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Thread: Old PRS-29 vs New PRS-29

  1. #1
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    Old PRS-29 vs New PRS-29

    The new PRS-29A has been out for a year now so I thought it would be a nice time to discuss our thoughts on the changes Eddie put into the watch as well as compare and contrast the two.

    Below I've posted images of the two watches for quick reference

    A short list of the changes from old to new PRS-29:
    -Removal of the 39mm variant
    -Sapphire box crystal as opposed to Acrylic
    -Drilled lugs with springbars as opposed to fixed

    Dial changes:
    -Change in font typeface and thickness
    -Hour hand lume no longer fills to the point
    -Numbers closer to the outer track

    My thoughts:
    Both watches are gorgeous, both watches are very robust and accurate. This thread isn't to say one is better than the other because reason X Y Z, but to express our opinions on the little things you like and dislike between both versions. Personally, I would still pick the old PRS-29A as it is more true to the original, and in general more "military;" here is my reasoning for that.

    The open "4" is the most obvious change that isn't true to the original and, to my eye, looks like it belongs to a different family of typeface. The rest of the numbers look closer to the W10's typeface and thickness than the old PRS-29's. Another change was to move the 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11 closer to the outer track and it gives the numbers a more square arrangement than round as in the original W10 and the old PRS-29A. The hands were not entirely true to the original on the old PRS-29 as both hands should have had the lume fill them to the point instead of just the hour hand, but on the new version they are both squared off.

    Of course the object of this watch isn't to be an exact copy, as then we'd have to copy the sorry state of the Lume on most surviving examples, but a faithful homage should have the same proportions of the main components. The numbers, both in their font and placement being the standout element in capturing the look of the original W10.

    The decision to add springbars and drilled lugs is in direct response to many people complaining that they could only have NATO's and clip-on straps, but I feel it has compromised some strength. I've had a failure of a spring bar while on a field exercise and can not trust them ever again after that (also the day I switched to NATOs exclusively). The old fixed bars were solid and you were not going to break one without breaking the whole damn watch or somehow imparting enough force to snap a NATO strap. It was also kind of a novelty as fixed bars are pretty rare these days, but of course, were standard on military watches back of the olden days.

    Sapphire vs Acrylic crystal I personally don't care too much about, but the original had acrylic and so the old PRS-29 is more accurate to the original in this respect. From the perspective of it being a field watch, scratches and scuffs are to be expected and so I do not mind acrylic crystal, especially since they can be buffed and are quite cheap. Sapphire on the other hand doesnt scratch but when it fails, it fails catastrophically, not what you want to happen when out in the field.

    With all that said, I think the new PRS-29A is more of a dress watch with characteristics of a field watch and the old one was a field watch that could be dressed up. I also believe the old one was truer to the original and the dial had better design.

    This is just speculation,but I feel like with this step towards versatility and becoming more of a dress watch, the PRS-29A has been sidelined by the watch that does it much better with a design that seems purpose built for it: the PRS-29AM. I think the PRS-29A, to distinguish it from the PRS-29AM, should be the more rugged counterpart with lume, fixed lugs, an acrylic crystal and very legible numbers.
    Would eddie be able to say if this last statement is true? I base the idea that the AM has outshone the PRS-29A in the last year just based off of how many listings I see of both in the secondhand market and how people ooh and ahh at it whenever a picture is posted (It is a fantastic looking watch).


    NEW PRS-29A


    OLD PRS-29A


    ORIGINAL SMITHS W10
    Last edited by jared; 10th October 2019 at 22:34.

  2. #2
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
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    Very enjoyable. Thanks.

  3. #3
    Journeyman Ogdensnut's Avatar
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    Nov 2017
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    Leicester
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    Iíve tried to find rather unsuccessfully what the widths of the hands are on each model and whether the proportions are the same for each model. The first 29a to my eye looks closest in style to the W10 but the second hand appears too thin. I could be mistaken. Anyone know?


    Sent from my iPhone using TZ-UK mobile app

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