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.
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.