Kids and Holidays?

This is what I call a kids and holidays watch – the Cannibal Compass CG146.03 from the Condor Group.

The Cannibal CG146.03 Compass model from Condor Group

The Cannibal CG146.03 Compass model from Condor Group

Inexpensive at under £20 and looks the part, expedition style and with a strap compass built on – and it’s not so small that adults can’t use it at 37mm diameter.  Has a modified expedition style velcro fast wrap strap (with compass fitted) which is perfectly adequate and all in all it doesn’t look too bad.

This is a quartz analog model instead of the usual cheap throwaway digital and it has a date window @3, center seconds hand in red and broad green infill Hour and Minute hands with matching numerals with 24hr markings too.  Water Resistance is OK at 50m (5ATM) and with a standalone strap button compass with cardinal marks + big red North pointer.  So if you’re up the creek without the proverbial, or lost (it happens to us older guys) then you can hopefully find an approximate heading that might just save your **s . . . . . ;-)

The watch case is resin with a well marked bezel (non rotational) and a hand setting crown @3.

As I say, it’s just the thing for those Safari style holidays, where you may be somewhere that’s not the most secure, so a cheap watch like this maybe just the ticket.  If it gets wet – OK, if it gets lost – OK, no sweat and hardly any loss either.  Whether the button compass will manage the entire holiday is debatable as often these guys are pretty basic made.  I’ve had various button strap compasses over the years from Suunto, Silva, The Army Store and goodness knows who else and some are just fine and others not so fine, but as these cost so little, one is about as good as the other and probably depends on that particular unit or maybe the day of the week it was assembled!

But all that aside, here you get a cheap watch, that looks the part, seems to work just fine, Asian quartz no doubt and as accurate as you need.  If it works for the duration of the holiday, you’re in profit and if not, use the other one you gave to your boy!

It’s so good it’s a Sinn!

As the title says – it’s a Sinn to have a Divers watch this good.  This description applies of course to the Sinn SU1 and one from my “private” selection.

Sinn U1 Divers watch

Sinn U1 Divers watch

This is from a selected range of models I have being held in a solid rosewood display box, and where basically my “never to be sold on” watches reside.  It’s all too easy to sell on something you’ve maybe had for years for that new special model that you’ve just seen recently and have to have.  Such as the Autodromo Stradale I’ve just featured in the last Post.
But my “private” box is sacrosanct!  Indeed I have exactly 20 watches in this category, from dress, vintage, divers, military and antique – the true collectors bit shall we say and whilst not often too expensive, there is the odd exception and these ones could be viewed as investments too.

But the Sinn U1 is just one of those watches that’s ” just right” and whether it’s the form of the whole, or the balance of the hands to dial markers, that wonderful seconds hand or the general “look” of the watch – it is a superb piece of design work.

High quality goes without saying, what with “submarine” bead blasted non magnetic steel case, double anti-reflection coated sapphire crystal and fabulous luminous dial indices and hands in low light/darkness.  It is powered by the Sellita SW200-1 automatic 26 jewel hacking movement which is shock and magnetic resistant and with a 100bar (1000m) Water Resistance rating.  44mm x 14.3mm depth makes for a neat Divers watch compared to many.  The waterproofed leather strap on this model has double thick lug protector ends and a very high quality deployment buckle system with divers extension.

Not much in the way of negatives with the U1 – with the exception perhaps of the Date window @3 is a little small even with decent contrast, but everything else for me is just right and I’ve said it before, it’s often about “balance” and this watch has it in spades.

Funnily enough another model I like and for basically the same reasons is the Momentum Format 4 and although perhaps not in the same league, it also has that balance between appearance and fitness for purpose that I find so attractive.  But it’s the Sinn U1 that lives in my “selection” box.

At just over £1000 not a cheap model by any means, but it’s definitely one of those watches that once you own it – you keep it.

Autodromo Stradale

The most stylish and refreshingly “wow factor” model I’ve seen from this new Brand, which once again is inspired by the 1950’s Italian roadster racing cars and in this particular color combination is my favorite model.

The fabulous Autodromo Stradale

The fabulous Autodromo Stradale

Unlike the last model, the Monoposto which sported a Meca-Quartz hybrid design movement, this is a full mechanical automatic, the Miyota 9015, which I have always reckoned a very good movement indeed.  It has useful features such as – seconds hacking,  24 jewels,  quick date correction, second hand reset and good shock resistance.  I also prefer the styling of this model, though I personally love every model that Officine Autodromo have produced so far.  I understand the Brooklyn based Company was founded in 2010 and the first models launched in 2011 by designer (industrial) Bradley Price and there are some designers I reckon – and he is one of them.

Exhibition back view of the Miyota 9015 Automatic

Exhibition back view of the Miyota 9015 Automatic

The Stradale is a really stylish and beautifully finished model with Sapphire Crystal and is a neat size at 40mm diameter by only 10.8mm depth.   The “floating” appearance of the K1 glass numerals disc gives the dial a subtle “depth” and clarity.   And the slightly eccentric vintage position of the wire attached lugs being low on the case, give the watch a real stand out look on the wrist and coupled with the 18mm padded leather strap is just perfect.

Best described by simply seeing it’s picture.

It’s really nice to see a watch a million miles away from the macho, high tech look of the ubiquitous “military” style shock this and shock that, which seem to dominate the market today.  I know as I have plenty of them!  But this – is something rather special.

Wow!  I think I MUST have one!   (at around $75o (£550) – it’s a lovely thing) . . . .  ;-)

September’s rotation

I often go through phases where I wear, in rotation, maybe three different watches over a one month period and on the 1st of the next month I select another three models and wear them, again in rotation.  Perhaps in daytime or night or perhaps depending on what I’m doing at any particular time.
This month (September 14) I have this trio and basically as of now and the next few weeks I’m doing all sorts of outdoor things,  so this selection reflects this.  It’s also an excuse to Post some pictures of some of my watches, which otherwise will just be between me and – well me . . . .

An outdoor selection from Casio and Timex.

An outdoor selection from Casio and Timex.

These three are coincidentally all digital, which is just the way it turned out and from left to right they are -

The Casio SE-1200WH is a neat, flat (just over 12mm) model with enough features on it to suit me.  For once the buckle resin strap is flexible and comfortable and the model functions are pretty standard Casio fare.  In saying that, this model has a 10 year battery life and World Time, plus a small digital dial at top left mimicking an analogue clock face with hours, minutes and seconds.  Back lit with a VERY simple and effective light it is ideal for night use.  I like the fact that the dial in normal view gives a lot of information – Time including seconds, the Day, the Month and the Date and it shows the world time/normal time selected on the little world map, just as a reminder of where you are!  It’s neat, it’s light weight and it has never put a foot or wrong in the years I’ve owned it and if I remember it was very inexpensive too.
Notethe strap shown has 2 x keepers not one as standard which I added some time ago as a personal preference.

The Casio PRW-3000T is next up and one of my very favorite models from this maker.  This one came direct from Japan as soon as it appeared, so impressed I was with it.  For me it is a true improvement of many of the ones preceding it as it has taken advantage of the smaller v3 Sensor set and actually reduced the watch size as a result.   So a full ABC watch at sensible dimensions and a joy to wear, plus being all Titanium (case and bracelet) is amazingly light weight and as  many of you know Ti is also incredibly comfortable to wear as it very quickly adapts to your temperature.  The bracelet is VERY high quality Ti and really well finished and the digital display could not be bettered in my opinion.  Terrific function set as you would expect from this model and the normal dial view is as shown.  The Day and Date (press top left pusher and it alternates to Month and Date) the time in h/m and seconds, am and pm indicator, the battery state at the foot, confirmation of the Radio signal (yes this is Radio Controlled AND Solar powered) .  A 2nd push of the top left pusher shows the Barometric trend.  So the top display area can show three different situations by selection – I like it as shown as at my age it’s nice to know what day it is!  The back light illuminates the entire face and one of the best I’ve seen, so absolutely ideal for night use again.
Barometric Pressure, a full 3d Digital Compass (using Barometric pressure) and Altimeter, plus the usual chronograph, Timer and Alarms etc make this a very comprehensive model indeed, great for outdoors and very unobtrusive too.

The Timex Expedition  T49976 Shock is a real all rounder with an ideal display showing the Day of the week, Date and Month and Time in h/m and seconds, am/pm indicator plus a seconds running dial.  Excellent Indiglo back light means it’s great at night and it’s easy to find, being the only pusher on the front of the case.  Incidentally the pushers are large and textured and perhaps the best I’ve used, bar none, even shrouded as they effectively are.  Super simple Mode and Adjust function changes as usual with Timex (superior in my opinion to Casio).  The Chronograph features over large digits which are a delight to read and there is Timer plus a good few Alarms and all in this is a MOST practical watch.  Water Resistant to 100m and battery powered.  Fitted here is a Zuludiver black IP stainless steel fittings Camouflage Nato strap, which suits it perfectly (no complaints re. the Timex standard strap though, this is just my preference here).  This Timex and the Casio SE-1200 are very similar in overall function and in practicality, which is why I like them I guess – not overdone and very affordable.

So this is my September trio and actually if I didn’t have collectors mania, I could manage fine with these and no others.  But a pretty neat bunch for starters as I hope to feature my “rotation Trio”each month as a new Post topic. and OK these guys were featured not that long ago, but these are really what was to hand, so there we are.

My camouflage choice

Ben searching for a while for a practical and suitable Camouflage model recently and majoring on two specific brands, Casio and Timex.  And I concentrated on these two as they are both into the Shock style of outdoor or military style watch and are of course competitors.  And this is my choice . . .

My choice - Timex Expedition T49976 (with NATO)

My choice – Timex Expedition T49976 (with NATO)

And why?

In searching their different models it has to be said that Casio generates most of the buyer’s interest, as they seem to bring out new models like tomorrow was in danger of not appearing.  And in contrast Timex on the other hand, have quietly gone about their business by introducing just a few variants here and there, usually with subtle and mostly cosmetic changes to their core function set.  Indeed this is perhaps and arguably testament to the fact the Timex base module features functions that satisfy most of us.  Changes are such that models and modules are simply and subtly altered just enough to add enough variety to attract more buyers, which it has to be said is the name of the game.

The Casio approach with so many product lines, such as G-Shock, Tough Solar, Pro-Trek, Master of G and others is quite the opposite.   Modules seem to change quickly and race neck and neck with new case designs and whilst the former is becoming smaller, the latter is very much larger.

Casio DG 120CM-5 Camo Digital only - but is BIG

Casio DG 120CM-5 Camo Digital only – but is BIG

The module function sets are really marching on, with new features, more sensitive sensors, smaller, lighter, more powerful and so on and all very commendable of course, and yet for me still let down by an almost equal and opposite reaction – of overly large case designs, with more knobbly bits than my Mother’s current cake.  The dimensions are at the very limits and beyond in my opinion, what with 17mm+ case depth on an already large diameter, what with the G-Shock case cover and over large controls, both of which making for a rather cumbersome wrist accessory.  Light weight they may be, but in my opinion now becoming intrusive.

So back to Timex and their softly, softy approach – subtle improvements perhaps the name of the game, and a definite priority on actual function and practicality.  Keeping the basics right with good solid features, Time, Date, Day, Month, Year, Alarm, Stopwatch, Timer, luminous hands if analog and back lit with their proprietary illumination system for night use.  Water Resistance to 100m+ and all neatly contained in a tough case with compact dimensions that almost anyone can wear with comfort.

Note the in-display help texts - appears once the SET button is pressed.

Note the in-display help texts – appears once the SET button is pressed.

Plus another point is how intuitive the Timex module is – additional help appears IN the display when the SET pusher is pressed – it is so simple to set and alter all the module parameters.

Definitely what I call “get and forget until you need it” wrist wear.  And in my opinion this is where they score against all the others, including Casio.  They’ve cleverly managed to get the balance just right between what you want in a practical sense with functions that you might well use every day.

As for my camouflage search – the one that jumped out of the page first was the Casio all digital Camouflage GD 120CM-5 . . . . and it looks great, with a basic function set (+ world time) but the sting in the tail – it’s huge!  There’s no other word for it and let’s be absolutely honest here – it is BIG.  At 55mm lug to lug x 52.2mm across and 17.4mm depth . . . . what can I say? and no matter how good it may purport to be, this is a problem and not just for me and dare I say in danger of being almost “impractical” . . . ?

From “practical” to “impractical” perhaps prefixed by an abbreviation of the word “immense”?

So a little disappointed I decided to check out Timex for their Camouflage model and this one, the Timex Expedition T49976 turned up . . . . and it looks great, with a basic function set (we’ve heard this before) but – and here’s the difference, there is no but!  Because size wise it’s just 48mm lug to lug x 44.8mm width x 15.4mm depth!

Timex Expedition T49976 in Camouflage and standard strap

Timex Expedition T49976 in Camouflage and standard strap

Timex Expedition T499676 with easy to fit Zuludiver camouflage NATO

Timex Expedition T49976 with easy to fit Zuludiver camouflage NATO

This is positively neat in today’s practical models.

And this seems to sum up the difference between the brands, indeed if you sit them down together in a row, it looks like adults and juniors!  Casio adult and Timex junior.

There's compact and there's big - Timex v Casio

There’s compact and there’s big – Timex v Casio (Casio shown is 52mm x 16mm)

There’s also the factor of cost versus wear-ability, as my Timex models are certainly cheaper and yet I wear them much more often than almost any of my Casios with one exception – the Casio 5600 which is and Casio won’t like me saying this, more Timex like!   This is really ironic, as this was a pioneer in Casio models, shock protected, neat appearance, great function set and I believe the smallest G-Shock model with compact (yes I said compact) dimensions at just 40mm x 12mm!

So what happened?  And I wonder where this is all leading – Casio seems to have bred an uncontrollable monster, with more tech, more functionality, resulting in bigger, bigger and even bigger.  And by comparison their Timex competitor (and not only Timex) are gliding along very nicely, with equally great looking models, combi and digital and with good practical functions – and here’s a positive but – but with sensible dimensions for everyone.

Further images -

One of the best Timex straps as standard, looks great.

One of the best Timex straps as standard, looks great.

Neat choice, watch and NATO

Neat choice, watch and NATO (my strap preference & easy to fit)

Indiglo back light - great for night or low light situations.

Indiglo back light – great for night or low light situations.

A point about NATO strap versus the standard Timex strap.  Whilst the Timex one is excellent and comfortable, for looks I personally prefer the NATO ( Zuludiver ).  It’s super simple to fit to the standard spring-bars (none of your molded strap/case affairs) and because it’s not held away from the case, as with the Timex one (it has short “hold off” stays under the strap) it means the watch fits the smaller wrist so much better.  A small point but one that I personally think is important.  The Timex with a lug to lug of just 48mm compared to the Casio of 55mm is pretty good anyway, but effectively even better with the NATO strap.

A point about the exterior case “Shock” protection on my camouflage Timex is where the case is the usual hard black resin, the entire bezel material is NOT the same material.  Whatever it’s made of, resin or rubber, it is much softer than the case material.  Indeed you can push your finger nail into it and it deforms like rubber then comes back.  It is very, very effective and as it’s raised slightly above the glass gives very good protection.

Note 1 – The Zuludiver NATO strap is one of the longer straps available at just over 30cms so will conversely fit the bigger wrist too – and it has one of the better camouflage patterns color wise that I’ve seen in a while.

Note 2The Timex Expedition T49976 has the following features -

100m Water resistance
Digital Display with Day, Det, Month, Time in Hours, Minutes and seconds displayed at one glance plus am/pm indicator
Sub-dial with running 10 seconds duration
3 Alarms – Daily, Weekday and Weekend
Indiglo back light with optional night mode/any button ON/cancels after 8 hrs.
(this is the best Indiglo back light I’ve seen on any Timex to date)
CR2016 battery.

Combo nights (2)

Well I’ve trawled long enough and I’ve decided on my pick for a Combo model for this month.  And first thing to say is, it hasn’t been easy this time and in danger of revising my basic requirement list.

Basic requirements -
* It must be shock resistant and case tough  *It must be Water Resistant to 100m+ * Readable in the dark and a non-shiny case (military style?) * Intuitive digital function set (without constant referral to instructions) * Uncluttered (dial or case).

A fairly simple set of basics, yet tricky to actually get and as a result I’ve had to discard a surprising number of models.  Some looked good but in reality were less than satisfactory.  Common issues are faint digital displays, cluttered dials, no use in the dark, reflective dial components, sub-dial mania + unnecessary dial data, bezel overkill, too many controls, less than ideal bracelet or strap fittings – to name just a few.
Many of the “faults” seem to be “fashion design” I have to say majoring on looks rather than function or practicality.

So after all the searching around for a suitable combo model I’ve decided this time on the Casio GA-1000-1AER Pro-Trek.

Casio GW-1000-AER

Casio GA-1000-1AER

A bit bigger than I intended – the case may have a diameter of 45mm diameter but with the G-Shock molding including pushers is just a fraction over 52mm across.  It is also 16mm thick, so sits very proud on the wrist but fortunately not heavy at 85gms, which is good considering this is a steel and resin case.  But not for wearing (if you could that is) under a shirt cuff as it IS high and does not have a smooth top surface either.
Where this model scores is that it meets one of my most important criteria – it is really good in low light and in the dark.  The analog solid filled hands have a bright green luminous coating with an excellent afterglow along with the minute dot markers, so reading the time is very easy – against a surprisingly dark dial background.  There is also a Neon Illuminator light system which uses UV light to highlight the 12, 3, and 9 numerals in green plus the dot markers in a striking neon blue, at the same time highlighting the tip of the seconds hand in bright green.  It’s really quite spectacular though as the analog hands luminous afterglow is so good I don’t really need it.  The luminous quality of the analog hands lasts all night easily with little loss.  Overall I am very pleased with it’s “in the dark” clarity.

Good standard of luminous analog hands and markers

Excellent luminous analog hands and markers

Just a “quick glance” is required to read the time as the analog hands stand out clearly without the dial background intruding.  Owing to clever accenting and emphasis of the hands, numerals and markers and muting of the dial background, it is a surprisingly good dial set up.

Even more night lights with Neon system

Even more night lights with Neon system

This model is an excellent “travelers” watch too, as not just content with having a 48 City & 31 Time Zones World Time function, from a practical aspect it has two neat features.
First, different time zones are as usual represented by City initials but often folks are confused as to where they refer to – fear not as once selected, the City is spelled fully by first scrolling and then finishing on the initials of the City.  And Secondly it features a Home City swap function.  By pressing two buttons instantly the analog hands will move to the time of the selected digital World Time City time zone.  In other words your Home City and City to which you are traveling can be swapped from the Digital display to the main analog time display. This is very handy when approaching your next time zone destination on a plane.

Initial set up -

When you first get the watch often the Home City or City time Zone is set to Japan, but it’s very easy to set your own Home Time.  You can tell if your Home City code is not your own (well the time will be wrong – yes?) by reading the lower display, which has a small indicator showing the time of the set Home City.  For example if your Home City was London and 1oclock, the small curved indicator will have a tiny edge marker pointing to the same time.

So to set your own Home Time zone -

Once you are in the normal time display – press and hold button A (top left) until ADJ appears with SET flashing on the lower display, then use the top right (west) or bottom left (east) to scroll through the City Codes.  Once you get to your City Code – press the lower left button (D) – this will show DST in the lower screen – you can toggle this ON and OFF using the lower right pusher (E) – when happy with that simply press the upper Left pusher (A) and that’s it.  The analog hands will immediately move to your new time setting.

Casio GW-1000-AER with Digital Compass

Casio GA-1000-1AER with Digital Compass

Another good point about this module is the ease of doing almost anything.  The main Adjust selector pusher is top left (A) and in normal time mode pressing this and holding it will move into ADJ (adjust mode) – and will flash SET in the lower display, then pushing the lower left Mode button (D) repeatedly you can cycle through the various functions – and most on or off settings are toggled by use of (E) lower right pusher.  It does become intuitive after a bit.

In the background of the dial, between 10 & 11 we have a selector indicator like a small aeroplane pointer, which basically is a current function reminder.  It is again quite low key and does not distract from your reading of the dial.

The big surprise function of this model however is the inclusion of a Digital Compass, operated by a direct push of the large and well protected center left pusher.  On selecting, the seconds hand becomes a NORTH pointer and upper digital display shows your general direction (for example ENE or East North East) of the 12 position on the dial and the lower display shows that heading in degrees.  To cancel simply press the lower left (D) and you return to normal time.  This model also features a bearing memory function using the lower display, but it’s a little too involved to explain in this Post.

Big watch but manages to fit a smallish wrist!

Big watch but manages to fit a smallish wrist!

Additionally there is a Stopwatch, Timer, 4 Alarms plus Snooze, Time Signal and a Thermometer, which you can optionally use or otherwise.  This model features an Automatic Calendar.  The illumination back light system can also be set to Auto coming on when the wrist is tilted towards the wearer, though I would not recommend this as this model is NOT solar but battery only, so not clever to constantly operate the light when not really needed.

So in summary – the basics of this model are just about right.  Very tough + G-Shock case covering, 200m Water Resistance, easily readable in the dark, easy to use and a good dial set up.  I also like the flexible and thinner than usual strap and the lug/strap fit, which allows smaller wrist fit plus it’s reasonably comfortable too despite being a large watch.  The addition of a Digital Compass is an unexpected and welcome surprise, as I’ve always found these to be useful – and activated by it’s own dedicated pusher.  I also like the shape and design of the analog parts and the compass seconds hand pointer is neat yet very effective.  The fact that digital elements are not lit at night is an omission, but of no relevance to me, so I’m OK with it.  But it IS a big and high watch so is a considerable lump on any wrist and that has to be a consideration for may buyers.

However next year I’m treating myself to perhaps the ultimate Combo model and it’s not Casio.  In September the Tissot Expert Solar T-Touch will be available and it could well dent Casio sales.  The night clarity is absolutely outstanding both analog AND digital and digitally it does most everything a Casio can do, having an ABC function set AND very much smaller dimensions.  If it’s right for me and I am sure it will be, then my Casio collection is seriously in danger.  My display boxes could be reduced from many to perhaps just one . . . . maybe . . . as I’ll have to revise my requirements again . . . to accommodate my 2015 wish list!  Of course!  ;-)

Notes -
Battery details – 2 x SR927W
Battery life – approx 2 years average function use.
Low battery flashing alert – upper display.
Accuracy – +/- 15secs per month
Stopwatch – 1/100 sec up to 24hrs.
Timer – 1 sec to 60 minutes.
Note – this model is NOT solar and is NOT Radio Controlled.

Combo nights (1)

My last Post featured the fashion watch Infantry but got me thinking.  One of my passions today is the combo watch, that is one with both analog and digital displays and I also like the concept of the “military” watch and whilst maybe not the official Mil Spec, I like to get as many of the same attributes I can.  What I’m NOT looking for here is a “fashion” watch, but one with serious features and functions that work as they are supposed to.

The finding of a serious military combo watch however is surprisingly difficult as so many models fall short in some manner.  Such as back lights that don’t illuminate the dial data effectively, or luminous hands that are not, or over cluttered dial configurations, or even lack of intuitiveness requiring an instruction booklet with you at all times!  Now the watch can be simple or complicated but it has to have the basics right, such as good Water Resistance, shock resistance, solid case preferably matte and non-shiny, good night legibility and a sensible function set.

Now funnily enough it’s quite easy to find a digital only model that fits the requirements and one of the better ones (and there are quite a few I have to say) is the Casio 120CM-5 and @$130 easily manages the brief – as do many of it’s variants.

Casio120CM-5 Camo Digital only

Casio 120CM-5 Camo Digital only

So when looking for my ideal “Mil Spec” style “military combo” model, whilst I could list the requirements, it’s actually easier to check out what’s available and then judge them accordingly as OK or not OK and say why . . .

I checked out quite few Casio models and was surprised when it came to combo watches that this was much more difficult than first thought.  Often the models had non luminous analog hands and many were skeleton and often not easily seen against considerable background dial clutter, what with all the various indicators on the dial face.  Needless to say none of those interested me at all and each for one or other of these reasons failed to meet my requirements

One feature that really annoyed me was the apparent lack of decent illumination for night use.  Without luminous hands Casio have attempted to light the entire face with a light at the edge of the dial, which was only partially successful if, at all – lighting analog hands from the side just doesn’t work too well.  But in providing such a dial light the digital display was left in darkness without a dedicated back light.  Now OK that doesn’t bother me too much as at night I basically want to see the time, not fiddle around with digital settings and so on.
However this is a poor do – conventional watches with luminous hands, if decent quality, are fine for night use, whereas many of these modern analog/digital models don’t feature luminous hands at all – and I don’t understand why not.  Surely specifying luminous hands eliminates the need for a dial light and by having it allows for the usual relatively simple Casio digital back light (as the Casio 120CM-5 watch shown here).  Surely this makes sense?

But it doesn’t appear so as almost all current models feature rather poor dial and digital lighting and few luminous anything – indeed judging my comments on many video reviews it’s a bone of contention, though tacitly accepted whereas I won’t accept it at all.  And this is a shame as I’ve discounted most combo Pro-Treks and the majority of G-Shocks for not only that issue but a few other basic reasons as well, such as lack of clarity either owing to dial clutter and/or poor night use, or for being too large.  Two downsides it has to be said with many G-Shock case covers is that some models are too big for my wrist and the control buttons difficult both to find and operate amongst what I see as over-protective shrouds.

So, did I find anything that does suit me and meet my basic needs – and here I look at alternatives to Casio first.

Leaving the G-Shock style for a moment this Divers model from St Moritz – the Momentum Format 4 is actually a very good combo and though not military in any sense, it certainly features many of the required elements and does them very well.

St Moritz Momentum Format 4 Combo Divers model

St Moritz Momentum Format 4 Combo Divers model

Good broad luminous analog hands and numerals, an excellent clear pair of digital displays and a decent function set too, such as World Time, Chronograph and Alarms etc.  It also has a very tough construction stainless satin finished case with screw down crown and 200m Water Resistance.  For night use this combination of lume plus excellent digital back lighting is not far short of perfect and is well worthy of consideration in my view.P1020511

Another Brand to consider obviously is Timex and this model, which I’ve owned for some time now is the Timex Expedition T49967.  It has a decent analog dial with luminous hour/minute hands and a digital display, shock proof resin case construction, 200m Water Resistance, non-reflective body and what I’d call a sensible function set of Chronograph, Time and Alarm, which is fine for most of us and in my opinion a really underrated model and at around £60+ mark is still currently great value.
As for night use, it uses the patented Timex “Indiglo” back light system.  This is a light source behind the dial and everything is read in silhouette and within the digital display the black digital numerals intriguingly stand out light against a dark background, which is the opposite to what shows in daytime.  It also has a standard strap fitting which I replaced with silicon deployment strap.  I can confirm I’ve been very, very pleased with this Timex ever since I bought it as it’s a get and forget type of watch, good value and I’d recommend it to anyone.

There are some other models around that I’m also interested in, one of which has to be the new Tissot “Touch” Solar which could well be in a class of it’s own (watch out Casio – it’s ABC, neater, smaller, light and at night it’s brilliant).  Not available till September though, so in the meantime I’ll feature another combo model, which I’ll review possibly in my next Post.  And this is a Casio again and currently has to be one of my favorites.  And with so many variants of G-Shock, Solar Tough and Pro-Trek it’s sometimes overlooked, though has an interesting function set – and at night it isn’t too shabby . . .

Watch this space . . .