After writing about watches for the past three years, I can confidently say that it is a good sign when a brand sticks to its collections and revisits them on a regular basis. It indicates that it believes in its models and vision for horology which had caught the interest of watch enthusiasts from the get-go. It also sends the signal that the people at the helm of the brand know that they can do better or that they haven’t reached that sweet spot just yet. Just like a master painter can change a painting years after having “completed” it, Traska has been tweaking its models a little bit each year.
This brings us to the brand’s 2023 Summiteer, announced a few weeks ago. This new version comes with a multitude of small changes which, put together, amount to a lot. While Traska is a brand never featured on Caliber321 before, you may have heard of it and of the Summiteer and its classic 3-6-9 dial layout. In this review, we’ll go over all of the good stuff—specifications, design, and unique features—while comparing the new model to its predecessor. Just in case you know about it and to demonstrate what it takes to make a good watch even better.
The first thing you should know about Traska as a brand is that all of its models have reasonable dimensions. The Summiteer comes in two sizes, one with a diameter of 36.5mm and one with a diameter of 38.5mm. The smaller version has a lug-to-lug of 44mm and a total thickness of 10.55mm. The larger version has a lug-to-lug of 46mm and the same thickness of 10.55mm. Both models feature a 20mm lug width and a fully-articulated bracelet that tapers from 20mm at the lugs to 16mm at the clasp. (More on the bracelet later.) 10.55mm is thin and it should be noted that the case height (sans the crystal) is a mere 8.75mm. Therefore, the watch looks and wears thin on the wrist.
Within its reasonably-sized case beats the Miyota 9039 movement which runs at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and has 42 hours of power reserve. The 9039 is known for being thin and it partially explains the slender profile of the Summiteer. Moving on to the dial, we can see a set of diamond-cut sword hands and an arrow-tip seconds hand, an ensemble that guarantees maximum legibility. The hour markers also contribute to making the dial of the Summiteer legible, as they are made of applied 3D blocks of SuperLuminova BGW9. Lastly, the center portion of the dial is sunken to add an extra layer of three-dimensionality.
If it wasn’t clear by now, the Summiteer is a field/exploration watch. As such, it has a simple and pragmatic dial design and slender proportions. It is also a robust timepiece equipped with a box-style double-domed sapphire crystal and proprietary coating applied on the entirety of the case and bracelet making both virtually impossible to scratch. Furthermore, the Summiteer comes with 100 meters of water resistance, a screw-down crown and case-back, and a bracelet with fully-articulated solid links and end-links and five holes of micro-adjustment. What’s more is that Traska opted for screws instead of pins to adjust the bracelet.
That’s a lot of great specs, ain’t it?
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
44/46mm Lug to Lug
20mm Lug Width
Screwed Crown & Case Back
100m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Box Sapphire /w AR|
/w Arrow-tipped Seconds
3D Block Lume Markers
& 3-6-9 Arabics
42-Hour Power Reserve
|Strap||Stainless Steel Bracelet|
Now that we know that the Summiteer is a robust piece of horology that comes with a suite of neat specifications, let’s discuss the improvements the brand made over the previous generation. First, the brand switched the flat sapphire crystal for a box-shaped one which helps reduce the thickness of the case and add the sought-after warmth of vintage hesalite crystals. A box-shaped sapphire crystal also adds more dimensions to the watch, something that the brand further enhanced by moving away from printed indices to three-dimensional blocky ones. Combined together, the crystal and applied indices add depth, something that was absent on the previous model.
Furthermore, Traska redesigned the case to smooth out its edges and widened the lugs to make them look sturdier and sportier. However, it contrasted these changes by fully polishing the sides of the case to accentuate its elegant profile (as well as the sides of the bracelet links). Besides the edge of the bezel being polished, the rest of the case and bracelet received a soft satin-like brushed finish. All of this makes the Summiteer an elegant yet capable adventure watch, something that you can perhaps appreciate looking at the photos, even though you have never seen a picture of the previous model before.
With all of that said, Traska does not charge an arm and a leg for the Summiteer. Either versions retail for $615USD on the bracelet, which is objectively not a high price to pay for all of the specs you get. And not only do the specs sound neat, the case profile and its finish also more than justify—at least to me—the asking price. Though, as we know, attributing value to a watch is subjective; however, we can perhaps agree that paying a certain amount of money for a certain set of specifications does indicate that one is about to get a good deal on a watch.
Although the Summiteer has a lot going for itself, it does come with one thing that I would like to see tweaked. As we know, the bracelet has fully-articulated solid links and it is protected against scratches thanks to the brand’s proprietary hardening compound. The Summiteer’s bracelet is also endowed with female end-links which guarantee a comfortable and natural fit on the wrist. How great would it be, however, if it were to come with a tool-less micro-adjustment clasp? I know, these things are popular nowadays and not all brands should use them. With that said, I feel that it would have enhanced the Summiteer’s versatility.
However, while I am saying that on-the-fly micro-adjustments would make for a great addition, I do know that it would enlarge the clasp which is a less than desirable consequence of it. A bigger clasp would therefore have been an acceptable trade-off for the additional functionality that comes with on-the-fly micro-adjustment mechanisms. Just a thought that I wanted to share here.
When I listed the changes Traska made from the previous generation Summiteer to the new one, I was conscious that it wouldn’t speak to some of you who don’t know the previous model. So you can only take the following with a grain of salt: the changes Traska made do make a world of difference. I have handled the previous generation Summiteer which was good; however a little plain to my taste. Back then, I remember secretly wishing that Traska would abandon printed markers and instead use applied ones. However I knew that fully polished applied markers wouldn’t work with a utilitarian design.
Because I’m no watch designer, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with the solution the brand developed: 3D applied blocks of intense lume. While all markers are indeed made in this fashion, the effect is the most visible when looking at the Arabic numerals in the 3, 6, and 9 positions. They truly protrude from the dial and are a sight to be seen. Anyway, I think you can feel the palpable enthusiasm I have for Traska and the Summiteer. I honestly wouldn’t be writing about it if I didn’t think that it would be good and perhaps of interest to you.
Lastly, I would like to mention that the Summiteer, along with three other models from Traska, will be available for pre-order during a 48-hour window starting today–Saturday, March 11, 2023 at 11am EST.
For more information, please visit the brand website.
Vincent Deschamps is a museum professional, originally from France, with more than 10 years experience as a researcher, producing visitor experiences for national and international organizations. He is also the founder of mainspring.watch. You can follow Vincent on Instagram.
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