There is no shortage of quartz chronographs on the market. Watch enthusiasts looking for a cheaper way to get into one of the best types of tool watches have begun flocking to these watches. They are reliable, grab-and-go, and have almost none of the drawbacks (like servicing costs) of their fully mechanical counterparts. But how do you separate yourself from the pack when creating a new quartz chronograph? If there is anyone to do it and make it unique, it is Vero. Their new chronograph, the Workhorse, has the brand’s trademark spin of utility and adventure-oriented design while still looking like something you’re familiar with. Let’s see how the Workhorse measures up to the rest of the pack.
On the Wrist
If you’ve scrolled down to read the specs or knew them coming into this review, let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way. This is a big watch… on paper. The Workhorse comes in at 44.5mm wide, 49.5mm lug-to-lug, and 15.5mm thick. You’re also probably thinking that the case design looks strikingly similar to the Seiko Safarnie, and you’d be somewhat correct. The good news is that the Workhorse can pull off the same thing that the Seiko Safarnie does; it wears extremely well.
The case is chunky without being cumbersome and the lug-to-lug is almost a complete nonfactor because of the lug design. The circular case almost shrouds the lugs completely and you barely notice they are there. If this watch had a traditional lug design, it would have been huge on the wrist. Vero knew what they were doing and executed it perfectly.
There is no better place to talk about the crown and button layout than here. The layout of the Workhorse has been rotated 180 degrees from a traditional chronograph layout to allow for easier on-wrist operation. The run/stop button (color coordinated to the chronograph hand) is at the 8 o’clock position allowing the wearer to actuate it with a thumb. The same goes for the crown for the dive-time bezel. The crown at 2 o’clock can be unscrewed easily, set, and screwed back in. While wearing the Workhorse over the couple weeks I had it for review, I quickly became adjusted to the layout and I’m now wondering if this is the way I want all my chronographs.
Although the dial colors of each variation of the Workhorse, named Canyon (tan) and Backcountry (green), are mostly the same, there are some variations between the two. The Canyon has a two-tone orange ring in between the internal bezel and the main dial. It reminds me of the border of some hiking maps I have and conveys the adventurous spirit Vero is going for. The chronograph hands are also different between the two, with the Canyon having a more saturated orange.
If you’ve read any of my quartz chronograph reviews before you’ll know how much I loathe the Seiko VK movement with the absolutely useless 24-hour subdial. My prayers have been answered by Vero as they are using the Miyota 6S21 which features a running seconds subdial and a 1-hour totalizer. Thank you, Vero. You also still get mechanical feedback from the pushers and a semi-smooth sweep on the seconds hand like a Seiko mecaquartz.
The main dial is 3dimensional and has hills and valleys (I think Vero would like me naming them this). It adds a lot of depth to the dial, and they really pop out when the shadows highlight the difference in height between them. The elements on the dial all coordinate and contrast with each other in their own way. The chrono, running seconds, and totalizer hands are all tapered while the hour and minute hands are batons. Contrast these with the circular subdials and minute marks on the outside of the dial and everything plays perfectly together. This is a prime example of how to properly execute a complex dial.
Case & Strap
When I first saw the renders of the Workhorse, I thought this was a stainless steel watch encased in a plastic shroud, a la a Seiko Safarnie. However, the Workhorse has a cerakote case. This is a stainless steel case with a ceramic-based coating which gives it its color and matte finish. While plastic watches may be all the rage, this certainly isn’t plastic. With that said, the pushers are plastic, but they feel solid when being pushed.
Vero is going for a versatile watch built for outdoor use. Everything from the case design to the included strap factors into this usage. They also added rubberized bullhorns to provide some protection against bumps while being worn. I have no idea if bullhorns actually do anything to protect the watch, but hey, it can’t hurt.
120 meters of water resistance is something you don’t see too often; most brands opt to test for 100 or 150 meters. The Workhorse falls in the middle thanks to the dual screwdown crowns. Each crown is 8.5mm in diameter, which lends itself well to using them while the watch is on the wrist. There is plenty to grab on to.
The included strap is a pass-through nylon Velcro® strap and further plays into the adventure aesthetic the Workhorse is going for. I’m not a huge fan of Velcro straps as I find them to be bulky while being worn. With that said, this is an objectively good strap. The fabric is soft enough to feel nice against the wrist but has all the reinforcement you would want for it to stand up against some abuse. The other benefit of a Velcro strap like this is the infinite adjustability. If your wrist swells or shrinks, it is really easy to quickly adjust the strap without taking the watch off.
Vero has always been making tool watches so while this is a different design than other watches they have released, they are no stranger to this type of watch. It is also the second watch since their soft relaunch and it gives a clear picture of where they are going. Vero is looking to make purpose-built tool watches inspired by adventure and the places around where Vero is located (Pacific Northwest, USA). While this watch might not be everyone’s cup of tea, we need more brands to take this approach to crafting their watches. It’s a fun watch and affordable enough that it could easily fall into the daily beater category for a lot of people. What’s better than that?
Check out more Vero reviews at The Watch Clicker
Check out the Vero website
Vero Workhorse Specs