If you’re in the market for a knock around watch that’ll serve double duty for both work and play, you might want to consider the 5.11 Tactical Sentinel Watch. Combining a reliable Swiss quartz movement and heavy-duty construction, the Sentinel feels right at home in the field or the office. We recently had the opportunity to test out 5.11’s Sentinel Watches on our recent trip to Moab.
When selecting a watch that’s going to serve a dual purpose of being used on adventures and around town, there are a couple of key elements to always look for. First and foremost, how is the watch constructed? Will it survive in the applications you intend to use in and can it take some abuse? The second thing to look for is look and feel. When you put the watch on your wrist, does it feel comfortable and how does it look? And finally, what about value? Are you getting a lot for your hard-earned dollars spent or just buying a name? Let’s walk through the Sentinel and look at each of these areas.
Let’s face it. Timepieces can take a beating in the outdoors. Whether we’re hunting, hiking, or just spending some time on the trail, simply being active in the outdoors can expose a watch to any number of potential hazardous situations. The case can get banged up against the rocks, the crystal can get smashed against your gear as you’re going for something in your bag, or the strap can get caught on branches or shrubs. On top of all that, you have all the elements to contend with. Moisture can wreak havoc on any watch’s internals and be the death knell.
To combat the outdoors and the abuse, the Sentinel is constructed from a heavy-duty 316L stainless steel case. While it has some heft to it, the case isn’t over the top or big just for the sake of being big like many watches on the market today. The dial is protected by a scratch and chip resistant mineral glass that’s been treated with an anti-reflective coating to minimize glint. This makes the watch easier to read in direct sunlight or when the sun is on the horizon and right in your face. In order to protect the watch’s internals from moisture, 5.11 utilizes both a screw down crown and caseback on the Sentinel to keep water and sweat far away from the movement. A thick, 24mm heavy-duty silicon strap ensures the watch stays securely on your wrist and ready for duty in the elements.
In regards to comfort and looks, the Sentinel feels at right at home when you’re wearing it. It looks sharp and the design is both clean and functional. The color combinations used on the Black, Coyote, and Granite/Black models go nicely together and the phosphorescent hour and minute hands make the watch easy to read even in low light conditions. The overall size of the case sits nicely on the wrist without being bulky or heavy. While personally I’m not a fan of most silicon bands having lived in hot climates for most of my life, this strap is comfortable and doesn’t irritate skin. Even when the temperatures warmed up, I didn’t find myself fidgeting with the strap or wanting to taking the watch off. All in the all, the watch looks sharp whether you’re hiking in the woods or meeting some friends for a couple of beers at your favorite sports bar.
When looking at the final consideration of value and what you’re getting for the money spent, the 5.11 Tactical Sentinel Watch is a solid buy. The watch retails for $209.99 on the 5.11 Tactical website. Given the heavy-duty construction and the quality of the materials used, the Sentinel watch should provide you with years of trouble-free use and enjoyment. I have to say that I’m a big fan of the screw down crown and caseback as these features aren’t always found on watches in this price point. I’ve seen my fair share of watches fail after moisture has seeped inside the case and rusted out the internals so this is always something I look for. You can tell that a lot of thought went into the Sentinel’s design and material selection. It’s been nicely executed as a production timepiece, especially from a company whose mainstay isn’t watches.
For more information about the 5.11 Tactical Sentinel Watch, or to look at the other timepieces offered by 5.11, check out their website.