A Watch That’s Tactical and Tacticool – The Smith & Bradley Ambush

    Smith and Bradley, a rather novel young watch company, has put up its “Ambush” Digital/Analog watch on Kickstarter. The watch is inspired by the AR-15 with the two hands lining up like a sight picture 24 times a day.

    Okay, that’s a little gimmicky, but the watch is quite the timepiece. The Ambush is a combined digital/analog watch with compass, chrono, LED back-lighting, good in water to 100 meters, and more. Hit the KickStarter link or read below for more details.

    The Ambush: Formulated in the Field

    For our Third Project Smith & Bradley is Bringing Digital Analog to a New Level (White Board and Sketch Pictures) For this our third Kickstarter campaign, lead designer Jerommie Smith went back to the drawing board (literally) to design a first-of-its-kind digital analog tactical watch that blends form & function, by melding Swiss precision and accuracy with rugged styling present in all Smith & Bradley watches. Drawing inspiration for years of real-life SWAT experience, and blending it with the straight-forward and clean lines of an AR-15 assault rifle, Jerommie imagined a true masterpiece of a tool. Tool is the operative word. In an ever-changing world where preparedness is paramount, we wanted to produce a watch that will be strong and durable in the field, and at the same time have the functionality that is necessary for travel and other high-pressure situations. Sometime a watch has so much usefulness built into one case that it transcends the role of timepiece and becomes a tool.

    Relevant Specifications

    • Swiss Digital Analog movement
    • 316L stainless steel PVD coated
    • 44mm case without crowns
    • Sapphire crystal that is Anti-Reflective coated
    • EPDM rubber strap
    • Production will have DLC coated strap buckle
    • Alarm, Chronograph, Compass, Dual Time zones functionality
    •  Blue back-lit LED digital display
    • Superluminova on Analog hands Designed in Sidney Illinois Our Design inspiration The bezel is designed drawing inspiration from AR-15 top rail.

    Aggressive Design for an Aggressive Watch

    The side of the watch emulates an AR-15’s heat vents. The analog watch hands are another design feature we are proud of. Since the compass utilizes the hands to show true north (the digital field shows all data of direction and heading in degrees, all program done by user) we built the minute hand to have rear sights at the end and ghost ring circle in the middle. The minute hand will point to true North and the hour hand is your heading during compass mode. Now the hour hand has a red dot on the end. This makes it very easy to keep position on your heading. A small detail, but one that we agonized over for weeks. The unique factor is when the two cross every hour you have ghost ring sight alignment!

    Technology at Work 

    The Ambush is no simple stopwatch. It features two time zones, an alarm, chronograph, and digital compass. These features are easily toggled between by using the main crown as the master control. Similar to the design used in fine automobiles, we tried to use the toggle function to provide accessible full function feature that is usable with one hand. Additionally, we use a Swiss Renata battery to power the movement which includes the digital and analog feature. The Reneta provides a theoretical 39 month battery life (depending on how you use the watch.) Despite the extreme length of the battery life, we built into the Ambush an end of life battery function wherein the Ambush will show in the digital background and continue running. This provides ample warning on when to the change the watch battery so you will never be caught off guard.

    The functionality of the movement is astoundingly complex yet at the same time simple and intuitive. For instance, the hands of the watch always move to the 10 and 2 (open) position when the digital fields in the background are activated. The user will never have a digital field obstructed by the hands when the digital fields are in use. The hands operate like a conventional analog watch until the digital fields are activated.

    The bezel unidirectional, that is it moves one way, this is because the bezel is used as part of the Ambush’s navigation system. Insert Bezel picture. The user’s home time is set in the TIME1 this allows for Zulu time to be set on TIME2. This is a very useful feature if the user travels between different time zones since its as easy as pressing one button to toggle between two zones. The CHRONO feature is for any timing with digital accuracy and functions like a conventional stop watch. Set ALARM feature is also straightforward and a feature not usually included on a tactical watch. The compass on the Ambush is electronic and programmable. The compass is programmable for heading in degrees and declination. This makes navigation accurate and precise. The Low Light Settings We utilized reverse LED for the digital function. This will allow us to use light from our environment to utilize the LED. This LED will give off no light unless it is activated. Therefore, similar to the San-13, the user has control over the lume of the watch. We opted for the low level blue LED to illuminate. 

    The Kickstarter campaign is now fully funded, but you have until September 11th to place an order. If you like it, you may want to hurry; there are only about 10 slots lefts at the lowest contribution level.


    I have been in the market for a solid casual watch for some time and this looks to be just the ticket. I just placed my pledge and will do a review of the watch here on TFB.

    Smith-Bradley-Ambush-Digital-Analog-Watch-3 Smith-Bradley-Ambush-Digital-Analog-Watch-4

    Nathan S

    One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

    The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.