This review is one that has been a long, long time coming. While we tend to work to get things turned around rather quickly on reviews, this is one that slipped down the queue time and again. This is because, you see, this Division Furtive Type 40 is actually my own watch – the first (and only) watch I backed on a Kickstarter project – and as such, got bumped in priority for those coming in on a loan. Well, that oversight is being corrected today. Even though the Division Furtive Type 40 is no longer available, it’s review will set the stage for a later model in the lineup what we will also be reviewing.
To set the stage for the Division Furtive Type 40, however, we need to turn our attention back to late 2012, when the Division Furtive Type 46 was announced. The Type 46 was the first outing for the brand, and it truly did catch my eye, making use of mechanical registers and actuators for displaying the time (we even had video of it playing music). Unfortunately for us regular folks, production was extremely limited and pricey. That’s where the Division Furtive Type 40 comes in. It took that original concept, and replaced the mechanical bits with LEDs, creating the basis for the platform the brand is working from today.
Along with the use of LEDs, the Division Furtive Type 40 had another very big change – it went from using a silver case to an epoxy-filled material. This means that, while the 50mm case is by no means small, it is rather light, coming in at only 72g – practically a featherweight. The reason for the case size – aside from keeping the LED-driven readouts accessible, is due to the power source. The Division Furtive Type 40 leverages a standard AAA battery for a power source. Frankly, when you are getting into these sorts of esoteric watches, having a standard (and readily available) battery being used is a comfort, at least for me.
As I just mentioned, the Division Furtive Type 40 definitely has a unique set of capabilities. First off, there are no buttons for any interaction. So, how do you set the watch? That’s accomplished via an optical sensor on the back of the case, which picks up flashes from your phone screen (when you use the appropriate app) or your computer display (as it can be set via the web). Once you do that, you are off to the races. So, how do you read the time? First thing you do is raise your wrist up from your side to your normal time-reading angle. This movement triggers the display of the Division Furtive Type 40 to kick on, with the hours read on the top row, and the minutes on the bottom. If you’re in-between 5-minute segments, you can still tell where you are. This is because the minute LED will flicker from the base time, letting you know that you’re one your way to the next 5-minute increment. This will be a one- or two-flash pulse either to the left or the right of the minutes indicating, let you know how many to subtract from the selected time. Pretty clever, no?
By activating the display, you are also setting up the Division Furtive Type 40 to enter in to some of its additional modes. With the display light up, a double-tap on the watch face (it may not be a smart watch, but it is definitely tactile). This will put the watch into calendar mode, letting you know the, well, calendar information. A single-tap advances things to the world time mode, another takes you to moonphase; you can likewise move on to a chronograph function and battery level indicator (handy!). The last mode will take you into the settings, where you can actually sync the watch to your phone to set the time and the like. Rather than attempt to explain all of the different functionality and how to use it, I’ll instead refer you to the brand’s manual for the watch as it explains things a bit more succinctly than I could.
Frankly, the manual for the Division Furtive Type 40 has be invaluable. If you are like me and you often rotate through various watches (I do this just by the nature of needing to review a variety), the Division Furtive Type 40 will present a learning curve that you constantly ride. While its interface is fairly simple (single and double taps) it takes some getting used to, without a doubt. Learning to work the interface can be a curve as well. Perhaps it’s due to mine being a first-gen, but the taps may not always register. Then again, if I spent more regular time with the watch, I feel this is the sort of quirk you would learn to work with and eventually operate without any issues.
When I did wear the watch, I frankly did not mess about with the other information outside of the date and battery level. While things like the chronograph are interesting, I found this interface to be a bit trickier than I would prefer to quick use (and then again, I really do not have much use for wrist-mounted chronography). The moonphase, while somewhat curious, again, did not enter any sort of daily use. Basically, I treated this more or less (and for better or for worse) like any other watch I would wear, relying on it for the time throughout the day. While the orange LEDs on the Division Furtive Type 40 are not ultra-bright, I did not have any issues whatsoever reading the time day or night. Well, ok, night time can be a bit on the trickier side, as the LEDs are easy to see, but you are then relying on light spill from them to see what hours/minutes they’re indicating (some translucence or lume would have helped here).
For me, the Division Furtive Type 40 is a fun sort of a watch. Not something I wear every day, but it does definitely appeal to the “gadget guy” side of my personality. And while it certainly does have some clever functionality, a lot of of is lost on me in my day-to-day use cases. Fortunately, this does not hamper the actual utility of the watch. If you do not have a need for the other modes, you can basically ignore them, and still get the time and date easily enough. Just be prepared for a show-and-tell session the first time your friends and co-workers see this watch, as they will definitely want to know what all the behemoth on your wrist can do. At the time it was released, the Division Furtive Type 40 was available for under $300, and is no longer currently available. There are several versions of the Division Furtive Type 50 available now, and they are very much the logical successor to the Division Furtive Type 40. Stay tuned, as we’ll have a review of the Division Furtive Type 50 coming up in the near future. division-furtive.com
- Brand & Model: Division Furtive Type 40
- Price: $295 (CAD) when it was available
- Who’s it for?: You dug the look of the all-mechanical Type 46, but want something a bit more friendly to your wallet
- Would I wear it?: Yes, this is something that sneaks into the rotation now and again
- What I’d change: For a v1 device, it’s pretty solid. Something to better allow you to read the time at night (on the numerals) would have been helpful.
- The best thing about it: There is an awful lot of “gee whiz” coolness stuffed into this very affordable watch
Features from Division Furtive
- Day (units on top cursor and tens on bottom cursor)
- AM/PM (AM or PM on bottom cursor and current hour on top cursor)
- Exact minutes (units on top cursor and tens on bottom cursor)
- Day of the week
- Triple Time zone (Home, Travel East & West)
- Phase of the moon
- Battery life indicator
Tech Specs from Division Furtive
- Production: Limited to 1000 units
- Price: 295$ (Canadian dollars)
- Case: Epoxy-filled plastic
- Diameter/Thickness: 50 mm/16 mm
- Dial: Gold plated mat black
- Glass: Mineral (front and back)
- Cursors: 25 Amber LEDs (12 for hours and 13 for minutes)
- Sensor: 3-axis accelerometer with glass tap detection
- Battery: User-serviceable AAA/IEC FR03
- Power reserve: 365 days (normal usage)
- Band: Ultra-smooth rubber
- Buckle: Stainless steel with black PVD finish and logo
- Warranty: 1 year