After years of co-hosting a watch podcast, reviewing truckloads of cool watches, and owning watches I never thought I’d have a chance at, I still have a soft spot for affordable solar quartz watches. We often look back at episode #66 as one of our all-time favorites and recently put together the most in-depth guide to the best solar quartz watches you’ll find anywhere. It’s core TBWS at this point. That’s why I couldn’t pass up the chance to review what I think is one of the best deals in the world of affordable watches today—the Redwood Tactical V2 Stealth. Built off one of my favorite specifications in the military watch world (MIL-W-22176A), it combines a classic mil-spec design with the durability to back it up. And at $189, it could make for a pretty guilt-free impulse buy … something I’m still tempted by after sending back the loaner watch I photographed.

The Redwood Tactical V2 serves as the Canadian microbrand’s flagship model and one that’s available in several different versions. They’ve even got one with a full lume dial and an automatic movement. I thought I’d spend some time with the fully blacked-out version with a solar quartz Epson VS17 movement. The first thing that stood out to me was how compact the case was. So many watches that attempt to build from this specification often end up with a ridiculous lug-to-lug measurement. This diver comes in at a comfortable 48mm lug to lug against its 40mm case diameter. Also, going with the quartz movement leaves you with the slimmest case thickness available at 11.2mm, compared to 12.2mm on the automatics.

The 20mm lug width, to me, is also ideal for this kind of design. Redwood sent this to me with their Black Ribbed Nylon strap and I was so impressed with it that I often wore it with some of my other watches. It didn’t feel flimsy or over-built or bulky. Something about the Tactical V2’s 120-click bezel made it very grippy and satisfying to operate. The case also provides 200m of water resistance and a screw-down crown. This is one of the very few issues I have with the watch, mostly because the crown did feel quite small and sometimes difficult to operate. But it was fine once I got used to it. Maybe this can be something Redwood improves on if there’s ever a Tactical V3.

I also found no issue with legibility and the dial layout offers a fun variation of what you’d usually see on watches following this spec. Hand length was also spot on and with the all-black look of this piece, having the touch of red on the seconds hand and some of the dial text added some visual interest to the otherwise dichromatic dial. Redwood also equips the watch with a sapphire crystal. I’m not sure what kind of anti-reflective treatment was given to it but I had almost no issue with excessive reflections. Lume has been applied to all of the bezel markings, dial numerals and hour markers, and the hands.

Aside from the rugged design, the Epson VS17 solar quartz movement is probably my favorite feature on the Redwood Tactical V2 Stealth. I’m glad that Redwood offers the watch with a Miyota 82S0 if you want it. But this is the kind of feature that really makes the watch shine as a daily wearer. It’s just hard to beat the accuracy and convenience of almost never having to set the watch most of the time. We often romanticize the idea of mechanical watches outliving their owners. The fact is, most quartz watches are capable of doing the same, and with much lower service costs. As expected, I had no issues with the movement while I had the Redwood loaner.

Honestly, my favorite solar quartz watch is my Citizen Eco-Drive Promaster diver. No contest. But this little Redwood gave it a run for its money. My hope is that the brand continues to refine the watch as the collection grows (bigger crown) and that we see even more variety in the colorways. Again, it’s just so hard to beat at under $200 and I hope we continue seeing microbrands experimenting with solar movements.

To check out all the other versions of the Tactical V2, visit Redwood’s official site.


Leave a Comment