Charles Miller

Charles Miller

First Published: May 09, 2018
  1. Articles by Charles Miller
  2. Best Affordable Watch Brands Under $1,000

    Best Affordable Watch Brands Under $1,000

    The truth about the watch industry is that the majority of advertising dollars go towards selling ultra-luxury products. While there are a handful of consumers out there who can realistically spend $10K on a watch, most cannot. That being said, if you fit into the latter category, you don’t need to shy away from the entire market. In fact, there are a variety of great brands out there that don’t break the bank. I go through the best affordable watch brands in the section below. 1: Seiko This Japanese powerhouse is the king of affordable brands. The reason is that Seiko is 100% devoted to delivering an incredible amount of value in each product that they manufacture. So, whether you’re spending $75 on a basic watch or $500 on a more luxurious piece, you will know that you’re getting one of the best deals on the market. The history of this brand makes them even more charming, as they have played a significant role in the story that is the evolution of horology. 2: Casio If price is your number one concern, then Casio might be your top option. On the lower end of the spectrum, they offer products for as little as $10. You won’t be getting the most exceptional quality out of that purchase, but the price tag is unbeatable. The value Casio delivers gets even better as you reach more expensive watches in their catalog, too. As far as analog watches, they have dressy pieces, divers, and everything in between. Their claim to fame, though, is their ultra-tough G-Shock collection, so I would look there first when considering Casio. 3: Orient Orient is a lesser known Japanese brand that is actually owned by the Seiko group, which gives them an added layer of quality assurance. Still, they operate as their own company and bring a unique flair to the products they manufacture. The most popular of them are the Ray, Mako, and Bambino, but the rest of their catalog is full of excellent choices too. When it comes to discussing the best affordable watch brands, Orient is hard to beat. 4: Citizen Citizen is best known for two things. The first is their Eco-Drive movement, which makes almost all of their watches tick. It is unique because it is powered by solar energy, rather than a battery. This feature makes your watch function for much longer than a typical quartz movement. The second thing they’re known for is how much value they pack into each timepiece. While not up to the standard of luxury brands, Citizen delivers more watch for your money than just about anyone. 5: Hamilton Hamilton has a story that is quite a bit like other manufacturers. They began as a pocket watch company, but when the World Wars came along, the brand turned their attention to wristwatches. Of course, they thrived in this domain, and the rest is history. One thing that people love about Hamilton is their roots, as a brand founded in the United States. While they have since moved to Switzerland, that heritage is still charming. 6: Tissot You cannot leave Tissot out of any discussion regarding the best affordable watch brands. Two factors make this brand unique on this list. The first is their rich history, which goes back to the 1800s. The second is that they’re a classic Swiss brand, rather than being Japanese. While some of you will not care about the origin of your watch, others will enjoy having a piece of Swiss heritage on their wrists. Those in the latter group should definitely check out Tissot. 7: Timex While Hamilton began in the United States and then moved to Switzerland, Timex has been in the US since the beginning. All that time, they’ve produced affordable watches with a surprising amount of quality. They are workhouse pieces for many people around the country and are one of the best buys on the market. This company also has a range of products that they sell. On the one hand, you can purchase their cheapest models for under $50. On the other, they also sell some really great products in the $100-300 range. Ultimately, no matter what you’re looking for, Timex will deliver. Let me be the first to tell you that getting a great watch doesn’t have to require more than $1,000. Instead, you can spend a more realistic sum of money shopping with the best affordable watch brands on the market. If you decide that this is the route you want to go, sticking to the names on this list is a smart strategy. Each of them is beloved in the watch community, has a rich history, and is sure to deliver you a fantastic new watch. Those factors combined mean that you really can’t go wrong when choosing between these best affordable watch brands.

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  3. Omega Speedmaster vs. Seamaster: Which is Right for You?

    Omega Speedmaster vs. Seamaster: Which is Right for You?

    The truth is that choosing a new watch is difficult. Doing so requires you to decide between different brands, colors, sizes, styles, and more. If you’re here, you’ve probably already shown interest in the Omega brand. Let me first say that you’ve made a fantastic choice. This company is one of the premier Swiss manufacturers, and they pack a ton of value into each watch. Your decision now becomes which model you’d like to pull the trigger on. The following is my guide to choosing between Omega’s two most iconic options, the Speedmaster and Seamaster. History and Cultural Significance As a whole, Omega has played a crucial role in horological history. They’ve been a highly respected brand for many years, have contributed a variety of innovations to the industry, and are some of the most sought-after watches in the world. As far as the two models at hand, the Seamaster was introduced in 1948, while the Speedmaster came in 1957. Both of them saw their popularity rise in the 60s, with the Seamaster collection becoming especially large and diverse. Of course, the most significant cultural achievement of all was the Speedmaster going to the moon. That bit of history is virtually unmatched in the watch industry, and many find it appealing to own the watch that was a part of it. The Seamaster’s cultural moment came later, as it became the official watch of James Bond in the 90s. The first sighting was in the film Goldeneye (1995), and it has appeared in every Bond movie since. As you can see, both of these models have historical and cultural significance in Western culture. The one that calls out more to you will depend on your interests and taste. Price, Materials, and Craftsmanship As you can imagine, these aspects are quite similar. The reason is that Omega makes both models and does so with a similar market in mind. Still, I can talk about the incredible quality of both of these pieces. As far as materials, each is made from a high grade of stainless steel and have sapphire crystals. Combining those elements gives the Seamaster and Speedmaster a luxurious, sturdy, and expensive feel. They also both have impressive water resistance and movements. These claims are supported by their specifications. Though they vary, most have at least 100m water resistance and 50-hour power reserves. The Seamaster pieces have more resistance than their counterparts because they are dive watches. Lastly, we have price. These watches go for similar amounts, but it seems that the Seamaster is just a bit more expensive. This is especially true of Planet Oceans, which are a bit more robust than the standard options. Aesthetics Though both these watches are beautiful, they have slightly different aesthetic profiles. The primary separation between them is the category of timepiece they fit into. Speedmasters are racing watches, which results in them having a tachymeter on their bezels and multiple subdials for timekeeping purposes. The Seamaster has a typical dive watch bezel, and only some of them have complications and subdials. The Planet Ocean One factor that might make your decision is the wildly popular Planet Ocean model. It is a subset of the Seamaster, and collectors around the world absolutely love it. The reason why is that it is a bit more robust in every possible way. It is larger, has more water resistance, and even seems to be a bit more polished than its standard counterpart. You might end up falling in love with this piece like so many others have. In that case, your decision will be made. Three Aspects to Focus On If you’re still on the fence, I recommend looking at three factors before choosing. Heritage – Do you love the fact that the Speedmaster went to the moon? What about the Seamaster being the official watch of James Bond? You might care about both, just one, or neither. No matter what, heritage might be a deciding factor in your decision. Aesthetics – The best way to decide between them is by simply judging their aesthetics. If you like dive watches best, then a Seamaster is the way to go. If not, then maybe the Speedmaster fits your taste better. Your Collection – Lastly, I would look at the rest of your collection and see if you want to round it out a bit. As an example, you might have a ton of dive watches already and want to switch things up by purchasing a racing model. If your final decision is between the Seamaster and Speedmaster, you’ve already made a string of excellent choices. Omega is a fantastic and iconic brand, so you really can’t go wrong. Still, it is useful to dig deep and decide which will bring you the most satisfaction. I hope our discussion today has helped you do just that.

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  4. The Top 5 Swiss Watch Brands

    The Top 5 Swiss Watch Brands

    Any informed watch enthusiast knows that there are companies producing quality products all around the globe. Still, almost every luxury timepiece brand is based in Switzerland, which has been a horology hub for hundreds of years. So, if you’re in the market for a truly remarkable product, going with Swiss watch brands is an excellent choice. Below, I choose five of my favorite Swiss watch brands and give a brief explanation for why that company is worth your consideration. The criteria I used to pick them is more art than science. The list is not solely based on the quality of the watches, their value, or the heritage of each company. Instead, it is a wonderful mix of all of those factors. I hope you enjoy it! Rolex The fact of the matter is, that in the watch world, Rolex is king. Since their inception over 100 years ago, they have continuously broken records and busted through barriers. One of the most notable examples is when they created the first waterproof watch ever and proved its ability by having a famous swimmer cross the English Channel wearing it. Another achievement that comes to mind is when they created a watch that can withstand the insane pressure of going to the very bottom of the ocean. As expected, that timepiece functioned perfectly. While there are many excellent brands out there, Rolex continues to be the most recognizable and sought after Swiss watch brands. It is the favorite of CEOs, actors, and rappers, but it isn’t all hype and celebrity endorsements. Instead, they take meticulous care in every product they create, and the quality of the final product is undeniable. If you want to get one for yourself, you might have to be patient, as their most popular models often have one or two-year waitlists. Omega Omega has a reputation as Rolex’s little brother, but it is a company that has a variety of accomplishments of its own. Perhaps the best of all of them is outfitting the first astronauts who went to the moon. That might be my favorite piece of horological trivia, and Omega will always have it in their back pocket. Just like most of the brands on this list, this company has been around for over a century and has been revolutionizing the watch market throughout. My favorite thing about Omega is how much value they deliver at their price point. No, these pieces do not beat out the likes of Rolex or Patek Philippe, but in my opinion, they come very close. A watch collector with an endless budget can purchase the best of the best, but many of us would prefer 90% of the watch for half the price. That is precisely what Omega provides. Patek Philippe This brand is one of the oldest out there. Patek Philippe was founded in 1839 and has specialized in creating luxury timepieces ever since. One of the more charming things about this company is that it is family owned. That is in contrast to most other brands, which are either large corporations themselves or part of even larger conglomerates. Throughout its history, Patek Philippe has amassed numerous achievements and made a variety of technological leaps. As far as the products themselves go, many horological experts consider Patek Philippe watches to be the best in the world. That doesn’t just mean the best value, or the best in their price range, though. It means that if you put a Patek head to head with any timepiece, it would win. Now, that is just an opinion, but it is the opinion of many prominent people who know their way around watches. Audemars Piguet The one hesitation I have in putting Audemars Piguet on this list is their somewhat small catalog. While they have some alternatives, nearly every watch they sell is a Royal Oak or an offshoot of that iconic piece. Still, their popularity is undeniable, and they absolutely deserve a spot on this list. Additionally, their Code 11.59 collection is about to expand their offerings considerably, which should make the company even more alluring going forward. IWC The last brand on this list is International Watch Company, better known as IWC.  IWC sometimes flies under the radar, but produces amazing products at a fair price. To be honest, this final spot was the toughest to pick. The first four felt absolutely right, while number 5 was a toss-up between a variety of brands. Still, IWC is definitely deserving of their inclusion, and are an excellent option for those of you who want to spend a bit less money on your wrist companion. The truth is that you can’t go wrong with any Swiss watch brands. Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and IWC all have fantastic reputations and are sure to wow you with their products. Perhaps the hardest part of this article, though, was leaving out so many other great companies. So, let’s do a quick honorable mentions list: Longines, Breitling, Tissot, TAG Heuer, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin and Oris. You really can’t go wrong with any of these options, so if you want to spend a bit less or go in a different direction, don’t hesitate to check any of these brands out.

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  5. Pocket Watch: 7 Modern Choices

    Pocket Watch: 7 Modern Choices

    The return to vintage styles is one of my favorite trends in the modern watch industry. Like investment pieces, this movement takes on a few different forms, including bringing back old designs, hand-wound pieces, and the popularization of pocket watches. In this article, I will be focusing on the latter and detailing some of my favorite modern-day pocket watches. Each of them is perfect for those of you who love the vintage style. Stuhrling Vintage 6053 Pocket Watch This gorgeous Vintage 6053 pocket watch is the perfect synthesis of vintage and modern energy. First, it is undeniably classy, with a conventional shape and elegant font. Next, it brings some style to the equation by incorporating a partial skeleton dial. The result is a pocket watch that will appeal to almost anybody. Perhaps the best thing about this product, though, is its price. You can often get one of these for under $100, which is significantly less than most competitors. The last thing you need to know is that the power reserve on this mechanical movement is around 30 hours, so you should probably wind it up at the start of each day. Tissot Savonnette Mechanical Pocket Watch Tissot is one of my favorite brands to recommend because they balance quality and affordability so well. The Savonette pocket watch is no exception, as it is manufactured in Switzerland, made with exceptional materials, and has a fantastic movement on the inside. Craftsmanship aside, this pocket watch is just gorgeous to look at. Between the numerals and the design of the hands, you can tell that Tissot took their time in creating the aesthetic of this piece. What came out the other side is a fantastic option for pocket watch enthusiasts. Frederique Constant Manufacture Pocket Watch If you want to turn the quality and craftsmanship of your pocket watch up a notch, I can’t think of a better choice than the Frederique Constant Geneve. The Manufacture Pocket Watch comes from one of the finest brands in the entire world, looks fantastic, and has a nice weight to it. The dial on this piece is especially tantalizing, too. Frederique Constant combines silver coloring and a unique texture to make something that is entirely original, while still giving off a classic vibe. This pocket watch is the perfect choice for those of you who have a large budget. Piaget Altiplano Pocket Watch With an 18K white gold case, sapphire crystal, unique color scheme, and minimalist design, you might fall in love with the Piaget Altiplano Pocket Watch the second you see it. That said, don’t fall too hard, as this piece has severely limited stock. The hard truth is that Piaget only produced 26 Altiplano pocket watches, and you’ll likely never get your hands on one. It’s still fun to look, though, isn’t it? Especially when the Altiplano’s aesthetics are so exceptional. Charles-Hubert Chrome Mechanical Pocket Watch The design on this gorgeous pocket watch is what jumps out at you when you see it. It includes a white dial, a white accent, an aesthetically pleasing font, and a simple exterior. Photo from Charles-HubertMy favorite aspect of it is its skeleton dial, which is not only beautiful to look at, but the originality of this design sets it apart from many other pocket watch options. It also has a reliable mechanical movement under the hood, so you won’t have to get your batteries changed every few years. Bulova Stainless Steel 96B270 Pocket Watch If you prefer quartz movements, then this Bulova Pocket Watch is likely the right pick. An added benefit of choosing them is exceptional presentation. Your watch will come in sturdy packaging and have plenty of branding, making the unboxing experience a pleasure to go through. As far as the craftsmanship of it, you should be impressed by how tough this product is from top to bottom. Lastly, it has a cover that goes over the face of the watch, which should protect it from most bumps and scrapes. Gotham Silver-Tone Pocket Watch Those of you who enjoy the skeleton aesthetic should pay attention to the Gotham Silver-Tone Pocket Watch. As you can see, its dial is almost entirely transparent, giving you a great view of what’s going on inside. Another window on the case back completes the look by letting you see entirely through the watch. When you add in the fact that this piece is made from exceptional materials, you have an undeniably fantastic option. Now, it’s time to choose which modern pocket watch is right for you. I would start by looking at prices. If you’re on a budget, you can go for a quartz movement from a more affordable brand. If not, going mechanical is an excellent choice, especially if you’re choosing one of the exceptional Swiss brands on this list. Whichever direction you go, though, rest assured that you’ll end up with a fantastic new pocket watch.

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  6. Best 8 Big Face Watches for Men

    Best 8 Big Face Watches for Men

    One of the growing trends in the timepiece world is manufacturers creating big face watches that tower over conventional sizes. While many have differing opinions on whether or not this style looks good, it is undeniable that there is a market for it. As a result, I’ve decided to compile the best options when it comes to big face watches for men on the market. You can find them in the passages below. 1: Casio G-Shock GW-9400-1CR The one thing you need to know about Casio’s G-Shock collection is that nearly everybody absolutely loves it. Everyone from marathon runners to military members to watch collectors respects this company and the insanely tough watches that they produce. Add in the fact that most of them are very large, and you have a definite winner. The GW-9400-1CR is my favorite of the bunch, but feel free to check out the entire collection, as there are many to choose from. 2: Invicta Reserve Subaqua Venom Invicta has an excellent choice for those of you who love massive dive watches. The Invicta Reserve Subaqua Venom watch, in particular, has 1000m water resistance, is incredibly sturdy, and instantly catches your eye when you see it. The icing on the cake is that it has three subdials, which function as chronographs. Everything about this timepiece is robust, and if that’s what you like, the Reserve Subaqua Venom fits the bill. 3: Diesel Mega Chief Gunmetal I’ve been around watches for men for many years, and this Diesel piece is one of the biggest I have ever seen. Its case size is an unbelievable 59mm, but it isn’t just a novelty product. Instead, it has legitimate craftsmanship behind it and a ton of extra features that you might find useful. Perhaps my favorite thing about it is its black plating, which gives it an attractive aesthetic. 4: Fossil Nate The Fossil Nate watch might be the best deal on this big face watches for men list, and there are two main reasons why that might be. The first is the quality you’re getting when you purchase it. Between its leather strap, chronograph, and unique look, Fossil did an exceptional job creating this product. Even better, it shouldn’t cost you too much, as it is appropriately priced. 5: Invicta Bolt This Invicta Bolt is a great choice for someone who wants to go big, but not incredibly too big. The case is a somewhat reasonable 52mm in diameter, and the design isn’t too far out of the ordinary. You’re also getting a high level of quality every time you purchase an Invicta watch, as they are a company who is committed to craftsmanship. Overall, this large, sporty watch is a fantastic pick. 6: Timex Expedition Grid Shock Watch Much like Casio, you can purchase a Timex watch with no fear. The fact of the matter is that this company creates excellent products and offers them at surprisingly low prices. That commitment ends up with you getting a great deal, no matter which model you choose. Going with the Expedition Grid Shock is a great move for any watch collector, and it is especially so for those of you that need toughness from your timepiece. 7: Luminox LM8822.MI Recon Point Black Watch When looking for watches for men, this Luminox watch is perfect for those of you who put a lot of strain on your timepieces. It is built to last under even the most strenuous conditions and is packed with useful information that you might need at some point. Above all, it is a larger piece that will look great on even the most thick-wristed men. 8: Seiko Prospex Sea Diver Watch Seiko is famous for producing watches that perform well above their price range. The Prospex Sea Diver watch is an excellent example of that trend, as it is one of the toughest divers you can find for under $1,000. On top of that, it has a very unique aesthetic, which should keep you interested and enthralled for years to come.       Whether you like big face watches or not is up to you. What is undeniable is that the picks on this list are incredibly robust and eye-catching. You can choose the right one for you by deciding what style of timepiece you want. Are you looking for a sporty dive watch? Are you more into fashion products that have minimalist designs? Or do you want something completely unique? Once you work out what your personal taste is, you can go forward with purchasing your new big face watch.

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  7. A Hands-On Review of the Invicta Pro Diver

    A Hands-On Review of the Invicta Pro Diver

    While brands like Omega and Rolex make gorgeous dive watches, they also price their products at multiple thousands of dollars. Some in the upper echelon are even above $15,000-20,000. That kind of price tag is likely going to exclude the majority of consumers. The good news is that there are plenty of excellent watches that cost under $100. One of them is the Invicta Pro Diver, which has a mostly positive reputation in the watch community. I give my thoughts on this product in the sections below. The Brand Invicta is a polarizing brand among timepiece enthusiasts but is generally respected by people who are more casual fans. The reason why people like them is two-fold. First, they make products that have fantastic quality for their price. This definitely isn’t a brand that inflates the cost of their products with marketing schemes. Instead, their products tend to be a great deal. The second thing to love about Invicta is that they are a historic timepiece manufacturer, with roots going back to 1837. Those that dislike Invicta do so because of some recent changes to their business practices. One of them is being a bit more liberal with how they source their products and where they assemble them. Rather than solely manufacturing in a place like Switzerland or Japan, Invicta is all over the world. Likely the most significant shift is this brand producing watches with massive dials and flashy appearances. While some love that new look, others see it as lacking in class. Materials I am very impressed by the quality of the materials that make up the Invicta Pro Diver. The metal is thick stainless steel, which feels sturdy as soon as you touch it. It also has a scratch-resistant mineral crystal and a highly functional bezel. It’s diving capabilities are excellent as well, with 200m water resistance and luminescent hands. Overall, the materials on this product are one of the biggest reasons why I think it is such a good deal. Movement Your movement will vary based on the price model you get. I will address both of them. The first is automatic, which Invicta doesn’t actually make. Instead, they source this machinery from Seiko, a highly respected brand, and then build the rest of the product around it. This movement has a 41-hour power reserve and is one of the best you can find for under $100. The other variant is a Japanese quartz movement, which is even cheaper than the conventional model. It is also very reliable, though most consumers prefer the automatic option. Aesthetics This watch is a nice one to look at, and it is no mystery why. The truth is that it is an homage to the Rolex Submariner, which is one of the most iconic timepieces of all time. Still, I don’t think that takes away from the aesthetic quality of the Invicta. It has a nice size, looks fantastic on many types of straps, and allows you to get creative with the precise color scheme you want. Comfort Comfort is often the last thing you think about when purchasing a watch, but it is crucial once you actually start wearing it. Luckily, the Pro Diver passes this test with flying colors. It isn’t too light or heavy, and it sits on your wrist nicely. You shouldn’t have any issues with it if you choose to make a purchase. Two Things to Take Into Consideration: Now, onto hot topics of this watch. There are two of them that come up over and over again. It’s an Homage Watch – While most dive watches look similar, the Invicta Pro Diver is practically a twin of the Rolex Submariner. I don’t mind that fact, but many watch enthusiasts think that homage pieces are unacceptable. You’ll have to come to your own opinion on the matter. Why Not Get a Seiko? – The second thing people say is that if the movement is from Seiko, why not just purchase a watch from them? Again, this opinion is understandable, and getting yourself a Seiko is never a bad idea. That said, you might enjoy the aesthetics of the Pro Diver more than any other watch in this price range. In that case, go ahead and get it. The final question is whether or not the Invicta Pro Diver is the right watch for you. What I can say with certainty is that this product is a fantastic deal. For under $100, you can get a reliable automatic movement, a sturdy watch made of high-quality materials, and a classic diver aesthetic. Those positive aspects led me to purchase one for myself near the beginning of my watch collecting career. The people who shouldn’t buy one are those that don’t like homage watches, would prefer a Seiko, or have a budget well above this price range. No matter what, this product is incredibly popular and is likely worth your consideration.

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  8. Watch Case and Cabinets to Hold Your Timepieces

    Watch Case and Cabinets to Hold Your Timepieces

    In the horology world, we often worry so much about our watches that we don’t think about how to store them, like a watch case. Collectors frequently end up keeping the one-slot cases that they receive with each timepiece. This is sub-optimal for a variety of reasons, including taking up too much space, a lack of aesthetic quality, and too much branding. The better option is purchasing a watch case or cabinet to hold your timepieces. I go through some of your best storage and watch case options in the sections below. Sodynee WBPU12-03 This gorgeous 12-slot case comes in at a surprisingly low price, but doesn’t sacrifice any quality to get there. Even better, it has a glass viewing window, making it easy to look at your watches without opening the top. I’m also very impressed by Sodynee’s customer service promise, which guarantees a replacement or refund in the event of an issue. The one thing you might not like about it is the fact that it uses synthetic leather, rather than genuine. Songmics UJWB012 While some of you will only want to store your watches, others will want extra space for other accessories. If you fit into the latter group, then this Songmics case is a smart choice. It has a glass window on top, 12 watch capacity, and a lower chamber that looks like a typical jewelry box. The result is a watch case that can hold all of your timepieces, a pair of sunglasses, your wallet, and more. Please note that this is another box with synthetic leather, so look elsewhere if you want the real deal. Hawk & Gable 12 Slot Organizer This gorgeous box breaks the mold with its unique materials. Unlike most, which are leather or wood, it is made from carbon fiber. What you get as a result is a smooth, light, and aesthetically pleasing case. I also like that it comes with a lock and key. That security won’t keep out serious intruders, but it is a nice design feature and makes owning this case even more pleasurable. Glenor Co 6 Slot Watch Box Glenor Co might be the best affordable watch box manufacturer in the world right now, and this 6-slot box is an excellent representation of that. Its design is pleasing, its function is undeniable, and its price is reasonable. I also like that you have a variety of options within the Glenor catalog. They sell in many sizes and styles, so you should be able to find a product that fits your needs no matter what. Case Elegance Solid Wood Organizer Simple, safe, and elegant. Those are the words I use to describe this gorgeous watch case. What I like most is that it doesn’t try too hard to impress you with bells and whistles. Instead, it simply has a classic design and fantastic quality. They also make a point out of making sure their box doesn’t magnetize your watches, which is a significant concern for many collectors. Shock Case Cushioned Nylon Box Lastly, we have an option that isn’t particularly luxurious or nice to look at. Instead, it thrives on pure function. This case uses a soft material and zipper to protect your timepieces when you have to transport them. When it comes time to make a purchase for watch cases or storage, consider the following points. Size – How many watches are in your collection? This is the most pivotal issue for you to resolve. As you can imagine, purchasing a case with 12 slots won’t look right for storing just 5 watches. The opposite is true as well. Function – Will you be traveling with your case? Or will it always stay at home? A lighter option will work for the former, while the latter opens you up to heavier ones. Materials – The two primary choices you have here are wood and leather. Each has a different look and feel, so take your time in deciding which is right for you. Aesthetics – Here, you will choose between a variety of different looks. That includes coloring, how many levels the cabinet has, and more. Price – Lastly, it’s time to settle on the right price. I personally love to splurge a bit on cases, but your strategy will be up to you. Watch Case Conclusions At the end of that process, you should have the perfect watch case or cabinet to hold your timepieces. Presentation is worth it, and when you choose one from this list, you’ll be exceptional in that regard.

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  9. Hands-On with the Rolex Explorer II

    Hands-On with the Rolex Explorer II

    Though I don’t own one myself, I was able to get my hands on a Rolex Explorer II the other day. I must say that I was very impressed with it. While it is not the most popular model from this esteemed brand, it definitely belongs in their catalog, and perhaps, on your wrist. I tell you everything you need to know about this watch in the sections below. Materials One thing you can count on with Rolex is high-quality materials. That starts with its signature Oystersteel, which is an especially versatile form of stainless steel. What that means in practice is that these pieces are more resistant to corrosion, denting, and every other force that degrades watches. The Explorer II also comes with a sapphire crystal, which is standard among luxury pieces. Rolex Explorer II Dial The dial of the Explorer II might be my favorite aspect of it. What sets it apart is how many components of it are white. Most Rolex models have multiple colors on the dial, with the majority of them being black. The Explorer II goes against that trend with a white dial, white numerals, and mostly white hands. I also like the fact that one of the hands is orange, a feature that brings its design from good to great. One thing to note is that this dial also comes in black, but the more popular option is the white. You can also go with the radically different original Explorer, which looks more like a dress watch. Bracelet The bracelet on each Rolex watch is simply exceptional. What’s funny about this aspect of timepieces is that people frequently don’t think about them. They seek a watch that looks great and has a reliable movement, but forget to consider the bracelet. Then, when they receive the product, they find that it is clunky and uncomfortable. The good news is that this won’t happen with the Explorer II. Not only is it incredibly comfortable, but its signature tapered aesthetic looks more elegant than most options out there. 3187 Movement Now, let’s discuss the movement. Just like every other Rolex watch, this one has machinery that is built entirely in-house. Though its power reserve is somewhat limited at 48 hours, the accuracy of it is astounding. Rolex lists its precision at just +/- 2 seconds per day, which is very impressive. I also love that this movement supports the fourth hand on the dial that keeps time on the 24-hour clock. Not only does it have a specific and useful function, but that added level of craftsmanship makes the watch even more alluring. Rolex Explorer II Bezel This entire piece is a work of art, and its bezel is no exception. The numbers are perfectly etched in, and the feel you get from spinning it around is satisfying. The truth is that you can feel the quality of the bezel just by touching it. The materials and craftsmanship back that feeling up, too. As far as function, I like the 24-hour markings that it provides. As fun as other types of bezels are, I never find myself actually using them. On the other hand, telling time on a 24-hour scale is something that I do frequently. Combine the looks of this bezel with its function, and you have a definite winner. Availability One of my least favorite things about Rolex has nothing to do with their watches. In fact, it might not be their fault at all. My frustration comes from the fact that so many of their models are nearly impossible to purchase at retail price. The reason is that there is so little supply and so much demand. Watch buyers who want a popular model, like the Submariner or Daytona, have two options. The first is getting on a waiting list and not getting your watch for a year or two. The second is paying a premium to purchase one from a third-party seller. Both choices are suboptimal. One thing I love about the Explorer II is the fact that you often don’t need to jump through hoops to get one. Instead, you can usually purchase one with ease. Rolex Explorer II Overall Impression My overall impression of this piece is very positive. It has a nice size at 42mm, comes with the classic Rolex commitment the craftsmanship, and just flat out looks great. While many of you might want to save your money and purchase a more mainstream piece, others will jump at the chance to buy this watch. One of the funny things that happens in the timepiece world is certain products developing a cult following. They might not be the most popular or expensive options out there, but they generate a fandom based on their unique combination of quality and value. I see the Explorer II being one of those watches in the future and recommend at least considering getting one for yourself before their demand rises significantly. I know I am.

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  10. Beginners Guide to Ulysse Nardin Watches

    Beginners Guide to Ulysse Nardin Watches

    While Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe get most of the headlines, there are a ton of lesser known watch brands that create products with exceptional quality. One of them is Ulysse Nardin. This company, to some degree, flies under the radar in the watch world. Still, they are one of the better brands out there and are loved by watch geeks and celebrities alike. Below, I go through everything you need to know about Ulysse Nardin and their catalog of watches. History of Ulysse Nardin Watches Ulysse Nardin founded his company in 1846 at the young age of 23. His journey in horology started long before that, though, as his father was also a watchmaker. After years of apprenticeship with both his family and other professionals, Nardin decided to create his own brand. His and his partner’s focus instantly went to marine chronometers, and given their track record, undoubtedly mastered this niche. Their first piece of exposure was winning a prestigious award at the International Exhibition in London. It wasn’t long after that they were supplying their chronometers to navies and shipping companies around the world. Like most brands, Ulysse Nardin is no longer creating tool watches for armies and organizations. Instead, they are one of the many luxury timepiece manufacturers on the market. While not as recognizable as some of the biggest names, they are well respected and always in the conversation when discussing the best watch brands in the world. Price Range The most basic Ulysse Nardin watches can be had for around $5000, which puts them right around the price range of Rolex and other brands like them. One interesting thing about this company, though, is how expensive some of their models get. They manufacture some of them with precious metals, diamonds, and incredible complications, meaning that their prices reach up to $50K. At the top end, they have some really well-made tourbillons that sell for an amount of money that is unattainable for most buyers.   Place in the Market As I’ve alluded to throughout, Ulysse Nardin is not one of the watch brands that everyone has heard about. That being said, I see them as a company that delivers about as much quality as the competitors in their price range. Additionally, you might like that they have a bit less recognition from the average consumers. This factor will make your watch a bit more unique and less likely to be the same as your peers. Status Among Experts Most experts believe that Ulysse Nardin is a great brand. They take a lot of care in designing, constructing, and marketing their watches, and this devotion definitely shows. Collectors also enjoy how much value you can get out of this brand. While you have to pay for the popularity of other brands, Ulysse Nardin flies under the radar a bit more and generally gives you a better deal on your purchase. Types of Watches Though this brand has a ton of options, there are three that seem to be the most popular. Flashy – Ulysse Nardin likes to work with precious metals and flashy color schemes. One of the best representations of this fact is their Classic Dual Time Automatic GMT, which is made from rose gold, sports a deep blue dial, and has a similar colored strap to match. Minimalist – Next, you have the opposite of their flashy models. These are generally more affordable, elegant, appealing to those of you with understated style. They are my personal favorites, as I love a good-looking dress watch. Dive – Lastly, Ulysse Nardin makes a variety of tough, attractive divers. They have beautiful designs, excellent materials, and a high level of craftsmanship, making them an excellent buy for just about anyone. Famous Fans One factor I always enjoy looking at is which brands have celebrity wearers. While Ulysse Nardin doesn’t have scores of prominent fans, they have a few that will surprise you. The first is one of the most famous athletes of all time, Michael Jordan, who frequently wears this brand to high-profile events. Sticking with sports, you also have Randy Johnson, one of the best pitchers of all time. Its number one fan, though, is the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos. If Ulysse Nardin is good enough for the owner of Amazon, then it’s good enough for anyone. Is Ulysse Nardin Right for You? While I won’t be able to give you a simple yes or no response, I can provide some guidance. It is undeniable that Ulysse Nardin is a fantastic brand that manufactures exceptional products. This much is confirmed by experts around the world. What is up in the air is whether or not they’re right for you.  I suggest first looking at the price and deciding whether or not you can afford one. If you can, then it’s time to put your watch of choice head to head with others around that price point. Knowing how great this brand is, the Ulysse Nardin will probably win that showdown and become your newest wrist companion.

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  11. Quartz Watches: What is Quartz?

    Quartz Watches: What is Quartz?

    A common piece of advice you hear in our culture is that you must “walk before you can run.” The logic behind the proverb is simple: You should learn the basics of any given idea or activity before you move on to more advanced concepts. Such is true in the world of wristwatches, as many people try to discuss advanced ideas without first knowing the simple ones. Today, I will address one of those preliminary questions by explaining what quartz is and how it makes our watches tick. Three Kinds of Watch Movements First, let’s go over the three fundamental ways that watches work. You can imagine them as three different engines, each with a different way of keeping time. They are as follows. Automatic Watches – This movement is the same as manual, but you do less winding by hand. The reason is that the manufacturer constructs the watch to wind itself with the regular motion of you wearing it. Both manual and automatic can be grouped into the “mechanical” category. Manual Watches – This type of movement is basically a tiny machine that turns the hands of your watch. You give it power my winding it, and it keeps time relatively well. Quartz Watches- Lastly, we have quartz, which is also commonly referred to as “battery powered.” I will talk more about the function of this type of movement in the coming sections. Quartz Watches: The Mineral Quartz is essentially a translucent and beautiful looking rock. Though you may not have heard of its base compound, silicon dioxide, it is very likely that you’ve seen quartz at some point in your life. People love to make necklaces out of this mineral and decorate their homes with especially large pieces of it. On a smaller scale, quartz makes up a significant portion of the sand you see at the beach. The reason why it is relevant in the world of watches is the fact that it is piezoelectric. What that means is that quartz has a unique relationship with electricity. If you apply pressure to one of these crystals, it will create a bit of voltage. Applying voltage will have the opposite effect too, as the quartz will vibrate in response to electricity. How Quartz Watches Tick So, what does a quartz crystal do on the inside of a watch? Manufacturers use that concept of piezoelectricity to make these products keep nearly perfect time. The following is the process that they undergo each second. The battery in the watch supplies a microchip with electricity. That chip creates a circuit with the quartz crystal. After precisely 32768 oscillations, also called vibrations, the chip sends a signal to the gears of the watch. It tells it to progress one second. In analog displays, this process makes the second-hand tick. In a digital watch, there is no ticking, just the progression of the numerals on the screen. Let me clear up one potential point of confusion. It is step three, which deals with a seemingly large number of oscillations. The first thing you need to know is that quartz crystals vibrate 32768 times in one second. That is a feature of them that is a simple fact of nature. What manufacturers do to take advantage of that is create microchips that can detect each oscillation. The result is a watch that tells time with excellent accuracy. Quartz Watches Accuracy Quartz watches are the most accurate of the three I described above. The reason is that they see minimal variation in how quickly they tick. Mechanical pieces will often lose or gain 2-20 seconds in a day due to gravitational variation. All that means is that your watch moves a bit faster or slower based on the position of your arm or the environment you’re in. Quartz watches, on the other hand, more often lose or gain 20 seconds a year. The reason is that the system of measuring oscillations is incredibly reliable. The only factor that can throw it off is extreme temperatures, but even those do not do much. Now that we’ve settled the science behind these types of movements, we can move on to how they translate in the watch world. In general, quartz watches are cheaper than their mechanical counterparts. This is because they are much easier to manufacture. The reason people still go with mechanical is that timepieces are works of art, not just tools. Consumers like to know that they have a complex machine on their wrist, rather than a somewhat simple one. That complexity comes with a price though, as mechanical pieces often need servicing. The basic explanations of each are as follows. Quartz watches – Cheaper, more reliable, more convenient, but less impressive in terms of craftsmanship. Mechanical watches – More expensive, less reliable, less convenient, but more artful in their construction. Quartz Watches Conclusion Now that you understand these options at their simplest level, you can make a decision on which resonates with you more. Either way, you’ll be a more informed consumer and one that is more likely to make a satisfying purchase in the future.

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