One to Watch: Torch Lab BOSS in Zirconium
Tony Sculimbrene 12.28.18
Imagine if back in the day of the Model T Ford someone zoomed past you in a Tesla. Aside from the fact that the Tesla probably couldn’t handle the terrible roads back then, it would have been such a shock that Model T owners might have thought they were being invaded by aliens. The technological leap between the Model T Ford and the Tesla is, of course, gigantic.
That same technological leap exists between most lights on the market today and computer-programmed by flashes on your screen TorchLab BOSS series of lights (there is a 35, which is the 18350-sized light and the 70, which is the 18650 sized light). It can be equipped with a red LED (for night vision) in addition to the three-emitter array of white LEDs. You can get the three emitter array in near-sunlight like Hi CRI output emitters, of course, and the the high is a stunning 1200 lumens. The low and everything else can be programmed in using a website. You go to the website, play around with some sliders, and then drop the BOSS into program mode. Once this is done, you click a button on the website, a video window opens, and displays a series of pulses and flashes of light. The receiver in the torch’s head picks up the display and reprograms the on-board computer to your desired output. In addition to changing the order of the modes, you can also change the number of modes, the output of the red LED, the timing for thermal protection drop downs in output, and a host of other things. In short, the BOSS lets you do whatever you want with the light and it does it via an easy to use interface that cannot be accidentally activated. Truthfully, the whole process feels like a bit of science fiction.
If that was all the BOSS was it would be one of the best lights on the market. But the body tube itself is also pretty bonkers. Thanks to a few generations of iteration, the BOSS has a curvy, hand-friendly feel with the best tailcap design on the market (Torch Lab’s Triad tailcap). the clicky is a hearty McGizmo clicky, rounding out the best light on the market today.
Of course all of this is pricey. I got a gen 1 BOSS 35 for $392 new. It was in aluminum and had a Hi CRI array and no red LED. But the variants that have come out in the two years that followed have been amazing—copper, brass, titanium and all in a few different finishes. But this month, December 2018, Torch Lab dropped something amazing on the Overready site: a zirconium BOSS series. The 35 clocks in at over $1,600, a staggering amount for a flashlight, but this is a singular torch. Zirconium is known for being very complex to machine and very beautiful when done correctly. Its dark shiny look makes it one of the most sought after materials in the gear world. Pairing a bonkers material like zirconium (which can cause fires when machined) with a bonkers light like the BOSS is a match made in excessive pocket frosting heaven.
This isn’t a practical piece of kit, but no one needs a Bugatti Chiron either.
What: Torch Lab BOSS series lights in zirconium
When: As availability allows, starting in December 2018
Price: Starting at $1695
Made in the USA: Not entirely, some parts machined in the USA
Highlights: Amazing programming, great body tube, nuts materials