Reviewing a Watch That's Classier Than It's $25 Price Tag[I like to review truly inexpensive watches, too. Therefore, I'm reprinting this review that I wrote for Yahoo Contributors Network.]
On a recent watch watching expedition, I was appalled by the high prices of many name brand watches from companies like Citizen, Seiko, and Bulova. Most models were in the $200 to $500 price range. That's a lot of money. In my household, the opportunity cost of a wristwatch in that price range is a new laptop computer foregone. Even my perennial favorite brand, Relic, mostly offered watches that hovered around $100. Those kinds of prices drive me back to being a Kmart shopper. Kmart may not have blue light specials any more, but they do have much better prices. They offered a whole slew of men's watches in the $20 to $25 price range. The one I found is a Thre3 brand men's sport watch from U.S. Polo Association in a rich rose gold tone.
This Thre3 watch looks a little classier than its $24.99 price tag. It has a 12-millimeter thick base metal case with a rose gold tone atop an etched stainless steel caseback. The 48-millimeter diameter case features a black dial with a smooth central disc surrounded by a cross-hatched pattern beneath the time markers. The watch is supremely readable thanks to a large face and bold white and gold edged numerals at the 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock positions. Bold gold-edged hashmarks are placed at the remaining hours. The hands are thick and white with a gold edge. Surprising for a watch in this price range, the numbers, hashmarks, and hands have a generous amount of luminous white paint that glows in the dark for a time after being exposed to light. The numbers are done in a font that reminds me of the the numbers on NASCAR racecars. But, this brand is inspired by another kind of horsepower: polo ponies. Thre3 is actually a licensed trademark of the U.S. Polo Association. The brand has a small logo consisting of crossed polo mallets beneath a laurel leaf ringed shield with a polo pony on it. It looks classy and is repeated in a larger form on the etched caseback.
Like all $25 watches, there are compromises. Even though the watch has a rose gold tone to it and gold edged hands, there is no actual gold in the watch. It's not a shocking compromise. This watch is made by Accutime Watch Corporation, a company that provides low cost quartz watches to many retailers. The rubber watch strap is a little stiff when compared to the silicone bands used on many other inexpensive bands. It has a masculine cross-hatched pattern as well. There is no date or day function. This Thre3 watch is strictly about telling time. Finally, as on many cheap watches, you have to be a little careful pushing in the crown after setting the time. If you are careless, the minute hand may drift by a minute or two when you push in the crown. The quartz movement itself is Japanese.
The U.S. Polo Association's Thre3 brand creates another classy looking watch at an affordable Kmart price point.
While this watch won't serve as a secret handshake that will let you rub elbows with the rich and powerful, it does perform well. In a week of wear, this Thre3 men's sport watch has kept accurate time and blends in perfectly at my business casual office. It's a great watch for telling time quickly at a glance. Overall, I recommend this Thre3 brand watch as an attractive and inexpensive alternative to overpriced quartz watches. It looks good and keeps time. You can't ask for much more.