Wrangler is a name you no doubt are familiar with. Sure, their jeans may not have as much mind share as, say, Levis, but they’ve been around for forever, and have been working at making denim for the hard-going American woman and man (at least, to judge by their current commercials). They’re even getting in on some social buzz by signing up with Lil Was X after his breakout country hit Old Town Road. Well, we’re not here to talk about catchy tunes, we’re here to talk about watches. Like any other apparel brand trying to be more of a “lifestyle” play, they’ve got watches on offer. So, let me tell you about five of the pieces in their watch catalog.
Catalog I think is the operative word here with the Wrangler watches. Not that there’s an issue with the brand going to a white-label maker (in this case, Paradox Fine Watches) for their watches, but you just need to know what you’re dealing with. Fashion watches from a fashion brand, who’d have thunk it? It even shows in the literal catalog I saw – there’s an extensive list of SKUs, and none of them have a model name – just a number. Protip for you brands out there wanting to add watches to the mix. It’s tempting to create a buffet of choices, but that dilutes what you’re offering to your customers, and confuses the issue. Pick a style or two that fits what your brand is about (or what your CEO happens to like) build those up well (aka, well-sorted and actually named) and see if things grow. The shotgun spray-and-pray approach just feels, well, scattered. Ok, now I’ll get off of my “industry observer” soapbox.
As I mentioned, we took a look at five different models in the lineup. First up was my personal favorite of the group, the Wrangler WRW2000-8B5. AKA the Wrangler Aviator. This has all the hallmarks of a great vintage-look aviator watch – degrade dial, classic font on the numerals, cathedral window hands, and an onion-ish crown. Even the blue-and-brown combo is classic, while the polished gunmetal finish brings things up to more modern terms. As with all of these watches, the Wrangler Aviator is powered by a Japanese quartz movement (no provenance given), and this flyboy gives you a 30ft water resistance (aka, washing hands is ok, but not much more). This is the watch I liked the most, even despite it’s plasticky “leather” strap. I’d be willing to forgive that, if only they had put some luminous paint on the thing. Not the hands, not the dial, nothing. Sure, the watch itself is only $35, so a strap replacement is an easy thing. But the lack of lame, well, that’s a tougher sell. Then again, it’s only $35, so I’ll cut some slack.
Next up is the Wrangler WRW1400-1A, aka the Wrangler Field Watch. Sure, it’s not a classic field watch look, but you’ve got the 24 hour scale, and a bezel that isn’t likely to show up dirt or scratches. Actually, with that bezel, maybe we call this one the Wrangler File (you know, like a rasp file texture). So, sure, it’s a field watch (albeit one with a bit of Porsche Design influence on the numerals). Here again, there is no lume (a shame) but the strap is a soft silicone one, a definite step up from the Aviator. Like the Aviator, the Wrangler WRW1400-1A is just $35 and carries a 30ft water resistance rating.
Next up, the Wrangler WRW4801-7B1, aka the Wrangler Polar Express. This is a design I really was drawn to, due to the large and crisp white dial. But then I saw the over-large date disc cutout (showing a crazy 5 dates, which I don’t know that I’ve seen before), and a handset that felt a touch undersized for how big the watch was. This watch had the nicest strap of the bunch, with a black textile showcasing the red contrast stitching and vinyl/leather inlays. Interestingly, this one ups the water resistance to 50m, so it shouldn’t be wrecked if someone shoves you in the pool. This one will set you back a reasonable $55.
Now we come to one that super easy for me to name – the Wrangler WRW5001-5BR. In fact, I gave it two names – either the Wrangler Watermelon, or the Wrangler Joker. The use of a pinkish-purple tone on this case, paired to a very vinyl-like green strap, well, that’s a bold move, Cotton (let’s see how it plays out). Then, mix in the radiant brown dial, and you’ve got something interesting. Of the five, I actually wore this one the most, given how unique the color combo was. Here again, WR comes in at 50m, and you’ve got a crazy bit of texture going on with the dial, alongside those colors. Uniqueness doesn’t come cheap, though, as the Wrangler Watermelon will set you back $69.95.
Last, but not least, we’ve got one that has the deepest vintage look to it, the Wrangler WRW5802-7B, aka the Wrangler RPaige. I mean, look at that dial – at first glance, it looks like something out of a pocket watch, doesn’t it? Closer inspection reveals the pattern in the gold tone is printed – and not machined or turned in – but it’s an interesting look all the same. Of course, that’s tarnished a big by the date window cutout that gives you 9 dates on display, which is 8 too many. The handset, on the other hand, that’s sized just right for the watch, and they should take notes for the other large watches in the mix. I could easily see this one being the most popular of the bunch, particularly if the $69.95 list gets discounted any.
At the end of the day, these Wrangler watches are not anything you’re going to be passing down to the generations. If you’re on the look for a watch that will inexpensively keep accurate time will giving a bit of flair and interest (and easy coordination with your denim) well, then these here Wrangler watches may be your cup of cowboy coffee. I wouldn’t see these entering my own watch box, but hey – if I see you wearing one and you’re pumped about it, I’ll support your choice. You do you, and wear what you like. For me, I’ll hope for Wrangler to innovate some, just like the wondrous invention of stretch getting woven into denim.
- Brand & Model: Wrangler Watches
- Price: $35 to $70 depending on model
- Who’s it for? You want an inexpensive watch, and you wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair of Levis
- Would I wear it? Nope, these just don’t mix into my corral
- What I’d change: First up, get some luminous paint on all of these. Second, get the hands appropriately sized. Third, give watches names, not numbers.
- The best thing about it: For the mis-steps, there are some glimmers of interesting details in these.