Hands-On With The New Traska Commuter 34 And 38
At the risk of sounding too enthusiastic, I’d say that Traska never ceases to surprise me. That’s not only because the brand expands its catalog exponentially each year but also because it continuously improves upon the quality. We see increasingly smoother finishes, better bracelets, and, perhaps more importantly, top-notch dials. Each new model or new iteration of an existing one is a step above what came before. And today, we’ll look at two new models from the American brand — the Commuter in 34mm and 38mm sizes. These are two models, as the brand puts it, that nobody asked for but everybody secretly wanted.
As the in-house specialist on Traska, I’ve already covered a few models from the brand, from its Venturer GMT and the Super Compressor-style Seafarer to the Summiteer and Freediver. One thing that might have come across throughout these reviews is the high quality-to-price ratio that the brand offers. As someone who mainly reviews micro- and independent brands, I can confidently say that Traska offers some of the best-made watches for less than €1,000. I know that’s a big statement to make, and I’m happy to stand behind it. Perhaps what’s below will make you feel the same, regardless of whether or not you like the design. Spoiler alert: I love the way they look.
The Traska Commuter
Just like any Traska collection, the Commuter line has improved a lot since it debuted in 2021. It has seen changes in dimensions and colors, and it now offers new dials and better construction. Given its specs, the Commuter is the type of watch that can be taken anywhere to do practically anything. It has solid lume, a 100m water resistance rating, a sapphire crystal, a premium Japanese Miyota caliber, and a proprietary hardening coating on the case and bracelet. The last one, by the way, is far from a gimmick. It truly works. After reviewing many Traska watches over the past three years, I have yet to find a scratch on any of them. This kind of detail is what makes the Commuter such a compelling horological offer, at least to me.
While the first- and second-generation Commuter had a 36mm case diameter, it now comes in both 34mm and 38mm cases too. This means there will be a Commuter for you whether you fancy smaller watches or have larger wrists. And, as we will see below, each size has four dial colors available with different textures and treatments. Ranging from sunburst to semi-matte and full gloss, each endows the Commuter with a subtle yet luxurious flair.
The Commuter in two new sizes — 34mm and 38mm
Lately, I’ve become obsessed with smaller watches — as in 32–34mm small. As I put it to myself, I’ve finally come to my senses. These dimensions work best for my 16cm (6.25”) wrist as they look natural, almost “organic” if you will. This isn’t a popular opinion even in 2023 as many see a 34mm watch as “girly” (and to be honest, I’ve heard worse). However, I do find that a 34mm watch fits my wrist just right. So I’m more than thrilled that Traska decided to offer the Commuter in this size. It has an effective diameter of 34.5mm, a lug-to-lug of 41.5mm, a thickness of 8.75mm, and a lug spacing of 19mm. That last measurement won’t please everybody, but it does make sense here. Sometimes we watch enthusiasts need to make a small sacrifice for the greater good of a watch’s ideal proportions.
However, if you have larger wrists or are just looking for a larger watch, don’t worry. Now the Commuter is offered in a 38.5mm variant with a 46mm lug-to-lug length, 8.75mm thickness, and a 20mm lug spacing. All in all, these are great dimensions that will fit many wrists, even if you’re stuck with small ones like mine. Honestly, I was shocked when Traska announced these two sizes as I thought 36.5mm was the perfect in-between. But handling both the Commuter 34 and 38, I do see how this was the right move to make. This collection has become better suited to today’s watch enthusiasts’ and collectors’ tastes. With these two additions, the Commuter now comes in three sizes.
The incredible new dials
Besides the new diameters, I was also taken aback by the gorgeous new dial colors and how nicely finished they are. The Commuter 34 comes in four colors — Sandstone Yellow, Mint Green, Faded Copper, and Aegean Blue. The first two have received a semi-matte finish, while the latter two have a sunburst effect. The Commuter 38 also comes in four colors — Arctic White, Mint Green, Carbon Black, and Woodland Green. The white dial has a glossy finish, and the green one has a sunburst effect. The mint and black ones, however, show a semi-matte finish. Not only is it hard to convey how good the dials look in photos, but I also didn’t get my hands on all versions.
Pictured in this review are the Commuter 34 in Sandstone Yellow and the Commuter 38 in Arctic White. The yellow version does indeed have a semi-matte finish, which contrasts superbly with the applied and polished hour markers. This type of color and finish absorbs light, which is why the markers pop so much. The finish is subtle yet elegant, and it is consistent regardless of lighting conditions or the angle from which I look at the watch. The white dial, on the other end of the spectrum, has a gentle sheen and a depth similar to enamel. I have no idea how it is made, but damn, it’s gorgeous. It looks as if the dial is covered with multiple layers of transparent lacquer, which adds depth and character.
I told you, I’m generally very enthusiastic about Traska!
Everything else you should know
As I mentioned in the introduction, Traska offers lots of bang for your buck. One key area that the brand continues to improve upon is the finishing. The case sides of the Commuter 34 and 38 have received a mirror polish that both looks and feels luxurious. The upper sections of the lugs and fixed bezel display a subtle vertical brushing that is consistent throughout. Additional polished surfaces can be found on the chamfers, the lower portion of the bezel, and the flanks of the solid bracelet links. Even the crown has been polished, which doesn’t preclude it from being easy to operate. Let me say that the combination of the lacquered Arctic White dial and alternation of finishing is rather sublime.
Both new versions of the Traska Commuter are powered by a premium Miyota 9039 caliber that, in my experience, runs within single-digit deviation rates out of the box. This caliber beats at a 28,800vph (4Hz) frequency and has a 42-hour power reserve. When it comes to lume, Super-LumiNova BGW9 has been evenly and generously applied on the hour and minute hands and hour markers. The hands are diamond cut, resulting in a flawless appearance under a macro lens, and display a brushed finish on top and a high polish on the sides. The applied indices are polished and have an elegant look. There is indeed a lot to see here.
Final thoughts on the Traska Commuter 34 and 38
Lastly, these watches have a toolless micro-adjustment clasp, which is new for Traska. It utilizes a well-engineered and self-explanatory mechanism that, by some miracle, doesn’t bloat the clasp. Unfortunately, that’s an all-too-common occurrence with numerous micro- and independent brands, resulting in clasps becoming long, large, and thick. The fact that Traska got it right means it was possible all along. The new clasp still comes with the milled scissor mechanism complete with a perlage finish. Also, in good Traska fashion, both the case and bracelet are coated with a proprietary unscratchable hardening compound.
The Commuter 34 and Commuter 38 are available now in all colors directly from Traska’s website. The 34mm version retails for US$580, while the 38mm version costs US$635. For this price, you get the watch, the fabulous bracelet, and a small leather pouch. Now you know everything there is to know about the new Traska Commuter 34 and 38. Don’t you agree they offer incredible value? Well, I hope you do like the way they look too because if this is so, then be sure to snatch one before they’re gone.