Vero Debuts a Collection of Officially Licensed USDA Forest Service Watches on the Workhorse Platform

Hot on the heels of a pair of well received watches paying tribute to Smokey Bear, Vero is back with a new collection made in partnership with the USDA Forest Service. Vero has really dug into a niche with these recent releases, bolstering their image as an authentically outdoors focused brand. I really like it when brands fully embrace something that’s obviously important to them, and Vero’s release strategy is a great example of the best example of this idea. The coolest thing about these watches, though, is that they aren’t merely exercises in licensing – they have a distinct design language in conversation with Vero’s other watches. 

The Forest Service collection is made up of four watches, with each colorway inspired by Forest Service teams charged with protecting US forests and grasslands. The Airtanker has a red/orange dial that matches the color of the fire retardants used in fighting forest fires, the Ranger has a black dial with green and khaki accents meant to evoke the iconic Forest Service uniforms, the Hotshot features bright yellow accents that match the uniforms of the teams who go by the same name and have a particular expertise in forest fire behavior, and the Service Green watch has a bright green tone that matches Forest Service utility vehicles. Looking at the collection as a whole, it’s clear that Vero is having fun with color here, something we always appreciate in a space still dominated by conservative choices and monotone design decisions. 


The case design, which features brightly colored Cerakote over stainless steel, is reminiscent of Vero’s Workhorse Chronograph, and utilizes the same bull bars as design accents, giving the watch an outdoorsy vibe and making it feel like a piece of gear in a way most watches don’t really approach. Unlike the Workhorse, though, the Forest Service watches use a Seiko kinetic movement that is powered with a rotor via wrist movement. When fully charged, the power reserve lasts a full six months. Watches with kinetic movements are a real relic of the 90s, even though Seiko has kept the calibers in production for decades. It’s a cool bit of watch nerdery for aging millennials and Gen-X watch collectors to have a brand new kinetic option on the table. 

With the Forest Service collection, Vero brings the idea behind the Workhorse to a slightly different type of watch, and proves that this format is ultimately pretty flexible. We don’t normally think of unusual designs like this as being suitable blank canvases for limited editions, complications, and so forth, but between these watches, our own limited edition, and Vero’s “Hooligan” LE, it seems fairly clear that this platform can handle a wide range of tones and ideas.  

In terms of specs, the cases measure a clean 39mm in diameter and are 12.5mm tall. Both crowns (including the one that controls the internal bezel) are screw down, and the water resistance is rated to 120 meters. The retail price for these watches is $475, and a portion of the proceeds from each sale go back to the USDA Forest Service. Vero

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.