This modern take on a classic military field watch uses premium materials including a titanium case and sapphire crystal, resulting in a lightweight yet tough timepiece that is ready for adventure. It is also equipped with a GMT function, meaning it has a useful fourth hand that can be used to track a second time zone.
Superlight titanium case
Full lume dial offers fantastic low-light legibility
GMT function can track a second time zone
Quartz movement means occasional battery changes
100m water resistance is slightly less than some rivals
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Momentum Wayfinder GMT first impressions
To borrow their own words, the Momentum Wayfinder GMT is the Canadian brand’s “premium military-inspired titanium field watch”. It’s a modern and striking-looking watch built from cutting-edge materials that reinterprets the classic field watch aesthetic for a contemporary, active outdoor user.
• List price: $235 (US) / £177 (UK)
• Dimensions: 48mm (lug to lug) x 40mm (case diameter)
• Movement: Swiss quartz, Ronda 515.24H
• Water resistance: 100m / 330ft
• Materials & features: Sapphire crystal; titanium case; screw-down titanium caseback; signed, knurled crown; choice of leather, nylon, NATO webbing or Goma rubber strap
As such, it’s tough, legible and ready for all kinds of hiking and backpacking adventure. It's also pretty good looking. The purposeful dial and matte titanium case make an attractive combination. Specs and functionality are good too – you get a Swiss-made quartz movement with a GMT function and a date window, plus a sapphire crystal and a decent 100M of water resistance.
Those are better specs than you get from many mainstream manufacturers at this price point, but then, if it’s bang for your buck that you’re after, then in many cases the new breed of independent watch “microbrands” are increasingly the best place to turn.
Momentum are one such example. They’re a relatively young watch manufacturer based out of Vancouver. And although the watches use parts sourced from across the globe – including imported Swiss and Japanese watch movements – they’re assembled in Canada.
The fact that the case and caseback are both made from titanium is a real USP, especially at this affordable price point. Titanium, as many ultralight backpackers will be aware, is far lighter than stainless steel, yet has exceptional strength-to-weight and corrosion resistance. It’s also anti-magnetic and hypoallergenic. That makes it a premium choice for most everyday carry gear, including watches. It’s impressive that a smaller watch brand has been able to utilize it at an accessible price.
The Swiss quartz movement is a Ronda caliber 515.24H, which is inexpensive but reliable. Though that may not excite watch nerds as much as a mechanical movement, it is in many ways a more practical choice for a field watch – after all, quartz movements tend to be more robust and require less (if any) servicing. The only downside is battery life – though you can still expect this watch to run for up to 45 months before the battery will need replacing.
The most unusual feature of the Momentum Wayfinder, however – and something that distinguishes it from most rival field watches – is the four-hand GMT function. As well as the conventional three-hander arrangement tracking hours, minutes and seconds, the watch has a fourth pointer hand that can be set to track a second time zone via the inner 24-hr track on the dial. It’s a “caller” or “office” GMT watch rather than being a “traveler” or “true” GMT, meaning that the GMT hand is linked to the hour hand rather than being completely independent, but it’s still a useful function. If you were on a trip or expedition in a far-flung destination, for example, you could set the hour hand to local time and the GMT hand to the time in your home country – so if you got the opportunity to use a sat phone or send emails and messages back at basecamp, you’d know precisely what the time was for the folks back home.
Momentum Wayfinder GMT on the trail
Thanks to its simple, classic case design, the Wayfinder is an ergonomic and comfortable companion on the wrist, as well as being extremely lightweight. That four o’clock crown ensures it stays out of the way and doesn’t dig into your hand, whilst being chunky enough to grip easily if you need to adjust the time or set the GMT hand and date.
The case is 40mm in diameter, with a lug-to-lug measurement of 46mm, which is slightly larger than most classic field watches. On the other hand, it’s a size that is well-suited to modern tastes, giving plenty of room to accommodate the date window and fourth GMT hand without the dial feeling cluttered. And thanks to the ultralight all-titanium build, it doesn’t feel cumbersome. All in all, it’s a nicely sized package.
The watch has a number of different strap options, and you can pick from leather, Cordura nylon, NATO webbing or rubber. You also have the choice to add an extra strap or band with your order, for an extra 30 bucks or so, depending on the material (well worth doing, in our opinion).
All the different options have their merits – the brown leather certainly looks handsome, while the NATO option plays up the traditional field watch looks while giving you a little more security on the wrist, should you manage to snap a springbar. Our top choice, however, would be the Goma rubber straps. They’re soft, supple, durable and fully waterproof, with a textured underside that stops them from getting too sweaty. They come with two strap keepers and a buckle matched to the Wayfinder’s matte titanium case. We also liked the fact that the holes are only half punched through the strap, from the reverse side, which means that you only need to make one hole, to best suit your wrist size. This makes for a very clean look. Oh, and the rubber also has an attractive vanilla scent – nice!
The Wayfinder is easy to read when you’re out and about, even at a glance. A field watch needs to prioritize instant legibility – you should be able to see the time, even from acute angles, including in low-light conditions. The Wayfinder delivers in all respects, especially when darkness descends. This watch comes in several different colorways, including black, blue and green, which feature top-grade Super-LumiNova luminous applied markers. However, our test sample was the white full lume option. This has a fully lumed dial that glows in the dark, offering fantastic contrast against the bold black numerals and handset. It’s a great choice for camping and hiking at night.
All in all, the Wayfinder GMT is a very practical watch. The basics that you need in a reliable outdoors watch are all there. You get a titanium case, sapphire crystal and a screw-down crown, which helps to ensure a water resistance of 100m or 10 ATM. That’ll be fine for surviving downpours as well as dips in mountains tarns or lakes. Okay, it doesn’t match up to some rivals, like the Citizen Promaster Titanium Tough, which boasts an impressive 300m water resistance, but it’s far superior to other vintage-styled field watches like the Hamilton Khaki Field or the Bulova Hack.
We think the Wayfinder offers good value too. For $235 / £177, you’re getting a distinctive and well-built watch with excellent specs. So, ultimately, this is a great little tough, rugged and handsome timepiece for modern adventurers.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.