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Vaer A5 Review

Vaer aims to create the ultimate field watch

Many brands become so good at what they do and offer that they rise to become household names and end up holding unique places in our hearts. One such brand that comes to mind is Leatherman. They are well known for their multitools, and even though there are better multitools out there, they are considered the standard by many. During my time in the US Army, I carried one daily and was always happy to have it when needed. Their multitools come in many configurations and price points. This creates a low barrier to entry and allows those who use their tools to realize their value and eventually “buy up” into a higher tier if they want to.

Vaer is the Leatherman of watches. They create watches that are exceedingly good at their job. They cover the gamut of tool watches from dive to sport and beyond. Vaer often offers the same design in automatic and quartz, allowing buyers to start at a lower price point and buy up to an automatic unless they prefer quartz. In the vein of multitools (and me reminiscing of my time in the Army), their field watches stand out as some of their best value offerings. The recently launched A5 is the latest example of this and what we will look at today. 

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On the Wrist

Field watches can be big or small, but they should be comfortable on the wrist regardless of size. If one is to use a field watch for its intended purpose, the last thing you want while trekking through the wilderness is to be constantly fiddling with your watch. The A5 is one of the most comfortable field watches I’ve worn despite its marginally larger size of 40mm. The 48mm lug-to-lug feels just right, and while Vaer may have been able to get away with something a little shorter, it keeps the lugs from looking stubby.

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Another part of the A5 that makes it so comfortable is its thickness or lack thereof. At 9mm wrist-to-crystal and weighing only 86 grams, the A5 feels light and airy on the wrist. Much like the slimming effect black clothing can have, the black case makes the watch look even smaller than it is. 

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I had difficulty determining if the A5 carried a ton of wrist presence or completely blended in. The 40mm size, comprised of 34mm of dial real estate, feels like it should be big. However, the black bezel mitigates some of the larger visual effects. Even with the optical illusions being played on the wearer, there is no denying this is a supremely legible watch. You glance at the watch, and BAM! You know what time it is, and move on.

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Vaer A5 Specs

Case Width




Case Thickness


Lug Width






Water Resistance



Tropic Strap




Super-LumiNova C3


Miyota 9015



Dial Details

No frills here…or is there? Field watches tend to be utilitarian, leaving no room for style. Sans serif Arabic numerals and legible handsets are par for the course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to make it more interesting.

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The layout here is simple and not all that different from field watches you’ve seen from Hamilton, Timex, or Victorinox. However, Vaer opted for the kitchen sink when it came to numerals. The main hour track features 1-12 with 24-hour time on the inside, and hash marks with 5-minute interval numerals flank the main hour track. A syringe handset with the perfect length for each hand caps it off. I would have liked to see a Miyota 9039 (no-date) movement used so the dial was more symmetrical. The date window feels like it is floating without purpose. 

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Where Vaer elevated this simple layout is with the 1-12 numerals. The numerals look like molded blocks of lume, and I thought they were until I read the spec sheet. The lume plots have 25 layers of lume applied…25! As you can see in the photo below, the lume shines so brightly that it reflects off the inside of the crystal and illuminates the non-lumed surfaces of the hands. 

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Case & Strap

The DLC-coated case won’t offer any obvious polishing or bevels, but much like the A3 (review here), the case isn’t void of good design. The midcase is slightly rounded, which avoids any slab-sidedness and gives the effect of a slimmer case. A small polished chamfer runs the length of the case, but as I mentioned, it isn’t obvious unless the light hits it just right. The bezel sits just proud of the midcase, and a polished edge enhances this effect. 

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The lug profile is delightful to look at. Their gentle downward curve aids in wrist comfort and helps the A5 take off that 2 mm in the wrist-to-crystal measurement (compared to the case height of 11mm). A nice addition to the A5, which many field watches seem to lack, is a screwdown crown. 

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Vaer offers a plethora of straps on their website, but the one that comes with the A5 is a comfortable tropic rubber strap. I don’t mind a rubber strap on a field watch, but the tropic seems an odd choice. I’ll admit that it works well with the A5 because of the DLC case, and it gives it a tacticool vibe without going over the top. Vaer’s nylon two-piece strap would be my choice for this watch. That said, we have 20mm lugs here, so throw it on whatever you want, and it will look great.

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Final Thoughts

Elements like the subdued DLC case to the intense lume that will glow all night show that Vaer knows the target audience of this watch. If you buy this watch, you’ll find that it will quickly become a watch you only take on hikes to a watch you want to wear all the time. It has that it factor despite being such a simple design. These are the calling cards of a well-designed watch.

A Leatherman multitool is designed to be something you can take into any appropriate situation and accomplish the task at hand. These tools are damn good at their job and designed to withstand the punishment the user will throw at them. The Vaer A5 is designed for the same purpose, and it is a tool for use in rugged environments that can hold up under whatever the wearer is going to put it through. 

Check out more Vaer reviews at The Watch Clicker here

Check out the Vaer website here

More Images of the Vaer A5

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