Jason Cotaoco

Jason Cotaoco

First Published: June 17, 2021
  1. Articles by Jason Cotaoco
  2. To Polish or Not: Pros and Cons of Watch Polishing and the Different Ways to Do So

    To Polish or Not: Pros and Cons of Watch Polishing and the Different Ways to Do So

    It should not come as a surprise that there is more to owning a watch than just buying and wearing it. As with any prized possession, you have to make sure that your watch is properly maintained so that it is clean, free from damage, and most importantly, works as well as always. In order to keep your watches in tip-top shape, you need to have your timepieces carefully serviced every once in a while. Of course, although servicing your wristwatch is always recommended, the same cannot be said for polishing. For years, people have debated about whether or not one should have their watch polished, or leave it as is. While polishing does have its benefits, there are also some downsides to it too. Join us as we look through the different methods of watch polishing, along with the ups and downs of having your wristwatch polished. Different Ways to Polish Your Watch 1. Letting a Professional Do the Job Image By: Hendrik Mintarno (Flickr) Let us say the wristwatch you want to polish is an exorbitant and elegant Patek Philippe Calatrava. Are you sure you are capable of polishing this timepiece flawlessly? Perhaps the safest decision you can make with watch polishing is to have it be done by a professional. These professionals are not only highly experienced and proficient with the process and the tools but are also able to remove the least amount of metal possible when polishing your watch. A professional watch polisher is capable of delicately removing both light and deep scratches from the surface of your timepiece. Additionally, you can also state your preferences to the expert by indicating clearly which specific parts you want to have polished and which areas you would want to leave as is. For greater convenience, you can also opt to have your watch polished and serviced at the same time, so it is returned to pristine condition. 2. Doing It Yourself If you have the tools and the confidence to spruce up your own trusty timekeeper, then you can definitely polish your watch yourself. Compared to having it done by a professional, doing it yourself is a more affordable avenue that also gives you more time to bond with your timepiece. Furthermore, since you are the one doing all the work, you can freely polish the wristwatch to your preferred likeness at any given time. Take note that typically, polishing the watch yourself only allows you to remove light scratches, and will not be very effective on the deeper scratch marks. Cleaning Your Watch While we are at it, let us also talk about a convenient and easy way to clean your timepiece yourself. Make sure to prepare a cup of warm water, dish soap, a soft-bristled toothbrush, and a microfiber cloth before you start. The first step to cleaning your watch is to add a tablespoon of dish soap to the cup of warm water. After a thorough mix, soak the toothbrush and lightly scrub it back and forth over the surface of the watch. If the model is not waterproof, try your best to keep the scrubbing away from the watch face or any areas where liquid could leak in. When you are done with that, gently rinse the timepiece with tap water. Make sure to cover the watch case when doing so if it has a low water resistance rating. Finally, wipe your timekeeper dry with the microfiber cloth. Although any absorbent towel is good enough for this job, microfiber is ideal for watches because it does not leave streak marks. Now that it is squeaky-clean, it is time to get your wristwatch polished.  How To Polish A Watch On Your Own Not sure that you know how to polish a timepiece properly? Fret not because we will now go through a few watch polishing methods for you to choose from. For newcomers, this activity may be a bit daunting at first, but rest assured that polishing a watch on your own is something anyone can learn. 1. Using A Rotary Tool Image By: Dremel If you look through various videos online about polishing watches, you will notice that each content creator always has a rotary tool or a rotary polishing machine. As you may have guessed, a rotary tool is an essential piece of equipment for polishing watches. By attaching a polishing wheel, you will be able to buff out those annoying scratches with the simple push of a button. Before you get to work with your rotary tool, make sure to apply a sufficient amount of polishing agent on the watch case and bracelet. When using the rotary polish, only remove a sufficient amount of metal to level the scratch, since too much polishing will deform the structure of your case or bracelet. For the best results, you can rub the case with 1500-grit sandpaper before applying the polishing agent and polishing the watch with your rotary tool.  2. Polishing By Hand Image By: Jimmy Smith (Flickr) No rotary tool? No problem! You can always polish your cherished timekeeper by hand too. All you need is a sheet of 1500-grit sandpaper and a polishing cloth designed for metals. You can easily find polishing cloths in various jewelry stores. First, run water over the sandpaper. Water acts as a lubricant and helps remove particles from the sandpaper so that it does not get clogged and create additional scratches. Make sure to use consistent pressure for an evenly-finished surface. Continue sanding the timepiece until you are satisfied with the finish. For the bracelet, you can polish it with 1500-grit sandpaper one link at a time. Now that the scratches are gone, the next step is to bring back the luster of the watch. Grab your polishing cloth and rub it back and forth against the case and bracelet for about two minutes. Do not forget to polish the edges for an even shine. At the beginning of the process, rub the cloth against your watch gently to see if it is enough to remove some scratches. If the marks are still there, rub the timepiece with more pressure. Take note that applying too much pressure can leave the watch with uneven surfaces. Watch Polishing: Benefits and Drawbacks Image By: Mark (Flickr) Although it is easy enough to learn, watch polishing is not as simple as it sounds. In fact, there are many factors you need to consider before even beginning to have your timepiece polished. And although the matter seems trivial, watch polishing does have some irreversible consequences that may haunt you if you make the wrong decision. To avoid that, let us have a look at some of the pros and cons of having your watch polished. Benefits 1: Removes Scratches Sometimes, we get into accidents with our watches, and it does not always end well. Unless your wristwatch is an ultra-sturdy Casio G-Shock, chances are it has probably ended up with a scratch or two on its case. Apart from damaging the exterior, these scratch marks are awful to look at. Most watch enthusiasts would therefore opt to have their watch polished to get rid of these unwanted scratches. By buffing the damaged surfaces, wearers can give their beloved timekeeper a renewed clean and unblemished look, as if it has never been dinged at all. With watch polishing, you can rest assured that no scratch mark is permanent. 2. Rejuvenates Appearance Whether it is an extravagant Royal Oak Offshore or an affordable Seiko Prospex, everybody loves the look of a shiny new wristwatch. But through the passage of time, its luster will start to fade, effectively reducing the watch’s attractiveness. Although the loss of its sheen does not dramatically affect its durability, a watch with a dull case is not the most appealing timepiece to look at, especially when it is covered in dirt and scratches. Aside from buffing out scratch marks, watch polishing also spruces up your wristwatch — giving it a brand-new, sleek look. When you and your watch have gone through a lot together, a good polishing treatment can help it feel revitalized. Downsides 1. Permanently Alters Structure The process of polishing a watch involves removing thin layers of metal from its case. Unless you are proficient in laser welding, this process is irreversible. A wristwatch that has undergone polishing may end up with a shinier surface, but it also loses some of its design and build. By cutting some of its metal layers out, the watch can lose some of its attractive bevels and chamfers. This usually results in softened edges, flattened bezels, and rounded lugs. In the worst-case scenario, you could end up making your watch appear malformed and less authentic. If you want to keep the architecture of your trusty timekeeper intact, it is recommended to avoid having your watch polished. 2. Decreases Value Have you ever wondered why collectors prefer a banged-up Rolex over a newly-polished model? That is because a timepiece that has not been polished retains most of its value. Having your watch polished will not only affect its composition but also take away some of its value — and we are not just talking about a couple of thousand bucks. This especially applies to vintage watches, since seasoned collectors that plan on purchasing the model will always prefer genuine looks over flawlessness. Are you planning to sell your nicked luxury watch? Polishing it is the last thing you would want to do. When Should I Have My Watch Polished? Image: Simon Winch (Flickr) Now that you know what polishing can do for a watch, you will also need to know when you should have it done. There is a big difference between polishing a lavish timepiece for yourself and polishing one for sale. As such, here are some things to consider when debating when or when not to have your wristwatch polished. 1. Should I Have It Polished If It Has Scratches? Typically, you would want to keep your watch as immaculate as possible. As stated previously, the main goal with watch polishing is to remove any unattractive marks and scratches. But does that mean you should treat your wristwatch once it gets a scratch? The answer is not necessarily. Assume you have a scratched-up Tissot. You would only really want to have your watch polished when it has accumulated numerous scratches on its body. Unless the scratches are pretty deep, having a mark or two on your watch should be no cause for concern. As such, you should hold back on having your watch polished until it has amassed a noticeable number of scratches and nicks. 2. Should I Have It Polished If I Want To Sell The Watch? As we previously stated, in most circumstances, you would not want to polish your watch if you plan to have it sold. Note that watch polishing will affect the value of your watch. However, there are some exceptions to this. When looking for a timepiece, some wearers do prefer to purchase a model that looks fresh. In these situations, an unpolished wristwatch would not be any good. As such, if you find a customer who wants to buy a used watch that still bears a shiny appearance, it would be appropriate to have it polished. Of course, if you are selling something like a vintage Vacheron Constantin timepiece and you have to choose between two customers — one who wants it kept as is, and another who wants it shiny and new-looking — it would be better for you to sell your timepiece to the buyer looking for an original case. As was stated earlier, a watch with a genuine and unpolished case retains most of its value, allowing your timepiece to command a higher price in the market. 3. Should I Have It Polished If I Intend To Keep The Watch For Myself? If you plan to keep the watch, then the idea of the watch’s value is no longer a priority. All that matters now is your preference. Do you want your timepiece to look as good as it came out of the box? Having it polished will get you just that. Do not really mind the scratches? Then leaving your timekeeper at its current state is not a bad idea. Now, if you are not sure if you want to keep or sell your timepiece, it is advisable to refrain from having it polished, just in case you ever decide to sell it. For instance, let us say you are in possession of a 10-year old $45,000 USD Rolex Cosmograph Daytona with a good number of scratches on its case and bracelet. If you decide to have the watch polished, you will be more or less cutting the value of your timepiece in half forever.  Final Thoughts Deciding whether or not to have your timepiece polished is a lot more to think about than it originally seems. And while there are some favorable benefits to polishing a wristwatch such as reclaiming a sleek look, it also comes with its own set of downsides, like removing its metal and depreciating its value. Of course, the final decision of whether or not to polish a watch is always up to the wearer.  Overall, there is not much wrong with having your wristwatch polished from time to time. That said, make sure you do not have it polished too frequently, as too much will deform its case. Even though scratches can be unavoidable, it is essential to always be careful with your watch. A few proper steps of care and alertness can go a long way in keeping your timepiece neat, stylish, and without the need to polish. Featured Image By: Endemoniada (Flickr) Looking for a watch with an automatic movement you can always rely on? Here is a Comprehensive Guide About The ETA 2824-2 and 10 Great Watches That Have Them.

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  3. ETA 2824-2 Movement: A Comprehensive Guide

    ETA 2824-2 Movement: A Comprehensive Guide

    ETA calibers are some of the most ubiquitous movements in all of the watchmaking industry. They are durable, reliable, and easy to produce, making them ideal for mass production. There are numerous ETA calibers to talk about, but for this article, we will be focusing on the popular ETA 2824-2. Known by the watchmaking community as an absolute workhorse, the ETA 2824-2 is an exceptional caliber that, if regulated correctly, can keep time just as well as the ETA 2892 movement. Join us in learning more about the ETA 2824-2 and what it has to offer. If your interest is piqued, we have also curated a list of some of the best watches that use an ETA 2824-2 movement. ETA 2824-2: What is It? Released in 1982, the ETA 2824-2 is a second-generation Swiss automatic movement based on Eterna’s 1427 Caliber. It has fairly standard dimensions, with a diameter of 25.6mm and a thickness of 4.6mm. This ETA 2824-2 provides a watch with its central hours, minutes, and seconds functions. It also has a date complication that can be located on varying areas of the dial, depending on where the window cutout is. Equipped with an Etachron regulator, the ETA 2824-2 movement has a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). This Swiss caliber also uses a ball-bearing rotor which rotates bidirectionally and produces more energy for its power reserve. As a result, when fully wound, the ETA 2824-2 can stay powered for up to 38 hours. Although this caliber is self-winding, it also possesses manual-winding and hacking seconds capabilities. The movement’s Novodiac or Incabloc anti-shock system, which each consists of 25 jewels, helps keep every component of the ETA 2824-2 in place while also reducing wear and tear. Like most ETA calibers, the ETA 2824-2 comes in different grades: Standard, Elaborated, Top, and Chronometer. The standard variant has adjustments in two positions and uses an anti-magnetic nickel-plated balance wheel, a Nivarox hairspring, and a Novodiac anti-shock system with 25 polyruby jewels. This standard ETA 2824-2 variant has a precision rate of +/- 12 seconds to +/- 30 seconds per day. The elaborated model uses the same components as the standard ETA 2824-2, but is adjusted in three positions and has an improved accuracy rating of +/- 7 seconds to +/- 20 seconds per day.  Moving on, a top-grade ETA 2824-2 movement is adjusted in five positions and uses a Glucydur balance wheel, an Anachron hairspring, and an Incabloc anti-shock device with red rubies for its pallet jewels. These upgrades allow the top grade ETA 2824-2 caliber to produce an accuracy rating of +/- 4 seconds to +/- 15 seconds a day. Finally, chronometer-level variants of the ETA 2824-2 also contain the same components of the top-grade versions. However, they feature precision and reliability that match the criteria of the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).  A manual-winding version of the ETA 2824-2 also exists, known as the ETA 2804-2. This caliber is less thick and features seventeen jewels and a 42-hour power reserve. ETA 2824-2 vs. Clones In 2003, ETA’s rights to the design of the 2824-2 caliber reached their expiration date. As a result, some other watch manufacturers have created their own versions of the caliber. The Sellita SW200, one of the most recognized clones, is considered by many as the main rival movement to the ETA 2824-2. Since Sellita used to work hand-in-hand with ETA in the 1980s, it knows its way around ETA movements. In fact, both the Sellita SW200 and the ETA 2824-2 are quite similar in appearance. This does not mean, however, that the ETA 2824-2 and Sellita SW200 are completely the same. The main differences between these two movements can be seen from the design of their rotors and the number of jewels they each have. While the ETA 2824-2 contains twenty-five jewels, the Sellita SW200 has twenty-six. Operationally, the ETA 2824-2 and Sellita SW200 produce similar accuracy rates, even with their varying grades. Other examples of ETA 2824-2 clone calibers include the Seagull ST21, the Hangzhou 6300, the STP-11, and the Valanvron VAL-24. For the most part, each clone movement produces a comparable performance and precision rate as the ETA 2824-2. 10 Great Watches with the ETA 2824-2 Movement The ETA 2824-2 comes in many forms. If you have been a watch enthusiast for a while now, you will know that many watches use the ETA 2824-2. In fact, there are so many of them that it would be an arduous task to go through each one. So, instead of doing that, we have created a list of the ten best timepieces in the market that use an ETA 2824-2 movement. 1. Tissot T-Classic Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium (T127.407.11.051.00) Image By: Watch Shopping The Tissot T-Classic Gentleman Powermatic 80 Silicium stands as the ideal everyday watch. With its blend of sporty yet dressy looks, sleek and durable 40mm stainless steel case, and 100m depth rating, this Tissot T-Classic timepiece can accompany you anywhere, whether it is for a casual stroll, a dip in the pool, or a lavish occasion.  On its dial are silver sword hands and triangular hour markers applied with lume, which wonderfully contrasts the darker hue of the round jet-black dial. Next to the 3 o’clock marker is an outlined date window with a black background and white text. At 6 o’clock, the word “Silicium” is engraved on the dial, referring to the silicon balance spring used in the watch’s Powermatic 80 caliber. The Powermatic 80 is based on the ETA 2824-2 and comes with an improved 80-hour power reserve. Those who want to see the Powermatic 80 and its finely engraved rotor can view the movement through the see-through caseback.  You can purchase this Tissot timepiece for approximately $775 USD. 2. Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic Auto (H32515555) Image By: Watch Shopping Sophisticated and elegant are the two words that come to mind when looking at the Hamilton Jazzmaster Viewmatic Auto. Sheltered by layers of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal on the front and back of its stainless steel case, wearers can admire the charming looks of this Hamilton watch’s modern silver guilloche dial as well as its reliable ETA 2824-2-based H-10 movement.  Accompanied by an aged brown calf leather strap, the 40mm stainless steel case of the Jazzmaster comes with polished surfaces with brushed lugs and 50m of water resistance. Its sector dial has a smooth outer ring, which holds the silver hour markers and outlined date complication, and is contrasted against the guilloche-style inner dial on which you can find luminous dauphine hands. Like the Tissot Powermatic 80, the H-10 automatic caliber that powers this watch is both based on the ETA 2824-2 movement and possesses a power reserve that can run for up to 80 hours. The Hamilton Jazzmaster costs around $725 USD. 3. Longines Legend Diver Date (L36744500) Image By: Watch Shopping Coming from the Longines Heritage series, the Legend Diver Date is a modern dive watch boasting a rich heritage along with some updated technical features. This Longines timepiece has a case made of polished stainless steel and is water-resistant up to depths of 300m. On the side of its 42mm case, you can find two crowns: one for adjusting the L888 movement and the other for controlling the internal bidirectional rotating dive bezel. The dial of the Legend Diver shows off a black-lacquered, polished surface with painted Arabic numerals and indices in white, and silver hands applied with a generous coating of Super-LumiNova. The L888 movement powering this watch is an ETA 2824-2 caliber that has been modified to produce only 25,500 vibrations per hour. This allows its power reserve to last up to 72 hours. It is protected by a solid steel rear case that is skilfully engraved with the logo of the Legend Diver. The Longines Legend Diver Date fetches a price of $2,300 USD. 4. Tudor 1926 Automatic (91450-0002) Image By: Watch Shopping The Tudor 1926 is a line of watches that pays tribute to Tudor’s early history as a watchmaker. Each piece from this collection carries a timelessness and elegance that sets it apart from other watches. One of the best models in this range that truly captures the essence of the Tudor brand is the 1926 Automatic 91450-0002. The 1926 Automatic comes in a 36mm polished stainless steel case. Its stationary bezel has a polished finish that adds nicely to the watch’s overall sleekness. With a secure screw-down crown on its right side, this timepiece has a water resistance rating of 100m. It is also topped with a layer of sapphire glass, which allows wearers to have a clear view of its embossed black dial. Adorning this dark surface are rhodium-plated hour markers and hands, along with a date complication at 3 o’clock. Below the watch face is an ETA 2824-2-based T601 self-winding caliber, complete with its twenty-five jewels and 38-hour power reserve.  This particular Tudor 1926 model is worth around $2,880 USD. 5. MeisterSinger New Vintage Neo Plus (NE408) Image By: Watch Shopping With a perfect balance of modern looks and a classy aesthetic, the MeisterSinger New Vintage Neo Plus is a minimalistic timepiece that hits all the marks of a Bauhaus-inspired watch. Its thin 40mm stainless steel case is expertly beveled and places the spotlight on the watch’s gorgeous blue dial. The hardened acrylic glass fitted on top of the case protects the watch face from scratches and impacts while also giving it a somewhat vintage aesthetic. The dial of this MeisterSinger New Vintage piece is very minimalist. It bears just the timekeeping essentials, with only double-digit hour markers, slim indices, a singular hour hand, and a circular date complication at 6 o’clock. It is powered by an ETA 2824-2 movement with twenty-five jewels and a water resistance capacity of 30m. This depth rating is not fantastic, but it is good enough for this MeisterSinger watch to survive splashes, rain, and a trip to the shower. The New Vintage Neo Plus retails at $1,370 USD. 6. Tag Heuer Aquaracer (WBD2110.BA0928) Image By: Watch Shopping If you are looking for a luxury diver watch, you cannot go wrong with the Tag Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WBD2110.BA0928. With its fine-brushed and polished stainless steel case, 300m water resistance capacity, and the iconic ETA 2824-2-based Caliber 5, this 41mm Aquaracer piece is a must-have for those who want something sophisticated and reliable, both on land and below it. When viewing this Tag Heuer timepiece as a whole, nothing else catches your eyes quite like its black sunray-brushed dial with a pattern of horizontal lines. Protected by a layer of sapphire glass, this watch features prominent silver hour markers, large pencil hands, a yellow-tipped seconds hand, and a magnified date complication. All of these components come together to make a watch face with a distinct and highly legible design. Underneath the dial is a Tag Heuer Caliber 5, which provides the same precision and reliability as the ETA 2824-2 movement it is based on.  You can purchase the Tag Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WBD2110.BA0928 for approximately $2,250 USD. 7. Junghans Max Bill Automatic (027/4701.02) Image By: Watch Shopping Like MeisterSinger, Junghans is another German brand known for its minimalist timepieces. As part of the brand’s outstanding Max Bill collection, the Junghans Max Bill Automatic is a watch that showcases modernity, refinement, and elegance. With its convex AR-coated sapphire crystal, its beauty remains timeless and unharmed by the outside world. The Junghans Max Bill Automatic utilizes a slim 38mm stainless steel case with thin lugs and an unguarded crown on its right. Its dial has a gorgeous dark blue surface with slender indices, applied silver sword hands, a date display, and luminescent pips on at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock. The J800.1 movement that runs the watch is based on the ETA 2824-2, with its twenty-five jewels and 38-hour power reserve. To complete the Max Bill Automatic’s smart and minimalistic look, Junghans pairs the watch with a simple black leather strap. The Junghans Max Bill costs just $1,280 USD. 8. Ball Engineer Master II Automatic (DM3108A-SCJ-BK) Image By: Watch Shopping Ball is a watchmaker known for making exceptional railroad timekeepers, but they also have a hand in making great dive watches too. For instance, take a look at the Ball Engineer Master II Automatic. The RR1103-C movement that operates inside this watch is not just any standard ETA 2824-2 caliber. It is based on a superb COSC-rated ETA 2824-2 movement with an accuracy rating of -4/+6 seconds per day.  Encasing the watch is a 43mm stainless steel case with a mix of polished and brushed surfaces. At the back of this Ball Engineer Master II timepiece is a solid stainless steel caseback that carries a detailed engraving of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Its matte black dial is rather simple, with indentations on its outer rim to provide space for the tritium gas tube hour indices. Adorned with thick syringe hands and a date window, this dial is incredibly clean and legible, as you would expect of a dive watch. In addition, it has a depth rating of 500m or 1,650ft. You can get your hands on this durable Ball dive watch for $2,280 USD. 9. Breitling Superocean Automatic 48 (V17369161C1S1) Image By: Watch Shopping A daring and bulky watch that can handle all the waves and currents of the Atlantic Ocean, the Breitling Superocean Automatic is the one timepiece you would always want to have when exploring the underwater world. With its robust 48mm DLC-coated titanium case, blue ceramic bezel with a tachymetric bezel, glare-proof sapphire crystal, and 300m depth rating, there are not many luxury dive watches that are as durable as this. Apart from being very resilient, this Breitling Superocean timepiece enjoys a striking ocean-inspired design. Its deep blue dial contains luminous applied hour markers and sword-shaped hands, with a vibrant red-tipped seconds hand for optimal legibility. The Breitling B17 Calibre that runs the watch is based on an ETA 2824-2 movement. Like its base model, the B17 produces 28,800 vibrations per second, has twenty-five jewels, and can last up to 38 hours when fully wound. As the most expensive ETA-powered timepiece on this list, the Breitling Superocean Automatic is worth approximately $4,320 USD. 10. Hamilton Ventura (H24655331) Image By: Watch Shopping To cap off our list, we have another timepiece from Hamilton known as the Hamilton Ventura Ref. H24655331. Based on the original Ventura model launched in 1957, the modern Hamilton Ventura is an intriguing timepiece that represents the bold and daring nature of the Hamilton brand. Its looks are definitely unconventional, but that is one of the main factors that adds to its mystique.  Its 46mm case is made from stainless steel and is wonderfully beveled to create a unique arrowhead-shaped build. The sapphire crystal fitted on top ensures that this exclusive dial remains protected from impacts and scratches. On the dial are applied dauphine hands and three luminous silver-tone hour markers that light up the watch in the dark. The upper corner of the dial and the second hand is coated in red to add a degree of stylish flair to the watch’s black and silver surface. Operating underneath is an ETA 2824-2 based H-10 movement. Its 80-hour power reserve mimics the lengthy power supply that the original Ventura was known to have. The Hamilton Ventura Ref. H24655331 fetches an estimated price of $1,345 USD. Why do many brands use ETA movements? Over the years, ETA movements have proven to be extremely reliable and accurate. In some instances, ETA movements have also been shown to outperform even in-house movements. For watchmakers that do not produce their own movements, ETA is a top choice too, especially since ETA movements are rather easy to modify. With their quality, affordability, and versatility, it is no wonder why many watchmakers choose to base their calibers on ETA movements. Furthermore, since most ETA calibers come in various grades, there are numerous options for watch brands to consider when choosing the perfect movement for their timepiece. Final Thoughts The ETA 2824-2 is arguably one of the most iconic automatic calibers in the entire watchmaking industry. Regarded as a “workhorse movement” by collectors, enthusiasts, and watchmakers alike, the ETA 2824-2 is a tried-and-tested caliber that is highly reliable and efficient despite its affordability and generic nature. And even when it does experience wear and tear, the ETA 2824-2 movement is cheap and easy to service, so you do not have much to worry about. Whether it is in its base form or a modified variant, the ETA 2824-2 can be found in many wristwatches worldwide. Of those models, the ten timepieces mentioned above are some of the best watches that house the ETA 2824-2 caliber. That said, it is by no means an exhaustive list, and there are plenty of other great timekeepers that utilize the ETA 2824-2. So, make sure you do your own research and select the perfect ETA 2824-2 watch that fits all your tastes and preferences. Featured Image By: Tag HeuerNeed another watch with an ETA 2824-2? Check out the Certina DS Action Diver and see if it has what it takes!

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  4. A Complete Guide to the Zenith El Primero Movement

    A Complete Guide to the Zenith El Primero Movement

    As many of us already know, an exceptional watch is always accompanied by a dependable movement. After all, there is nothing that makes your life easier than a trusty timekeeper that looks gorgeous and provides a consistently reliable performance. There are many brands out there with watches that possess stunning designs and highly capable movements. However, you might be surprised to find out that many of these watches actually contain the same age-defining Swiss caliber that packs a whole lot of history: the Zenith El Primero caliber. Hailing from a brand known for supplying top-notch movements to the rest of the industry, the Zenith El Primero is a revolutionary, highly versatile movement that many watchmakers have chosen to rely on, serving as a testimony to its quality. For today’s article, let us take a closer look at this iconic watch movement. Introducing the Zenith El Primero Movement Currently, the Zenith El Primero caliber comes in several forms. Today, we will be focusing on the El Primero Caliber 4000SC commonly found in Zenith Defy watches. The El Primero 4000SC is a modern automatic chronograph movement based on the original Zenith El Primero Caliber 400 that was released in 1969. Much like the original caliber, the Zenith El Primero 4000SC features a power reserve that can last up to 50 hours and an impressive beat frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour (5Hz). Held in place by thirty-one jewels, this movement has a total of 278 components, including a ball-bearing rotor made entirely out of tungsten. Apart from telling the time, the El Primero 4000SC also has chronograph, date, 30-minute, and 12-hour functions. Sticking true to the size of the first El Primero caliber, the Zenith El Primero 4000SC has a diameter of 30mm and is only 6.5mm thick. In general, there are quite a lot of similarities between the Zenith El Primero 4000SC and the original 1969 El Primero caliber. However, one thing that Zenith has improved upon considerably is the construction of the modern El Primero caliber. Zenith constructed the El Primero 4000SC with Zenithium. This is a durable, lightweight metal alloy that consists of aluminum, niobium, and titanium. Zenith utilized Zenithium on the El Primero 4000SC to bolster the caliber’s shock resistance, as well as strengthen its balance and chronograph bridge. While the incorporation of Zenithium is an excellent advancement, the contemporary Zenith El Primero 4000SC really does not stray too far from the qualities of the original El Primero 400. This just goes to show that Zenith truly knows how to make an automatic chronograph caliber that barely needs any improvement, even after decades. Brief History of the Zenith El Primero Movement While it is one of the most celebrated watch calibers, the El Primero actually had a rather bumpy and underwhelming start. In 1969, Zenith unveiled the El Primero as the world’s first high frequency, fully integrated automatic chronograph movement. Additionally, it was only 6.5mm thick. While the Zenith El Primero was not the thinnest caliber ever, it was definitely impressively slender. With such specifications and technical prowess, you would have expected the Zenith El Primero’s launch to make the headlines of the watchmaking industry. Unfortunately, it was nowhere near that. During the El Primero’s release, only a handful of local and regional journalists were able to attend Zenith’s press conference. The bad luck did not stop there. A year after the El Primero’s release, the dreaded quartz crisis took the Swiss watchmaking industry by storm. Since they were more accurate and much cheaper to produce and sell than mechanical watches, quartz-operated watches quickly became all the rage. Ultimately, the ensuing fall of mechanical watches meant that the Zenith El Primero was more neglected than ever. In 1971, the Zenith brand was sold to the Zenith Radio Corporation, a Chicago-based conglomerate that originally manufactured radios and televisions. Between 1969 to 1975, Zenith produced a total of 32,000 El Primero movements – both the model and the movement. However, in 1975, the new owners of Zenith decided to focus on making quartz watches.  As part of the brand’s new business direction, the owners ordered all previous Zenith blueprints, presses, and tools to be scrapped or sold. At first, this seemed like the end of the Zenith El Primero movement. However, Zenith watchmaker and chronograph specialist Charles Vermot, along with his brother and another Zenith employee, was able to secretly hide 150 presses, along with some blueprints, tools, and cams, including those of the Zenith El Primero. Zenith’s attempt to join in the quartz watch craze was largely unsuccessful, and the brand had little to no profit during that time. In 1978, Zenith Radio Corporation sold Zenith Watches SA. In the 1980s, mechanical watches began to undergo a resurgence. This improved situation opened an avenue for Zenith to bounce back and recover from the decade of quartz. After a few years, the brand was able to produce the Zenith El Primero movement once more. The unexpected return of the El Primero caliber was significant, as it was quickly implemented into the famous sports chronograph, the Rolex Daytona. Rolex’s use of the Zenith El Primero was a strong vote of confidence. Soon after, Zenith also started equipping the El Primero in their own watch models. Wearers were able to witness the Zenith El Primero in action for the first time through the Zenith Chronomaster see-through sapphire caseback. Today, the Zenith El Primero stands as one of the most popular movements in the industry. Now available in several variations from its base form to versions with flyback hands and tourbillons, this Swiss caliber can be found in numerous Zenith models as well as watches from renowned brands such as Hublot, Bulgari, Tag Heuer, and Panerai. At the Baselworld 2019, the original Zenith El Primero 400 was given a modern revival. The difference was that this time, it was in front of a great audience with all the media coverage a watchmaker could want. Truly, this is the breakthrough that the El Primero caliber rightfully deserves. After decades of passion and dedication, the Zenith El Primero has risen through the ranks and has become a hallmark of exceptional watchmaking. 10 Watches with the Zenith El Primero Movement Various models in the market utilize the Zenith El Primero. While this caliber can typically be found in a slew of Zenith watches, there are few models from other brands that also use the coveted El Primero movement. Listing down every timepiece with the Zenith movement would be quite a chore. So instead, we will be narrowing down this list to the top 10 best watches equipped with the iconic Zenith El Primero movement. 1. Zenith Chronomaster Revival El Primero A384 (03.A384.400/21.C815) Image By: Watch Shopping There is no better watch to start this list with than the Zenith Chronomaster Revival El Primero A384. This 50th Anniversary special edition watch is a contemporary version of the first Zenith watch to ever be equipped with the El Primero movement. It is the recreation of a timeless classic, updated with modern innovations. Housed in a tonneau-shaped stainless steel case, the Zenith Chronomaster Revival El Primero A384 features 50m of water resistance and a gorgeous panda dial recreated from the blueprints of the original El Primero A384. It comes with three black chronograph sub-dials, luminous silver hands and hour indices, and a bezel in black that is also marked with a tachymetric scale. Operating underneath the watch face is the one and only Zenith El Primero 400 caliber, complete with its 36,000 vph frequency and 50-hour power reserve. This Zenith El Primero Anniversary timepiece is worth $6,469 USD. 2. Zenith Chronomaster Revival Shadow (97.T384.4061/21.C822) Image By: Watch Shopping A recreation of a Zenith chronograph prototype that dates back to the 1970s, the Zenith Chronomaster Revival Shadow is a handsome watch that blends both vintage elements and contemporary design. Made of high-quality micro-blasted titanium, its matte-finished case is as durable as it is lightweight. Its black dial showcases applied silver indices and hands, along with grey subdials for the 12-hour, 30-minute, and small seconds chronograph functions. Below the dial of the Zenith Chronomaster Revival Shadow is an El Primero movement that wearers can view through the watch’s see-through sapphire caseback. To finish off the watch’s suave the look, Zenith pairs the Chronomaster Revival Shadow with a black cordura effect rubber strap. This watch sells for approximately $6,599 USD. 3. Zenith Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Rescue (03.2434.4069/20.I010) Image By: Watch Shopping If you are looking for a military-inspired Zenith pilot watch unparalleled reliability, check out the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Rescue. Accompanied by a calfskin leather strap in black, this timepiece features a 45mm polished stainless steel case topped with a layer of anti-reflective sapphire glass. The dial of this Zenith Pilot watch boasts a black sunray dial with vibrant yellow accents from its small second markers, seconds hand, and Pilot signature. The dial’s hour numerals are bold and pronounced and are coated in Super-LumiNova to provide improved legibility in the dark. Running the timepiece is a Zenith El Primero 4069 movement, with 254 components, a 5Hz beat frequency, and a 50-hour power supply.  This Zenith Pilot piece costs around $5,619 USD. 4. Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Titanium (601.NX.7170.LR) Image By: Watch Shopping Hublot is a brand that many enthusiasts and collectors associate with bold and unique-looking watches. Now, with this Spirit of Big Bang Titanium Ref. 601.NX.7170.LR, wearers can enjoy a luxury timepiece with the looks of a sophisticated Hublot and the reliable performance of a Zenith. This Hublot Spirit of Big Bang watch comes in a sleek, polished tonneau-shaped titanium case that holds and protects the Zenith El Primero-based HUB4700 automatic movement. Its complex skeletonized dial gives the timepiece a distinct appeal while also providing a great view of the caliber at work. For those who want to see this Zenith-Hublot movement from another point of view, you can turn the wristwatch over and look at it through its exhibition-style sapphire caseback. This Hublot watch is worth approximately $17,269 USD. 5. Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Open (03.2040.4061/69.C496) Image By: Watch Shopping Another model from the Chronomaster series, the Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Open is a distinct and stylish watch that displays an open-heart silver sunburst dial. Aside from the aperture that allows you to view the emblematic Zenith El Primero movement, this watch’s dial also has sub-dials bearing the signature tri-colors that the line is known for. This watch comes in a 42mm stainless steel case equipped with a layer of sapphire glass to protect the dial and an exhibition-style sapphire caseback. You will not have to worry about this timepiece getting wet either as it is water-resistant up to depths of 100m. The watch also comes with a black semi-gloss alligator leather strap. You can purchase this Zenith piece for around $6,439 USD. 6. Zenith Defy Extreme (95.9100.9004/01.I001) Image By: Watch Shopping With an additional escapement that runs its seconds chronograph function at a whopping 50Hz, the Zenith Defy Extreme is a sleek watch that can measure time up to 1/100th of a second. Its case is made out of robust, lightweight titanium, making the timepiece both durable and comfortable to wear. Its beveled surfaces feature a mix of polished and satin-brushed finishes that go very well with the Zenith Defy Extreme’s transparent titanium dial and titanium bracelet. Below the dial is a Zenith El Primero 9004 caliber, which is fitted with 53 jewels and has an impressive depth rating of 200m. This watch fetches an approximate price of $17,499 USD. 7. Zenith Chronomaster El Primero A385 (03.A384.400/385.C855) Image By: Watch Shopping A vintage-inspired design that is also inspired by the Zenith El Primero A384, this Zenith Chronomaster El Primero A385 features a very different colorway. Its tonneau-shaped stainless steel case is paired with a rustic gradient brown dial that darkens towards the rim. Adorned with applied hands and hour indices, the watch face has submerged chronograph sub-dials in white and a white date window that contrasts nicely against the warm hues of the brown backdrop. Running this watch is none other than the wondrous Zenith El Primero caliber. Wearers who want to see this movement, along with its customized Zenith rotor, can view it through the see-through sapphire caseback. The El Primero A385 comes in a slender 37mm case coupled with a light brown calfskin leather strap. This timepiece will cost you around $6,679 USD. 8. Hublot Spirit of Big Bang White Ceramic (601.HX.0173.LR) Image By: Watch Shopping Whether you are a fan of Hublot or not, this is a striking watch that is bound to get the attention of everyone looking at it. The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang White Ceramic uses a 44m white ceramic case covered by a layer of sapphire glass. This fashionable yet durable composition ensures that the timepiece looks distinct and is highly scratch-resistant throughout its structure. The dial of this Hublot watch is skeletonized, allowing you to see the El Primero-based HUB4700 caliber in all its glory. Above the movement are luminous hour indices and sword-shaped hands, chronograph subdials of varying sizes, and a date display at the 4:30 position. Paired with a white alligator leather strap, the Hublot White Ceramic is both a reliable timekeeper and a bold fashion statement. You can get your hands on this particular Hublot piece for $21,649 USD. 9. Zenith Defy El Primero (95.9005.9004/01.R582) Image By: Watch Shopping Encased in a 44mm tonneau-shaped titanium case, the Zenith Defy El Primero is a robust and rugged timepiece that provides its with wearers style, convenience, and elegance. The Zenith Defy El Primero showcases a fixed black ceramic bezel and a polished silver dial with black chronograph subdials and luminous hands and hour markers. Layers of anti-reflective sapphire glass protect the front and rear case of the watch while also offering a clear view of the watch face and its El Primero movement. Zenith pairs the Defy El Primero with an alligator leather-patterned black rubber strap. This Zenith watch retails at around $8,000 USD 10. Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Sport (03.2280.400/01.C713) Image By: Watch Shopping The Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Sport is a highly-capable wristwatch that merges sporty looks with classy aesthetics. Its silver-tone stainless steel case stands out beautifully when matched with the watch’s dark brown alligator leather strap. The matching polished silver dial contains applied indices and hands and a date window at 6 o’clock, along with chronograph sub-dials that blend in perfectly with the silver backdrop. A touch of color is added to the timepiece with its bold red seconds hand. This watch is powered by the Zenith El Primero 400B, which differs from the original El Primero 400 in terms of the positioning of its date window. The El Primero Sport is worth approximately $7,599 USD. Importance of Beat Frequency in Telling Time The frequency of a watch is measured using two different terms: Hertz (Hz) and Vibrations per Hour (VpH). Hertz typically refers to the number of oscillations or “swings” the movement’s balance wheel makes in a single second. Each time the balance wheel does half a swing or completes half an oscillation, it is considered a vibration. As such, two vibrations can occur per oscillation. For example, if a Seiko Caliber 6R64 produces 4Hz, which is four oscillations per second, that would amount to eight vibrations a second. In an hour, 4Hz will amount to a total of 28,800 vibrations per hour. Now, why would knowing this be important? The role of beat frequency when telling time lies in the caliber’s ability to generate oscillations. The higher the rate, the more accurate time-telling will be. Most mechanical wristwatches nowadays possess a beat frequency between 18,000 vibrations per hour (2.5Hz) to 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). While those numbers are considered quite reliable, a lot of work still needs to be done for mechanical calibers to match the accuracy of quartz movements. The reason why quartz movements are so immensely accurate is that quartz crystals vibrate at an astronomical rate of 32,768 Hertz. Even the most capable high-beat Zenith mechanical watch can only generate 18 Hertz (129,600 vibrations per hour). Increased beat frequencies are an interest amongst watch collectors because it determines how precise their watches are. With regards to the Zenith El Primero, its 36,000 vibrations per hour (5Hz) allow it to measure time more accurately, all the way down to 1/10th of a second. However, the rate at which a movement beats also affects its power supply. That is why mechanical watches with lower beat frequencies tend to last longer than those that produce higher. It is certainly incredible that Zenith was able to create a large number of models that operate at 5Hz, while also having ample power supplies of around 50 hours. Final Thoughts To this day, the Zenith El Primero stands as one of the most coveted and recognizable automatic movements ever created. With its impressive beat frequency, lengthy power reserve, and unyielding reliability, the El Primero continues to amaze watch enthusiasts everywhere. The Zenith El Primero has made a home in many brilliant models. However, the ten timepieces mentioned above have proven to be some of the best El Primero watches that any brand has to offer. Though there really is no such thing as a bad El Primero watch, make sure to do your own bit of research so that you can land a high-quality and high-performance timepiece that perfectly suits your tastes. Featured Image By: Zenith Watches If you’re looking for more unique watches, have a go at this article of the top 15 Russian Watches.

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  5. 15 Best Russian Watches

    15 Best Russian Watches

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

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  6. Casio GA-2100: The Outstanding CasiOak Watch

    Casio GA-2100: The Outstanding CasiOak Watch

    In 1983, Japanese watchmaking brand Casio created their first-ever G-Shock timepiece, the DW-5000. The DW-5000 showcased Japanese technology, reliability, and hardy longevity. A few years after its release, Casio released the AW-500. This timepiece was notable for being the first G-Shock analog model to come into existence. While bearing G-Shock’s trademark durability, the AW-500 also had a unique and bulky exterior that screamed toughness. Fast forward to today, and Casio’s G-Shock lineup is filled to the brim with all sorts of rugged timepieces. Out of all of the recent releases, one particular G-Shock model stands tall. In 2019, Casio unveiled the G-Shock GA-2100. Sometimes referred to as the CasiOak, the GA-2100 quickly became an unlikely favorite of the watch community. Let us take a more detailed look at the GA-2100 and why people just cannot seem to get enough of this watch. All About the CasiOak The CasiOak assembly consists of a number of models. For this article, we will be focusing on the Casio G-Shock GA-2100-1A and its exclusive features.  Image By: G-Shock Carbon Core Guard Case Casio watches are known for their oversized builds. As such, it should not come as a surprise that the CasiOak GA-2100-1A has some bulk to it. This watch has a case dimension of 45mm and a thickness of 11.8mm. It measures 48.5mm lug-to-lug and has a lug width of 16mm. Despite its rugged aesthetics, this CasiOak model weighs a light 51g, making it comfortable to wear and easy to bring around. This is all thanks to the case’s Carbon Core Guard structure. The use of the Carbon Core Guard structure gives the watch the same formidable resistances as a traditional G-Shock while also ensuring a more lightweight build. For those not so familiar with the concept, the Casio G-Shock Carbon Core Guard Structure is a formula Casio uses for their newer G-Shock watches. It enables the brand to attain the perfect harmony between sturdiness and size. By reinforcing its resin cases with carbon fiber, Casio is able to strengthen the exteriors of its cases while also toning down its overall girth and weight. The CasiOak GA-2100-1A uses this same Carbon Core Guard principle but showcases it in an octagonal form, with an octagon-shaped case and bezel. Printed on the bezel are the “G-Shock” and “Protection” signatures, along with function labels that indicate the purpose of each pusher. As you turn the CasiOak over, you immediately see its stainless steel case back. Screwed-down for maximum protection, the rear case is engraved with the “Carbon Core Guard” signature, along with the Casio name and some other information on the G-Shock model. As with all G-Shock watches, the resin material of the case protects this CasiOak watch from all kinds of shocks and impacts. It also has a substantial 200-meter water resistance rating. This allows the CasiOak GA-2100-1A to withstand everything from rain to ocean water. Design-wise, you can immediately see that this watch bears some resemblances to Audemars Piguet’s world-renowned Royal Oak. Casio, however, insists that they derived the design from their own 1983 and 1989 models, the DW-5000 and the AW-500. Whatever it is, you cannot deny the looks of the CasiOak GA-2100-1A. It carries an aesthetic that blends the durability we love from Casio G-shock watches with a hint of Gerald Genta sophistication. Casio also pairs the GA-2100-1A with a matching resin band that is integrated into its case.  Multidimensional Dial The work on the dial, for a lack of a better term, is exceptional. It has a three-dimensional look that highlights each component on the dial surface. Its minute indices take the form of understated cuts etched around the rim. The hour indices, on the other hand, are bulkier and protruding and have a light grey hue. It boasts a neat set of sword-shaped minute and hour hands mounted on a slight elevation that, in turn, gives more depth to the watch face. All versions of the CasiOak GA-2100 contain two unique features: a day display at 9 o’clock and a digital screen between the 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock positions. The layout of the CasiOak GA-2100 is quite ingenious, as it manages to fit all its complications on its dial without making it look cluttered or messy. The day display takes the form of a small indicator that points to the seven days of the week, which are etched inside a narrow semi-circle. The digital screen is intriguing, as it bears an irregular rhombus-like shape. The digital display is compact enough to fit its allocated space while also providing legible texts and numerals. One downside to the CasiOak is that the brand only added luminescence on the watch hands. As such, the overall lume quality is quite underwhelming. Personally, it would have been neat to have the hour markers coated in lume as well. That said, the CasiOak does come with LED light and backlight features. These provide the CasiOak GA-2100 with sufficient sources of brightness and legibility in dark times environments. Mineral Glass For such an affordable watch, mineral glass is pretty much what you would expect. The budget-friendly crystal provides a clear view of the watch face and offers a decent amount of protection from scratches. In addition, wearers can easily buff out any scuff marks with the help of some polish, a soft buffing cloth, and elbow grease. If the crystal becomes too obscure due to excessive damage, you can also replace the mineral crystal quite cheaply. Casio 5611 Module The CasiOak GA-2100-1A uses a 5611 quartz movement. For a G-Shock watch, this caliber provides a moderately limited set of features: digital and analog time, full-auto calendar up to the year 2099, hourly time signal, five alarms, countdown timer, stopwatch, and world time. The 5611 caliber is powered by two SR726W batteries that can last up to three years. In terms of precision, it has an accuracy of +/-15 seconds a month. On the whole, the CasiOak has a pretty basic slew of functions compared to other G-Shock models. That said, it is still a highly functional watch with handy functions that offer wearers a lot of convenience in their daily routines. Price The CasiOak GA-2100-1A, in particular, can cost you around $99 USD. Depending on the model purchased, the CasiOak can fetch a selling price of up to $250 USD. Some pre-owned versions do also come with a slight discount, depending on the seller and the condition the watch is in.   CasiOak Variants Since its launch in 2019, the CasiOak GA-2100 lineup has become home to several diverse and colorful models. Currently, CasiOak has a catalog of 15 different watches in total. For you to have a better idea of what the range looks like, here are a few distinct, fan-favorite CasiOak models that would make great additions to your collection. 1. GA-2100-1A1 Image By: G-Shock The G-Shock GA-2100-1A1 is arguably one of the most popular variants in the CasiOak selection. With an all-black aesthetic, from its dial and case to its resin brand, the GA-2100-1A1 comes off as an edgy and contemporary G-Shock timepiece. While its dark looks appeal to the eyes of many, it also has some design flaws. For instance, when you bring the CasiOak GA-2100-1A1 into a dark environment, the dial can be a little hard to read. Even with luminescent material coated on its hands, the watch face is still not very legible in poor lighting conditions. Fortunately, this CasiOak watch is packed with LED lights, so it can illuminate itself if necessary. Aside from the legibility of the watch face, however, the GA-2100-1A1 brings everything the CasiOak series promises — ruggedness, durability, and sophisticated style. 2. GA-2100-4A Image By: G-Shock Here is another highly recognized CasiOak GA-2100 model. Red throughout, this timepiece is quite eye-catching and a true sight to behold. The genius of this model lies in how Casio managed to make each shade of red stand out without looking too uniform. According to the brand, Casio used a total of nine different shades of red for this G-Shock watch. The CasiOak GA-2100-4A is a testament to the brand’s knack for integrating simple designs with creativity, practicality, and lots of charm.  3. GA-2100HC-2A Image By: G-Shock For a stylish and adventurous-looking CasiOak, have a look at the GA-2100HC-2A. Unlike the models mentioned above, this CasiOak watch does not utilize Carbon Core Guard Structure. Instead, it uses white and blue transparent resin for its case and integrated band, giving the GA-2100HC-2A a theme of marine exploration. The contrast of white, silver, and blue hues make this watch highly legible even in the dark. This allows it to double as a fantastic dive watch. The CasiOak G-Shock GA-2100HC-2A is an affordable and reliable watch for thrillseekers who thrive on underwater adventures. 4. GA-2100-5A Image By: G-Shock Another fascinating two-toned timepiece is the CasiOak GA-2100-5A. At a glance, the GA-2100-5A features a dark dial with a beige watch case and wristband. With both colors put together, they make up a CasiOak model that bears a tasteful yet rugged design. If the GA-2100HC-2A is fit for aquatic expeditions, then the GA-2100-5A is made for exploring deserts and arid landscapes. Alternatives Not so sure what to feel about CasiOak watches? Not a problem! Listed below are some alternative timepieces that not only possess similar qualities to the GA-2100 but also sell at relatively affordable prices.  Luminox Bear Grylls Survival Sea Series 3729 – $495 Image By: Watch Shopping For our first alternative, we have the Luminox Bear Grylls Survival Series 3729. Although it is a little more expensive than any CasioOak model, this Luminox timepiece comes with its own set of brilliant qualities that is well worth the price.  Where Casio uses Carbon Core Guard for their watch case, Luminox utilizes their iconic CARBONOX material. As with the Carbon Core Guard, Luminox’s CARBONOX takes advantage of the abundance and durability of carbon. The use of CARBONOX gives this Luminox Bear Grylls watch a rugged look and unparalleled durability that can take on any challenge. Both the Casio GA-2100 and the Luminox 3729 also possess similar water resistance ratings of 200m. Each of them also uses mineral glass to shelter their respective dials. That said, Luminox uses a hardened mineral crystal, which is hardier and more resistant to hard impacts. Another thing the Luminox 3729 excels in is battery life. The Luminox 3729 can last 50 months, which is 14 months more than the 3-year battery life of the CasiOak.  Exclusive to the Luminox 3739 is a unidirectional rotating bezel. As a diving watch, this bezel insert contains a time scale for divers to measure their elapsed time underwater. This timepiece may not have a day indicator like the CasiOak, but it does have a date function at 3 o’clock. Hidden below the dial of the Luminox 3739 is a Ronda 515 movement. This is protected by a solid 316L stainless steel rear case. Maurice Lacroix Aikon – $1,990 USD Image By: Watch Shopping The CasiOak, in itself, is a more accessible and casual version of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. If you want a more luxurious alternative to the CasiOak that only costs a fraction of the Royal Oak, there is no better option than the Maurice Lacroix Aikon. Encased in 39mm of stainless steel, the Aikon comes with a matching Maurice Lacroix stainless steel bracelet. With its blue tapisserie dial, elongated hour markers, silver sword hands, and date aperture at 3 o’clock, the Aikon exudes opulence similar to the famed Audemars Piguet watch.  Unlike the CasiOak and Luminox Bear Grylls Survival Series 3729 which run on quartz calibers, the Maurice Lacroix Aikon is operated by a mechanical movement. The caliber is known as the ML115. It is a self-winding clockwork based on the Sellita SW200-1. It can produce 28,800 beats per hour (4Hz) and has a power reserve that, when fully wound, lasts up to 38 hours. Protecting the ML115 caliber is an exhibition-style case back, so wearers can view the movement while it operates. In terms of design, the Aikon is almost spot-on, with the main difference being the claw-like structures on its bezel and its composition, which is not quite as octagonal as the CasiOak. It also has a depth rating of 200m, so you can easily take this timepiece for a swim too. Final Thoughts For a $99 watch, the CasiOak GA-2100-1A offers a whole lot of enjoyable perks with only a few flaws. It does so in a robust and genuine style that we do not regularly see in a traditional G-Shock. One improvement that Casio could consider making to this watch is with regards to its lume, which is a little lacking. Realistically speaking, coming across a timepiece identical to this Casio G-Shock watch along with all its features and price would be exceedingly rare. It just goes to show that Casio, as a watchmaking brand, is one-of-a-kind and in a league of its own. As for their CasiOak watches, it is (mineral) crystal clear why everyone wants to get their hands on this rugged yet lovely piece of G-Shock craftsmanship. Looking for a watch to end all your watch hunger? Have a look at one of Patek Philippe’s greatest pieces, the Patek 5970. Featured Image By G-Shock

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  7. Finding the Perfect Glycine Airman

    Finding the Perfect Glycine Airman

    Glycine is a brand known by watch enthusiasts for making highly capable pilot watches. Among all of Glycine’s aircraft-inspired collections, no watch series has made such an impact on the brand as the Glycine Airman. Over the years, the Airman has stood at the forefront of Glycine as their most popular timepiece. Unique in design and robust in performance, this high-flying Glycine timepiece does not disappoint.  In this article, we will be looking at a few select representatives from the Airman collection to see which model is made specifically for your preferences. We will also be taking a look at the story and tumultuous history of the Glycine Airman. Knowing the Flight Crew of the Glycine Airman The Glycine Airman collection provides a wide array of pilot watches. Their catalog consists of contemporary timepieces, vintage models, and an exclusive Airwoman series for ladies. Due to the variety available, finding the right Airman may prove to be a challenge. Instead of going through every model, we will take a closer look at a few select members that showcase the innovation and genius of the Airman crew. Prices for the Glycine Airman range between $1,200 USD and $2,400 USD, depending on the model, the features offered, and the materials used. For a pilot watch, the Airman can be considered relatively affordable.  1. Glycine Airman Contemporary The Airman Contemporary is one of the most diverse and colorful selections in the Airman series. From wonderful single and double tones to the Double Twelve and Bronze variants, the Airman Contemporary offers a whole lot of watches that are well worth your investment. Airman 42 (GL0070) The Airman 42 GL0070 boasts a striking dark and edgy composition. Worth approximately $1,400 USD, the GL0070 sports a 42mm stainless steel case treated with PVD coating. The case is paired with a carbon-style calf leather strap, and has a water resistance capacity of 100 meters. Inserted on top of the case is a PVD-coated bidirectional rotating bezel that bears a 12-hour time scale. At the center of the watch is an understated, pitch-black dial. The syringe hands, numeral hour markers, and indices are all coated with Super-LumiNova, giving them a bright glow in the dark. Powering the watch is an automatic GL224 movement with a 38-hour power reserve, which is protected by a see-through mineral glass.  Airman 44 (GL0156) For a more sizable Glycine Airman, check out the catalog of Airman 44 watches. The GL0156 comes in a 44mm case made of polished and satin-finished stainless steel. It has two crowns to the right of the case and a 24-hour bidirectional bezel on top. Sheltered by a layer of sapphire glass coated with anti-reflective material, the dial of the GL0156 boasts a gradient blue hue. It also features luminescent hands, Arabic numeral hour markers, and geometric indices. Towards the right of the dial is a square-shaped date window. This watch runs on Glycine’s favorite GL293 automatic caliber. With a water resistance rating of 100 meters, the GL0156 costs approximately $2,250 USD. Airman 44 Bronze (GL0166) Moving on to the Contemporary series’ special edition watches, we have the Airman 44 Bronze GL0166. What makes this model different from the others in its category is its beguiling bronze case. Both stylish and robust, bronze adds a different touch to the 44mm Airman. The coffee-brown color of the dial is also a delight to look at. With rose gold hands and applied indices, the dial perfectly complements the exterior of the Airman. Other than its color scheme, the GL0166 is quite similar to the other Airman 44 models. It uses a GL293 automatic movement, a see-through caseback, and a protective sapphire crystal. The Airman 44 Bronze costs around $2,380 USD and is paired with a coffee-brown calf leather strap. Airman 42 “Double Twelve” (GL0061) The Airman 42 Double Twelve GL0061 perfectly blends a 12-hour stainless steel bidirectional bezel with a silver-white dial featuring luminescent syringe hands, numerals, indices, and a date window. The Double Twelve uses a GL224 automatic movement with a 48-hour power reserve. Protected by a see-through mineral rear case, it utilizes 42mm of polished and satin-finished stainless steel as its case. Furthermore, the watch has a water resistance rating of 100 meters. Glycine matches the model with a classy brown calf leather strap. The Double Twelve has an approximate market value of $1,220 USD, making this one of the more affordable Airman models. 2. Glycine Airman Vintage The Airman Vintage selection is essentially a modern take on classic Airman models from the 1950s. It features iconic old-school Glycine designs with present-day innovations. The models in this sub-collection are aimed at watch and travel enthusiasts who are fond of the vintage Airman look. Airman “DC-4” (GL0071) Retailing at approximately $2,130 USD, the Glycine Airman Vintage DC-4 GL0071 comes in a 42mm stainless steel case paired with a black pilot strap. On top of its case is a white bidirectional 24-hour bezel that allows users to keep track of a second time zone. The dial of the DC-4 GL0071 features a smooth black surface with luminescent dauphine hands and indices. It has a date aperture at 3 o’clock, and a white tachymetric scale on the outer rim. The black dial is protected by a domed sapphire crystal which has been treated with three layers of anti-reflective coating. Below the dial is a Swiss GL293 automatic movement. It features a Glycine Airman-decorated rotor and has a power reserve that can last up to 42 hours. For wearers who want to see the caliber GL293 in action, Glycine has equipped the watch with a see-through mineral caseback. With two screwed-in crowns on the right of the case, the DC-4 GL0071 is water-resistant up to depths of 200 meters. Airman 36 NO1 Limited Edition (GL0160) The Airman 36 NO1 Limited Edition utilizes a stainless steel case that measures 36mm in diameter. Sheltered by a layer of domed plexiglass, its dial is silver-white and contains four luminescent hands to tell the hours, minutes, seconds, and the GMT. The GL0160 uses a GL293 self-winding caliber, complete with a 42-hour power reserve and the signature Airman rotor. One weakness of this timepiece is that, even though it has a stainless steel case back, it only has a water resistance rating of 10 meters. As such, this watch can only withstand some light splashes and maybe a trip to the shower. This limited edition Airman is paired with a classic black leather strap and retails at approximately $2,250 USD. Airman Vintage “The Chief” (GL0245) This one is a gripping piece. The 40mm stainless steel case of the Airman Vintage “The Chief” GL0245 has a coating that resembles the texture of gunmetal. The bidirectional 24-hour bezel on top also possesses the same finish. This finish produces an almost rust-like look and gives the watch a unique and rugged aesthetic. Under the domed plexiglass is a silver-white dial bearing the hours, minutes, seconds, and GMT functions that you see in many Airman references. Its hands and hour indices are also coated in Super-LumiNova to provide greater visibility in the dark. Powered by the brand’s GL293 self-winding movement, The Chief can last up to 42 hours. Like the GL0160, The Chief can only withstand up to 10 meters of water pressure. Accompanied by a vintage-style brown leather strap, The Chief GL0245 is worth approximately $2,130 USD. 3. Glycine Airwoman Giving the collection a dainty flair, the Airwoman is just as capable as it is pleasing to the eye. Bearing exclusive colors and an original design, the Airwoman is a unique line of ladies’ watches and is the perfect co-pilot to the Airman. Airwoman 36 (GL0181) Starting with the GL0181, the beautiful Airwoman comes in a 36mm stainless steel case that has a water resistance rating of 100 meters. Its bidirectional bezel uses a 12-hour scale rather than the usual 24-hour variant we usually see on standard Airman watches. Below its sapphire crystal is an exquisite mother-of-pearl dial featuring a syringe handset, modest Arabic numbers, and a date window. The timepiece uses a GL224 automatic movement, which comes with Glycine’s customized rotor and a 38-hour power reserve. For those who want to see the caliber GL224 in action, Glycine provided the watch with an exhibition-style mineral crystal rear case. Worth approximately $1,280 USD, this elegant timepiece comes with a blue calf leather strap. Airwoman 36 (GL0172) With its PVD-coated stainless steel case and yellow gold sunray dial, the GL0172 comes off as a very luxurious Airwoman. Other than its lavish hues, the GL0172 performs quite similarly to the other Airwoman models in Glycine’s catalog. It has the same functions, the same GL224 caliber, the same mineral case back, and the same 100m water resistance. Glycine pairs the GL0172 with a matching yellow gold PVD-coated bracelet. All in all, this extravagant pilot watch costs approximately $1,580 USD. This model also comes in different colors, like bronze and silver. History of the Glycine Airman During the 1950s, international air travel was slowly becoming a more common occurrence. For Glycine, there was no better time to create a new pilot watch. Glycine released the first line of Airman wristwatches in 1953. Aside from the usual features seen in traditional timepieces, Glycine’s Airman also had the ability to tell world time. With the rise of jet-setters and travel enthusiasts worldwide, the Airman became a commercial success. It was not long before pilots also started wearing Airman watches for their flights. Ever since its debut, the Airman collection has never left Glycine and is currently one of the brand’s most tremendous accomplishments. Over a decade, the Airman has enjoyed a steady reputation among enthusiasts. However, Glycine started to notice that their customers were finding the Airman’s design too mundane. In order to retain the interest of their audience, they had to come up with something different. In 1967, Glycine unveiled a new member to the Airman family, the Airman SuperSonic Transport (SST). The Airman SST was a pilot chronograph that featured a brand new design. It had a black and grey 24-hour dial and an orange 24-hour internal bezel cased inside 42mm of stainless steel. Underneath its dial was an A.Schild 2063 self-winding caliber. Equipped with the brand’s latest technologies, the Airman SST was able to reinvigorate the collection.  In the 1970s, Glycine was one of the many Swiss watchmakers affected by the revolutionary quartz crisis. Although they suffered severely, the company was able to survive. That said, Glycine had to think of something to recuperate from their losses. As a response to the market’s new demand for quartz watches, Glycine developed two Airman wristwatches that utilized quartz movements. The new models worked in Glycine’s favor as they garnered success in both the Japanese and American markets. 1998 was another eventful year for the Swiss watchmaking brand. By using the ETA 2893-2 Caliber, Glycine was able to unveil the Airman 2000. The Airman 2000 was unlike any other. It was a unique timepiece with the ability to tell the time of three different time zones. A year after its release, Glycine started fitting the Airman watches, including the Airman 2000, with jumbo-sized 46mm cases. Even in the 21st century, Glycine continues to be a pioneer of aviation watches. For instance, in 2002, the Swiss watch brand released the Airman 7. The Airman 7 houses three mechanical movements. Such a design allows it to provide four different time zones simultaneously, making it another in Glycine’s long list of innovative aviation watches. Alternatives to the Glycine Airman So, maybe the Glycine Airman or Airwoman are not the timepieces you are looking for. Fear not, however, for we have two alternative collections that are just as good as the Glycine Airman, and that you might find more to your liking. Sinn Instrument Chronographs Founded in 1961, Sinn first made a name for itself by manufacturing instrument watches and panel chronometers for aviation. As one of Sinn’s pioneering collections, the Instrument Chronographs is a selection that boasts quality, heritage, and innovation at its core. Sinn also has the Instrument Watches collection, but if you want something that offers more utility and practicality, then the Instrument Chronographs range is the way to go. With its high-grade durability, reliable movements, and varying designs, the Sinn Instrument Chronograph is a must-have for pilots and all kinds of professionals. Some of their most recognized models include the award-winning Bicompax Chronograph 936, the EZM 12, and the Hunting Watch 3006. Like the Glycine Airman collection, the Instrument Chronographs also has a line of watches that cater to the ladies. IWC Pilot’s Watches Another brand known for making aviation timepieces, IWC has been creating and developing its Pilot’s watches since the 1930s. Their Pilot range showcases five sub-collections: Classic, Top Gun, Spitfire, Le Petit Prince, and Antoine Saint de Exupery. Each family has a wide assortment of stylish and versatile models. As such, you do not have to worry about running out of options. Aside from their unique and beautiful looks, each IWC Pilot’s watch comes with a high-quality in-house mechanical movement and a legacy spanning more than 80 years. Whether you want something vintage or modern, classy or casual, the IWC Pilot’s selection is sure to have a model for you. Recently, IWC released the latest addition to the Pilot’s watch collection, the Big Pilot’s Watch Shock Absorber XPL. This timepiece features one of the industry’s most advanced anti-shock systems to date. Final Thoughts For decades, the Airman has brought the brand to new heights as an innovator of pilot watches. Since its release, the Airman continues to dish out brilliant timepieces that vary from conventional models, complex references, and one-of-a-kind collector’s items. Unique, durable, and reliable, the Airman is everything a pilot needs, and it can match up against other renowned contenders such as Sinn, Hamilton, IWC, and many more. Need a different Flieger watch? Check out the Sinn 356 Chronograph and see if it’s the timepiece for you. All Glycine Airman and Airwoman Images By Glycine-Watch

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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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