Vaer A3 USA Automatic 36mm Watch - Product Details and Operation Guide
This article was written by Vaer owners Reagan Cook and Ryan Torres and was last updated on July 20th, 2022.
I) Product Summary
The Vaer A3 36mm USA Automatic is a self-winding 10ATM tool watch, powered by Japanese made Miyota 9015/39 movement and assembled in the United States of America. Blending the sophistication, refinement, and sizing of a vintage dress watch with the outdoor specifications of a modern tool watch, the A3 collection is designed as the ideal 36mm automatic “everyday wearer”
First launched in the fall of 2020 as a follow-up to our popular 40mm A5 automatic collection, the 36mm A3 is built on the same core platform as the A5 (automatic, 10ATM, USA-assembled) - yet with a rare and often sought after retro-sizing that is very difficult to find in the modern watch market. Like the A5 before it, we had three key goals in mind in designing the A3 series:
1) A Sub-$600 Price Point
2) 10ATM + Waterproof Warranty
3) Full USA Assembly and Testing
In our opinion, these three factors make the A3 collection a very distinctive option in the highly competitive sub-$2000 field/design watch category, and place it firmly in the middle of the market between mass produced Chinese made automatics (from Seiko and Asia-based microbrands) and luxury Swiss Made options (from the likes of Nomos, Junghans, Sinn, Hamilton, Tissot etc.).
The A3’s USA assembly make it a far more distinctive and personalized craft good than of its Asian mass-market competitors, yet it still represents a significant value over most European options which carry a luxury markup and typically lack functional outdoor features (such as locking screw down crown, or a waterproof warranty).
In simple terms, it has everything you’d want in an everyday automatic watch, and nothing you don’t. USA assembly gives it a strong sense of character and identity, but it also has the price-point and feature set you’d want for watch that you can wear perpetually (in the most extreme outdoor conditions).
"If you're a fan of the iconic tool watches of the 1950s and 1960s such the original Rolex Explorer, the Vaer A3 is the watch you've been waiting for. It's proportions and functions are pure classic tool watch, yet with the price and performance you'd expect from a modern everyday wearer. "
- Reagan Cook, Vaer Co-Founder
II) Value Proposition
The A3 is powered by the slim, high-beat rate Miyota 9015/39, which is unrivaled in terms of value in its segment. While there are other Miyota 9015/39 offerings in the same price-point as the A3, very few offer USA assembly, and none also offer such strong water resistance capabilities or guarantees.
In addition to it’s impressive water-resistance and top-performing movement the A3 boasts one of the best executed stainless steel cases available for under $1000 (customer & press comparisons to the Hamilton Khaki make it clear the more affordable Vaer boasts the superior case). The 36mm case boasts attractive curvature and refined finishing details through-out including highlight chamfering on the lugs and bezel. Like all Vaer watches the A3 uses an AR-coated scratch-resistant sapphire crystal to protect the dial, and as an automatic, also boasts an AR-coated sapphire crystal exhibition case-back.
To further enhance the functionality and value of the watch, every A3 comes standard with two interchangeable 20mm straps. Our standard A3 strap is a comfortable and waterproof FKM rubber quick-release tactical strap, and it’s complemented by a range of secondary strap options from our USA-Made Horween leather strap, our premium stainless steel bracelet, and several rugged and affordable nylon options.
III) Care and Handling
The Vaer A3 is a durable, dependable and highly accurate mechanical watch designed to last for decades with proper care. We’ve written this guide to explain the basics of the watch, and how to maximize its longevity.
Installing Vaer Quick Release Straps
The Vaer A3 watch comes standard with a pre-installed FKM rubber quick release strap. As our most comfortable and adaptable strap, we believe it is a great introduction to our strap lineup. To remove the standard strap, pull in the small metal knob to disengage the springbar. To attach a quick-release strap, position the end of the bar into the notch on the watch lugs and pull in the metal knob on the other end. Align the loose end of the bar into the second notch, and release the tension of the spring to lock the strap into place. Make sure the strap piece with the buckle is attached to the top of the watch case.
Integrating Vaer Single Pass Straps
While this watch ships standard with our easiliy interchangeable quick release straps, it can also be worn with our nylon single pass straps (a design that is sometimes referred to as a NATO strap). Unlike a traditional watch strap, which is made of two pieces and attached to the watch with removable springbars, our nylon single pass straps are made of a single piece that can be removed or installed in seconds. All single pass straps are sold with a glass vial containing heavy duty 20mm springbars, and a stainless steel springbar tool.
Installing the Vaer Single Pass Strap
If you’ve opted to purchase an optional single pass strap with your watch, or already own a 20mm nylon strap, you will need to remove the standard quick release straps and in- stall springbars between the lugs of your watch. Once the bars are in place, simply feed the tail end of the single pass strap through each of the two springbars starting from the top of the watch. Depending on the size of your wrist you may have extra length of nylon extending beyond the last keeper loop. Simply fold back the tag end of the strap through the keeper. To secure the extra length, feed the strap back toward the buckle until it is tightly secured.
Using Your Watch in the Water
This watch is perfectly suited for underwater activity. The caseback and crown use a threaded screw-down design to maintain an airtight seal. We recommend rinsing the straps and watch case in freshwater after ocean use to remove any build-ups of salt. Though our leather is water resistant, we do not recommend submersion in water - switch to your included ocean-ready strap for this type of activity.
IMPORTANT! Do not expose your watch to water or steam if the crown is not secure. Our waterproof warranty does not cover flooding from misuse if the crown is unlocked.
Manually Winding the 9015/39 Movement
The Vaer A3 is powered by a Japanese made Miyota 9015/39 automatic movement that uses kinetic energy to power the watch. If your watch is not worn for over 42 hours (the maximum power reserve) it will stop keeping time. To recharge the mainspring after resetting the time, you can either rely on the natural movement of your wrist, or you can give it a ‘full charge’ by manually winding it. To wind the watch, unscrew the crown from the default locked position until it is released from the screwdown threading. Instead of pulling the crown out to set the date (position 2) or time (position 3), leave the crown in Position 1.
From Position 1, rotate the crown away from you in a clockwise direction. You should feel a slight tension on the crown, as the spring is engaged. Wind the crown around 20-30 times to fully charge the spring.
Changing the Date
To access Position 2, pull the crown out to the first “click” to access date setting. If your watch has a date window, you can rotate the crown clockwise to change the date. If your watch does not have a date window, this setting can be ignored.
Setting the Time To access Position 3, pull the crown out to the second “click”. From this position you can rotate the crown clock- wise to change the time. Once the time and date are set, and the watch is properly wound, push the crown in, and screw it back into the locked position. IMPORTANT! Only advance the date when the time is after 2AM and before 10PM. Advancing the date wheel close to midnight can the damage the movement.
Ryan and Reagan co-founded Vaer Watches in Venice, California in 2016. As small business owners they handle just about every aspect of the daily operations of the company from watch design and supply chain management, to customer support and photography. Over the years, they've learned a thing or two about watchmaking, online retail, and American sourcing and assembly. If you have a question, comment or correction related to this article you can contact the authors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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