Timex – better or worse?

Every so often I check out what the latest is at Timex and have they brought out actual new models of rehashes of older ones.  The ones I’ve spotted so far are not really what I wanted to see, because they are basically rehashes of older models and not only that, in my opinion they are not real improvements.
The first one I noticed is a “shock” model and is the Vibration Alarm T49984SU.

Timex T49950XL Vibration Alarm with bespoke strap.

Timex T49950XL Vibration Alarm with bespoke strap.

This is basically an update my older Expedition Vibration Alarm Chronograph – Model T49854J but with added “shock” protection.
However that added shock protection doesn’t do a great deal for me as the old model was already tough as old boots and function wise they’re very similar with 3 alarms, 3 time zones, chronograph, timer etc etc. and of course the vibration feature, which I have to say is excellent and surprisingly useful on my older model.

Older model T Vibration Alarm - Note standard strap & lugs.

Older model T49854J Vibration Alarm – Note standard strap & lugs.

The downside for me however, stops me even considering purchasing the new model, because even though it increases the Water Resistance from 100m to 200m, it is not as good when it comes to the strap/bracelet arrangement.  Once again and disappointingly, Timex have now built-in a bespoke strap arrangement.  They’ve narrowed the lugs from the older model, which prevents the use of any standard watch strap and yes you guessed it, you’ll have to buy another one from Timex when it breaks.  It might be possible to add a normal strap, but it would be a narrow one to fit the lugs and wouldn’t look so good.

So disappointing for me but very glad I got my older model when I did, because it has been excellent in every way.

As regards straps, I note their standard Expedition Base Shock models still have standard strap/lug arrangements, Dual time zones (two is ideal), 100m WR (no vibration) but much better value price wise.  Indeed I have one myself (Timex Expedition T49976) in camo and found nothing to better it from any Brand – see my review – HERE

Timex also have a shock World Timer model, the T49971SU which seems impressive with some 62 cities and 30 Time Zones represented and 100m Water resistance.

Timex T49971SU World Time with 62 cities

Timex T49971SU World Time with 62 cities

I Like the fact it has 3 quick set Time Zones so you can prepare the watch before travel as it were, which is useful in addition to the full World Time function.
The downside for me again is this business of the non standard strap/lug arrangement, narrowed lugs and a bespoke resin strap affair.  And whilst a nice watch and a good standard module function set which I expect from Timex, I sometimes have to question and this is not just about Timex, but with any World Time watch, if it’s really necessary.  In practical terms Dual or maybe 3 Time Zones to me makes far more sense and rather pointless carrying all the Time Zones of the world around with me.

When I went to Brazil via Madrid from the UK, the 3 Time Zones on my old model was perfect.  Before I left the UK, I simply keyed in the different times for London, Madrid and Brazil  as T1, T2 and T3 – job done.

I do like the fact that Timex introduced the concept of 3 settable Time Zones, as this seems to me to be a very practical World Time arrangement, though I wouldn’t be surprised if many Timex owners didn’t realize they had it.

Sorry if I’ve rambled a bit and perhaps got off the plot here, but that’s the thing with Timex.  They have so many models which appear so similar, confusion rules and you have really got to look very carefully at each model to be able to fit a particular model to your particular likes – and it’s tricky!

Indeed I thought – Ha! new models from Timex! – but after checking carefully, I have decided to stick with the ones I have – for now . . . .


Update on big “G”

Had this guy for a few months now and decided to update the experience so far.  A BIG watch for me this Casio “G” Shock GA-1000-1AER from their G-Aviation series, but nevertheless a serious piece of kit with very little in the way of gimmickry I have to say.

Might look cluttered - but not so!  A quick glance and you know the time - whatever the light conditions.

Might look cluttered – but not so! A quick glance and you know the time – whatever the light conditions.

Not least because unusually it is NOT an ABC watch, though it looks like it – and it’s not Radio Controlled nor Solar powered model, though again it looks like it should be.  This is a battery powered model, pure and simple.  I understand this is the first watch in this series to have twin sensors.  It also looks as if this big and bold dial should be cluttered – but it’s not and in fact is one of the easiest and clearest Casio “ana/digi combo” models I’ve seen that manages great analogue clarity and I mean “quick glance” stuff.  A quick glance in any light conditions and you can instantly read the time without fail.

The secret is in the detail of the dial construction, multi-layered with great white, almost 3D like indices and markers, in bright white plus great big hands for the analogue function, with plenty of luminous qualities to boot.  The watch is also amazingly light weight, so big as it is, with the ultra thin silicon/resin strap and flat buckle arrangement it manages to fit even my average wrist at 170mm.  Not a dress watch of course and not intended to be but it manages better than many surprisingly.

Multi-layered dial construction is the key to clarity.

Multi-layered dial construction is the key to clarity. Big markers, big hands!

And for night use, it’s pretty good and maybe one of Casio’s better efforts, which is also a real plus, as NOT being a dress watch, it could well be worn in situations where reading the time in the dark is exactly what you want.  A slight issue perhaps is the fact the digital displays are not illuminated and whilst a negative point about which others have commented, it appears in their respective reviews no-one’s marked the watch down because of it.  So I assume like me, they find as long as you can tell the time at night or in the dark, then that’s good enough.

The interestingly figured Seconds hand doubles as the compass.  That is the Digital Compass pointer – and in this respect it is excellent.  The bright white arrow head pointer is cleverly counterbalanced by the long double split pivot overhang, so making this a very clear and easily read pointer for compass North.  Nothing in the background distracts seeing the pointer at North, the digital upper window shows the general E,W S and North heading and the lower one the degrees of the watch head @12.  Super simple and very clear to read (however if you need to use a compass at night, then this is not the best watch for you).

For me it hardly matters as I rarely use compass much today anyway, but the other watch features – Alarm, Timer, chronograph and the really excellent World Timer all work fine and are easily used – and this is where the large dial seems justified somehow.

It’s probably the biggest watch I have and I doubt I’ll ever get another this size, but it’s amazingly light, it works really well and I can easily read the time anytime, anywhere and once on the wrist it’s forgotten – until you need to know the time.  So it’s a bit different, but the best part is simple – and I mean “simple” – it’s simple to read and amongst all that “apparent” dial clutter, it’s simple to tell the time – and that’s got to be good!

So basically I’m pretty satisfied with this model, though in all honesty today I suppose there is one function that maybe I’d like to see added.  Namely the watch needs to be Radio Controlled.  I say this as to change the analogue hands to the correct time, if inaccuracy creeps in as it will, requires you to go through a push button sequence.  You have to press button A (top left) until ADJ comes up, then use button D (lower left) to cycle through the options.  You then get to the time options which will flash in turn and adjust accordingly, which of course is no great hardship, but is time consuming and you have to remember which buttons to use etc.  IF it was simply a case of pulling out a center crown and adjusting the hands it wouldn’t be an issue at all, as there would be no trying to remember what to do.
As I say a minor matter perhaps, but it should borne in mind when considering a model without the center crown controlling analogue indications.  There will always be a digital sequence to go through to manage what should be a quick and simple operation.

But I still like this big watch and I wear it quite often – and that’s usually proof of a good buy.

My original feature is HERE for further information.

Something different (2)

Very different but also for the experience, something of pretty good value too.  It’s the Dietrich OTC-A01 or the Organic Time Chronometer A model , version 02 and I think personally that it’s one of a very special breed that thinks it’s skeleton and yet still manages to be easily read.  And that my friends is no easy feat believe me!

Dietrich OTC or Organic Time Chronometer

Dietrich OTC or Organic Time Chronometer 02

The movement that is seen in part skeleton form is the enhanced Automatic mechanical Miyota 82S7 with the escapement visible in the dial and the time indication is by the wonderfully sculpted Hour and Minute hands in night bright luminescent Superluminova, a small seconds and 24 hour hand in addition.  Note the amazing seconds indicator at 4 o’clock which is the hexagonal star shaped disk in a polished yellow gold tone that rotates continually which gives a wonderfully fascinating “automaton” mobile effect to the watch wearer.

The case, frame are made of 316L Stainless Steel micro-bead blasted with black DLC coated bead blasted stainless polished bezel on top.  The glass is Sapphire with anti-reflection coatings applied on the under surface along with the Superluminova coated indices.

Note the interestingly sculpted case and strap arrangement - it wirks!

Note the interestingly sculpted case and strap arrangement – it works!

The Water Resistance is a healthy 50m or 5ATM and the Crown is sealed with a double O-ring and the case back is an engraved screw back.  Dimension wise it appears at fist glance to be quite large with a width of 49mm (including the crown), though this is tempered by a much smaller than anticipated lug to lug measurement of just 48mm.  The height is also smaller than at first appearing at just 13.7mm, so a deceptive piece of construction in my view.  The strap is a NATO style nylon and there is also a carbon finish strap available as an option.

The color scheme I selected here is the more subtle Red (02 model)as it comes with the dark finish case which I prefer.  There is other more sudden color scheme (the 01) with bright fluorescent green being the most popular I understand.

The options - 01, 02 and 03

The options – 01, 02 and 03

The dial of course is the most striking element of this model and has a unique 4 layered black dial, which allows the wearer to see everything and more, very easily.  In fact as I alluded to in the first sentence, this watch only requires a “quick glance” to be able to tell the time quickly, something that some watches even with plain dials can’t seem to manage.

Luminous background for the 24hr dial - so clever and so effective

Luminous background for the 24hr dial – so clever and so effective (image from the Arab Watch Guide)

And finally as I said, this watch is not as big as it first appears owing to it’s rather unique design with the underneath strap carrier being curved to the wrist and the top to bottom dimensions being to compact.

Fits the wrist easily!

Fits the wrist easily! (image from the Arab Watch guide)

Here you can see it fits rather well on the wrist and doesn’t look large at all.  Perhaps something that other watch makers should look at, as they often have real trouble making a watch fit a normal wrist.  Dietrich though have no such issues and it’s even more amazing when you consider the  cost of this technical, individual and yes “organic” marvel is under, yes under £1000.

I love it.

I’ve got to get one – it’s as simple as that – it really is . . . .

Limes Neptune series

The German made Limes Endurance series of watches has been a favorite Divers/Sports watch for some time and here I feature the Neptune 1 model U8777-LA2.2.  One of it’s main features of course is the fact that it is a 100atm Water Resistant stainless steel cased model – and that’s 1000m for those into figures.

Limes Neptune 1 - a 1000m Water Resistant Sports/Diver

Limes Neptune 1 – a 1000m Water Resistant Sports/Diver

The second feature I like is the fact that it manages this incredible Water resistance with a case measuring only around 41mm diameter and just 12.6mm thick, so is also very wearable without being a large chunk of metal and on almost any sized wrist.

A deceptively simple dial arrangement in black/white with orange luminous indices and white/orange luminous hour and minute hands plus a conservatively sized Date window between 4 and 5.  Note there are quite a few scales within this dial, not obvious at first but useful.  There are in this range other configurations of hand/indices colors and so on but basically they are quite similar.
The well defined bezel is uni-directional and I particularly like the separate definition metal finish on the 10, 20, 30 ,40 50 and 60 bezel marks making for really good visibility.  The large protected and easily gripped crown is of course a full a screw down type.  Powered by the Sellita SW200 standard Automatic movement it is also therefore a very reliable and solid performer.  This version comes with a good quality leather strap with contrasting stitching and stainless steel bracelets are also available.

Compact Limes Neptune Diver

Compact Limes Neptune Diver – solid construction

It’s another one of those rare watch models that looks so much larger than it actually is – not an easy feat in itself, which I personally think a subtle but no less valid sales point.

The other good aspect of this range is the pricing, which for the Neptune 1 here is around €740 and you certainly get a great water resistance pretty unmatched by others at this size either and for me could easily end up as a “daily beater” with no worries about where it ends up.

So yet another one of those German made watch models that you don’t see so often outside of Germany and perhaps the USA.

Their web site is HERE. and well worth a look as they also produce the Pharo and Chyros series models which are quite different in looks and function.  My favorite of the others is the Chyros 3 Hands/Date – Silvered / black leather strap – Ref. number: U6017-LA1.5 but that’s another story.

Auto BIG DATE from Nivrel

Another German Watch Company I’ve always had a soft spot for is NIVREL which is a registered trademark of Gerd Hofer GmbH, located in Saarbrucken, in Germany’s federal state Saarland.  They have a neat range of watches that I personally like as they are out of the mainstream and have an individuality that personally appeals.  Out of quite a few I like I’ve chosen this model – the Chrono Heritage Grand Date N 580.001 which is a little unusual in layout.

Unusual movement from Nivrel - ETA 28    but with added Chrono module with Month indicator.

ETA 2892-A2 belies a secret – an added Chronograph module with Month indicator.

The movement is interesting as it appears through the exhibition back to be a non Chrono Automatic.  The movement is recognized as the Swiss ETA 2892-A2, but interestingly here it is used purely as the base movement.  Then Nivrel with their design individuality showing strongly, decided to add their own complicated chronograph module, the effects of which can be seen in the dial configuration.

As well as the obvious twin disc Big Date aperture @12 if you look closely there is another smaller window between 4 and 5 for a Month indication.  The watch model is what is called a One-Year-or “Annual” Calendar and is adjusted just once per year on the 28th or 29th February.  I personally find the dial layout intriguing and yet satisfying at the same time – and I rather like it as it’s just so unusual.

The dial is silver-coated with Clous de Paris guilloche in German silver, rhodinated applied indexes and the 6 flame-blued steel hands set gives excellent readability under a Sapphire Crystal.

Nivrel's Big Date plus Month complication ETA.  Note the Month between 4 and 5 o'clock.

Nivrel’s Big Date plus Month complication ETA. Note the discrete Month between 4 and 5 o’clock.

The case is in 316 Stainless Steel with a nicely molded case crown protection swell (the crown is very well defined with a strong milled edge).  Water Resistance is 5 bar and the case diameter is just 38.2mm and at only 12.8mm depth is quite neat for an automatic Chronograph.  A high quality leather strap with signed Nivrel buckle completes the ensemble.

Overall this is a very neat and compact model and with it’s satin finish certainly does look the part.  Additionally the short lugs arrangement allows this model to to fit almost any size wrist and is one of my favorites from the range.  However it has to be said that there are other models in this NIVREL range that I also like very much, so rather spoilt for choice . .

The NIVREL range can be seen HERE.

I also featured a couple of Nivrel Calendar models HERE last February, which may be of interest.

Junkers – revival

I have a small collection of Junkers watches and as with other brands I like, every so often I check out their newest offerings, basically to see what improvements or otherwise have been added.

The automatic J52 model is one such model that has interested me since it first appeared and today’s version is no exception with that wonderfully figured “ribbed” dial so reminiscent of the Junkers aircraft.

Junkers Tante JU52 Automatic

Junkers Tante JU52 Automatic

The quality is really very good with a great finish stainless steel case and Sapphire crystal through which is the very clear dial layout.  The corrugated dial background with date aperture @3, beautifully shaped dauphinois hour and minute hands with Superluminova in-fills are impressively clear to read (hands made in France apparently).  A long beautifully tapered black centre seconds hand travels majestically around the clearly defined perimeter index.  Strongly defined black numerals complete the dial layout, which is signed Made in Germany at the foot.

Junkers J52 Automatic 24 jewel movement

Junkers JU52 Automatic 24 jewel movement

Note the crown is protected and additionally has two what appear blanking plates either side, perhaps a dual purpose case arrangement, though the Water Resistance is rated as 100m so maybe just cosmetic after all – it does however give the overall look a solidity which is pleasing to the eye.  The back is an exhibition windowed stainless steel screwed back plate through which you can see the excellent 24 jewel automatic signed Pointec movement.  Dimensions are a neat 40mm diameter x 12 mm and the lug to lug is short enough that this model fits the smaller wrist very well.  The strap is a really high quality calf leather with two thicknesses, allowing it to be supportive near the case and yet allow flexibility at the buckle – something others should take note of as often thick leather straps can often be quite clumsy at the buckle fixing.

A delight to wear and certainly makes me interested in enlarging my Junkers collection and has rekindled my love of German brand watches, which I note seem to have undergone a bit of a revival over the last few years – and perhaps overlooked in my case.  But no longer as I will feature a few more in future Posts I’m sure this year.

The Diver 300 – Alpina

From one of the oldest and most important Swiss Watch makers comes this 300m rated Diver – the Diver 300 AL-525LB4V36 Automatic in Stainless Steel with a rubber strap.

Alpina Swiss Diver 300 with rubber strap

Alpina Swiss Diver 300 with rubber strap

From an Association founded by Gottlieb Hauser called the Alpina Swiss Watchmakers Association or the “Alpinists” their aim being to develop and optimize the manufacture of movements and timepieces and the control of suppliers, Alpina came fully into being in 1901 with the trademark Alpina.  High end calibres and watches really came out of Switzerland from then on as a force to be reckoned with.

In modern times Alpina made a comeback in around 2002 and have since produced some wonderful in-house complication models, such as the AL-980 Tourbillon, the AL-718 World Timer with all 24 time zones displayed in dial, the AL-950 Automatic Regulator and so forth, brought Alpina back to prominence.  Now located in Geneva once again in 2013 they celebrated their 130th Anniversary.

I particularly like the Diver models, though in fairness there are a lot of their models I like, such is the quality of manufacture and design from this old Brand.

The first image shows the Diver 300 Automatic AL-525LB4V36 from the Seastrong collection, with the L-525 26 jewel movement cased in Stainless Steel, screw down crown and 22mm rubber strap. The Date window @ 3 is the moving date wheel style which I’ve always liked, as even if a hand covers the Date at least part of the wheel is still showing and certainly enough to tell the actual day’s date.  Dimensions are 44mm diameter and 13mm depth, unidirectional bezel with clear markings and all numerals, markers and indexes are luminous coated.

Alpina AL-525LB04V26B with bracelet and colored index.

Alpina AL-525LB04V26B with bracelet and colored index.

The same watch with alternative strap/bracelet is the AL-525LBV26B with similar specifications of course and both for me are exemplary in the clarity stakes with the matte dial background and large clear indicators – such a pleasure to see.

Of course they make quite a large range of models and a visit to their site is well worth the effort and I’m sure there will be the odd model to tempt you, certainly if you want quality and excellent design.  After all Alpina have been doing this for a long, long time.

Check out their web site for the full range of very excellent models and if you don’t know the name – well you should.  I know they’re always on my watch list and whilst at present I have a couple of vintage Alpina models, 2015 might be the year to get a modern one too . . . .

Web site – HERE