Following hot on the heels of our review of the Rogue Warrior Avenger, let us introduce the Red Cell. Named after the unofficial title of Richard Marcinko‘s Navy security team, the Red Cell combines some interesting technology with a rough-and-tumble case and crystal guard.
Rogue Warrior is a new brand making hardcore watches for people who expect their watch to make it through just about anything. Rogue Warrior’s tag line reads “When bad-ass is not bad ass enough.” Is this simply marketing fluff, or is this a watch that sets a new standard in resilience?
Let’s start with the specs:
- Stainless steel case.
- Japanese quartz movement with GMT hand.
- 44mm wide.
- 4mm anti-glare sapphire crystal.
- Superluminova and Kryptolite illumination system.
- Krypton gas filled case.
- d3o shock absorbing system.
- 3-year battery.
- 20 ATM water resistance (200m/660ft).
The first thing that stands out about the Red Cell is its styling which is polarizing at best. It’s definitely not a beautiful watch as the designers seemed to have made concessions in the aesthetics in attempt to make the watch as functional and resilient as possible.
The dial design is highly functional with both the standard hands and the GMT hand easily legible at a glance. The chapter ring and the GMT hand work together to keep track of a user defined timezone, and the hand is manipulated on the first pull position of the nicely knurled screw down crown.
The luminosity of the paint on the dial is excellent; Rogue Warrior uses Superluminova paint on the markers, numbers, and hands combined with Krypton gas which fills the case. The combination is called Kryptolite and allows the material to glow brightly and charge quickly. While it does work as well as the best Superluminova implementations I have seen, it does not seem to last as long as examples like the Seiko Monster — a reasonable tradeoff, in my opinion. The Krypton gas in the case also works to prevent condensation from forming after drastic temperature or humidity changes.
The case is a stark combination of hard edges and those less-than-attractive crystal guards. When the overal goals of this watch are considered, picking on its looks begins to feel like comparing a tank to an italian sports car: they weren’t designed with the same purpose (or buyers) in mind.
The case is very well finished for a watch at this price point. The edges are crisp, the sapphire crystal fits flush to the bezel, and the short strong lugs will suit a number of different strap options. The Red Cell certainly is heavy, but not in a cumbersome way, never feeling more weighty than most dive watches. Our test model was fitted to a digital camo leather strap, but the Red Cell can be optioned with a bracelet. The back of the case shows a gun and the acronym “W.G.M.A.T.A.T.S”. To find out what that stands for, visit the FAQ section of Rogue Warrior’s website.
The Red Cell definitely feels like it can take a beating, and if you happened to have read our review of the Rogue Warrior Avenger you will recall the incident that combined the Avenger with a tile floor from a considerable height. No serious damage, and the base functions of the watch were still perfectly intact. The Red Cell features d3o shock absorbing material that uses “intelligent molecules” to lock together and absorb the shock placed against the movement. The end result is a watch specifically designed to deal with the stresses of an active/dangerous lifestyle. Think: a tank for your wrist.
The Red Cell is available directly from the Rogue Warrior website and buyers can choose from a series of strap options. The Red Cell starts at $400, and given the market for tough military style watches and the technology seen in the Red Cell, that seems like a fair price. So whether you are a rogue warrior or just a weekend warrior, the Red Cell will likely keep ticking regardless of what you throw at it.
We would like to thank Rogue Warrior for providing a review sample.
By James Stacey