Bezel calculations & migraine

So you’ve got yourself that great looking watch with an equally great and complicated looking bezel – you know the one with all those tiny text figures on it,  that 9 out or 10 folks have not a clue as to what they mean, let alone use them!  And having quite a few of those models myself, I thought I’d shed some light (or not) on some of the things you can calculate with them and basically because my Skyhawk provides this data in the instructions.

However not all bezel markings are the same.  There is the simple Divers Count Up bezel marked 0 to 60, then the Count Down bezel marked 60 to 0 (useful for that parking meter), or the Speedmaster style Tachymeter scale for measuring units per time increments such as your speed in miles per hour etc, then there is the Pulsometer, used to check your heart rate and maybe incorporated with an Asthmometer to calculate your respiratory rate.  Not so often you also find the Telemeter bezel where you can determine the distance you are from a sound, such as thunder in a storm for example and of course there’s the GMT bezel with its 24 hr graduations and useful as a Dual Time indicator, then there’s the Compass bezel which is not a compass, but makes rough bearings possible – and lastly there’s the Slide Rule bezel, such as the one on my Skyhawk, which typical for Citizen, seems to have every one of ‘em!

But before it gets too complicated here’s a “Hint” – I love this, that one of the watch brands gives as a helpful piece of information to the potential watch Slide Rule user –

Nothing to it Really!

This is a hint?  Well thanks for that! (Courtesy of Seiko)

So there, that explains everything doesn’t it?  Or like me you got lost when the n-th bit and the 10 to the little y came along!  But no worries if you’ve got your iPhone with you then forget the watch!  Ha Ha!
And I’m being serious here as unless your eyesight is A+++ then trying to work out anything on these watch bezels is nigh impossible.  I tried it on my Skyhawk and with a magnifying glass, a bright light plus the instructions booklet to hand and accompanied by an inordinate amount of cursing, all I got was a serious migraine!

Citizen Skyhawk - home at last.

Bezel Slide Rule with movable, Outer Rule, fixed Inner rule and in-dial fixed Index – allows many calculations.

Now OK the lesser bezels such as the 0-60 and 60-0, compass, GMT and so on, these are useful and no problem (they’re also bigger textually), but the old Slide Rule is a killer, basically for me because the text is too darned small.  In fact I pulled out my old Slide Rule (yes I do have one from the dark ages when engineer and eyesight were not diametrically opposed) and would you believe it the text was almost the same darned size!

Suffice to say I struggled to even read it – so for me I’m happy to have my pilot/engineer/macho bezel watch, but I’ll use it, thank you very much, to tell the time!

However for those of you with decent eyesight and perhaps owning a pre-owned Slide Rule bezel watch with no instructions – then this next bit is for you – maybe!

Calc1

© Citizen

Calc2

© Citizen

Ratio1

© Citizen

Square1

© Citizen

Conv1

© Citizen

Fuel1

© Citizen

Fuel2

© Citizen

Nav01

© Citizen

Nav2

© Citizen

Nav3

© Citizen

Nav4

© Citizen

That covers some of the calculations possible with the circular Slide Rule, certainly on the Citizen Skyhawk and I suppose (eyesight permitting) if you use some of these calculations (especially the Navigation ones) then in the absence of other electronic aids, it could well be a useful item on your wrist.  However many folks like myself now will but this type of watch for the looks and the aesthetics rather than any technical calculation functionality, though it’s nice to know that there are some calculations that are not too difficult to manage should the need arise.

Other bezel styles such as the Telemeter basically indicates the distance from your location to an object that emits both light and sound, such as when thunder and lightening occurs. basically the difference between the Speed of Light (almost immediately) and the Speed of Sound (0.33km/second).

Courtesy of Seiko Watch Co.

Image © Seiko Watch Co. – Note other models may have a different stopwatch sequence.

I’ve more or less just scratched the surface here on circular Slide Rule and bezel indexes as the calculations possible are many.  Multiplication, Division, Ratios, Volume unit conversion, Weight unit conversion, Distance conversion, Fuel conversion, Distance conversion, Time to Distance, Calculation of Speed, Driving distance, Fuel consumption (rate & amount), Driving times, Wind direction for yachting for example and similar calculations for flying etc.  the list is pretty long.
In fact the E6B flight computer or the “whiz wheel” as sometimes called, is a form of circular slide rule used in aviation, though maybe now mostly used in training, as today electronic Flight Computers have taken over.  But these slide rule computers (for that’s essentially what they are) may be used in flight planning prior to take off for calculating fuel use, wind direction, flight times, ground speed, estimated arrival times and so on and I well remember seeing Pilots with the slide rule sticking up out of their Flight bag walking to the aircraft.

So on the main Brands of pilot watch and other models featuring Slide Rules, the function is not just a gimmick as you might think, because in essence they do work – IF you know how . . .
However for me, what with the eyesight and brain limitation today, I’ll just have to wear my Slide Rule bezel models with all the confidence I can muster.

And as for using the calculation bit, well I don’t really think I have the patience these days nor indeed the Time to learn!

But my Skyhawk is a great watch – so there!

However – I hope some of you out there found the above useful and all I can say is – have fun!

The Madison

Having a few vintage Eterna watches I decided this time to have a look at the current range and this one, the Madison is my favorite and one that might well make it on to my short list for this year.  Not Automatic as you might think, but actually a hand wound model, it certainly isn’t the usual “wind it every day” type at all.

The Eterna Madison 8 day hand wound Gents.

The Eterna Madison 8 day hand wound Gents.

This is an 8 day Eterna Calibre 3510, hand-wound mechanical movement with Eterna Spherodrive, 28,800 A/h, 22 jewels.  Analog functions are hour, minute and seconds display with Big Date.  The Power reserve is theoretically a 10-day power reserve, though is limited to 8 days (192 hours) by a balance stop mechanism to ensure optimum accuracy.  So practically you would only wind it maybe 3 times in a month.
The case is Case is polished stainless steel and tonneau shaped like my old vintage Eterna-Matic 2002 and the dimensions are 38.5 mm x 53.5 mm, height 9.3 mm (the lug to lug is about as big as I can manage wrist wise) and the back is screwed down by four screws.  Water resistance is 30 m (3 bars).

The dial is silvered and depending on model either gray or black brushed sun-ray, with cobbled pattern structure, faceted baton indexes and Arabic numeral appliqué at 12 o’clock.  The large date display is at 2 o’clock and the Power Reserve Indicator is between 7 and 8 o’clock.
The hour and minute hands are rhodium-plated or gold-coloured, coated with a white luminescent substance, and the central seconds also hand rhodium-plated or gold-coloured.

Over the dial the crystal is in scratch-resistant anti-reflective sapphire and the strap/bracelet options of black, brown or gray Louisiana alligator leather strap with deployment buckle.

Eterna Calibre 3510 - Spherodrive with twin barrels 8 day capability.

Eterna Calibre 3510 – Spherodrive with twin barrels 8 day capability.

It is of course the movement which is really interesting and innovative – the Eterna Spherodrive  Calibre 3510 with serially coupled pair of spring barrels, which work in tandem to produce 192 hours of smooth power.  That power is handled very efficiently by the unique cut off mechanism, which deactivates the balance wheel after eight days, when the movement’s power is too low to achieve optimum precision timekeeping.

Obviously more a dress watch than anything, which is fine for me these days as I seem to be increasing my dress collection for whatever reason.  Also I don’t have that many rectangular models and that’s mostly owing to that lug to lug measurement.  Too big and there’s that overhang on the wrist and the watch just doesn’t sit well.  The Madison is fortunately just within my limits and with it’s standard strap/spring bar fixing it should wrap immediately around the wrist, so should be fine.

The Madison is however quite expensive at around £5400 and above my usual area of interest, but it’s unusual and from an excellent Maker.  Whether it’s worth it for me is perhaps debatable, but for such technology and especially mechanical innovation there is, correctly in my opinion, a price premium that’s fully justified.  A couple of my other Eterna (vintage) models are 43 and 60 years old and still going perfectly, no batteries to buy, no electronic module decline etc.  So perhaps a cost per day basis would be a fairer valuation and in that respect things might take on another aspect entirely!

No question about it though – I do like the Eterna brand.

Antique Fairs to Eterna

Occasionally I visit Antique Fairs, mostly as an accompaniment to my Wife who’s into Art Deco, so I take the opportunity to seek out any Watch sellers that happen to be there.  Today we did just that and I sort of went my way and she hers – but anyway the upshot is that in amongst the rubbishy “house clearance” stuff and quite a few watches that obviously lived their lives in boxes full of old nails (mostly rubbish!) I did come across a guy who actually had some decent stuff.

Eterna-Matic 2002 from 1973

Eterna-Matic 2002 from 1973

And his prices were the sort of prices I understand – he’s a watch guy – say no more! and we got on.

Quite a few decent models there from Jaeger LeCoultre to Omega to Rolex and so on, but the one that caught my eye was this lovely super condition Eterna-Matic 2002 from 1973.  It simply stood out as the great model it is and as good today as when it was produced.  The case is that lovely almost cushion but moreTonneau ’70s style and is in really good condition with no corrosion or plating loss.  The excellent mechanical movement is the Calibre 12824 or ETA 2824 automatic date, which beats along at a very smooth 28,800 a/h frequency.  The movement number scribed on the movement as was the Eterna-Matic name, Brevet Swiss (Swiss patented) and the screw back in Stainless Steel 459T grade (don’t think it’s around these days).  The movement condition is about as good as it gets, the rotor sweet and smooth and the watch dial is something to be very pleased about.  The watch back is a screwed stainless steel with a perfect condition rubber gasket seal with case number engraved.

Perfect original dial - not bad after 43 years!

Perfect original dial – not bad after 43 years!

No corrosion evident  – the gold hands and baton markers crisp and clear, the dial’s vertical brushed Gold texture background and wonderfully light contrasting outer index a total delight and all original.  Including (and I don’t see this very often, if ever) a fully marked with 5 protruding balls logo Crown which looks really neat and matches the dial logo.  The strap is a 19 mm wide non-original Condor in Buffalo Calf which matches up very nicely.
The other point about this watch are the dimensions – it is perfect for me or indeed anybody today despite the penchant for large watches, this just fits perfectly.  Approximately 38 mm wide (39 mm including the semi-recessed Crown) by 37 mm lug to lug and the wrist shot is self evident – pretty much perfect.

As good as it gets on the wrist!  Makes some modern watches look bland!

As good as it gets on the wrist! Makes some modern watches look bland!

The watch functions smoothly, the date change crisp and the date wheel is in perfect condition and it is one very accurate movement, as was intended.

The Eterna-Matic Automatic Cal 12824 - 28,000 beats

The Eterna-Matic Automatic Cal 12824 – 28,000 beats

Interesting model this as it started off life in 1972 (Eterna have been around sine 1856) and it was with this Eterna-Matic named model that the Company sort of re-introduced itself to the world.  It was a bit of a revelation in the Watch Industry as it was the first watch to wind itself automatically by means of ball bearings – self polishing too which reduced friction losses considerably and as a result produced a remarkably accurate automatic movement.  They even offered a Ladies model with the same set up – and that was something really new.

And so here it is today after 43 years and looking great! – now that has to be quality.  And as to value?  Well let’s just say that I was VERY pleased . . . .
I should add that this is not the first Eterna-Matic in my collection – the way it’s going I’ll soon have a full box (12) unless I reign myself in . . .  ;-)

Note - Eterna today is often forgotten about by the mainstream, which is an oversight in my opinion as their range of models are both technically interesting and varied.  Models such as the Adventic which features the Eterna in-house Calibre 3843 with their Eterna Spherodrive mechanism (ball bearing mounted barrel) or the hand wound Madison big date (one of my favorites), which features an 8 day Calibre 3510 with a serially coupled pair of spring barrels working in tandem to deliver 192 hours of power thanks to the Spherodrive system.  This is a hand wound model that only requires to be wound 3 times a month!
So plenty of innovation from Eterna and certainly should be looked at more closely if looking for a more individual watch today.  I hope to run a Post soon on the range of models currently available – and that range can be seen HERE.

Note - This post also appears in my Vintage Gents page.

This time – I keep it!

As discussed on the last Post, after selling on my older model Navihawk, I managed to replace it at long last with this Citizen JY0005-50E Skyhawk A-T Radio Controlled Eco-Drive, which reminds me so much of my older model, AND which has been updated for today with RC and Eco-Drive.  Really pleased with it because in my opinion this is a Classic Citizen model of it’s and probably my generation.

Citizen Skyhawk - home at last.

Citizen Skyhawk – home at last. Note the down curving bezel.

That amazing concept of a digital multi displays coupled with a busy, yet unaccountably readable dial analog dial layout is still a winner and I include a few images here to show it off.  This is also a model that will go into my “milestones” display box and will definitely not be sold on, unlike the last time.  It seems to me to be about as far along this route that Citizen can go without changing the case and tinkering with the dial layout, though not by much I hasten to add, such as the Attesa model, which I know, silly me – I also sold on . . .  ;-(
But for some unknown reason I just wasn’t wearing either one and my mantra in those days was if I don’t wear ‘em – they go.  I’m maybe a bit more mature today and that rather strict criteria has eased somewhat and I can see the beauty in owing without over wearing, happy enough just to take it out on occasion and have the odd wearing day or week.

Skyhawk high data dial configuration works and works well!

Skyhawk high data dial configuration works and works well!

But to the model – and there is no doubt that it is a very nicely made piece of kit with lots going for it, such as the anti-reflection coated domed crystal and the clever configuration of the entire dial, which is a masterpiece in it’s own right.  There’s no question in my mind that they got this right and right at the start too.
Another thing I should mention is that I managed to get this at £100 off retail.  The funny thing was and this is actual fact, the price dropped just after my last Post (we’re talking a day ago!) and as this was both the best price I’d seen and the last one the Dealer had in stock, it was an absolute no brainer for me.  Straight on to the web site and that was it!

And very happy I did too and as you see I got myself a lot of watch for the money.

Skyhawk JY0005-50E - Original steel bracelet changed for Silicon deployment - means 196gms to 110gms.

Skyhawk JY0005-50E – Original steel bracelet changed for Silicon deployment – means 196gms to 110gms!

I didn’t in the end buy the Titanium one, which would normally be my preference, purely on weight grounds.  However I solved this minor issue by removing the very heavy steel IP coated bracelet, which believe it or not accounted for 110gms of the total weight of 196gms, or heavier than the watch itself.  Fitting a silicon deployment strap made good sense and the resultant all up weight is now just 110gms, which is actually 10gms lighter than the Red Arrows Titanium JY0110-55E version of this watch, so I’m very pleased with that.

The watch with it’s U600 movement is of course a delight to use, easy to set and once on auto in regards Radio Control is a forget watch.  Get yourself a Radio signal at 2am, 3am or 4am and the time is corrected as good as you’ll get.  Summer/Winter times are automatically accounted for in settings (Auto) and to change Home time for Destination Time if traveling is simple to do.  Crown out to Pos 1, turn to select city shown in display 1 on the right, press buttons A and B simultaneously and the new time jumps to display 2 on the left and the old Home time moves to the 1st display on the right, push in Crown – job done!  Once on the way home just do the same again, but this time simply pull out Crown to Pos 1, press A and B together, Cities move over, push Crown in – job done.  So a very easy to use World Time traveler.

Classic Citizen Skyhawk  - note the domed crystal and bezel

Classic Citizen Skyhawk – note the domed crystal and bezel

With the Citizen penchant for displaying data, the Charge Indicator @10 shows the current state of charge and it also doubles as transmitter indicator for your area.  In other words, when Receiving, the little indicator will point to USA, Eur or Jpn.  At the same time the Second hand will point to H, M or Low signal strength at between 1 and 2.  So it’s very simple to see what’s going on at any time with this dial layout. The lower indicator sub-dial is the Mode selector indicator, which moves around to point or indicate your Mode selection, such as Time, Cal, Timer, Chrono, Alarm 1 and 2 and World Time – so again very easy.  The digital display 1 on the right will show the selection start point.

Skyhawk JY0005-50E at 45mm diameter fits well with silicon strap.

Skyhawk JY0005-50E at 45 mm diameter fits well with silicon strap.

By the way when the watch arrives in it’s box it may well have no charge at all, so before anything you need to stick it in the daylight for around 8 hours.  Then it’s ready.  After you’ve done this you’ll see it’s ticking away with Displays indicating and probably not the right time or date of course, but later that night you need to do a Manual Radio Receive.  Easy to do.

First you need to set your Home City/Zone.  Note you have two Displays.  Display 1 on the right and the smaller Display 2 on the left.  Display 1 is your World Time selection.  Display 2 is always your Home City selection.

So to set your Home City/Zone start by pulling the Crown out to Pos 1 and turn the Crown either direction to scroll through all the World Times on Display 1. When you get the one you want, leave it showing on Display 1 on the right.   (Note when you pulled the Crown out, Display 2 will flash “M”, which means it’s in “Mode” setting ready for display switching).  Now the City you selected (your Home City) is still showing in Display 1 (on the right).  To move this city to your Home City Display 2 position, press both pushbuttons at the same time.  This will transfer/copy the City from Display 1 to Display 2 on the left.  You’ll see on my watch here that my Home City is set to London on Display 2 (left), and also on Display 1 which still shows the World Time of London.  This display can also show the Month, Date and Day. Or the Time with seconds running.

It’s all pretty easy to do once you’ve managed it once, so no continual reference to the instruction booklet needed.

When traveling it’s also very easy to select a Destination Time Zone.  Basically your Home City is on the left Display 2 and the new City or World Time destination City you select is on Display 1. And you simply swap them over more or less as you already did above.  So a very good travelers watch.

Of course the watch is also a Calculator, Pilots delight, Motorists and Nerds friend with all sorts of calculations possible using the bezel and indexes on and within the dial, hence the text everywhere, though if you never use them, it’s OK as they’re not actually obtrusive.  The Hour and Minute hands are quite broad with great luminous infill and have a considerable separation above the dial, so stand out very clearly.  The sub-dial indication @12 is the UTC 24hr time and the one @2 indicates 24hr AM/PM, so again good data and well displayed, yet unobtrusive to the main time function.  Note that unlike some other models, Citizen this time have ensured that the sub dial surrounds are really thin and don’t interfere with time reading when light levels are low.  The main 0-12 markers are broad with great luminous qualities and the watch is extremely easy to read at night.  There is also a digital display light operated by the top button which is very clear indeed.

Clean Stainless Steel back shows off sleek case design.

Clean Stainless Steel back shows off sleek case design.  Note – well protected knurled Crown

The watch case is very well made and surprisingly smooth and I particularly like the bezel as it’s sleek and curves down at the edges.  It is of course bi-directional being a calculation instrument and not a Divers model, though that said this model has a commendable 200m Water resistance.  The central knurled Crown is protected by the case and the buttons are smooth and easy to operate.  I also love the back of this model as it’s very plain but in brushed stainless steel and is not designed to be opened by anyone other than Citizen, nor should there be any reason to do so.

Dimensions are not too bad for today at 45 mm wide, though I am glad to see the lug to lug is a neat 49 mm, which means this watch can fit the smaller wrist without overhang, and the depth or height of the case is 15 mm.  The IP coated steel is smooth and has a subtle brushed satin finish, not glossy at all.  The bracelet supplied is a standard 22 mm lug width and uses standard spring bar fixings, so alternative straps or bracelets can be used easily and as I’ve done already.  Another real plus when compared to many of it’s competitors.

Out of the box first impressions are this is a big, solid and heavy watch, yet remove that very heavy bracelet, fit a silicon deployment strap and it’s suddenly not just very much lighter, but seems smaller and fits neater on the wrist.

Well defined dial with great hands to background separation

Well defined dial with great hands to background separation

I’ve included a few images to try and show it in a more realistic light than you see on the Internet, and I’ll take a shot or two at night to show the luminous and display light aspects, though I’ll post the night shots later.   The luminous quality is very good indeed and hands and markers still very clear after 6+ hrs total darkness.  Added to that the digital display light for both Displays is excellent and very clear indeed.  Certainly one of the better night use watches I’ve seen from the big three.

So after all that – I eventually got my Skyhawk and OK it’s not the old Navihawk and whilst I might have got a more lookalike model such as the Blue Angels (if still available), I’m really happy with this one – in fact I love it . . .

Is there a Downside? – well if honest, it is a bit larger than my old one, which seems inevitable these days – my old Navihawk was around 40 mm diameter against this one at 45 mm and it’s very much heavier, though I’ve fixed the weight issue by changing the steel bracelet for a silicon strap, with the result it’s now actually lighter than both the old one and the new Titanium version, so that was easily solved.  You can of course have a silicon strap version of this model (cheaper) though I wanted the bracelet basically as if I did sell  it on . . . which in this case I’m definitely not going to do, it would have that option.

Anyway the Upside of this model far outweighs any negatives, as this watch is very much updated for today with addition of Radio Control and Eco-Drive and the inclusion of a Crown and only two pushers makes a neater and certainly easier operation, plus the more advanced U600 movement module, are improvements that really do Citizen justice without diminishing their concept.

And of course it’s on my wrist!  And one thing that is certain – it will not be sold on, not this time . . . . no way!

Note 1 – Where did I get this one?  I bought it HERE – and note they don’t now have stock and the price has increased – it was reduced for 2 days to £299 – and I snagged it – so there!   ;-)

Note 2 - The Attesa I refer to is a Citizen model I bought in 2009 and was probably the real upgrade model of the original Navi/Skyhawk concept – cleaned up and much more advanced and yet – well click on the Attesa in the Post (the paragraph below the first image above) and it’s article is there and the note at the foot explains all.  Interestingly I see the latest Skyhawk has moved the slide rule, bezel data indexes inside the dial.  This unfortunately is starting to look just a little cluttered – unlike my model.  It appears Citizen may be going too far though I hope not, but the Promaster Skyhawk PMV65-2272, seems perilously close and nearly £400 plus mailing costs from Japan.  However on the plus side I note it has nice short lugs and a standard strap fixing, so that is a big improvement.

Ah well perhaps you can’t get everything . . .

How could I . . .

Just thinking the other day how could I manage to sell on my old Citizen Navihawk and realizing afterwards what an idiot I was.  Maybe it was the fact that I was still looking for new things and it wasn’t being worn as much as I liked.  Or maybe it was the technology at that time and maybe it was me that wasn’t ready for it, or it had too busy a dial or whatever – I simply don’t know and that of course was as I now realize – regrettable in the extreme.
For it was a classic of it’s time and I should be wearing it now – but alas not to be . . .

My old "techno 3" - or what I thought were the greatest. But only one remains!

My old “techno 3″ – or what I thought were the greatest. But only one remains!

Today of course fortunately there are models that are now the offspring of that great watch and fortunately they have improved them and not messed around with that amazing dial construction, which let’s face it was the attraction that so many of us felt at the time.  My old model for example didn’t have Eco-drive and didn’t have Radio Control and it was stainless steel, though in fairness it was very neat on the wrist, as most watches were smaller than today’s counterparts.

So I thought OK I messed up last time and today I’m going to make amends for passing up a classic of it’s era.  Yes I’ve decided I’m going to get myself a Citizen Navi or Sky something and it’s going to be a keeper!  And there are a few around, though some don’t have that “look”and some seem larger, not as neat, so I’m being careful here because it’s important to me – this time.

At one time I had what I called my techno 3, that is the models I thought were the latest thing.  The Navihawk, the Attesa and the Breitling – and would you believe of the trio I only have one remaining and it’s not the Citizens, but my Breitling.

But and it’s a big but – what Citizen model will I choose?
Well  there are quite a few models to pick from and they all have little differences and at the end of the day it’s about personal preference.  It’s about the one that “says” it for you and I remember so well that my old one did just that and for whatever reason.  So after a lot of looking and examining and thinking how I feel and so on I have a choice of two.

Either the Citizen Skyhawk model JY0110-55E Red Arrows Titanium AT or the JY0005-50E Skyhawk Radio Controlled, Eco-Drive AT model.

Latest classic for me. The Citizen Skyhawk JY0110-55E in Titanium

Latest classic for me. The Citizen Skyhawk JY0110-55E in Titanium

Why I picked these two versions over others is just the feeling that they have the “look” of the old one with that curved bezel look, the short round buttons as opposed to the T shaped pushers others have, and just two not four plus an added crown, which eases World Time changing over the older model.

Citizen JY0005-50E A-T RC, Eco-Drive

Citizen JY0005-50E A-T RC, Eco-Drive in IP stainless

I also like the different bezel grips, elongated in the first one and dot protrusions on the other which reflect the original bezel grip idea and I prefer that both hour hands are NOT skeletal (my only dislike on my old model).  Functionality wise they are both identical and both models are now Eco-Drive, so no battery concerns ever and being Radio Controlled there are no accuracy issues when changing time zones, each of which is an improvement.  One is Titanium and the other is IP Stainless Steel so one is lighter on the wrist, and both have short case lugs, which are wrist friendly and they’ve improved the water resistance from 100m to 200m.

The indices on both I note are heavier which aids clarity and both digital displays are slightly different in layout and smaller on the right side, but with larger digits than the older model, and with the addition of better quality anti-reflection coating inside the glass these should have better overall clarity.  All good and yet without compromising that indefinable element of what attracted me in the first place.

They both in their way look right.

Which will I finally pick is down to how I feel and at this moment I’m favoring the JY0005-50E owing to dial coloration in and on the dial and maybe the bezel grips?  I also note that the IP Stainless model is considerably cheaper by around £100, which is important especially as functionality is the same.  Though on the other hand I do like Titanium!  I also like the fact that one of them has marginally less dial text (no Red Arrows).   Yikes! this is NOT easy!

It’s also true to say, that whichever one I choose, that this is one of the classic Citizen milestone models which basically has hardly changed cosmetically from the day it first appeared.  Always a good point in any design is when they get it right from day one – and that’s a feat in itself.

It was a winner then and it’s a winner now.

But hey! whatever one I do pick –  this is definitely a keeper for me – this time! ;-)

Addendum -
The model I’ve picked (yes I’ve made my selection) will be featured as a more in depth subject of a near future Post. 
One thing is so obvious when the watch is in your hand and that’s the fact it is a Citizen Classic.  The wonderful analog/digital dial layout (which some said would never work) and function combination, heralded a new age in digital watches and Citizen to my mind came of age with their introduction.  The addition of Radio Control and Eco-Drive to the range is a logical extension and will ensure the popularity of the Navihawk and Skyhawk to a new generation.

Seiko values

My latest trawl through Seiko watches show just how this Company are climbing up the price ladder and somehow the attraction of Astron and GPS enables models isn’t as great as they’d like to think, for me at any rate.  I’m of the old school and still expect that wonderful yet innovative value from Seiko as I do from the other two  – Citizen and Casio and yet looking at their web site I see some unexpected prices for Seikos . . .!  Seems to be a contradiction in terms through my old peepers.

Take their Hi-Beat range at £5000 to £23,000 (yes I kid you not!) or their GPS Solar models from £1495 – £2995.  And bear in mind that the technology used in these babies is advancing so fast that whatever you buy today will be out of date almost before you’ve got it out the box!  OK I kid a little, but you know what I mean.  So are they actually worth that kind of cash?

Anyway I brought myself down to earth (and my blood pressure) and thought  – where’s the Seiko value for money?

Seiko SMY139P1 with the Kinetic module 5M83

Seiko SMY139P1 with the Kinetic module
5M83

And I came up with this – the Seiko SMY139P1  5M83 Day and Date, Kinetic movement, Ion plated and with sensible dimensions of just 41mm x 10mm and with a bracelet.  Black dial, Hardlex crystal, super clarity and lovely broad full Lumibrite (Seiko) luminous hands with a sweep center seconds hand.  100m Water Resistant case and the classic uncluttered Seiko look.
For those not familiar with Kinetic, this movement responds to the action of your wrist.  It is NOT an automatic mechanical model, though it’s as close as you can get I suppose but it’s also a quartz movement.  The action of wearing the watch operates a tiny electrical generator that in turn generates electricity and charges the battery.  Note the battery is a special rechargeable one unlike the standard watch battery.

So you buy the watch and once out the box it may or may not be ticking.  If not just wave it around a few times and it will start.  An idea of function is that when you wear the watch and walk for around 750m, the battery will charge and easily last about 2 days, so this gives you the idea that as you wear it, you charge it.

On this model there is a discrete Power Reserve Indicator, not at first visible on the dial as you use the push button @2.  Press that and the Second hand will move round clockwise to indicate certain positions.  If it stops at the 5secs this denotes around 1 day, at 10secs will be around 10 days.  The further it goes the higher the power reserve state of the battery.  At 30secs for example the reserve is around 6 months and so on.  And if really well charged and you don’t wear it for a year, take it out the drawer give it a waggle and it will start up again.

Note - this is not like a digital module watch which will resume the correct time using step motors and so on, as this is purely a charging system analog watch and you will have to manually set the Day, Date and Time again in the usual manner with the crown.

But what this is, is a proper value Seiko in my opinion.  The technology is amazing (there is a video somewhere) and it’s all contained in a neat sized watch, which is easy to read in all light situations.  It indicates the big three as I call them – that’s TIME, DATE and DAY, which for most of us is all we actually need.  It can be drowned in the pool and worn under a cuff  and never needs a battery, so what else do you need.

It costs around £200 and there are three versions I think – This one here is the black Ion Plated version, there’s a Stainless Steel version and one with a textile strap at £20 less.

I’m glad I found it as for a minute or two I thought Seiko had lost the plot!

Hip Hop – bit of fun . .

If you’re one of those guys into fashion, you’ll always be on the lookout for a watch that you can mix and match colors and so on, just so you’re in the groove so to speak.  And the Italian Brand Hip Hop is probably a good choice.

Hip Hop HWU0177 - BLACK TIE from the Sportsman collection

Hip Hop HWU0177 – BLACK TIE from the Sportsman collection

The model I prefer out of the whole range is this one – the Hip Hop HWU0177 Black Tie model.  It’s larger than most of their range at 42mm with the usual plastic/rubbery case with attitude and this has the Calendar analog module Miyota Quartz movement, so is pretty good in operation. It shows Time, Seconds, Date and Day of the week with it’s sub-counter dials.  Color scheme is interesting and the hour and minute hands are bright white infilled with touches of blue reflected in the Crown and the 12 numeral.  Water resistance is 5 atm.

Where it scores fashion wise is that the complete movement is held within a secondary strap/case which can be popped out of the surrounding rubbery one, allowing it to be fitted into another outer case.  The case/straps are interchangeable so this is really a fashion accessory as much as a watch.  Been around in Italy since 1984 and still here so they’re obviously doing something right.

Now OK this is perhaps not what serious watch collecting is all about, but it’s a bit of fun and with the Miyota movements inside are as solid and reliable as you’ll get – so why not?

There are a few mix and match fashion watches around, but this one for me is one of the better efforts – I like it especially as it is a decent size.

A single watch like this costs around £30-£40 ish and you can add to this of course, so watch how far you go before it becomes unfashionable wallet wise!