Old Divers never die . . .

There’s something about old digital watches I just love.  Part of it is the fact that so many of these models were in that transitional phase, where manufacturers were experimenting with what was really fast moving new technology.  Digital modules that seemed and promised to do almost anything often produced sometimes great and sometimes odd looking models as a result.

The major Brands, Casio, Seiko and Citizen invested heavily in this new technology and of course led the way, but there were those guys on their coat-tails, using those same modules, but with their own ideas of how to utilize them.  And so it was an amazing time, a free-for-all and resulting in some almost one off models that retro nuts treasure today.

1980's Old digital Diver - 300 meters, been around and still here

1980’s Old digital Diver – 300 meters, been around and still here

Take this well used 300m Diver, Alarm and Chronograph model with the old style dial guard.  It has features and functions similar to both Casio and Seiko modules at the time, but clothed in different garb and  sporting a 10 year Lithium battery no less and we’re talking here of perhaps the mid 1980’s?

Obviously targeted at Snorkeling enthusiasts and/or divers according to the symbol above the display, this particular non-mainstream model looks such a one off today.  It’s a bit like the very old days when pocket watches transitioned to wrist and civilian models aspired to military (with dial guards too).  This model had an odd rubber strap which didn’t fit too well, being too small at the lug ends, soI swapped it out for a deployment silicon one after a bit of cutting.  And it looks OK.

I have to be impressed with the 300 meter claim and if correct, is a testament to the case and back construction, though once I get the back off, I should know considerably more.   But I’ll delay doing that as sometimes with these old digitals, start meddling and sometimes trouble comes along, so perhaps I’ll wait until the battery needs replacing.   The display however is remarkably bright and with good contrast, so it might be a while before the battery does give up the ghost.  Incidentally the case screw back is in Stainless Steel, marked 300 Metre and has a snorkeling man symbol, plus the Brand name Amertime.

300 meter Diver, well used and still good to go.

300 meter Diver, well used and still good to go.

I love the look of this one, as the steel case to dial ratio is well balanced and proportioned and that in your face guard doesn’t obstruct the view of the dial as it’s center window is actually framing the digital display perfectly.

Part of the fun with these obscure models is the investigation of their origins.  This module for example is has an odd display set with three levels of data.  First a data line the top level, a Date & Day line next, then the main Time line below.  However the Day text is small but unusually it’s also positional.  In other words as the Days of the week progress, the Day changes and basically moves along the display, the Days obviously hidden on that text line and highlighted as required.  I have to confess I’ve not seen this before.  More commonly in Week progression the Days are permanently marked on the case or glass and a short digital dash marker would highlight under the appropriate Day.

Functions and display appear in some ways similar to the Seiko 4 button A914-5010 Module, which was around in the mid 1980’s, which would fit with the date estimate for this model.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a Seiko module derivative, as more often than not it’s Seiko modules that seem to survive, as opposed to other brands. 

However I’m unable to find out much about Amertime.  The name suggests Amertime (watches and jewelery) which seems to be a resurrected Company name (2000), though as it was reborn perhaps 15 to 20 years after this model appeared, probably of little relevance.

Anyone who has any information regarding the Brand is welcome to drop me an email or comment, should you wish to share.  I’d appreciate it . . . .

International Watch “Detective”

1941 International Watch Co. in 14ct Gold.

Interesting 1941/2 IWC with it’s elegant Calibre 83, 6 bridge-design movement, 14k gold cased Gents watch.  After some investigation it is in a 14kt Gold case, possibly supplied to or produced in Hungary during the war as it shows the Hungarian Assay mark for 14kt Gold (580/1000) – this is a stamped left facing Wolf’s head + the number 4.  This stamp is repeated on the right hand top lug exterior.

The watch is in excellent condition both due to it’s age and considering the time it may have been produced as WW11 raged across Europe.  My detective work will not be fully complete until I can determine the Case Maker/Sponsor mark but it’s certainly intriguing.
The IWC Cal 83 was produced between 1939 and the early 1940’s and regarded as a transitional movement between the pocket watch and the wrist watch.  I also note that this case style has straight sides and straight thin lugs and appears to have precedent as it’s reminiscent of No 58 and some others in IWC’s 1941/2 Blue Catalog.  Within this catalog it is obvious when comparing the available model there were a few “mix & match” combinations of dial layouts and case designs over this period.  This watch case could also be an IWC design imported into Hungary for separate metal assessment and subsequent matching to the movement.  However this is conjecture and more detective work may be needed.

Brushed 14ct Gold sided case with polished bezel and curved snap on back

Note the Hallmarked 14k gold symbol on the top lug and the large “onion” crown.  Gold hands and seconds sub-dial on what may be a very well preserved original dial – as there are a few small spots on the dial background but only noticeable under magnification.  The case diameter is almost 33 mm without the Crown, so larger than many at the time and I’m very pleased that it wears “larger” and looks good on my average wrist.

Lovely Cal. 83 manual wind signed International Watch Co movement, showing little signs of age.

The strap is a high quality water resistant Hirsch leather 18mm to fixed wire fittings between lugs which were common at the time.  No spring bars here and replacements straps must be open ended types to fit.  Note the nicely decorated case back interior which has case number, case makers mark, service marks and the 14k gold mark of Hungary.  The movement looks in great condition and shows virtually no signs of wear which is always a bonus.  Regarding the strap I personally feel the color doesn’t show the watch to best advantage so I’m considering changing this for a black lizard – see last image.

Note - In keeping with the servicing tradition of watchmakers throughout the world, there are marks on the inside of the case which would appear to indicate it was serviced in December 1962 and again in November 1976. (there may be an earlier one but it’s too indistinct to read).  Considering manufacturers of mechanical watches tend to recommend servicing every 3 years I suppose it’s not too bad!

1941/2 International Watch Company Cal.83 to 14kt Case

1941/2 International Watch Company Cal.83 in 14kt Case and lizard strap.

Originals (1)

This Post is the first of a series where I introduce Brands that are somewhat off mainstream, which might and often do show real flair and usually an individualism that can be sadly lacking in many of the better known brands.  It might be that they’re relatively new or just one that appeals to a select few and fly just under the radar.  Whatever the reason they are often on the short list by those looking for that elusive style or look that the mainstream can’t seem to provide.

One such maker is MARCH LA.B who produce the AM2.  They are a France-made luxury timepiece brand with headquarters in Los Angeles, California and Biarritz, France and brainchild of ALAIN MARHIC since 2008 and the AM2 model I feature here is a model I that typifies the individual look.

March AM2 in burgandy Automatic.  The individuals watch.

March AM2 in burgundy Automatic. The individuals watch.

And it is different, it’s what I personally call “heavy” retro and this model actually inspired apparently by those seventies Ford Mustangs with their plush seating interiors, aggressive, charismatic and above all – individual.

Certainly a different kind of presentation with the heavy polished 316L Stainless Steel case with that large heavily textured and logo’d crown bulging out from the case @4.  It certainly can’t be missed, that’s for sure.   First looks shows off the plush deep maroon/burgundy finish dial and domed anti-reflective Sapphire crystal.
The case is 38 mm square and the watch is powered by a Swiss ETA 2892-A automatic movement with self -winding ball bearing rotor system, Date corrector, Stop seconds device and ETACHRON regulator system.  It’s a pretty well specified model of that there is no doubt and at 28,800 vibrations/hr and 21 jewels should provide decent decent accuracy.

Customized ETA2892-A Swiss Automatic seen through amazing green crystal viewing post.

Customized ETA2892-A Swiss Automatic seen through that amazing green Sapphire crystal viewing post.

The Hour and Minute hands are treated with luminous material, a sweep seconds hand, silver markers plus a customized Date set @3 against the deep maroon/burgundy color dial background are quite striking.
The watch back is secured by 4 screws and the viewing window in amazing green is a Sapphire crystal, showing the customized movement inside.  Note the Crown is screw down and this model has a Water Resistance of 10 ATM /100 M.

The watch has a really plush sculpted (those Mustang seats!) perforated black “buffle” band with maroon/burgundy highlights and Alcantara lining and is pretty special in it’s own right.

So a true individualist model, the AM2 and I do like it, as it’s not only something different, but it’s both a quality piece and has an in your face retro style I find refreshing.  And bear in mind I’m not American, so inspirational items from the USA don’t usually influence me one way or another, but with the AM2 it’s got something I can identify with, and that’s the Mustang – I mean it’s a Classic and I’ve seen the pictures and indeed the movie . . . etc. and I can see the connection very clearly.

Price wise this is not unrealistic at around £750 perhaps and I’m pretty sure your next door neighbor or the guys at the Golf Club will not have one of these!  You might have to see about a change of vehicle of course and then price might become an issue!

And of course you guessed it – it’s now on my list!  and I’m trying so hard to cut back . . . ;-)  and failing miserably!

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!