.
Small chamfers outline the outside of the lugs before disappearing as they meet the bezel in the center of the case. The polished bezel helps give the case a streamlined look when combined with these chamfers. A well-sized crown with deep knurling is signed with Traska’s logo. I wouldn’t mind seeing a slightly larger crown, but it isn’t small enough to make a stink about it.
While the bracelet looks rather plain-Jane, it is a perfectly functional and comfortable Oyster-style bracelet. Each link articulates fully, allowing it to fall off the watch and drape around the wrist for maximum comfort. I would like to see Traska introduce half links on their bracelets. The clasp features 4 micro-adjust positions, but I have a hard time getting a fit that will allow me to use them fully. A half link would solve this problem as the full links are rather large.
I don’t think Traska can be called a brand that plays it safe, but I don’t think they take huge risks either. The Venturer is likely the riskiest watch they have released, yet it is another runaway success for the brand. I’m hopeful that this opens the door for Traska to get a little wild in the brainstorming room and launch more watches that come from their love of watches.
With that said, the Venturer is a downright killer watch. It is properly sized for just about any wrist and the classic looks combined with a little bit of quirk with the 10 o’clock crown make a watch that can be worn in just about any situation. In the beginning of this review, I wanted to find out if the Venturer could become my favorite watch from Traska. The answer is yes… at least until their next watch comes out.
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Traska Venturer Specs
*Height of the watch from the wrist to the top of the crystal