Momentum SQ30 Eclipse and Wayfinder GMT – Magnum P.I.’s choice, or an understated tool watch

Momentum SQ30 Eclipse and Wayfinder GMT – Magnum P.I.’s choice, or an understated tool watch

Time+Tide

Let’s face it: there are so many watch brands nowadays that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the options and to not know where to look. And if you’re looking for rugged and attainable tool watches, then look no further than Momentum and its vast catalog of well-priced models. It’s not just another microbrand with little to no history (not that that’s a bad thing) – the SQ30 may actually look familiar. In fact, it’s a reimagining of one of the first quartz diver’s watches, back when the brand was known as Chronosport, also featuring on the wrist of the mustachioed private detective Thomas Magnum (no, not the 2018 rerun). Here we’re going to take a closer look at the newly released SQ30 Eclipse Solar Black-Ion and the titanium field watch gem that is the Wayfinder GMT.

The cases

momentum sq30 eclipse solar black ion wrist 1

Neither models are for watch enthusiasts who prefer a smaller wrist companion, although sometimes it just feels good to wear something a tad bigger (for reference, my wrist is 6.5in/17cm), and that’s what we have here. The case of the SQ30 Eclipse Solar Black-Ion measures 42mm in diameter, 47mm lug-to-lug, 12.6mm thick and has a lug width of 20mm. Arguably standard dimensions for a contemporary, 300-metre diver.

momentum sq30 eclipse solar black ion side profile

I wondered, as you might too, what is black-ion? It’s a surface treatment applied on stainless steel, very similar to that of diamond-like coating, which is ultra-resistant to scratches, shocks, and resistant to corrosion which makes sense given the raison d’être of the SQ30 Eclipse. The case has a robust profile with long and beefy lugs that make way for small and pointed crown guards at the 3 o’clock side of the case. The crown is recessed within the case when fully screwed-in to protect it further, and although it is small, it’s easy to operate. The entire case has a black, matte finish while the screw-down case-back is made of stainless steel which is typical for this type of treatment.

momentum wayfinder gmt wrist case profile

The Wayfinder GMT for its part appears larger on the wrist than its dimensions might suggest, something easy to explain given its wide dial opening and, consequently, the thin fixed bezel. To be precise, the Wayfinder GMT measures 40mm in diameter, 48mm lug-to-lug, 11mm thick and has a 22mm lug width, the latter measurement explaining why this model commands a noticeable wrist presence. Nevertheless, it comes with 100 metres of water resistance thanks to a screw-down crown and case-back and does accommodate a GMT complication which we will talk more about later. The titanium case has a simple design with long and thin lugs, slab-sided flanks, and a full bead-blasted treatment. There is no question here as to what the nature of the Wayfinder GMT is: it’s meant for rugged adventure.

The dials

momentum sq30 eclipse solar black ion dial close up

The dial of the SQ30 Eclipse Solar Black-Ion is as legible as it gets. Plongeur-style hour and minute hands paired with thickly applied rectangular hour markers—except for the inverted triangle at the 12 o’clock. While the hour and seconds hands are white, the minute hand displays a striking orange colour so that it’s easy to see it in any lighting conditions. So too it is to align to the fully-graduated and lumed bezel insert made of sapphire.

momentum sq30 eclipse solar black ion dial lume

All hour markers are endowed with generous amounts of C3 SuperLuminova which looks creamy yellow during the day (which contrasts nicely with the matte black) and glow bright green at night. The lume application is excellent and the brand went as far as adding a small lumed marker on the right side of the framed day/date window. Lastly, the dial of the SQ30 Eclipse is covered by a flat piece of sapphire which, added to the sapphire bezel insert, 300 meters of water resistance, and heritage of this model makes it a bit of a bargain.

momentum wayfinder gmt wrist

Being a field watch, the Wayfinder GMT has a traditional dial layout showcasing a full stack of Arabic hour markers where the 12 and 6 are larger, and a GMT scale printed on its inner section, similar to typical 24-hour military markings. Only the even hours are printed which makes it possible to keep the dial relatively clean and to add a small date aperture at the 3 o’clock.

momentum wayfinder gmt dial lume

All hour markers are painted with C3 SuperLuminova and we find the same blend of luminescent paint on all four hands – bonus points for luming the tip of the small GMT hand.

The straps

momentum sq30 eclipse solar black ion strap

In terms of straps, the SQ30 comes with one of four options: a NATO-style convertible rubber strap, black or orange FKM tropics, and a blacked-out steel bracelet. The version reviewed here has the first option which is totally novel to me and quite cool to wear. The rubber is soft and supple, truly works like a NATO though tucking the end of the tail is a bit challenging at times. Needless to say, having 20mm lug width, the SQ30 is a legitimate strap monster and I had a good amount of fun pairing the black case with colorful straps.

momentum wayfinder gmt strap

Just like the SQ30, the Wayfinder GMT can be had with one of many straps. More specifically: black leather, a nylon NATO-style, a khaki cordura, black cordura, black rubber, or a bead-blasted titanium bracelet. The model reviewed here was shipped on the black leather strap which is thick yet supple, and that comes with a matching titanium buckle. Of note is that all straps and bracelet options come with quick-release spring-bars to make swapping them a breeze.

The movements

As its name might have given it away, the SQ30 Eclipse Solar Black-Ion is powered by a solar quartz caliber, the Epson VS42A which can run for up to six months on a full charge (either with natural or artificial light) in absolute darkness and is equipped with a day/date complication. The latter I find extremely useful when going on any type of water-related adventure, and it has the added bonus of a colour-matched disc.

The Wayfinder GMT is equipped with the Ronda 515.24H quartz that has – obviously – a GMT complication. It’s a neat feature for a watch that retails for as little as US$249. The Ronda 515.24H has one jewel and a 45-month battery life (that’s almost four years). As you might know, the advantage of quartz movements is that they are inexpensive, solid, and accurate, this one having a stated accuracy of -10/+20 seconds per month. Not too shabby.

Momentum SQ30 and Wayfinder GMT pricing and availability

Both models are currently available for immediate purchase on the brand’s website. The SQ30 Eclipse Solar Black-Ion retails for US$288 on the straps and US$329 on the bracelet. The Wayfinder GMT retails for US$249 on the straps and US$295 on the titanium bracelet.

Brand Momentum
Model SQ30 Eclipse Solar Black-Ion
Wayfinder GMT
Case Dimensions 42mm (D) x 12.6mm (T) x 47mm (LTL) (SQ30)
40mm (D) x 11mm (T) x 48mm (LTL) (GMT)
Case Material Stainless steel (SQ30)
Titanium (GMT)
Water Resistance 300 metres, screw-down crown (SQ30)
100 metres (GMT)
Crystal(s) Sapphire
Dial Black (SQ30)
Black, white full lume, green, blue (GMT)
Strap NATO-style rubber, black or orange tropic, or black stainless steel bracelet (SQ30)
Black leather, nylon NATO, khaki or black cordura, black rubber, or bead-blasted titanium bracelet (GMT)
Movement Epson VS42A, solar quartz (SQ30)
Ronda 515.24H, quartz (GMT)
Power Reserve Six months (SQ30)
45 months (GMT)
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, day, date (SQ30)
Hours, minutes, date, GMT (GMT)
Availability Now
Price US$288 (SQ30, straps), US$329 (SQ30, bracelet)
US$249 (GMT, straps), US$295 (GMT, bracelet)