When Michael Bertucci left Timex to form his own eponymous brand, he had a goal in-mind: to build a micro-brand into a thriving American watch company. With Bertucci, he has done just that and much more, creating a watch company based on a combination of inherent values. Bertucci now holds multiple patents and offers hundreds of designs sold worldwide.
What brought Bertucci to where it is today is a clearly defined ethos to offer the ultimate field watch that almost anyone could afford. These two guidelines; functional field watch design and accessible pricing (mostly under $500), continue to drive each new design.
Working from the inside-out, the heart of the Bertucci Retroform is the robust and accurate Ameriquartz cal. 7321 all-metal and jeweled quartz movement – in this case a custom designed variation specifically designed for Bertucci by FTS USA as the cal. 7320-B version.
Bertucci’s customization? Michael wanted a movement without a date or the “ghost click” crown position common to no-date conversions. Accurate to a few seconds per month, the American-built movement’s center-seconds hand precisely strikes each hashmark on the dial as it tracks time. Held in-place with a custom designed movement holder, the D-3T also benefits from improved shock resistance.
Above the movement, the no-nonsense matte finished black and white dial is easy to reference and shows both 12- and 24-hour timescales, with Swiss lume on triangle markers above each numeral. Hovering over the dial are Luminous syringe style hour and minute hands, with an extended-tip arrow design for the center-seconds. Over all is a domed sapphire crystal that seamlessly melds into the bezel-less case body.
The D-3T features a 42mm by 12.5mm (add 2mm for the pass-through NATO strap) solid titanium case, is rated to 20atm water resistance and incorporates the patented Unibody lug system.
Those unfamiliar with the Unibody design will appreciate the simplicity and ruggedness of the integrated lugs. Unlike the typical spring-bar or screwed-lug strap retention systems on most watches, the Unibody features solid fixed bars for the strap to pass through – effectively eliminating the possibility of a spring bar failure causing your watch to fall of your wrist.
While the titanium case exudes a retro feel, the flowing design without steps, crevices, sharp edges, or harsh angles calls to mind a rounded pebble shaped by years of wear in a running stream. There is no bezel, no boxed crystal, no chamfered lugs, nor any other interference in the flow of this organic design. Even the shoulders around the 4 o’clock crown merge seamlessly into the lines of the matte-finished case.
On the Wrist
Lightweight and comfortable on the wrist, the Retroform can be held in place with a huge variety of strap options that are easily threaded through the Unibody case. Those unfamiliar with Bertucci watches should know that Bertucci (the man) is fanatical with regard to the quality of his straps – regardless of which materials are being used. You will be hard-pressed to find anything better in the field watch category.
My own experience on test-driving the DT3 left me impressed with the lightweight comfort on the wrist, ease of reading the time, and security and comfort of the NATO strap I used during my review. I wore the watch biking, hiking, bowhunting, skating, playing with the dog, doing yardwork, and generally anytime I was dressed informally and appreciated the fact that I was wearing a watch designed in the United States for actual use and abuse.
If there is any caveat to the new Retroform Epic it may be that the matte finish titanium case is not impervious to the signs of use over time. That said, this is a watch that’s meant to be exposed to the elements. If a few scars are picked up along the way, chalk it up to experience and call it “customization.” Retail price is $345 at www.ultimatefieldwatch.com