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  2. Citizen Promaster Tough: A Guide to the Most Durable Sports Watches

    Citizen Promaster Tough: A Guide to the Most Durable Sports Watches

    The Citizen Promaster Tough collection is built to last and perform beyond expectations. This range is home to some of the hardiest and most affordable timepieces in the industry today. Indeed, if taken care of properly, Citizen Promaster Tough watches could easily last you a lifetime despite their inexpensive prices. For this reason, the Citizen Promaster Tough is also known to be one of the brand’s most popular watch lines. In fact, two of the Citizen’s best-selling watches, the Citizen Promaster Tough BN0211-50E and the Citizen Promaster Tough BN0211-50E, can be found in this collection.  Today, we will be walking you through the Citizen Promaster Tough, including its outstanding features, six of its best models, and everything they have to offer. Read on to find out how these watches compare against other famous Japanese brands like Seiko and Casio. How Tough is the Citizen Promaster Tough As per its name, the Citizen Promaster Tough is a collection renowned for its highly durable watches. Non-chronograph models in the Citizen Promaster Tough line feature monocoque cases, which are two-piece constructions with no case back at all. The cases are made of stainless steel, which provides maximum rigidity, anti-magnetism, and excellent shock resistance. The cases also have a Super Titanium™ coating that is five times harder than the usual stainless steel case, preventing the watch from accumulating rust and scratches over time. This coating is even hypoallergenic, so you will not have any problems wearing the Promaster Tough watches on your wrist for hours at a time. Meanwhile, the chronograph pieces in the Citizen Promaster Tough collection are also resistant to magnetic fields and scratches. However, these watches instead feature ion-plated stainless steel cases with Duratect™ coating. This Duratect coating is known to be harder than stainless steel and has hypoallergenic properties to boot. Both the chronograph and non-chronograph models in the Promaster Tough line can be paired with two different straps. Wearers have a choice of a sleek stainless steel bracelet, or a hardy and comfortable CORDURA® ballistic fabric strap. Finally, in terms of their technical specifications, all Citizen Promaster Tough watches are equipped with the brand’s famous Eco-Drive movement, which means they are all powered by light energy. As such, these Citizen Promaster Tough timepieces do not need any batteries and can function as long as they are exposed to any light source. The Promaster Tough watches are also equipped with water resistance ratings of 200m. This allows the wearer to enjoy extreme water adventures without worrying too much about their Promaster Tough watch suffering water damage. Moreover, Super-LumiNova® coatings are placed on all the indices, hands, and hour markers, allowing for optimal visibility in low light conditions. 6 Best Citizen Promaster Tough Watches We have curated a list of 6 of the best Citizen Promaster Tough models available. As befitting a watch from the Promaster Tough collection, all of these watches are remarkably durable and have highly legible, easy-to-use time displays.  1. Citizen Promaster Tough Chronograph Ref. CA0727-04E Eco-Drive The Citizen Promaster Tough Ref. CA0727-04E Eco-Drive is a chronograph piece for men that can be used during your everyday routines or during extreme adventures with friends. This watch boasts a 44mm black stainless steel watch with surface hardening treatment. The great thing is, even if you have sensitive skin, you have nothing to worry about since this model has hypoallergenic properties. In addition, the watch’s matte black dial is enclosed under an anti-reflective sapphire crystal. This sapphire crystal provides protection from scratches and allows for great visibility even under bright light glares. On the dial, you can find large Arabic numeral hour markers and hands that are generously coated with Super-LumiNova. The black case is paired with a brown Cordura ballistic strap made of woven nylon, which is a great material in terms of water resistance. Meanwhile, the watch’s 60-minute chronograph, 12/24 hour features, and date display are all powered by Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology. This watch retails at $550 USD. 2. Citizen Promaster Tough CA0727-12E Eco-Drive Introduced in 2019, this Citizen Promaster Tough CA0727-12E is another chronograph model with military-inspired aesthetics. It comes in a 44mm stainless steel case in black with an added surface hardening treatment. It has a rugged and robust design and is designed for men who love to go on wild escapades. On the right of the case, you will find a textured crown, with an oversized crown guard and pushers that are meant to provide an easy grip when adjusting the time and date. This is paired with a matching black bezel that is marked with a 6-minute scale in white for a perfect and more readable contrast during deep diving. Moreover, this watch also has a black dial with bold silver-toned markers, a sizeable date display at 3 o’clock, and a chronograph feature. The chronograph function comprises of three textured subdials placed at the 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions, giving an accurate presentation of the elapsed time, hour time, and minutes. These functions are driven by a solar-powered caliber B612. Lastly, this model is paired with a camo-patterned ballistic nylon strap. This strap even has polyurethane material on its edges for better comfort and durability.  You can purchase this watch for just $275 USD. 3. Citizen Promaster Tough Stainless Steel Chronograph CA0720-54H Eco-Drive The Citizen Promaster Tough CA0720-54H model is the stainless steel variation of the previous watch. If you are looking for a sleeker, more professional looking chronograph watch, then you simply have to get this piece. It features a 44mm silver-toned stainless steel case with a layer of hardened coating as well. The main difference between this model and the Promaster Tough CA0727-12E is that this one uses stainless steel for both the case and bracelet. In addition, its dial comes in a different hue of light blue-grey. This watch retails at a slightly higher price of $297 USD. 4. Citizen Promaster Tough BN0211-50E The Citizen Promaster Tough BN0211-50E watch is one of the best picks for people seeking a durable yet classic watch option. This men’s watch comes in a 42mm monocoque stainless steel case with a surface hardening treatment. In addition, the exterior is coated with Super Titanium™ as well. This watch boasts a straightforward black dial with silver-toned hands, hour indices, and a date display at 3 o’clock. It also has a vibrant red seconds hand that adds a splash of color to this otherwise monochrome watch face. This model is powered by a caliber E168. Unlike the models in the Citizen Promaster Tough collection, this watch stands out as it does not utilize light energy, but instead has an analog quartz movement with a six-month continuous operating time. This Promaster Tough watch costs $495 USD in retail. 5. Citizen Promaster Tough Green BN0211-09X Eco-Drive This model is the military green version of the previous model stated above. Like the Promaster Tough BN0211-50E, the Promaster Tough Green BN0211-09X Eco-Drive has a 42mm silver-toned stainless steel case with surface hardening treatment. This is paired with a green ballistic strap, that adds to the watch’s rugged aesthetic. This makes the Promaster Tough BN0211-09X an ideal field watch since it is very comfortable and durable, and even fits the theme of a field watch with its colorway.  This watch also has a 10.75mm thick dial that comes in an army green hue. In lieu of the usual numeral hour markers, this dial boasts wide silver-tone indices and hands. In addition, you can see a compact date window located next to the 3 o’clock marker. The watch’s hands and hour indices are also generously coated with Super-LumiNova feature to allow for high visibility in the dark as well. Moreover, a caliber E168 powers this Citizen Promaster Tough model with a rechargeable cell. For $425 USD, you can purchase this rugged field piece. 6. Citizen Promaster Tough All-Black BN0217-02E Eco-Drive If you prefer a more simple and minimal timepiece, then the Promaster Tough All-Black BN0217-02E should be your pick. With its bold all-black aesthetic, this a great option if you want to prevent visible scratches and rust from being noticed on the case. This watch consists of a black stainless steel case, a matching black Cordura® ballistic fabric strap, and an analog dial. This is contrasted against silver-toned indices, hands, and a date display outlined in silver for better readability. Like the Promaster Tough BN0211-50E, the Citizen Promaster Tough All-Black uses a caliber E168 to power its time and date functions. It retails at a price of $450 USD. 3 Alternative Models to Citizen Promaster Tough If you enjoy the features that the Promaster Tough offers, but find that it is not quite your style, fear not! Here are three excellent alternatives, which are just as rugged, durable, and functional as the Citizen Promaster Tough. 1. G-Shock MR-G Tough Solar Radio Watch Ref. MRG-7700B-1BJF Image from Watchshopping Worthy of being number one on the list is the G-Shock MR-G Tough Solar Radio. Coming from a fellow well-known and reliable brand Japanese Casio, you can safely depend on this hardy G-Shock watch regardless of whatever conditions you are in. The G-Shock MR-G Tough Solar Radio comes in an oversized 46.8mm titanium case with a hard coating, making it highly resistant to scratches and rust. The dial boasts a hybrid analog and digital time display, with a black LCD screen under the skeletal hands. Aside from that, you can also find handy features like a perpetual calendar until the year 2100 and a power reserve indicator on this dial. While this watch is quite large, it is relatively understated and will not look too flashy thanks to its sleek, monochromatic look. When it comes to the technical details, this model is powered by a solar quartz movement that is powered by solar energy, making it an eco-friendly watch like the Citizen Promaster Tough. It is also equipped with a water resistance rating of 200m, so it is great for extreme water activities. For $1,649 USD, you can enjoy the toughness and functionality this piece has to offer. 2. Casio Pro Trek Ref. PRW-60T-7AJF Image from Watchshopping Another option that you should consider is the Pro Trek Ref. PRW-60T-7AJF. This Casio men’s watch is a great digital sports model. It is equipped with the brand’s new Triple Sensor Version 3 engine, which includes a digital compass, a thermometer, and an altimeter. In addition, this solar-powered watch comes with additional key features like a chronograph, an alarm, a world time function, cold resistance, and much more. This hardy and robust sports watch can work as your best companion for outdoor adventures. In terms of its specifications, this Pro Trek watch also has a large case size of 47.2 mm, so it is best suited for those with average-to-large size wrists. The case and bracelet are both made out of tough, scratch-resistant stainless steel, reinforcing this watch’s status as a tough outdoor watch. It is also incredibly convenient to use because it is equipped with a backlight which can illuminate the dial whenever you need. You can purchase this Casio piece for $609 USD. 3. Luminox Navy Seal Chronograph 3580 Series Ref. XS.3581 Image from Watchshopping The Luminox Navy Seal Chronograph 3580 Series Ref. XS.3581 is a good pick if you want a straightforward analog watch over a digital or hybrid one. This model features big and bold numerals on its unidirectional bezel and dial. Moreover, all of the markers come in white and are placed against a black background for a perfect contrast. The highly luminous markers and hands also add to the watch’s legibility; in fact, according to Luminox, this watch can glow 100 times brighter than other luminous timepieces. This Luminox watch comes in a robust 45mm carbon fiber case, which makes it durable, lightweight, and very easy-to-wear. This Luminox Navy Seal piece is powered by a Swiss quartz movement that provides a 200m water resistance capacity and two years of battery life. Rest assured that you can rely on this watch since it is inspired and approved by military forces such as the US Navy SEALs and US Air Force Pilots. This Luminox timepiece retails at $429 USD. Final Thoughts The Citizen Promaster Tough watches are the perfect choice if you are looking for a watch that is highly resistant to everyday wear and tear. A watch that cannot keep on ticking when faced with the toughest conditions is not one you should consider. As such, you cannot compromise on a watch’s durability and functionality simply for aesthetic purposes. If you want to have strength, functionality, and affordability all in one piece, them all in one piece, then the Promaster Tough watches should be your go-to choice.  Photo credits: Citizen’s official website unless stated. If you want to know more about Citizen watches, check out our guide to Citizen NY0040.

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  4. 15 Best Russian Watches

    15 Best Russian Watches

    Normally, when people think about watches, the brands that first come to mind are either Swiss or Japanese. However, there are other watch brands from different countries that also provide highly capable timepieces too. Brands like Skagen and Seagull are great examples of Danish and Chinese watchmaking, and they both showcase exceptional timepieces at rather affordable prices.  Many countries have their own unique take on watches. But for this article, we will focus on what Russian watchmaking has to offer. Stick around as we look at 15 of the best Russian watches available in the market. Maybe you might even see some underrated Russian brands that you are already familiar with. 15 Best Russian Watches 1. Vostok Amphibia Automatic (2415B/120509) Image By: Vostok Amphibia   Starting off our list is a Russian timepiece known for being one of the best affordable automatic diver’s watches out there. Worn by members of the Russian Navy, the Vostok Amphibia is a stainless steel watch that boasts great resilience and reliability. This iconic Russian timepiece dates back to the 1960s and is water-resistant up to depths of 200m. Today, the modern version of the Vostok Amphibia is still being manufactured, with strong shock and water-resistant properties. On top of this Vostok watch is a bold and large stainless steel rotating bezel, which wearers can use to keep track of elapsed time underwater. The Amphibia also has an analog watch face, which contains a mix of hour indices and numerals, arrow hands, and a deep red seconds hand, all applied with luminescence. This is all protected by a layer of scratch-resistant and impact-resistant mineral glass. Finally, this Russian watch is powered by an automatic Vostok 2415B caliber. You can purchase this watch for just $115 USD. 2. Sturmanskie Gagarin Classic Automatic (9015-1279600) Image By: Sturmanskie Based on the legendary Sturmanskie watch that Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin brought to space, the Sturmanskie Gagarin Classic Automatic features a vintage design with a whole lot of history. The watch comes in a stainless steel case coated with rose gold PVD and is paired with a brown alligator leather strap. It is fitted with a layer of mineral glass and has a water resistance capacity of 50m. Though this watch is not ideal for deepwater activities like diving, it is good enough to withstand the rain and even a shower. The dial of the Sturmanski Gagarin showcases a unique waffle-like pattern. This is adorned with rose gold-tone hour markers and hands and a small date complication at 3 o’clock. At the top half of the watch face, you can also find the Sturmanskie signature and company emblem printed on the dial. This Russian timepiece runs on a self-winding 9015 movement, which wearers can view through the watch’s transparent case back. It retails at a price of $455 USD. 3. Raketa Classic Big Zero (0219) Image By: Raketa Watch Club Originally designed in the 1970s, the Raketa Classic Big Zero is the brand’s most iconic timepiece. Word has it that Russian Premier Mikhael Gorbachev once wore a Raketa Big Zero piece during his official visit to Italy. This Raketa watch utilizes a 38mm stainless steel case accompanied by a sporty black leather strap with red stitching. Its well-sized crown, which can be found on the left of the case, features a groove pattern for an easier grip. While the watch’s dial is protected by a layer of sapphire glass, its see-through case back is made from mineral glass. Its dial of the Raketa Classic Big Zero features pronounced triangle hour markers and numerals, with a “0” in place of the 12 o’clock marker. As the story goes, while in Italy, Mikhael Gorbachev used the watch’s design, particularly the “0” marker, to explain the new beginnings of Russia. Ever since then, Raketa has made Big Zero’s design a trademark of the brand. The black waffle-like pattern of the dial brings out the silver in its hands and indices. Underneath its watch face is a Raketa 2615 movement, equipped with a power reserve that can last up to 40 hours when fully wound. This Premier watch has a retail price of $955 USD. 4. Nesterov Russian Strategic Aviation (H0513B02-74DB)  Image By: Nesterov The brand Nesterov acquired its name from Peter Nesterov, a famed Russian ace pilot and founder of aerial acrobatics. Nesterov’s catalog is home to numerous aviation watches with distinct designs and colorways. Among all its timepieces, the Nesterov Russian Strategic Aviation is a particular standout. Encased inside 47mm of stainless steel, this oversized watch is equipped with a polygonal bezel that has a tachymetric scale for wearers to calculate their speed. Protected by a layer of mineral glass, its deep blue dial consists of applied hour markers and hands, along with unusual cushion-like chronograph subdials. A date window between 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock. The movement that operates below its watch face is a quartz caliber sealed shut by a solid steel case back. Coupled with a classic stainless steel strap, this Russian watch has a water resistance rating of 100m. You can purchase this watch for $290 USD. 5. Denissov Barracuda (3133.1026.R.B28) Image By: Denissov A military-inspired timepiece with stylish and exclusive looks, the Denissov Barracuda is a robust and versatile timepiece that you can bring anywhere. Its case is crafted out of stainless steel, with a polished and matte finish to give this Russian watch an exceptional luster. On the right side of the Barracuda’s case are two pushers and a screw-down crown to ensure waterproofness even at depths reaching 100m.  The Barracuda’s segregated dial is definitely something to behold. Its handsome interplay of brown and sunburst blue colors makes this an incredibly fun watch to wear. It features a blue outer ring that contains applied hour numerals and a brown inner section that features chronograph subdials and skeletal watch hands. Placed between the 6 o’clock marker and the Barracuda logo is a small outlined date window. This watch is powered by a manual-winding Poljot 3133 along with its 42-hour power reserve. This Barracuda watch costs around $870 USD. 6. Vostok Komandirskie K-20 Automatic (2416/020716) Image By: Vostok Amphibia While Vostok is mostly known for the Amphibia, its Komandirskie collection also has quite the following. With its affordable price, powerful automatic movement, and 200m of water resistance, the Vostok Komandirskie K-20 Automatic is one of the best value-for-money Russian watches on the market. This watch uses a stainless steel case topped with a black elapsed time bezel. Its teeth-edged crown is quite sizable to ensure an easy grip both on land and underwater.  Its white dial features black hour indices, applied hands, and a date aperture between 4 and 5 o’clock. You can find a small red star sitting nicely under the luminous hands, and it adds a splash of color to the black and white watch face. This watch is powered by a Vostok 2416 caliber, which is fitted with thirty-one jewels. To complete its sleek, professional look, Vostok pairs the Komandirskie K-20 with a three-link stainless steel bracelet. You can purchase this affordable Russian watch for around $100 USD. 7. Raketa Amphibia (0252) Image By: Raketa Watch Club The Vostok brand is not the only one with an Amphibia. With its depth-defying, 400m water resistance capacity, the Raketa Amphibia is a solid Russian diver watch that showcases incredible durability and strength. This watch comes in a cushion-shaped stainless steel case, with a layer of protective sapphire glass and a comfortable black silicone strap. Looking at the Raketa Amphibia in its entirety, it somewhat resembles the sporty looks of the Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean.  The dial of this watch features a sequence of luminous numerals and orange hour indices. Paired with luminous silver hands, the Raketa Amphibia is simple but also highly legible. Like most Raketa watches, its 12 o’clock marker is replaced with the brand’s trademark “0.” Operating underneath the watch face is an automatic Calibre 2615, which features an accuracy rate of -10/+20 seconds per day and a 40-hour power supply. This watch retails at approximately $1,130 USD. 8. Denissov Number One (955.112.001.4.N1M) Image By: Denissov Denissov’s selection of consists of a diverse catalog of watches, spanning from sporty models to dressy ones. An example of Denissov’s take on a classic timepiece is Denissov Number One. It comes in a polished stainless steel case with a unique crown that resembles the ones seen on Cartier Santos-Dumont models. This Russian watch is water-resistant up to depths of 50m and comes coupled with a black stingray leather strap. Exclusively-designed minute and hour hands swivel round the pearl dial adorned with refined silver Roman numeral hour markers and a small date window at 6 o’clock. On the dial’s inner section, you can find the brand signature and the model name written in fine cursive print. Hidden below the watch face is an ETA 955.112 quartz movement that you can also find in certain watches from Certina and Tag Heuer. You can purchase this watch for around $235 USD. 9. Sturmanskie Arktika Day-Night (2432-6821355) Image By: Sturmanskie Worn by seasoned polar explorers and travelers, the Sturmanskie Arktika Day-Night is a reliable timepiece that will not back down from any challenge. Made out of stainless steel and paired with a black leather strap, the watch is not only sleek but also very comfortable to wear. Fitted on top of the case is a durable and lightweight acrylic glass resistant to all kinds of hard impacts and scratches. On this watch’s black dial are vintage hour numerals applied with Swiss Super-LumiNova. Placed at the center of the watch is a beautifully designed 24-hour time scale for wearers to keep track of another time zone. The red second hand and central time zone pointer add a bit of colorful flair to this watch’s black and steel aesthetic. This $280 USD watch is powered by a Vostok 2432 automatic caliber with a 33-hour power reserve. 10. Nesterov LI-2D (H0984A02-45B) Image By: Nesterov The Nesterov LI-2D is a Russian stainless steel watch featuring a blue dial and an ever-reliable quartz movement. It has a case size of 45mm, making it a great timepiece for those who love oversized watches or have larger wrists. The royal sunblue dial is protected by a layer of scratch-resistant mineral crystal. The brand pairs this with a matching blue leather strap with white stitching.  Arranged on its blue dial are pointed hour indices, Arabic numerals, and outlined minute and hour hands. At each quarter of the dial are rounded green triangles that add a bit of variety to the watch’s design. This watch has a fairly simple style, but it appeals with its straightforward elegance. Underneath the watch face is a quartz movement that is covered by a solid steel case back. This watch has a budget-friendly price tag of $155 USD. 11. Raketa Copernicus (0231) Image By: Raketa Watch Club Inspired by the original Soviet Copernicus watch, the Raketa Copernicus pays tribute to the science of astronomy with its bold and planet-inspired design. With a water-resistant stainless steel case and top-notch, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, the Russian watch is not just unique but also very durable. The push-pull crown on the right side of its case is also relatively large, allowing for an easy grip. With its standard 40mm diameter, the watch fits well on wrists of any size. The highlight of this watch, without a doubt, is its innovative watch face which allows you to tell the time in an unusual way. It features a blue dial with three planet-like structures occupying the surface and only a single red seconds hand. The two smaller circles, with red markers on their rims, are the hour and minute displays. The smaller “planet” is the hour hand, while the mid-sized ring represents the minute hand. The back of the timepiece has a neat partial display that gives you a view of the Raketa 2615 movement inside. You can get this watch for $1,290 USD. 12. Vostok Aviator Airacobra Quartz (V.1.11.0.034.4) Image By: Vostok Amphibia A handsome aviation timepiece with no frills, the Vostok Aviator Airacobra is a wonderful quartz watch with an appealing, minimalistic design. It comes in a perfectly round, lustrous stainless steel case with long, protruding lugs and an unguarded crown. Equipped with a water resistance capacity of 100m, this Russian watch’s quintessential aesthetic is complemented by a brown alligator leather strap. The dial of the Aviator Airacobra contains light-colored Arabic numerals and hour indices that blend nicely with its black backdrop. Its hands have been coated in luminescence to provide legibility even in dark environments. On top of the 6 o’clock marker, you can find a curved and elongated date window that shows the current date, as well as the previous and next dates. Beneath the dial is a Ronda 6003B movement with a battery life that can last up to 40 months. This watch costs $500 USD. 13. Sturmanskie Ocean 3133 (3133/1981599) Image By: Sturmanskie Showcasing accuracy, practicality, and reliability, the Ocean 3133 is a modern recreation of the iconic Sturmanskie watch with the same name. It comes in a stainless steel case coupled with a sporty blue leather strap with red stitching. The crystal protecting the watch’s face is made of mineral and gives a clear and unhindered view of the Ocean 3133’s nautical dial.  The dial of this watch, with its applied indices and hands, also contains a stopwatch and a telemeter scale. Wearers can control these features using the watch’s extra crown, on the left side of the watch, and two pushers. Located at the lower section of the dial is an outlined date window which takes the place of the 6 o’clock index. This $950 USD watch is powered by a reliable Poljot 3133 movement, which is equipped with a 42-hour power reserve and sealed by an engraved solid steel caseback. 14. Nesterov I-190 (H0983B02-14D) Image By: Nesterov Accompanied by a brown leather bund strap, the Nesterov I-190 is a stylish timepiece that boasts 100m of water resistance and an attractive copper-colored dial. This Russian wristwatch utilizes a 46mm stainless steel case topped with a layer of mineral glass. Its substantial 15mm thickness gives the Nesterow I-190 a bit of heft and presence on the wrist. The exquisite copper dial consists of inner and outer sections, each with different surface textures and designs. The smooth and brushed outer ring contains black hour markers and numerals that add more personality to the watch’s overall look. The inner circle with a guilloche engraving resembling the pattern of a clamshell holds the minute and hour hands, as well as the circular date aperture. Powered by a quartz movement, this affordable $130 USD Russian watch is definitely worth adding to your collection. 15. Denissov Free Rider (9015.1015.3B.B3) Image By: Denissov Our final timepiece is a model from Denissov that boasts an exceptionally sporty look. Housed inside a stainless steel case coated with black PVD, the Denissov Free Rider is a striking watch and rugged watch. Its water resistance capacity of 100m ensures that the Free Rider still looks good and works well even after a splash in the pool. Dark but somewhat flashy, this timepiece’s suave looks are completed by its black leather strap with orange stitching. Separated into an inner and outer section, the watch’s black dial sports an attractive design. Its outer ring holds a mix of orange-and-white hour markers and Arabic numerals that contrast sharply against their black backdrop. The inner section has a raised, tire-like texture, along with syringe hands that are applied with Super-LumiNova and a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock. This watch is powered by a Japanese Miyota 9015 automatic movement, complete with its twenty-four jewels and 42-hour power supply. This watch retails at $410 USD. A Brief History of Russian Watches While European and American watch manufacturers were already producing watches on a massive scale in the 1800s, Russia did not have its first watchmaker until 1927. In 1930, the Russian Labor and Defence Council founded the Moscow Watch Factory, which produced watches for the Soviet Government and the Red Army. One of their most popular timepieces was the Commander — a watch commonly used by officers of the Red Army. In 1941, the Moscow Watch Factory had to evacuate to the city of Zlatoust after an attempted invasion. A year later, the Chistopol Watch Factory, known today as Vostok, was established. In 1946, the Moscow Watch Factory started creating Pobeda watches. These watches had specifications specially approved by the leaders of the Soviet Union. During this time, most Russian watches were only being produced for the Russian Army. It was only in the 1950s that watches started to be manufactured for the general public. When the first Soviet satellite was launched in 1957, the Sputnik watch was made to commemorate this event. By the 1960s, the Russian watch industry had grown at an excellent rate, developing some stunning and rare timepieces. In the same year, the Moscow Watch Factory introduced the country to Poljot’s first watch. Russian watches also have quite a bit of history with space travel. In 1960, a Russian cosmonaut named Yuri Gagarin became the first person to traverse into outer space. Back then, there were no specific Russian watches produced for cosmonauts. Gagarin simply wore his own Sturmanskie watch for the flight. Later on, other cosmonauts started wearing Poljot and Strela watches to their space travels too. As such, from those days onward, Poljot, Sturmanskie, and Strela watches were inseparably linked with space. The Moscow Watch Factory later created the 3133 model — a versatile timepiece officially developed for the Russian army, navy, and Russian cosmonauts. Image By: Sturmanskie By 1965, watches manufactured by the Moscow Watch Factory were already being exported outside the Soviet Union. These timepieces were sent to 70 different countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States. Through their crucial role in developing the Russian watch industry, the Moscow Watch Factory was given the highest Soviet award in 1966. Four years after that, products from the Chistopol Watch Factory, whose timepieces were already being developed under the Vostok name, were exported to 54 different countries across the globe. Fast forward to this day, and the Russian watch industry has continued to thrive and grow. Some early Soviet brands such as Vostok and Sturmanskie are still creating watches to this day and have become some of the most well-known representatives of Russian watchmaking. In recent years, many other Russian watch brands have started to appear. Some of these brands source their movements from Vostok, while others use Swiss calibers in their watches. Whether it is a historical watch brand or a modern Russian watchmaker like Denissov, Moscow-Classic, Nesterov, or Raketa, these manufacturers are maintaining the tradition and soul of Russian watch history. Final Thoughts From this list, it is evident that Russian watches are highly underrated and deserve to be more under the spotlight. They are affordable, reliable, and quite easy to service. Additionally, they carry unique designs that make them stand out from their competitors. Although the Russian watch industry is rather young compared to the Swiss, Japanese, and German watch industries, their audience continues to grow steadily every day. No longer just a niche, Russian watches have become a beautiful part of the collections of many watch enthusiasts.  If you are looking to get your own Russian timepiece, you should definitely obtain one of the Russian watches listed above. That said, make sure to do some research and diligent inspection before finalizing your purchase. Cheap imitations of Russian watches, along with swapped-out parts and aftermarket modifications, are relatively prevalent. Featured Image By: Sturmanskie Looking for a great pilot’s watch? Have a look at this Guide on finding the perfect Glycine Airman

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  5. A Comprehensive Guide to Every Type of Rolex Bracelet Ever Made

    A Comprehensive Guide to Every Type of Rolex Bracelet Ever Made

    Most of us know Rolex as one of the most well-established luxury brands in the world. This prestigious reputation is a reflection of how well it has mastered the art of watchmaking. Part of this is due to Rolex’s penchant for constant research and innovation. As a result, it also means that the brand has reached a point in which it has the ability to develop specialized, highly-advanced components for the timepieces it creates — making its watches stronger, more durable, and more precise. One perfect example of this innovation is the variety of signature straps Rolex has invented over the years, which also happens to be our main topic for today. Whether in terms of style or durability, Rolex has consistently pushed the boundaries with its bracelet inventions. Without further ado, let us take a detailed look at every type of Rolex bracelet ever made.  Every Type of Rolex Bracelet Ever Made: A Walkthrough Rolex currently offers 6 different bracelets and straps in their catalog, namely: the Oyster, the President, the Oysterflex, the Pearlmaster, the Jubilee, and a high-quality leather band. Let’s take an in-depth look at each Rolex bracelet. For those who want a first-hand experience of these bands, we have also included some models equipped with these respective bracelets as examples too.   The Oyster  The Oyster is arguably one of the most popular bracelets in the watchmaking world. It was first utilized by Rolex back in the 1930s and has become a staple for the Swiss brand since then. This is a flat, three-piece link band mainly used in Rolex’s Professional models, such as the Explorer. That said, the Oyster bracelet can also be found in the selection of Rolex Classic watches, with models like the Datejust. While there are many reasons as to why the Rolex Oyster bracelet is the go-to choice of many watch patrons, its versatility is what stands out the most. This is the only Rolex bracelet that can be paired with all of the brand’s different clasps, which is one of the most important components of a Rolex watch. In addition, the Oyster adds a sporty and classic aesthetic to the watch, allowing for a quintessential look that simply transcends time.  Below are some models with this iconic Rolex bracelet for those who like a refined and athletic vibe:  Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 Ref. 126000 The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 Ref. 126000 is a classic yet fun model that is great for everyday use. More than that, it is the perfect showcase of versatility, as it has an overall laid-back vibe despite the sporty strap it comes with. Its Rolex Oyster bracelet is paired with a 36mm Oystersteel case and a domed bezel. Meanwhile, the striking and quirky bright yellow dial features stick hands and hour markers equipped with an excellent Chromalight display. This watch is powered by a COSC-certified automatic caliber 3230, which boasts an impressive power reserve of 70 hours. This Oyster Perpetual piece retailing at $13,799 USD oozes an effortlessly cool style that combines street chic with sporty appeal. Rolex Submariner Date Ref. 126613LB The Rolex Submariner Date Ref. 126613LB, on the other hand, is definitely a more sporty-looking and classy watch through and through. It features a yellow Rolesor exterior, which means that it is a two-tone model made primarily of Oystersteel and yellow gold. It comes in a 41mm case with a rotating blue Carachrom bezel and a luxurious three-link Oyster bracelet. In keeping with the watch’s Rolesor theme, this bracelet has Oystersteel outer links and yellow gold central links. This Submariner piece is also equipped with a bold and handsome blue dial, with large Mercedes hands, hour markers in various shapes, and a magnified date window. Underneath the gorgeous watch face, you can find a self-winding caliber 3235 with a COSC certification and a 70-hour power reserve. Priced at approximately $21,209 USD, this two-toned watch is a must-have piece for all luxury sports watch collectors out there. The President  The next Rolex bracelet on our list is the President bracelet. This Rolex strap was first introduced back in 1956, on an Oyster Perpetual Day-Date model. Although it was not initially known as such, the name stuck after an advertisement dubbed it “The President’s Watch” based on Former US President Lyndon Johnson’s own Rolex Day-Date piece. The President bracelet has a three-piece design that features shorter, semi-circular links, giving it a well-proportioned overall look. It has a more rounded exterior compared to the Oyster bracelet and exudes a more elegant, dressy air as a result. One interesting thing about this Rolex bracelet is that, to this day, it is only used with the Rolex Day-Date and some Lady Datejust watches. In addition, the President bracelet is exclusively made of precious metals such as gold and platinum and is only ever paired with the brand’s concealed Crownclasp.  If you prefer a classy and sophisticated aesthetic, check out the following models that come with this elite Rolex bracelet:  Rolex Day-Date 40 Ref. 228348RBR The Rolex Day-Date 40 Ref. 228348RBR is the pinnacle of elegance and luxury. Everything about it, from the diamond-set bezel to the gold President bracelet, screams lavish and elaborate. It is presented in a 40mm yellow gold Oyster case along with a three-link President strap made of the same material. The stark black dial features a sunray finish with luminous hands and precious stones for hour markers, an elongated day display, and a magnified date window. These functions are all driven by a COSC-certified self-winding caliber 3255 with a 70-hour power reserve.  If you want a strikingly fancy watch equipped with the iconic Rolex President bracelet, you can get this piece for around $61,999 USD. Rolex Day-Date 36 Ref. 128235 Next up, we have the Rolex Day-Date 36 Ref. 128235. This option is just as luxurious, but a little more subtle than the previously-mentioned watch. While this model is adorned with more diamonds all encrusted on the central links of its President bracelet, its warm rose gold hue makes it look more delicate and subdued. This Day-Date watch comes in a 36mm Everose gold case along with a diamond-set rose gold President bracelet. The brown ombré sunburst dial features luminescent hands, diamond hour markers, a day display, and a date window magnified by a Cyclops lens. This is paired with an elegant fluted bezel that adds more dimension to this watch. Just like the Ref. 228348RBR, this model is equipped with the same COSC-certified caliber 3255.  With a price tag of around $52,000 USD, this serves as a more delicate and feminine President bracelet watch option.  The Pearlmaster  Moving on, we have the Rolex Pearlmaster, which was introduced in 1992 along with its namesake range. This Rolex bracelet features rounded, five-piece links that are embedded with diamonds, giving it a sophisticated and intricate design. At present, this Rolex bracelet can mainly be found on Pearlmaster watches, as well as some Day-Date and Datejust models that have gem-set exteriors. In addition, just like the President bracelet, this Rolex strap is only ever paired with the brand’s ever-so-elegant Crownclasp.  Since the original Pearlmaster collection is all about elegance and refinement, this can clearly be seen in the Pearlmaster bracelet as well. Just a glance at its complex details will tell you that it is made with the highest form of craftsmanship and technology Rolex has at its disposal.  With that said, here is a closer look at one model that sports this unique and fancy Rolex bracelet: Rolex Pearlmaster 34 Ref. 81409RBR The Rolex Pearlmaster 34 Ref. 81409RBR is as extravagant as you can get with Rolex. This model comes in a slender 34mm case paired with a Pearlmaster bracelet, both of which are made of white gold and adorned with diamonds all over. The dial features a diamond-pave design with silver Roman numerals and a magnified date window. It also has a three-hand system which is driven by an automatic caliber 2236 with a 55-hour power reserve.  If you are looking for a lavish and statement-making watch with the Pearlmaster bracelet, you can get your hands on this piece for approximately $170,000 USD. The Jubilee This next Rolex bracelet is known as the Jubilee. It was first launched in 1945 on the Oyster Perpetual Datejust. The Jubilee bracelet is a rather distinct Rolex band that features a rounded design with five-piece links. The outer links of this Rolex bracelet are larger in size, while the central links are smaller. The Jubilee bracelet can be paired with either the Crownclasp or the Oysterclasp. One interesting thing about it is that some versions of the Jubilee bracelet come with an Easylink extension, which makes it easily adjustable, so it can fit securely around any wrist.  The Jubilee bracelet is a fan-favorite among many Rolex patrons because of its robustness, versatility, and practicality. In fact, it is known for being the most comfortable Rolex bracelet compared to the brand’s other three metal bands. It is also regarded as the perfect in-between since it is a mix of elegant and slightly sporty aesthetics.  If you enjoy a classy and flexible look, check out some models with this Rolex bracelet: Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126710BLNR The Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 126710BLNR, also dubbed the Batgirl, is one of the most well-known models in Rolex’s portfolio. It serves as a dressier alternative to the popular Batman watch. This timepiece is presented in a 40mm Oystersteel case paired with a five-link Jubilee bracelet. It also features a sporty two-tone Cerachrom bezel in black and blue, which is what inspired its nickname. Meanwhile, the black dial consists of luminous Mercedes hands, hour markers in various shapes, and a magnified date window. This GMT-Master II watch is equipped with a self-winding 3285 caliber that boasts a 70-hour power reserve.  If you want a highly sought-after watch with the Jubilee band, check this piece out for around $21,329 USD. Rolex Datejust Ref. 126334  The GMT-Master Datejust Ref. 126334, on the other hand, is a completely different take on the Jubilee bracelet. It is a more elegant and overtly luxurious timepiece that is perfect for any formal affair. This model is presented in a two-tone Rolesor exterior. Its 41mm case and Jubilee bracelet are both made of a mix of Oystersteel and white gold. The sunburst slate dial consists of exquisite diamond-set hour markers, slim hands, and a magnified date window at 3 o’clock. This watch’s three-hand system and date function are all powered by a COSC-certified caliber 3235 with a power reserve of 70 hours. If you’re willing to shell out $14,800 USD, you should definitely consider adding this Datejust watch with a Jubilee bracelet to your collection.  The Oysterflex The Oysterflex, launched in 2015 on the Yacht-Master, is the only Rolex bracelet that is not just primarily made of metal. Instead, it is a highly durable band that uses a combination of superelastic metal blades and elastomer. The Oysterflex strap can typically be found in Rolex’s Professional watches, such as the Cosmograph Daytona and Yacht-Master, but also in its Sky-Dweller collection.  In terms of design, this black band definitely has a sporty and durable aesthetic down pat. It is also one of the most comfortable Rolex bracelet options despite the robustness brought about by the metal blade inside. Indeed, the Oysterflex bracelet is the perfect reflection of Rolex’s craftsmanship and innovation.  Here is a model that is equipped with this well-built, modern Rolex bracelet:  Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116519LN The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116519LN is a robust and powerfully built timepiece. Despite its ruggedness, it is still quite comfortable thanks to its ergonomic Oysterflex strap. This Cosmograph Daytona watch comes in a 40mm white gold case along with the black Oysterflex bracelet. The dial features a black chronograph display along with luminescent hands and hour markers. This multi-functional watch is also powered by an automatic caliber 4130 with a 72-hour power reserve.  For around $56,999 USD, you can get this sporty, tough-looking watch. Leather Strap While Rolex is popular for its impressive selection of bracelets, true watch enthusiasts know that they also offer models with leather straps. In fact, Rolex has been using leather bands since before the launch of any of its innovative bracelets. This means the first few Rolex watches were actually all exclusively paired with leather straps. At present, the main collection that features this type of band is the Rolex Cellini which is a classic range that boasts timeless elegance.  If you like traditional, vintage-inspired timepieces, take a look at this particular model with a quintessential leather strap:  Rolex Cellini Ref. 50519  The Rolex Cellini Ref. 50519 is definitely the most classic and delicate of all the models mentioned in this article. It gives off a very strong traditional vibe mixed with modern-day design elements. This timepiece comes in a 39mm white gold case paired with an alligator leather strap in black. The blue guilloche dial consists of dauphine hands, luminous hour markers, and a unique date sub-counter at 3 o’clock. Lastly, this watch is powered by an automatic caliber 3165 with a 48-hour power reserve. If you prefer quintessential timepieces, you can check this one out for around $17,900 USD. Final Thoughts  Through its excellent selection of bracelets, Rolex has proven time and time again that there is a very good reason why it is one of the most well-established names in the watchmaking industry. Its bracelet inventions are a clear reflection of the high-level craftsmanship and innovation it constantly upholds. We hope that, through this guide, you have obtained a better understanding of the different Rolex bracelets out there. This way, you can select a Rolex watch with a bracelet that truly fits your personality and needs. Photo credits: WatchShopping and Rolex site Featured image by s.yume on Flickr If you want to know more about Rolex watches, check out our article on the Rolex Kermit.

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  6. Marathon GSAR: A Comprehensive Review

    Marathon GSAR: A Comprehensive Review

    Military watches are crafted to be as durable as possible, ensuring maximal longevity. Since military personnel prefers utility over design—which is perfectly reasonable given their line of work—aesthetics tend to be less of a priority for military watches. Marathon is a great example of a watch brand that champions functionality and durability. By focusing on substance over style, Marathon has firmly cemented its place as one of the best military watch manufacturers in the market. The Marathon GSAR, otherwise known as the Marathon Government-Issued Search and Rescue, is a collection of high-utility watches meant for critical military missions. This Canadian-made watch ensures optimal comfort and mobility, improving the success rate of the wearers’ missions—especially since time is very crucial in dire situations. In addition, these watches are tried and tested by both the Canadian and US military forces, which serves as a testament to their quality. Today, we will be taking an in-depth look at the Marathon GSAR to just see what makes it so special as a search and rescue watch. Plus, we have also included 5 impressive alternatives for the Marathon GSAR watch if you are looking for something similar. Read on to find out more! First Impressions Image courtesy of Marathon Official The Marathon GSAR collection is an ambitious innovation meant to help military personnel fulfil their duties. It comes highly approved by the Canadian and US governments and has been endorsed by many high-ranking officers as well, so you can be sure of its reliability. That being said, the Marathon GSAR might not be of much interest to the average watch enthusiast or casual wearer. Indeed, its plethora of features tend to be useful primarily for military individuals or explorers and is not a great fit for the dance floor or as part of your everyday routines. If, however, you are looking for a companion on your next outdoor adventure, then the Marathon GSAR is a great choice. Without further ado, let us go over the specifications of the Marathon GSAR Ref. WW194006SS-0101. Specifications Case The Marathon GSAR Ref. WW194006SS-0101 is also commonly known as the Large Diver’s Automatic, due to its sizeable case. It employs the use of 361L stainless steel to craft its case, which measures 41mm in diameter. In addition, this is quite a robust watch, with its 14mm thickness. It also has a secure screw-in crown which keeps any moisture or dust from getting into the watch and causing damage to its inside. The water resistance rating on the Marathon GSAR is a whopping 30 ATM or 300 meters. This allows it to withstand great water pressures, which makes it a massive help during underwater search and rescue missions—the very purpose it was meant to fulfil. It is equipped with a 2.8mm thick sturdy sapphire crystal, which protects the dial from all sorts of external elements and damage. Dial The Marathon GSAR Ref. WW194006SS-0101 has a jet black dial with white numeral hour markers and a 24-hour layout commonly found in military watches. There is also a small date aperture between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers, too. The monochrome design allows time to be easily read even with all the details on the dial. Image courtesy of Marathon Official Its visibility is also further boosted when used in the dark. Equipped with tritium gas tubes with glow that can last up to 25 years, divers can easily tell the time even when deep down underwater. The Marathon GSAR Ref. WW194006SS-0101 uses their very own luminescent technology, the MaraGlo. Notably, the MaraGlo is proven to be non-radioactive, so you do not have to worry about any hazards when it comes to using tritium gas tubes.” Movement Image courtesy of Marathon Official The Marathon GSAR Ref. WW194006SS-0101 is equipped with the ETA 2824-A2 caliber. This is an automatic movement that is popularly used in the market. With over 32 hours of power reserve, you can achieve a lot of things while wearing this watch—especially during search and rescue missions. Furthermore, since this is an automatic caliber, you do not have to worry about having to manually wind the watch during your missions. All you have to do is wear it and go about your business, and as long as it is on your wrist, it will never stop ticking. That said, if you do take the watch off for several days, simply turn the grooved crown to manually wind the watch again. Strap The strap used on the Marathon GSAR Ref. WW194006SS-0101 is a 20mm black rubber strap. It adds comfort and maintains the balance of the watch’s design, enhancing its sporty look. Price This high-functioning, government-issued search and rescue watch does not come cheaply. However, this is to be expected of a military-grade watch like this, which delivers impressive precision and durability. You can purchase this watch for around $1,300 USD. 5 Marathon GSAR Alternatives 1. Casio G-Shock 35th Anniversary Magma Ocean Ref. GWF-1035F-1JR Since the Marathon GSAR is technically a diver’s watch, you can find several dive watches that are just as robust as the Marathon GSAR. The only difference is that these watches are not government-issued, let alone made for the sole purpose of search and rescue missions. That said, the Casio G-Shock 35th Anniversary Magma Ocean Ref. GWF-1035F-1JR is an exceptional Casio’s diver’s watch that would surely be of use to you during your underwater expeditions. The Casio G-Shock 35th Anniversary Magma Ocean Ref. GWF-1035F-1JR has a large 52.8mm case made of hard-coated stainless steel and polymer. This might sound like an unusual combination, but this case is reinforced for maximum protection against water pressures and shocks. The dial, on the other hand, is mainly digital. It also has a backlight function to provide a light source in the dark and underwater, giving this G-Shock watch greater legibility. This Frogman piece is also equipped with Casio’s very own Tough Solar and Multi-Band 6 features, making it eco-friendly and highly functional. This watch retails at $749 USD. It is a great alternative to the Marathon GSAR since it is fitted with incredibly useful features for both diving and other outdoor activities. 2. Longines HydroConquest Ref. L37813587 Longines also have an impressive dive watch up their sleeves. The Longines HydroConquest Ref. L37813587 is a perfect example of a stylish diver’s watch that is comparable to the Rolex Submariner but is much more affordable. The Longines HydroConquest Ref. L37813587 uses a 41mm stainless steel case with a bidirectional rose gold bezel. The bezel also has a black ceramic insert, painted with a tachymeter scale for improved utility. This is paired with a two-toned stainless steel bracelet with exquisite rose gold central links. The dial of this HydroConquest watch looks a lot like the Submariner, as it features bold circular hour indices and a date window at 3 o’clock. Its black backdrop blends perfectly with the rose gold accents all over the watch’s exterior. This watch is also equipped with a water resistance rating of 300 meters, so it is more than capable of competing against the Marathon GSAR. In addition, it makes use of the Longines Caliber L888 automatic movement to ensure excellent precision and a 62-hour power reserve. As a stylish luxury diver, this watch is a bit more expensive than the Marathon GSAR. It retails at a price of $1,699 USD. 3. Tudor Black Bay Ref. 79230B-0007 Tudor is another luxury watch brand that does not fall short when it comes to exceptional dive watches. If you are in the market for a luxury diver that offers a sleek style while also providing durability and functionality useful during outdoor activities, give the Tudor Black Bay Ref. 79230B-0007 a shot. The Tudor Black Bay Ref. 79230B-0007 makes use of a 41mm stainless steel case with a sporty dark blue leather strap. That said, for those who prefer a more professional look, you can opt to swap the leather strap for a stainless steel bracelet too. The dial is protected by a high-quality, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. It does not have a date aperture, but it features large hands and oversized geometric hour markers which are very easy to read. The water resistance capacity of this watch is slightly less impressive than the Marathon GSAR, at 200 meters. It might not be as powerful as the Marathon GSAR, but if you are looking for a pseudo dress piece that boasts durability and versatility, then this Tudor Black Bay model might be the one for you. You can purchase the Tudor Black Bay Ref. 79230B-0007 for $3,475 USD. 4. Seiko Prospex Divers Ref. SBDC101 If you are looking for an affordable alternative to the Marathon GSAR, the Seiko Prospex Divers Ref. SBDC101 is a great choice. Priced at around $1,449 USD, this Seiko piece offers a straightforward, minimalist design that promotes comfort and class. The Seiko Prospex Divers Ref. SBDC101 utilizes a quintessential build, with a 40mm stainless steel case and matching three-link bracelet. The black dial contrasts nicely with its silver-tone hands and thick hour indices, allowing for improved legibility. A date aperture can also be found replacing the 3 o’clock marker. As a dive watch, this model also comes with a black bezel, marked with a tachymetric scale in white paint. With its substantial 200-meter water resistance capacity, this is an excellent option for those seeking a partner during underwater dives. 5. SINN Diving U212 Ref. 212.040-Solid-2LSS In terms of utility, the SINN Diving U212 Ref. 212.040-Solid-2LSS is possibly the best alternative to the Marathon GSAR. Although it does come at a more expensive price of $3,049 USD, this watch offers a delightfully versatile aesthetic and features even better than that of the Marathon GSAR. The case of the SINN Diving U212 Ref. 212.040-Solid-2LSS is quite large, weighing in at a diameter of 47mm. It is best suited for average-to-large-sized wrists. This case, and its matching bracelet, are both made from bead-blasted German submarine steel, a military-grade material that maximizes the watch’s durability both underwater and in extreme weather conditions. The submarine steel bezel is marked with playful red and black accents and comes with a tachymetric scale for optimal utility. The dial of this Sinn timepiece also comes in black, with contrasting white indices and hour and minute hands. The seconds hand comes in bright red, adding a hint of sportiness to this piece. One downside to this watch is that the date aperture is much smaller than in the previously mentioned watches. That said, given the large size of the dial, the date display is still quite readable. Equipped with an incredible water resistance capacity of 1,000 meters, you can easily bring this watch on deep dives without ever having to worry about water damage. Indeed, this Sinn Diving piece is quite pricey, but the value you get from it is far more than what you pay for. Final Thoughts The Marathon GSAR is an exceptional watch that showcases the potential of military and dive watches, and how innovation and passion can take things further. This tool watch might not be for everyone, especially since it is geared more towards military use and extreme adventures. Nevertheless, if you are intrigued by the functionality of the Marathon GSAR, you are still welcome to give it a go and see if it fits your lifestyle. And if you think that a rugged government-issued watch is too much for your tastes, we have also presented five great alternatives. These alternatives have the same utility as the Marathon GSAR, but they possess different styles that just might fit your tastes more. Images courtesy of WatchShopping, unless stated otherwise. Featured image courtesy of Marathon Official If you consider yourself an adventurer and are looking for a durable companion, have a look at our 20 Best Hiking Watches in 2021!

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  7. 15 Best Retro Watches Worth Your Time

    15 Best Retro Watches Worth Your Time

    Ask any watch connoisseur about a piece they treasure the most in their respective collections and there is a high chance that retro watches will come up in the conversation. Vintage timekeepers are often treated as valuable and desirable accessories given the rich history behind them. Most retro watches are also hand-crafted and are intricately built to last for a very long time. This is why they serve as testaments to many watch brands’ craftsmanship, attention to detail, and passion for top-notch watchmaking. Nostalgic, functional, and appealing—retro watches are simply must-have items in any watch collection. If you have been wanting to anchor your collection with a dependable vintage timepiece, this article is just for you! Retro Watches: Our Top Picks From famous brands like Casio to underrated classics like Zodiac, there are many labels that offer trustworthy retro watches at different price points. Thus, it can be quite difficult and determine which ones best suit your lifestyle and budget the most. To help you choose the right piece, we have gathered 15 of the best retro watches in the market. Take a look below and see which one of these retro watches is most to your tastes! 1. Seiko 6139-6005 Photo by borgsauce_wis on Instagram Case material: Stainless steelCase dimension: 40mmMovement: Mechanical, AutomaticWater resistance: 70 meters Kicking off our list is a piece from one of the most highly-acclaimed names in Japanese horology. Seiko has been impressing everyone with its magnificent lineup of timekeepers since its establishment 140 years ago. From simple time-only quartz pieces to robust divers made specifically for conquering vast depths of waters, name what type of watch you desire and the brand probably has it in its arsenal. One famous vintage Seiko timepiece is the Seiko 6139-6005, popularly known as the “True Pogue”. Created in the 1960s, this watch got its iconic nickname after NASA astronaut and United States Air Force (USAF) pilot Colonel William Pogue wore it during the Skylab Mission 4 in 1973. This Seiko retro watch comes in a 40mm stainless steel case and has a caseback made out of the same material. It bears the famous Pepsi bezel first seen in Rolex GMT-Master, adding some stylish flair to this Seiko watch. The dial comes in a bright yellow shade and is protected by a layer of the brand’s proprietary Hardlex crystal. Since this is a chronograph watch, it has a 30-minute sub-dial as well as two pushers adjacent to the 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock markers. The Seiko 6139-6005 is powered by the Caliber 6139B automatic movement which beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour (vph). In addition, this durable retro watch is equipped with Seiko’s Diashock technology, which allows it to maintain its accuracy even after taking some hard knocks and impacts. All things considered, the Seiko 6139-6005 is a conversational piece worth checking out. It costs around $300 USD to $700 USD depending on the condition the piece is in. Indeed, this is one of those retro watches that can definitely help you stand out in a crowd. 2. Casio CA53W-1 Case material: ResinCase dimension: 35mmMovement: Japanese QuartzBattery Life: approximately 5 yearsWater-resistance: No depth rating available Perhaps one of the most trailblazing watch inventions of all time, the Casio CA53W-1 is one of the first retro digital watches ever. This calculator watch was the most stylish and unique accessory back in the day. In fact, its popularity among kids, teens, and adults of all genders back then can be compared to the fame Apple watches enjoy today. Having it on your wrist was equated to being cool and trendy, especially since it appeared in several blockbuster films and tv shows such as Back to the Future Part II and III, Breaking Bad, and Mr. Bean. Bearing a straightforward appearance, this Casio watch has a lightweight exterior that consists of a 35mm octagonal black case and a strap, both made out of resin. The face of this retro Casio watch seems quite intimidating at first due to its stocky 4-grid keypad. That said, once you get to know how it works, you will realize how helpful it is in making your daily routines easier. The buttons on the calculator keypad have markings that come in white, yellow, and red shades that allow for better readability even in dim lighting conditions. When it comes to performance, this Casio digital watch will surely give you the best bang for your buck. Apart from having dual time features, it also has a stopwatch that measures 1/100th of a second in either elapsed, spilt, or 1st-2nd place modes, an hourly time signal, a full auto-calendar of up to 2009, and a 12 or 24-hour layout. With an accuracy rating of +/- 30 seconds per month, its 3-volt lithium CR2016 battery can last up to 5 years. Of course, as a calculator watch, you can also use it to perform 8-digit addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The Casio CA53W-1 is still available in most Casio stores, under the Databank division. It retails at just $25 USD, making it not one of the cheapest retro watches available today. 3. Bulova Computron Case material: Stainless Steel Case dimension: 31mmMovement: QuartzBattery Life: approximately 5 yearsWater-resistance: 30 meters Next up, we have another extraordinary retro digital watch, oozing with elegance and sophistication. The Bulova Computron Chrome edition was first introduced in 1976. It was the first light-emitting diode (“LED”) watch released by the American brand. Back then, watchmakers were still struggling with the quartz crisis. As a response, Bulova came up with the Bulova Computron as an innovative response to people’s growing demand for quartz watches. The Bulova Computron was hugely successful and allowed the brand to become widely known in both the quartz and digital watch markets. In 2019, Bulova released a reissue of the Bulova Computron, which serves as a direct ode to its predecessor. This new edition retains the original vintage spirit of its forerunner while also incorporating updated attributes and modern technology. Adventurous and creative are the perfect words to describe the new Bulova Computron watch. Its 31mm stainless steel trapezoidal case gives off a strong vintage feel and is paired with a uniquely-shaped steel bracelet with patterned links. Unusually enough, the blue LED display where you can see the time and date only occupies the bottom part of the long dial. The focal point of this vintage Bulova watch is that almost every function it has can be controlled with just a push of a button, which can be found on the right side of the case. Pressing this button once will turn on the watch and doing so a few more times will show you the time and date. Bulova also added a dual time zone feature to the 2019 reissue as a way of fitting the watch to the current modern landscape. Finally, this watch has a decent 30-meter water resistance rating and is powered by a quartz movement that has two-year battery life. Retailing at a reasonable price of $300 USD, this is one of those cool retro watches you definitely do not want to miss out on. 4. Grand Seiko First Case material: 18ct GoldCase dimension: 35mmMovement: Mechanical, Manual-windPower reserve: approximately 45 hoursWater-resistance: No depth rating available Grand Seiko is another Japanese brand that has been in the market for over 60 years. It is a subsidiary of Seiko dedicated to producing high-end, high-quality luxury watches on par with the top Swiss timepieces. Among its notable and rave-worthy products is, of course, the first-ever Grand Seiko watch, also known as the Grand Seiko 3180. This vintage Grand Seiko piece is the perfect epitome of a classic dress watch. Compared to the aforementioned watches, the Grand Seiko 3180 has a more modest and subtle look. The dial has a straightforward analog layout, with a lovely off-white dial containing luxurious gold-plated dauphine hands and baton indices. The dial is inscribed with elegant cursive black texts that spell out the watch’s technical information while also helping to enhance its vintage vibe. This is paired with a 35mm stainless steel case in gold and a handsome dark brown leather strap. In terms of its technical specification, this retro watch relies on a chronometer-grade Caliber 3180 movement that has an accuracy rating of +12/-3 seconds a day. Priced at around $1,700 USD to $3,000 USD, this is a limited edition retro piece that watch enthusiasts are sure to go crazy for. 5. Timex Marlin Photo by carolina_timex_machine on Instagram Case material: Stainless steelCase dimension: 33mmMovement: Mechanical, manual-windWater-resistance: No depth rating available Here, we have another fantastic dress watch from the American brand Timex. Founded in 1984, Timex has always been more inclined to create quartz-powered pieces. That being said, the brand’s old yet tough mechanical Timex Marlin is surely one for the books. Just like most retro watches, the Timex Marlin has had numerous reissues. However, the original models hailing from the ’60s remain unmatched when it comes to their movements and overall build. The aesthetic of the Timex Marlin leans towards the minimalist side. It comes in a gold-colored stainless steel case paired with a black leather strap. The beautiful champagne sunburst dial is decorated with matching gold Arabic numerals and hour markers. In terms of functionality, this gold retro watch runs on a hand-wound mechanical movement. It is also water-proof so bringing this watch on your occasional trips to the pool would not be any problem. You just need to shell out around $60 USD to $300 USD to be able to purchase a Timex Marlin on legitimate secondhand markets. 6. Seiko TV Watch Photo by WAI’s Watch Museum on Flickr Case dimension: 40mmWeight: 190 gramsBattery life: 5 hoursWater-resistance: No depth rating available The Seiko T001, better known as the Seiko TV Watch, is perhaps the most awe-inspiring piece in this entire rundown. Considered the inspiration for all present-day smartwatches, it serves as Seiko’s grand leap into the future. Right off the bat, you will notice that the watch has a trailblazing design that goes beyond the norm. It comes in a square-shaped steel case with a sturdy strap of the same material. This monochromatic color combination goes really well with its two liquid crystal displays. These displays are dedicated to the television and time-calendar functions. This Seiko wristwatch is meant to function with four other necessary components, namely the headphones, headphone cord, video, receiver, video connector. In order for the watch’s television to work, you just have to connect the receiver and the headphones to the watch body itself. In addition, this retro watch also comes with a stopwatch and an alarm feature, giving you the ultimate timekeeping experience. If you want a stunning timepiece that reminds you of how much watchmaking has evolved throughout the years, you should definitely go for this Seiko TV watch. It goes for around $800 USD to $1,200 USD on secondhand markets. 7. Tissot Visodate Seastar Seven Photo by David Broglin on Flickr Case material: Stainless SteelCase dimension: 34mmMovement: Mechanical, AutomaticPower reserve 45 hoursWater-resistance: No depth rating available Here we have a Swiss entry that boasts regality and sophistication. Coming from the brand Tissot, whose philosophy revolves around the constant pursuit of innovation, the Tissot Visodate Seastar Seven is one of those models that certainly deserves more recognition. This retro Tissot watch from the 1960s comes in a thin 34mm stainless steel case with a silver mesh strap. It has a large crown placed next to the 3 o’clock mark, with teeth edges for an easier grip. Meanwhile, the faded silver sunburst dial contrasts well with its applied black and gold indices and hands. A domed crystal protects the face of this vintage watch from any external threats and impacts, while a screw-down steel caseback ensures that the watch is safe from water damage. This is a dressy retro watch that breaks barriers by deviating from the usual bulky and fierce appearance of most diver watches. The Tissot Visodate Seastar Seven runs on a 21-jewel self-winding movement called the Caliber 784-2. Bearing a price tag that ranges between $100 USD and $1,000 USD, this retro watch is sure to last you a long time. 8. Casio F-91W-1 Case material: ResinCase dimension: 33mmMovement: Japanese QuartzBattery Life: approximately 7 yearsWater-resistance: 50 meters Another cool retro watch you should look out for is the Casio F-91W. It is best known for being the first mass-produced digital watch, with approximately 3 million units sold every year. While it does not have the same exclusivity as watches produced by Swiss giants like Rolex and Patek Philippe, this retro digital watch from the late ’80s is definitely a steal, especially considering its affordable price tag. The Casio F-91W comes in a 33mm black resin case and a matching strap with a buckle closure that ensures it will fit nicely on your wrist. Its rectangular digital display is protected by a layer of heavy-duty acrylic glass and is rimmed with red, blue, and yellow elements that give this timepiece a fun and quirky touch. This retro watch also has a microlight on the side that illuminates the screen effortlessly when needed. Apart from telling the time, this retro men’s watch also features an automatic calendar, a daily alarm, a 1/100th-second stopwatch feature, and a 12/24 hour time format. Above all these, what is great about this Casio vintage watch is that it comes in many chic colorways such as gold and black, blue and silver, and black and silver, to name a few. It can be purchased for just $20 USD. 9. IWC Mark XI Photo by Timur Gromov on Flickr Case material: Stainless steelCase dimension: 36mmMovement: Mechanical, manual-windPower reserve 44 hoursWater-resistance: 20 feet For those of you who are craving for a true military watch that can endure all sorts of challenges, the IWC Mark XI is the right piece for you. Launched in 1949, the field watch was made for the members of the British Royal Air Force (RAF). Like other field watches, the IWC Mark XI has a simple yet impactful design. It features a black time-only dial that serves as a great backdrop to the white Arabic numerals and the silver hands. Luminous symbols are placed at the 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock markers to provide better legibility in dark conditions. When it comes to this retro military watch’s build, it has a slim case size of 36mm. The stainless steel case has a polished finish which gives the watch a more professional luster. This IWC watch is also anti-magnetic and water-resistant up to 20 feet. It also has an oversized crown, so that wearers can grip and turn it more easily. Equipped with one of the most accurate three-hand movements ever made the Caliber 89, this retro watch costs around $2,000 USD to $8,000 USD. 10. Zodiac Sea Wolf Photo by verge_escapement on Instagram Case material: Stainless SteelCase dimension: 35mmMovement: Mechanical, AutomaticWater-Resistance: 200 meters The Zodiac Sea Wolf is often underappreciated, but it is notable for being one of the first few divers to ever grace the market. Considered a true classic, this watch should definitely be on every watch enthusiasts’ radar. This Zodiac retro watch is enclosed in a well-brushed 35mm stainless steel case and a brass-plated bezel. This is paired with a striking black dial that features broad luminous hands and triangle hour markers at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock. In addition, this timepiece uses an automatic movement made by ETA and A. Schild. It has a hacking feature and comes with a substantial 200-meter water resistance rating. That said, one downside to this retro watch is that its teeth-edged bezel is quite sensitive to wear and tear, so you should be careful not to knock it around. For that same reason, while this watch only costs around $1,000 USD, it’s pretty hard to get a piece in good condition nowadays. 11. Seiko 6105-8110 Photo from Tommyzeta on Flickr Case material: Stainless SteelCase dimension: 44mmMovement: Mechanical, AutomaticPower reserve: Approximately 32 hoursWater-Resistance: 159 meters Often called the Seiko Captain Willard by watch fanatics because of its appearance in the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, the 6105-8110 is a remarkable vintage piece. This retro watch comes with a sizable 44mm stainless steel cushion case. It also has an extremely legible dial — thanks to its thick, luminous geometric-shaped hour markers and baton hands. Embodying a utilitarian appeal, its black dial perfectly complements the silver case and appliques. This retro Seiko watch runs on a premium automatic 6105B caliber. It has 17 jewels and beats at a frequency of 26,600 vph. Apart from having a power reserve of 32 hours, the movement also comes with a quick-set date and hacking seconds functions that allow you to set the time accurately. It can also withstand water pressures of up to 150 meters. Paired with a rubber strap with a waffle-like pattern, the price of this watch ranges from between $1,000 USD to a little over $1,500 USD. 12. Omega Seamaster DeVille Chronograph Photo by Davidt on www.omegaforums.net Case material: Stainless SteelCase dimension: 35mmMovement: Mechanical, Manual-windWater-resistance: No depth rating available The Omega Seamaster DeVille Chronograph, also known as the Omega Seamaster 321, is yet another lustrous and desirable retro watch. It was released during the 1960s—the same era in which the iconic Omega Speedmaster started gracing the market. Considered an underrated creation by the brand, this vintage chronograph watch certainly packs a punch. This retro watch comes in a 35mm stainless steel case and a fine brown leather strap. The muted white dial contains sleek baton indices, elongated sword hands, and three chronograph sub-dials. As its name suggests, this watch is powered by the manual-winding Caliber 321, which is the same mechanism used in early Speedmaster models. If you want to experience the wonders of Omega watches, then the Omega Seamaster DeVille Chronograph is a great option to start with. You can get this vintage piece for around $4,000 USD to $6,000 USD. 13. Bulova Oceanographer Snorkel 666 Photo by Mick McMahon on Flickr Case material: Stainless SteelCase dimension: 41mmMovement: Mechanical, AutomaticWater-Resistance: 203 meters If you are looking for a trustworthy retro diver that does not stick to the norm, then the Bulova Oceanographer Snorkel 666 is a great option. In terms of design, it has a very cool and straightforward look. The unusual black-and-red unidirectional bezel gives the watch a sporty vibe. The watch comes in a 41mm asymmetrical stainless steel case and a huge crown that goes well with its black rubber strap. This retro watch’s black dial comes with luminous indices in small circle shapes. This also serves as its main selling point, since the tubes used to illuminate the watch make them almost resemble those precious stones you typically see in watches made by famous jewelers or luxury brand. In addition, this Bulova watch also comes with a large double-digit date display on the right, which is very handy to have. This vintage piece can withstand water pressures of up to 200 meters. This was pretty much a huge deal during that era since most of its close competitors only had water-resistance capacities of less than 200m. Powered by the Caliber 11 BLACD, this retro watch has a price tag ranging between $500 USD to $700 USD. 14. Gruen Precision Day-Date Case material: Stainless SteelCase dimension: 34mmMovement: Mechanical, AutomaticWater-Resistance: No depth rating available Stylish, dependable, and precise, the Gruen Precision Day-Date is another retro dress watch you certainly do not want to miss out on. Unlike the previous dress watches we have discussed above, this Gruen piece shows off a date window at 3 o’clock and an elongated day aperture above the 6 o’clock marker. It also comes in a 34mm gold-plated steel case and a luscious brown leather strap. The champagne dial, which has baton indices and luminous dauphine hands, adds a suave flair to this retro watch. Under the hood of this vintage dress watch is an in-house 512CB movement with 17 jewels. For a price of just $500 USD, you can get this no-frills retro timepiece that prioritizes both form and function. 15. Hamilton Ventura Photo by txinkman on Flickr Case material: Comes in various materialsCase dimension: Comes in various sizesMovement: Comes in various movementsWater resistance: Comes in various ratings Known as the world’s first electric timepiece, the Hamilton Ventura is a must-have for the vintage watch junkies because of the rich history it carries. It was created shortly after World War II, all thanks to industrial designer Richard Arbib’s creativity and thirst for peculiar concepts. The Ventura became even more popular after its appearance in some of Elvis Presley’s blockbuster films. With its boomerang-shaped case and minimalistic dial layout, this cutting-edge retro watch is a total stunner. The early Hamilton Ventura watches came in a 14K yellow gold or white gold case paired with a silver or black dial respectively. Each piece also boasted an electricity-like pattern at the center of its dial, running under the gold-plated hands of the watch. These retro watches were equipped with Hamilton’s iconic in-house Caliber 500, which was the product of decades worth of exploration and research. Today, the Hamilton Ventura comes in numerous iterations, but all of them stay loyal to most of the design cues of the original, particularly in terms of case shape. You can get modern pieces with skeleton dials or models that come with ETA-based automatic movements. There are also special editions specially crafted to commemorate Elvis Presley’s legacy. Bearing a price range of $700 USD to $2,000 USD, this is the perfect retro watch for you if you want a splash of quirkiness in your life.  Final Thoughts All in all, retro watches have withstood the test of time largely because of their contributions to the growth of the horological realm as well as their timeless aesthetics. Even with all the newfangled innovations in watchmaking today, no one can deny the exclusivity and heritage that retro watches can bring. Whether you prefer old dive watches with great stories, a robust digital watch, or an elegant dress piece you can wear to any occasion, there are many retro watches out there that will tickle your fancy. Indeed, the list of best retro watches we have collated here really is just the tip of the iceberg. Just make sure you do your research and pick a piece that best fits your needs and budget. Interested in knowing more about other types of watches you can score and eventually add to your growing collection? Then make sure to check out our articles on the 6 Best Seiko Kinetic Watches and the Top 5 Japanese Dress Watches. Featured image by affordablewristtime from Instagram Other photos from official watch websites unless noted otherwise

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  8. 20 Best Hiking Watches in 2021

    20 Best Hiking Watches in 2021

    A good and reliable hiking watch is an important tool for every outdoorsy adventurer. It provides you with the exact time and date, and delivers all the necessary information for your outdoor adventures, such as location, sunrise/sunset time, altitude, and more. In addition, a good hiking watch should have many more practical features than a regular timepiece. For instance, it should be equipped with ABC, or altimeter, barometer, and compass features, that can keep up with your outdoor escapades.  These days, there are a lot of watch brands that utilize state-of-the-art technology to craft top-notch hiking watches. As such, it can be hard to narrow down on the very best hiking piece just for you. Worry not because in this list, we have compiled some of the best hiking watches worth grabbing! 20 Hiking Watches: Our Best Picks 1. Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar Edition Ref. 010-02410-23 Photo from Watchshopping.com Considered the upgraded version of the best-selling Garmin Fenix 5, the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar Edition Ref. 010-02410-23 is a must-buy hiking watch. This is a smartwatch designed to withstand harsh outdoor conditions. It has a high-resolution display and is equipped with GPS to help you automatically determine your location. It also comes with features such as an altimeter, a barometer, a 3-axis compass, and a thermometer. Performance-wise, the Garmin watch has been proven to deliver all the best practical functions essential for outdoor adventures. The watch’s sleek case is made from stainless steel and titanium, to ensure its durability and resistance to abrasions and impacts. The touchscreen lens, on the other hand, is made from high-quality, scratch-resistant sapphire glass which adds a layer of security to the dial. This is a stylish and versatile watch that is suitable not only for your hiking adventures but can also accompany you on your daily routine. This top-tier hiking watch retails at just $1,169 USD. 2. Casio Pro Trek Ref. PRW-7000FC-1JF  Photo from Watchshopping.com If there is one brand home to some of the most robust and toughest watches in the market, it is definitely Casio. In particular, the Casio Pro Trek Ref. PRW-7000FC-1JF is our recommended hiking watch for your outdoor adventures. This watch has functions including an altimeter, a barometer, a digital compass, and a thermometer. It also comes with a pressure change indicator that automatically warns you if there is any significant environmental change. Aside from that, the Casio watch utilizes a solar-rechargeable battery which has a life span of up to 5 months, even without exposure to any light. It is also equipped with basic features such as a calendar, a stopwatch, alarms, and a countdown timer. All in all, this Casio Pro Trek model is a long-lasting, highly functional hiking watch that will satisfy every hiker during their outdoor escapades. Retailing at just $729 USD, this high-end hiking watch can easily keep up with any outdoor activities you enjoy. 3. Suunto 9 Baro Ref. SS050088000 Photo from Watchshopping.com Next up, the Suunto 9 Baro Ref. SS050088000 is a high-end timepiece equipped with a color touch screen feature. Designed exclusively for hiker’s needs, it has an altimeter, a barometer, a compass, a thermometer, and a GPS feature. It is also furnished with a stainless steel bezel and a scratch-resistant sapphire glass. What is fascinating about this Suunto watch is that it allows you to track distances during your walks, shows your current speed, and can find routes back to your starting point. It also comes with a wrist-based heart rate monitor, so you do not have to buy a heart rate belt just to monitor your stats while hiking. This Suunto 9 watch is an incredible hiking watch that retails at just $618. 4. Citizen Attesa Ref. CC4004-58E Photo from Watchshopping.com If you are an adventure-seeker looking for a long-lasting hiking watch with Eco-Drive technology features, look no further. This Citizen Attesa Ref. CC4004-58E is a top-notch, eco-friendly timepiece equipped with such solar-charging technology and does not require you to use a battery.  This Citizen timepiece also comes with an electronic compass and an altimeter which measures from 1,000 feet up to 32,000 feet. In addition, this Attesa watch, with its hardy titanium case, has a lightweight build which is very practical for a hiking timekeeper. It features a stylish black dial furnished with orange accents and a black polyurethane strap that ensures comfort. Just expect to spend at least $1,949 USD before you can finally wear this one-of-a-kind hiking watch. 5. Timex Expedition Grid Shock Ref. TW4B02500 Photo from Amazon If you are seeking a timepiece that could challenge the title of best hiking watch, this gilt-edged Timex Expedition Grid Shock Ref. TW4B02500 is right here for you. This watch is designed to accompany every hiker on any outdoor adventure. It has a lot of practical features, such as three time zones, a 24-hour military time zone, a month, a day and date calendar, and a hydration timer. It is also equipped with a shock-resistance feature and a water resistance rating of up to 50 meters, making it quite a hardy timepiece. When it comes to performance, this Timex watch is equipped with a battery lifespan of up to 10 years. The case is made from hardened resin, while the striking gray digital dial is equipped with an Indiglo backlight that allows for improved readability in poor lighting conditions. It also comes with a black rubber strap that offers comfort. This Timex Expedition Grid Shock watch will give every hiker the freedom to explore the outdoors freely. This hiking timekeeper has an affordable price tag of just $70 USD. 6. Seiko Prospex Alpinist Ref. SBDC091 Seiko launched the Alpinist line back in 1961, which consisted of durable and highly functional timepieces meant to meet the needs of Japanese mountain climbers. Today, one of the best models from this range is this Seiko Prospex Alpinist Ref. SBDC091, which retails at $959 USD. This timepiece is equipped with practical features such as an inner-rotating compass and a magnetic resistance of 4,800 A/m. Moving to its aesthetics, this Seiko Prospex is an exquisite watch boasting a striking green sunburst dial. Its 39.5mm case is made out of stainless steel, perfectly matching the comfortable brown leather strap. This watch is powered by a caliber 6R35 automatic movement, which has 70 hours of power reserve. It also has a 200-meter water resistance rating. If you are looking for a vintage-inspired hiking watch jam-packed with useful features, you should opt for this Seiko watch. 7. Suunto Traverse Alpha Ref. SS022292000 Photo from Amazon Another top-notch timepiece from Suunto that can keep up with any of your outdoor activities is the durable Suunto Traverse Alpha Ref. SS022292000. This watch is handmade, all the way from Finland, and can withstand temperatures from 5°F up to 140°F. It has a GPS feature, a moon phase calendar, a barometric pressure graph, storm alarms, a sunrise alert, and a weather trend alert. It is also equipped with a red backlight that lets you use the watch efficiently even at night, and a water resistance rating of up to 100 meters. The battery life of this watch can also last up to 14 days, so you can bring it to long expeditions as well. The case of this Suunto Traverse watch is made out of glass fiber composite with a stainless steel coat that guarantees its toughness. The strap is made out of water-repellent nylon textile, which is quite comfortable on the wrist. If you are searching for the best versatile timepiece that can accompany you during your hiking, hunting, or even fishing activities, this Suunto watch is indeed a must-buy timekeeper. It retails at just $470 USD, a very reasonable price considering its extraordinary features. 8. Casio Pathfinder Multifunction Watch Ref. PAG240 Photo from Amazon If you are a hiker and a traveler at the same time, the Casio Pathfinder Ref. PAG240  is the right timepiece for you. This Casio watch features a whopping 39 time zones and can track time in 48 different cities. It also comes with a barometer that displays weather-change charts and a sensor that automatically detects altitude, temperature, and direction. On top of all that, this Casio Pathfinder piece is equipped with a powerful solar-powered battery that has a lifespan of up to six months. The only downside to this watch is that it can only operate in and withstand temperatures higher than 14°F. As such, if you love hiking during winter, then this hiking watch might not be the best choice out there. That said, in higher temperatures, the Casio Pathfinder Ref. PAG240 is still a highly practical and multifunctional watch that can make your hikes easier. Ultimately, this Casio Pathfinder is the best hiking buddy you could ever have, retailing at just $280 USD. 9. Suunto Core Outdoor Watch Ref. SS014279010 Photo from Amazon The third Suunto watch on the list is also equipped with the standard ABC, or altimeter, barometer, and compass features that all good hiking watches should have. This Suunto Core Outdoor Watch Ref. SS014279010 is a great timepiece that can help you easily track direction, performance, and weather while hiking. The barometric altimeter functions well in terms of recording your hikes, giving you the opportunity to check how you performed later on.  This watch has an average battery of up to 365 days and a depth meter button that you can utilize underwater to measure how deep you are. It also comes with a weather alarm that automatically sounds and flashes if bad weather is on the way. On the whole, the Suunto Core watch is a functional hiking watch that will provide you all the information you need on a hike. Retailing at $299 USD, this high-caliber hiking watch definitely deserves to be on your radar. 10. Garmin Instinct Ref. 010-02293-13 Photo from Garmin If ruggedness and durability are the key features you are looking for in hiking watches, this Garmin Instinct Ref. 010-02293-13 is an excellent choice. This Garmin Instinct piece is designed and created based on the US Military standards for shock and thermal resistance, and thus proves highly durable. It has a barometric altimeter, a 3-axis compass, a GPS, and a TrackBack feature. It also comes with a substantial water resistance rating of up to 100 meters. In terms of longevity, this Garmin watch has up to 16 hours of battery life on the GPS mode, up to 40  hours of battery in battery saver mode, and up to 14 days in smartwatch mode. You can also monitor your estimated heart rate and track your activities while on hikes with this hiking piece. The Garmin Instinct Ref. 010-02293-13 is available on a 1.2-inch display and is the perfect companion for your adventures. For just $400 USD, you can purchase this top-tier hiking timepiece.  11. Luminox Bear Grylls Ref. XB.3729.NGU If you are looking for the toughest hiking watch in the market, this Luminox Bear Grylls Ref. XB.3729.NGU is a great option. This watch boasts a 42mm Carbonox case, with a solid caseback. Its striking black dial is protected by an anti-glare sapphire crystal. The vibrant orange rubber strap also feels very comfortable on your wrist.  This Luminox watch is made for the wilderness, so it can withstand the harshest conditions. If you prefer to use a physical map to keep track of your location while hiking, simply use the watch’s built-in secondary traditional compass. Furthermore, it is also equipped with Luminox’s always-on illumination system to make reading the time much easier. Retailing at just $449 USD, this Luminox Bear Grylls watch is a great hiking piece that can keep up with all your outdoor adventures. 12.  Casio G-Shock Rangeman Ref. GW-9400J-1JF This Casio G-Shock Ref. GW-9400J-1JF is a rugged and highly reliable hiking watch that is worth paying attention to. It comes with a world time feature that displays 31 time zones, a stopwatch, a calendar, a backlight, an alarm, and a low-battery alert. In addition, this Casio G-Shock watch is equipped with a useful triple sensor function that can automatically provide you with information on direction and temperature. It is both shock-resistant and mud-resistant and comes with a 200-meter water resistance rating. Simply put, this Casio watch is a multifunctional hiking timekeeper that can withstand even the toughest conditions. Retailing at just $449 USD, you should definitely take a look at this robust hiking watch. 13. Polar Grit X Ref. 90081735 Photo from Amazon Although the Grit X was the first outdoor watch made by Polar, this timekeeper is still equipped with some seriously fine, state-of-the-art features. It has an impressive battery life that can deliver up to 40 hours of service in GPS mode and up to 100 hours power-saving mode. Since Polar watches focus on endurance and recovery, expect the majority of the features to be useful and highly practical such as a sleep cycle tracker and a Serene breathing exercise app. If you are looking for a simple but highly functional hiking watch that can keep up with your adventures, the $427 USD Polar Grit X Ref. 90081735 is the best choice on the market. 14. Coros Vertix 2 Ref. B09CLR9V32 Photo from Amazon Known as one of the top-end hiking watches that provides an impressive 140-hour battery life in full GPS mode, the Coros Vertix 2 Ref. B09CLR9V32 is a worthy grab. This watch has many useful features and a colossal battery life that can keep up with any outdoor adventures you enjoy. It also comes with dual-system GPS functionality, a compass, a barometric altimeter, a thermometer, a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and many more.  Furthermore, this Coros watch might be the closest you can get to a luxury hiking watch. It is a handsome timepiece, made out of high-quality materials. It boasts a titanium alloy bezel and casing, which is three times more scratch-resistant than steel. This hiking watch is also equipped with a layer of DLC sapphire crystal to protect its digital dial. It is a multi-sport timekeeper that provides all the data you need. Considering its incredible features, it is no surprise why this oversized 50.3mm Coros Vertix watch retails around $700 USD. 15. Garmin Instinct Tundra Smartwatch Ref. 010-02064-01 If you desire a timepiece that can bring the best hiking experience, the Garmin Instinct Tundra Smartwatch Ref.  010-02064-01 is your best choice. Equipped with a barometric altimeter, multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, Glonass, and Galileo), and a 3-axis compass, it is considered the perfect adventure companion. It also comes with a trackback feature for easier navigation. In addition, this Garmin watch looks rugged yet elegant at the same time. It has an impressively clean dial with sub-dials that perfectly match the white silicone strap. It is also equipped with numerous connectivity features. To sum up, this is an incredible hiking watch that can accompany you on any outdoor adventure, retailing at just $318 USD. 16. Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Ref. T49905 Photo from Amazon If you are looking for a rugged and aesthetically pleasing hiking watch, this Timex Men’s Expedition Field Chronograph Ref. T49905 is the ideal choice. It boasts an exquisite outdoorsy design and comes with features like a 30-minute chronograph, a date window, and an Indiglo light-up dial. When it comes to performance, this Timex watch is powered by a top-notch quartz movement. It also comes with a 100-meter water resistance rating, which means it is suitable for swimming and even snorkelling. If you are looking for a hiking watch that can be worn on both your outdoor adventures and during your daily commitments, then this watch is a great option. It retails at just $55 USD, which is a very budget-friendly price indeed. 17. Casio G-Shock Gravitymaster Ref. GWR-B1000-1AJF When going for a hike in rugged terrains, this Casio G-shock Gravitymaster Ref. GWR-B1000-1AJF is the perfect watch you could bring. It is equipped with practical features such as an alarm, a countdown timer, a stopwatch, a full auto calendar, and a night light function. It also comes with shock resistance and has a 200-meter water resistance rating. Moving on to its aesthetics, this Casio watch boasts a 46.4mm carbon monocoque case and strap. These perfectly match the striking black dial, which is also equipped with a set of subdials. There is also a non-reflective sapphire glass that protects the dial from any scratches. This hiking watch retails at $899 USD. 18. LAD Weather Watch Ref. LAD004 Photo from Amazon The LAD Weather Watch Ref. LAD004 is another multi-sport hiking watch equipped with outstanding capabilities. It has the important features you need in a hiking watch such as an altimeter, a barometer, and a compass. This watch comes in a 45mm black plastic case and has a legible digital dial and a black polyurethane strap. Like other LAD watches, this model is also equipped with a layer of acrylic glass to protect the digital dial from any external threats. In addition, this LAD Weather hiking watch also comes with a pedometer, a timer, live weather forecasting, and a thermometer. Retailing at just $45 USD, this top-notch timekeeper is a perfect companion not just for hiking but also for sports like cycling, camping, and the like. 19. Citizen Men’s Altichron Eco-Drive Ref. BN5030-06E Photo from Amazon For an avid hiker looking for a stylish hiking watch, the Citizen Men’s Altichron Eco-Drive Ref. BN5030-06E is the best option. This watch is equipped with an altimeter and electronic compass. It also runs on a top-notch Eco-drive movement, so it is powered through light instead of having to use batteries. Its case is made of titanium, which perfectly complements the striking black dial that boasts orange-and-yellow accents and silver-tone hands. The black polyurethane strap also offers constant comfort on your wrist. On the whole, this Citizen watch is a classy and durable hiking timepiece that can keep up with your outdoor adventures. It retails at $850 USD, a fair price considering the exceptional features it offers. 20. Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar II Ref. T110.420.44.051.00 To complete our list of the best hiking watches, we have the Tissot Touch Expert Solar II Ref. T110.420.44.051.00. This watch has a contemporary and rugged design, boasting a sturdy 45mm titanium case and bracelet. The striking digital dial comes with Super-Luminova finishes, so it is easier to read the time even in low-light environments.  Like the previous hiking watches, this Tissot T-Touch watch is equipped with an altimeter, barometer, and compass. It also comes with a perpetual calendar, countdown timer, day/date display, alarm, and dual time zone. It is powered by a top-notch ETA Caliber E84.301 quartz movement and has a 100-meter water resistance rating. If you are looking for a reliable and practical watch that can keep up with all your outdoor adventures, this $929 USD Tissot Touch Expert Solar II Ref. T110.420.44.051.00 is a great option. What Is a Hiking Watch? A hiking watch has a lot of useful features that are far superior to those of ordinary watches. Most hiking watches look like smartwatches, but they are designed exclusively for outdoor activities. They are also built to handle extremely harsh conditions and possess certain primary features including GPS and ABC sensors. For those not in the know, ABC  stands for altimeter (used to measure elevation), barometer (used to monitor both weather changes and air pressure), and a digital compass (used to track the right direction). This is perhaps why you have often heard other people talking about hiking watches and referring to them as ABC watches. Some versions of hiking watches are also equipped with maps for easy navigation and a heart-rate monitor to keep track of your heart rate 24/7. Final Thoughts  When looking for reliable hiking watches in the market, make sure you go for the ones equipped with GPS and ABC sensor features. After all, these are the truly essential features necessary for any good hiking watch. Since many brands offer good options, it is sometimes a bit overwhelming to choose what might fit your needs well. That is why this list features the 20 best hiking watches that can keep up with your hiking adventure. Not only do these hiking watches all come with GPS and ABC functions, but many of them also have a litany of other handy features such as alarms, heart-rate monitors, and more. Interested to know about the best surf watches in the market today? Why not spare some time to read our article about the 15 Best Surf Watches for Riding Mighty Waves. Photos from Amazon and Watchshopping.com

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  9. Gorilla Watches: Are They Worth the Hype?

    Gorilla Watches: Are They Worth the Hype?

    The 21st century marked the beginning of a new era in watchmaking. More and more people are being drawn into the charms of smaller manufacturers. Of course, that is not to say that horology giants Rolex, Omega, or Audemars Piguet have no place in the industry anymore. It is, however, truly satisfying to see fresh names and even fresher designs emerge in the watch industry. Making a mark in the industry are Gorilla watches, an up-and-coming microbrand. Gorilla watches are sensible, artful, and — most especially — modern. The hype around the Gorilla brand is truly fascinating. However, the question remains: are Gorilla watches worth it? Get to Know Gorilla Watches Gorilla is a relatively new brand, and by that we mean it is practically a toddler in the industry. But it is also more than just that. In the past few years since its foundation, many people have raved about Gorilla, largely due to its impressive performance and stylishly contemporary designs inspired by motorsports. Gorilla watches truly know what it is like to be a leader in modern watchmaking. You will find Gorilla watches on the list of brands to look out for. They are solidly made and have a very innovative philosophy in technology and design. The brand uses automatic mechanical movements from Miyota to power its watches. It also employs the use of state-of-the-art, high-tech materials such as forged carbon and ceramic. All these, you can get for a price that is well worth the overall value of a Gorilla timepiece. Gorilla Watch Collections: Top Picks What makes Gorilla watches truly relevant to the market is that they cite its automobile inspirations even at first glance. For instance, the Gorilla Truffelhunter is the watch incarnate of the Porsche 917/20 Pink Livery, which raced in LeMans during 1971. On the other hand, the Gorilla Fastback GT Mirage will definitely remind you of the Ford GT 40 in Gulf livery. All Gorilla watches are distinct and innovative, and any piece can immediately be identified as being from the Gorilla brand. To better understand what I’m saying, let us take a look at the top collections from Gorilla watches that you should check out. Gorilla Complications Collection The Gorilla Complications collection is exactly what you think it is. It comprises watches with numerous complications, and do more than just tell the hours, minutes, and seconds. That includes watches with chronographs and sweeping seconds. Gorilla Fastback Thunderbolt Chronograph Made in collaboration with Vallée de Joux manufacture Dubois Dépraz, the Gorilla Fastback Thunderbolt Chronograph has, as its name suggests, a chronograph complication. It also features a grade 5 titanium case, which gives the watch a very lightweight build. This case comes with a brushed and bead-blasted finish with a sleek black DLC coating. It easily contrasts the bright orange aluminum part-line, while also complimenting the ceramic cushion-shaped bezel of the watch. It is a durable watch with wide crown guards also made from grade 5 titanium. The Dubois Dépraz DD-268 skeletonized chronograph module sits at the base of the dial alongside the three-spoke claw design. It is powered by the ETA 2892-A2 automatic caliber, which works hand in hand with the chronograph module, thanks to the Stem Transmission System (STS) from Dubois Dépraz. This caliber has a bi-directional winding mechanism and 42 hours of power reserve. This 44mm watch is 13.1mm thick and measures 57mm lug to lug. It has 100 meters of water resistance, so it easily withstand some contact with water. The strap of the watch is made from FKM rubber with Alcantara™ lining and is secured with a grade 5 titanium pin buckle. This Gorilla watch is limited to only 99 pieces and it is not even available in the market yet! The Gorilla Fastback Thunderbolt Chronograph costs around $8,500 USD in retail. Gorilla Outlaw Drift The Gorilla Outlay Drift will take you back to the 1970s with its retro-inspired design. It features a dynamic aesthetic with a mirror-polished concave bezel. The case has a radial brush finish, and is made from grade 5 titanium. You can find a pacific-blue anodized aluminum flange on the watch for some color contrast. On the dial, you will appreciate the luminescent numerals and subdivision, all hand-laid by artisans. This watch also carries the classic tonneau shape of Gorilla watches. This Gorilla watch has a sweeping seconds complication, thanks to its G-5238 module from VAUCHER Manufacture. It runs on a base caliber ETA 2824-2 movement, which has a PVD-coated oscillation weight. At the back of the watch, you will find the model’s specific reference number engraved. There are only 250 editions of this watch, each individually engraved with their appropriate numerals. The strap is made from FKM rubber with a Cordura™ lining and a grade 5 titanium pin buckle. This watch measures 44mm in diameter and is 13.8mm thick. It also has a 100 meter water resistance rating, true to its sporty appeal. In retail, it costs around $3,950 USD. Another sweeping seconds watch you may also opt for is the Drift Mirage. This Gorilla watch is reminiscent of the powder blue and orange racing livery that emerged victorious at LeMans in 1968. This piece is a bit bigger, weighing in at 44mm or 48.5mm in diameter with large crown guards. The case is made from forged carbon, anodized aluminum, titanium, and ceramic. You can cop this Gorilla piece for just $3,750 USD. Like the Gorilla Outlay Drift, the Drift Mirage is also limited to 250 editions. Gorilla Drift Elise If you are more into British Racing liveries, the Gorilla Drift Elise is for you. It is a monochromatic gem with a wandering hours complication. Thanks to its G-5238 module from Vaucher Manufacture Fleurier, this watch is as beautiful as it sounds. It is powered by an ETA 2824-2 base caliber with 38 hours of power reserve. This Gorilla watch’s case measures around 44mm, 48.5mm with a crown guard. It costs around $3,250 to $3,270 in retail. There are only 350 editions of this watch available. Gorilla Fastback GT Collection You can easily spot a Gorilla Fastback GT piece with its gorgeous openwork dial. There are a lot of watches in this collection and they are all incredibly stunning and sophisticated with their partially skeletonized dials. Gorilla watches from this series have very bold colors matched with atypical materials used in watchmaking. The dials of the watches from this collection also show off dimensions, as they are layered and three-dimensional. As usual, the Gorilla watches in this range all have exhibition casebacks. Here are some of our favorites from this collection. Gorilla Fastback GT Modena Luxurious, sporty all at the same time, the Gorilla Fastback GT Modena is everything you need in a sports watch. It boasts a gleaming black ceramic exterior. The dial, on the other hand, comes in sporty yellow aluminum and is radially brushed for a more lustrous appeal. On the whole, this Gorilla watch is a homage to the rev counters of Italian sports cars. Even the strap of this Gorilla piece feels luxurious, with an Alcantara™ insert of the hybrid FKM rubber strap often seen on other Gorilla watches. At the heart of the watch is the self-winding Miyota 90S5 caliber. You can see its exposed balance wheel through the aperture on the dial. Plus, Gorilla also offers buyers a personalized oscillation weight. This watch costs $1,350 USD in retail. Gorilla Fastback GT Truffelhunter The Fastback GT Truffelhunter takes inspiration from the outlandish livery of the 917/20. This prototype was an aerodynamics test car at the 24 hours of LeMans in 1971. You can see a reflection of this car in the Fastback GT Truffelhunter’s wide width, butcher cuts graphics, and soft pink color. The car that inspired this Gorilla watch was nicknamed the Truffelhunter, or the Pink Pig, and Gorilla later adopted these names for this modern watch icon. With only 500 pieces available, you can get this Gorilla watch for just $1,350 USD. It features a woven forged carbon case, a pink ceramic bezel, and anodized aluminum pinstripe. Thanks to the titanium crown of the watch, it also has an improved water resistance capacity. Gorilla Fastback GT Espionage Just like the Fastback GT Truffelhunter, there are only 500 pieces of this watch available. The Gorilla Fastback GT Espionage brings the idea of restomod to watchmaking. A restomod refers to a vintage automobile that has been restored with modern technology and parts. It is one of the most popular customizations in automotive sports, as it requires attention to detail and the use of appropriate materials. The great thing about restomod is that at the heart of the car, it is still a vintage ride, but it has been revamped for improved performance. The Gorilla Fastback GT Espionage got its name and colors from the 1965 Ford Mustang, which was customized by the Ring brothers. This Gorilla watch boasts sporty and cool hues of green, orange, and black, and would look perfect on the racetrack. It can be yours for $1,350 USD! Gorilla Fastback Collection Do not be confused. The Gorilla Fastback Collection is quite different from the Fastback GT, although the two collections do share some similarities. For instance, the Gorilla Fastback line lacks the open-work dial design, giving it a more casual, everyday look. These Gorilla watches boast polished ceramic bezels and anodized aluminum pinstripes. They also have a 44mm forged carbon case which measures only 13mm thick. All the watches in the Fastback range also have 100-meter water resistance ratings. Powering these Gorilla watches is the Miyota 8215 caliber, a self-winding movement that beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour. The models Galaxy Blue, Hugger Orange, and Stinger Yellow all come from the limited production Fastback Titanium Collection, and each model boasts a colorway that perfectly fits its name. The brand also offers the Phantom Black model, which features a sleek, scratch-resistant bead-blasted ceramic bezel. This is paired with a hybrid strap, which gives it a very rugged look. Meanwhile, RS While features a semi-glossy white ceramic exterior for a more stunning everyday look. All these Gorilla watches cost around $880 USD in retail. A Brief History of Gorilla Watches The Gorilla brand was launched in 2016. Like many watch manufacturers such as TAG Heuer, Richard Mille, and Breitling, Gorilla created watches inspired by motorsports. Indeed, the link between horology and racing has resulted in some of the most iconic models that exist today. These include the Rolex Daytona Cosmograph and TAG Heuer Monaco. That said, although it is easy for a watch brand to identify itself with motorsports, but not every model that races this track succeeds. Lucky for Gorilla watches, they gained traction almost immediately, quickly becoming one of the next big things in the watchmaking industry. Gorilla Watches is the brainchild of Octavio Garcia and Lukas Gopp. Garcia, a watchmaker, and Gopp, an industrial designer, have both had extensive careers in the horology industry, serving stints at big names such Omega, Audemars Piguet, and IWC Schaffhausen. It was through the expertise of these two designers that the brand and its innovative, ultra-modern designs were born. Gorilla Watches: Made for the Modern Collector As you might have noticed, nearly all Gorilla watches are limited edition. This can be a bit of a hassle for most consumers. That said, Gorilla’s focus on quality over quantity ensures that each and every one of its products is high-performing and very reliable. There are only about 30 to 40 watch pieces made every month within their facility. This is in part because certain components of Gorilla watches are also painstakingly hand-made, making them practically modern works of art. With engraved Gorilla watches typically only running at 250 pieces per drop, this makes them great collectible pieces. Think of people lining up to get a watch that says “1/250”. That is quite some flex! Ultimately, there are thousands of people waiting for Gorilla to drop new watches, and their pre-releases are always incredibly sought-after. Gorilla continues to develop truly inventive, sophisticated designs, and we look forward to seeing where they will be in a few years. Young brands are beginning to dominate the market. Check out our review of the Baltic Aquascaphe and why it is one of the most underrated divers today. All photos courtesy of Gorilla.

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  10. A Complete Guide to the Swatch Sistem51 Collection

    A Complete Guide to the Swatch Sistem51 Collection

    The Swatch Group is famous for changing watchmaking forever as it salvaged multiple companies from the wrath of the quartz crisis. Since the company took its stand as a Swiss giant, its name became synonymous with affordable yet excellent timepieces. After 30 years of excellence, the company was challenged to release a watch that best described its heritage while also dictating its future. So, in 2013, everyone was treated to a modern icon — the Swatch Sistem51. What is the Swatch Sistem 51? The Swatch Sistem51 is quite a sight to behold. When it was first launched, it was conceptualized as a plastic watch. Plastic watches are actually quite typical for Swatch. However, what made the Swatch Sistem51 truly impressive was that it is a mechanical watch, unlike Swatch’s usual quartz-powered pieces. To put things into perspective, a simple mechanical movement typically has 130 components. The Swatch Sistem51’s self-winding mechanical movement truly outdid itself, with just 51 parts, and all of its cogs mounted on a single screw. In addition, it is also a true powerhouse caliber, with features like 90 hours of power reserve and top-notch accuracy. 5 Best Swatch Sistem51 Watches Swatch has a plethora of Sistem51 watches you can choose from. So, to help you decide which one to pick, we gathered 5 of the best Swatch Sistem51 watches for your perusal. 1. Sistem51 Sistem Pilote YIB404 The Sistem Pilote stands out with its unique all-black design. This model comes with a sunburst black dial that features a cut-out in the shape of a crescent. This allows wearers to view the movement at work through the face of the watch. This 42mm stainless steel watch also innovatively plays with blacks of various hues. From its dial case to its hour indices and hands, each of these comes in contrasting hues of black that allow for better legibility. In addition, this Swatch Sistem51 piece also has a silver second hand and a circular date window at 3 o’clock. With a comfortable black leather strap, this watch would make a fine everyday accessory. You can purchase the Sistem Pilote for just $245 USD. 2. Sistem5 Sistem White SUTW400 From a black Swatch Sistem51 watch, let us head to the other side of the color spectrum with a white edition. Also measuring 42mm in diameter, this watch, like most Swatch watches, is made mostly from plastic. The white strap comes in very durable rubber material. This Sistem White piece also has a circular date window at 3 o’clock, but this one comes in a bright lime shade. On the white dial are vibrant, multi-colored dots that give the timepiece more personality. Even the caseback and movement of the watch are brightly colored in a variety of different hues, spicing this watch up. This bold and bright Swatch Sistem51 piece has a price ranging from $100 USD to $110 USD. 3. Sistem51 Irony Sistem Soul YIS402 For those who prefer stainless steel watches, check out the Sistem Soul. This is a monochrome watch with a very minimalist design. The dial of the watch comes in white, while the stainless steel case bears a cool silver hue. The white dial also boasts an intricate geometric design that is sure to draw your eye in. Unlike the previous two models, this Swatch Sistem51 piece has a square date window. It is also marked with 60-minute markers in 5-minute increments and has a 24-hour layout to boot. In retail, this watch costs around $245 USD. 4. Sistem51 Sistem Thought The handsome Sistem Thought stands out as a contemporary take on military watches. This 42mm stainless steel watch in black also bears a striking black dial. It has a cut-out in the middle of the dial that gives you a glimpse of the caliber running underneath. It also boasts 12-hour markers and a peculiar date scale on the inner ring of the dial. This watch comes with a classy brown leather strap, so you could easily bring it to dressier occasions too. This Swatch Sistem51 piece retails at around $245 USD. 5. Sistem51 Sistem Col-Ora SUTB408 Much like the Sistem White, the Sistem Col-Ora boasts splashes of color in an otherwise simple, monochrome watch. The markers of this watch come in bright colors, with the caseback striped diagonally in the same hues. The strap of the watch also comes with vertical ridges for a little bit of texture. This is a plastic watch and costs around $150 USD in retail. History of the Swatch Sistem 51 The concept of the Swatch Sistem51 takes people back to the history of Swatch. Today, the company is better known for its colorful and popular designs, collaboration with artists, and marketing that targets the masses. However, Swatch is also remembered as a company that changed the way the Swiss watchmaking industry was run forever. Swatch was created in response to the horology industry’s quartz crisis. Prior to the 1970s, the industry was comprised only of mechanical timepieces. However, this all changed in the late 1970s, when there was a quartz watch boom. Quartz is cheap and can be mass-produced, and this greatly threatened the mechanical watch business, which is what the Swiss watchmaking scene is mostly composed of. This crisis completely overtook the Swiss market, so much so that James Bond — known for his Rolex watches at the time — even switched to using a digital watch from Seiko for a while. Nicolas G. Hayek is the person responsible for turning the Swiss watchmaking industry around. He created a company that was known as the Swiss Corporation for Microelectronics and Watchmaking Industries. This company, better known as SMH, became a merger of prominent brands including Omega, Tissot, and Longines. This company, which was funded by Hayek himself, reformed the watchmaking industry. Eventually, SMH was renamed the Swatch Group. Through this company, Hayek introduced the modern age of machination and continued to mass-produce Swiss masterpieces. Launching the Swatch Sistem51 In 2013, Swatch celebrated its 30th year in the industry. Creative director Carlo Giodanetti was asked to create a brand new Swatch timepiece for the brand’s 30th anniversary. Indeed, this was quite a challenge as he had to come up with something spectacular that still remained true to the idea of what Swatch is all about. At the 2013 Baselworld, Swatch pulled the curtains back on their Sistem51. Deemed as a spectacle and one of the most exciting launches of that year, the Swatch Sistem51 was a worthy tribute to Swatch’s 30th anniversary. The Swatch Sistem51 was notable for two reasons: firstly, it was a new, unique mechanical timepiece from a company that lived primarily on quartz movements. Secondly, the Swatch Sistem51 watches are sold at around 100 CHF to 200 CHF. This makes the Swatch Sistem51 the cheapest automatic Swiss watch on the market. Building the Swatch Sistem51 A mechanical movement follows some basic principles that need to be preserved for it to function well. Firstly, the mechanical caliber should have a mainspring barrel. It should also be wound by a peripheral rotor that powers the gear train. The gear train then functions at a rate controlled by the oscillating balance wheel as well as the ticking level escapement. What is impressive about the Sistem51 is that they kept all these intact with just 51 parts. Considering the average mechanical movement has around 130 components, the Swatch Sistem51, which has been slimmed down to just 51 parts, is truly a mechanical marvel indeed. In addition, the Sistem51 movement does not have any screws. All of its components are held together by metallic pins. You can see this through the clear caseback of a Swatch Sistem51 watch. Finally, for efficiency reasons and to stay true to the idea of a Swatch watch, the escape lever of the Swatch Sistemt1 also comes in plastic! There are some polarizing views about this but it helps make this watch truly affordable. The process of building the Swatch Sistem51 is also a technological marvel in itself. This is because the whole process is entirely robotized. ETA, Swatch’s movement manufacturer, put up an innovative facility in Boncourt, Switzerland for just this purpose. According to reports, the facility has a total of 400 machines installed that work non-stop, 24 hours a day, up to six whole days a week. These machines are responsible for creating the components in the Swatch Sistem51 movement. They are also in charge of fixing the movement into the main plate before moving on to the decoration of the watch. Using digital printers, each Swatch Sistem51 piece gets decorated according to different themes that best reflect Swatch’s affordable yet flamboyant design philosophy. Although Swatch does not share how many watches it makes a year, estimates suggest that around 4,000 Swatch Sistem51 are made every day. In 2016, Swatch built a second facility, doubling its production capacity. Combining the prowess of these two facilities, we are looking at an estimate of two million watches made every year. That is way higher than even Rolex! Final Thoughts On the whole, there are some polarizing views when it comes to Swatch. Watch enthusiasts have gone into endless debates over the brand’s use of plastic and flamboyant, loud designs. That said, you cannot deny that it has achieved an efficient marvel with the mechanization of the Swatch Sistem51’s production process. The Sistem51 is a true testament to Swatch’s ideals of affordability, efficiency, and innovation, and continues the legacy of Swatch’s colorful and accessible plastic watches. Looking for more affordable mechanical watches? Learn more about the Hamilton Khaki King and Seiko 5 watches. Photos courtesy of Swatch Group.

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  11. A Collector’s Guide to Mondaine Watches

    A Collector’s Guide to Mondaine Watches

    Mondaine made a name for itself as a manufacturer of watches inspired by clocks in train stations. In 1986, the company expanded by producing timepieces inspired by Swiss Railways. This brand has created a truly iconic look, and a mechanism that is widely regarded to this day, making Mondaine watches a true collector’s must-have. Want to know more before purchasing your very first Mondaine watch? Let us take a deep dive into the brand’s history and prominent collections, as well as everything else you need to know as a buyer. History of Mondaine Watches The company’s beginnings date back to 1951, when former tailor Erwin Bernheim founded the company in Switzerland. At the time, Mondaine became quite popular for the wristwatches it produced. Not only did they produce high-quality watches, but these timepieces were also pretty easy and cost-efficient to repair. With Mondaine’s success in the watch industry, Bernheim took the company’s creations to the next level. Bernheim was not just someone who funded a company. Rather, he himself was a creative genius who came up with some of the company’s most innovative models. One of Mondaine’s most popular timepieces ever is an LCD watch. Bernheim designed and invented Mondaine’s first LCD watch. At the time, this was one of the first few timekeepers in the industry that had a digital layout. He created this timepiece in collaboration with American business magnate and engineer, Howard Hughes. This LCD timepiece ultimately became another milestone for the brand. Mondaine was met with much fanfare with the release of this watch, but they put it to rest 15 years later, allowing the company to concentrate on other innovations. Although Mondaine first made a name for itself with this LCD watch, its subsequent designs are what really left a mark. Swiss Railway Clocks Today, Mondaine watches are synonymous with Swiss Railway Clocks. To understand this, we have to go back to 1944, when Swiss engineer and designer Hans Hilfiker created a clock for the Swiss railways. At the time, Hilfiker was also an employee of the Federal Swiss Railways. He designed the Official Swiss Railways Clock. This timepiece utilized a synchronized beat for departures and arrivals in the main Swiss Railway station. The Official Swiss Railway Clock has an electric motor that controls the clock’s rounds. Instead of a full 60 seconds, this clock completes a minute rotation in just 58.5 seconds. It also has a distinctive ball-tipped red hand that pauses for 1.5 seconds and thens jump on ahead to catch up with the minute hand. This mechanism syncs up all Official Swiss Railway Clocks with a master clock situated in a signal box. Erwin Bernheim’s sons, Andre and Ronnie, took this Swiss Railway clock as an inspiration and applied it to Mondaine watches. The Swiss watchmaking industry is saturated with brands that all want to stand out. With this in mind, the brand took the Official Swiss Railway Clock design, using it to bring Mondaine watches to the next level. This became the first-ever collection of railway clock-inspired wristwatches. So, in 1986, Mondaine launched its first watch collection, carefully licensed by the Federal Swiss Railways. As part of its iconic design, you will notice the signature ball-tipped red hand in all Mondaine watches. This design is taken from the train conductors at Swiss Railway stations, who held up red signs that indicated if a train was leaving or arriving at a station. We will discuss Mondaine watches and their designs in even greater detail in a moment. Mondaine Watch Collections Mondaine watches are perfect for the everyday professional. It has all the best features necessary for a day’s worth of work and more. You can even take them to more formal events or, even better, to a weekend trip. Even with such versatility, Mondaine watches embrace the idea of utilitarian design. These watches are easy on the eyes and, as much as possible, simple and uncomplicated. Let us take a look at the watch collections Mondaine has in its catalog today. Classic Collections Mondaine’s Classic Collection is a true work of art. Its design is what really put Mondaine on the map as a top watch manufacturer. The timepieces in this collection all carry the classic Official Swiss Railways look that we all know and love, in sizes that range from 30mm to 40mm. The straps used in this watch also range widely, from a simple black leather band to other colorful iterations that were later made available for people to choose from. As a result, this watch has quite a bit of range when it comes to price points. In retail, Mondaine watches from this collection can cost anywhere between $195 USD to $850 USD. These are the very watches officially licensed by the Federal Swiss Railways, making them true collector’s gems. Related to this collection is Mondaine’s Evo series. As its name suggests, it is an evolution of the Classics collection. Essence Collection Mondaine has a solid sustainability track. In fact, in 2020, the company declared itself 100% carbon neutral. Some of the efforts that led to this include switching production to solar power. Moreover, the company also launched the Essence collection in support of green initiatives. The Essence collection consists of unique and eco-friendly Mondaine watches that take sustainability to the next level. This collection boasts natural materials used in its cases. 70% of the Essence watches’ cases are consist of natural materials such as Rizinus, castor oil, and glass powder. Moreover, the straps of these watches are made from wondertree oil. If you prefer, you can also purchase these watches with bands made out of recycled PET bottles with a cork lining. To take things even further, the packaging of the Essence watches is also made from recycled PET bottles. Watches in the Essence range come in two sizes — 32mm and 41mm. If you prefer this collection, it would cost you between $195 USD to $220 USD for a watch. Sets are also available in retail for just $235 USD. Simply Elegant Collection This collection is exactly as it sounds. The Simply Elegant line boasts understated elegance in the flesh. Inspired by the brand’s Classic collection, it bears the iconic Mondaine design with the ball-tipped red seconds hand. You can get a watch from this collection in either a 36mm or 41mm stainless steel case, with various options for bracelets. The Mondaine watches from the Simply Elegant range are priced between $325 USD and $390 USD, depending on the size and materials used. This is the perfect timepiece for a daily watch. Helvetica Collection Everybody has heard of or at least come across the Helvetica® font. This Mondaine collection takes Max Miedinger’s Helvetica font design and places it right onto a timepiece. The Swiss designer’s creation is popular for how it embraces the simplicity and harmonious balance in lines. Inspired by the font itself, Mondaine took it into its hands to create a watch that is as simple as it is powerfully elegant. The Mondaine Helvetica collection comes in a wide range of sizes that fit everyone — 26mm, 33mm, 38mm, 40mm, and 43mm. You can find the words “Mondaine Helvetica Swiss Made” engraved on the stainless steel cases of this collection’s watches. Mondaine watches from this range also come in either a mesh stainless steel bracelet or a genuine leather strap. Some models also have plating to give them different, more vibrant colors. Aside from variations in color and sizes, the collection has special models. These include an iteration with a second time zone named Helvetic No. 1 Regular. There is also a sleek model with a gold-plated case and white dial, as well as a Milanese strap. This piece is known as the Mondaine Helvetica No. 1 Light Holiday Edition. For a more casual everyday piece, Mondaine also released a smartwatch iteration of the Helvetica known as the 1 Regular Hybrid. It is compatible with Android 4.4, iOS 8, and newer versions of these systems. Just like any smartwatch, this timepiece has neat features like mobile notifications, activity and sleep tracking, as well as world time. All these, you can get with the sleek Mondaine design in a supple leather strap. Aside from all these, the Mondaine Helvetica smartwatches have also been updated with Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities. NFC is a contactless payment technology. With this, a number of other Mondaine watches have also become imbued with the Mondaine PayChip™. This technology makes paying for transactions much more efficient, giving you a great deal of convenience in your everyday life. A Mondaine Helvetica watch can cost anywhere north of $699 USD. Stop2Go Collection The original movement used by Mondaine watches ceased production sometime in 2001. However, in 2013, Mondaine relaunched the movement with a redesign under the collection Stop2Go. Mondaine watches in the Stop2Go collection still possess the famous ball-tipped red second hand. According to the brand, the Stop2Go watches embody the philosophy behind the stuttering red second hand found in many Mondaine watches. As mentioned, this red second hand in Mondaine watches completes a rotation at 58 seconds, then waits at 12 o’clock for the minute hand to catch up. Only then does the red hand begin a new rotation. These two seconds prove to be a fascinating unique trait for Mondaine watches. They represent time standing still. While you might see this as just an illusion that serves as a metaphor for time and its mysterious movements, it is also a great way to reminds wearers that every second spent catches up on us. The Stop2Go collection is also notable for incorporating backlight technology. You can easily ready time on Stop2Go watches, no matter where you are — even in dimly lit places. Powered by Super-LumiNova, the backlight of Stop2Go watches provide visibility for up to four hours when fully charged. A Stop2Go clock costs around $295 USD in retail while Stop2Go watches range from between $550 USD to $650 USD. Mondaine Clocks Clocks are the foundation of Mondaine as a brand. It is a modern classic and in 2020, the company updated its Swiss Railways clock collection. It now includes more modern designs such as cases in metallic monochrome. This helps give a luxurious feel to the Mondaine clock, which is already popular for its utilitarian style. The catalog of Mondaine clocks also contains classics, with black, red, and grey casing. These clocks cost anywhere between $235 USD to $295 USD. Getting to Know Mondaine, the Company The headquarters of Mondaine sits in Switzerland. This is where the company is situated at the moment and where its facilities sit. From our walkthrough above, it should be clear to you by now that Mondaine is not a luxury watch brand. It is an everyday watch brand, but its price points remain true to its Swiss nature. Watches can cost anywhere between $175 USD to $850 USD. Mondaine watch prices also continue to appreciate through the years. As such, Mondaine watches can serve as for the future. That being said, Mondaine watches are also very high-quality timepieces. They boast superb accuracy and legibility that is needed by everyday professionals. They also carry an iconic design that makes them truly stylish, especially in the modern urban world. People who are looking for a great entry-level watch should look into Mondaine. It is not as expensive as brands like Omega or Rolex but it provides reliable watches that can last just as long. If you are just starting out your journey into the Swiss watchmaking industry, then Mondaine watches are the perfect choice to go with. Mondaine Watches, a Swiss Icon We have all heard and seen the word “icon” used by various brands. We know that the Rolex Submariner is an icon, as is the Omega Speedmaster. However, not all icons can be a Mondaine watch. Mondaine watches are icons not just for their historical value, but also for their unique design. After all, it is not everyday that you can find railway clock-inspired watches. Not to mention, the mechanism behind Mondaine watches, with their 58-second rotation, is truly a marvel to behold. Mondaine is a brand that deserves a lot more recognition than it gets. If you want a watch that will stand out without having the price tag of a luxury piece, this is the brand for you. Swiss excellence need not be expensive. Check out our review of the Oris Aquis watch, or our comparison of Tissot and Hamilton watches. All photos courtesy of Mondaine.

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