Today we bring you something completely different. Ingersoll Watches was founded in 1892, having one of the first American watch factories with an automated production system (accredited to Henry Ford, no less). Their pocket watches were carried by presidents, and the dials of many Ingersoll watches were at one time adorned with Mickey Mouse. In the late 1980’s the Ingersoll brand was purchased by Zeon Ltd and since then has strived to make affordable timepieces with classic american styling. Although its heart may be chinese, the Buffalo III we will be looking at in this review is frozen in time, like wearing a pocket watch on your wrist.
- 47 x 15mm stainless steel case (without crown)
- 21 mm lugs
- 30m WR
- Caliber 635 Chinese 35 jewel automatic movement
- Date, day, 24hr, day/night, month
- Leather streap with butterfly release
- Front mineral crystal
- Glass display back
The Buffalo III is very large, so wide in fact that you don’t notice the 15.5mm height. Its cathedral hands, script numerals and large onion crown all seem to have been lifted from a time capsule. The only modern style on the Buffalo III is the red second and small register hands and the very large case. At 47mm across (without the crown) this makes my 7.5 inch wrist look like a tooth pick (see the embedded video). I am not sure the exact specifics of the movement but it has a signed rotor and is marked as being made in China. China produces a lot of movements and can keep the cost low enough that watches like the Buffalo III are not only possible to make, but for most anyone to purchase. Its a complicated movement with 35 jewels and enough engineering to allow for time, day, date, 24hr, day/night, and month. The Caliber 635 (as it is branded for Ingersoll) keeps reasonable time, left crown up the Buffalo III ran 15-25 seconds fast per day. Its a new watch so the movement should settle over time. The numerals and main hands are lumed and glow reasonably well given their size and that this is a casual watch (see photos and video). The dial is a pleasant semi-reflective steel grey/black, similar to ruthenium. The crown, given its size is simple to use and has proper weight in its action. The top pusher advances the month register (located at 12 o’clock) and the lower pusher advances the day register at nine o’clock. The six o’clock register is both a day/night indicator and a 24hr measure. All of these complications are very cool and give the watch a chronograph appeal, I personally would love to see a Buffalo model with a slightly smaller crown and a single small-second register as opposed to the three seen on the Buffalo III.
The date window is something of a problem, the date wheel is too far below the aperture, making the date very difficult to read when the watch isn’t square with your eyeline. With the exception of the date window, I really like the dial, its very legible and as you will see in the video, beautifully printed. The Buffalo III is a great example of the Ingersoll style, it’s of a modern size, comes on a very nice leather strap with a classy butterfly deployment, yet it doesn’t forget its roots. Incorporating a traditional hand set, vintage font, and an oversized aviators crown it is hard to mistake it for anything else. The Ingersoll IN 1616 BK retails for $250 USD at many online retailers. For that money you get a unique and vintage inspired automatic, just make sure you have the wrist real estate to make it a home.
We would like to thank Ingersoll Watches for providing a sample for this review.
By James Stacey