Recently the team at WatchGecko received a Circula ProTrail for review. I was fortunate enough to be the lucky one to get hands on with the watch and made it my companion for a week in the Dales.
Circula ProTrail - Credit WatchGecko
First, some background on Circula. Circula are a German watch brand originating in Pforzheim, the heart of the Black Forest in Southern Germany. Heinz Huber had set out to produce mechanical watches of great quality, whilst keeping the product affordable. The individual responsible for Circula’s continued success today is the founder’s Grandson, Cornelius Huber who is the driving force of the brand and aims to continue on the same mission his Grandfather started in 1955.
Let’s talk about the watch.
When opening the box to the Circula ProTrail 2022 Black Edition, you are immediately greeted by the watch that sits centre stage. From the onset this watch just looks like its ready for anything you might throw at it. Accompanying the watch is the instruction manual and guarantee, certificate, cleaning cloth and lastly, a message from Cornelius himself.
Circula ProTrail - Credit WatchGecko
The Circula ProTrail is the brand’s very capable field watch (they have a dive model also). The stainless steel 316L case is hand sandblasted which gives the watch a look of robustness. Its capability however stretches far beyond those looks. The stainless steel case has undergone special surface treatment to ensure the case is scratch resistant up to 1,200 Vickers! Admittedly, I had to do some further research on this to find out that untreated 316L stainless steel is 230 Vickers as standard. This basically ensures your Circula ProTrail will absorb the majority, if not all, of the battles you face with it in the field. This is a bonus if (like myself) you are not a fan of picking up those pesky scratches on your new watch.
Talking of scratches, you won’t find any on the sapphire crystal! The crystal has a subtle curve to it along with double anti reflective coating on the inside. Life in the Dales provides you with all-weather conditions. Bright sunshine, rain, frost and snow, and all these on an extended test allowed me to expose the watch to all conditions.
Circula ProTrail Dial Macro - Credit WatchGecko
The screw down crown is an ideal size and easy to use, it features a lumed Circula logo and plays a role in providing the ProTrail with its 150m water resistance, once again showing its capability as a hardy field watch.
How does it wear?
The ProTrail definitely has presence. At 40mm diameter some may see this as a large field watch, however its compact 46mm lug to lug and 12mm thickness means it wears beautifully on the wrist. If you have a smaller wrist, like myself, at just over 6.5 inches, do not let the 40mm put you off. Equally, if you have a larger wrist I definitely don’t think you will feel like it gets lost on your wrist. The lug width is 20mm, ensuring you can chop and change straps to your hearts content… read on to see some of our favourite options!
Circula ProTrail - Credit WatchGecko
The dial of the ProTrail is a deep inky black colour which makes the remaining elements, moving and stationary ultra-legible. Starting from the outside working in, the first thing I noticed is the vintage inspired minute track running around the perimeter of the dial. This instantly made me think of The Dirty Dozen WW2 collection, which I love. The 12hr numerals are strong in size and clarity, ensuring all you’ll need on your outdoor adventures in one quick glance. These are filled with dual colour Swiss Super-LumiNova BGW9 with a blue and yellow afterglow. Closing in on the centre of the ProTrail, there is an inner 24hr Track which appears as faded black/dark grey in colour and featuring circular engraving which gives the dial texture. The 24hr numerals along with the ProTrail logo are orange which gives the watch a nice pop of colour. Like the rest of the ProTrail, the hands continue the sharp and tough feel of the watch. Brushed and shaped like Vikings swords, the hands are also filled with BGW9.
The ProTrial is unquestionably a striking watch, but the sheer level of design could be divisive. Has it been over designed? I really like the overall concept of the watch and it feels truly rugged and purposeful, but the superior Vickers finish gives the watch a slightly different surface feel. Like titanium, but not. It almost must also be touched to be appreciated. This could be the way forward for superior outdoor watches but it takes a bit of getting used to. As for the textured strip on the case sides, I felt these were perhaps an over complication in design of what is fundamentally a great Field watch. I come from the old school belief that Field watches should be simple machines.
Circula ProTrail Case back engraving - Credit WatchGecko
The ProTrail houses the Sellita SW200-1. This movement is an affordable yet extremely reliable choice. In over a week of wrist time I was looking at a loss of approx. 30 seconds. This coming out at around -5 Sec./Day across the week which I was pleased by. The movement was super smooth to wind, I found myself pulling the crown out every now and then just to have a little wind!
Is the Circula ProTrail a watch for you? It certainly strikes a good balance between a modern Field Watch and vintage aesthetics. It delivers everything you would expect from a superior field watch, but at £670 is it worth over 100 pounds more than the base Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical? In short, yes it probably is. When you compare both models the Circula is arguably the better watch, it just needs to establish itself. If you want to buy highly capable field watch that will deliver above and beyond your expectations, then the ProTrail is definitely a contender. However, do I think the watch has the potential to evolve into an even better machine, in time, yes I do.
Old meets new. Circula ProTrail and Rolex Explorer II out together - Credit WatchGecko
Circula ProTrail Spec
Build: 3-piece, screw down case back, screw down crown, soft iron cage around the movement for antimagnetic protection up to 80,000 A/m
- Material: 316L stainless steel
- Finish: Scratch-resistant up to 1,200 Vickers through a special surface treatment. Sandblasted, embossed case back, engraved crown filled with Swiss Super-LumiNova® BGW9
- Crystal: Scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, slightly curved and double anti-reflective coated on the inside
- Water resistance: 15 ATM
- Colour: Steel / Black DLC (Old Radium LE)
- Dimensions: Diameter 40 mm, height 13.4 mm incl. crystal, lug to lug 46 mm, lug width 20mm
- Movement: Automatic (self-winding) movement Sellita SW200-1 Elaboré, 28,800 vph, 38 hrs power reserve, 26 jewels, Incabloc ® shock protection, ball bearing rotor, bidirectional winding rotor, hacking and manual winding function, no date position
Strap Suggestions for the Circula ProTrail or any high end Field Watch
Although the Circula ProTrail comes on a perfectly adequate fabric strap at WatchGecko we like to ring the changes so here are our choices for not only the ProTrial, but any high quality dark dial Field Watch you happen to own.
Circula ProTrail on ZULUDIVER Cadet Classic Bond - Credit WatchGecko
Our ZULUDIVER "Classic Bond" watch strap needs no introduction. This hugely versatile strap has sat consistently in our top 5 since its inception over 10 years ago.
Choose from a glossy polished finish, a sleek satin finish, or a bold IP Black hardware option to fit your style. The satin of course works best with the case of the Circula Protrail.
No need for any tools or special equipment, this strap is quick and easy to install, allowing you to switch up your look in a matter of seconds. With its historic British military design, this strap is a timeless piece that will never go out of style.
Circula ProTrail on ZULUDIVER Modern Tropical Rubber - Credit WatchGecko
The ZULUDIVER Modern Tropical Rubber watch strap is the perfect choice for not just a dive watch but a dedicated outdoor watch such as the Circula ProTrail. Inspired by the iconic tropic straps of the 1960s, this modern take on them adds a contemporary twist whilst maintaining the retro look.
The ZULUDIVER Modern Tropical Rubber watch strap has all the best elements of the originals, such as the diamond-shaped perforations, raised notched edge, and signature textured surface. It’s made from high-quality HNBR rubber. It is designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions like salt-water and UV (ultraviolet) rays therefore ideal for fitting to your diver's watch.
We’ve given the strap a couple of modern touches, with a straight tail and our signature ZULUDIVER signed buckle. The buckle is solid stainless steel, with alternating brushed & polished finish, and the ZULUDIVER logo deeply etched for reassurance of a quality product.
To accommodate thee maximum number of watches we made some upgrades to the Modern Tropic in 2022. The strap is available in Standard Model which has spring bars with 0.9mm tips and Seiko Style divers style spring bars with larger 1.1mm tips.Both the 20mm and 22mm sizes are now the same length (130/80mm). By popular request, we have now custom developed a Seiko SKX Curved End Piece Edition.
Circula ProTrail on Geckota Phalanx Sailcloth - Credit WatchGecko
The standard issue strap for the Phalanx Tactical Watch is perfect as an aftermarket choice for the Circula ProTrail. Crafted with the perfect balance of classic design and modern engineering, this strap is a true all weather, all environment, game-changer.
With a 4mm taper and the timeless appeal of leather, the Phalanx Padded Sailcloth strap is unlike any other. What sets it apart is the innovative use of PVC rubber and thick padding, providing ultimate comfort and durability. Whether you're out on a rugged outdoor adventure or sweating it out at the gym, this strap is designed to keep up with your active lifestyle.
The Phalanx Padded Sailcloth strap also comes with a waterproof and sweatproof design, making it the perfect accessory for any activity. And with sandblasted silver or IP black buckles to choose from, you can customize your strap to match your watch case.
Note: the Circula ProTrail will also feature in my colleague Richard’s Field Watch Quest later in the year so it will be fascinating to get another perspective on the test watch.
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