Guest post by our friend Dan Hamilton. Here's how Dan describes himself:
"I'm a former USAF pilot, gear junkie, adventure traveler, family man, and entrepreneur. I love being in nature, learning, and teaching new skills. My favorite thing to do is pretty much anything with my family."
If there’s one thing I love, it’s a great piece of gear. MTM Special Ops recently sent me their Silencer watch to review and it certainly qualifies. As a fighter pilot I have an affinity for great timepieces that not only look the part but are highly functional and infinitely useful.
It’s called the Silencer because it has a silent vibrating alarm (that’s quite enough to wake you from a foggy sleep) and all of the function “buttons” screw and lock down so you don’t inadvertently bump a bright light on or make it beep when you want to be sneaky.
The best way I can describe this watch is that it’s more like a piece of gear than an accessory you’re wearing on your wrist. I used to wear a watch to simply have the time handy but this watch adds much more to the equation. It’s more like a mini Everyday Carry kit you wear on your wrist.
MTM originally designed watches specifically for Special Forces and fighter pilots and they weren’t available to the general public. They’ve designed watches for Navy Seals, Delta Force, Army Rangers, SAS, SWAT teams, police, FBI and the Secret Service. Now they’re available to everyone else.
There’s no question it’s a meaty watch. But, I’d rather have a heavy watch that’s solid and not prone to breaking under pressure than one that falls to pieces the first time I bang it on something in the cockpit. It’s a bit of a beast of a watch but not so big and beastly that it looks gaudy or ridiculous.
This watch is 44mm by 14mm and is not small on your wrist but not so large as to be unwieldy or cumbersome. The weight is easy to get used to and gratifyingly reminds me that I’ve got a solid piece of gear strapped to my wrist.
If you’ve seen the commercials online they have a watch strapped to Jeep tire and being driven over some gnarly terrain and mud, then being wiped off and working just fine. This watch could probably survive Armageddon. It’s got hex key lugs for making adjustments and the tools included for changing out the straps are quite handy.
If you’ve ever changed out a watch strap on a lesser watch you’ve probably seen those pins and thought you could probably break them just by looking at them disapprovingly. Well you can forget about those weak little things when you get an MTM watch. This strap attaches with threaded allen-headed screws that makes bicycle tire spokes seem weak and flimsy by comparison.
There are 4 pushers that all screw down. A useful feature to keep from inadvertently turning on lights or making beeping noises if you’re on a recon patrol or evading enemy forces after being forced to eject behind enemy lines. I normally keep the pushers unscrewed because the worst thing that can happen if I bump the lights on is that I might temporarily blind someone at the movies, but it’s good to know that if I’m ever called upon to save the free world Jason-Bourne-style I can maintain my light and noise discipline.
LED Lights: The two LED lights integrated into the watch face are brilliant. Both figuratively and literally. They aren’t designed, like most watch lights, to light up the face so you can read it at night (that’s what the super-luminosity on the hands is for). They’re designed to help you see stuff at night or to be used as a light signal in an emergency situation.
My house is not well lit at night and it seems like we always end up out running errands after the sun’s gone down. I don’t like keeping a flashlight on my body mostly because of the bulk, but I use the LED lights to find the keyhole in the door at least several times a week. It’s extremely handy to have a flashlight on your wrist when you need one.
Charging is accomplished by resting the watch on an inductive charger overnight which keeps the LEDs shining brightly. One charge can last for up to 4 months with a full charge and that includes one beeper alert, one vibration alert and 20 seconds of LED light use per day. That’s a lot of usefulness from one charge. I have yet to come even remotely close to draining the charge.
One complaint is that the watch face is flat which means every now and then when I’m outside I’ll catch a reflection from the sun in my eyes. In a situation where I’m trying to keep from being seen (like when I’m sneaking out to the hammock in the back yard for a nap without my wife and kids catching me) that reflection could be a dead giveaway.
On the other hand, as a pilot, it could be useful if I ever find myself in a survival situation after having to make an unscheduled landing out in the boonies, away from civilization. That reflective face could come in pretty handy if I have to signal rescuers. And, of course if the cavalry comes looking for me after the sun’s gone down then the emergency strobe function of the LED lights can be seen from miles away.
I have to admit I am smitten with this watch. It looks great on my wrist and it’s usefulness and features make it the most useful watch I’ve ever strapped on my wrist. The Silencer starts at $750 and is money very well spent.
MTM Special Ops is a sponsor of our Big Thank You this year and is providing this Silencer watch for one of the winners. Be sure to check out the contest page as well as visiting their site to view their collection.