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  2. Top 25 Best Automatic Watches

    Top 25 Best Automatic Watches

    If you are new to the world of watches, you will know that familiarizing yourself with the different terms can be quite a difficult task, especially since there is a certain jargon used in horology. Regardless, one of the first things you need to learn is the difference between automatic and quartz timepieces. Quartz timepieces are powered by batteries while automatic watches are equipped with self-winding springs. Being able to differentiate between these two types of timekeepers will allow you to better understand the anatomy of a watch and how it works. While quartz models are unparalleled when it comes to accuracy, a good percentage of the best watches out there are actually driven by automatic movements. With that being said, we have curated a list of the best automatic watches that are worth your while!  25 Best Automatic Watches Here’s our list of the best automatic watches available right now.  1. Seiko 5  Though this collection from Seiko cannot quite compete when you put it head to head with the others on this list, that is also not the only way we grade watches. Instead, we also often look at whether a watch is a “bang for your buck”, or how much value that piece has. When you take that approach, the Seiko 5 immediately reveals itself to be an exceptional timepiece. This collection breaks the mould by delivering high-quality and durable automatic watches at surprisingly low prices, making it a fantastic choice for budget shoppers. 2. Tissot Powermatic  The Tissot Powermatic is an automatic watch that we have a soft spot for. It has a minimalist style, makes use of luxurious and expensive materials, and is just a joy to wear. As an added bonus, it sports an impressive 80-hour power reserve, which beats out many of the pricier options on this list. That feature makes this timepiece easy to use, as you can put it down for a couple of days and not have to reset it when you decide to wear it again. 3. Oris Aquis If you want to get an automatic watch that is a bit more expensive, then Oris is a natural step up. This Swiss manufacturer has an excellent reputation in the watch world and will not let you down. The Oris Aquis is an automatic dive watch collection that gives you a ton of options to choose from. Whether you like your timepieces big, small, minimalistic, or complex, this collection will be able to meet your needs. We especially love the Oris Aquis Date Ref. 01 733 7732 4157-07 8 21 05PEB, a charming green dial and bezel model which looks quite a bit like the famous Rolex “Hulk” Submariner. 4. Longines Master The Longines Master is another collection that we have a special affinity for. If you want to buy an automatic watch that comes with serious craftsmanship and an elegant aesthetic, then look no further. While this collection is very diverse, we recommend you take a look at the moon phase options first. There is just something so attractive and alluring about these automatic timepieces. Minimalist shoppers will also be happy to find that many of the automatic models in this collection sport clean, uncluttered dials. 5. Tudor Black Bay One of the most sought-after watches in the world is the Rolex Submariner. While that piece is certainly fantastic, buyers often have to wait years to get one or pay for them at a premium. If you want a luxury automatic diver, but do not want to jump through hoops, the Tudor Black Bay is a great option. Tudor is a sister company of Rolex, and they have created some truly amazing products over the years, with this model being their best seller. 6. Omega Speedmaster  The Omega Speedmaster is often called the “Moon Watch”, as it was on the wrists of the first astronauts that went to the moon. Trivia aside, this automatic watch is a fantastic deal and one of the premier icons in the horology world today. It is one of those products that you can order without any stress or fear, given its reputation and its tendency to appreciate in value. 7. IWC Pilot’s Watch IWC is quietly one of the top watch brands in the world, and the IWC Pilot collection is a bestseller of theirs. Consumers especially love the quality and the sturdiness of the materials used in IWC watches, along with everything else that IWC has to offer. Another advantage is that they come at multiple price ranges. Those of you who want to spend a little less can get an entry-level automatic Pilot, while big spenders can go for the more expensive IWC Big Pilot. 8. Rolex Submariner  You know this watch is truly iconic when we mention it twice in the article before it even comes up as an entry. That is the power of the Rolex Submariner, which may be the most in-demand timepiece on the market. It is not just hype, though, as this automatic model has top-tier Swiss craftsmanship and aesthetics that impress. Simply put, you cannot go wrong with the Submariner. 9. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-Winding Flying Tourbillon  Audemars Piguet is one of the most well-established luxury brands in the watchmaking industry. With over a century of experience, they have managed to gain a stellar reputation — thanks to the high-level craftsmanship shown in each timepiece they release. Considering their status, it is only expected that they offer their own range of quality automatic watches. In fact, their iconic Royal Oak collection is actually home to some of the best self-winding models out there. The AP Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon boasts both a gorgeous design and impressive specifications, such as a flying tourbillon function and a 65-hour power reserve. On the whole, it serves as an elegant automatic watch for all luxury watch enthusiasts. 10. Bell & Ross 03-92 Heritage  If we are talking about classy and avant-garde timepieces, Bell & Ross should definitely be one of the first brands you check out. They have a wide selection of unique models that come with excellent functions. The best thing about this brand is how they make sure that both the technical and creative aspects of watchmaking are always aligned and consistent, which is something clearly evident in all their models. The BR 03-92 Heritage, for example, is a great automatic watch with such a distinct design. The model’s robust exterior is complemented by its first-class features like a time-setting with hacking function and a 40-hour power reserve. It is the perfect self-winding watch for those who like sophisticated yet tough-looking pieces. 11. Seiko Presage SRPG05J1  Even if you are not exactly familiar with the watchmaking world, you have probably heard of Seiko at least once in your life. They are one of the most popular and respected brands in the market — thanks to their expertise in Japanese craftsmanship. Seiko is also home to numerous collections with excellent automatic watches. Their Presage collection has its fair share of quality self-winding models, with the SRPG05J1 being one of many outstanding automatic pieces. It is equipped with a caliber 4R35 and has a power reserve of up to 41 hours. If you want a well-crafted automatic watch, then make sure to check out the Seiko Presage line as well!  12. Hamilton Khaki Field Murph Auto Many of us know Hamilton as the brand loved by the big screen because of the countless appearances of their watches in films. There is just something about their timepieces that make for perfect companions to protagonists and other characters. While this proves their creativity and striking looks, Hamilton watches are not just about aesthetics. In fact, their current catalogue consists of pieces with impressive specifications, functions, and features. One of their best automatic watches is the Khaki Field Murph Auto, which was actually featured in the film Interstellar. It is equipped with an H-10 caliber that follows a three-hand movement and has a whopping 80-hour power reserve. This timepiece is a must-have for those who like self-winding models with classic exteriors.  13. Breitling Superocean Automatic 36 Breitling is another highly-regarded manufacturer with over a century of experience under its belt. They are known as pioneers in the industry especially given their expertise in crafting certain watch complications. While their claim to fame may be their chronographs, the brand also has an exceptional portfolio of automatic watches such as the Breitling Superocean collection, which primarily consists of diving models. The Superocean Automatic 36, for example, is driven by an automatic Breitling 17 caliber which boasts an excellent power reserve of approximately 38 hours. If you’re looking for a solid automatic diving watch, then do not miss out on the Superocean Automatic!  14. Bulgari Octo Finissimo Bulgari is a well-respected jeweler and watch manufacturer in the luxury world. While all their products are of the utmost quality and elegance, the timepieces they offer are on another level of stunning and technical. Through their knowledge of stones and jewels, they are able to create statement pieces that boast high performance as well. For example, the Bulgari Octo Finissimo is one of their most popular timepieces. This particular model is an automatic watch, equipped with their BVL138 Finissimo caliber, with a power reserve of 60 hours. However, the most interesting part about it is that the aforementioned calibre is actually known as the thinnest automatic movement in the world. If you want a gorgeous and equally complex self-winding watch, then the Bulgari Octo Finissimo is just the right one for you!  15. Timex Waterbury Traditional Automatic While most of the recommendations on this list are from luxury manufacturers, some mass-market brands out there also offer excellent automatic watches. Timex, for one, is a company best known for its affordable and accessible timepieces. They are a popular go-to for many, especially the youthful audiences, because of the easygoing aesthetics their watches possess. One of their best self-winding models is the Waterbury Traditional Automatic which serves as a tribute to the first few Timex timepieces ever made. Since the brand had already been utilizing automatic calibers way back then, they opted to go with an improved version of said movements for the Waterbury Traditional Automatic. This automatic watch is perfect for those who want a casual, vintage-inspired piece that will not break the bank.  16. Patek Philippe Nautilus 7118/1A  When it comes to Haute Horlogerie, one name that will surely pop up is Patek Philippe. They are home to many of the most sought-after and expensive timepieces in the market. Patek Philippe has a rather untouchable reputation — thanks to its rich history and mastery of the watchmaking craft. With all that being said, it is no surprise that they also have some of the best automatic watches out there. For example, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 7118/1A, also known as the Ladies Automatic Nautilus, is driven by a powerful self-winding movement with a 45-hour power reserve and 29 jewels. With its sophisticated aesthetics and well-crafted caliber, this automatic timepiece is a great investment for all the ladies who enjoy luxury watches.  17. Victorinox Alliance Mechanical  Victorinox is known for offering high-quality products that boast excellent Swiss craftsmanship. Despite being late bloomers in the watchmaking industry, their expertise in metals and mechanics has allowed them to create outstanding timepieces. When it comes to automatic watches, a lesser-known but still great model is the Victorinox Alliance Mechanical. This Victorinox Alliance timepiece is a very classic-looking watch with contemporary features. It is equipped with an automatic ETA 2892 caliber and has a power reserve of up to 42 hours. If you are looking for something quintessential yet robust, then you should definitely check out the Alliance Mechanical.  18. Mido Ocean Star 200C Mido is a Swiss brand best known for its pieces inspired by architecture. In fact, the iconic Mido Multifort is a mechanical watch based on famous structures, namely the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Roman Colosseum. This is also one of the few watch manufacturers that can balance design and functionality perfectly. Aside from the Multifort, another renowned line they have is the Ocean Star, which came out in the 1950s. It is one of their flagship collections at present and it consists mostly of automatic watches. The Ocean Star 200C, in particular, is equipped with the Automatic Mido Caliber 80 which has date-day functions and an impressive 80-hour power reserve. If you’re looking for a self-winding timepiece that is perfect for underwater activities, then the Mido Ocean Star is a great option!  19. Bulova 96A246 Men’s Classic Bulova is an American watch company with a very colorful and rich heritage. Since their founding in 1875, they have accumulated numerous milestones which have cemented their reputation as a premium brand. They also offer a vast selection of timepieces with different designs, functions, and specifications. One of the best automatic watches they have is the 96A246 Men’s Classic, also known as the Hack Watch. It is a vintage-inspired model based on the brand’s history with the military. Moreover, it is driven by a three-hand, automatic movement with 21 jewels and a 42-hour power reserve. This automatic timepiece is definitely recommended to those who want a self-winding watch with retro aesthetics.  20. Certina DS Action GMT Certina is a Swiss watch brand best known for its DS Concept technology. Its name stands for “double security”, which essentially means that they make use of especially sturdy and robust components for their timepieces. This shows how much the brand upholds reliability and precision which is clearly reflected in their current catalogue as well. While they have a lot of great automatic watches, the DS Action GMT serves as one of the best models they offer and is definitely worth the price. It is driven by a Powermatic 80.661 calibre with a multiple timezone mechanism and an impressive power reserve of 80 hours. This is perfect for those who want a casual yet multi-functional self-winding watch.   21. Panerai Luminor Marina  Panerai is a watch brand known for its genius fusion of Italian aesthetics, Swiss craftsmanship, and enthusiasm for the ocean. These serve as the main foundation of the brand, which they are able to execute well with every piece. Panerai also makes their own in-house movements, which boast different, avant-garde complications. This particular Luminor Marina, for example, is an automatic watch powered by their P.9010 caliber. It is made of 200 components and 31 jewels, with a power reserve of up to 72  hours. If you are looking for a sophisticated, distinct, and robust self-winding watch, then this model should definitely be on your list.  22. TAG Heuer Monaco Automatic  TAG Heuer is one of the most established luxury watch brands in the industry. They have a rich heritage involving automotive sports, which is evident in many of their collections. Aside from that, they are also known for showcasing highly precise and excellent Swiss craftsmanship. In fact, they offer some of the best automatic watches out there, such as the TAG Heuer Monaco. This is a very modern and distinct piece that is powered by their Caliber 02 automatic chronograph movement, with an 80-hour power reserve. If you want a sporty and striking self-winding watch, then do not miss out on the TAG Heuer Monaco!  23. Longines Heritage Classic  Longines is another brand with an established history behind them. Since the very beginning, they have been known for creating impressive time-telling instruments primarily used in competitions. This helped in cementing their reputation as a trusted partner of different figures in the world of sports, which has also become the backbone of their company’s name. As expected from a manufacturer driven by the desire to innovate, their current catalogue consists of well-crafted timepieces that boast high levels of accuracy and functionality. Of course, they also offer their fair share of excellent automatic watches. Their Longines Heritage collection, for example, consists of self-winding models with quintessential aesthetics. Each timepiece in this collection is driven by the brand’s automatic L893 movement and has an impressive power reserve of 72 hours. This is definitely a must-have for those who want a classic, vintage-inspired automatic watch!  24. Rado Captain Cook Automatic  Rado is another Swiss brand that has mastered the art of balancing creativity and functionality. They have a lot of innovative designs with impressive specifications, thanks to their expertise in watch technology. Rado currently offers a gorgeous selection of automatic watches, such as the Captain Cook Automatic, which gives off a very vintage aesthetic. Following a self-winding movement, it also boasts a whopping 80-hour power reserve.  25. Orient Mechanical Contemporary  Lastly, we have Orient, which is a Japanese company best known for its selection of classic and traditional timepieces. Their goal is to provide timeless models that are bound to last a long time, which is very on-brand for them. An example of this would be their Mechanical Contemporary Watch which is a perfect mix of classy and dependable. It is powered by a Japan-made automatic movement with 21 jewels and 221600 vph. On the whole, Orient is probably a go-to brand if you are looking for quintessential automatic watches that come at relatively affordable prices. Why Go For An Automatic Watch? No Battery Required Since automatic watches are designed to wind themselves automatically, it follows that they do not need a battery to operate. You will not wake up one day to find the watch battery drained on the morning of an important business meeting. Basically, you do not have to worry at all about having to replace the batteries every now and then with an automatic watch, which makes them very convenient indeed. Fairly Accurate Automatic timepieces fare well where accuracy is concerned. A standard automatic watch will clock in at plus or minus 25 seconds with respect to the actual time, which you will agree is not too bad. Of course, this will depend on who is wearing it, or rather, what you want to use the watch for. If you are in the medical, marine, or military sector, then naturally every second counts. In such cases, rather than an automatic watch, you would probably need a timepiece that is extremely accurate, such as a chronometer from Ulysse Nardin. No Hand Winding Necessary if Worn Regularly If you wear your automatic watch all the time, you will never have to manually wind it, which makes it very convenient. Your automatic piece will simply wind itself with the motion of your hand as you go about your daily routine. Stellar Aesthetics Just the craftsmanship alone incorporated in automatic watches is sheer genius, not to mention the engineering. This makes them some of the most aesthetically pleasing watches on the market. A simple look at the Rolex GMT Master II confirms this. Smooth Movement To add to the stunning aesthetics, these automatic watches boast smooth and suave hand movements. The smooth movement of the hands is even more pronounced if you pick an automatic watch with high beats per second (BPH). A high BPH can also increase the reliability of an automatic timepiece. This is something you will appreciate if your taste in watches goes beyond the aesthetic appeal. High Power Reserve Automatic watches have a high power reserve—particularly if they are fully wound. An automatic model can have up to 42 hours of power stored before you need to wind it up again. Depending on the brand you pick, some automatic watches can even store up to 10 days of power. Low Maintenance Automatic watches are generally easy to maintain. By using a soft cloth to wipe your watch every night, you will have it looking as good as new for years. But this does not eliminate the need to handle it with caution. Like any other watch, avoid showering or bathing with your automatic timepiece, even if it is waterproof. Exposing your automatic watch to water will result in the gasket expanding, which reduces the watch’s accuracy and overall lifespan. Final Thoughts  While quartz, mechanical, and automatic watches all have their fair share of pros and cons, self-winding timepieces remain a staple for many. There are countless options available and this list is merely a glimpse at some of the best automatic watches in the market. With the diversity of options available, regardless of your personal preferences, you are bound to find the right automatic watch just for you!   If this got you interested in watches, make sure to check out our article on the Iconic Seiko SARB017!  Photo Credits: Official Watch Websites

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  3. Certina DS Action Diver: One of the Best Diver Watches?

    Certina DS Action Diver: One of the Best Diver Watches?

    Certina is a Swiss luxury watchmaking brand that many enthusiasts and collectors would acknowledge as underrated. The brand has a rich history of being at the forefront of waterproof innovations, and a prime model that exemplifies this is the Certina DS Action Diver. The DS Action Diver is an elegant timepiece from the Certina Aqua collection. It showcases a stylish design, tried-and-tested timekeeping accuracy, and certified water resistance. While classified as a luxury diver watch, the DS Action Diver is one of the brand’s more accessible references. Despite its affordability, the DS Action Diver maintains the quality seen in all Certina watches and sticks true to the brand’s traditional watchmaking values. Today, we will take a better look at the Certina DS Action Diver, its specifications, and its price. In addition to that, we will also view some alternative wristwatches from different brands and see if the DS Action Diver is truly worth the investment. Specifications Watch Dimensions Certina has released several variations of the DS Action Diver. For this review, we will be focusing on the Certina DS Action Diver Ref. C032.407.11.051.00.  This Certina DS Action Diver has a case diameter of 43mm and a case height of 13.1mm, making this a rather oversized watch. It has a non-standard lug width of 21mm, so finding a matching after-market strap might take some effort. Although this watch weighs around 180 grams with its bracelet, it is well-balanced and surprisingly not as top-heavy as it looks. On the whole, the DS Action Diver is quite a substantial watch and will look large on smaller wrists. If you have a thicker wrist or you are not bothered by its heft, then this Certina watch is well worth your time and budget. 316L Stainless Steel Case, Bezel, and Case Back Image By: Certina 316L stainless steel continues to be the ideal material for watch cases due to its ruggedness, corrosion resistance, and unmistakable luster. The case of the Certina DS Action Diver mainly consists of brushed steel. Taking a closer look at the sides of the case, you will notice that Certina has brushed the steel vertically. This is a little uncommon compared to the usual way other watchmakers brush their watches and gives the Certina DS Action Diver a slightly different shine. Other components of this Certina timepiece, such as the bezel and the rear case, utilize polished steel instead.  Located on the right of the steel case is a large crown with crown guards. Engraved on its center are the letters “DS,” which stands for the “Double Security” concept that the Certina DS Action Diver is crafted with. The crown of the watch is screwed-down, creating a secure vacuum seal that prevents water from entering the watch. With its considerable size and patterned grooves, the crown provides an easy grip so wearers and divers can use it with relative ease. Inserted on top of the case is a unidirectional rotating bezel made of aluminum and polished stainless steel. The bezel has a full 60-click rotation and no back play whatsoever. This bezel also comes with patterned grooves around its rim for a more secure grip. That said, the bezel is quite small. So, once your palms get sweaty, getting a proper hold of the bezel might be a little tricky. Such a design might be a problem for divers who plan to bring this watch to their expeditions. Aside from that, the bezel also has a black surface that contrasts with legible silver indices. At the tip of the bezel is an inverted silver triangle with a luminous pearl at the centre. This provides wearers with a source of brightness so they can read the elapsed time scale more easily. Moving on to the rear of the watch, the Certina DS Action Diver uses a solid steel caseback that bears the iconic DS turtle logo. Certina engraves the turtle there as a reminder of the brand’s long-term affiliation with the Florida Sea Turtle Conservancy. The rear case also bears bits of information regarding the watch and its specifications.   Anti-Reflective Sapphire Crystal As always, sapphire glass is the material of choice for luxury watchmakers due to its unparalleled scratch resistance. The sapphire crystal that Certina uses is flat and treated with an anti-reflective coating from top to bottom. This makes it very legible, and you will not have to worry about light glares or reflections no matter what angle you view it from. Black Dial The dial of the Certina DS Action Diver has a classic layout, with a jet-black face and lume-applied geometric hour markers and hands. The hour markers take the form of luminescent shapes that neatly contrast the black dial. Additionally, the 3 o’clock marker is smaller, to make room for the date window. The handset of the DS Action Diver consists of a sword-like minute hand, an arrow-shaped hour hand, and a red Breguet second hand that adds a splash of vibrant colour to the dial. Each hand possesses decent girth and length, which allows the watch to be easily read with a simple glance. In the dark, the hour markers, hands, and bezel pip start to radiate with different shades of Super-LumiNova coating. The pip itself emits a green color, while the hands and markers have a blue luminescence. While it is not anything drastic, the different hues of the Super-LumiNova coatings add some fun to the watch, as opposed to the usual monochrome luminescence you see in most watches. Powermatic 80.111 Image By: Certina Underneath the surface of the Certina DS Action Diver is the brand’s Powermatic 80.111 movement. The Powermatic 80.111 is an automatic caliber that Certina modified from an ETA.2824 caliber. What makes this movement stand out is its 80-hour power reserve. For Certina to achieve this, they added a customized kinetic chain and reduced the beat frequency of the ETA movement from 28,800 beats per hour to 21,600 vph. As a result, the caliber uses less energy, which also cuts down on excess wear and tear. This modified caliber produces only six beats per second, instead of the eight beats per second produced by the standard ETA.2824 movement. However, this is not a very noticeable difference, and the improved power reserve is an excellent trade-off. 316L Stainless Steel Bracelet Image By: Certina As with the case, Certina uses 316L stainless steel to forge the bracelet of the DS Action Diver. This bracelet consists of solid polished links and half-links that have the same sheen as the rest of the watch. Its buckle features a deployment clasp with double pushers to release. A set of smaller pushers are also present to give the bracelet a diver extension. This provides around 15mm of leeway for micro-adjustments, which is convenient for divers who want to wear the watch over a wetsuit.  If you are not fond of the stainless steel bracelet, a matching rubber strap is also offered for this Certina DS Action Diver. 300m Water Resistance Certina places a lot of importance on being ISO-certified, which is not surprising. Before obtaining certification, the model must go through rigorous testing. The criteria involve resistance to water pressures, condensation, shock, temperature, and overpressure. Once your watch matches the international standard for diver watches and is ISO-certified, people will begin to see your dive piece as remarkable and trustworthy.  The Certina DS Action Diver is an ISO-certified timepiece that can withstand up to 300m of water pressure. That means that the DS Action Diver can participate in all sorts of water-related activities. From taking a shower to scuba diving, this Certina timepiece can handle it all. In fact, the 300m water resistance rating even allows the user to bring the watch to the dark depths of professional or saturation diving. Approximate Price The Certina DS Action Diver retails at approximately $865 USD. Compared to other dive watches of its caliber, the DS Action Diver is highly affordable. You will definitely get your money’s worth with this diver timepiece. A pre-owned model can cost as low as $550 USD, which is around the same price as a brand-new Seiko Prospex Samurai.  What is Double Security? Image By: Certina Double Security, or DS, is a concept Certina created that provides several protective procedures and enhancements for their watches. It ensures that the timepiece is reliable, durable, and efficient at work. Double Security usually improves upon certain aspects of the wristwatch, such as anti-magnetism, water resistance, longevity, and robustness. Over the years, Certina has continuously adapted its DS concept to reflect the brand’s high standards in watchmaking. Through arduous research and rigorous testing, the DS concept continues to produce Certina wristwatches with top-of-the-line quality. Alternatives Still not convinced that the DS Action Diver is the watch for you? No need to worry. Just like the fish in the sea, there are plenty more watches out there for you to try. Here are some highly competitive alternatives to the Certina DS Action Diver. Seiko Prospex Automatic Divers Watch (SRPE93K)  Seiko is a watchmaker that seems to have an answer to everything. As such, they also possess an excellent, budget-friendly alternative to the Certina DS Action Diver. Feast your eyes on the Seiko Prospex Automatic Divers Watch Ref. SRPE93K. While this tonneau-cased timepiece has a look similar to the DS Action Diver, it also has a set of exclusive qualities that make it stand out.  This Seiko Prospex timepiece fetches an approximate price of $530 USD. It comes in a 44mm stainless steel case, making it a millimeter bulkier than the Certina DS Action Diver. As a more affordable alternative that is cheaper by more than $300 USD, the Ref. SRPE93K has some features that are not as first-rate as the DS Action Diver. For instance, Seiko uses their patented Hardlex crystal to shelter the dial. Although Hardlex offers decent protection, it is not as scratch-resistant as sapphire glass. Seiko equips the Ref. SRPE93K with their 4R36 caliber. This is a self-winding movement with manual hacking capabilities. While that in itself is neat, the caliber can only last up to 41 hours, nearly half of what the Certina’s Powermatic 80 is capable of. Additionally, this Seiko Prospex has a water resistance of 200m. It is still pretty substantial but is lower than the DS Action Diver’s 300m water resistance rating. One thing the Prospex excels in is lume quality. As many of us know, Seiko watches are known for their exceptional glow in the dark. With their eco-friendly LumiBrite technology, the Ref. SRPE93K has fantastic luminescence and is slightly brighter than the Certina DS Action Diver. In terms of style, the DS Action Diver has more ample spacing between each component compared to this Seiko Prospex watch. The hints of red, smaller hour markers and slimmer hands make the DS Action Diver appear more refined. Of course, preference is king, and it will always be the deciding factor. What makes the Seiko Prospex Automatic Divers Watch Ref. SRPE93K something to consider is its balance between quality and price. It offers great specs for an affordable price of just $530 USD, which is much cheaper than the Certina DS Action Diver. And like many other gorgeous timepieces, the Ref. SRPE93K is not just a divers watch, as you can bring it to chic events or on your daily routines. Truthfully, it would be quite a task to find a $500 USD watch that offers as much as this Seiko Prospex Automatic Divers Watch does. Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Auto (H82335131) Hamilton is another brand associated with top-notch quality and affordable prices. For this reason, we chose the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Auto as the second alternative to the Certina DS Action Diver. This Hamilton watch comes in a 40mm stainless steel case. At first glance, you will notice the Khaki Navy Scuba’s lovely black dial with white indices, hour markers, minute and hour hands, and a splash of red on its second hand. Aside from the largely monochrome color scheme, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Auto also has other similarities with the Certina Diver. First of all, the Hamilton Khaki Navy is powered by a Hamilton H10 automatic movement. It features a power reserve that can last up to 80 hours — the same amount of time as Certina’s Powermatic 80. The Khaki Navy Scuba utilizes high-quality sapphire glass to protect its dial. Like Certina, Hamilton also wants to best protection possible for its dark and alluring watch face. In addition, the sapphire crystal used by Hamilton is anti-reflective as well. Like the Certina DS Action Diver, the Khaki Navy Scuba also comes with a round stainless steel case and a screw-down crown. These are is crucial in ensuring the security and waterproofness of the watch. That said, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba is only water-resistant up to depths of 100m. Although this allows you to take the watch for a good swim, it is considerably less than the Certina DS Action Diver’s 300m. Even comparing this Hamilton watch with the Seiko Ref. SRPE93K, its water resistance rating is 100m less. If having excellent water resistance is not a high priority for you, then this Hamilton watch is definitely worth checking out. Even with its lesser water resistance capabilities, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba still stands out as a highly competent and sleek timepiece. Final Thoughts All in all, the Certina DS Action Diver watch is an incredible piece. It showcases the attention to detail, sophistication, and craftsmanship that Certina provides with all its models. Moreover, it bears a classy and timeless look that also makes it an excellent dress watch. Realistically, you can use this Certina timepiece for all sorts of activities and events. It has a stellar design and a robust exterior that allows it to withstand anything that gets in its way.  To top things off, the Certina DS Action Diver comes at a relatively modest price point. Although excellent alternatives do exist, the DS Action Diver promises quality and reliability above all. It is a practical and affordable piece of luxury that you cannot find just anywhere. Looking for another kind of divers watch? Check out the Orient Mako II and see if it’s worthy of a spot in your collection. Featured Image By: Certina

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  4. A Little Bit About Seiko’s Hardlex Crystal

    A Little Bit About Seiko’s Hardlex Crystal

    While Seiko is known for creating an immense variety of high-quality and affordable watches, the brand is famous for its invention of the Hardlex crystal. As many enthusiasts know, Hardlex is Seiko’s patented glass material, which they use to protect the dials of many of their models. Although some people appreciate and admire Hardlex for doing its job, others prefer to replace it with something else. In this article, we will be comparing Seiko’s Hardlex glass with the other kinds of crystals currently present in the market. For those who are sold on this bit of Seiko technology, we will also be providing a list of the best timepieces that use Hardlex crystals in their cases. Seiko’s Hardlex Crystal Hardlex is a type of crystal glass Seiko produces by heating a mixture of barium and silicon. According to Seiko, this material comes in several grades and is more scratch-resistant than run-of-the-mill mineral glass. Customers can typically find Hardlex in some of Seiko’s more affordable collections, such as the Seiko 5 series. Depending on the model you choose, the crystal may come with a treatment of AR (anti-reflective) coating. Hardlex vs. The World of Watch Crystals Image By: WayTru (Flickr) Just to be clear, none of these materials are minerals dug straight out of the mines. These are crystals synthetically made from compounds and mixtures that are tempered in blistering heat to boost the overall resistances of the material. That said, here are the matchups against Seiko’s Hardlex crystal. Hardlex vs. Acrylic (Plexiglass) Acrylic crystal, otherwise known as plexiglass, is probably the weakest material in this category. The product is made from plastic, is cheap to produce, and is very easy to replace. Although you usually see this type of acrylic glass on lower-priced watches from brands like Timex and Lorus, some high-end timepieces, like the Rolex Datejust, can also sport acrylic glass on their cases. In a comparison of the two types of glass, Hardlex easily comes out on top, as the harder and more scratch-resistant material. That said, acrylic has its own strengths. For instance, it is actually easier to buff out the scratches on acrylic glass. In addition, acrylic tends to be more shatterproof than the other types of watch crystals out there. Hardlex vs. Mineral Mineral glass is the most common kind of crystal found in entry-level watches. This material is moderately durable and provides a neat and clear lens through which the wearer can view their timepiece. Although Seiko states that their Hardlex crystal is more resistant to scratches than mineral glass, there have not been many demonstrations that prove that claim. In most cases, Hardlex and mineral crystals tend to offer similar results. Both materials have limited resistances and can be polished to remove light scratches. Hardlex vs. Sapphire On the Mohs scale of hardness, sapphire crystal measures at a hardness level of 9, just one point below diamond, which is famously hardy and resistant to scratches. Sapphire glass is the most commonly used material for high-end watches. Virtually scratch-proof, sapphire stands above Hardlex as the more capable watch crystal. Though that may be the case for scratch resistance, there are some other things that Hardlex can do better. For one, sapphire glass is quite brittle and can crack or shatter after a tremendous impact. Hardlex crystal, on the other hand, is not as fragile and is less likely to break even after an impressive blow. Another aspect to consider is the price. Since scratch resistance is a crucial factor for watch crystals, sapphire tends to be a lot more expensive than Hardlex due to the pricey tools needed to process it. As a result, replacing a sapphire crystal would cost you a lot more than replacing a Hardlex one. Furthermore, since sapphire is highly reflective, watchmakers typically treat the glass with a layer of AR coating, which adds to its cost. Lastly, in terms of aesthetics, there is actually not much difference between the two watch crystals. Hardlex vs. Sapphlex Besides their Hardlex glass, Seiko has also manufactured another trademark crystal known as Sapphlex. Essentially, Sapphlex is a mineral crystal coated in sapphire. By adopting the best qualities of both mineral and sapphire glass, Sapphlex manages to be both scratch-proof and shatter-resistant. On the whole, Sapphlex outshines Hardlex in scratch resistance, quality, and durability. However, it is also a bit more costly to replace. When to go for Hardlex? Budget When you’re on a tight budget, going for the more affordable option is a no-brainer. Despite being relatively cheap, Hardlex is still a reliable watch glass that can withstand a good amount of impacts and light scratching. Furthermore, if your Hardlex glass starts garnering too many deep scratches, it won’t be that expensive to replace it either. Seiko also states that their Hardlex crystal is indeed more scratch-resistant than mineral crystals. Indeed, it will not do you any harm to test this claim out for yourself. Purpose While some people use watches to add a little class to their get-up, others need a timepiece to fulfill a specific purpose. If you are looking for an affordable wristwatch that you can bring to various expeditions, picking a model that has a Hardlex glass would be a terrific option. As previously stated, Hardlex is a material that will not shatter easily, which is good for tight spots and bumpy adventures. Watches That Sport A Hardlex Crystal 1. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Automatic (SRPF39J1) The Presage collection is one of Seiko’s most recent successes. With the series came this wristwatch — the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Automatic Ref. SRPF39J1. Worth approximately $500 USD, this automatic timepiece stands as an affordable dress watch with an exquisite and unique aesthetics inspired by a cocktail beverage — the margarita. The watch has a 38.5mm stainless steel case paired with a Milanese mesh bracelet. What truly makes this model stand out is its patterned mocha dial. With its pronounced indices and minimalist look, this mocha dial has an alluring face that is also easily legible to the eyes. The dial is protected by a Hardlex crystal, while the watch itself is powered by Seiko’s Caliber 4R35. The 4R35 is an automatic movement that features manual winding and a 41-hour power reserve. Thanks to the Ref. SRPF39J1’s exhibition-style caseback, wearers can view the 4R35 and its many components at work.  Overall, the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Ref. SRPF39J1 is an astounding watch in many aspects, including its price. Of course, its affordability is related to its use of inexpensive but durable Hardlex crystal. Altogether, you really cannot go wrong with an affordable luxury like this. 2. Seiko Mechanical Cocktail Time (SARB065) The Cocktail Time is a line of hefty and elegant dress watches inspired by cocktail beverages that showcase incredible Japanese watchmaking techniques. For those who are fond of more sizable watches, have a look at the Seiko Mechanical Cocktail Time Ref. SARB065. The wristwatch measures 40mm in diameter and is 13mm thick. Like most Seiko Cocktail Time models, all the attention goes to the unique dial. Protected by a domed Hardlex crystal, the dial has a blue sunburst surface with pointed hour indices and a date window at 3 o’clock. Because of its reflective surface, the Hardlex glass complements the dial and makes it look even glossier. Powering the watch is the Seiko 6R15d caliber movement. The caliber is an automatic movement with manual winding and hacking capabilities. Sheltered by a see-through caseback, the 6R15d has a power reserve that can last up to 50 hours.  The SARB065 comes at an affordable price of approximately $480 USD. Without a doubt, this Seiko Mechanical Cocktail Time is a gorgeous watch. Accompanied by a black semi-gloss leather strap, this timepiece highlights the brilliance of Japanese artistry, craftsmanship, heritage, and expertise. 3. Seiko Prospex PADI Diver Samurai (SRPB99K1) The Seiko Samurai is an iconic watch. It is a timepiece that has received a lot of love and admiration, not only for its marvelous design but also for its top-notch quality and affordable price. Several factors contribute to making the Seiko Samurai so exceptional. Possessing a water resistance rating of up to 200 meters, the Seiko Samurai is fully capable of traversing both shallow and deep waters.  The Seiko Samurai also comes in a sturdy stainless steel case coupled with a bracelet of the same material. On top of its steel exterior are a Hardlex crystal and a unidirectional rotating bezel which sports the highly recognizable Pepsi colors that watch enthusiasts love. Its black dial features a pleasing wave pattern accompanied by thick, outlined hands and indices for optimal legibility. In addition, Seiko equipped the watch with the LumiBrite technology. LumiBrite is another one of Seiko’s trademarks. Aside from providing ample luminescence in dark environments, LumiBrite is also 100% eco-friendly. Operating the Seiko Samurai’s mechanisms is a 4R35 automatic caliber. This movement features manual hacking and winding capabilities and can last up to 41 hours.  The Seiko Samurai is everything a sports enthusiast could ever want. It is the perfect timekeeping companion for you to bring to your different adventures. With its impeccable looks, polished exterior, and sturdy Hardlex glass, this honored timepiece can take on all kinds of hardships, just like an actual Samurai. The Seiko Prospex PADI Diver Samurai costs $490 USD and is one of the best affordable divers watches out there. 4. Pulsar Gents Accelerator Solar Chronograph (PX5019X1) Image By: Pulsar Watches Aside from Seiko watches, Hardlex is also used to protect the dials of Lorus and Pulsar timepieces. One distinguished Pulsar watch that comes to mind is the Pulsar Gents Accelerator PX5019X1. First of all, this watch costs only around $150 USD, which is quite surprising, given its sleek and urban looks. Encased in stainless steel, this wristwatch features a black tachymeter perched on top and is water-resistant up to depths of 10 bars (100 meters). The Pulsar PX6019X1 is also equipped with a pretty intriguing movement. While it is a quartz caliber, the movement is also solar-powered. As a result, its power reserve can last up to an astronomical 4,380 hours — equivalent to 6 months. The dial on top of the movement has a sporty black surface with luminescent hands and indices that provide legibility in the dark.  If you want a multi-faceted watch that is not as expensive as it looks, then the Pulsar Gents Accelerator PX5019X1 is the timepiece for you. Coupled with its protective Hardlex crystal, this model offers functionality, style, and convenience, all for a very affordable price. 5. Lorus Gents Titanium Watch (RXD425L8) As previously mentioned, other brands also equip their watches with Hardlex crystals. For Lorus, they have created a notably affordable and reliable timepiece known as the Gents Titanium Watch RXD425L8. Lorus forged the model with hypoallergenic titanium, allowing wearers with sensitive skin to sport the 35mm RXD425L8 without developing any allergic reactions. Its dial boasts a delightful cream face that has a 24-hour inner chapter ring and a date window at 3 o’clock. Protected by a layer of Hardlex glass, this watch is water-resistant up to depths of 100 meters. Lorus pairs this watch with a military green fabric strap and a reliable quartz movement. What makes titanium such an astounding material is its ability to replicate the sturdiness of steel while weighing much less. With the addition of a Hardlex crystal, the Lorus Gents Titanium proves to be an acutely sturdy and dependable watch that easily aligns itself with other more mainstream military models. Worth approximately $80 USD, this Lorus timepiece is exceedingly budget-friendly. 6. Seiko 5 Sports (SRPD59K1) Seiko 5 Sports is home to a far-reaching variety of sports watches. A distinct model that catches our attention is the SRPD59K1. Retailing at approximately $340 USD, this Seiko 5 Sports timepiece showcases a 42.5mm stainless steel exterior accompanied by a stunning orange dial. Protected by a Hardlex crystal and a unidirectional rotating bezel, the orange dial bears a vibrant aesthetic with geometric indices and thick hands. In the dark, the watch is capable of illuminating itself with Seiko’s LumiBrite technology, offering users a light source to help them read the time efficiently. Below the watch face is a 4R36 movement equipped with a 41-hour power reserve. Sealed by a screwed-down see-through caseback, the Seiko 5 SRPD59K1 possesses a water resistance rating of 100 meters. As watch fanatics would say, the Seiko 5 SRPD59K1 is not a “true” divers watch, as its water resistance capacity is fairly standard. However, if you want a splendid, good-looking timepiece that you can bring for a swim, then this Seiko model will not disappoint. With its stainless steel case, Hardlex glass, and bright orange dial, this watch is affordable, robust, and eye-catching. 7. Seiko 5 Sports (SRPE65K1) Yet another representative from the Seiko 5 Sports collection is the Seiko SRPD65K1, a timepiece with a simple yet handsome black and dark grey design. While the two-tone dial is impressive, to say the least, its hard-coated stainless steel case and bracelet also give the timepiece a PVD-esque look. The SRPD65K1 uses the same automatic movement as the SRPD59K1, listed above. As such, it also has manual hacking and winding capabilities and runs on a power reserve that can last up to 41 hours. The SRPD65K1 bears a water resistance capacity of 100 meters and has LumiBrite technology applied on its hour markers and hands. Sealed off by Hardlex crystals on its front and rear, this Seiko timepiece is approximately worth $400 USD.  There is no going wrong with selecting a watch from the Seiko 5 Sports line. With its affordability and widely recognized looks, the Seiko SRPD65K1 will surely grab the attention of anyone who sees it. The sleek Hardlex glass embedded on top of it not only provides ample protection but also matches the watch’s overall understated looks. Final Thoughts Despite being the go-to watch crystal for lower-priced timepieces, the fact remains that Seiko’s Hardlex is a reliable and sturdy watch glass. While offering wearers a good view of their watch, it can also easily take on a few good hits and some light scratches — making it an excellent and budget-friendly choice. Looking for a REALLY good divers watch? Have a look at Orient’s Mako II. Featured Image By: Shane Lin (from Flickr)

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  5. Seiko SNK809: All About The Best Starter Watch

    Seiko SNK809: All About The Best Starter Watch

    In the watchmaking world, there are certain essential know-hows you want to be aware of if you are at the start of your journey as a collector or an enthusiast. For example, one important detail you need to know is which timepieces are accepted or highly regarded by those in the watch community. While looking through hundreds and thousands of models might seem like an impossible task, starting off by doing research on beginner’s watches will serve as the foundation you need for everything else. With that being said, a handful of the most popular and wide-acclaimed starter timepieces are actually from the Japanese brand Seiko, which is why, today, we will be delving into one of their most marketable beginner models, the Seiko SNK809. Seiko: Through The Years Since their foundation back in 1881, Seiko has become one of the go-to brands for many watch patrons, and for good reason. The Japanese company has a very rich and colorful heritage that has helped shape who they are today. Just like most success stories out there, Seiko’s tale began with a determined protagonist called Kintaro Hattori.  At 21 years old, Hattori opened his very own shop in Tokyo where he sold and repaired all types of timepieces. This business endeavor did better than he could have ever imagined, and in a couple of years, he was able to upgrade to a factory that he dubbed the Seikosha. Seikosha is an amalgamation of two Japanese words that roughly translate to success (Seiko) and house (sha) in English. While it might have seemed like just an old factory to some, the Seikosha symbolized so much more for Hattori and his brand. With the opening of the Seikosha, opportunities came left and right until, eventually, Hattori was able to manufacture his first clock.  The years that followed came with both successes and challenges for Seiko. For example, in 1913, they launched the Laurel, which was the first wristwatch to ever be manufactured in Japan. A decade later, Seiko suffered a massive setback when their entire factory was destroyed by an earthquake. Seiko continued to push forward despite this, releasing the first timepiece with their official Seiko brand name on it in 1924. However, come the 1940s, and Seiko was one of the businesses negatively affected by the World War. These are just some events, out of many others, that makeup Seiko’s interesting history over the years. In a span of 140 years, Seiko has become one of the most established watch manufacturers in the industry. The Japanese brand is known as an innovator that produces accessible timepieces with unmatched quality. From leading the quartz revolution to the creation of numerous digital and analog models, these milestones and breakthroughs have helped in cementing their well-deserved status today. Ultimately, Seiko is a strong and unshakeable presence that is at the forefront of watchmaking, along with other renowned names like Rolex and Patek Philippe. Currently, Seiko offers a vast selection of timepieces that are further categorized into the following collections: Astron, Prospex, Presage, Lukia, Premier, and 5 Sports.   All About the Seiko 5 Sports Collection Our main watch for today, the SNK809, is actually a part of Seiko’s 5 Sports series. This iconic range is arguably the most popular one in the Japanese brand’s arsenal and has been for around 5 decades now. It was first launched in the 1960s and immediately took the world by storm with its unique principal attributes.  This Seiko 5 Sports is called such because it showcases 5 qualities, namely: an automatic movement, a day-date display, excellent water resistance, a deep-set crown, and a durable overall exterior. These features are the very foundation of the collection and can be found in every Seiko 5 Sports model.  Moving on, the Seiko 5 Sports is also considered something of an umbrella, with a bunch of other watch lines under it. These different sub-collections can be distinguished through the first couple of letters on the watch model’s name. For example, at present, the main Seiko 5 Sports pieces in production are those from the SRPD (2019) and the SRPE (2020) lines. On the other hand, they also used to offer the SNK series, which was once one of their most loved selections but is currently not being manufactured anymore. And the model of discussion today, the Seiko SNK809, is from this SNK sub-collection. Unfortunately, this means that the Seiko SNK809 is no longer available directly from Seiko, but we will focus on that later on.  Seiko SNK809: A Closer Look Now that we have established a more solid background about the brand and the collection, let us delve into the Seiko SNK809 itself. As mentioned, the SNK809 belongs to the Seiko 5 Sports range, specifically as a part of their SNK800 line. It was launched around the mid-2000s, along with other models in different color variations. In addition, the SNK800 timepieces primarily showcase aesthetics with an overall vibe that can only be described as something similar to military or field watches. If this is your first time hearing about the Seiko SNK809, it is probably not what you have been expecting after reading about how well-loved it is among watch enthusiasts. While it may not have a particularly avant-garde design or super-advanced mechanisms, the beauty behind this particular timepiece truly lies in its simplicity. Factors like its straightforwardness, accessibility, and how it boasts excellent craftsmanship are just some of the reasons why the Seiko SNK809 is considered one of the best introductory watches out there.  So, let us take a closer look, shall we?  Case First and foremost, the Seiko SNK809 is the picture-perfect example of a watch with a very versatile case. It has a diameter of around 37mm and a thickness of 11mm which makes it quite ideal, in terms of comfort and look, for those with either small or average-sized wrists. In addition, this watch also weighs a total of approximately 50 grams, making it incredibly lightweight and ergonomic.  When it comes to the materials used, the Seiko SNK809 features a 315L stainless steel case with a matte finish. Moreover, protecting the dial is a Hardlex crystal that is kept in place by a fixed bezel. Hardlex is a type of watch crystal specifically used by Seiko for their timepieces and, while it is not as popular as sapphire glass, it definitely does not lose out in terms of durability. In fact, Hardlex is known to be more shatterproof than other crystal materials. As mentioned earlier, one of the key pillars of the Seiko 5 Sports lineup is the unique placement of its deep-set crown. This is clearly seen with SNK809, whose crown is situated at 4 o’clock like the other Seiko 5 Sports models, as opposed to the usual 3 o’clock position seen on the vast majority of timepieces.  Lastly, behind all of this is a transparent case back through which you can get an up-close and personal view of the SNK809’s well-oiled mechanisms.  Dial Moving on to the face of the watch, the SNK809 comes with a strikingly simple and straightforward dial in black. It follows an analog layout with Arabic numerals, luminescent hands, an inner circle featuring the hour markers, and an outer circle with the minutes. Also, going back to the attributes of the Seiko 5 Sports collection, this model has a day-date display at 3 o’clock.  Strap As previously mentioned, the Seiko 5 SNK800 series was released in multiple color variations. The strap and the dial would typically come in the same shade, giving it a slightly monochromatic palette. The Seiko SNK809 was paired with a plain black canvas strap. While this may come off as a little boring to some, Seiko probably opted to go with this because they had the timepiece’s robustness in mind above all else. I personally think that the strap goes really with the sleek titanium case and jet-black dial, especially since it gives off strong military watch vibes. Regardless, for those who want something a little more exciting, there is always an option to swap the band for one that you prefer more.  Technical Details While Seiko is known for producing excellent dive watches, the SNK809 is not one of them. That said, as part of the Seiko 5 Sports range, it does still have water-resistant properties, but only up to depths of 30 meters. This means that the SNK809 can withstand splashes here and there, but should not be used for any underwater activities like swimming or diving.  Furthermore, the Seiko SNK809 is equipped with an in-house 7S26 caliber which follows an automatic movement. This mechanism features 21 jewels, a daily accuracy of -20/+40 seconds, and a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. Lastly, it also boasts a rather impressive power reserve of up to 41 hours.  To put it simply, the Seiko SNK809 comes with great technical specifications, especially for a starter watch.  Price  The Seiko SNK809 was priced at approximately $100 USD when it first came out. While it is still in the same price range today, you can definitely get it at a lower cost from resellers online, depending on its condition. Its affordability from the get-go, paired with its amazing quality, is why the SNK809 is considered by many to be an excellent choice for a starter watch.  Who should get the Seiko SNK809?  Watch Collectors (Beginners). The Seiko SNK809 is widely known as a great introductory watch for those at the start of their watch collection journey. There are many factors that contribute to this reputation, such as how it exhibits quality Japanese craftsmanship, its affordability, and its unassuming aesthetics. If you are a new watch collector, you should definitely look out for this timepiece, because it makes for a solid addition to your personal range. Patrons of Seiko. For a brand that has been in the industry for over a century, it is only expected for Seiko to have a long list of iconic timepieces. While the SNK809 did not break any world records, it still became one of their most popular watches. This model is definitely a must-have for fans of the Japanese manufacturer, just because of its sheer impact on the watchmaking community which can still be felt today. Those on the Hunt for an Affordable, Quality Timepiece. This one is self-explanatory, especially after discussing the specs and affordability of the SNK809. Needless to say, it would be difficult to find a timepiece that shares the same excellent craftsmanship, reasonable price, and solid reputation as the Seiko SNK809. Where to get the Seiko SNK809? As previously mentioned, Seiko has stopped manufacturing the SNK series, which means that the SNK809 cannot be purchased directly from Seiko anymore. However, with a simple Google search, you will find that you still have a chance to get your hands on an SNK809 timepiece through online resellers. In addition, this particular model is currently available on Amazon for around $94 USD.  Be that as it may, if the SNK809 pieces online are not accessible for you, we have compiled a list of alternative models with a similar vibe to the SNK809 that you might want to check out. 5 Similar Models  Here are some watches that can serve as excellent alternatives to the Seiko SNK809.  Seiko 5 Sports SRPG33K1 Starting off with a watch from the same family as the SNK809, the Seiko SRPG33K1 is a very similar model in terms of the overall design. This watch makes for a great, more vibrant alternative that is readily available right now.  The Seiko SRPG33K1 comes in a stainless steel case along with a nylon bracelet in green. The forest green dial, which is protected by Hardlex crystal as well, features luminescent hands, Arabic numeral markers, and a day-date window at 3 o’clock. However, some notable differences are that the Seiko SRPG33K1 has an additional 24-hour dial layout and its crown is positioned at 3 o’clock.  When it comes to the technical specs, The Seiko SRPG33K1 still follows an automatic movement but is powered by a 4R36 caliber instead. The SRPG33K1 also has the same 41-hour power reserve but provides a better water resistance capacity at 100 meters.  Seiko 5 Sports SRPE69K1 Next up, we have another piece from the Seiko 5 Sports range, called the SRPE69K1. This model has a distinctly different design but gives off the same robust military watch vibe as the Seiko SNK809. It is a lovely option if you want a watch with a perfect balance of similarities to and differences from the SNK809.  The SRPE69K1 is presented in a stainless steel case paired with a black nylon strap. Its dial, which features a matte black finish, consists of hour markers in various shapes, slightly rounded hands, a minute track on the rim, and a day-date window. The layout of this model is definitely less busy than the SNK809’s, but it also comes with the signature crown positioning at 4 o’clock.  Moreover, this particular watch is powered by an automatic 4R36 caliber with a power reserve of 41 hours. Lastly, it boasts an excellent water resistance capacity of up to 100 meters as well.  Orient Sports RA-AC0H03B10A The Orient Sports RA-AC0H03B10A is a relatively popular model from another Japanese brand. It practically follows the same dial layout as the Seiko SNK809, which is why it is on this list. This timepiece is definitely an excellent alternative to check out as well! The Orient RA-AC0H03B10A comes in a stainless steel case with a classy leather bracelet in black. Much like the SNK809, its dial consists of luminescent hands, Arabic numeral markers, an inner circle for the hours, and an outer circle for the minutes. Aside from the crown position, the only other difference between the two watches is that this Orient model only has a date window rather than a day-date display.  Furthermore, the RA-AC0H03B10A is powered by an automatic F6722 caliber with a power reserve of 40 hours. It also has a water resistance rating of 100 meters, which means it can be used for various water activities.  Citizen Eco-Drive Chandler BM8180-03E The Citizen Chandler is a military-inspired model, just like the Seiko SNK809. This is the perfect accessible alternative for those who want a more sustainable option.  The Chandler comes in a stainless steel case with a woven strap in an army green shade. The black dial features Arabic numeral markers, large luminous hands, and a day-date window at 3 o’clock. This layout is similar to the SNK809, as this model also has hour markers on the main face and minute markers on the outline of the dial.  Unlike the SNK809, the Chandler is equipped with Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology, which utilizes light energy to power the watch. Lastly, just like the many other models on this list, it also boasts a 100-meter water resistance rating.  Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical H69439531 The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical is the only option on this list that is not from a Japanese brand. Regardless, it is a suitable alternative because it also draws inspiration from the military, which happens to make up a huge aspect of Hamilton’s heritage. The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical features a stainless steel case paired with a brown NATO strap. The black dial consists of a minute track on the outline, a 24-hour layout, luminescent hands, and Arabic numeral markers. Unlike the SNK809 and the other models previously mentioned, this Hamilton Khaki Field does not have a day-date window.  In terms of movement, this watch is powered by an H-50 caliber that boasts an impressive power reserve of 80 hours. It has a 50-meter water resistance rating, which is just slightly better than the Seiko SNK809.  Final Thoughts  The Seiko SNK809 is one of the best affordable starter watches out there. Regardless of whether you are a collector or not, this particular timepiece is one that you should not miss out on if you want a good quality watch at a reasonable price. Aside from that, it also has a good reputation in the watchmaking community, which makes it even more appealing than it already is.  Photo Credits: Seiko, Amazon, and Official Brand Websites Want to read more about Japanese timepieces? Make sure to check out our article on the Orient Kamasu.

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  6. Top 20 Eco-Friendly Watches for Enthusiasts with Green Thumbs

    Top 20 Eco-Friendly Watches for Enthusiasts with Green Thumbs

    Nowadays, you can see various watch brands create references that are stylish, sleek, and friendly to the environment. From rechargeable batteries to synthetic leather straps and reused metals, these environmentally-friendly innovations give their respective timepieces more meaning as brands made them with an invaluable cause in mind. It just goes to show that a difference can be made by anyone if they truly put their heart into it. That said, if you are currently looking for a way to help the planet while also getting something in return, we have provided you with a list of the 20 best chic and eco-friendly watches guaranteed to up your class while still contributing to Mother Earth.  Top 20 Eco-Friendly Watches Today, with so many brands getting into the green industry, there are many eco-friendly watches that can be found on the market. With so many different models to choose from, it would be futile to list down every green timepiece we come across. Instead, we will narrow it down to a list of just 20. Here is a gorgeous selection of some of the best eco-friendly watches out there. Bear in mind that the list is in no particular order and that the prices stated below are only approximate values. 1. Nordgreen Pioneer – $325 USD Image By: Nordgreen Nordgreen is a Scandinavian brand famous for manufacturing eco-friendly watches. For the first model on this list, we have their lovely award-winning piece — the Nordgreen Pioneer. Aside from its stunning and sleek aesthetics, the Nordgreen Pioneer also comes with a number of environmentally friendly components. Conceptualized by Danish designer Jakob Wagner, the timepiece utilizes a structure made from conflict-free and non-toxic minerals and materials. In addition, the packaging for this fascinating piece is made of FSC-certified cardboard, a kind of cardboard approved by the Forest Stewardship Council as being sustainably sourced. It doesn’t just stop there, either. After a Nordgreen Pioneer piece is purchased, some of its proceeds go to the support of three causes that wearers can choose between. These causes include: providing clean and drinkable water for those in Central Africa, funding the education of underprivileged children in India, or preserving 50 sqm of rainforests in Latin America. Coupled with its sophisticated and professional look, this is one of the best eco-friendly watches that you can bring to a fancy dinner or to your workplace. 2. Solios Solar – $270 USD Image By: Solios Watches Solios is a certified Canadian B Corporation that, as they say, does things differently. The company’s goal is to restore rainforests with every watch purchased. One of their bestsellers is the Solios Solar. Manufactured using sustainable and hypoallergenic materials such as recycled stainless steel and silicone, which is used to make its vegan strap, the Solios Solar combines a handful of perks with a green thumb. This watch uses a powerful solar battery that can last up to 50 years, and like all modern solar batteries, it can use any source of light as a means for charging. Other than being beautiful to look at, the Solios Solar is also resistant to dust, ink, heat, and has a water resistance rating of 30m. As a brand, Solios allocates some of its profits to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the David Suzuki Foundation, and the Rainforest Trust. It is a company that dedicates itself to the environment in every way, and Solios Solar is a perfect encapsulation of that ideal. 3. Citizen Super Titanium Armor – $440 USD Image By: Citizen Watch Knight in shining armor? How about a Citizen in Super Titanium Armor? Indeed, as the name suggests, this is an astounding eco-friendly watch to behold. From the pioneers themselves, Citizen brings us one of the latest additions to their Super Titanium series. Like armor forged by seasoned blacksmiths, this watch looks sleek, well-made, and impenetrable. The Super Titanium Armor sports a sustainable and hypoallergenic titanium case and utilizes the brand’s patented Eco-Drive system. With this, the watch will not be needing a battery replacement anytime soon because it relies entirely on light to recharge it. On the whole, Citizen is a brand you can trust when it comes to environmental impact. Not only are they transparent about their processes, they even painstakingly list down all the greenhouse gases they emit for their buyers’ perusal. Many of their watches are also equipped with their Eco-Drive system, such that they are charged using solar power instead of disposable batteries. 4. TRIWA Humanium – $300 USD Image By: TRIWA Everywhere around the world, illegal firearms make their way through the borders of countries and harm the people that inhabit them. As authorities risk their lives confiscating these life-threatening weapons on a day-to-day basis, TRIWA makes sure that none of them goes to waste. The brand’s Humanium line consists of models made entirely out of recycled metals procured from illegal firearms. Furthermore, for every Humanium watch sold, TRIWA gives 15% of their profits to victims of armed violence. Striking and robust, just like the guns they came from, the TRIWA Humanium is an exceptional eco-friendly timepiece and a symbol of peace. 5. Tense Cambridge Chrono – $270 USD Image by Tense Watch The Tense Cambridge Chrono is an unusual and high-quality wooden timepiece that exudes natural beauty. While it does run on a lithium-based Miyota 0S90 movement, its exterior consists wholly of recycled or reclaimed wood. For its strap, Tense offers recycled wooden bracelets as well as vegan leather. As a member of the 1% For The Planet partnership, the brand also pledges to donate 1% of its profits to the National Forest Foundation, Conservation International, Surfrider Foundation, and other green organizations worldwide. 6. Omega Aqua Terra 150m GoodPlanet Seamaster – $10,000 USD If you are looking for a luxury diver’s watch that delivers a healthy and supportive impact on the environment, then Omega might have just the timepiece for you. In collaboration with the GoodPlanet Foundation, Omega designed and created the Aqua Terra 150m GoodPlanet Seamaster — a stunning wristwatch dedicated to the conservation of the environment. Aside from bearing Omega’s latest horological technologies, this Aqua Terra also boasts a hypoallergenic grade-5 titanium case. Furthermore, a portion of the Aqua Terra 150 GoodPlanet Seamaster’s sales goes towards GoodPlanet, allowing the organization to fund programs aimed at preserving aquatic life. 7. Vincero Vessel – $230 USD Image By: Vincero Collective Back in 2019, Vincero announced that they have gone 100% carbon-neutral. While all their watches support their new and eco-friendly business practices, the Vincero Vessel stands out as one of their bestsellers. With a stainless steel bronze-colored case, sapphire glass, and silicone strap, the Vincero timepiece is both reliable and good-looking. As the brand continues to produce and transport their beloved watches to the world, they make up for their carbon emissions by investing in carbon offsets. For those who are not so familiar with carbon offsets, they are essentially reductions of carbon emissions or other greenhouse gases, in order to compensate for other emissions. In a sense, it is like making up for a wrong deed with a good one. 8. TIVC 36mm Watch – $145 USD Image By: Time IV Change TIVC takes pride in making gorgeous eco-friendly watches that are ethical, cruelty-free, and vegan. Their 36mm watches make use of natural materials and recycled metals, all of which they ensure do not contain Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC). This means that any harmful chemicals such as mutagens, carcinogens, and other toxic substances are guaranteed to be absent from TIVC’s watchmaking process. Furthermore, the packaging for their watches is 95% compostable and recyclable, while 5% is usable. Lastly, TIVC makes sure to donate 10% of its annual profits to environmental organizations and animal welfare. Talk about a brand that really walks the talk when it comes to saving the environment. 9. Certina DS Action Diver – $870 USD Image By: Certina The Certina DS Action Diver is an adept diver’s watch made for a good cause. As mentioned previously, Certina is a watch brand affiliated with the Sea Turtle Conservancy organization, and the Certina DS Action Diver was created in honor of that partnership. For those who are not aware, the Sea Turtle Conservancy tracks turtles and learns their migration patterns while also working to rid the Caribbean oceans of plastic. Bearing an outstanding water resistance capacity of 300m and a Swiss automatic movement with an 80-hour power reserve, this fascinating watch is definitely something you want to bring with you wherever you swim. Who knows? You might even get the approval of some sea turtles as well.  10. Ksana Jet Black Watch – $105 USD Image By: Ksana Minimalistic to its core, the Ksana Jet Black boasts an understated aesthetic and eco-friendly components. Crafted entirely out of synthetic dyes and materials, the Ksana Jet Black is as friendly to animals as it can get. This Ksana watch comes in a stainless steel case and is equipped with a Japanese caliber and scratch-resistant glass. While this watch can last a long time, wearers can also return this timepiece at the end of its service for recycling or upcycling. Finally, 1% of the proceeds Ksana gets from selling watches goes to various environmental causes. 11. Casio G-Shock Frogman – $1,200 USD Image By: G-Shock As we all know, G-Shock watches are some of the sturdiest things on the planet—kind of like the Nokia 3310. Apart from being incredibly resilient, the G-Shock Frogman is also a highly sustainable watch. Each Frogman utilizes Casio’s Tough Solar technology, allowing the timepiece to charge itself using solar power. Combining unmatched durability and an innovative design, Casio created the G-Shock Frogman to last a lifetime, which also reduces wastage since you will not find yourself constantly having to replace damaged watches. 12. Seiko Prospex “Save The Ocean” – $800 USD The Seiko Prospex “Save The Ocean” line is a series of eco-friendly watches made in collaboration with Fabien Cousteau. For those not in the know, Fabien Cousteau is the grandson of world-famous French conservationist Jacques Cousteau. Together with the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Centre, Seiko continues to help raise awareness about and create a positive impact on the world of aquatic life. The Seiko “Save The Ocean” series offers three kinds of Prospex watches: Turtle, Samurai, and Solar. Of course, Solar comes with the perk of being solar-powered, which is beneficial to the environment. In addition, each of the three models utilizes the non-toxic and eco-friendly LumiBrite technology for their hands and hour markers. 13. Oris Aquis Clean Ocean Limited Edition – $2,300 USD Amidst the vast population of Oris’ Aquis collection is the limited edition Clean Ocean watch. Made in partnership with Pacific Garbage Screening, Oris aims to support the organization in removing plastic waste from the ocean and converting it into energy. Aside from being robust, beguiling, and having an excellent water resistance capacity of 300m, the watch also bears something else that is incredibly unique. On its caseback is a vibrantly designed token made from recycled PET plastic. As a finishing touch, Oris delivers this timepiece in a box made from a combination of recycled plastic inlays and eco-friendly algae. 14. Breitling Superocean Heritage 57 Outerknown – $4,380 USD The Superocean collection has been a Breitling staple for as long as we can remember. As part of its efforts to help the super oceans of planet Earth, Breitling developed the Superocean Heritage 57 Outerknown. Produced in collaboration with Kelly Slater’s surfwear brand, the Superocean watch showcases a strap made from ECONYL yarn—a material recycled from nylon wastes (such as fishnets) procured from the ocean. Additionally, Breitling also donates some of its proceeds to charities and environmental conservation efforts.  15. Woodstone Craftmaster – $150 USD Image By: Woodstone For another timepiece crafted from sustainable wood, have a look at the Woodstone Craftmaster. Despite being made from recycled wood, the Craftmaster is sophisticated and has a sturdy and well-built structure throughout. This Woodstone watch comes in a 316L stainless steel case and is equipped with sapphire glass and a Swiss Ronda 515 quartz movement. As part of Woodstone’s environmental efforts, for every Craftmaster piece purchased, the brand plants a tree in their name. By partnering with Trees For The Future, the company also helps in providing sustainable jobs to farmers in Africa. 16. TRIWA SUB Ocean Plastic – $160 USD Image By: TRIWA Aside from their Humanium line, TRIWA also offers a selection of diver’s watches made comprehensively from recycled ocean plastic. On top of being very ocean-friendly, the SUB Ocean Plastic is also quite resilient. With a durable plastic case, a rotating bezel, a highly reliable movement, and 100m of water resistance, this TRIWA timepiece has everything an eco-friendly diver needs.  17. Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X Carbonium Gold – $19,250 USD Image By: Ulysse Nardin Made from carbon and gold, the Ulysse Nardin Skeleton X blends the best of Haute Horlogerie with ethical sourcing. When acquiring their gold, Ulysse Nardin makes sure to abide by the Kering Responsible Gold Framework (KRGF). This allows the brand to procure gold sustainably, which is quite an uncommon practice for many other luxury brands that also use gold in their timepieces. 18. Mondaine Essence – $355 USD Image By: Mondaine Mondaine is a watch brand that proudly carries the title of being the first Swiss manufacturer to develop eco-friendly watches. Created using raw materials such as castor oil, wood, and corks, their Essence lineup showcases a classic design with sustainable features. Each Essence model bears a water resistance capacity of 30m and comes with a unique strap. 19. Tom Ford 002 Ocean Plastic Watch – $995 USD Image By: Tom Ford Fond of the color black? Take a good look at the Tom Ford 002 Ocean Plastic Watch. This timepiece has a stark, dark design that makes use of ocean wastes throughout its structure. For instance, the case is made from a blend of stainless steel and ocean plastic. The crown comprises a mix of steel, black DLC coating, and ocean plastic inlay. Lastly, its sturdy strap is made of hand-braided ocean plastic. The brand also ships these eco-friendly watches in boxes created from recycled paper.  20. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment III – $17,100 USD For the most luxurious watch on this list, we have the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms Ocean Commitment III. Highly adept and with a clear purpose in mind, this Blancpain timepiece is expensive for a very good reason. For every model sold, Blancpain had pledged to donate 1,000 Euros, or $1,171 USD to ocean conservation. This is a limited-edition timepiece, so with 250 models manufactured, the brand is able to accumulate a total of 250,000 Euros, or $292,950 USD, for ocean conservation efforts. A History of Watchmakers Going Green During the 1970s, enthusiasts, collectors, and the general public were already getting used to the concept of quartz watches. Being more precise and less expensive, people would frequently opt to have a timepiece run by a quartz movement, rather than a mechanical counterpart. After a few years of its release, quartz watches began to dominate the market. One advantage of this new-fangled timepiece was that wearers no longer had to wind their wristwatches over and over again. Instead, with quartz watches, they simply had to replace the batteries every now and then. Of course, people viewed it as a pretty simple compromise for something so affordable.  However, this led landfills and dumpsites to overflow with used lithium batteries. From an environmental perspective, quartz models were certainly doing more harm than good, as they created more unnecessary waste than the old mechanical watches did. At some point, however, this problem turned into an opportunity for brands to produce more appealing and eco-friendly watches. In 1976, the Japanese watchmaking brand Citizen led the charge by introducing the world of horology to the Crystron Solar Cell. The Crystron Solar Cell was a wristwatch that powered and charged itself through the use of light. Unlike solar-powered models that rely on sunlight, the Crystron Solar Cell could charge itself using any form of brightness, even artificial sources. Since it came with a rechargeable power cell that did not have to be constantly replaced, the Citizen timepiece became an excellent start for an eco-friendly horological future. Citizen released the Crystron Solar Cell in 1976. However, this timepiece was unsuccessful, due to its lacklustre ability to generate an ample amount of energy. But during the 1980s, the industry managed to create thinner solar cells that could harness energy from any light source, not just natural light. In addition, these new solar cells had a power cell that could store even more energy. Thanks to these advancements, Citizen was able to make some innovations and improvements to their concept. In 1986, the brand ushered in a new model that could run for eight days on a single charge. The new model was an exceptional timepiece that could be easily integrated into everyday life. By 1995, Citizen had developed another model which featured a lithium-ion battery and a 6-month battery life on a full charge. The 1995 model was considered a landmark achievement for the brand and was a catalyst for Citizen’s world-renowned Eco-Drive system. As Citizen’s Eco-Drive watches were commercialized and gained fame across the watch community, other brands also started to experiment with some eco-friendly watches of their own. In the early 1990s, Seiko introduced the world to environmentally-friendly LumiBrite technology. Essentially, the LumiBrite is a kind of lume that contains no toxic components or radioactive substances. Once exposed to any source of light for a few minutes, Seiko’s LumiBrite can light up the watch for hours. Like all variations of watch luminescence, the brightness of LumiBrite lume may differ depending on two factors: how close the timepiece is to the light source and how bright the overall location is. Seiko has relied on the LumiBrite technology’s capabilities ever since and continues to utilise it in their models to this day. By 2021, many new eco-friendly watch brands have started to emerge. These companies produce environmentally-friendly timepieces and spread the awareness that it is possible to make a gorgeous watch without exploiting the environment. Nordgreen, Solios, TIVC, TRIWA, Ksana, and Tense are but a few of this caring and innovative green watch brands. While not all watchmakers have chosen this path, some prolific companies like Omega and Certina have also supported and come up with eco-friendly watches for the cause. In addition, Timex has recently teased a new lineup of watches which they proclaim to be their most sustainable and earth-friendly selection to date. As the industry continues to grow, the hope is that more watchmakers will join the rest of the world in saving and maintaining the evergreen beauty of our beloved planet Earth. What Makes a Watch “Eco-Friendly?” Like with every other environmentally-friendly product, there are a few key factors that contribute to making eco-friendly watches.  Materials and Resources Anyone who is interested in saving the environment should do their research on what materials go into whatever product they are buying. Eco-sensitive wearers would find conventional materials like leather and non-biodegradable plastic a big no-no. For brands seeking to create watches that do not harm the environment, they can rely on alternative, environmentally-friendly materials that are just as good in quality. These materials include recycled metals and wood, synthetic leather, rechargeable solar batteries, silicone, and so on. Business Practices If brands have the drive to take their support to the next level, their dedication should also be reflected in their business practices. Even if companies were using environmentally-friendly materials for their watches, it would not make a big difference as long as these brands continued to process, create, or deliver their eco-friendly watches through harmful means. A classic example of ethical and sustainable business practice is developing packaging made out of recycled materials. Having this kind of procedure eliminates wastes and the use of earth-damaging materials like styrofoam and plastic. Green Innovations Sometimes, eco-friendly watches can do more than just reduce, reuse, and recycle. For instance, brands like Citizen and Casio have developed models that utilize solar cells. Solar cells have the unique ability to generate power out of sunlight. Because these eco-friendly watches only need light to charge themselves, there is no need to ever have the battery replaced. As a result, it lessens the amount of lithium-based battery wastes in landfills and raises awareness of solar power and its benefits. Planet-Saving Causes One last but crucial consideration: are the profits from these watches going to a good cause? Certina acts as an ideal example of this factor. In 2021, Certina created a limited edition diver watch to commemorate its partnership with the Sea Turtle Conservancy organization (STC). Aside from the new Certina model bearing the STC’s sea turtle logo, a portion of the proceeds will also be dedicated to the important cause of conserving sea turtles. Indeed, Certina’s love of turtles dates back to the genesis of their tried and tested DS concept. To showcase Certina DS’s reliability, Certina used a green turtle as the logo for the DS design to symbolize longevity, which makes their association with the STC even more poignant. Final Thoughts Investing in a watch is something watch fanatics, enthusiasts, and collectors do all the time. So, why not invest in a timepiece that can help save the planet? Good-looking, diverse, durable, and reliable, these eco-friendly watches we have listed above are worth every single hard-earned penny. By purchasing one of these watches, you are not just upscaling your style and making a fashion statement. No, you are doing far more than that. By purchasing one of these eco-friendly watches, you are also making a difference that could affect the lives of every single being on this planet.  Need a stunning piece for formal occasions? Have a look at what many would consider one of the greatest Patek Philippe watches ever made, the Patek Philippe 5970 Featured Image By: Solios Watches

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  7. Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar: A Complete Guide on Tissot’s Solar-Powered Tactile Watch

    Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar: A Complete Guide on Tissot’s Solar-Powered Tactile Watch

    Tissot has a long rich history in the world of horology. Throughout the years, Tissot has always made sure to get with the times and adjust whenever possible. One of the many achievements the brand has accomplished is the introduction of the T-Touch to the world. This was the world’s first tactile watch to come into existence. It is a high-utility watch that establishes a connection between usefulness and style. The T-Touch has since evolved over the years with newer, more up-to-date functions and designs. One particular standout model is the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar.  The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 is a solar-powered tactile watch that was the product of Tissot’s watchmaking expertise over the years. Not only were they the first brand to successfully create a tactile watch, but they were also one of the main proponents who jumpstarted the successful shift from traditional watchmaking to the modern era. That being said, what makes the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar such a prime choice for the average tech-savvy watch wearer? Is it a good choice for going on adventures? Or are its advanced features purely for cosmetics? Let us find out through a detailed walkthrough of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar below. First Impressions Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.46.051.01Image courtesy of Watch Shopping At first glance, the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.46.051.01 might seem like a regular wristwatch that provides the most basic timekeeping features. Indeed, as mentioned before, it does share quite a few similarities with the Casio Pro-Trek, including having a digital-analog dial, and the fact that both watches are solar-powered and are intended for outdoor activities. In that respect, you might be put off by this design, since it might initially strike you as being a bit of a copy. A closer look, however, reveals some major differences between these two watches. One significant difference is that the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar comes with tactile functionality. Touchscreens are all the rage nowadays and are unlikely to go away anytime soon. That is why Tissot’s move of including tactile functionality in the T-Touch Expert Solar to get with the times was a very smart one. Having a head start in applying touchscreen technology to watchmaking was a massive advantage for Tissot. This caused an instant surge of popularity which led to this watch practically flying off the shelves. Indeed, the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar has proved to be extremely helpful and convenient in everyday life. With just a simple touch, you can do whatever you please with the T-Touch Expert Solar. The non-complicated mechanics made this watch very accessible. You will not have any problem recharging it or scrounging for batteries every once in a while. The major downside of this watch is its screen’s durability. Manufacturers have to make sure that the screen registers each touch successfully and accurately, or else the touchscreen will not function properly. As such, tactile glass screens are known to be quite fragile, and you have to be careful not to bang this watch around willy-nilly. Specifications The inner workings of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar are not that difficult to understand. The smartwatch mechanisms and complications are easy to navigate due to their straightforward nature. Furthermore, the design of this watch has a distinct style that strengthens its purpose as an adventurer’s watch. Much like Casio Pro-Trek, the T-Touch Expert Solar boasts a minimalistic and uncluttered dial that shows only what is necessary to the wearer. The buttons on the left side of the watch help keep the touchscreen secure, to avoid accidental touches activating certain functions. Without further ado, let us get down to the specifics of this timepiece. Case The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 has a 45mm titanium case with a black PVD coating. This case might be too big for some people, especially those with more petite wrists, but the size was strategically built to accommodate the tactile glass screen. A smaller case would mean a smaller screen. And if the screen is smaller, the tactile functions of the T-Touch Expert Solar would become limited. Despite being a smartwatch, the durability of the case is impressive. It has a scratch-proof crystal, a water resistance rating of at least 100 meters, and has antimagnetic properties. The 13mm thickness of this watch adds more to its weight and structure. Despite that, the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 is still a fairly comfortable watch to wear, especially with its 22mm lugs curved at an angle to fit around the wrist smoothly. The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 does not have any existing crowns. The same can be said for all the other T-Touch watches, both the older and newer versions. Instead, it has three distinct buttons that are used to adjust the time or to activate the tactile function. These three buttons can be easily distinguished with their corresponding logos. From top to bottom, the first button has a plus sign, the middle one has a letter T, for Tissot, and the third button showcases a minus sign. Both the first and third buttons are used to adjust the time on the digital dial, while the middle button is used to activate the tactile function. These buttons are extremely easy to understand and use, and their functions are very straightforward—making the watch easy to get used to, even for first-timers. Dial The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 uses a black checkered dial. The digital dial can be found at the bottom half of the main dial and works hand-in-hand with the analog dial on the upper half. The hours and minutes hands are quite short and tipped with white. That said, though the stocky hands of this watch are charmingly designed, their shorter-than-average lengths may not be to everyone’s taste. The hour and minute markers are presented in a straightforward manner, with numerals 3, 6, 9, and 12 placed on the bezel. There are also specific functions that can be found across the dial. These functions, which can be activated by tapping on their corresponding markers, include the Meteo mode, altimeter, chronograph, compass, timer, and alarm. The Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 may be jam-packed with a lot of features, but the minimalistic design of the dial design ensures that it is still clean, uncluttered, and easy to read without getting confused. Movement Since the launch of the T-Touch collection, all the models in this range have used quartz movements. However, since the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 uses solar energy as its main source of power, some changes had to be made to its movement. The ETA E84.301 Swiss solar tactile quartz movement was used to accommodate its solar capabilities along with the other amazing features this watch has. One handy feature this watch has is that, if you are unsure whether the battery has any power left, you can easily check the power indicator with just a single touch. The same can be said of the watch’s other functions. The ETA E84.301 caliber is an innovative, state-of-the-art solar quartz movement that puts Tissot one step ahead of its competition.  Strap The straps and bracelets for the T-Touch Expert Solar come in a variety of choices. Depending on the specific model, you can have either a synthetic rubber strap, an embossed cow leather band, or a titanium bracelet. In this case, the T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 is equipped with a titanium bracelet that has a folding clasp with a secure push-button lock. It also goes without saying that the titanium bracelet adds to the heft of the watch—giving it an overall weight of 123 grams. This is still quite manageable and comfortable on the wrist, due to the lightweight nature of titanium. The professional titanium strap effectively adds to the classy design of the T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00. Some might not be fans of a metallic bracelet paired with a tactile watch, but this sleek and elegant exterior creates a unique identity that sets this timepiece apart from the other versions of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar. It is a solid timepiece that is perfect for those who prefer a sturdy all-in-one watch fit for both everyday wear and dressy occasions. Price Now that we know all the features and functions of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00, as you might expect, the price for this watch is quite expensive. Compared to Casio Pro-Trek, the T-Touch Expert Solar comes at a higher price that is quite reasonable for such a high-utility wristwatch. Indeed, it is also safe to say that in terms of utility, the T-Touch Expert Solar comes first when pitted against the Casio Pro-Trek. The T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 comes at a price of $1,150 USD. It may not be the best price for beginners, or for those working with a budget, but it certainly befits a watch of this caliber. Alternatively, you could always opt for trusted and respected second-hand markets for more affordable pieces of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar. Just be sure to check the legitimacy of your chosen seller. Newer Versions of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Image courtesy of Watch Shopping At Baselworld 2017, an updated version of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar was introduced, the T-Touch Expert Solar II. It is a new and improved variant of the T-Touch Expert Solar, with a much more defined and detailed dial compared to the first version. Instead of going for the minimalistic route again, Tissot decided to fill in the empty spaces to create a busier dial with additional features and functions. The hours and minutes hands of this timepiece are shaped like compass arrows, and the dial pattern is changed from checkered to a more sophisticated pattern. The size and dimensions remain the same and lightweight titanium is still used to make the case of the T-Touch Expert Solar II. The only difference is the bezel is now made from scratch-proof ceramic instead. The retail price for this watch starts at $1,150 USD. It has the same price as its predecessor, and it is commendable of Tissot to not have given this watch a higher price tag despite its improved functionalities. History of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar Once upon a time, Tissot was a brand known for exporting watches to the USA and the Russian Empire in the 19th century. As a result, when the Russian revolution occurred, it was a huge challenge for Tissot and its fellow watchmakers. While many other watchmaking brands were forced to close their workshops due to the revolution, Tissot, however, stood strong and used its expertise and resources to keep going, eventually creating a powerful factory. In 1999, Tissot released the first-ever tactile watch which they dubbed the T-Touch. This watch allowed the wearer to perform certain actions with just a single tap on the screen. It was such a groundbreaking invention that it placed Tissot at the top of the market during that time. Compared to other traditional watches, the T-Touch was an unconventional timepiece that took the world by storm. It was equipped with a quartz movement that ran on batteries since an automatic movement would not be sufficient for this energy-consuming watch. Touchscreen technology was not as prominent back then as it is today. The first touchscreen phone was invented in 1992, seven years before the T-Touch. It is unknown if Tissot drew inspiration from that feat, but it cannot be denied that the invention of the touchscreen phone opened a few doors regarding this technology, allowing it to be applied to the art of horology. As technology develops, the use of solar power as an alternative source of energy has become increasingly prevalent in the modern age. It is accessible, cost-effective, and gives wearers much less hassle. That is why Tissot chose to incorporate this solar technology into the T-Touch series, which eventually resulted in the creation of the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar, which was released in 2014. This timepiece became a massive success, particularly because of its solar capability. Outdoor enthusiasts found this watch to be useful due to its utility and accessibility. It does not have any overly complex features and there are no worries of accidentally tapping the screen and unintentionally activating some function. You need to push a certain button before being able to use its touchscreen features—making the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar a very secure timepiece in terms of accidental watch adjustments and the like.  Final Thoughts Going on an adventure surely takes a toll on every adventurer. Having the need to constantly prepare, be aware of both nightfall and dawn, and the worry of getting lost makes it a complex and arduous activity that not everyone can partake in. But with the emergence and assistance of adventurer utility watches like the Casio G-Shock Mudmaster, Garmin Fenix 6X Pro, the Rolex Explorer II, and of course, the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar, it has become possible for even beginners to enjoy nature and its beauty. The T-Touch Expert Solar Ref. T091.420.44.051.00 does exactly what Tissot intended it to do. Its tactile functionality provides more insight into the technological advancements Tissot has engaged in order to dominate the watch market once more. Of course, today, there have been other touchscreen timepieces by different brands, but one can never truly forget the Tissot T-Touch Expert Solar, which stands out as the pioneer of multi-functional tactile watches in the history of horology. If you are the outgoing type, you’ll love our 10 Best Cycling Watches! Be sure to check it out! All images courtesy of Tissot, unless stated otherwise.Featured image courtesy of Tissot.

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  8. Seiko SARB017: The Iconic Alpinist Watch

    Seiko SARB017: The Iconic Alpinist Watch

    The Seiko Alpinist line is home to many high-quality Japanese hiking watches. Amidst the various stunning models, the collection contains the Seiko SARB017 Alpinist. Created in 2006, the Seiko SARB017 is probably the most iconic piece in this renowned series. While the main purpose of this timepiece is to be a reliable timekeeper for mountain climbers, it also carries an exclusive and luxurious design that keeps wearers and on-lookers constantly fascinated, no matter how many times they look at it. Even though the Seiko SARB017 was discontinued a few years ago, it continues to be highly sought-after by all sorts of enthusiasts and collectors from the watch community.  In this review, we will be inspecting the various specifications of the Seiko SARB017 Alpinist, to see just why there is so much undying hype surrounding this timepiece. Furthermore, we will also be taking a look at some excellent alternative models from the Seiko Prospex and the Citizen Automatic lines, to see how they compare against the Seiko SARB017 in terms of quality, characteristics, and price. Without further ado, let us have a go at the Seiko SARB017 Alpinist. Specifications Case Dimensions Most people would agree that the Seiko SARB017 Alpinist perfectly hits the sweet spot with its size. The SARB017 features a proportionate, well-sized case that measures 39mm in diameter, including its crown. It has a thickness of 12mm and has a slim lug width of 20mm. Lug-to-lug, the SARB017 measures around 47mm, which is also quite reasonable. In terms of weight, the watch weighs 79g, so it does not have much heft at all, which makes it light and easy to carry around on your wrist. Altogether, the timepiece can certainly fit comfortably on all kinds of wrists without looking too meagre or too bulky. Additionally, the Seiko SARB017 has a good curvature profile on its lugs, which makes it fit more cleanly on owners with small wrists while still being adequate to wear for those with larger wrist sizes. This model is pretty slim and compact, so you will not have to worry too much about accidentally bumping the wristwatch into things. Stainless Steel Case and Bi-directional Compass Bezel Seiko crafted the case of the SARB017 entirely out of stainless steel. Smoothly beveled throughout, the steel casing showcases a sleek exterior with a blend of brushed and polished surfaces that play around with light nicely. Fixed on top of the case is a stainless steel bezel that fits the watch case perfectly. The bezel of the Seiko SARB017 serves a unique purpose. While its outer portion is stationary and does not offer much beyond the protection of the dial, the inner section of the bezel wields the SARB017’s internal compass. The internal compass contains the directions, indices, and degrees that you can usually find in most compass watches. Printed in clear white and red, the labels are pretty small-scale but are still legible enough for wearers to easily read. The internal compass is neatly designed and does not compromise the dial’s elegant aesthetic. With the bi-directional compass bezel, wearers can use this Seiko timepiece to navigate through all sorts of terrains. For those who plan on bringing the Seiko SARB017 to their expeditions, this is a very welcome feature indeed. On the right side of the timepiece are two screw-down crowns. One is positioned at 3 o’clock, while the other can be found at the 4 o’clock position. The 3 o’clock knob carries a delicate “S” engraving and allows for manual hacking and winding. Those who possess this watch will know that turning the 3 o’clock crown also produces a distinguishable noise. Surrounding it are adequately-sized crown guards large enough to protect the crown well without hampering the wearer’s grip. The 4 o’clock knob, on the other hand, is used to manipulate the internal compass bezel. At first, wearers may find the compass a bit tricky to use, as the watch does not feature a compass hand, which can make it a little complex to read. In this case, the Seiko SARB017 comes with an instruction manual that informs users on how to operate the bezel. If you do not have the manual, there are also guides and videos online, made by owners of Seiko SARB017 timepieces, that will help you get accustomed to it. On the back of the SARB017 timepiece is a solid stainless steel caseback, which is screwed down for maximum security. While it would have been rather delightful to be able to view the movement through an exhibition-style caseback, the solid steel rear ensures that nothing can enter the watch from the outside, keeping the inner mechanisms safe from damage.  While the Seiko SARB017 is technically a mountaineering watch, it bears a water resistance capacity akin to that of a diver’s timepiece. Locked by screw-down crowns and a solid steel caseback, the watch can withstand up to 200m/20atm of water pressure. With that much water resistance, wearers can bring the SARB017 to any water sports and activities, from washing their hands to shallow diving. Honestly, this water resistance rating is more than enough for a wristwatch made for the mountains. Green Sunburst Dial The true highlight of the Seiko SARB017 is its dial, which features a green sunburst surface that plays around with light spectacularly. Depending on the light and angle, the face of the watch can promptly change from bright and pleasant emerald green to darker and more sincere jade green. On the outer rim of the watch dial, you can find a date window at 3 o’clock, Arabic numerals, and hour markers, all with gold-colored accents. Towards the center of the green watch face is an exclusive handset showcasing cathedral-themed minute and hour hands. There are not many inscriptions labeled on the dial. The only engravings you can find are Seiko’s signature and a few specifications about the watch’s movement and water resistance. As with many of Seiko’s models, the SARB017 uses the brand’s patented and eco-friendly LumiBrite technology for its luminescence. Seiko has always done a fantastic job when it comes to applying lume to their various watches. Though the lume pips of the SARB017 are pretty minuscule, the dial still manages to glow impressively in the dark. However, there is one downside. While the brightness does not disappoint, there is a bit of a problem with the watch’s overall legibility. Due to how Seiko designed the pips of the SARB017, identifying where the watch hands are pointing to can be a challenge in very dark environments. For a situation like this, you would probably have to take a closer look to really puzzle out the time. On the whole, the dial is not just lovely but also pretty well-balanced. Bearing only the essentials of a traditional Seiko watch, the dial is clean, uncluttered, and easy to read and admire. Along with the inner compass bezel, the Seiko SARB017’s dial looks unique while still remaining modest and elegant to the eyes. Sapphire Glass The Seiko SARB017 uses a sapphire crystal to protect its gorgeous green dial. Knowing how luxurious this material is, it can be relatively uncommon to find sapphire glass in a watch of this category and price range. Of course, with its luxury comes quality. As many of us are aware, sapphire glass is virtually scratch-proof. Rated “9” on the Mohs scale of hardness, the scratch-resistance of sapphire glass can only be outdone by diamonds. Keep in mind, however, that the sapphire crystal of the SARB017 does not come with an anti-reflective coating, so you might find yourself impeded by light glares in brightly lit areas. The sapphire crystal is flat and slightly raised above the case, which neatly matches the simple, measured, and elegant aesthetic of this Seiko watch. Seiko Calibre 6R15 Operating beneath the beautiful emerald green dial of the Seiko SARB017 is a Seiko Calibre 6R15 movement. Like many of the brand’s in-house movements, the automatic Calibre 6R15 uses the Seiko Diashock anti-shock system. This prevents the movement’s mechanisms from accumulating excess wear and tear. Paired with a power reserve that can last the watch up to 50 hours, the Calibre 6R15 can produce a total of 21,600 vibrations per hour. In terms of its precision, the Seiko 6R15 has an accuracy of +25/-15 seconds per day. Though it is an automatic movement, the Seiko 6R15 also has manual winding and hacking capabilities, which allows wearers to adjust the time more accurately. Patterned Leather Strap Seiko pairs the SARB017 with a classic brown patterned leather strap. That said, despite its comfortable fit, many owners of the Seiko SARB017 found the leather band to be a not-so-favorite part of this watch. This is largely due to the strap’s slightly plastic feel, which makes it a little stiff to wear. Thankfully, this wristwatch has a universal 20mm lug width, which allows users to easily replace the patterned leather strap with any other kind of after-market strap of their choice. As such, you can decide to either keep the strap or swap it for some other bracelet that perfectly suits your preferences. Price Before Seiko discontinued the SARB017 in 2018, the timepiece would retail at around $450 USD to $550 USD in Japanese domestic markets. Furthermore, as a member of the prestigious Seiko Alpinist line, this Seiko wristwatch is not something you can find just anywhere. Thankfully, there are sellers online who are currently in possession of a number of Seiko SARB017 pieces. Due to its demand and rarity, dealers tend to sell this Seiko timepiece for a much higher price than retail. An unworn SARB017 would generally cost you between $890 USD and $1,400 USD. If that seems a little too expensive for your budget, do not fret, for we have also found a Seiko SARB017 in good condition, selling at just $579 USD.  Alternatives Can’t find the watch anywhere? Not a fan of certain specifications? Whatever the case may be, we have prepared for you a list of excellent alternatives that nicely match the sleek aesthetics and overall feel of the SARB017 while costing you only a little more or a little less. Note that the prices listed below are approximate values as prices can vary depending on the dealer. Seiko Prospex SBDC091/SPB121J1 – $700 USD Just at a single glance, anyone can see that the Seiko Prospex SBDC091/SPB121J1‘s resemblance to the Seiko SARB017 Alpinist is uncanny. Before we proceed, you might be wondering why this Seiko Prospex model has two reference numbers. To make things clear, SBDC091 is the original reference number used locally in Japan, while SPB121J1 is its international reference number. Factually speaking, both reference numbers are correct. Seiko released the SBDC091/SPB121J1 in 2020, under the Prospex line. This timepiece was dubbed the Seiko Prospex Alpinist and features a slew of refined specs and up-to-date technology while still retaining the excellent qualities of the original 2006 model. So, just what is new with the Seiko Prospex Alpinist SBDC091/SPB121J1? Several things, to be precise. First of all, this 2020 Alpinist edition is a millimeter thicker than the SARB017. Instead of having a leather strap like the previous SARB017, Seiko couples the SBDC091/SPB121J1 with a new leather band made of calfskin. The calfskin band bears a lighter shade of brown and feels much smoother and more comfortable than the 2006 variant. Aside from that, the SBDC091/SPB121J1 also carries a new and improved sapphire crystal, which Seiko has treated with a layer of anti-reflective coating. With the addition of a cyclops lens on the sapphire crystal, wearers can also have a better view of the date window. As you look at the beguiling green dial, you will notice the Seiko Prospex logo and other compact inscriptions.  The differences don’t just stop there. Underneath the dial is an automatic Seiko 6R35 Caliber that runs numerous mechanisms within the timepiece. Compared to the 6R15 Caliber of its predecessor, the slightly larger 6R35 contains 24 jewels and has a power reserve that can last a whopping 70 hours. With the addition of 20 more hours of power reserve, owners of the SBDC091/SPB121J1 will not even have to wind their watches on the weekends. Apart from those differences, the 6R35 works just as well as the 6R15. It is just as accurate in timekeeping and produces the same number of vibrations per hour. That said, another difference between the two Alpinist models lies in their rear cases. While the SARB017 uses a solid stainless steel caseback to cover its hind end, the SBDC091/SPB121J1 showcases the beauty of the Seiko 6R35 movement through a highly secure see-through rear case. Lastly, we can compare and contrast the availability of the SARB017 and the SBDC091/SPB121J1. Since Seiko ceased production of the SARB017 back in 2018, stocks are limited, which, in turn, has affected its pricing. As stated previously, most SARB017 timepieces these days can cost you anything between $890 USD and $1,400 USD. On the other hand, if you find that a little exorbitant, you can opt for the SBDC091/SPB121J1 instead. Since the SBDC091/SPB121J1 is still being produced by Seiko and is, therefore, easier to find. It retails at a more budget-friendly price of $700 USD. Citizen Automatic NJ2198-16X Mechanical Field Watch – $170 USD If you are on a budget and cannot deal with the Seiko SARB017’s elevated prices, Citizen has a neat and affordable alternative for you. The Citizen Automatic NJ2198-16X is a green dial compass watch that proves to be highly competitive despite its lower retail price of $170 USD. That said, compared to the Seiko SARB017, the price of the Citizen NJ2198-16X does reflect some cuts in terms of quality. So, what are we getting from this watch with the $170 USD price tag, and how exactly does it fare against the SARB017? Let us find out. The Citizen NJ2198-16X comes in a 46mm stainless steel case. It has a bottle cap rotating compass bezel with very pronounced directions and degrees printed in white. Since this is a timepiece that costs less than $200 USD, it is no surprise that the watch uses a mineral crystal instead of luxury-grade sapphire. Mineral crystals are certainly more limited in terms of resistance, but they can still handle some light scratching. Furthermore, they might actually be more impact-resistant than sapphire glass is. The NJ2198-16X also boasts a screwed-down solid steel case rear which has a smoothly polished surface and some inscriptions on its outer rim. With all its exterior components, this Citizen watch is water-resistant up to depths of 100m. Citizen pairs the NJ2198-16X with a textile black and white leather strap. Apart from sharing the same green hue, the dial of this Citizen watch is quite different from the Seiko SARB017. Its boasts sizable Arabic numerals and thick hour indices. There is not much on the dial, except for the brand signature and the “automatic” specification of its movement. The true standout of the dial is its eccentric handset. It has a stubby minute hand and a red-outlined hour hand that resembles the standard-issue dark lightsaber of The Empire in Star Wars. The second hand has a white bubble and a red tip on its end. Visually, the dial comes off as a little plainer than both the SARB017 and its 2020 re-edition. Still, it does not look bad at all, with a clean aesthetic and well-spaced elements that are easy to read. Controlling the different gears and mechanisms of the NJ2198-16X is an automatic Citizen 8210 Caliber. Held together by 21 jewels, this mechanical movement produces 21,600 vibrations per hour and is manually hackable. It also possesses a power reserve of up to 40 hours. Not bad for a $170 USD timepiece.  While the Citizen NJ2198-16X is not quite up to par compared to the Seiko SARB017, it still proves to be an efficient timekeeper at a much more affordable price. If you are on a tight budget and appreciate its looks and qualities, the Citizen NJ2198-16X remains a good option. Final Thoughts Many would consider Seiko an underrated brand, not just because of its popularity, but on account of its reputation. As many of us know, Seiko, and Grand Seiko, are known for making stellar timepieces that step up to the quality of the likes of Rolex and Omega. Unfortunately, Seiko is commonly associated with mall brands, which, does not give it the same prestigious image as other Swiss watchmakers. Those who know the Japanese brand well agree that Seiko does not get the credit it rightfully deserves. All things considered, no words can rightfully describe how astounding this Seiko watch truly is. For something as relatively affordable as it is, you cannot go wrong with the Seiko SARB017. Boasting numerous hiking capabilities while still appearing sleek and stylish, it is easy to see why everyone wants to get their hands on this brilliant Seiko timepiece. Whether it is for navigating the mountains or upping your dress game at prestigious events, the SARB017 can get the job done right. It is a shame that, with its discontinuation, this iconic watch is not so easy to find nowadays. That said, while the Seiko SARB017 is indeed a rare specimen, its alternatives, the Citizen Automatic NJ2198-16X and the Seiko Prospex SBDC091/SPB121J1, are easier to find and are pretty nifty as well. Want to learn more about watch movements? Why not check out the most iconic caliber of them all, the Valjoux/ETA 7750. All photos credited to WatchShopping.com

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  9. Orient Kamasu: A Guide To The Expert Diver’s Watch

    Orient Kamasu: A Guide To The Expert Diver’s Watch

    Ever since Orient entered into the world of horology, it has received a great deal of respect in the community for producing high-quality, well-designed timepieces. All of their watches are made to honor Japan’s traditions and values. When you wear a Japanese watch, it is not just about wearing it to complete your newest fashionable look. Rather, you are actually wearing a piece of the country’s state-of-the-art technology, as is the case with the Orient Kamasu Red and Orient Kamasu Green models.  Since they are both renowned Japanese brands, Orient watches are often mistaken for and even compared to Seiko watches. These two popular watchmaking brands have their own individual expertise in craftsmanship and different inspirations for producing watches. While Orient is part of the Seiko Group, they can still be considered two different brands as both are distinct when it comes to their operations and productions.  Today, let us get into the Orient Kamasu, which is one of the toughest competitors to the Seiko SKX line. Read more about the Orient Kamasu’s exceptional qualities below and see just why it is one of the most popular timepieces today. Get To Know The Orient Kamasu  The Kamasu collection got its name from a distinctive sea creature, which is the Barracuda. Barracudas are big and fearsome fishes that are widely considered to be strong and inquisitive. Its long and thin body allows it to move rapidly, at speeds of around 36 mph (58 kph). Despite its terrifying appearance, the barracuda is an animal that receives utmost interest from professional divers around the world. The Orient Kamasu mirrors the fish’s features, specifically the teeth, which are mimicked through the sharp, triangular indices and handset of the Kamasu. Since its release in 2019, the Orient Kamasu has thrived among the thousands of dive watches on the market. This is largely due to its superior elements, robust functions, and much more affordable prices compared to other brands. One of the Kamasu’s most remarkable highlights is its wearability. Most users cannot deny the fact how smooth the watch feels against the wrist. Its solid structure, with polished surfaces and no sharp edges, also gives off the impression of being very well-crafted. One improvement Orient has made with the Kamasu is that it fixes the problems of old Orient watches, such as the lack of hand-winding, hacking movement, and poor hand functions. To address these shortcomings, Orient has equipped the Kamasu with a new automatic caliber that has increased accuracy of ±15 seconds from -25/+35  seconds accuracy per day and comes with a stops-second function. This caliber is used in a number of Orient Kamasu variants, including the Orient Kamasu Red Ref. RA-AA0003R19A, the Orient Kamasu Green Ref. RA-AA0004E19A, the Orient Kamasu Blue Ref. RA-AA0006L19A, and more.  Orient Kamasu’s Specifications and Overview An affordable price does not have to equate to low-quality and poor performance, and the Orient Kamasu is certainly proof of that. If you are planning to purchase a reliable dive watch, but you’re also working with a tight budget, look no further than the Orient Kamasu collection. Let us take a deeper look at its features and functions. Case Case Diameter: 41.8mmCase Thickness: 12.8mmCase Material: Stainless steelBand Width: 22mmLug-to-lug Distance: 46.8mmThe case is a crucial component of any watch, and as such Orient devoted a great deal of effort into creating a good one for the Orient Kamasu. The Kamasu has a well-proportioned case size of 41.8mm and a lug-to-lug distance of 46.8mm with a 22mm lug width, so it can fit comfortably on the wrists of both men and women. Despite being a robust watch, the Kamasu is not too bulky or sporty and is just versatile enough to fit most fashion senses. The case itself is crafted from corrosion-resistant stainless steel, with a brushed surface on top and well-polished surfaces on the sides. Stainless steel is not just anti-corrosive but is also impact-proof and able to withstand being accidentally knocked around, especially when used in everyday life. This durability makes the Orient Kamasu perfect for people with adventurous and outdoorsy lifestyles. You will also notice the Kamasu’s properly curved lugs, tucked without reaching beyond the bottom of the screw-down caseback and with no harsh edges. The curved lugs sit well on the wrist, making the experience of wearing this watch a comfortable one that will not wear your wrist out throughout the day. In addition, the brand’s craftsmanship is shown in the gradual transition from having a brushed finish to a polished finish. Using solid, dense materials like stainless steel can sometimes make a case too heavy for a wearer, especially for those with more petite wrists. However, the Orient Kamasu only weighs 6oz, or 170g, which is considered quite lightweight for a dive watch. Its overall case design is also reminiscent of a traditional sports watch, so people who prefer a sportier vibe will be quite satisfied with the Kamasu. Dial The dials in the Orient Kamasu come in a variety of colors like red, dark green, blue, and black. Perhaps the favorite of most watch enthusiasts is the wine red dial. The subtle gradient red dial with a ruby sunburst pattern shines impeccably when reflected under direct light. As mentioned, the triangular hour and minute markers, as well as the thick handset, are all inspired by the Barracuda’s sharp teeth. The second hand is the most distinctive of all, as it has a thin and long shape, stretching up to reach the minute markers and give an accurate reading of time.  All Orient Kamasu watches are equipped with day and date displays that are nicely framed at the 3 o’clock position. You can see that the numerals in the date display are perfectly sized so as to be clearly visible regardless of the lighting conditions. LumiBrite technology is also added to indices, the handset, and the day and date aperture to give you a handy glow-in-the-dark watch when in the dark. On the dial, you can find the brand’s name, logo, the water-resistance capacity of the watch, and the movement used, all delicately printed and spaced out. Unlike other dive watches, the Orient Kamasu does not come with a chapter ring that makes the dial appear larger, which is a rather unique choice. Instead, the Kamasu maintains a slim and lightweight appearance.  Crown and Bezel The Orient Kamasu also features a secure screw-down crown, placed in the customary 3 o’clock position. It has the Orient logo engraved into it, and is well-sized, just enough to be functional and easy to grip. The solid teeth-shaped ridges also help to provide the wearer a more secure hold on the crown. As with most Japan-made crowns, the crown of the Kamasu is waterproof, styled to have a long post and a direct o-ring gasket. You might observe that the Orient Kamasu’s crown is slightly smaller compared to other watch brands. This is intentionally done so that the crown will not get in the way, scratching against the wearer’s wrist or getting easily damaged. The crown is often one of the most vulnerable parts of a watch, so Orient has designed it to be slightly smaller, with secure crown guards for extra protection. In addition, the Kamasu also has a 120-click unidirectional bezel, a standard requirement for diving watches. It rotates counter-clockwise providing a safe and consistent pattern for divers to track their bottom times. That said, if you are a professional diver, you know that the deeper you dive into the depths of the ocean, the darker it is, and the poorer your visibility will be. To ameliorate this, Orient has equipped the Kamasu with a luminescent bezel for accurate timekeeping even underwater. The 120-click function of the bezel also gives you better and more precise accuracy when aligning the zero markers at the bezel tip to the minute hand. Bracelet The Kamasu watches come in either stainless steel bracelets or rubber straps, depending on which model you choose to have. The stainless steel bracelets are water-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and able to withstand variations in temperature. They are easy to clean, and because of the material, do not soak up or retain any kind of sweat after thorough exercise. Stainless steel bracelets can be a little heavy on the wrist, but they are also very versatile and can blend well with almost any style.  On the other hand, if you frequently engage in water activities, rubber straps might be preferable. Rubber is best used underwater. They are built from materials like silicone and polyurethane, which tend to be more lightweight, comfortable, and incredibly resistant to water. So if you intend to regularly exercise the Orient Kamasu’s capabilities as a dive watch, you might want to opt for a rubber strap. Movement An F6922 Caliber Automatic powers all the models under the Kamasu collection. It is a self-winding, automatic movement equipped with 22 jewels. This powerful in-house movement provides functions including hours, minutes, central sweep seconds, and a day/date indicator. Orient has claimed that the movement comes with an accuracy of -15 seconds to +25 seconds a day. Of course, this depends on the surrounding temperature, as well as the winding mechanism and the dial’s position. The F6922 Caliber comes with a 40-hour power reserve, which is more than sufficient for a modern mid-range dive watch today. It also has self-winding and hacking features, which are great additions to this movement, since many other dive watches lack them. You just have to make sure to carefully maintain the accuracy of the watch by wearing it for at least eight hours a day and setting the date within the hours of 8:00pm and 4:00am. Top Orient Kamasu Watches 1. Orient Kamasu Red RA-AA0003R19A For a price of just $280 USD, you can get this beautifully masculine Orient Kamasu Red. The case of this watch is almost exactly like that of the Orient Ray II. It is 41.8mm wide and measures 46.88mm from lug to lug, large enough to fit well on any man’s wrist. The bracelet is made of 316L stainless steel with a push-button deployant clasp. The bracelet uses a solid, Oyster-style link, so you don’t have to worry about its durability. The jet-black bezel also stands out from the usual dive watches in the market, with dotted patterns in between bold white numerals. The real highlight of the Orient Kamasu Red, however, is the red sunburst pattern on the dial, especially when positioned at the right angle, and with perfect lighting. At the 3 o’clock position is the day and date aperture, enclosed in a silver frame and placed against a white background. The color combination of red, white, and silver against the wine-red dial provides a good contrast, giving the wearer a clear and visible display. 2. Orient Kamasu Blue RA-AA0002L19A Another variation of the Orient Kamasu is the model with a deep blue dial and bezel. Just like the other pieces, this can be bought for $280 USD. This price is a great deal for a dive watch, especially given its top-notch features and functions. The Orient Kamasu blue has a 41.8mm size diameter, which is great for those who want a mid-sized watch with a comfortably lightweight profile for water activities. The contrast of its smooth silver finish and royal blue bezel and dial adds a level of class and elegance, so you could easily wear this watch to more formal suit-and-tie occasions as well. As with other Kamasu watches, this Orient Kamasu Blue comes with a flat sapphire crystal. Sapphire is one of the hardest materials used in luxury watches. Not only is it scratch-resistant, but it is also durable enough to withstand impacts, cracks, and breaks, unlike glass or plastic materials. The use of sapphire gives the dial a great deal of protection. 3. Orient Kamasu Black RA-AA0005B19A The Orient Kamasu Black RA-AA0005B19A is the latest addition to the Kamasu collection. Despite looking strikingly different from most other Kamasu models, it retails at the same affordable price of $280 USD, making this a piece worth checking out indeed. This model of the Orient Kamasu features gold accents on its bezel, indices, and hands set that contrast handsomely with the sharp black dial and strap. A slim profile highlights the entire case, giving it an air of sophistication that makes it a good match for any outfit and occasion. This model has a different look than the others in this collection. It uses silicone as its strap material instead. Silicone is a good material for sports watches since it is highly resistant to low and high temperatures. It is also more flexible and does not hurt the wrist, especially when you are doing intense sports activities. The Orient Kamasu Black also uses an Ardillon buckle for the clasp, adding a classic and simple look that’s well-suited for men. This is a more traditional option for watchmakers who want to design an easy-to-wear watch. This kind of clasp only needs to be clipped onto the buckle and pinned securely on the wrist. It has a flatter profile, a more classic design, and is less expensive. One problem with this clasp is that the Ardillon buckle can sometimes come open while being worn, so wearers have to be careful with this watch to make sure it does not fall off unexpectedly. 4. Orient Kamasu Green RA-AA0004E19A The Orient Kamasu Green RA-AA0004E19A is another best-selling timepiece for men. Just like the previous watches, it has a 41.8mm stainless steel case and 47mm lug-to-lug length. For a price of $280, it showcases a dark green dial with a beautiful sunburst pattern, which changes its color depending on the reflection of light. This timepiece also comes with a matching dark green bezel, with its 60-minute scale printed on it in a contrasting white hue. The Barracuda-inspired indices of the Orient Kamasu Green are generously coated with luminous material, which is very important for a dive watch, as it guarantees optimal readability even in dim lighting conditions. A substantial power reserve of 40 hours ensures that you don’t have to constantly wind this watch to keep it running. Orient Kamasu vs Seiko SKX  Anyone interested in the horology industry knows that these two lines of Japanese watches are always compared with each other. In fact, the Orient Kamasu and Seiko SKX are likely each other’s greatest competitors in the industry of watchmaking. They both set a high standard for entry-level dive watches in the market.  Though Orient is part of the Seiko Group, it maintains itself as a distinctive brand, with its own unique timepieces and innovations. Although Orient watches tend to be of slightly inferior quality compared to Seiko timepieces, the Kamasu collection was specially designed to be an improvement on the old models, featuring cutting-edge innovation and top-notch craftsmanship. It is Orient’s crowning glory, both in terms of aesthetics and functions offered. Combined with the fact that it is available at a very competitive price, the Orient Kamasu’s superior aspects cannot be ignored by many watch collectors. So, how exactly does the Kamasu fare against the Seiko SKX? Firstly, the case of the Seiko SKX has a polished finish, with slender curves and no sharp edges. It has a slightly larger case size of 42.3mm and offers a variety of colors for the dial. And to support the inner adventurer in you, it uses Seiko’s Hardlex crystal, which is proven to be resistant to everyday wear and tear, to protect the dial. An ISO-certified 200-meter water resistance capacity is another great feature that the watch possesses, as wearers can bring the Seiko SKX with them to poolside diving, swimming, snorkeling, and other such water activities. The Orient Kamasu, on the other hand, is lightly brushed on the top. It features the Orient brand logo delicately carved into its case back. A closer look at the dial reveals to you a beguiling and subtle gradient texture, which is great for those who don’t want a dial with just one solid color. To protect its dial, it uses a sapphire crystal, which is also known to be extremely scratch-resistant and is commonly used in durable watches. The Kamasu watches have a smaller case size of 41.8mm, so they can be worn more comfortably by both men and women. While the Orient Kamasu does not have an ISO rating, it does feature the same 200-meter water resistance, just like the Seiko SKX. The movement used is also a big determiner in the competition between these two watches. The Kamasu’s Caliber F6922 is an innovative movement with features like hand-winding and hacking and features +25 / -15 seconds accuracy per day. The Seiko SKX, on the other hand, only provides an accuracy of +50/-20 per day and does not come with hand-winding or hacking functions. In terms of the accuracy of timekeeping and the robustness of the features offered, the Kamasu clearly wins this round. Price is yet another deciding factor between these two models. Orient retails at a lower price of $280 USD, while the Seiko SKX can be purchased for an approximate price of $400 USD. Note also that the SKX collection has been discontinued; as such, prices may change depending on the independent seller you are dealing with. Most people can tell you that Seiko SKX is a popular, historical, and established collection of dive watches. On the other hand, the Orient Kamasu is a perfect example of a new challenger, a risk-taker that gives you a better value for money. All of its watches are made to give a modern, youthful look for a wearer. Final Thoughts If you are planning to get yourself a practical and functional diver’s watch, the Orient Kamasu will definitely be a great pick for you. On the whole, it offers plenty of features for a very affordable price point. The sapphire crystal, 40-hour power reserve, hardy stainless steel case, robust Caliber F6922, handy uni-directional bezel, secure screw-down crown, and wide range of models available for your choosing are more than enough to justify the affordable $280 USD price.  The Orient Kamasu will make for a great companion during your outdoor activities. Not only does it come with many useful functions to fulfill your every need, but its versatile look, which is not too sporty or bulky, also makes it great for everyday wear. Looking for a dive watch that would allow you to explore even greater ocean depths? Check out our list of recommended Deep-Sea Dive Watches and find a watch perfect for your next deep-sea mission.  Photo credits: All photos courtesy of the brand’s official websites.

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  10. Tudor North Flag: A Guide to Classic Yet Underrated Chronograph

    Tudor North Flag: A Guide to Classic Yet Underrated Chronograph

    Although Tudor first became known as the sister company of the more prestigious watch brand Rolex, the company allowed this to be a reason not to establish its own reputable name in the watch industry. In fact, over the years, Tudor has developed into one of the most highly-coveted Swiss watchmakers with its luxurious and refined timepieces that are available at very reasonable prices. It offers a range of top-notch watches that cater to the needs of both men and women who wish to own a high-caliber timekeeper. Aside from that, Tudor is also known for many innovations in the world of horology, such as the creation of its own first-ever caliber movement, the Caliber MT5621, which you can find in the Tudor North Flag. This particular collection features many classic and cutting-edge timepieces, with the Caliber MT5621 providing exceptionally precise timekeeping as well. That said, the Tudor North Flag has been a remarkably underrated line of watches. In this article, we’ll take a look at the Tudor North Flag in detail and break down just why it deserves more attention from watch enthusiasts. Tudor’s First in-House Calibre Photo by Manuel Rebic from Flickr The Tudor North Flag, as mentioned, stood out because it featured the brand’s first-ever powerful in-house Caliber MT5621. As earlier versions of Tudor watches were equipped with caliber movements from external suppliers, the creation of its first in-house movement was a massive milestone for the brand. In fact, this was the major shift that allowed the brand to establish its own identity in the watch community and no longer be referred to as just a sister brand of Rolex. While it is true that the Tudor Pelagos was the first watch to be powered by the Caliber MT5621, it was the Tudor North Flag that proudly showcased its excellent functions and mechanisms with the North Flag’s see-through caseback. This feature is not one often found in Rolex watches, making the Tudor North Flag all the more distinctive. In fact, the Tudor North Flag serves as a testament to how Tudor expertly carves out its niche, setting itself apart from Rolex. The Inspiration Behind Tudor North Flag’s Existence Named after the British North Greenland Expedition, the Tudor North Flag actually takes inspiration from the 1952 expedition’s Oyster Prince time-telling accessory, as well as the exceptional 1970’s Tudor Ranger II. The Oyster Prince was historically crafted to be used by the crew of the British North Greenland Expedition back in 1952, which means that it was designed to be a reliable, robust, and highly accurate timepiece that could survive being exposed to all sorts of extreme environments. The Tudor North Flag took from the Oyster Prince a similar identity of being a tough, rigid, and highly precise timekeeper intended for the hardiest of survivalists. With regards to the overall design of the Tudor North Flag, on the other hand, a quick glance makes it immediately apparent that it has a resemblance to Tudor’s own Ranger II, an iconic timepiece from way back in the 1970s. Like the Ranger II, the Tudor North Flag features a similar arrow-shaped handset filled with lume and a heavy-based chapter ring. One difference between the two watches, however, is that the Tudor North Flag does not adopt the Ranger II’s oversized fluted bezel, opting instead for a smoother and more refined bezel. All in all, the Tudor North Flag is a fresh, modern take on the Ranger II. Up Close with Tudor North Flag Case Material: Stainless steel Dial: Black Case diameter: 40mm Movement: Calibre MT5621 Power reserve: 70 hours Water resistance: 100m Case and Bezel Right from the outset, the most striking feature you’re likely to notice from the unique Tudor North Flag is its sophisticated case. Crafted as a luxury sports watch, the stainless steel case of this timepiece has a slim build and clean lines with its sharp, angular edges. In addition, it features a high-tech steel bezel that is unusually lined with black ceramic on the outer rim and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that serves as protection for the dial. With its proportionate 40mm case diameter, previous owners have reported that the Tudor North Flag is extremely comfortable on the wrist, with a size that is just right. Its incorporated lugs and tapered crown are fine details that add to the lightweight profile of the watch. Along with its substantial 100m water resistance, this timepiece displays a contemporary appearance that is a modern twist on the vintage Tudor Ranger II. Dial The dial of the Tudor North Flag is yet another highlight of this handsome timepiece, as it boasts an avant-garde and minimalistic style. Along with its rectangular hour markers, the watch also displays two oversized Arabic numerals at 6 and 12 o’clock that dominate the black dial. The numerals and hour markers are all wrapped in white lume to provide excellent visibility even in poor lighting conditions. You will also notice the small rectangular date aperture located at the 3 o’clock position and a bright yellow power reserve indicator located at 9 o’clock that serves as a splash of color to the dial. This power reserve also works as a rotating disc, adding a touch of contemporaneity to this timepiece. Another elegant feature of the Tudor North Flag is its luminous silver-toned hour and minute hands, and vibrant yellow seconds hand with a rectangular tip. The white and yellow handset smartly contrasts against the black dial, which adds to the legibility of this timepiece. We can also find the Tudor name and logo printed on the dial, right under the 12 o’clock marker. Lume Tudor ensures that the hour markers and hands of the North Flag are all either coated or filled with luminescent material. This gives it a gorgeous light blue glow in low-lighting conditions, making time-telling easy no matter where you are. This is one of the most essential features a timepiece must have and the brand’s use of a high-end lume for the Tudor North Flag highlights how Tudor spared no expense in crafting this watch. Movement While the gorgeous aesthetics of the Tudor North Flag are definitely an eye-catcher, the real show-stopper when it comes to this watch is its movement. The Caliber MT5621 movement is, as previously mentioned, Tudor’s first-ever in-house caliber movement. It was a significant turning point for Tudor, as this ability to craft a top-notch movement with excellent engineering and craftsmanship helped the brand to build its own reputation instead of just being identified as a sister company of Rolex. As the Tudor North Flag was the primary vehicle that Tudor used to introduce the Caliber MT5621, this gives the watch a special status in the Tudor catalog and history indeed. Going back to Caliber MT5621 movement, it is a top-notch automatic movement that features a 4Hz beat rate, a bidirectional winding system equipped with an anti-magnetic silicon hairspring, and an adjustable inertia oscillator. It is a COSC-certified chronometer with a record of accuracy rating of not more than -2/+4 seconds, and as such is a highly reliable, accurate, and functional movement that you can rely on for years to come. It also features a whopping power reserve of up to 70 hours. This is a particular standout compared to other high-end sports watches, which tend to only offer up to 40 hours of power reserve. Moreover, this in-house movement is also surprisingly durable. Not only is it able to withstands shocks and external vibrations, but it is also anti-magnetic and has superior dimensional stability. It features a free-spring balance wheel, a design that is characteristic of high-end Swiss-made movements like those from prominent watchmakers Patek Philippe and Rolex. The mechanisms of the Caliber MT5621 can be observed through the see-through case back of the Tudor North Flag, allowing wearers to appreciate the grand and efficient design of this movement. Bracelet/Strap Tudor offers two different options for the strap of the North Flag. You can choose between a brushed, professional stainless steel strap or a yellow-stitched, black leather strap. The former is crafted with a solid satin finish, which blends perfectly with the matching stainless steel case. The yellow and black leather strap, on the other hand, pairs well with the neon accents visible on the Tudor North Flag’s sporty dial. Regardless of which one you opt to use, both straps are crafted by Tudor to be durable and easy to wear. Both of them feature safety catches and folding clasps that allow the straps to fit nicely and securely around wrists of any size. Pros and Cons of Tudor North Flag Despite all of the impressive attributes of the Tudor North Flag, it is not quite the perfect timepiece. That is why, before making a decision on the Tudor North Flag, you want to make sure to consider all the good and the bad first. We’ve come up with a list of pros and cons so you really know what you’re getting with the Tudor North Flag. Pros Excellent build and quality finish.  Each component of the Tudor North Flag watch is skillfully crafted by the brand to ensure its durability, reliability, and functionality. Furthermore, knowing that Tudor is one of the most reputable Swiss watchmakers, you can rest assured that it only uses premium materials to create its timepieces, and the Tudor North Flag is no exception.Equipped with Tudor’s first in-house movement and COSC-certified chronometer. One of the most noteworthy features of the Tudor North Flag is that it is equipped with the brand’s first-ever in-house movement, the Caliber MT5621. This movement is shock-resistant and has anti-magnetic capabilities, making it a durable movement with a long shelf life. It is also commended for its highly precise timekeeping, showcasing the identity and reliability of a genuine Swiss-made movement.Known for its affordability. Another highlight of the North Flag watch is its budget-friendly pricing. Considering the robust features this watch offers, getting it at a price that will not break your bank is certainly considered a steal. Cons Limited strap options. If you’re the type of person who loves to switch up the straps of your timepiece for different occasions, then sadly, this Tudor North Flag might not be for you. Although it has incorporated lugs to provide greater comfort against the wearer’s wrists, there isn’t really a diversity of choice available in terms of strap options. As mentioned, these North Flag watches only come with two types of straps, formal stainless steel, or a sporty black and yellow leather version. An alternative solution is to buy a custom-made strap, which, unfortunately, can be quite expensive.Not as popular as other Tudor collections. Despite all the features the Tudor North Flag offers, it remains quite an underrated timepiece. If you’re planning to buy a watch to invest in for the future, buying this watch might be a risk for you, particularly when it comes to resale value, as it isn’t as heavily sought-after as some of its Tudor peers. Two Variants of Tudor North Flag  1. TUDOR North Flag 91210N-0002 One notable feature of this version is its stunning black dial, boasting a contemporary and classic sporty look. This Tudor North Flag 91210N-0002 features a 40mm stainless steel case, a sapphire crystal to add extra protection to its dial, a see-through skeleton caseback, and a smooth black leather strap with a fold-over safety clasp to complete the overall classy, sporty look. It is equipped with the brand’s first-ever in-house automatic movement, famous for its high accuracy and resistance to shocks and magnetism. Aside from that, this Tudor model also comes equipped with a water resistance rating of up to 100 meters. You’ll notice that the handy date aperture can also be found at the 3 o’clock position. This first version of the Tudor North Flag is available for only $3,939 USD. 2. TUDOR North Flag 91210N-0001 This second version of Tudor North Flag features all the same characteristics as the previous watch. It also has a 40mm round stainless steel case with integrated lugs, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and a see-through caseback that showcases the watch’s in-house Caliber MT5621 movement. It has an impressive power reserve of up to 70 hours and is equipped with 100 meters of water resistance. The only difference of this Tudor North Flag 91210N-0001 is its strap, which is made of stainless steel and offers more of a professional, classic feel with its clean geometry. This version is just a little pricier, retailing at $4,499 USD. Final Thoughts We can’t deny that we tend to opt for the most prestigious watchmakers like Rolex, Tag Heuer, or Omega when looking at Swiss luxury watch brands. Sometimes, we forget that it is not just the most prominent brands that are worthy of interest or capable of delivering high-quality timepieces. Indeed, Tudor, with its luxurious and reliable watches available at very reasonable prices, is definitely one to keep an eye on. In particular, the Tudor North Flag is a classic and functional timepiece that offers highly accurate timekeeping and a handsomely contemporary aesthetic. This timepiece was the vehicle through which Tudor introduced its first-ever in-house movement, which adds to the historical significance and depth of the Tudor North Flag as well, as part of this impressive Tudor milestone. At the end of the day, the Tudor North Flag is a durable, reliable, and functional time-telling accessory with an important history to boot. For these reasons, it is an excellent and underrated piece perfect for watch enthusiasts looking to expand their collections. Looking for other Tudor watches you would definitely want to add to your collection? Check our article on the Best Picks From Tudor Watches. All photos are credited to Watchshopping.com unless stated otherwise. Featured image from Manuel Rebic on Flickr.

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  11. A Guide To Buying The Perfect IWC Portofino

    A Guide To Buying The Perfect IWC Portofino

    The IWC Portofino is a diverse collection of exceptional timepieces. With hand-wound, automatic, chronograph, moon phase, and even tourbillon models, the Portofino is as eclectic as it gets. Despite having a great variety of models, the IWC Portofino collection adheres to tradition as its cornerstone concept. IWC is a Swiss watchmaking brand renowned for its excellent quality and timeless designs. In this guide, we will help you discover all you need to know about the IWC Portofino. Furthermore, we will also take a look at some of the different pieces in the series and find out which Portofino truly belongs to your wrist. History of the IWC Portofino Image By: IWC Schaffhausen The story of the IWC Portofino began in the 1980s when watchmakers around the world were still recovering from the quartz crisis. While other brands were looking for modern ways to remain relevant in changing times, IWC decided to look further into the past. Instead of looking for contemporary methods to create new timepieces, the brand stuck to more conventional roots by seeking inspiration from an ageless design that has proven itself time and time again. For this, they looked to one of the most prolific watchmakers in history, Jean-Antione Lepine. Lepine is well-known for his signature 18th-century pocket watch. His iconic timepiece stands as one of the most recognised watches ever made and features a design that remains a classic from generation to generation. Preparing for their future by looking into the past, IWC knew that they were onto something potentially game-changing. Through extensive deliberation and expert craftsmanship, the Swiss brand was able to develop the IWC Portofino. IWC Portofino Models Throughout the Years 1980s IWC introduced the Portofino collection in 1984. Their first model, the IWC Portofino Ref. 5251, was a sleek and elegant timepiece showcasing a vintage look with horological elements attributed to Jean-Antione. Taking influence from his famous pocket watch, the Ref. 5251 sported an oversized case and a plain white dial with Breguet hands, Roman numerals, a seconds display, and a moon phase indicator. With all these things put together, the IWC Portofino Ref. 5251 had the appearance of a classic pocket watch for the wrist. What made this timepiece particularly unforgettable was its moon phase function. Bearing a golden moon by the 3 o’clock position that strikingly contrasted the white surface, the dial of the Ref. 5251 resembled that of a freshly cooked sunny-side-up egg. As a result, collectors started nicknaming this premiere piece “The Fried Egg.” In 1988, IWC added two more models to the Portofino, namely, Ref. 3730 and Ref. 3731. These two watches housed an innovative movement known as the Caliber 631 or the “Mechaquartz.” The Caliber 631 was a hybrid movement conceived by the creative minds of Jaeger-LeCoultre. While it was technically a quartz movement, the Caliber 631 came equipped with mechanical chronograph functions. The Ref. 3730 and Ref. 3731 featured a handy rotating date display located at the outer rims of their respective dials.  1990s Five years later, IWC created a classic dress watch that was more minimalistic than its previous offerings, the Ref. 2010. This 1993 model was one of the smallest Portofino models IWC ever made. It displayed a modest aesthetic with gold stick hands and hour indices. Underneath the Ref. 2010 was IWC’s Caliber H/849 — a flat hand-wound movement that was only 1.85mm thick. This watch underwent production from 1993 to 2005. In 1995, IWC engineered the Ref. 3050 Romana Perpetual Calendar, the collection’s first perpetual chronograph. This was one of the slimmest perpetual chronographs ever produced and was in the foreground of IWC’s shelves until 2001. It highlighted a hand-wound movement and a timeless design beloved by all. 2000s The IWC Ref. 3533 Portofino Automatic is a model developed with IWC’s community. By garnering feedback from their audience during the 1990s, IWC created a traditional Portofino with a more sizable case. The Ref. 3533 bore a design similar to the collection’s Ref. 2010, but with very different specifications. The Portofino Automatic Ref.3533 highlighted an automatic caliber with new complications such as central seconds and a date function at 3 o’clock. 2008 marked the brand’s 140th anniversary. To commemorate the momentous occasion, IWC released an exclusive collection featuring re-editions of their most coveted watches. Among those timepieces was a tribute to the very first Portofino, the Portofino Vintage. While bearing the Ref. 5251’s iconic elegant design, the Portofino Vintage showcased IWC’s in-house Caliber 98800, which relocated the moon phase indicator to the 12 o’clock position and the seconds display to 6 o’clock. Watch enthusiasts were delighted to see the return of the moon phase indicator. Additionally, IWC offered the new Portofino Vintage with an exhibition-style caseback for wearers to view the movement at work. 2010s In 2011, IWC established the Ref. 5101 Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days. Bearing the brand’s newest hand-wound caliber, the Ref. 5101 stands at the forefront of IWC as the flagship model of the Portofino line. The dial of the new IWC Portofino displays several chronograph complications such as a date function, a seconds display, and a power indicator. Although it has numerous robust features, the dial bears a clean and uncluttered look, promoting easy readability. Underneath the dial is the IWC-manufactured Caliber 59210. Possessing the brand’s latest technology, the Caliber 59210 features a power reserve that can last up to 192 hours or eight days. With such a brilliant innovation, wearers of the Ref. 5101 would only have to wind this luxurious timepiece once every week. Exceptional and sophisticated all around, the Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days is one of IWC’s most capable and popular Portofino models ever. Three years later, IWC crafted the latest edition to the Portofino collection, the Portofino Automatic 37. The Portofino Automatic 37 brings a slew of wonderfully crafted, mid-sized three-hand models to the IWC Portofino collection. Its case measures 37mm in diameter, which is perfect for those with more slender wrists. Through this timepiece, the Portofino collection once again expands its variety. With two-button chronographs, moon phase watches, quartz movements, automatic movements, two-hand models, and now three-hand models, the Portofino was nothing short of diversified. In 2017, IWC created their latest in-house chronograph caliber, which was the Caliber 59800. The new movement featured a moon phase indicator along with IWC’s ground-breaking eight-day power reserve. Holding IWC’s latest horological innovations, the brand then integrated the Caliber 59800 into their Ref. 5101s models in the same year. On their 150th anniversary in 2018, IWC brought the spotlight back to the Portofino Automatic by unveiling a limited edition variant known as the IWC Portofino Automatic 150 Years. This upgraded automatic wristwatch showcases an eye-catching blue lacquer-finished dial with a sleek rhodium-plated handset. IWC limited this exclusive version of the Portofino Automatic to 2000 models. Sheltered by a 40mm stainless steel case, the Portofino Automatic 150 Years suits the wrists of both ladies and gentlemen. The showcase, however, didn’t stop there. A year later, IWC introduced a luxurious edition of the IWC Portofino Automatic, which featured a petite 34mm 18K gold case with 104 diamond studs encrusted around its surface. Accompanied by an embossed silver-plated dial, this new 34mm automatic timepiece is now the most prestigious ladies’ model in the IWC Portofino line. Exploring the IWC Portofino Family The IWC Portofino line is home to all kinds of timepieces. Ranging from automatic watches, moon phase watches, chronograph watches, and more, you definitely won’t be running out of choices with the IWC Portofino. But with so many variations, it can be quite the challenge to pin down the ideal watch for you. Rather than going through every single model in the collection, we have hand-picked a few timepieces that truly embody the heritage and core aspects of the IWC Portofino. Prices for the IWC Portofino start at $4,900 USD and increase from there. Depending on the model, the materials used, and the features offered, a brand-new Portofino can cost you up to $58,000 USD. While prices for the IWC Portofino aren’t strictly top-of-the-line, you would still get more value for your money if you purchased a model from the pre-owned market.  IWC Portofino Automatic Watches The Portofino collection primarily consists of classic automatic watches. With a timeless look and a highly recognisable build, the IWC Portofino Automatic stands out as an excellent tribute to the vintage pocket watch of a bygone era. Each Portofino Automatic holds a black, white, or blue dial and uses stainless steel or 18K 5N rose gold for its case. IW356504 Portofino Automatic The IWC Portofino Automatic IW356504 is one of the most alluring and talked-about timepieces in the entire collection. With an exquisite 18K 5N rose gold case, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and a minimalist silver dial, the IW356504 brings back an ageless aesthetic with a modern twist. Underneath the dial is an automatic IWC 35111 Caliber. Carrying some of the latest technologies of IWC, the 35111 Caliber consists of a self-winding mechanism and a substantial 42-hour power reserve. IWC also pairs the IW356504 with a comfortable dark brown alligator leather strap. What makes this model truly unique, apart from the high-quality materials used, is its one-of-a-kind case back. When you look at the back of this watch, you can see a beautiful engraving of the Ligurian coast in all of its glory. Delicately carved, down to the smallest detail, the panoramic view perfectly captures a moment in Portofino frozen in time for all to admire. With a water resistance of 30m, the IW356504 Portofino Automatic retails at $12,800 USD. IW356502 Portofino Automatic For an automatic wristwatch with a more budget-friendly price, look no further than the Portofino Automatic IW356502. Unlike the IW356504, the case IW356502 is made from high-quality stainless steel. Furthermore, this version of the Portofino Automatic contains a stark black dial that satisfyingly contrasts against clean silver indices and hands and a stainless steel caseback. As a more affordable variant, the caseback of the IW356502 does not feature the Portofino engravings that can be seen in the collection’s more luxurious timepieces. All in all, the IW356502 costs $4,900 USD. IW459401 Portofino Automatic Moon Phase The IWC Portofino collection also features some automatic models with moon phase indicators. One of the most popular variants is the IW459401 Automatic Moon Phase. What sets the IW459401 apart is its moon phase indicator, which is run by an automatic IWC 35800 Caliber. With this added complication, the IW459401 becomes a more robust timepiece while still sporting a nostalgic vintage design. This IWC Moon Phase watch utilizes a hardy stainless steel case and sapphire glass to protect the entirety of the model. The IW459401 sells for just $6,900 USD. IWC Portofino Automatic Chronographs The IWC Portofino also offers an attractive selection of automatic chronographs. While bearing multiple complications that allow you to keep track of the various aspects of time, the Portofino chronographs still retain the neatness and timelessness that this prestigious collection is known for. The Portofino Chronograph can come with a white, black, or blue dial, and is housed in a 42mm case made from stainless steel or 18K 5N rose gold.  IW391027 Portofino Chronograph  The IW391027 Portofino Chronograph is an elegant timepiece with a sophisticated look. Crafted with the utmost care, it bears a clean and crisp design throughout its structure. The IW391027 comes in a sizeable 42mm stainless steel case paired with a classic dark brown alligator leather strap. Inside the round steel case is a clean, uncluttered silver-plated dial. Apart from the usual hours, minutes, and seconds functions, the dial also contains a few chronograph complications and a handy day and date window. Accompanied by sleek rhodium hands and indices, the dial is protected by a layer of sapphire glass. The IW391027 is operated by IWC’s 75320 Caliber. Held by 25 jewels, the 75320 Caliber is a self-winding, automatic movement with a power reserve that can last up to 44 hours. Covered by a stainless steel caseback, the IW391027 sells for $6,100 USD. IW391035 Portofino Chronograph Image By: IWC Schaffhausen Compared to the IW391027, the IW391035 Portofino Chronograph is a more luxurious variant. The timepiece has similar functions and dimensions to the IW391027 but uses a sensual 18K 5N rose gold case. Additionally, the IW391035 sports a striking royal blue dial that perfectly compliments its golden hands and indices. Located at the back of the timepiece is a rose gold caseback that showcases the artful engraving of the Portofino harbour. Since it is made from more exotic materials, the IW391035 Portofino Chronograph is slightly costlier, retailing at $16,800 USD. IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Watches This line of IWC Portofino timepieces is quite possibly the most popular among watch enthusiasts. Featuring IWC’s revolutionary eight-day power reserve, the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound boasts an impeccable design and practical innovations. Portofino Hand-Wound timepieces come in three forms: Original, Moon Phase, and Tourbillon Retrograde. IW510104 Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days Image By: IWC Schaffhausen The IW510104 Hand-Wound Eight Days is arguably the most iconic modern-day watch of the Portofino collection. The IW510104 comes in a 45mm 18K rose gold case paired with a dark brown alligator leather strap. Its dial features a slate-colored surface that contains golden hands and Roman numerals, complete with a power reserve indicator, a seconds display, and a date window. The watch runs on IWC’s highly capable 59210 Caliber. This in-house automatic caliber is capable of winding itself through the natural movement of the wearer’s hand and is capable of powering the IW510104 for eight whole days. Sealed by a see-through sapphire rear case, the IW510104 Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days is worth $19,800 USD. Another version of this Portofino comes with an additional moon phase indicator at the 12 o’clock position and costs $23,900 USD. IW510103 Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days If the IW510104 is too extravagant for your tastes, IWC also offers a subtler, more affordable version with similar specifications. Priced at $9,900 USD, the IW510103 Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days uses durable, scratch-resistant stainless steel to make its case. Its cool silver-plated dial showcases an analog layout, with a gold-toned set of hands and indices. This watch features the exact same complications that you can find in the slate dial of the IW510104. In general, the IW510103 bears capabilities and functions identical to more expensive variants of the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days watches, including the whopping eight-day power reserve. Brand-new vs. Pre-owned Once you decide to buy an IWC Portofino watch, your choices will boil down to whether you want a timepiece that is either brand-new or pre-owned. Both sides have their respective sets of pros and cons. Pre-owned watches are almost always more affordable than brand-new models. That said, it is pivotal to take into account all the aspects of the timepiece when discussing its price. A few factors that apply in this discussion include Portofino’s overall condition, the presence or absence of its original box and paperwork, and whether the whole piece still retains all its original parts. Generally, pre-owned Portofino timepieces can help buyers save up to 50% of their total budget. If you look hard enough for a second-hand Portofino, it is possible for you to find sellers who offer IWC Portofino watches with prices as low as $3,700 USD, although you have to be careful to double-check the authenticity of the watch and the condition it is in. Of course, buying a brand-new IWC Portofino from an authorized dealer eliminates all possible worries. However, each watch bears a value that runs the risk of depreciating over time. While Portofino watches resell quite well, it is crucial to consider all your options so that you invest in the right timepiece. If you know where to look, purchasing a pre-owned timepiece could be the better option compared to buying a Portofino that is brand-new. Having that choice allows you to own a fantastic IWC Portofino watch of nearly the same quality for a more budget-friendly price. Final Thoughts For thirty-seven years, the IWC Portofino has continued to be one of IWC Schaffhausen’s most outstanding collections. With its natural looks, gorgeous structure, robust features, and the public’s undying demand for classic watches, the Portofino holds an impressive reputation among men and women alike. By retaining the brand’s core values, the IWC Portofino collection establishes itself as a permanent member of the IWC family to look out for. Looking for a pilot watch? Here are the Best IWC Big Pilot watches for aviation enthusiasts. Featured Image By: IWC Schaffhausen

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