The resurgence of field watches recently is proof that people still want a good looking and rugged watch. To me, that right there, is the definition of what a field watch is: something that can handle some adventure, looks great but isn’t flashy, and is made from quality materials. It sounds simple enough, but I can assure you it’s difficult to execute.
Our love affair with the field watch is a long one and anybody who attempts to bring another field watch to market is up against some stiff competition, both in the form of nostalgia from watch collectors and from the current crop of offerings from the big guys, namely the Swatch group and their Hamilton brand. You can’t mention the word field watch without a nod to the Hamilton Khaki, which is probably the standard of the day when it comes to automatic field watches.
Today, I’m looking at the third generation of the H. Goose Saluda, a swiss quartz field watch that has the specs to be compared to almost anything on the market. I’ve been wearing the watch for the better part of three months and in that time have really had a chance to get to know it and understand why it’s not only an amazing field watch, but a great watch in general!
The third generation had a lot to live up to because I’ve had the privilege of owning the preceding model for over two years….and that Saluda was also an awesome watch! A lot of credit should be given to H. Goose for updating an already solid watch and making it even better. The original Saluda was worthy of your money and the third generation is even more so.
My first generation Saluda Field Watch
A Real World Watch
H.Goose is based right here in South Carolina and not only produces this watch, but also a diver. Other products include several rugged field jackets, a really nice vintage-inspired sporting blanket and a line of beautiful canvas and leather bags. Recently, they also added some T-shirts and polos.
I’m not a South Carolina native, but I’ve lived in the Palmetto State long enough to call it home, so it’s also endearing to me that H.Goose is a local company from my home state.
It’s really a pleasure when a watch comes along that’s original and created with a purpose….two traits I can definitely appreciate. That’s where the H. Goose Saluda comes into the conversation. It takes a lot for me to really like a watch. I can appreciate almost any watch on its own merits, but that doesn’t mean I would wear it or spend money on it.
With the Saluda, not only do I appreciate the watch, I downright love it. There are a host of reasons you should buy this watch and a host of reasons why I enjoy it so much and I’m going to touch on a few of them today.
The Saluda is sized just right at 39mm and fits the writs perfectly with its slightly curved lugs. The stainless steel case has a screw-down caseback along with a screw-down crown, which is a nice upgrade over the previous model.
The handset has been changed a bit to give it a more vintage-inspired look with syringe tip markers and a contrasting, orange second hand. With the deep black dial, the hands and markings really pop when you look down at your wrist. Another nice upgrade has been the addition of a slightly domed sapphire crystal, which really gives the watch a classy look.
I think H. Goose really nailed it with the layout and dimensions. I tend to like watches in the 40-42mm range, but the way the case and glass meet, along with the deep-inset dial, the Saluda has a really nice on-wrist presence.
The watch comes on a very nice canvas strap, I can never leave the factory strap on a watch longer than five minutes, so many of my picks have the watch on a nato strap or some silicone quick release from Ritche Watch Bands…the best around if you ask me!
A Watch Worthy of Your Money
One thing the Saluda has that I really appreciate are drilled lugs. I think it’s more than just a nice feature on a watch, but a necessity on some watches – namely a diver or field watch. If you like to swap out straps on a regular basis, drilled lugs make it incredibly easy. Also, drilled lugs help drain away moisture from the spring bars and can prolong their life.
It’s crazy to think you have so much money strapped to your wrist….and that it’s basically held in place by a twenty-five cent spring.
I have only one complaint with the Saluda; I wish the lume lasted a tad bit longer. H.Goose used BG W9 Luminova on the dial and hands and it seems to have a generous helping. It charges up quickly and is bright, but it just doesn’t have the all-night length I like.
To be fair here, I don’t own and haven’t reviewed another field watch that did have all-night, outstanding lume. I guess the more refined dial layout of a field watch doesn’t lend itself to gobs and gobs of lume like a diver. The Saluda still gets good marks for the lume it does have and, in the majority of situations, you wouldn’t even care if your lume didn’t last until the wee hours of the morning.
A Traditional Field Watch
As with any watch, it’s what’s on the inside that matters. The Saluda is powered by the reliable Swiss Ronda Normtech Metal Quartz movement. It’s a tried and tested movement, dependable and can candle some abuse. It’s definitely one of the better quartz options out there and is relatively inexpensive if a replacement was ever needed. Since it’s mostly a metal built movement, most parts on it are also repairable. But again, they’re so inexpensive you could just replace it if anything ever happens.
One nice trait about the Ronda Normtech is that it’s quiet. Paired with the solid case of the Saluda, you would be hard pressed to hear the watch tick unless you put it directly up to your ear. I only mention this because so many people complain that a quartz watch is loud….but usually their only experience with quartz is a Timex.
As with many of my reviews, I like to talk about value and what you get for your money. To me, that’s one of the most important factors when buying any type of gear, the quality and value. The Saluda is a finely built watch made with quality components. The fit and finish are stellar and the watch looks good on the wrist. But, what about price?
If you look at the watch and rattle off the specs quickly, you might think this watch costs around $500. I bet you would be surprised (unless you skimmed to the bottom before reading) that the retail price is only $350! You get a lot for your money with the Saluda.
Priced Just Right
That price point also puts it in with several other competitive offerings, mainly, as mentioned above, the Hamilton Khaki Quartz. I think the Saluda outshines the Khaki on two fronts. First, the story behind the brand. At this point, Hamilton is just another mass-market produced watch. While nothing is wrong with that, and I own a few Hamilton watches, there just isn’t the same connection compared to a company that is closer to its customers. The second is originality, which is a tough nut to crack. After all, how different can a wrist watch really be?
The Saluda has its own look and, to me, that’s refreshing to see. The additional trait where the Saluda rises above the competition is with the screw-down crown: an important feature if you’re aiming to have a real world, take it to work, kind of field watch.
The term microbrand gets thrown around a lot and it’s hard to really define at what point a company surpasses the microbrand moniker and is just a manufacturer. I like to think of H.Goose as a craft watchmaker, similar to how we look at craft beer: small batches of extremely fine quality, crafted close to where you live….that to me is H. Goose.
I’ve had the chance to handle a ton of watches over the last few years because of my Instagram account, and I can tell you that all watches are not created equal. I also can tell you that the people behind a brand are more important that you would think. Harris Quinn, the man behind H. Goose is passionate about crafting useful and and quality gear and it shows in the details of the Saluda.
The H. Goose Saluda Is The Real Deal
I would like to think I’m a man of action, leading an adventurous life….whether that’s true or not is tough to say! The reality is, I am a dad of nine kids, handy with tools and like to camp and fish – so I’m far from a couch potato but not quite James Bond. What I am, however, is the perfect person to put the Saluda through its paces. I happen to be quite hard on my watches, they get banged around, scraped up and I actually wear them on a daily basis. After having the Saluda on the wrist for a few months, I can say with sincerity that it’s a ‘ready for action’ watch.