Jason Cotaoco

Jason Cotaoco

First Published: June 17, 2021
  1. Articles by Jason Cotaoco
  2. 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 don’t regularly see in a traditional G-Shock. Again, the only thing I would prefer to change is its lume. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. 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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  6. Top 20 Eco-Friendly Watches for Enthusiasts with Green Thumbs

    Top 20 Eco-Friendly Watches for Enthusiasts with Green Thumbs

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

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  7. 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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  8. Rolex Submariner Blue (Date 126613) – The Modern Bluesy

    Rolex Submariner Blue (Date 126613) – The Modern Bluesy

    Blue Rolex Submariners have been “the in-thing” for as long as watch collectors can remember. Ever since its first release, Rolex Submariners in blue have always been a big hit with the audience. No one can be exactly sure why that’s been the case. Perhaps it is simply the touch of Rolex magic? Regardless, blue-toned watches have become a staple for the Rolex crowd. They are extremely recognizable and a commodity to enthusiasts and collectors alike. One of the most iconic Rolex Submariner Blue timepieces is the Rolex Submariner Date Ref. 116613LB, more commonly known as the Bluesy.  The Ref. 116613LB is a remarkable piece of luxury. It is one of Rolex’s latest and most beloved creations to date. Whether in conversations online or offline, this Rolex Submariner Blue is one of the most talked-about models in Rolex history. The Bluesy has so much to boast and has barely any faults. Many watch connoisseurs find that they simply can’t think of things to criticize this watch for. So, if there isn’t much to improve upon, how could Rolex possibly top the Ref. 116613LB? In 2020, Rolex released the successor to the Bluesy, the Rolex Submariner Date Ref. 126613LB. The new Rolex Submariner Blue 126613LB features cutting-edge innovations and craftsmanship like no other. As we take a more detailed look at the new Bluesy, we will see if it truly is better than the original. Can Rolex refine a timepiece that already doesn’t disappoint? Let’s find out. Specifications Photo by Zeidman’s Watch Dimensions This addition to the Rolex Submariner line has a case diameter of 41mm, a millimeter more than standard Rolex Submariners. Although the specs show that the model is larger than average, the slimmed-down lugs and substantial bezel size make the watch appear smaller than it is. It is 12.7mm thick with a lug width of 21mm and has a lug to lug measurement of 48.1mm. Apart from the case diameter, the Rolex Submariner Blue Ref. 126613LB has proportions much like other Submariner models. That said, anyone who has owned a Submariner and worn it with no difficulty will have a similar experience sporting the spectacular Ref. 126613LB. Oystersteel and Yellow Gold Case and Caseback Image By: Rolex There isn’t anything that Rolex wouldn’t do to ensure a high-quality timepiece. Rolex uses a combination of beveled Oystersteel and yellow gold to produce the case of the Submariner Blue Ref. 126613LB. Many Rolex enthusiasts are familiar with this iconic color scheme and refer to it as Yellow Rolesor. The term “Rolesor” is one that Rolex coined, meaning half gold and half steel. The Rolesor of the Submariner Ref. 126613LB is a blend of Rolex’s highly-regarded, durable Oystersteel and exquisite 18K gold. Rolex adopts the best properties of both materials and melds them into a perfect mixture of style and strength. The knob of the Submariner Blue Date is a screwed-down winding crown that features Rolex’s Triplock system. As its name suggests, the Triplock system makes use of a total of three gaskets to securely prevent water from leaking into the inner machinations of the watch. Simply put, this allows the crown to keep the timepiece safe underwater, whether the knob is screwed down or not. It ensures the watches are better protected and gives wearers some peace of mind knowing that their tremendously valuable timepiece is not in any danger.  Located at the rear of the timepiece is a screw-down caseback made from Oystersteel which keeps the inner mechanisms of the Rolex Submariner Blue safe. While it would have been nice to be able to view the movement at work through an exhibition caseback, a screw-down caseback is the optimal choice for greater protection. Compared to exhibition rear cases, screw-down casebacks are less vulnerable to leakages and can more effectively keep the watch safe from water damage.  Royal Blue Unidirectional Bezel Inserted on the top of the Rolex Submariner Blue Ref. 126613LB is a rich blue unidirectional bezel made of Cerachrom. “Cerachrom” is another word from the Rolex dictionary. It is an amalgamation of the English word “ceramic” and the Greek word “Chrom”, meaning color. At the top marker of the bezel is a luminescent bulb that provides brightness in dark environments. The ceramic bezel has its numbers and graduations overlaid with a tasteful gold coating to stand out from the blue surface of the dial. On the side of the bezel are notched edges that give an easier grip when rotating the bezel. The reason why Rolex uses ceramics instead of their renowned Oystersteel for the bezel is because of the scratch resistance. Unlike the metals used for bezels that can get scratched time and time again, ceramic bezels display a more resistant surface overall. It is scratch-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and resistant to UV rays. The only problem with ceramic, however, is its fragility. It does not take much to break ceramic, so it is pivotal to keep the timepiece from receiving impacts. Compared to steel, ceramics are more fragile and can crack, even shatter after taking a hard bump.  Royal Blue Chromalight Dial It is impossible to deny the grandeur of the Rolex Submariner Blue’s sunburst royal blue dial. The dial is glorious, with a stellar design that shimmers and shines under all sorts of lighting conditions. On the dial are geometric hour markers and an alpha handset encased in luxurious 18K gold. The hour markers come in different shapes of circles, rectangles, and a triangle for 12 o’clock — a simple yet effective way to indicate time. Perched at the 3 o’clock position is a date window roofed by a convex cyclops lens. Rolex supplies the Submariner Date Ref. 126613LB with their signature Mercedes-style handset, similar to the ones found in other Submariners. The hands and hour markers are also generously coated with Chromalight to provide brightness and legibility in the dark.  Here is an intriguing detail about the Submariner Date Ref. 126612LB’s dial. Tilt the watch slightly to the side, and you can see “Rolex” engraved several times on the inner walls of the timepiece, a testament to how Rolex truly pays attention to the finest of details. The main difference this particular Rolex Submariner Blue has from the previous Bluesy is its crisp, white-colored text. Many enthusiasts and collectors welcomed the color change as it is a more satisfying contrast to the blue dial than the original gold text. Ultimately, however, it is up to the preference of the wearer which version is truly better. Another minor difference can be found at the bottom of the dial. Right below the 6 o’clock marker of the new Rolex Submariner Blue is a small “Swiss-Made” signature with a crown affixed in between. Sapphire Glass For a watch as extravagant as the Submariner Date Ref. 126613LB, sapphire glass is the only option fit to shelter the striking royal blue dial. No other material does a good job of protecting the Submariner timepiece as sapphire glass. It is superbly scratch-resistant and can take a good beating compared to the other materials in its category. Positioned on the right side of the glass is a convex cyclops lens that magnifies the date aperture on the dial. Such placement allows owners of this two-tone Submariner to read the date with just a glance.   A lesser-known fact about sapphire glass is that it tends to be highly reflective. Because of that, it is typical for watchmakers to apply a layer or two of anti-reflective coating. This allows wearers to comfortably read the time without any obstructions. Although the scratch resistance of sapphire is certainly noteworthy, it is still susceptible to cracks and shattering. With that in mind, it is best to keep the Rolex Submariner Blue safe and not go knocking it around against a hard surface. Rolex Calibre 3235 Image By: Rolex Rolex equipped this blue Submariner Date with their latest mainline movement, the Caliber 3235. The Caliber 3235 is an automatic movement based on the previous in-house Caliber 3135. The 3235 features a precision of -2/2+ seconds per day, which is incredibly accurate even by Rolex’s standards. In making their latest caliber, Rolex didn’t just make some minor adjustments. Rather, they heavily modified every aspect of the 3135 to create an upgraded Caliber 3235 that is even more efficient and reliable. That said, just what changes and improvements were made to the 3235? First, we will address the oscillator. The Calibre 3235 uses a paramagnetic Parachrom Bleu Hairspring to oscillate the balance wheel. While the hairspring isn’t entirely new, it has undergone a series of upgrades and fine-tuning. As a result, it runs with more enhanced isochronism and is ten times more accurate. Rolex used a blend of zirconium and niobium to create the alloy of the revamped hairspring. These elements give the hairspring greater resistances to magnetism, corrosion, and varying temperatures. High-performance Paraflex shock absorbers also work to dampen the rebound and compression of the hairspring. A traversing bridge secures the shock absorbers and reinforces the shock resistance even further. Rolex was also able to improve the power reserve of the 3235. The caliber can now last approximately three days. With the inclusion of the bidirectional self-winding feature, you could power the watch with a simple movement of your wrist. An incredible thing to note about this improvement is that Rolex achieved the enhanced power reserve by simply slimming down the walls of the mainspring barrel. The most significant improvement to the 3235 is its highly innovative Chronergy escapement. The escapement is what regulates the power delivered by the mainspring from the oscillator. When it comes to upgrading movements, one of the most delicate things to improve upon is the Swiss lever escapement. After much research and testing, Rolex came up with an escapement innovation that offers 15% more efficiency. Rolex also used nickel-phosphorus in developing the new escapement, allowing it to be more resistant to magnetism.  31 jewels hold the caliber 3235’s mechanisms to keep them from undergoing excess friction. The 3235 also has a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, which is the ideal standard for modern luxury watches. Oystersteel Bracelet Another thing that makes Rolex timepieces remarkable is that every aspect has a certain standard of quality, even the bracelet. With the Rolex Submariner Blue’s bracelet, the first thing that draws our attention is the Yellow Rolesor pattern. Its design dates back to the 1930s and is present in the bracelets of many Oyster Perpetual models, such as the highly recognizable Rolex Datejust. Despite its age, it still proves to be a timeless look to this day. In addition, the Oystersteel material of the bracelet is exceedingly resistant to corrosion, which enhances its durability. The bracelet uses the Rolex Glidelock system, which allows users to freely and precisely expand the band up to 20mm. The system comes equipped with a flip-lock extension which allows wearers to further adjust the bracelet by an additional 26mm. Such measures are necessary to ensure divers and non-divers can wear the Submariner Date Ref. 126613LB with a comfortable and secure fit. Finally, a folding Oysterlock clasp fastens the bracelet cozily around the wearer’s wrist. The lock bears the iconic logo of the company and adds a sense of sophistication to the bracelet.  Water Resistance This blue Rolex Submariner Date also possesses a water resistance of 300m or nearly a thousand feet. The timepiece is COSC certified and has received Superlative Chronometer status after further testing in Rolex’s facilities. A luxury watch with 300m water resistance can effortlessly handle activities such as showering, swimming, snorkeling, and even recreational diving. This Rolex Submariner Blue can go to depths that reach the proximity of saturation diving but bear in mind that it has its limits. If you’re looking for a timepiece built for excellent underwater reliability even in the deepest waters, the Rolex Sea-Dweller might be a better choice.  An Alternative If you want a spectacular dive watch that isn’t a Rolex, here is an alternative that could more or less fit the bill. Omega Seamaster Diver 300m Co-Axial Master Chronometer 42mm Ref. 210.30.42.20.03.001 The Submariner and the Seamaster have gone at it for a long time. Whether it comes to cameos in James Bond movies or the actual horology industry, Rolex and Omega are nothing short of rivals. As expected, Omega has its own contender in competition with the latest blue Submariner of Rolex. In 2018, Omega unveiled their most recent 42mm Seamaster Diver Master Chronometer. The new Seamaster has a proficient set of qualities that match Rolex’s Ref. 126613LB.  Similarities to the Submariner First and foremost, the Seamaster is a self-winding watch that also uses kinetic energy to supply power to itself. It features a helium decompression system which allows the timepiece to release helium when worn during long dives. The installation of the helium escape valve makes the Seamaster a professional choice for underwater exploration. As an added benefit, the crown is self-locking and securely screwed in to offer better water resistance.  The Seamaster also makes use of a high-quality stainless steel case and a ceramic unidirectional bezel. Being unidirectional ensures accuracy to a diver, and the ceramic plating will reduce any chances of scratches staying on its surface. The Omega timepiece also received COSC certification for its performance, durability, and resistance to magnetism.  Differences Between the Submariner and the Seamaster Now that we are aware of the similarities between these two dive watches, what exactly does the Omega Seamaster do differently? Aside from having Omega’s signature wave dial, the Seamaster utilizes the Caliber 8800. Just like the Rolex 3235, this in-house Omega movement features more efficiency and preciseness in operation. The Caliber 8800 is METAS certified as a Master Chronometer — the highest standard for accuracy. For calibers to attain this status, watches must be COSC certified and undergo eight additional tests. What makes this certification more impressive is that timepieces must undergo these tests twice. Although Rolex’s 3235 is not METAS certified, it possesses a more efficient power reserve and beat frequency than the Caliber 8800. On the other hand, the Caliber 8800 contains 35 jewels to hold the movement and boasts a higher rating of 15,000 gausses of anti-magnetism. Another difference is the usage of sapphire. For the Seamaster, Omega furnished both the front and the rear with sapphire glass. The watch has a dome-shaped sapphire crystal to protect the dial and a transparent sapphire caseback to protect the back of the watch. Since the caseback is see-through, wearers can view the Caliber 8800 in all its glory. Putting everything together, the Omega Seamaster puts together lots of convenience with a considerable amount of elegance. Both the Submariner and Seamaster are excellent watches, but if you’re more of an Omega fan, then the latest Seamaster is also a splendid choice. A Fun Fact About the Seamaster Did you know that in the trailer of the latest instalment of 007 (No Time to Die), you can see Daniel Craig wear the 42mm Seamaster as his trusty timekeeper? His watch is the same model but of a different reference number. The exact reference Mr. Bond uses is 210.22.42.20.01.001. It is safe to say that we will see more of the Omega Seamaster in action once the movie finally releases. Let’s hope that Mr. Bond doesn’t break the watch. Then again, he probably has the money and the methods to get another one. Final Thoughts The 126613LB is most certainly a fine addition to the Rolex Submariner Blue series. With its astounding qualities and beguiling design, the blue Rolex Submariner Date is pretty much one of the best options out there. Like all Submariners, owners can sport this marvelous timekeeper on any occasion. Moreover, the Rolex Submariner Date 126613LB is always ready to deliver optimal performance with an added sense of sophistication. It is as beautiful as it is practical. The latest iteration of the Rolex Bluesy is, without a doubt, a stunning work of craftsmanship and innovation.  Need a more affordable diver watch? Have a look at the classy Orient Mako II? Featured Image By Rolex

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  9. Valjoux 7750 – Valjoux’s Greatest Invention

    Valjoux 7750 – Valjoux’s Greatest Invention

    No wristwatch is complete without its movement. The movement is one of the most fundamental components of any timepiece. Quite simply, it is the mechanism that keeps your watch ticking. Without it, your wristwatch would be dead.   Every watch enthusiast has their own opinions on their favorite and least-preferred movements. That being said, one of the most talked-about watch movements in the history of horology is the Valjoux 7750. Some argue that the Valjoux 7750 is one of the most exceptional chronograph movements ever made. Others, on the other hand, would say that the movement is cheap, generic, and, to an extent, outdated. Indeed, the debate over the Valjoux 7750 has gone on for years. With that said, let’s find out more about Valjoux and the making of the 7750. In addition, we will also learn about what is inside the Valjoux 7550 and how it acquired its reputation. By taking a closer look at this movement, we’re going to show you just which side of the debate was right about the Valjoux 7750 after all. Valjoux – The Foundation of Many Photo from eBay Valjoux is a Swiss manufacturer renown for producing quality mechanical watch movements. Valjoux derived its name from the original address of the company, located in Joux Valley, which is otherwise known as Vallée de Joux. Valjoux was an independent manufacturer until they joined AUSAG in 1931. AUSAG, now known as Swatch Group, is a conglomerate that took in numerous independent movement manufacturers. Many of the manufacturers AUSAG has bought throughout the years are extremely well-known names. These include, among others, Blancpain, Hamilton, Longines, Oris, and of course, Valjoux. The competition over the creation of newer, more innovative, and more technologically advanced movements has always been an intense one in the watch industry. In 1969, Zenith released the El Primero, a new chronograph watch that possessed the most precise automatic movement they ever invented. Dubois Depraz, in collaboration with Breitling, Tag Heuer, and Hamilton, also unveiled their latest ground-breaking movement, which they called the Chronomatic movement. While these were all brainchildren that rocked the waters of the horology field, none of them could compare to the revolutionary quartz tidal wave that changed the landscape forever. Quartz Crisis – End of an Era  From the moment it emerged on the market in the early 1970s, the quartz movement has dominated the market with an iron fist. After just a few years, most people were turning to their Seikos and other quartz-operated timepieces, while the old mechanical wristwatches were left at home gathering dust. The quartz movement proved to be the nightmare of every traditional Swiss movement manufacturer. Not only were quartz movements incredibly accurate in keeping time, but they were also much cheaper to make. With such heavy competition, Valjoux had to think of something quick. They hired a young watchmaker named Edmond Capt to provide them with a movement that could compete with Zenith, Dubois, and most importantly, the all-powerful quartz movement. What they needed was a sturdy and dependable movement that was easy to manufacture. In addition, the new movement had to be chronograph-rated and feature a quick-set day and date function. Their expectations were high and Edmond had to meet their requirements as soon as possible.  Thankfully, Capt was a quick thinker. He made use of the Valjoux 7733 as the foundation for his new movement. The Valjoux 7733 is an old chronograph movement of Valjoux’s, released in 1969, with features such as a small seconds sub-dial, a seconds counter, but no day or date function. Capt’s new movement kept the basic timekeeping functions that the Valjoux 7733 also provided. His most innovative customisation to his new movement was having the column wheel replaced with a lever and camp system. Due to this adjustment, it became easier for Valjoux to mass-produce this upgraded chronograph movement since it was more affordable and required less precision. With the additional help of computer technology, Capt’s invention, the Valjoux 7750, became a reality. During the first year of its release, the Valjoux was able to sell 100,000 units of the 7750. It looked like a bright enough future for the 7750, but dark clouds revealed themselves soon enough. Even with such an ingenious design, it was not enough to challenge the quartz movement. In 1975, both Zenith and Valjoux succumbed to their shrinking markets. Zenith had to discontinue the El Primero while Valjoux halted the production of their Valjoux 7750. In addition, the managers of Valjoux planned to destroy the molds and dies for the Valjoux 7750 as well. Capt, who viewed the 7750 as one of his best creations, was affronted by the thought. He decided to keep the molds and dies of the 7750 in the hope that he might one day still be able to use them. You might think, at this point, that Valjoux and the 7750 seemed to be on their last legs. Thanks to Capt’s actions, however, a spark of hope soon revealed itself to the mechanical movement industry. Re-igniting the flame As mentioned, the quartz movement took the 1970s by storm. The trend of quartz-operated timepieces remained strong and showed no signs of stopping. For the Swiss companies to survive what came to be known as the Quartz Crisis, they had to consolidate. AUSAG and another conglomerate named SSIH merged to become what we know today as the Swatch Group. This newly made group went on to integrate with Piaget and later bought Heuer in 1982.  In the next decade, although quartz remained king, the demand for mechanical movements recommenced. The 1980s was the dawn of a new era for automatic watches. After the formation of the Swatch Group occurred, Valjoux merged with another movement manufacturer known as ETA. A collaboration between the two Swiss companies took place and led to the birth of the Valjoux/ETA 7750. This improved 7750 showcased a highly customizable base and 4Hz beat rate. One of the first watchmakers to take advantage of the latest 7750 was IWC. Technical director Kurt Klaus opted to use the 7750 as the base for their newest invention, the Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph. Kurt famously designed the Da Vinci Chronograph entirely by hand instead of using computers. The decision was a good move and gave the timepiece a distinguished reputation that added to its classic design. Thanks to the success of the Da Vinci, IWC returned to the 7750 for yet another project. As a commemoration of the company’s 125th anniversary, IWC manufactured the Destriero Scafusia. For this watch, IWC made use of yet another customized 7750 that featured a flying tourbillon, a minute repeater, a split-second chronograph, and a perpetual calendar. The success of IWC’s 7750 watches eventually led the watchmaking company Fortis to also adopt the ETA/Valjoux 75750 into their crafts. Fortis had to modify the 7750 calibre as their target market – Russian cosmonauts – were dissatisfied with the lack of an alarm feature in the 7750. In order to fix this issue, Fortis hired a watchmaker named Paul Gerber to design an alarm that could pair well with the 7750. As a result, Fortis was able to develop the first automatic watch with an alarm. Aside from that, Gerber also made other modifications. He added a second spring barrel to help power the alarm in the timepiece and made adjustments to the rotor so that it could better supply power to the barrel. As time passed by, more and more watchmakers understood the appeal of the ETA/Valjoux 7750 and started to incorporate it into their products. All these different watchmakers had different needs and requirements to fulfill, and so each of them modified the 7750 to meet the standards of their specific target audience. Over time, there became hundreds of variations of the 7750 out in the world, populating the various case backs of numerous watches. As a result, the 7750 has become one of the most frequently used movements, with many unique versions of itself in the ocean of timepieces out there. Anatomy of the 7750 Now that we’ve gone through the history and the arduous journey undergone by the Valjoux 7750, it’s time for us to take a look at what makes up the composition of this mechanical movement. First of all, the 7750 is a mechanical, manual-wind movement that uses a three-plane cam system to operate its mechanisms. The standard 7750 has subdials at the 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions. The original Valjoux 7750 units contained 17 jewels, while most modern ETA 7750 variants hold 25 jewels, which allows for less wear and tear. The movement comes with a day/date function positioned at the 3 o’clock position of the timepiece. However, not all versions of the 7750 have this feature since some manufacturers opt to remove the day and date aperture to offer a cleaner, less cluttered look on the dial. The original 7750 contained mechanisms that were partially made out of plastic. More modern, modified 7750s frequently replace the plastic parts with metal, as it is more durable and sturdier. Contemporary models of the ETA 7750 also exhibit a faster frequency. These days, the 7750 produces 28,800 vibrations per hour instead of 21,600 from previous versions. Some modified variants of the 7750 have been manufactured on a wide scale. Apart from the base 7750 model, we also have the 7751, 7753, and 7754 movements. Out of all these units, the 7751 has the most additional features. The 7751 comes with a central date hand, a day and month sub-dial, and a sub-dial for moon phases. Following that, we have the 7753 movement. Unlike other ETA/Valjoux 7750s, the 7753 variant has its sub-dials positioned in the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions of the main dial. The 7753 also positions the date aperture at the 4 o’clock position of the watch face instead of the usual 3 o’clock. Lastly, we have the final version, the 7754. The one thing that the 7754 has that other models do not is a GMT hand. That said, aside from the mentioned differences, all ETA/Valjoux 7750s operate fairly similarly otherwise. 7750’s Notoriety Despite the marvelous feats the 7750 attained throughout the years, it still has its fair share of doubters and naysayers. Why do some people dismiss the 7750?  Cheap Over the years, the 7750 has become the go-to movement for many watchmakers for its customisable capabilities and affordability. Other watch fanatics, however, argue that the cheapness of the 7750 brings down the overall value of the watch. Since the watch industry uses the 7550 in all categories and types of timepieces, many argue that the contrast set up between luxury and more economic watches is devalued by the presence of the 7550. Many watch wearers would be displeased by the knowledge that their luxurious $3,000 watch uses the same movement as a more budget wristwatch worth $300. Generic and Mundane People can indeed get tired from seeing the same thing over and over again. As we’ve mentioned, since this mechanical movement appears in a vast number of different watches, the architecture of the ETA/Valjoux is simply too ubiquitous and has become too mundane for many watch enthusiasts. This is why some would prefer in-house movements for their luxury timepieces, as it brings to the table something that is a little more distinct and sophisticated. To them, the ETA/Valjoux 7750 is just too generic and overused, bringing down the exclusivity and class of their luxury timekeeper. Cam-Actuated There is an ongoing debate between the strengths of column-wheel chronographs as opposed to those of cam-actuated systems. Although the performances of both are nearly identical, some still prefer column-wheel chronographs. The naysayers of the cam-actuated system have claimed that because the 7750 is cam-actuated, when the watch starts running, it is frequently accompanied by a sudden jerk of the seconds hand. In reality, this is actually because the gears of the cam-actuated mechanism are merely fixing themselves before initiating the system. As opposed to the supposed jerkiness of the cam-actuated system, some argue that chronograph movements that use a column wheel tend to run smoother. The pushers in the cam-actuated system have also been criticized as being harder to press than the pushers present in column-wheel movements. It all boils down to preferences Ultimately, none of the reasons mentioned above are factual. In the end, it all comes down to what a person likes and what they dislike. Collectors and enthusiasts alike may regard the ETA/Valjoux 7750 as banal, but it also has strengths that they can not deny. The 7750 has proven itself to be an absolute workhorse. Despite being a relic from the past, this humble automatic movement has survived all sorts of adversities and advancements and continues to produce satisfying results. It may be generic, but there is a reason why so many highly-regarded watchmakers have chosen the 7750 for their quality timepieces. Valjoux 7750 Watches 1. IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph First on the list is a watch that was briefly mentioned earlier in the article, the IWC Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar. As the name reveals, Leonardo Da Vinci was the inspiration in designing this particular IWC Perpetual Calendar. The IWC Da Vinci was the first in its series to be operated by a mechanical movement. A caliber known as the IWC 79261 controlled the inner machinations of the watch. You might not be able to tell from the name alone, but the IWC 79621 is actually a Valjoux 7750 that was heavily modified to cater to the needs of the IWC Da Vinci. As stated previously in the article, it was Kurt Klaus who brought this movement to IWC. Klaus refused the use of computers and chose to modify the movement by hand. The resulting IWC Da Vinci timepiece was a huge success and it marked the comeback of luxury mechanical watches amidst the era of quartz. Photo by Time and Watches 2. Sinn 358 Diapal Pilot Chronograph The Diapal Pilot is an example of a modern watch that uses the Valjoux 7750. In this modified variant of the Valjoux 7750, 25 jewels hold the movement to prevent the apparatus from experiencing additional wear and tear. The Diapal Pilot is the first and only model of the Sinn 358 Chronograph series to utilize the Valjoux 7750. Later iterations of the Sinn 358 replaced the 7750 either with a Sellita SW 500 or a Concepto C99001. Funnily enough, both of these movements based their designs and functions on the 7750. Sinn uses all three mechanisms in different versions of their Instrument Chronograph series. The three watch systems may not be the same, but they all promise reliability and durability. Photo by Sinn 3. Tag Heuer Carrera Chronograph Calibre 16 DD Automatic Horology history associates Heuer and Valjoux in several instances. Aside from their mutual affiliation with the Swatch Group, Valjoux has also supplied many Heuer timepieces with 7750 calibers. In 2005, Heuer released their newest Carrera Automatic, which featured their latest movement, the Calibre 16. In making the Calibre 16, Heuer introduced the world of watches to their version of a modified Valjoux 7750. The Calibre 16 is utilized in several timepieces from different Tag Heuer collections, including Carrera, Link, and Aquaracer. Two years ago, Heuer stopped using the 7750 as the base for their Calibre 16 and replaced it with the Sellita SW 500. The new Calibre 16 now occupies the casebacks of Heuer’s main ranges of chronograph watches namely the Aquaracer, Carrera, and Formula 1. 4. Hamilton Khaki Aviation X-Wind Automatic  Hamilton created the X-Wind Automatic to commemorate their association with the US Airmail. Although they found that the 7750 had a decent enough performance, they were not entirely satisfied with the longevity of the 7750’s power reserve. After a few customizations to the Valjoux 7750 base, Hamilton produced their very own H-21. The upgrades resulted in a modern and more accurate 7750 with a new power reserve that can last for a whopping 60 hours. Compared to other watchmakers, Hamilton made fewer modifications to the base 7750. Despite this, the H-21 is one of the most notable innovations in the Hamilton lineup. The movement was later awarded COSC certification, and the Khaki Aviation X-Wind Automatic became a hit among Hamilton’s audience.  Photo by Hamilton 5. Breitling Avenger II Here’s a fun fact — Leonardo Dicaprio wore this watch in the 2006 movie Blood Diamond. The timepiece appeared in many scenes and is one of Breitling’s most well-known models. Like every other watch in this list, Breitling made several adjustments to the Valjoux 7750. Through their efforts, the company brought the Breitling 13 caliber to the world of horology. The Breitling 13 features a frequency of 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour with a 42-hour power reserve. Due to its unidirectional ratcheted bezel, the rotor of the Avenger II can move freely. The result? A lively timepiece that “wobbles” gleefully on the owner’s wrist.  Photo by Breitling Final Thoughts To this day, the 7750 is arguably one of the most recognizable and iconic automatic movements. There aren’t many movements in the scope of horology that have made an impact quite like it. The ETA/Valjoux 7750 is a rugged and easily modifiable mechanism currently used by many reputable companies. Although it was first named the Valjoux 7750, today, it is officially called the ETA 7750. Despite the renaming, however, most people still refer to it as the Valjoux 7750. Although it is not the most advanced movement, a finely-tuned Valjoux 7750 can reach heights that are equal to just about any modern movement out there. No matter which side of the debate you’re on, it is undeniable that the Valjoux 7750 is of great importance to watch history. Not only was the 7750 a component that gave relevance to the remnants of Swiss watchmakers, but it was also a crucial innovation responsible for reviving the whole industry of mechanical movements. Just as importantly, it was the movement that allowed so many watch manufacturers to unleash their creativity, making broad modifications to the Valjoux 7750 to best suit their purposes. Released over the decades, these modified variants prove, time and time again, that the Valjoux 7750 is as strong as ever. Valjoux is not out of the watch game and does not plan to leave anytime soon. Looking for a watch you can travel with? Here are the 20 Best Travel Watches for Globetrotters and Frequent Flyers. Featured Image by: Wikimedia Commons

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  10. The Orient Mako II – A Big Shark in a Bigger Ocean

    The Orient Mako II – A Big Shark in a Bigger Ocean

    Orient is known for being an underrated watchmaking company. They have a wide-range selection of watches that far exceed their current reputation. Among their lines of diver watches, one model truly stands out among the rest. That model is the Orient Mako II. There are a lot of cheap timepieces out there that turn out to be disappointments. They may be easy to afford, but when you need them the most, they will fail to deliver. The Mako II is not like that. With this model, Orient can personally show you just how much $150 has to offer you. In a world of seafloors inhabited by Rolex Submariners and Omega Seamasters, we often forget that a trusty dive watch does not necessarily have to cost a fortune. There are more affordable options in the market, and the Orient Mako II is one of the most reliable and fair choices. Try to find a timepiece that does the job better than this with a similar price tag, and you will see just what an arduous task it poses. With that said, let’s dive into the Orient Mako II and what it can do. Let’s start with a brief overview of the origins of the first edition Orient Mako and how the Mako II came to be.  The Original Mako Orient released the first Mako in 2004. The Mako was a flagship model and was an effective crowd puller as an affordable diving wristwatch. With its affordable price and capable features, the Mako was a popular choice of a first timepiece for many newcomers. It was an enormous success for Orient, and allowed them to learn more about their market. Thanks to the constructive criticism and feedback from its wearers, Orient was later able to design a new and improved model, the Orient Mako II. The Mako features a 41.5mm case with a royal blue dial. It uses an automatic movement known as the Orient Caliber 46943 with a 40-hour power reserve. Though the Mako comes with mineral glass, it is always possible to swap it for something more sturdy. For its final feature, the Mako can handle 200m or 660ft of water pressure. And to top it all off, this timepiece does not even reach $200. Just by looking at the specs and its price tag, it is apparent that this diver watch is a suitable, easily affordable diver watch for anyone. Funnily enough, this watch was not originally called the Mako. There are a handful of stories on how the Mako got its name, but the most frequent iteration involves the dolphin logo of its rubber strap. Wearers of the Orient Mako started to notice that the supposed dolphin on the rubber strap of the Mako seemed to more closely resemble a shark instead. In particular, fans thought that it looked like the shortfin mako shark. Since then, enthusiasts, and later the company itself, started calling the timepiece the Orient Mako.  Here’s a fun fact you might not have known: the shortfin mako shark, which the Orient Mako is named for, holds the record for being the fastest shark in the world. Specifications Photo by u/motorcyclerider100 from Reddit Dimensions of the Orient Mako II Starting with the dimensions, the Orient Mako II is 13mm thick and measures 41.5mm in diameter. As far as the lugs are concerned, the Mako II has a lug width of 22mm and a lug to lug measurement of 47mm. Although the size sounds quite standard, the wristwatch actually looks smaller than what the dimensions specify due to the nature of its curved lugs. That said, those with larger wrists may perceive their Orient Mako II to be a bit small-scale. If wearers want a watch that feels a little more substantial, they could instead opt for the larger Orient Mako XL. On the whole, however, the Mako II is well-sized for a wristwatch in its category and fits adequately on many. Stainless Steel Case The Orient Mako II has an aesthetically pleasing structure. The case of the Mako II has a considerable amount of heft to it without being too cumbersome on the wrist. It is made of stainless steel, and it is both brushed on its lugs and polished on its sides. As a result, the exteriors of the timepiece exude a satisfying clean look with a welcoming gleaming sheen. Accompanied by a thin bezel, the Mako II boasts a stunning and sporty build that looks appropriate for diving. The bezel on top of the Orient Mako II is particularly unique. It is relatively slim with a deep blue color and notched edges on its sides. The bezel is unidirectional with 120 clicks and can track a typical total of 60 minutes of elapsed time. Aside from the standard blue edition, the bezel can also come in all-black or in the iconic Pepsi-themed colors. While the black version also looks smart, the Pepsi version can be exceptionally appealing. With its ridged sides and slim build, choosing the Pepsi-themed model of the Mako II makes the bezel bear an uncanny resemblance to the bottle cap of a Pepsi drink.  With regards to the functionality of the bezel, although the notched edge is supposed to provide an easier grip, it doesn’t really offer any additional help. The thin structure of the bezel might look sleek, but it also makes turning the bezel quite a challenge at times. In terms of profession, it could be even harder to use for divers, considering account the gear that divers wear. Ultimately, the Mako II’s bezel looks good, but the functionality is sub-par and is better off changed to a slightly thicker bezel. Fortunately, the Mako III and the Mako XL feature a bigger bezel for those who require greater ease of use. Another feature that we need to look at is the crown. The Mako II’s crown has some good polishing on it. Engraved neatly on the center of the knob is the logo of its maker – Orient. It is a beautiful-looking crown, but it also has problems of its own. Much like the bezel, it is a tad difficult to use. For many owners of the Mako II, the crown guards do not give enough space and are too tightly crowded around the knob, making it difficult to turn. Again, this would prove even more burdensome for fully-geared divers who wish to bring the Orient Mako II with them into the water. At the back of the Orient Mako II is a solid screw-down case back that protects the movement inside. Some may prefer having an exhibit-style transparent case back, but using a screw-down case is the optimal choice to reduce the risk of having any leakages, which is crucial for a dive watch like this.  Mineral Glass There is nothing extraordinary to note here. Mineral crystal is a standard in watches of this price range. The crystal will still get the job done, but it will not shelter the dial from anything more than light scratches. If you’re concerned about the quality of protection the crystal offers, you could opt to customize the watch by replacing the mineral glass with sapphire. However, keep in mind that sapphire will cost more. Deep Blue Sunburst Dial When looking through the mineral crystal, the Orient Mako II immediately greets on-lookers with a beautiful deep blue sunburst dial. Hour markers and indices occupy the rim of the dial, other than at the 6th, 9th, and 12th o’clock positions. The hour marker at the 3 o’clock position is replaced with a day and date window perched on the right side of the dial. At the center of the watch are sword-shaped minute and hour hands as well as a red-tipped second hand. The Orient Mako II has luminescent material applied on its hands, indices, and hour markers, so wearers are able to tell the time even in the dark. Completing the overall look is the logo and signature of Orient located below the 12th hour of the dial. The Mako II also comes with a black dial variant, while the Mako II USA sports a white dial.  Orient Caliber F6922 One of the biggest complaints that owners of the first edition Orient Mako had was the inability to wind and hack the movement manually. Since then, Orient has devised a new caliber is adjustable by hand and demonstrates the ability to tell time more precisely. This new and improved movement is none other than the in-house Caliber F6922. What makes this movement so interesting is the innovative design of the caliber. Although the F6922 is automatic, it can still be hand-wound, providing wearers benefits from either side of the spectrum. The caliber has an accuracy of -15/15+ seconds, which is much more precise than the -25/35+ seconds accuracy of its predecessor. That said, the movement will still require consistent regulation every few days. Orient uses Seiko’s Diashock as shock absorbers for the automatic apparatus. The system supplies twenty-two jewels to hold the mechanical movement in place and keep the mechanisms from experiencing excessive wear and tear. The F6922 is capable of 21,600 semi-oscillations per hour and has a 40-hour power reserve. Altogether, Orient’s in-house automatic caliber is a sturdy workhorse, built with the capacity to withstand actual diving and the pressures that come with it. Three-Link Bracelet The Orient Mako II comes with the usual three-link bracelet you can find on numerous affordable Japanese timekeepers. The end links are hollow, but the bracelet is easy to calibrate and wraps around the wrist comfortably. In addition, the steel of the bracelet has been brushed and polished thoroughly, so it possesses the same glossy, professional shine as the case. A double-locking clasp with a push-button design is used to fasten the bracelet. This stainless steel bracelet gives the watch a smart, distinguished look, but there are other options available. You could experiment with different straps that better compliment the classic design of the Mako II. Depending on your preferences, you can select from a wide variety of straps and bracelets. 200m Water Resistance 200m is a deep dive. With resistances like that, the watch can withstand almost all sorts of water activity, from taking a shower to scuba diving. The only thing this wristwatch cannot handle is professional diving, which usually reaches depths of around 500m. This limitation is not a hindrance as people tend to purchase a timepiece like this for design purposes and recreational diving rather than its proficiency deep underwater. Although this timepiece is highly capable, the Orient Mako II does not have ISO certification. Taking into account that this is a very affordable $150 watch, this is a fairly minor con. For those seeking an underwater companion on their casual dive outings, however, the Orient Mako II is still more than up to the task. Alternatives For those who are not a fan of the Mako II’s style, there are a few alternatives that also provide a variety of intriguing features for a similar price tag. Orient Ray II Photo by u/pleisner3 from Reddit There is no doubt that Orient knows how to make a great-looking, affordable dive watch. If the Mako II isn’t your cup of tea, then maybe their Orient Ray II would suit you better. The Ray II sports a matte black dial, similar to that of a Rolex Submariner. Pair that with a black chapter ring and a wonderfully polished stainless steel case, and you get an affordable diver timepiece oozing with sophistication.  Orient also did a remarkable job in applying luminescence to the Ray II. The quality of the luminosity is clean, well-lit, and is unexpected for a timepiece of this price range. Compared to the Mako II, the Ray II does a better job of providing wearers good legibility in the dark. An F6522 in-house caliber powers the inner machinations of the Ray II, and its performance is identical to that of the Mako II’s F6922 calibre. Other than those features, the Mako II and Ray II are almost indistinguishable. Unfortunately, that also includes the hard-to-maneuver bezel and miniature crown. That said, the Ray II is arguably the best alternative to the Mako II. It offers nearly the same amount of features and conveniences and comes with a similar price point. The Ray II also has a wider variety of dial colors to choose from, such as deep blue and pumpkin orange. Seiko SKX007 Photo by Amazon If you’re willing to plonk more money on a trustworthy timekeeper, then look no further than the Seiko SKX007. The Seiko SKX007 is a fan-favorite amongst the range of affordable diver watches. Unlike the Ray and Mako II, the Seiko SKX007 is ISO certified, making it a highly credible and ideal choice for buyers. It possesses 200m of water resistance, hardlex glass, the Seiko 7S26 movement, and is a versatile look suitable for all occasions and activities.   It is undeniable that the SKX007 looks like a first-class watch. The blend of black and white skillfully laden on the dial and bezel makes for a beguiling design. In addition, the timepiece functions extraordinarily well in the dark. Seiko is known to do impressive work applying luminescence to their watches, and they did not disappoint with the SKX007. Seiko also uses hardlex glass to shelter the dial. Hardlex has a reputation for being more durable and resistant than mineral crystals without being too costly. Although not quite as sturdy as sapphire, hardlex glass is still an inexpensive upgrade from mineral crystals. The bezel itself has more grip than the two previously mentioned timepieces. It’s smooth, it clicks decently, and it does not have any significant amounts of wobble. Indeed, the bezel feels like something you would encounter in much more expensive wristwatches. Sadly, the crown faces the same problem as the Mako II and Ray II. Much like those watches, the crown guard of the SKX007 gives too much cover, such that it becomes tricky to use the knob. Wearers will need a bit of fingernail strength to get that pesky crown going. The Seiko 7S26 which the SKX007 uses is an in-house automatic movement and is a predecessor to the 4R36 movement. Regrettably, the 7S26 does not feature manual winding and hacking capabilities. As long as you don’t find the mechanical movement too frustrating to use, however, then this Seiko is still a good option. Since its time in the production line, the SNK007 has become more limited, and this has led to an increase in value. Right now, the timepiece fetches an average price of $330. Citizen BN0151-09L Promaster Diver Photo by NY Watch Store The Promaster Diver is a Citizen timepiece built for those who enjoy swimming at the beach. Aside from having 200m of water resistance, the watch uses solar power to energize its internal components. One of the best things about this eco-friendly timekeeper is its quartz movement, which is usually more precise than mechanical movements. Since this particular Citizen uses quartz to operate, you can rest assured that you will have no trouble keeping accurate time with this watch.  The bezel is one of the most important features of a watch, so let’s take a look at how the Promaster Diver fares in that regard. On the side of the Promaster Diver’s bezel is an alternating pattern of teeth-like edges and smoothened surfaces. This design may be an unusual choice, but it serves its purpose in providing more grip. It clicks and turns well, which is satisfying. Compared to the other alternatives, this timepiece seems to have the least amount of negatives. The Citizen Promaster Diver costs approximately $180. It is more pricey than the Mako II, but it does offer a lot of benefits. Like the Mako II, the Promaster Diver can come with either a blue or black dial.  Final Thoughts Affordable Japanese diver watches continue to occupy the market to this day. Although there are a wide variety of them, not many can step up to the quality of the Mako II. If you were to look for another wristwatch under $200 that provides the same all-rounded strengths as the Mako II, chances are you probably won’t be having much luck. Although the Mako II is nowhere near perfect, it proves to be a substantial improvement from its predecessor. It is hard to go wrong with the Orient Mako II. For a timepiece that fetches a price between $130 – $150, calling this just another economical wristwatch would be an understatement. With capabilities far exceeding other wristwatches in the same price range, the Orient Mako II is nothing short of a powerhouse. The charisma of this particular timepiece is utterly magical. Whether someone is new to watches, an experienced enthusiast, or an avid collector, the Mako II attracts the eyes of all who see its sleek look. Looking for a dive watch that would allow you to explore even greater ocean depths? Check out our list of recommended Deep-Sea Dive Watches and find a watch perfect for your next deep-sea mission. Featured image courtesy of James Case on Flickr

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  11. The Sinn 356 Pilot Chronograph – Why Should You Need One?

    The Sinn 356 Pilot Chronograph – Why Should You Need One?

    The Sinn 356 Chronograph is a pilot watch that belongs to the Sinn Instrument Chronographs collection. Ironically, despite its considerable reputation, this pilot watch flies under the radar. Sinn is known to make a lot of excellent timepieces. Although they aren’t the most famous brand, their level of craftsmanship gives them an identical reputation. The Sinn 356 is a pilot chronograph with qualities that can reach heights. Though it is not one of Sinn’s most modern or popular creations, the 356 can hold its own and challenge your expectations. This article aims to give us a better understanding of the Sinn 356 Pilot Chronograph and its variants. Hopefully, this helps you decide if the Sinn 356 is the ideal timepiece for you.  Everything We Need to Know About the Sinn 356 Sinn manufactured the 356 in 1996 as the successor to the 256 Pilot Chronograph — featuring a more refined and elegant look than its predecessors. Although the Sinn 356 chronograph has garnered some age, the watch carries a design and function that transcend its era and can fit in similarly just like any other modern timepiece.  There are two versions of the 356: The base variant and the SA variant. The beloved German watch company had three SA variants as alternative options for the original timepiece. Each version of the 356 SA showcases different-colored dials with a satin-finished steel case. With that said, let’s get right into the specifications of the Sinn 356. Dimensions of the Sinn 356 With regards to its overall size, the Sinn 356 is proportionally average. The timepiece has a case diameter of 38.5mm with a thickness of 15.5mm. It also has a band lug width of 20mm and a lug to lug distance of 45.6mm. Without the strap, the timepiece weighs 71 grams which should neither be too light nor too heavy. All aspects put together, the watch is well-balanced and can lay on anyone’s wrist with relative comfort.  Bead-Blasted Case  While the SA versions use satinized steel, the original Sinn 356 features a stainless steel casing that has been bead-blasted to achieve its confident dull sheen. The case is beautifully beveled to give the 356 a smooth and sleek look that fits all occasions. The bezel is also wonderfully crafted and fastens the dome-shaped acrylic glass neatly. Wearers can access the chronograph function of the 356 through pushers stationed at the 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock of the timepiece.  All models are pressure-resistant and screwed with a large crown to protect the inner mechanisms from pressure changes. The reason for this design dates back to the 20th century. At that time, pilots would often wear gloves to protect their hands from the conditions of flight. Since the pilots wore the gloves throughout the flight, adjusting their timepiece proved to be an infuriating task. As a solution, Sinn and other watch companies applied larger crowns so pilots would not have to remove their gloves. Bead-Blasted vs. Satinized What’s the difference between bead-blasted steel and satinized steel? First of all, both kinds of finishes are processed differently. Bead-blasted steel is the result of projecting spherical-shaped media to a steel surface. In effect, the steel obtains a uniform and streak-free exterior. Achieving a satin finish is done by brushing an abrasive material vigorously on steel. After the steel is polished and softened, the outcome is a modern-looking matte finish that is also resistant to corrosion. The second difference comes from the sheen. Bead-blasted steel offers a dull and non-reflective look, while satin-finished steel looks shinier and sharper. Due to this, the case of the standard 356 is not as reflective as its SA variants. Another difference comes from their resistance. Unfortunately, satin-finished steel is more resistant to corrosion and scratches compared to bead-blasted. If not maintained properly, the case of the standard Sinn 356 will corrode faster than its other versions. Does that mean satin-finished steel is better than bead-blasted steel? In terms of resistances, satinized steel is the clear winner. How about for appearance? That will all boil down to your preferences. Both types of finishing look good on the case. Whether bead-blasted or satin-finished, it is of great significance to carefully maintain the case of the 356. Doing this will allow its clean and elegant look to stay with you for many years to come. Dial  The standard Sinn 356 and its SA-I variant bear the same matte black dial with a syringe-like minute and hour hands. The dial consists of three recessed subdials and a bordered day and date window. This design allows the subdials and the window to be more discernible without compromising the main dial. I particularly like the structure of the handset due to its design. The thickness of the lower part of the arrows allows the alpha handset to be more noticeable, and its upper, more slender arrowhead pinpoints time precisely without meshing with the other dials.  White-colored numbers, hour markers, indexes, and subdial handsets are scattered across the dial to counteract its dark flat surface while giving it a minimalistic yet sophisticated two-toned look. The digits for 3 o’clock, 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and 12 o’clock are unregistered in the dial to make space for the positioning of the day and date window and the subdials of the dial. All numbers and handsets are coated with luminescent colors to allow easier reading at night. The 356 SA-II and SA-III use a copper and silver electroplated guilloche dial, respectively. Having the dials of the SA II and III electroplated gives it a premium chrome style that can catch the eyes of any viewer. Describing the process of making an electroplated dial is not an easy task, but a summary of the process is available in Sinn’s Technology Glossary. All versions have the Sinn and Flieger (Pilot) signature positioned at the top and bottom of the day and date window. Acrylic Glass An acrylic dome-shaped glass shelters the dial of the standard Sinn 356. Acrylic glass is a type of protection made of Poly-acrylic Esters. The material is flexible, impact-resistant, and is a more cost-effective substitute for sapphire. Users can opt to have the acrylic glass replaced with sapphire glass for more long-term durability. Despite being regarded as glass, acrylic has more resemblances to hard plastic than actual glass. That said, the glass is highly resistant to breaks, weather, and corrosion. While this type of material is impact-resistant, it has a softness that makes it susceptible to scratches. Too many scratches will hinder its wearers from reading the dial effectively. With that in mind, Sinn ensures that their users can hide light scratches with a good amount of polishing. SA versions of the 356 come with a dome-shaped Sapphire glass as standard. The interior of the sapphire dome is coated with an anti-reflective inlay — allowing wearers to view the time from different angles and lighting conditions without any distortion. SW 500 Movement A Sellita SW 500 uses a mechanical, self-winding mechanism to operate the Sinn 356. The SW 500 is based on the Valjoux 7750 and is known for its resilience and durability. It is a relatively large and thick movement that bears 25 jewels to reduce wear and tear. The system produces 28,800 oscillations per hour and is anti-magnetic. A seconds stop function is also present in the mechanism for wearers to synchronize time with reliable precision.  The movement of the 356 is protected by a stainless steel caseback that is screwed down (along with the crown) for more efficient water resistance. The SA variants utilize a sapphire crystal caseback that is similarly screwed down. Since the SA case backs are transparent, wearers can view the inner machinations of the 356 in all its intricate glory. Comprehensive Strap Selection Sinn provides its customers with the option to choose their preferred leather, stainless steel, or silicone strap for the 356. The catalog of leather bands for the Sinn 356 is composed of a wide-range selection that features cowhide, calfskin, horsehide, and alligator leather. Customers can also choose between a two-link, bead-blasted, stainless steel bracelet or a black silicone strap with a large-scale or small-scale folding clasp. Personally, the timepiece looks stylish with any strap on it. I suggest that you pick one that allows your watch to lay comfortably on your wrist. Alligator leather may be the safest and most refined material, but it is also the most luxurious among the four. Water Resistance Despite being a pilot’s watch, all versions of the Sinn 356 are waterproof and can endure water pressure for up to 10 bars or 100 meters. For those who aren’t familiar with the term, a bar is a type of measurement equivalent to 10 meters of water pressure. Timepieces of this kind of caliber can resist rain splashes and shower water without a problem. While it is unsuitable for extreme water sports such as deep-sea diving, the timepiece can withstand more leisurely activities such as swimming and snorkeling.  Up Close with the 356 Flieger Family It would be disappointing if I keep mentioning the variants without giving you an illustration of their unique appearances. Without further ado, let’s meet the other attractive individuals that complete the Sinn 356 Pilot family. 1. Sinn 356 SA Photo by SinnThe first SA variant of the 356 Pilot is the most identical to the standard model. With sapphire glass and a satin-finished casing as the only difference, the 356 SA offers its wearers a similar timeless look with a little more luxury and a lot more durability. The changes may not be dramatic, but the switch from bead-blasted to satinized steel will increase the overall corrosion resistance of the watch. Sapphire glass is also much more resistant to scratching than acrylic. Shaping the sapphire was a strategic move by Sinn as it increases the capabilities of the sapphire to resist impacts. A timepiece built this way can effortlessly withstand the test of time while maintaining its deep and stylish appearance. 2. Sinn 356 SA-II Photo by SinnBeneath the sapphire dome lies a shiny copper interior. A closer look at the SA II reveals a uniform guilloche pattern that travels outward from the center of the electroplated dial. The distinct beauty of the SA II makes its wearers stand out from the mundane crowd with a powerful and fashionable statement.  Despite boasting an intriguing design, it happens to be my least favorite member of the Sinn 356 family. To me, the other colors complement the entire watch better than the copper tone. Don’t get me wrong, the timepiece still looks astounding. It’s just my preference. 3. Sinn 356 SA III Photo by SinnThe SA III is the final entrant to the 356 series and is my favorite among the four. This marvelous piece possesses a silver-hued, guilloche-patterned, electroplated dial similar to the SA II. Despite the coloring, the dials are still highly legible. The blend of the satinized steel and silver interior gives the SA III an even complexion throughout its structure without melding the different components too much.  I love the level of sophistication the SA III Pilot brings. If I had it, I would pair the timepiece with a stainless steel two-link bracelet. This kind of bracelet will allow me to keep the uniformity of the watch. I’m Not a Pilot, Why Would I Need the Sinn 356? Different people need different things. A carefully designed timepiece can go a long way in meeting the owner’s specific criteria. A diver watch specializes in water resistance, allowing it to stick by its owner’s side while traversing the mysterious ocean. Sports watches have features to let their users track their progress as they enter a healthier lifestyle. For socialites and secret agents, becoming dressed to kill is a feat that only a striking dress watch can achieve.  However, some watches break the limit and become more than just a tool. The Sinn 356 is more than just a tool watch. It is a companion that’s always there for you when you need it. Yes, the 356 caters to pilots, but it is no stranger to everyday life. With such a versatile appearance and function, the watch can be what you want it to be. It is stylish enough to be used for special occasions and is strong enough to be brought underwater. The Best Alternative to the Sinn 356 Hamilton Khaki Aviation X-Wind Auto Chrono Photo by HamiltonIf you want a different pilot watch, you can go for the Hamilton X-Wind Auto Chrono. With more crowns and a tachymetric scale, this piece from the Hamilton Khaki Aviation collection is more than just a substitute. The X-Wind uses the H-21, an automatic movement with a reserve of 60-hours. With the case and dial loaded with numbers and meters, the design of this particular Hamilton watch leans to a more technical side. Personally, the dial of the Hamilton is not as legible as the Sinn 356. I also prefer the overall simplistic design of the 356. If this is the kind of watch you’re looking for, don’t let my preferences stop you. The X-Wind fetches a similar price tag of $1,870. Final Thoughts Though it is not the greatest among the Sinn Instrument Chronographs watches, the Sinn 356 is a stunning example of what the ideal pilot watch should be. It is a timepiece that can accurately display various times to its wearers, even when battling through extreme conditions. It flaunts a dateless style that can be directed to Sinn’s tradition in watchmaking throughout the years. All aspects considered, there’s barely anything to add or remove from the 356 to make it even better. Maybe the only thing the watch is missing is an owner?  The Sinn 356 Pilot Chronograph fetches an average price of $1,700 USD to $2,400 USD, while its variant’s price ranges between $2,300 USD and $3,400 USD. It does require a hefty amount of money, but it is definitely worth your investment. With proper maintenance, this watch can probably outlive you. With that in mind, you won’t just be buying the watch for yourself. The Sinn 356 can be passed down as an heirloom to the next generation so that they too can love and respect the glorious timepiece just like you did. Need a diver watch? Check out our guide to the Omega Aqua Terra 150m

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