Uzi Protector Tritium Watch Review

July 18, 2006


The original band


On the Nato band


The case back

It occurred to me a few weeks ago that of all the watches I own, none of them really qualified as something I would deliberately wear while doing heavy work or during one sporting activity or another. I’m not saying that I don’t have some examples that can stand up to heavy abuse (Vostoks in particular are known for their robustness), but I wouldn’t ordinarily choose to wear one if I was reasonably sure it was going to be banged around. Now it is true I could have filled this gap with a Casio G-Shock or a Timex Ironman (and a G-Shock is still very much on my “one of these days” list), but I stumbled on to the Uzi Protector and it looked like it would foot the bill nicely.

The Uzi Protector is one of two watch models sold by Uzi Gear, the other model being the more upscale Defender. Uzi Gear itself appears to be either affiliated with or a subsidiary of Campco who’s url appears on the back of the watch. In addition to watches, Uzi Gear sells a number of products that appeal to law enforcement including handcuffs, pepper spray and stun guns. The brand itself is named after Uziel Gal, inventor of the Uzi sub-machine gun, and the Uzi Gear website has a short bio of him online.

On to the watch now. The Uzi Protector is a nylon cased quartz watch with a unidirectional rotating bezel and a mineral glass crystal. The watch measures 42mm in width (not including the crown, 15mm in thickness, 44mm lug to lug and has a 22mm band lug width. The case back is made of stainless steel and the crown screws down. Water resistance is rated at 200 meters and the stated battery life is 36 months. The second hand can be hacked if that is important to you and the watch has a date function. The Protector is advertised as having a movement that includes Swiss components and the case back indicates that the movement was assembled in Thailand. While I haven’t opened the case to check (I don’t want to risk spoiling the water resistance), these specifications are consistent with a Ronda Powertech 585 movement. As an aside Ronda is a Swiss movement company with a large factory in Thailand in addition to its Swiss facilities.

By now you have probably realized that there is nothing really remarkable about the basic specs of the Uzi. There are, however, two characteristics to this watch that make it a keeper. The first is the tritium tube lume. Like the earlier reviewed Marathon watch, the Uzi has small vials of gaseous tritium on its hands and face. This is, in my opinion, the very best night visibility system for a watch. A watch with tritium tubes will glow continuously for many years without first being exposed to light. The glow isn’t intense like freshly charged conventional watch lume (e.g. superluminova) but is instead a cool consistent glow that does not fade away in a few minutes or hours. If nighttime visibility matters to you, this system is the way to go. The tritium vials on this model are positioned on the hour and minute hands and at the 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions on the face (two orange tubes are used to mark 12:00). There are also conventional superluminova paint markers at the other numbers on the dial and on the second hand.

The second noteworthy aspect of the Uzi is its price. Until I encountered this brand, the least costly tritium lume watch around was Marathon’s field watch, which cost about $100. The Uzi, however, retails for $89.95 through the company’s website. While that’s only a $10 difference, the Uzi has a much higher water resistance rating, 200 meters vs the Marathon’s 30 meters, and the Uzi is physically much larger, 42mm compared to the Marathon’s 36mm. In addition, while the retail price for this model is really quite low, even better deals can be found if you are persistent. Mine was, new in the box, for about half the retail price on ebay. This model is available with either a nylon/Velcro strap or a rubber diver’s band. I got the nylon band and while it is comfortable and good looking, I swapped it for a nato style band. I think it gives the watch a stealthy/military look but that is just a matter of personal preference. There is nothing wrong with the stock band.

In all other respects the Uzi Protector is a typical quartz watch. Its accuracy has been excellent so far (remarkable really-I hacked this watch to atomic time five days ago and so far it is spot on). It appears to be quite rugged and would make a good beater/sports watch. If you have been considering a tritium vial watch but are put off by the prices of other brands with this feature (Luminox, Traser, Ball, etc.) the Uzi Protector is a great way to go.

As an aside, I apologize for not posting a lume shot. My nice old Fuji F700 camera died (the one I photographed the Marathon‘s lume with) and the Olympus FE-130 cheapie that I replaced it with just can’t get it done. One of these days I’ll have to spring for a good camera again.

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69 Responses to “Uzi Protector Tritium Watch Review”

  1. Brian McQuillian Says:

    Just grabbed one of these off of the “bay.” I am looking forward to using this as my average beater at work. Like the style and the nylon strap. Can’t afford a Luminox – hoping this will do. Thanks for the review.

  2. Apollo Says:

    Thanks for the review! I’ve been considering the purchase of a tritium illuminated watch and narrowed it down to the Uzi Protector or a military issue Traser watch. Not only is the Uzi less expensive, but it’s water resistance is superior to the 99 feet water resistance to the Gov’t Issue model. Plus, I suspect there wouldn’t be that much of a difference between the Swiss Parts movment of the Uzi Protector and the Swiss Made movement of the Gov’t Issue watch.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I am a knife dealer and I bought some of these watches to resell. I own a Luminox USAF Stealth F117 watch and I have been very happy with everything about the Luninox except the weight. The UZI Protector is by far much lighter than the all stainless steel Stealth watch, and in my opinion better than the Luminox first Navy Seal watch. The first Luminox watch was also a nylon case and it had tritium dial but mine didn’t last very long, about 2 years with heavy use. So far the uzi is keeping perfect time and is more comfortable. I beleive this UZI is better built and costs much less. I also own a Citizen Calibre 2100 Titanium and now I am wearing the Citizen watch for doing business and the UZI for everything else.

  4. Stormdrane Says:

    Nice review.

  5. the vindicated anarchist Says:

    I love my UZI Protector but I find the velcro strap too loose for my wrists. I think I might have tiny wrists because my last watch had the same issue. Can you recommend a decent NATO style strap? Thanks.

  6. Ed Says:

    Randy Nilsen usually has a good selectionhttp://stores.ebay.com/Nilsens-Straps-Bands-and-Watches

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Hi, bought my UZI Protector off ebay and had nothing but problems with the supplier. The watch is superb and is never off my wrist, however, my supplier did not send the warranty card nor instructions nor the wrist band I originally ordered. Anyone know where I can get hold of the instructions and type of battery for it.CheersMartin

  8. Ed Says:

    Try contacting them here:http://www.campco.com/contactus.htmlSorry to hear about the bum ebay sellerGood luck.Ed

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for that, but again no luck there, no reply from them. I would guess my ebayer is selling old stock without warranties and Campco maybe doesn’t want to get drawn into it. By the way, I have contacted all UK sellers that I can find for these watches to ask them 2 simple questions. A/ Replace the battery for me. and B/ replace the glass/crystal. All have said they don’t work on UZI’s even though they supposedly sell them and guarantee them ??? Seems very strange and maybe they are throw away items, hence the price. I did get quoted the full UK cost price to replace the glass by a local watch repairer who I couldn’t trust.

  10. Ed Says:

    Sorry to hear that. The battery shouldn’t be a big deal. Your typical shopping mall watch store should be able to replace the battery cheaply enough, The crystal is another matter though. Good luck with it,Ed

  11. Ryan Says:

    It’s been a while since you first posted this, how has it held up? I’ve heard comments that it isn’t as sturdy as some others. I also heard a comment that the crystal face cracked and that it was thin. Well? How is it holding up? I’m very interested and would like to know.

  12. Ryan Says:

    By the way, how noisy is it? I have a timex that I can hear ticking a mile away.

  13. Ed Says:

    So far, it has held up quite well. The case has picked up a few scuffs but, otherwise, no problems. It isn’t loud either btw.

  14. Adam Says:

    Wow, what a great site! Found you when researching this watch (looking for christmas gifts for 10 employees, all security guards). Thx for review, have ordered one to check it out further.Adam

  15. Ed Says:

    Glad to hear that you like the site. Good luck with the Uzi. Should be perfect for security personnel.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for your great review, Ed!I’ve been searching for a tritium watch for sports & outdoor use, and although I liked the traser, khs, luminox etc, I thought that they were relatively expensive, and even more so if you’d want a model with the same water resistance as the UziThese watches do offer more tritium tubes though, but the Uzi’s night visibility is great and I don’t miss the extra pips Perhaps this could be an advantage if you’d want to use it as a “tactical” watch; I understand that you have to cover tritium watches during night operations to avoid being a “sitting duck”Well, this doesn’t worry me anymore, having retired from the army, but it’s just a thoughtI like the price, not only for the money, but with an expensive watch I tend to be quite careful, even if it’s rugged, and now I can just do as I please…I also fitted a NATO strap, for the original strap was too large for my wristI could have done without the Uzi logo on the dial though, and the packaging is especially silly with two gangster-like thugs appearing on the boxWith the watch itself I’m very happy, it’s light but feels solid, and offers good value for moneyJP

  17. Ed Says:

    Good to hear you found the review useful. I know what you mean about the box. It is silly. Great field watch though.

  18. Marcel Says:

    Thanks for a great review. I have bought this watch in UK and I love them – they are absolutely light, I love the screw-in crown and the glow in the dark is just amazing. Great watch. I have them for two weeks now and I have not found one single flaw with them and I can be very critical about my watch. Cheers, Marcelmaco@maco.sk

  19. Ed Says:

    Good to hear. I still wear mine regularly. Good tough watch.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Hey man. Excellent review. I have the rubber strapped watch, but am looking to replace the strap with a nylon strap (can you suggest one?). I have thin wrists, so the rubber might have been a bad choice. Also, I was wondering how you changed the strap. I don’t see any pins or screws to take it off. Could you fill me in?

  21. Ed Says:

    A nylon strap like a nato style is easy enough. I got mine from R M Nilsen’s ebay store. Do a google search for Nilsen & watchband, it should come up. As for removing the rubber strap, you need to use a springbar tool. Rubber diver straps don’t have much play in them at the ends which might make seeing the springbars tricky. Let a local jeweler take off the strap for you and replace the springbars if you don’t have one of these tools. Then either slip a nato on or maybe use another style of nylon strap. Enjoy.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you very much for your help!I just have one final question: for the watch straps, it says 22 mm or 18 mm. What do those measurements refer to? The width of the bands? Thanks once again.

  23. Ed Says:

    No problem. 22mm is the width of the band which is the size the Protector uses.

  24. Shinguz Says:

    Today is the Day,couple of minutes the postman ring the bell and bring me MY UZI… I hate german post btw:-) )It is a bit weird for me because until now I collect Chronographs but so far I had to say that I LOVE THIS WATCH !Many Greetings out of GermanyShinguz

  25. Ed Says:

    It is an easy watch to like. Tough, affordable and tritium lume in one package. EnjoyEd

  26. Carlos to Seville (spain) Says:

    Hallo,I am Spanish.I have Just to buy Uzi Protector.I Have to see your Post is very interesant.Congratulacion.I have a cuestion for you: Is dangerous or nocive tritio watch for open Change battery.Please excuse me,I speak English a few.Thank very much.

  27. Ed Says:

    From what I understand, there should be no danger from the tritium when changing a battery. The only possible source of danger would be if you were to break one of the tritium vials on the face of the watch (the tubes on the hands under the glass). That isn’t vey likely to happen though.

  28. Carlos Verdugo (corvineitor) Says:

    Thank you very much.I have Uzi protector the next monday.I am fisher surfcasting.I fish in to the beach Rota (Cadiz,spain)always to night.

  29. Ed Says:

    Should be a good choice then 🙂

  30. Anonymous Says:

    I was shopping or a watch with tritium lumes. I passed on the Uzi for the reason that the vials are located only at the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. I needed one with a tritium marker at every hour. Those who are considering the Uzi might keep what may be a deficiency in mind.

  31. Ed Says:

    Very true. The more upscale Uzi Defender model has tritium vials at all the markers. The price on that model has come down somewhat too on ebay. I have seen recent examples int the $120 range.

  32. G. N. HARRIS Says:

    Thank Ed for your excellent review of what has turned out for me to be the perfect watch for the job. I am a police officer and have, for some time now been searching for the best timepiece to support what I do in the field. I don’t wear a watch off duty. The simple fact is my cell phone tells the time and personally I don’t like anything on my wrist. There for when I started looking the only criteria was, will it stand up to the rigors involved in daily ‘on the road’ policing. So far the answer is an overwhelming yes. I purchased the protector with a nylon band and love it. My only criticism is the date window. I find it a little small. Other than that I am very happy and without your review I may not have taken the final step to purchase. Thanks again.G. N. HARRIS February 2008

  33. Alan Says:

    Great review! I have been using Luminox for the last 6 years…When it finally gave out last month I decided to buy the UZI Protector and save some money. However, I was disappointed that after 3 weeks the seconds hand fell off. I am a Florida fireman and I usually beet my watches but I have been really careful with the UZI. Customer service at Campco is great and they are sending a new one this week. I really like the watch but hopefully it will last this time… Anyone else with similar problem? By the way, does anyone think that the date window is badly positioned?

  34. Ed Says:

    Sounds like you got a lemon. Good to hear that Campco is doing the right thing. I regularly play golf with my Uzi and the impact shocks from the club striking the ball have had no effect on the one I’ve got. I had a Wenger lose its second hand from this sport though. I agree about the date window. I almost wish they had made this one with no date. Still, for the $, its hard to argue with.

  35. Shinguz Says:

    I personal use this one for EVERYTHING!!!! Work, Tae-Kwon-Do, Playing with my Daughter… It works fantastic and everyhing in on the right place ! I Love that beater

  36. Ed Says:

    That sounds like my experience. Good stuff 🙂

  37. Anonymous Says:

    I bought my UZI defnder from CampCo. It arrived in a crushed box, no warranty paper, and no instuction. The second hand does not illuminate at night. I called CamCo, but have to wait to get return Authorization. Be Careful Guys K.Z.

  38. Ed Says:

    Sounds like a shipper may have damaged things along the way. Hope it all works out.

  39. Alan Says:

    Follow up on previous post “Alan said…” I received the warranty replacement today from UZI/ Campco. However, I am disappointed. The watch looks a bit different then the UZI Protector I had. The face is different, making the date window smaller. Also, the Tritium vials have gotten smaller and instead of the vials running the length of the hour/ minute hands…They are only at the end of the hands. To give you an example: All the Tritium vials including the hands are the same size. When I called campco they said that there is a shortage of Tritium and that they had to cut back. Anyway, you get what you pay for. Luminox and Traser are the way to go for least expensive.

  40. Ed Says:

    That stinks. Sounds more likely that they are feeling the effect of a declining economy and are cuttiing costs. Bad news one way or another.

  41. CroC the Paintballer Says:

    I read about the Uzi Protector in Facefull Magazine (paintball) and needed to be convinced that it’ll take the rigours of an extreme sport such paintball.I’ve just made a purchase off the ‘Bay’ and I’ll see how it handles a few outings in the bush whilst paintballing.I’ve been wearing my Casio G-Shock for everything and it’s stood the test of time. I needed one specifically for paintballing and finally I’ve found one.I’m probably going to get a Luminox EVO Series II as well to see how they compare.I owe my purchse to you Ed. After reading your review, I was convinced I should get one.I’ll let you all know once it arrives and I take it out for a spin in the bush.Cheers!

  42. Ed Says:

    That would certainly be a great test 🙂

  43. Mel Says:

    Got the watch, got the band. Great timepiece! Thanks for this awesome blog about it!

  44. Ed Says:

    Good to hear. Enjoy it 🙂

  45. Weston Says:

    Just purchased the Uzi Protector and a Breitling Style Black Leather band from rmnilsen on ebay. Previously owned a Breitling limited production run military watch. It took 10 years of beatings and gave out. The Uzi sounds like a cheap/sturdy replacement. Thanks for the detailed info.

  46. Ed Says:

    A Breitling style band sounds like an interesting combo. Good luck with it.

  47. Kim Zarintash Says:

    Ed: The first watch from CampCo was defective on arrival( The lumious vial did not work on the second HAND). The replacement watch took in moisture in the shower ( the bezel and the crown were tightend by me per instruction prior to use.) Camp Co refuses to replace the watch. I waited a month to get a reply. I asked them to put it in writing the reason for refusal. As of this writing, I do not have either a letter or the watch. Kim

  48. Ed Says:

    Not good at all. Why won’t they replace it? Worst comes to worst, if you paid with a credit card, contact the card company and file a complaint. Very odd indeed.

  49. SGTTOM Says:

    Had my crystal replaced by a mall kiosk after two years of hard use, web site is http://www.precisiontimeco.com/ . Crystal was about 20, my total was 38 with 5-year battery warranty. The watch will probably take advantage of the battery once, but they’ll check the pressure/water-proofing whenever you bring it in. Any decent watch repair place should be able to replace the Protector’s crystal. I process x-ray film in the dark, this is the best time piece ever for the low price!

  50. Tom E Says:

    About 1 year of use in harsh environments. I’m a Bridge Inspection Engineer and the watch has survived fresh water Commercial Diving to about 75 ft. This is probably the most accurate watch I have ever owned. Stays set to the second over several week periods. The Tritium is wimpy compared to Trasers or Luminox but at prices below $70 online, these are well worth it.

  51. Ed Says:

    Wow. You really have tested this one. Good to hear it has withstood that sort of punishment.

  52. Adman Says:

    I bought an UZI Protector just recently. I loved the watch when I got it but that afternoon the second hand fell off. What a joke. I will be returning the watch and asking for either a refund or exchange. Very disappointed.

  53. Speed Harris Says:

    Hi Ed, Have you seen the new Uzi Ballistic watches? http://www.campco.com/ballistic.aspCheck out the video and see the abuse they claim the watches can take. It would be great if you could do a review on these new Uzi’s.Cheers, Speed.

  54. Ed Says:

    Interesting video. I wonder how that crystal can take those impacts. I’ll see if one is in the budget so to speak 🙂

  55. Speed Harris Says:

    I have been in contact with a guy from Smith and Wesson (the company that make the Uzi watches) on WUS forums. he says that the crystal is made of polycarbonate plastic, the plastic they use in making bullet proof glass. You can find them here http://www.lapolicegear.com/uzih3trwa.html for considerably less than the RRP. (I hope you don’t mind me posting that link)

  56. Ed Says:

    Not at all. Thanks for the info. I have one on the way. Should make for an interesting review.

  57. Speed Harris Says:

    Excellent!!! I can’t wait for a totally honest, independant review!!! I doubt very much whether you would want to hit a brand new watch with a hammer, (I know I wouldn’t!) but it would be cool if you could conduct some sort of tests to verify the strength and durability of the crystal. Cheers, Speed.

  58. Ed Says:

    I’m not sure if I have the nerve to take a hammer to a watch either. I’ll try to come up with something through 🙂

  59. James Says:

    The problem with getting your watch batteries replaced at the mall is that you won’t get a factory replacement gasket after the case is opened. Many of the mall shops will tell you: “The water resistance will be gone after I replace the battery.” As a result, I now buy watches that don’t require battery replacement, such as Seiko Kinetics, Citizen Eco-Drives and Omega Seamaster mechanicals. In Toronto, there is an authorized Omega service center, and I can get batteries for any quartz Omegas there–and the factory gaskets. Just remember that your 200-meter water resistance shrinks to about two centimeters after a mall shop opens that watch case!

  60. Ed Says:

    Very true. Both of the jewelers that I use in NYC have pressure testing machines for that reason.

  61. Tom Sellers Says:

    I followed your link to the Marathon and read that as well. I ended up calling them, turns out they will only sell in Canada to qualified personnel so I hve to send them a copy of my employment ID. However I think I’ll go with the Marathon Navigator/Date model, as I want the rotating bezel with the illuminated index mark for taking pulse or timing other events in the dark.Regards, Tom

  62. Ed Says:

    Makes sense that is a nice one.

  63. scrapie Says:

    I grabbed mine in July 2007 for 89,- €, wore it every day, treated it with care and was happy with it – until today. At 11:45 ist was still 06:27 so I went to a shop to get the battery replaced. What else could make such an excellent piece of work stop than the battery? Well, I don´t know what, only that it´s for sure not the battery. The garantee time is over and the manufacturer not to find, only the reseller, CampCo, who is not responsible. Sadly a bad experience with a nice looking and handy watch I will surely miss, but not replace with the same brand due to a lack of quality.

  64. Ed Says:

    Sorry to hear it. I wonder what went wrong?

  65. scrapie Says:

    I brought her to a watch maker, not willing to accept the sudden death, but all he could tell me,was, that the clockwork is defect and could be replaced for 60 Euro, 2/3 of the price for a new one. Perhaps I had a mondays fabricate, or just bad luck. I allways treated the watch mith care, she never felt down, was never deeper than 25m under water. 😦

  66. Anonymous Says:

    nice watch with yellow dial BUT not nearly as bright illumination as a luminox 3957.i only paid 70.00 new for it so i guess i cant complain too much.date window is very hard to see with my 64yo eyes-WAY too small.velcro band very comfortable and easy to adjust.i agree about the package-really silly and CHEAP! jon pierce

  67. david kay Says:

    Can anyone tell me if there is a tritium watch out there that is 10mm or less in thickness, preferably without a rotating bezel.Obliged for any suggestions

  68. Anonymous Says:

    I too am in Law Enforcement and based on your review and the other officers, I just picked one up! Sounds like this watch will serve its purpose for me and well. Thanks for the review.

  69. pchairrider Says:

    return Uzi watches to this address along wih $10.00 in check or momn\ney order UZI REPAIR & SERVICE CENTER, 4625 W. JEFFERSON BLVD., LOS ANGELES,CA, 90016. Hope this helps, warrenty is only good for one year though.


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