Swiss Military Tank Nero
Swiss Military Tank Nero Specifications:
44mm wide stainless steel Black PVD case
22mm lug width
102 grams in weight
Ronda 517 Swiss made movement
200m water resistant
Price $438 USD
7 1/2 inch wrist for reference
Swiss Military Watches are under the umbrella of CX or Charmex Swiss Military, but is their more affordable and less feature heavy line, if you will. Many I’m sure are familiar with the CX Swiss Military 20,000 feet diver, which has attained a few world records. And while that is a beast of a dive watch with a hefty price tag, the Swiss Military Tank Nero, (Or just Tank if opting for the stainless version) is an attractive and affordable diver with a slim profile, eye catching patterned dial, and dependable quartz movement.
As I mentioned, the Nero signifies the PVD version, as their stainless models are dubbed just Tank. Both are available in a few color options, and you can choose either a mesh bracelet or canvas strap with leather backing. The canvas option that I chose for review is actually listed as ‘Tank Nero Rawhide”. It is a little strange to me that they have different names for the same model that just has different finishes or strap options, but that is what they went with.
While I know quartz can be a very bad word in the online watch community, I have no issues with a well made quartz watch. Granted, price is a factor, but when we are talking about a Swiss Made watch that is under $500, I think it is more than okay. Of course, some will disagree with me on that, and I take no offence. We all like things for different reasons, and us watch fanatics can be fickle. And of course, the microbrand watch world has spoiled many with automatic movements in watches costing $400, with sapphire crystals and lumed bezels and such.
One thing that always worries me about PVD coated cases, is if the coating will hold up. I think many times these days, especially on the forums and other watch groups, people think DLC is the only way to go when coating a case. What most don’t realize is that DLC is only a medium, and applied using the PVD process (Physical Vapor Deposition). I have seen watches listed as DLC and the coating has worn off or scratched easily within a few months, and I have had watches listed as PVD (where the medium used to coat the watch is not being stated) and it has held up perfectly even with some abuse. Like any product that can be produced these days, it is the quality of such that is important. So far the Swiss Military Tank Nero has proven to have a quality PVD coating. It has been banged into car doors and walls and even accidentally hit with my bracelet and it looks brand new. Having a company such as Swiss Military making the watch helps, as they have a standard set in place that some just do not.
Now, while I have praised many attributes of the Tank Nero, there is one thing of important note I encountered on the example I was sent for review. The second hand does not line up with every marker precisely like it should. I do not want to harp on this, but the fact is when you are producing a $438 quartz watch, the seconds hand should tick perfectly with all the markers. Have I personally seen this issue with watches costing much more than this? Yes, I have, but that doesn’t make it right either. As always, it could just be my example as well, but if this bothers you or are OCD, I would ask the company to check it before purchasing.
The entire case is brushed before the PVD coating is applied and the only polished areas would be the aluminum piece on the crown, which is anodized orange to match the color of the chapter ring. This is a nice touch and gives the watch that little extra pop of color. The crown is heavily knurled giving good traction and just like the bezel, easy to grasp and operate. Both the crown and the bezel are firm and precise, as they should be.
The center dial is textured, I want to call it a diamond or grid pattern, and if you look at the bezel, you can see this same texture is used to allow you to get a better purchase on it. Having the dial texture match the bezel is, again, very cohesive and shows that they have an eye for design, tying certain elements together. The hour and minute hand prominently overlap each other, which is usually something I am not overly fond of, but with the dial being black, they blend in to a point it is not as noticeable. I’m sure on the white dial version, this could be a point of contention for some.
The canvas strap is another aspect that I am not in love with. I was asked specifically if I would like the mesh bracelet or canvas strap option sent. Since I tend to like straps better these days, and I do own quite a few canvas straps myself that I love, I chose canvas. As far as look and build quality is concerned, there are no problems. The canvas is not super soft and should not fray easily, the contrast stitching matches the dial color, and the leather backing is soft. My issue is the strap is super stiff. Like dam stiff. I am sure after wearing for a few weeks or if I were to bend it and such, I could get it to break in, but honestly I did not feel like waiting for it. I put it on a Hirsch rubber, which is how I wore the watch during the review process. What I didn’t realize until I went to put it on, was that the same diamond pattern on the dial is also on the strap, so it looks like it came with it. So if you like the combo below, the strap is a Hirsch Accent rubber. Fantastic strap, but not cheap.
The lume is bright, especially on the hour and minute hands, (you’ll notice the second hand is not lumed), though the markers are somewhat dimmer, even after a good charge.
Overall, I am pleased with the Swiss Military Tank Nero. It has a great look to it, a slim case design, and priced under $500, so is budget friendly for most. While I didn’t mention it above, the case back is stamped and smartly they stayed away from doing a PVD finish to it, which can be marred or scratched when doing a battery change. I hope that all do not have the second hand issue I mentioned and even though the canvas strap is stiff, it does look great. And if canvas is not your thing, check it out on the mesh bracelet.
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