Trintec ZULU COM-01
Have you been looking for a new watch? Waffling between diver or pilot watch? The Trintec ZULU COM-01 is the best of both worlds, combining a pilot-style dial and hands with a timing bezel in a rugged, no-nonsense chunky diver-style case. This ZULU watch is also 200m water-resistant with a screw-down crown and follows a similar design language to other ZULU watches from Trintec. I have reviewed a few of them over the years, and the ZULU 07 Pro was one of the first, which I cannot believe was 6 years ago now. As you can see looking at that model, the dial layout, the markers, numerals, and hands are identical. They both utilize a combination of black PVD and blasted stainless steel case, and things like the black lug screws are still present as well. There are a few differences though, most notable the size and case shape. This new model is much more wearable for me at 42mm and the case shape is more to my liking as well. Another thing I noticed is that Trintec has switched to branding these as ZULU, even though they are still listed for sale on the Trintec website and not a separate brand. I’m not sure of the reasoning for that, maybe they have a plan to separate them at some point, as when you do take a look at the website, there are a lot of ZULU models now available.
Trintec ZULU COM-01 Specifications:
- Solid 316L Stainless Steel Case and Bezel with Sandblasted Finish
- Solid Wrist pins with real screws
- Screw-Down Case back
- 120 Click unidirectional racket-style bezel
- Japan Luminova on dial and hands
- Water Resistant to 200m
- 42mm Case
- 43mm Bezel Diameter
- Lug Width 22mm
- Lug to Lug 54mm
- Thickness 15mm
- Weight 120 Grams
- Seiko NH35
- Sapphire Crystal
Back to the branding, looking at the website more, I can see they are doing some new things at Trintec and some watches are being rebranded, and the ZULU Instruments series does have its own menu tab. As I said though, all will have the same dial layout and because of that, even though there are GMT and chronograph versions of this watch and others in the ZULU series, they all start to look extremely similar. This is either very good because it is similar design language in the series, but on the other hand, with the dials all basically being the same, will you get repeat customers wanting to buy multiple ZULU watches? I don’t know the answer to that, I just wanted to address it. Sure, there are people that will want to have everyone in the series, but those collectors are few and far between. As far as this COM-1 model, this is the blasted/PVD version, and also available is an all-black PVD, and then you have a GMT version and a chronograph, both being quartz as opposed to this NH35 automatic model. That is how they keep all of them at the same price of $495.
On to this specific Trintec ZULU COM-01, and since it is very similar to others I have reviewed, I will not go over the entire design again as to not be repetitive, but I do want to talk about this case. Out of all the other Trintec pieces or ZULU pieces that I have reviewed, this case design is probably my favorite. The Co-Pilot was a more traditional round case, but the long lugs kept it from being comfortable. The 07 Pro was just too large and funky for my taste, though I can see the appeal. This new model has the right combination of round and square case, and even though it does have long lugs as the others, the point down instead of straight out, and at least on my 7 1/2 inch wrist, it is very comfortable. Much like the previous models, the bezel is extremely easy to grip and rotate and something that I do not think is mentioned often with these watches is just how white the white paint and lume paint is. I wanted to point this out, because not only is it a great stark contrast against the black dial and bezel, but of course allows for extreme visibility to read time at a glance. Something important I want to note here though is on my example the bezel markers do not align perfectly with the minute/hour marks on the dial. It is off every so slightly, no matter how I play with the bezel. Those familiar with some lower-end Seiko Prospex will feel the pain.
Speaking of Seiko, the ZULU COM-01 uses the Seiko NH35 movement. Trintec does not shy away from using Japanese movements, and in fact, when you take a look at most of their lineup, they seem to use whatever movement they can to fit the design but also keep the watches affordable. I have talked ad nauseam about the NH35 movement and I still get flack sometimes from a few who think I rag on the movement, rather than the movement being used in watches at a price point where it doesn’t belong. I also like to make jokes about the movement, as it really has become the go-to movement for countless microbrands these days, so much so that our Youtube subscribers like to poke fun as well, hoping I don’t say the watch is an NH35, as I believe there were 5 straight reviews last year where all the watches used this movement. I will keep this simple. It is not a bad movement, it works as intended, but it is cheap, and at $500, this watch is at the max price that I feel this movement should be used. Anything over this price, and I expect something better. On a positive note, we do not have to see the movement, as Trintec knows this a tool watch and an exhibition case back would be pointless.
Overall, these ZULU Instruments watch from Trintec are much like the others, though this one is a little more affordable than the previous automatic models but retains the same hard use look and feel. These watches all have that tough as nails appearance, utilize screw-down crowns, and are no muss, no fuss watches. The silicone strap is still present here and is the first thing I would change. I hate silicone, always will, and prefer natural rubber. You can see in the photo gallery below in some of the pics just how dirty these straps can get, and this is just from being photographed in my studio. But straps are easy to change, so no big deal. The lume is still fantastic, as you can see below. These are good, solid watches, and even though all have the same design language, I do think they have that rugged aesthetic and are attractive in their own right. These days, they are probably not my style as I seem to be gravitating towards smaller watches, but I still think these are the best of the series so far. If only I can convince them to move that damn date placement.