Wenger Commando Day Date

There’s something about the Wenger Commando (quartz) that does it for me every time I see it.  It just looks right and whilst I love the classic look of the chrono, for me as I hardly ever use such a feature, the button-less Day and Date version I feature here, has to be a sure fire winner – and at reasonable cost.

Commando Day Date XL 70172 Swiss Watch

Commando Day Date XL 70172 Swiss Watch

Swiss made and basically what you see is what you get – no gimmicks, no extraneous stuff, but a watch that will live with you and give great service, day or night.

This watch has a dial that others envy I’m sure as it is clarity, clarity, clarity!  Wonderful bright green Super Luminova hands and indices with a Day and Date window @3 and a reasonably large easily operated crown and all set in a smooth black Ion plated stainless steel case with a silicon rubber buckle strap.  The dial under the Sapphire coated crystal seems larger than it really is, as it takes up most of the 40 mm diameter case and with a depth of under 12 mm the watch also manages to be a really neat wrist fit.

Water Resistance is pretty good too at 100m with a polished stainless steel engraved screw back.Ashampoo_Snap_2015.08.20_18h44m27s_004_

Like the Swiss Army Knife, the Wenger Commando Day Date model is also dependable and practical and does it’s job very well, no more, no less and with all the stuff that appears one minute and gone the next today, there’s something comforting about that.

A Victorinox Group company yet with their own independent model range including of course the Swiss Army Knife.

I confess to having a Commando model some years ago and as a collector it happened to be one of those I moved on, to facilitate my new collections ideas. A decision I did regret I have to say even at the time.  However as with all “good” things, it’s still available and as pleasing now as it was then, so I’m pretty sure as it’s priced around £170 in the UK, I’ll be wearing one in the not too distant future.

Tactical Battalion

As a lover of ” diver” watches I always keep a lookout for models that catch my eye and this model from Mühle Glashütte is such a one.

Mülle Glashütte Seebattalion - rubber strapped diver

Mülle Glashütte Seebattalion – rubber strapped 30 atm diver

This is the Seebatallion GMT (rubber) Automatic produced to meet the future requirements of the marine protection Forces of the German Navy.  It meets the overall requirements and is reliable, self sufficient (no battery required) and absolute clarity, three features deemed necessary for this purpose.  Great specification and cased in solid Titanium which offers light weight and with it’s screw down crown positioned @4 allows full wrist mobility.  The dial markings are such that with double indices at 3, 6 and 9 position plus a split triangular marking at 12 allow clarity and precise hand 12 oclock position.  These also allow good use of the SuperLuminova luminous coatings for poor light or dark situations.  Note the Sweep Seconds hand and the GMT hand are in black with a additional yellow outlined GMT skeletonised arrow head which does not interfere with the minute graduation.  Note too the excellent contrasting Date window also @4

The Mühle Seebattalion - 30atm and absolute clarity

The Mühle Seebattalion – 30atm and absolute clarity

A bi-directional bezel with extra 15 to 0 detail, plus a 2.5 mm thick domed anti-glare Sapphire crystal, transparent case back and Water Resistance to 30 bars is exceptional.  The dimensions are 44 mm diameter in combination with only 12.7 mm height means this is very compact on the wrist.  The rubber strap with stainless steel safety clasp with extension fitted via screwed attachment bars.

ETA 2893-2 Automatic Mühle - 30 atm.

ETA 2893-2 Automatic Mühle – 30 atm.

The movement is the Swiss ETA 2893-2 Automatic, withe bespoke Mühle woodpecker neck regulation, rotor and special finishes.
There is a second Time Zone/24hr display, stop second and Fast Date correction and has a 42 hr Power Reserve.

All in all this a very finely made and specified model and one that may will find it’s way into my collection.  At around the £1500 mark which considering the quality is not a bad deal in my book.  It’s also that bit unusual from a highly regarded maker, it’s unlikely any of your friends will either have one or perhaps even heard of it, though this family Business is around 145 years old, though as with many traditional brands across the wars, it was revitalized again in 1994 and once again producing watches of exceptional quality and practicality.

They can be seen HERE.

Class & Elegance

There’s class and elegance but there are few watch models that manage to combine both these words in the same breath.  However for me there is certainly one that stands out from the crowd which is in my opinion often overlooked.  Why it’s passed over almost without even seeing it, is perhaps as the name is so synonymous with quality it’s taken for granted that it’s beyond the reach of your average guy.  But you are mistaken indeed – try looking next time and you might just be surprised.  This one is the Automatic, but they also offer a quartz version, though you would be pushed to actually see much difference in looks.

Cartier Tank Solo W5200027 - says it all.

Cartier Tank Solo W5200027 – says it all.

One of my absolute and all time favorites is the Cartier Tank Solo.  Classic, timeless, stylish and elegance all rolled into one deceptively simple and iconic design masterpiece that once on your wrist is virtually part of you and you a part of it.  Whatever magic is there and there is a magic, it becomes you and in turn you become relaxed, calm and every-things alright with the world – an attitude of mind of course, but you feel – great!

The Tank Solo model W5200027 for Gentlemen, Date watch is about as classic as it’s possible to get.  So much so that everything else is compared to it, but the design is so iconic that anything other is simply not on the same page.  I particularly like this model as they have revised the case slightly (I always hoped they would but didn’t believe it) to a similar case shape as their quartz version.  The profile of the case has been flattened on the top as opposed to the roll shape of the original Tank design, making the overall look that much sleeker.
This extra large mens Automatic features the Cartier Swiss calibre 049, with rectangular Tank case in Stainless Steel at 40.85 mm x 31 mm and only 7.65 mm thickness.  The silver dial has numerals enhanced by a Sapphire Crystal glass, a Date window @6 and the Cartier signature blue steel hands compliment the synthetic cabochon set crown.  Black alligator strap with deployment buckle and Water Resistant to 30 metres.

Indeed it is so simple in it’s design brilliance that you would be forgiven in thinking this was way above your means – it’s a Cartier after all – but you would be wrong.  It can be yours for under £2500, which is high for some I admit, but in this quality market actually represents good value and the quartz version which shares the same looks, can be had for considerably less, though personally I’d pick the Automatic.  However I have seen this Automatic model for sale pre-owned around the quartz price and at that, it’s a great entry into the world of Cartier for actually very little.

As I say, one of my all time favorite models.

Gulfmaster or Rangeman?

A friend asked me the other day what I thought of the Gulfmaster Ocean G Shock  series of models from Casio, which appear to be the culmination of the “pack it all in” concept with both digital and analog (motorised) display and taken to it’s limits?

Casio Gulfmaster

Casio Gulfmaster

If you check out the many videos that are around, this is a watch absolutely stuffed with functions, is the latest thing and I should like it.  BUT when considered against the Casio Rangeman for example I’m of the opinion that maybe it’s just too much.  With the addition of analog function it’s almost overloaded and more importantly it’s twice the price.  Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m all in favour of more functions and I like the Gulfmaster but would I buy it?  and the answer I’m afraid, is no I wouldn’t.  There is also a point when you start adding analog and digital functionality where you have to be careful of over-complication and despite how clever Casio have been, I’m not sure if they’ve carried it off.

Compass mode - Hands become True North pointer.  The digital display indicates angle in degrees between the 12 o'clock and the True North pointer. Declination can be set in menu.

Compass mode – Hands become True North pointer. The digital display indicates angle in degrees between the 12 o’clock and the True North pointer. Declination can be set in menu.

Take the Tissot Solar Expert Pro for example – now that’s a feat of display engineering if ever there was – utterly simplistic analog appearance and yet with enormous ABC functionality.  Done with the most clever fusion of touchscreen, digital and analog micro-motor technology, it easily surpasses Casio in the complication v clarity stakes.

Casio Rangeman GW-9400CMJ-3ER

Casio Rangeman GW-9400CMJ-3ER (tougher than old boots!)

The Casio Rangeman on the other hand I like why?  Well first off I like owning it.  I like it because it manages the same functions (which are ideal for me) as my Protek ABC 270B, but in the G Shock classic tradition.  I like it because it’s all digital with no analog provision and looks actually quite plain, or unobtrusive perhaps is a better description.  Just another G Shock you may think, but it’s actually very much a wolf in sheep’s clothing.   The function (QW3410) set is actually very similar to the Gulfmaster, but with the omission of any analog clutter, is without Tidal information, but has the added bonus of a Sunrise/sunset function and a snooze Alarm (don’t know why that got missed on the Gulf).  The Rangeman is also in practice, smaller on the wrist, which is an important consideration when dealing with these multi-function models.  

Both models use the “Smart Access crown, rather than separate pushers as my Casio Pro Trek PRG270B-3, which is an improvement and as I say feature wise are very similar.  And with such large functionality it is pretty obvious all these models are going to be big (though that said, the advance in miniature technology is nothing short of amazing) – indeed they are all similar, but shape and band/case fit tends to dictate which wears smaller on the wrist and the Rangeman, surprisingly for a multi-function G Shock, though large is neater than expected.

None of the models are heavy though with the use of resin case technology.  One of my dreams however would be if Casio could reduce the sizes of these watches to around 45 mm x 45 mm and under 15 mm case depth, but I’m very doubtful that will ever happen as there is this compulsion to pack more in with every model . . . .

However function wise the Rangeman is very comprehensive and with basically 3 versions – the GW-9400CMJ-3ER shown here with Green case and Positive display – the GW-9400-1ER with Black case and Positive display and the GW-9400-3ER with Green case and Negative display.  I should say that my personal view is most Casio Negative displays are not in the same league as Positive ones.

The technical data for this Limited model is as follows –

Casio G-Shock Rangeman Men in Camouflage Wave Multiband 6 Watch GW-9400CMJ-3, GW9400CMJ

This latest addition to the Master of G Series designed has the camouflage pattern on the resin band.  Based on the previous RANGEMAN plus a carbon fiber insert on the band and with the Triple Sensor Version 3 (altitude, bearing, barometric pressure).  Part of the new New Master of G Series of models from Casio.

Specifications

Mineral Glass
Shock Resistant
200-meter water resistance
Case / bezel material: Resin
Carbon fiber insert Resin Band
LED backlight (Super Illuminator)

Great illumination for dark use.

Great illumination for dark use.

Full auto LED light, selectable illumination duration, afterglow
Solar powered
Time calibration signal reception
Auto receive up to six* times a day (remaining auto receives canceled as soon as one is successful)
*5 times a day for the Chinese calibration signal
Manual receive
The latest signal reception results
Time Calibration Signals
Digital compass
Measures and displays direction as one of 16 points
Measuring range: 0 to 359°
Measuring unit: 1°
60 seconds continuous measurement
Graphic direction pointer
Bidirectional calibration
Magnetic declination correction
Bearing memory
Altimeter
Measuring range: –700 to 10,000 m (–2,300 to 32,800 ft.)
Measuring unit: 1 m (5 ft.)
Altitude Memory Function:
Auto Save Data: High altitude, low altitude, cumulative ascent, cumulative descent (1 value each)
Others: Relative altitude readings (–3,000 to 3,000 m)
Selectable measurement interval: 5 seconds or 2 minutes
*1 second for first 3 minutes only
*Changeover between meters (m) and feet (ft)
Barometer
Display range: 260 to 1,100 hPa (7.65 to 32.45 inHg)
Display unit: 1 hPa (0.05 inHg)
Atmospheric pressure tendency graph (past 42 hours of readings)
Atmospheric pressure differential graphic
Barometric pressure tendency information alarm (beep and arrow indicate significant changes in pressure)
*Changeover between hPa and inHg
Thermometer
Display range: –10 to 60°C (14 to 140°F)
Display unit: 0.1°C (0.2°F)
*Changeover between Celsius (°C) and Fahrenheit (°F)
Manual data recording of up to 40 records (altitude, barometric pressure / temperature, bearing, time (Time Stamp))
World time
31 time zones (48 cities + coordinated universal time), city name display, daylight saving on/off
Sunrise, sunset time display
Sunrise time and sunset time for specific date, daylight pointers
1/100-second stopwatch
Measuring capacity: 999:59’59.9”
Measuring modes: Elapsed time, split time, 1st-2nd place times
Countdown timer
Measuring unit: 1 second
Countdown range: 24 hours
Countdown start time setting range: 1 minute to 24 hours (1-minute increments and 1-hour increments)
5 daily alarms (with 1 snooze alarm)
Hourly time signal
Battery level indicator
Power Saving (display goes blank to save power when the watch is left in the dark)
Full auto-calendar (to year 2099)
12/24-hour format
Button operation tone on/off
Regular timekeeping: Hour, minute, second, pm, month, date, day
Accuracy: ±15 seconds per month (with no signal calibration)
Approx battery operating time:
8 months on rechargeable battery (operation period with normal use without exposure to light after charge)
23 months on rechargeable battery (operation period when stored in total darkness with the power save function on after full charge)
Size of case: 55.2 × 53.5 × 18.2 mm
Total weight: 93 g
LED:White

Not many downsides for this model, though I would liked to have seen a sort of 2nd Time Zone/Home Time SWAP feature, but I’m nit picking – changing to another World Time is easy enough so hardly an issue.
So in answer to my friend’s question – Yes I like the Gulfmaster but it’s not perhaps as tough as it could be with that unprotected glass, the analog hands feature whilst very good I don’t really need, the prominent text bezel seems over-large for purpose, Tidal and Moon stuff I don’t need and I just prefer the rugged tough look of the Rangeman, which is as well specified anyway.  Now that said, there is no doubt it is a superb watch and might well suit everyone so much that I’m the odd guy out, but it’s a personal thing and remember this was a question posed to me just the other day.  I have NOT seen the Gulfmaster in the flesh, so it’s a sort of remote opinion (which I never like doing) and who knows if I had it in my hand or on my wrist, my opinion might change and I might love it, though as I say fortunately I haven’t seen one close up – ;-)

The Casio Rangeman GW-9400CMJ-3ER shown in conclusion is what I call a set and forget watch, looks like any other G Shock, which it isn’t and is probably the toughest watch produced, so I’ll stick with it until I see better.  Which could be a considerably long time . . . . What can I say . . . .

Note – this post not intended as a comparison between the two models shown, rather I was asked for my personal opinion which I gave “in Post” as it were. . . and as I was about to Post on the Rangeman, it seemed the ideal opportunity.

Niche models (2)

Known to many watch enthusiasts, though not perhaps mainstream is the Locman series of watch models from Italy.  Since 1977 this Company has produced really interesting design models not often spotted outside Italy and very rarely encountered in the UK, though that said I’ve alway checked them out every so often.  Here are two models I like – one for the Gents and one for the Ladies.

The Locman Steath Chronograph 020200 series.

The Locman Stealth Chronograph 020200 series.

First up is the Locman Stealth Chronograph (020200CBFYL1GOY) in Stainless Steel with a Titanium bezel.  Sapphire crystal with black carbon dial, center seconds layout with chronograph and a magnified Date feature @3.  Very neat at just 8 mm depth x 43 mm diameter fitted to a smart yellow rubber buckle strap, which color co-ordinated with the dial and hand markings which are luminous and yellow highlighted.  50 m Water Resistance and a 2 year Guarantee.  Note the model has Swiss quartz movement.

The Locman Ladies Tuttotondo (Frank Muller design) MOP dial.

The Locman Ladies Tuttotondo (Frank Muller design) MOP dial and Date watch.

The Ladies Locman Tuttotondo 034000 series model is a solid Stainless Steel round case model with Sapphire crystal and a neat Mother of Pearl dial, with a Frank Muller designed numerals layout, center seconds hand, Date window @3 and a really striking red color leather buckle strap.  Neat at just 5 mm depth and 38 mm diameter this is a striking and perfect size model for the modern woman.  Weighing just 60 g and with 50 m Water Resistance, 2 year Guarantee, Swiss Quartz movement.

Note the color co-ordination of strap and dial in both models, which is often a feature of Locman which gives an added attractiveness to their range.

The price of both models is around the £230 mark, so are very well priced for what are well constructed and interesting models.  They will certainly give rise to conversation and comments as they are both so different, very stylish and rather uncommon.

Niche models (1)

Niche models are what I call watches not in the mainstream and quite often offer specialist pieces for a specific market.

NauticFish Xtreme 2000m does what it says on the tin!

NauticFish Xtreme 2000m does what it says on the tin!

This one from Germany is typical – the NauticFish Xtreme 2000, which as you can guess is prett useful if Diving is your thing, as it has a whopping 2000m depth rating, which gives it some gravitas.  Movement wise it features a Sellita SW20A which is the alternative to the ETA 282-32 series of Automatic Date movements and well regarded in it’s own right.

Solidly built with a Stainless Steel case some 45 mm diameter x 16mm thickness it’s liable to withstand most situations.  Screw down crown of course. It weighs 120 gms, has a Sapphire crystal and here shown with a rubber buckle strap.

Solid build from Germany with a Sellita SW20A Automatic movement.

Solid build from Germany with a Sellita SW20A Automatic movement.

White Superluminova luminous index and broad hands with a centre seconds hand against a black dial background ensures decent clarity, with a small Date window @3.

Nothing fancy here, just a great solid built for purpose model that’s maybe not so well known, but very good for all that.

Comes with a 2 year Guarantee and a Manual – so what else do you need?

Note – This is the first of a series featuring a few non mainstream models that caught my attention of the past year, which sadly don’t seem to get the air time perhaps they deserve.  Usually Independent producers or bespoke enthusiast models assembled and produced to fill a perceived gap in the market.

Some are very good indeed and others perhaps not so, though I try to pick ones that seem to me to be interesting and perhaps offer something different – but whatever, it does illustrate the wonderful diversity available today.

1996 A,B and C

A classic from Casio – the ATC-1200 Altimeter, Barometer and Compass model with the QW1170 Module from around 1996, almost 20 years old and still looking good and going strong today.  As with many older models such as this it’s wise to check the automatic calendar function, to ensure it remains correct today – this model is OK until 2029, so will probably see me out! (Month/Day cycle ratio pattern is repeated every 28 years – so could be corrected).P1030034

This is however one serious bit of Casio kit, well made and beautifully fitted out with the almost science fiction style sensor housings and a very neat dial set up that manages to look just right. Dimensions are good too at just 50 mm lug to lug, so fits smaller wrists, though case (with the sensors) width is larger at about 56 mm – this lies along the wrist so not really an issue.  The watch case depth is the success however at under 15.5 mm means the watch doesn’t feel big at all and in fact wears well on my average to small wrist.

ATC1200 on an average wrist - not bad for a triple sensor Casio

ATC1200 on an average wrist – not bad for a triple sensor Casio

The watch has a Casio flexible resin rubber buckle strap which fits with standard spring-bar fixings (I like) and measures maybe 19/20 mm, so easy to change to any kind of alternative strap should you so wish.

The standard view on the display shows on the top line – the Day of the week.  The main display lower part shows Date, Month and Year with the Time (including seconds).  The seconds mobile virtual display tracks around the perimeter of the dial with black segment markers against a green background which looks rather good.

In addition to the digital compass (with 5 memory settings available), this model has Altimeter, Barometer and Thermometer sensors, 5 independent Alarms and Stopwatch with split times and 2 finish times settings.  It has a warning indicator for low battery and a magnetic fields abnormality indication plus a Sensor malfunction indicator.

Great Casio Triple Sensor ATC1200 - before it's time!

Great Casio Triple Sensor ATC1200 – before it’s time!

2 batteries are used in this model which are the SR927W series and these have an approximate life of up to 18 months to 2 years depending on function use.  Note when changing batteries it’s important to reset the module to empty old memory/counter settings and this is easy – touch the AC contact and the battery (+) side with metallic tweezers or similar for around 2 seconds.

Note – A useful tip with some of these older models is when after a battery change nothing seems to happen – push the “light” button and the display will often activate ON.

Water Resistance is 100 m.  It also has a handy function if you get carried away with all the functions and forget which one you’re in – simply press C button (lower left) for 2 or 3 seconds and the display will revert to the main Time screen.

A trio of Casio Sensor watches.  Wow!

A trio of Casio Sensor watches. Wow!

The 1990’s and early 2000’s was a great time for Casio innovation and there are in fact many “odd” function style models from this time.  Not only are they often well before their time and the pre-cursors for much of the technology you see today, but are viewed as quite rare collectors pieces.  And this is not so much due to their age, but owing to when they were produced, as at that time it was an amazing period of technological and miniaturization experimentation, the likes of which you will probably never see again.

Instructions – Casiopathfinder_1170_owners_manual