Simple Date

Often with unisex watches that are not physically large, one of the problems if showing a date window is they are so small and therefore difficult to read.

Rolf Cremer Bogen Gent from Germany.  Double Date clarity.

Rolf Cremer Bogen Gent from Germany. Double Date clarity.

I found this model Rolf Cremer Bogen Gent 492801 Quartz watch recently that solves the problem neatly with the addition of a proper Double Date window set in it’s plain color dial.

Numerals and indices are omitted for clarity and the good contrasting red colored hour and minutes hands are complimented by the centre seconds hand with it’s black dot pointer.
The double date aperture is @12 and is designed as the main feature of the watch.
The crystal is mineral glass, the case in stainless steel and the wrist band is in complimentary red quality leather.  Dimensions of the watch are neat at 34.3 mm wide, 9.5 mm depth and 45.5 mm lug to lug and overall the watch has a superb modern clean line look, perfect for day or dress wear.

Another plus is the fact the watch is not expensive at around 139 Euros.

In my opinion this is a great example of good design and function.  Clear to read, elegant looks and deceptively simple in form, it’s one of those models that’s just perfect for those little occasions – not flash, not minimalistic silly – but rather elegant, modern and rather refined.

Casio elegance +

To some the concept of “Casio and elegance” may seem to be a contradiction in terms, yet they do have a model which to my mind just about manages to fit the phrase.  This is the Casio LCW-M170TD-1AER (the usual clunky code model number), part of the Lineage series and here it does describe a rather neatly specified and yes “elegant” model.

Casio Lineage LCW-M170TD-1AER complication dress watch

Casio Lineage LCW-M170TD-1AER complication dress watch

In dress style form it is surprisingly well specified as it is both Solar powered, Radio Controlled (multi band 6) with a World Time* function and it’s Ana/Digi (with a center seconds hand) and with the emphasis on analog in looks, with just a neat secondary digital and on this model a positive display in the lower segment.  A round solid Titanium light weight (80 gms) case with excellent dimensions of just 39.5 mm diameter and very slim at just 9.2 mm height, this is a sleek watch considering the complications.

It also has a 5 bar Water Resistance (50 m) so can be viewed as a dress watch that doesn’t mind getting it’s feet wet.  The crystal unusually for Casio is in synthetic Sapphire, so scratches are virtually eliminated and the pushbutton bracelet is also made of solid Titanium incorporating a twin push catch.

The slight downside for me is that Casio’s Module 5161 is not the most up to date, noticeable in the *World Time function by the fact that only 29 City Time Zones are represented (the latest models feature some 40 zones) and omits Newfoundland, Canada (sorry guys) which has a UTC offset of -3.5 hrs – it won’t indicate that particular zone automatically.  It has a 1/100 sec to 1 hr Stop Watch with elapsed time, split time and 5 independent Alarms, Auto calendar and an LED back light.  The battery used is the CTL920 and there is a battery level indicator.

Solid Titanium bracelet with twin push catch

Solid Titanium bracelet with twin push catch

The analog hands are luminous and the dial background is black though I note it can be slightly reflective at times, but that said it doesn’t seem to be an issue from the reports and reviews I’ve seen to date.  I already noted that this version features a positive digital display and indeed of the 4 variations offered I believe it is the only one, the others being negative displays.  I personally find it easier to see positive displays than the negative ones.

I have to think this is maybe a slight departure for a Casio complication model, as they’ve managed to refrain from having it shrouded in Shock protection, nor is it oversize.  And it does prove to me at last that they can easily squeeze the technology into a sensible standard sized dress style watch.

This model also features a standard spring bar fitting arrangement for the bracelet, so if you fancy a change it’s simple to fit a standard strap should you prefer one.  And that IS unusual for Casio today.

So for those looking for a surprisingly well specified watch with all the mod cons complication wise you could wish for and within a dress watch style, this could be the one for you.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing perhaps – and if you don’t like macho or flash, I think you’ll find this model rather elegant with it’s dress style looks – but PLUS a surprising set of functions hidden within.

Elegance + – could be a good name for it instead of that big code?

NoteNot intended as a true travel watch it is not possible to swap the analog time and the digital time (for another time zone for example).  However it is quite easy if changing time zones, to change your home digital time to the destination time – the analog hands will move to the new “home” time, as they are programmed to indicate Home time by default.

The best gets better!

As you probably know if you read my web site, one of my favorite models is the Citizen AT, which I have had for several years now (2010).  I love it because I travel a great deal and it is easily one of the simplest of watches to use for different time zones.  Simply pull out the crown, turn the second hand to the time zone required and push in again – job done.  All you have to know is where you’re going!

Citizen CC3005-85E Solar, GPS - about as good as it gets. . .

Citizen CC3005-85E Solar, GPS – about as good as it gets. . .

Now with my new purchase (on it’s way!) I don’t even need to know that!  Citizen’s new GPS model takes care of that with the advent of new and superior GPS technology, which supersedes even Radio Control which I naively thought was the ultimate!  But my old AT of course was dependent on Radio Transmitter location, so conceivably could be out of contact.   :-(

GPS offers so much more, yet the earlier GPS enabled Citizen watches didn’t really do it for me, as they had that angular case shape left over from the Attesa series, which if small to average wrist size, they never quite fitted as snugly as I wanted.  That all important lug to lug size being just that little bit too long.

But now this latest model CC3005-85E is a different ball game altogether.  It goes back to the more conventional and in my view a sensible case shape, which fits my wrist just fine and although cased is 44 mm x 13 mm, has that a shorter lug to lug dimension.

Now where my older AT model was great, this new GPS model is exceptional and it really comes into its own in all respects.   Using the new F150 movement, it has an increased accuracy out of the box and even without GPS or Radio Control is within +/- 5 seconds per month, which is really, really good.  Add in the GPS function and with one push of the upper right pusher, it synchronizes the exact local time in around 3 seconds.  This is a lot quicker than any Radio Control models I’m used to.

When traveling it can now automatically locate (previous models did not have this feature) which out of the 40 time zones you are in by a quick push of the upper right button and calibrate the exact time using 4 satellites within about 3 minutes.  No need to do much of anything again except push a button – so ease of use (so often the enemy of super complication watches) is quite amazing.  You can however also set the Time Zone manually by pulling out the crown to Pos 1 and turning to the zone required and push the crown in, just like the AT.

Simple display plus complication technology a sure fire winner.

Simple display plus complication technology a sure fire winner.

I like the fact this model not only calibrates and shows the Time, Day and the Date, each of which is shown on the dial, but displays in analog on a simple and clear, easy to read dial.  I am really pleased that Citizen have achieved what I have long been an advocate of – a simple “display v complication” ratio – and this model manages this to perfection.  The Solar cell internal charging system is also nothing short of spectacular (updated yet again) and can operate for a day after just 3 minutes in the sun.  I find this extraordinary and coupled with the fact that, once fully charged, if you chuck it in a drawer, it will manage via its Power Save function to keep ticking away internally for up to 7 years!  Even without Power Save activated it will run happily for around 2 years.

Now I have to ask myself if I actually need all this technology, as being perfectly honest, my current AT model does just fine, but HEY! This is techy done right!  And I collect watches, so it was a no brainer that I was going to get it – wasn’t it!

Practically I like the fact it has decent luminosity baton markers and hands and the dial is uncluttered, very clean, clear and easy to read.  There is also a Battery Charge and Power Generation indicator around the right segment of the dial in the form of 6 line markers.  The lower one at 1 indicates around 24 months Battery Charge and the lower line at 6 around 5 days.  It has also 7 levels of Power Generation indication if you really want to be pedantic.

Clever indications of Power Reserve and power Generation.

Clever indications of Power Reserve and Power Generation.

These functions are activated by a short push on a button and the hands swing to indicate the results.

Nice deployment bracelet - which I might change to silicon . . . but we'll see . .

Nice deployment bracelet – which I might change to silicon . . . but we’ll see . .

Sapphire glass is used so few scratches will ever bother you and with its Perpetual Calendar until February 28th 2100 should also see me out (if not it means either I’m rather unique in my own right, or my watch has got a problem, and I know which one is likely to falter!).

And perhaps best of all, for me, is the fact that this wonderful technology comes in a familiar, yet considering the technology, an understated style and looks as unobtrusive as my Solar AT model. Citizen have definitely got this one right – improved and upgraded technology in almost every department and managed it all in a sensible case size.  To then display that technology without an F16 cockpit dial set up is also to be applauded.

I love it and I love this one too.

There are competitors out there of course not least Seiko, but I’ve had a look at them and so far they don’t do it for me!  They all tend to look a bit cluttered and look complicated and I have the impression the technology seems to be shoehorned in to the case.  And on the wrist they are just not that super easy to read.

But Citizen with this model have very successfully merged technology and simplicity together in a very sleek and dare I say conventional watch – complicated yes, high tech yes, but super simple to use.

Now for me that’s real progress.

Images – I’ll post more images when I finally get the watch in my hands in an update to this Post.  I’ll also update any conclusions reached here once I’ve tried it out for a week or so and if I do decide on a different strap, then I’ll show images of that too.

And the time is – approximately . . .

With all the hype about accuracy in time, it seems that there’s always a place for those who aren’t that worried about it.  And for those laid back people there is the nice series of models from Botta and indeed I had one myself – I had the Botta 24, but I sold it on as I found I wasn’t wearing it.  A sure sign that a watch is or isn’t for me is that very fact – do I wear it?  And in the case of the Botta 24, I didn’t.  Not because it was a poor watch, far from it, but rather being a Single Handed dial system, I found, after the initial fascination, that it was just too tiresome to read.  I found myself straining to tell the time and that’s just NOT for me.  So in the end I sold it on to someone who could manage to live with it.

The Botta ONE HANDED Nova Carbon

The Botta SINGLE HANDED Nova Carbon

So it was with some interest that I spotted the latest Botta Nova Carbon automatic – which is yet again a Single Handed watch, but with a clear difference.  This time there are no tiny figured sub-scales on the dial (I needed glasses to see them on the Botta 24), but rather a neat plain dial divided up into 12 simple (hour) segments.  The only indicator – the Hour hand is just visible as a bright green tip which slowly progresses around the dial, through each hour segment and indicates the time accordingly.  The center of the dial is black printed on the sapphire crystal.  When reading the time, the eye of the wearer is cleverly pulled attention wise into that one hour segment, where the hand is pointing and it is surprisingly easy to approximate the time.

Interesting 3 part stainless steel Botta back, with sapphire crystal

Interesting 3 part stainless steel Botta back, with sapphire crystal.  Note crown access.

The image here shows the time to be approximately 1:40, though the wearer does have to know whether it’s day or night and fortunately I can still just about manage that!

The watch is powered by the Swiss 2824-2 automatic caliber movement, a most reliable movement, which includes an Incabloc anti-shock plus 25 ruby bearings.  I note that Botta hand adjust every movement over a few days, prior to retail to maximize accuracy.

A dual domed Sapphire crystal includes anti-reflection coatings and with a complimentary exhibition back also in Sapphire.  Fully screwed stainless steel 3 part case with dimensions of 44 mm x 8.8 mm is lightweight at just 75 g, means this is a very neat watch which sits extremely flat on the wrist.  Water resistance like most other Botta models is 3 atm.  I note owing to the case back shape (see image) the crown is much easier to access than the Botta 24 which was very small and too smooth to grip.

So an intriguing watch from Botta and yet another variation on the Single Handed display system and I have the feeling that, as it is, for want of a better word I’ll call it an “approximate” watch, I don’t envisage I’d suffer eye strain this time as a result of reading it.

In fact it’s really very easy – a quick glance and it’s obviously around 1:40.

Could I live with it?  well I thought I could with the Botta 24 and didn’t manage it, but this one certainly has a much better chance.  However priced at over $1000 and without a Day or Date, would I get my money’s worth.

Maybe I would wear it for a while . . . . or . . . . maybe the jury’s still out on this one for me at this “approximate” moment in time.   :-)

Note 1The Botta Nova Carbon is also available in Quartz at approximately $540 – but my reservations I’m afraid still apply – novelty or practicality?

Note 2From a collectors point of view, “designer” watches such as the Botta all tend to suffer in the pre-owned market.  Not really sure why, though in many cases Designer watches are showing off perhaps a novelty aspect of a watch and often something very different.  It is unfortunately true also that most people, including myself, have a short attention span when it comes to novelties – in that the novelty wears off!
From experience I can say that selling on “designer” models is never easy.  Even though I was reasonably lucky when I sold on my Botta 24, it certainly didn’t reach the value that I personally put on it.  But that’s life . . . .


Head turner

Been in Germany for a few weeks and managed to come away with another designer watch that for me is a neat dress idea.

The "Turn" by Rolf Cremer - drivers watch style and modern too.

The “Turn” by Rolf Cremer – drivers watch style and modern too.

A very modern take on the old “drivers” model idea where the wearer if driving a car for example, can see the time clearly without moving the wrist on the steering wheel.  The clever old idea of turning the watch face/dial by a few degrees makes all the difference.

With the “Turn” series from Rolf Cremer in such a large range of dial and strap color combinations, it really is a watch for the dress conscious amongst us and ideal for that night out. It’s also that little bit different and draws a few comments I can tell you.

It is also, owing to it’s neat dimensions, a true unisex model at just 25 mm wide, 7 mm depth and 35 mm lug to lug.  Perhaps seen as rather small for the more masculine, but as a dress watch under a shirt cuff, it works well.

Nothing extraordinary about the watch technically of course, though it comes with a nice leather strap, Titan tough glass and an amazing range of color combinations.

Just part of the range of "Turn" combinations.

Just part of the range of “Turn” combinations.

Quartz movement, basic analog time indication with center seconds hand and in various colors.  I like this particular combination 491816 (retails for 149.99 Euros) as it’s nice and clear to read, but there are plenty to choose from to suit your particular needs.  The leather straps are available as separate purchases should you wish to change the look.

I would have liked to have found this range of watches before Christmas as they will certainly make good and reasonable cost gift ideas for either sex and I’ll definitely keep a note of them for future reference.

Note that Rolf Cremer of Germany manufacture a wide range of other models and their web site may be of interest – HERE.

The Re-Run Nixon

Always on the lookout for that affordable, fashion conscious, interesting model at that special price.  A model that has that “something” about it that separates it from the rest.  I think I’ve found it in the shape of the Nixon – The Re-Run Leather.

Nixon Re-Run Leather watch

Nixon – The Re-Run Leather watch

It looks dead cool retro, yet it also looks “new” and that’s where it scores.  A sort of laid back old style that just oozes individuality and with the wonderful old hickory style leather strap it really does work for me.

Relatively simple with the basics displayed elegantly and clearly on the display screen, surrounded by a gold tone sleek and modern case design.

The standard layout display shows most of what you need to get by.
Front ABS buttons for display options such as Dual Time, Calendar, Alarm, Countdown Timer and Night light, its actually not badly specified and it has a Water Resistance of 30 m – and all under a hard Mineral Glass.

I have to admit that I like it and at an offer price I spotted currently of just £86.65 (less shipping) it has to be a cool find and a definite contender for that Christmas stocking.

Setting Day, Date, Months

I was asked the other day for advice on setting a friends mechanical automatic winding watch – specifically on when to set the days, dates and months as he found it sometimes tricky and difficult to get these parameters to move properly.

My own ideas on changing the complications have worked for me pretty well, with no mechanical issues resulting so I have to assume I’m doing it right – I passed this information to him and he suggested that maybe I should Post it on the web site – so here it is.

Take care adjusting complications - when NOT to do it!

Take care adjusting complications – when NOT to do it!

DO NOT change the Date between – 8.30pm and 02.00am.

DO NOT change the Day between – 11.30pm and 04.00am.

DO NOT change the Month between – 10.30pm and 00.00 (midnight).

This range of times to avoid should apply to most types of mechanical movements and even though this varies with movement Brands, hopefully I’ve allowed enough leeway to avoid any problems.

I tend to use the same no-go times for quartz triple date models too – get it wrong and sometimes they can be more problematic than mechanical!