Tribus TRI-02 GMT 3 Timezone (Review) – COSC certified affordable watch?

Today we are gonna look at a brand that attracted me not only because of the people behind it, but also due to design language, especially with their bright dial colours. The company in question is called Tribus. It’s a new brand that launched last year with ties to one of the few individuals who can legitimately be considered a Founding Father within the community, Christopher Ward. Tribus was established by Christopher Ward’s three sons, and while based in Liverpool, England, also has operations in Switzerland and can produce watches with a legitimate “Swiss Made” wordmark on the dial. As one of the three sons of Mr. Ward said to me, they aren’t trying to go after Christopher Ward (the brand), they are definitely something different and I would even say something better, higher level.

The first watch that caught my eye was the TRI-01 which is a dressy time only watch, but the dials= colours were that surprised me (tiffany blue, pink etc.), as rarely I see these colours used in a watch and tastefully. Oh, and not to mention that they all come with COSC certified movements, yes, they are using Sellita movements, but they have gone through the COSC testing an have been regulated to the highest Swiss industry standards and in the same time staying relatively affordable!

So you might ask what is COSC? The COSC or Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres is the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, it is the institute responsible for certifying the accuracy and precision of Swiss watches thus making them Certified Chronometers. Oh and fun fact: over a million official chronometer certificates are delivered each year, representing only 3% of the Swiss watch production. And that means that only 3% of Swiss made watches have COSC certificates meaning that Tribus goes under those 3%.

But the watch that Tribus decided to send me was their GMT watch called simply TRI-02. The TRI-02 comes in two different colours gunmetal and stainless steel cases. And 3 strap options: bracelet, leather and rubber strap. The one that I got sent is the gunmetal variant on the leather strap. I wish they sent me the one on the bracelet, but maybe in the future they will send in a newer model on a bracelet. I also probably should remind you that this is a loaner watch, I’m not payed for this or getting a watch for this, I do this just to share these cool brands to the masses!

The watch came in a pretty big and nice looking rectangular box. The outer cardboard box is in dark blue colour with yellow Tribus logo. Thos are pretty much the main brand colours. The inside wooden black coloured box is pretty well made and inside the box you will find the watch, warranty card and the COSC certificate with the testing results and everything! The first impressions were just wow, it is relly well made and looks good too. And it is interesting how close the gunmetal colour is to stainless steel and it also would be interesting to know how it will hold over time, will it scratch off revealing the more silver’y colour of stainless steel or hold up? The one thing that I think doesn’t fit this watch is the leather strap, not that it is a bad strap, but I think it doesn’t fit the style and sportiness of the watch.

The case is made from 316L stainless steel. The case is very well manufactured and coated with PVD gunmetal colour coating which makes the stainless steel a bit darker. The finishing on the case is a mix of polished and brushed finishing that are done really good and are in par with some big players of the Swiss watch industry! The case shape is round with nice long lugs. The case is 41mm in diameter, the thickness is 11,79mm, from lug tip to lug tip it measures at 50,5mm and the lug width is 20mm. Overall I think they chose a really great and universal that can fit 90% of people. In real life the watch wears pretty good on my 18cm wrist and fits more like a 40mm watch. At 3 o’clock we have a screw down crown. The crown is signed on top and has a nice grip, the crown action is also very smooth. At 2 o’clock we have a non-screw down crown for the inner rotating bezel which has some yellow accent on top of the crown. The crown action is pretty good. On the back we have an exhibition case back that is held to the main case with 6 small screws. On the caseback you will find some specifications, Tribus logo, serial number and that it is COSC certified. The crystal on the caseback is a flat sapphire crystal with AR coating and on the frond we have a domed sapphire crystal with AR coating. The watch is water-resistant to 15ATM (150m) which is pretty generous considering that while this is a sports watch, I think swimming isn’t meant for this, but it is nice that Tribus gives you a decent amount of WR to not worry about if it gets wet or you forgot to take off the watch while going in the pool.

As this is a GMT watch with GMT hand and a raised inner rotating bezel with 24 hour markings it means it can track 3 timezones. The inner rotating bezel has a some yellow accents. The dialitself is matte black. The main hour markers with arabic numbers are in white and printed. And I quite like the font of the numbers, especially of the “12”, it looks almost like a Panerai font, but it has some differences. At 12 o’clock we have a printed Tribus logo in white colour. The logo actually is pretty good looking and well done. A lot of companies actually have beautiful watches, but I can’t stand the logos. At 6 o’clock we have a text “chronometer” also printed in white. And on the edge at 6 o’clock we have the “Swiss made”. One thing that I like this GMT watch is because it doesn’t have the date, I just really don’t like date complications, yes it is pretty usefull sometimes, but when you own more than 7 watches it is pretty frustrating to set the date. The hour and minute hands are partially skeletonized in black colour with lume in the middle. The seconds hand is stick shaped an red giving a nice red accent. The broad arrow GMT hand is in yellow colour with lume in the middle. Overall the dial is pretty legitimate and I quite like the design, layout and colours.

Inside the TRI-02 beats a Swiss Made Sellita SW-330 which is an automatic, gmt movement. It has 25 jewels, 42 hour power reserve and it beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour. While the components are not 100% interchangeable, the caliber SW330 is essentially a clone of the ETA 2893-2. In fact, these movements are so similar that brands will often use them interchangeably and not disclose which one you are getting beforehand. If the brand lists both calibers and you prefer one over the other, be sure to make the request when ordering your watch new from the manufacturer. Dimensions, beat rate and power reserve are among the many similarities, but one notable difference is the jewel count. The SW330 has 25 jewels and the ETA 2893-1 has 21 jewels. But none the less Tribus have made an extra step adding custom rotor and going through process of sending certifying each movement with COSC certificates! Yes, there are some brand that do this at the same price point, but none of those companies were a new company and none of those companies did it for all of their watches! Mine example was running dead straight at 0 second loss a day, which is astounding for a watch at this price. Even some of my luxury pieces that cost 2-5 times more don’t run as smoothly as this one.

The strap on my particular watch is the black leather strap with contrasting yellow stitching. The strap is made from Italian leather. The strap is super supple and very comfortable on wrist right out of the box. The strap also features the quick release spring bars which I just love and think that they need to be in every strap! It just makes changing straps super easy and fast process. The tang style buckle that came on this watch was a bit plain in my opinion, I was thinking that the watch will come with a clasp atleast. The tang style buckle is made of 316L stainless steel and also is coated in the same gunmetal colour PVD coating as the case. The buckle is signed with Tribus logo and is finished in polished mirro like finishing.

Overall I quite like the watch! Yes, it is a bit pricy at €2.042,00 (€2.450,40 VAT incl.) for a new brand and sellita movement, but I think there is a potential in this brand just like it was in the original CW brand. And the quality is there! How well everything is manufactured, finished and presented is really well done! And you actually get a lot of watch for the price. It comes in a very nice box, nice design, sapphire crystal on both sides, COSC certified Swiss movement, GMT function for 3 time zones, lume and a nice leather strap.

Price: €2.042,00 (€2.450,40 VAT incl.) @ tribus-watches.com

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