Isobrite Chronograph ISO401 Watch by Armourlite

   05.20.14

Confucius preached a simple existence, a modicum I try to live by. I didn’t really enjoy wandering through the endless rows of stuff on a recent trip to Cabela’s, but stood contemplating the more profound parts of the outdoors in front of the mass of mounts placed throughout the store. It seems that we often end up with equipment—guns, fishing tackle, tents, boots, knives, and so on—that we never actually use. They sit in the closet or cabinet for years collecting dust. And while they could conceivably be seen as appreciable items, namely the guns, I’m still not sure I fully agree. But that’s just me.

Sometimes even a devout minimalist such as myself needs something; in this case, a watch. You’re probably thinking bologna, You don’t really need a watch. As an outdoorsman, you kind of do. In his very insightful and hilarious book, Ramblings of a Lowcountry Game Warden, Ben Moise lists having a watch as one of the most important things a hunter needs, especially a duck hunter, to know when it’s time to start and stop shooting. If I recall correctly he sets his according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s )or some other very important group’s) data.

When I got a watch just before a long stint on the Appalachian Trail back in 2010, at the outset of my trip I wasn’t very pleased to have to wear that thing everyday—it was just another thing to keep up with. After a week, I felt naked when the metal back wasn’t pushed against my skin. It felt nice to not have to pull out my cell phone every so often to check the time. That watch and I spent three years together until a friend’s boat broke down on Lake Murray in South Carolina and I found myself with a tow rope around my wrist, swimming the center console back to the dock. Driving to work the next day I suddenly had that “naked” feeling and realized my watch was missing, undoubtedly ingested by the lake.

Almost a year went by. I hadn’t been looking for a watch, but as things sometimes happen, a watch found me. At a recent Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) conference, I ran into fellow writer Kevin Reese, who is the PR man for Isobrite watches along with Joe Wieczorek of The Media Group.

“Come check these watches out,” Kevin beckoned as I walked down the aisle. “Let’s put one on you and see what you think.” I’m pretty sure he kept on talking, but I didn’t really hear what he was saying because that watch, the Isobrite Chronograph ISO401, felt good and looked good on my wrist. The thought of eventually purchasing another watch was always in the back of my mind, but the one I truly wanted never showed up until that March afternoon in Knoxville, Tennessee.

“Let’s get you one,” I thought I heard him say.

“Huh?” I must have had a stupid look on my face.

“Yeah, test and evaluate this guy. We’ll send you whichever one you like and you give us your honest thoughts. That exposure is worth its weight in gold.”

“Really?”

“Of course. Just email me after the weekend and we’ll get it going.”

I thanked him profusely, took a brochure and wandered off, not really looking at another showcased product. (Truth be told I did somehow wind up with a refill for my ThermaCELL, but that’s only a natural reaction in the mosquito-infested spring months.)

I scoured the brochure from cover to cover for the next couple of days, but couldn’t really get the ISO401 out of my head. So, that was it. I’d email Kevin immediately upon returning home and see about getting my hands on that watch. The problem was that I would be leaving for a 10-day turkey hunting trip in Nebraska shortly after returning from Knoxville. I emailed Kevin, trying to seem cool and not frantic or over-anxious and he referred me to Joe, who would try to get a watch in my mailbox before I left. And he did.

Since that day, I’ve put that watch through some hard times. This is the world’s first T100 tritium-illuminated lightweight polycarbon watch with a scratch-resistant sapphire glass crystal (that also happens to be anti-reflective, fellow hunters), two tritium markers on the rotating bezel (note: rotating bezels are extremely important for scuba divers when tracking bottom time),  and is water-resistant up to 660 feet (200 meters). Six hundred and sixty feet! Being a diver myself, these features are extremely important.

Let me tell you, out in Nebraska I followed my friends Lyle and Dale—walking, running, crawling, and wading—chasing turkeys like mad men, and nary a scratch or any kind of blemish resides on this watch. Its ruggedness and durability are heights above any watch I’ve ever worn and the dirt and grime will come off with a swipe of the garden hose. Five stars all the way around, and I recommend anyone who is remotely contemplating purchasing a new watch to check out the Isobrite watches by ArmourLite. Not only will it withstand any physical punishment, it also looks good if you have to wear dress clothes, something we all must suffer from time to time.

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