TRIBUS watch review: TRI-01 Small Second COSC


TRI-01 is an appropriate name for this very first attempt at a core collection watch from fledgling British watch brand TRIBUS.

If at first you don’t succeed, TRI, try, try again?

There are no additional tries required for this watch.


It is an instant hit from a business that understands every detail counts and you only get one chance to make a first impression.

There are two things you need to know about the origin story of TRIBUS.

First, it is run by three brothers: James, Jonny and Jake Ward with support and guidance from their father Chris.

You will recognize the father’s name in its full form — Christopher Ward — the eponymous co-founder of one of Britain’s most successful watch businesses of the past 20 years.

The United States is the second largest market for Christopher Ward watches that, like TRIBUS, sell purely online from their direct to consumer websites.

Chris Ward left the company that he created with Mike France and Peter Ellis at the start of 2020 and has taken on the role of non-executive chairman of TRIBUS.

The second thing you need to know is that TRIBUS has sufficient financial clout to make it a viable Official Wristwatch Partner for Liverpool Football Club; a multi-million dollar deal that gives the company a global reach to billions of football fans following the Champions League and English Premier League.

In short, TRIBUS has the expertise, experience, watchmaking contacts, money and marketing nous to burst onto the scene as a fully formed business.

It is no a surprise, therefore, that its first core collection watch after unveiling special editions for the Liverpool partnership looks and feels like it has come from a company that has been making them for decades.

The TRIBUS TRI-01 Small Second COSC comes in a range of colors including yellow, salmon, black, teal and cream.

There are two 41mm case options: raw stainless steel models cost $1,500 and a gunmetal PVD treatment nudges the price up to $1,616.

The range uses Swiss-made and COSC-certified Sellita SW261 automatic movements with a stated accuracy of 4/+6 seconds per day and 38 hour power reserve.

This movement normally has a date at 3 o’clock, which is missing from the TRI-01.

The package has high end touches including domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating for both the dial and underside of the watch and a screw-down crown and caseback that make it waterproof to 150 meters.

I have the black model on review and its polished steel hours and minutes hands are precision cut and filled with high grade Super-LumiNova.

Polished and faceted indexes are perfectly proportioned for easy legibility, and have the same Super-Luminova to make them glow in the dark.

It is a perfect monochrome piece. Despite most of the white accents on the dial being made from Super-Luminova, they are still a bright white in daylight, which is not always the case.

The black leather strap, which is comfortingly padded, has white stitching to keep continuity with the dial. The strap has a quick release spring so it can be exchanged for a steel bracelet ($255), rubber of nylon strap (both $139).

There are gold or gunmetal PVD bracelets available for $370, but they would not work with the black watch I am reviewing.

There is nowhere to hide imperfections on a watch like the TRI-01, particularly the black model, and the quality control from TRIBUS is obvious.

The hours hand is the perfect length to kiss the quarter hour baton markers; the small seconds sub dial is beautifully inset to add depth to the dial; the crown and strap buckle are branded with the TRIBUS name or logo; the inside of the strap is stamped with the logo; the rotor is branded as well.

There are a lot watches in the $1,000 to $1,500 price range with ETA or Selitta Swiss-made movements, and it is the tiny details that allow a brand to command the upper end of this range.

TRIBUS only sells direct to consumers, which improves its margin, so it is positioning itself as a premium player in the affordable luxury space.

Even at the top end of that range, the TRI-01 over-delivers on the quality and style of watch you would expect at this price.

It is a timeless classic, built to last, that I would expect to give every customer decades of trouble-free service.

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