The Elegant Watch (7)

Something a little different today as I feature a watch for the Ladies.  And not just any ordinary watch as this is the Christophe Claret Margot “he loves me, he loves me not” creation, which whilst perhaps a bit of fun is a serious feat of watch making nevertheless.

Christophe Claret Margot "He love me, he loves me not"

Christophe Claret Margot “He love me, he loves me not”

Based on the old concept of young love, where the petals of a daisy are plucked one by one in a bid to find out if her beau truly loves her after all, this amazing Christoph Claret complication is beautifully made, very attractive and charming too.

Using the pusher @2, a crystal clear sound is heard and the watch starts to hide one or perhaps two petals and each press of the pusher removes petals as it computes it’s decision and after a short time delivers it’s verdict on the retrograde disc windows at the foot of the Mother of Pearl dial.  The gold tipped steel hour and minute hands glide over the 12 white, satin-lacquered titanium multi-layered petals that surround the central yellow sapphire pistil accentuates the 3 dimensional effect.  3 pears shaped diamonds feature at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock.

The chime (a feature of Christophe Claret) is visible via a case band window @8 where the ruby set hammer can be seen striking the cathedral gong above – an automaton feature I particularly like.  The watch case is in Gold of course and has a curved profile which suits slim wrists and the crown is actually @12 but cleverly concealed behind the front decoration between the top lugs.

Even the rear of this watch features not only the intricate view of the mechanism but also continues the theme with a flower shaped carousel of 8 different colored triangular precious stones symbolizing sentiments of love – when the daisy movement stops, one of those will be associated with and opposite to the small heart @6.

To see the watch in action click the following link – It should load and video controls will be available – best viewed full screen.

http://bcove.me/alwolamo

The Unit – Nixon SS

Every so often a digital model gains my attention just because it looks good and it isn’t one of the top 3 – and so it is with this rather good looking Nixon Unit SS model.

The Nixon Unit SS in Black/Green garb.

The Nixon Unit SS in Black/Green garb.

I like the fact that it’s digital and has a fairly standard round case and a standard style fitted bracelet (not one of these molded custom jobs that’s tricky to replace when the model is no longer produced).  It also has a “tough” look enhanced by the protected dial which uses sections of the case as dial areas, which is a neat idea and one that is not obscuring any data.

Using a Custom digital module with positive or negative display, it sports 12 or 24 hour time of day, calendar, temperature gauge (C or F), dual time, countdown timer, 1/100 sec chronograph with split functions, alarm, and light functions (backlight).

The Nixon Unit SS in Matt/Black Camo version.

The Nixon Unit SS in Matt/Black Camo version.

The case is solid stainless steel with IP coating, hardened mineral crystal, solid stainless steel bezel (fixed), double gasket stainless steel pushers (4), stainless screw down back and screw pin lugs.  It is a neat size at 44.5mm diameter and in this version a wide 24 mm solid custom stainless steel 3 link bracelet with solid stainless steel double locking clasp and micro adjustment.  This model is 100m Water Resistance rated.

All in all this is a good looking watch without too much in the way of “macho” yet it has a military presentation all the same.  It also comes in alternative colors and particularly like the Matt/Black/Camo version.  I have to admit I have trouble deciding between the two, which I like the best.

Neat Nixon Unit SS bracelet with micro adjustment.

Neat Nixon Unit SS bracelet with micro adjustment.

I suppose the display of Temperature is a bit superfluous in that you’d have to remove the watch for 20 minutes before it gave a sensible ambient measurement, which to me is reminiscent of the Citizen Retro models, where they were really showcasing the digital movement in the early days.

However that’s the only function that’s perhaps just for fun and I can live with that, because the rest of this model is well specified, solid, functional, clear digital displays and has a decent Water Resistance.

Certainly one that I’ll consider – just need to make up my mind – Black or Camo?

mmmmm . . . Black I think.

NOTE -
The price by the way is around £190 in Europe UK and I like the fact that they make a smaller version, which is almost identical in looks for Ladies, at 40mm diameter with a rubber strap.  Also available in black plus a range of other colors, but alas no Camo.  But for those with small wrists this is a great buy as it’s less than half price at £89.00 – now that’s what I call a deal!

Minimalist small Date . . .

I’ve always had a slight disappointment with the so called modern minimalist models that appear from time to time, such as from Skagen or other Ikea inspired Scandinavian brands.  Invariably they are tricky to see with very slim hands, tiny dates and dial figures, often they are shiny and reflective too.  In fact they have by their presence actually steered me towards overpopulated watches that have “in your face” overkill data faces and dials, which of course is almost as bad, though not quite, as at least you feel you’ve got something for your money.

Greyhours Essential Day/Date watch

Greyhours Essential Day/Date watch

So it’s nice to see this neat “minimalist” model appear from Greyhours.   This model is called the “Essential” and is in two versions – either white or black.  It’s an analog model sporting a date window and a Day sub-dial and whilst it’s in the minimalist category, it doesn’t look too minimal.  In fact it looks really very smart and it’s well specified too and that IS a bonus.

The case is a coated DLC brushed 316 Stainless steel and 40mm diameter by just 9.10mm, so a good size and very slim on the wrist.  The dial is black/grey matte surfaced with Hour, Minute, center Seconds with a Date window @3 and a Day sub-dial @9.  Clever use of color used with the Hour and Minute hands sporting  white infill and the Day and seconds hands is bright light blue, giving excellent contract and clarity.Ashampoo_Snap_2014.07.19_17h01m43s_002_

To assist clarity still further this model has good quality Sapphire crystal with anti-reflection treatment on BOTH sides.  The movement is an ISA Swiss Quartz Calibre 9232/1950, personalized by Greyhours.  Water Resistance is 50m and complimented by a quality Italian Calf leather strap.

My only concern with this watch is the size of the Date window which is really quite small for me and a real pity as the dial being so clean it could so easily be larger and still look balanced and very much easier to read.  Despite the white numerals and decent contrast, double digit dates really need more space.

However all that said, it is a very smart watch and one of the nicer minimal style models around at the moment and they so almost got everything right, except for that date window.  In fact I reckon if they doubled the date window size, they’d probably double their sales!

Price wise here in the UK it’s around the £150 mark, which for the quality of finish, the Sapphire crystal with double-Anti-reflect and Swiss Quartz movement is probably about right, though more so if the Date was larger.  It does however make for a very smart dress watch that’s that little bit different.

So for me a case of nearly but not quite – but that’s just my opinion . . . . . . and please don’t ask me what the date is!

G-Shock smoothie

I have to admit that as much as I like G-shock models, some of them are so knobbly and oversize that I find them uncomfortable and sharp to the fingers when trying to use the buttons.   Some are worse than others and whilst I accept this is part of the G-shock system as an outer exterior protection layer, it’s often a little overdone  in my opinion.

Casio Jason g-001 - a smoother G-Shock

Casio Jason g-001 – a smoother G-Shock

Which is why I was sad to see that the G-shock Jason g-001 reprise model seems to have vanished, or certainly in the color I would prefer (grey or black).  For this model presented the G-shock philosophy in a much smoother bodied manner and with it’s wrist support strap system sat on almost any wrist and looked really cool.

It was a really chunky watch and with it’s smooth outer shell it certainly presented itself as a neater Casio than most G-Shocks even though dimensionally it was still quite substantial.  I particularly liked the color way as shown in this image and note how the buttons are hidden in this view, tucked into the side recesses and without the large obtrusive shrouds of the usual shock models.

This model was pretty well specified too -

Black and gray resin shock resistant case with a similar color dial with the yellow digital display.  20 Bar Water Resistance.  1/100-second digital chronograph measures elapsed time, split time and two finishes, Countdown timer with auto-repeat timing and progress beeper functions.
World time feature displays current time in 48 cities (29 time zones), Home time zone, Alarm mode (3 multifunction alarms: daily, date, 1-month, monthly), 12/24-hour formats, Standard/Daylight Saving time, Full Auto-calendar to 2099, EL backlight.

Note the wrist "appendages" which assists wrist fit.

Note the wrist “appendages” which assists wrist fit.

Digital day-date-and-month display, Black resin strap with silver-tone mesh metal inserts and black plastic buckle, black back case appendages, Black resin selector buttons, Black resin/stainless steel screw-in caseback and a mineral crystal glass.

What’s also nice about it is the relatively simple dial set up without too many cluttered distractions to worry about and at the same time a pretty comprehensive function set and all contained in a well protected and above all SMOOTH case.

For me this was one of the best G-Shocks both as the original Jason and in the reprise model that appeared some years later.  Difficult to fault too though some folks report the strap/case fitting can break.  Not unexpected I would say as I’ve found with many resin/plastic straps, they get brittle over time and with repeated flexing, can and do break.  But as with many of these faults they are often fixable without too much trouble.

So I haven’t seen it around for a while and Casio have not re-issued it this year, which is a pity as I for one would buy it tomorrow.  I still see some of the bright color varieties around, but they look too novelty for me . . .

Ah well maybe next year . . . .

Amazing, inventive & cheap?

It never fails to amaze me, the wonderfully inventive, military and sports style watches that appear each year from the Far East and mostly at incredibly cheap prices.

The Infantry Chrono @ £14.99

The Infantry Chrono @ £14.99

The fact that digital module prices are so low today means that with some plastics molding equipment, a bit of imagination and flair in design, almost anything is possible.  Whether they’ll last of course is another matter entirely, though that said, the basic digital movement could well outlast you!  Though any complications outwith the basics could well be another matter entirely.

But one thing is certain – they look amazing! and if you don’t take the hype to heart and don’t take them too seriously, probably a bit of fun too.

Take the INFANTRY Mens LCD Date Day Black Dial Combo Digital Quartz Watch for example.  I mean it looks pretty good and has a fair bit of functionality with Day and Date, Alarm and Stopwatch displays.  It cites multi-time zone, though doesn’t specify details).  I do like the fact it doesn’t depend entirely on display,s as it features conventional analogue Hour, Minute and Seconds hands too.  Another plus is that it takes a conventional fitting rubber strap (nothing molded here) and has a Japanese quartz movement.  Mineral anti-scratch glass is quoted and there is also a dial light.  Case dimensions are about normal for this type of watch at 47mm x 16mm, at 115gms weight, so quite large but without being totally silly.
Then there’s the price – here in the UK via Amazon it’s quoted currently at £14.99.  Amazing!

Here’s another interesting non mainstream watch, this time from LAD WEATHER, the GPS Navigator model.

LAD WEATHER GPS Navigator

LAD WEATHER GPS Navigator

Seems to to pack a lot into a wrist worn piece and according to the advertising, this is just what it does.  I have copied the data – as there’s too much for me to just note -

■Functions
・USB charge (With dedicated cable)
・100 meters waterproof
・GPS(Auto acquisition date and time/ Acquisition and recording of the root and the current position)
・PC connection
・Root confirmation in Google earth
・Measurement(Distance/ Lap time/ Average pace/ Movement time/ Heart rate/ Calories)
・Alarm
・Countdown timer
・Pacemaker
・Digital compass
・Continuous use time:about 12hours (GPS on)/ about 1year (GPS off)
・Charge:about 500 times
・Charge time:about 3hours

■Size
・Case size:about 47x47x20mm (height, width, depth)
・Band length:about 140~200mm
・Weight:about 62g

■Attachment
・Watch box
・Instruction Manual(English)
・CD-ROM
・USB cable
・Heart rate measurement sensor
・cleaning brush
・6-months warranty

This model comes in 6 different colors, some looking quite smart I have to say, though this is a big watch at 47mm x 47mm and a depth of 20mm and it’s at a higher cost too at some £92.00 UK priced.  The advertising alludes to a retail of much higher at £350 and certainly for what this model apparently offers, that could well be right.

A little expensive for me just to try it for fun, unlike the first watch shown here, but I have heard variable comments about LAD watches, some good some not so.  This model may have sensors from Germany, maybe assembled there too, though presumably the highest percentage of parts will be Asian I would guess – the origins and details are sketchy to say the least.  They also have ABC models without GPS mode, which seem to fare pretty well against Suunto watches (and somewhat cheaper!) to such an extent I would not be surprised if the movement modules were from the same source.  There is a comparison on You Tube which is quite interesting.
However the features appear pretty comprehensive and the addition of a GPS with track functions, brings it into the same ball park as the Garmin Forerunner, or perhaps even the Fenix.  Then the price doesn’t look too bad after all – it all depends on how the watch performs and there’s only one way to find that out.  Buy one!

LAD WEATHER GPS watch

LAD WEATHER GPS watch

But with anything out of the mainstream Brands it’s always worth taking each model as it comes, make decisions on the good and bad of each, consider the manufacturing quality and possible after sales/Warranties etc. should they go wrong.  Do your homework, check You Tube, check comments, reviews and user experiences and make you own judgements.  If really cheap like the first model shown here, then it’s often worth having a  punt at it – you never know – and if a dud, then bin it and move one . . . . no worries.

At nearly £100 for this GPS model – I’d have to give it some serious thought – but for new ideas and some great and designs, there are lots of these guys around and they can be fun.

I have to admit here I’m tempted, but will I take the chance?

Overload? Time for change . . .

Overload indeed and in this case it applies perfectly to this Citizen what with the sheer data overload of the JY8035-04E, which I spotted the other day.

Warning - Data overload !!!

Warning – Data overload !!!

Of course it’s that wonderful gadget style Citizen look we all love, but at the end of the day what’s supposed to be practical isn’t really – is it?  and be honest.  When did you last use the car analogy, fuel and distance, acceleration and slide rule data chapter rings and the like.  The sheer amount of information on this dial is as staggering as it’s impractical.  Most folk will look at and understand perhaps one set of data and that’s the Time, ‘cos it’s got those big clear hands and that gentlemen is about it.
But surprisingly even the basic information such as the date info is not really readily seen, here depending on whether it’s a positive or negative display.  The one featured here for example, clarity wise, I wouldn’t even consider.

Amazing when you think that at the other end of the spectrum, Citizen also produce (still) one of the clearest, practical and easy to read models that exists – and is still one of their very best sellers – the BMB180-03E

Citizen BMB180-03E Eco-Drive Date Watch

Citizen BMB180-03E Eco-Drive Date Watch

and older variations of it such as the BMB8470-11E or the 54E and so on – as there are quite a few of them around.  I’ve had mine since 2008 and it is as good today as when I bought it AND still worn as a solid daily beater.

When I got mine it was under £100 and some versions are still seen today at under £70, though the latest incarnation retails at just over the £100.

So it seems to me that the clear to read Eco-Drive Date model is practically about as good as a watch probably needs to be and pretty obvious why it is a best seller.  The title of this Post really does illustrate the massively over-populated dial of the Cal U680 JY8035-04E model shown in the first image.

Eco-Drive Citizen 180

Eco-Drive Citizen 180 (2008)

Others too have started to realize, especially with the rise of the Smart Watch, that maybe there is a place for everything and it’s really a difficult if not impossible task to try and get everything on such a small faced item worn on the wrist.  Indeed the latest thinking is that the “Smart” gadget will not really be a watch at all – and the Time as such will not actually be displayed on the front page at all – in fact a watch will actually BE required as well and which manages to tell the basics such as Time, Day and Date is now probably needed more than ever.  The Smart gadget is only now being understood as something else entirely, though goodness knows when or where it will all settle down, as it’s pretty obvious they are nowhere near that point yet.

The public in the meantime are footing the development costs for a plethora of high tech items that will in their present state be superseded many, many times in it’s creation.

So for me I’ll stick to the wristwatch and forget about the overloaded models, along with the so called “Smart” watches, as I and most of us I fancy are simply not ready for it yet.

Quality & Style

Quality and Style – something that Cartier has always had in abundance and yet many of the models just don’t do it for me.  Possibly as the model shapes are now so familiar they perhaps breed “oh it’s one of those again” comments, which is of course rather unfair – but fact nevertheless.

Calibre de Cartier W7100039 Gents

Calibre de Cartier W7100039 Gents

But as always I have a favorite and it’s the Calibre de Cartier model which has a really modern, clean and perfectly structured look.  It stands out for me in a few ways, not least that it’s very easy to read, has luminous hands and 4 luminescent points @12, 3, 6 and 9.  A clever 3 date view window @3 which is handy if the minute hand obscures the date, just when you want to check it.  The dates either side giving an immediate indication as to the actual date is in my view such a simple way of overcoming that slight problem.

This model is in 18ct Pink Gold and brushed Steel with a shrouded classic heptagonal Cartier crown, a decent seconds dial @6 plus a 60 minute chapter ring around the main dial in 5 minute intervals.  Interestingly the numerals 4 to 8 are replaced by markers which is a subtle recognition to clarity – the large classic Cartier numerals would simply crown the lower half of the dial.  So a neat touch indeed.

Cartier W7100039 view of the Calibre 1904MC.

Cartier back view of the Calibre 1904MC.

Mechanical Manufacture movement with automatic winding calibre 27 jewel 1904-PS MC and water resistant to 3 bar (30 metres /100 feet).

The case dimensions are perfect for me at 42mm x only 10mm depth, so is a very neat and flat fitting model on the wrist.  The strap is in brown semi-matt alligator skin, with a double adjustable deployment buckle in steel.

This particular model W7100039 is in my opinion the best looking of the series. Tthe dial configuration is just right and feels right too, which is always a nice feeling to have.  And as Cartier models go, this is not the most expensive by any means at around £7000 and is such an attractive model that I feel inclined to save up or perhaps trade in a few older watch models in the hope of getting one!