TRIWA Humanium 39 Review - A Watch from the Black Market (with a Warranty)
Firearms are a controversial subject in any country, but regardless of where you stand on legal gun ownership, taking illegally-obtained firearms out of the hands of criminal networks is a noble goal.
Swedish company Humanium is doing just that. Humanium supports programs in El Salvador, which to date have removed almost 6000 illegal weapons from circulation. The first weapons destruction activity in 2016 alone resulted in 1 ton of Humanium metal being produced. That metal is then "upcycled" into functional products. According the Humanium, "The income generated with Humanium Metal is re-invested into communities affected by gun violence, aiming to break the vicious cycle of violence and poverty."
One of the companies supporting Humanium through sales of their products is Swedish company TRIWA. Started in 2007, TRIWA (short for TRansforming the Industry of WAtches) operates with the goal of doing just that.
As you've probably guessed, their Humanium line features watches with cases made of Humanium metal. They offer a Humanium watch for almost everyone, from 34mm quartz 3-handers, to chronographs, to 39mm automatics. In addition to using the Humanium metal, 15% of all of their sales is given back to IM, a Swedish Development partner of Humanium. They even offer a sharp Wear Orange special edition of the Humanium 39.
Their watch lineup is filled with a number of other affordable options with clean Swedish style. In addition to Humanium watches, they offer other socially conscious models such as the Time for Oceans line, which (you guessed it), is made from recycled ocean plastic. Starting at $129, they offer a fan way to add some color to your wardrobe while also doing something good!
The watch that I'm reviewing sits in the middle of the lineup, the 3 hand quartz Humanium 39 Recycled Green with Dark Grey dial. As the name implies, the strap is made from recycled plastic. I chose this version because I liked that it added to the "upcycled" content of the watch plus the dark green color just looked cool.
The watch arrives in a "gunmetal" grey box matching the dial.
Before accessing the watch, you are greeted with some information about the brand, and Humanium.
The first thing that pops out about the watch is a number of touches in their characteristic "Signal Red." These stand out against the metallic grey dial.
Now that we know about the social benefits of the Humanium 39, let's find out how it stacks up in the metal.
The 39 in the model name obviously represents the case diameter. It has a 20mm lug width, and the thickness comes it at a slim 9.5mm.
The case features sharp edges on the lugs, and straight brushing on the tops and sides. The thin bezel has a slight slope to it, and is polished, making it stand out from the brushed lower case. The finishing is appropriate for the price of the watch.
The diameter and thickness are visually larger than the dimensions would indicate. This is caused by the thin bezel, and mostly flat sides. The result is a watch with a larger wrist presence that is still extremely comfortable if you prefer sub-40mm watches.
The Humanium metal looks slightly lighter in color compared to typical stainless steel, but that could also be due to the light brushed finish.
You are reminded of the metal content of the case by an engraved Humanium logo on the case band, styled after a periodic table element.
The caseback is polished and features the requisite specs and logos plus the inspirational play on words "Time for Peace."
The screw-down crown is styled after a cylinder on a revolver. It provides a subtle nod to the Humanium content in the watch, but is also functional and allows the crown to be easily gripped to set the time. The water resistance is rated at 5atm (50m).
It is fully polished, and features the Signal Red dot at the center.
Another bit of color comes from the date wheel. I love unique date applications, and the custom white font over Signal Red help make the watch stand out.
The aperture is round, and has a polished ring around the edge which helps to integrate it with the dial better than the typical square hole.
The dial itself features a brushed metal finish, which is dark gray on this model as mentioned. It also features a sandwich construction with light silver numerals underneath at three, six and nine, and recessed sticks for the other hours. White stick minutes are printed in between the hours.
A TRIWA logo and text sits at the 12 position, with the Humanium Metal logo and text at 6, reminding you of the material comprising the watch.
The shade of the dial changes from dark to light in different lighting conditions. The white lume and polished surfaces on the hands, and silver markers always seem to reflect light differently than the dial, meaning the watch is always legible.
The Humanium 39 features polished steel pencil hour and minute hands with white centers.
The pointer seconds hand, with its rectangular counter-balance, gives another spash of Signal Red to tie in with the other details.
Personally, I would like to see the minute and seconds hands reach to the center of the minute markers, but the proportions are better than you often see on more fashion-oriented quartz watches.
The luminous paint on the hands glows brightly enough to satisfy most lume junkies. Despite the fact that the dial has no lume, the night time legibility is still quite good due to the hands, and the simple design. The sandwich markers also reflect light conditions other than total darkness.
The mineral crystal is completely flat, and appears be very thin.
The result is great legibility at any angle, and minimal distortion.
As mentioned earlier, the 20 mm dark green canvas strap is made from recycled plastic.
Despite being made of plastic, the strap is quite comfortable and flexible. It has a more of a canvas/sailcloth feel to it.
The strap is very thin, and conforms to the wrist with no noticeable break-in period required.
The buckle is a simple polished look that matches the aesthetic of the watch.
It has one fixed, and one floating keeper.
The stitching is ever so slightly lighter than the strap material, giving a touch of contrast without standing out.
The movement in the Humanium 39 quartz version is a Miyota 1S13-3H. It is a basic quartz, but has a 3 year battery life and 20 seconds per month accuracy that blows away any automatic. It should be bulletproof (no pun intended) for decades to come. It also allows the watch to keep its ultra thin profile.
In many cases, I would say that $299 is on the expensive side for a 3 hand quartz watch. With the Humanium 39 however, TRIWA is giving buyers a number of custom touches that you don't normally find at this price range.
The watch has a custom date wheel and crown, a beautiful brushed sandwich dial, and the comfortable recycled strap.
These things alone make it a reasonable value even before you consider where the profit is going. If the Humanium cause is something that you believe in supporting, you can receive a stylish and unique watch and help the cause.
If you have the budget, the $699 automatic version with the Miyota 9015 movement and what they call "Slate Grey" case color (I won't call the case "gunmetal" since that would be redundant!) would be of more interest to a hardcore watch lover. The quartz version makes for a great "grab and go" watch though, and could be a good choice for you at less than half the price.
What are your thoughts on the TRIWA Humanium 39? Do you know of other watches made from socially conscious materials? Let me know in the comments!