Stephanie Cosue

Stephanie Cosue

First Published: June 15, 2022
  1. Articles by Stephanie Cosue
  2. Seiko SRP777: The King of Entry-Level Dive Watches

    Seiko SRP777: The King of Entry-Level Dive Watches

    When it comes to dive watches, one of the reigning Japanese watch brands that has a huge catalog of tried-and-tested pieces is Seiko. One of its most popular collections is the ever-dependable Seiko Prospex series, which holds a number of affordable and durable dive pieces. Some of its iconic timepieces include the Seiko Captain Willard and the Seiko King Samurai. For today’s article, we will be looking at yet another notable dive watch from the Seiko Prospex collection: the Seiko Prospex Ref. SRP777. You might recognise this watch as one of the famous Seiko Turtle models. An awe-inspiring dive piece with cool features and a solid build, this is a rugged timepiece that is made for the modern-day man.  Let us take a brief overview of the history of the Seiko SRP777, before we delve deep into the watch itself and everything it can do.  History and Overview of the Seiko SRP777 Image by: Seiko Watches The Seiko Prospex Ref. SRP777, or Seiko SRP777 was released during the first quarter of 2016. It was launched alongside an all-stainless steel Seiko Turtle variant, the Seiko Prospex Ref. SRP775. Both models are modern reissues of the emblematic Seiko 6309, which was a popular dive watch introduced back in the 1970s. Both the Seiko SRP777 and Seiko SRP775 inherited their memorable cushion-shaped cases and durable builds from the original Seiko 6309 timepiece.  Today, many of Seiko’s iconic vintage dive watches are no longer being produced by the company. The Seiko 6309 is only one such example of this. This is also why the brand creates updated reissues of these vintage watches every now and then. Contemporary versions like the Seiko SRP777 give wearers the singularly unique opportunity of experiencing a vintage watch clothed in a modern build. Aside from being a reissue of the Seiko 6309, the Seiko SRP777 also stands out with its cute case that resembles the rounded shell of a turtle. Despite its robust quality, the Seiko SRP777 is also known for its affordable price point, which makes this watch a truly value-for-money purchase.  One thing to note is that the Seiko SRP777 should not be confused with the Seiko King Turtle. The King Turtle is another diver piece from the brand. Despite having a near identical design, the Seiko King Turtle differentiates itself by utilizing more premium materials and having a more exorbitant price point.  Now that we understand the history of the Seiko SRP777 a little better, let us explore all the features it has to offer.  Anatomy of the Seiko SRP777 Case and Caseback The Seiko SRP777 is presented in a neat cushion-shaped case that has a diameter of 45mm. Crafted entirely from stainless steel, this watch has a height of 13mm. This is a rather usual standard of thickness for most dive watches. It also possesses a lug-to-lug measurement of 48mm.  On the whole, the Seiko SRP777 is a rather chunky watch which poses a significant presence on your wrist. With this watch case’s apparent heft, the Seiko SRP777 is best suited for those who have average-to-large-sized wrists. It also caters to those who are particularly into oversized watches.  Flipping the Seiko SRP77 over, you can find a stainless steel caseback that is firmly screwed in. This caseback holds a delicate print of a tsunami logo, which is a signature of the Seiko Prospex dive watches.  On the right side of the watch case, you can also find a sizable screw-down crown. It can be used to set the time, day, and date of the watch. You can also manually wind the crown in order to jump-start the movement’s mainspring. Unlike most watches, the crown on the Seiko SRP777 is placed at 4 o’clock. This clever placement keeps the top of the crown from digging into the skin of your wrist, offering greater comfort when worn.  Bezel A dive watch would not be very effective if it did not have one of its core components: an elapsed time scale bezel. Fortunately, the Seiko SRP777 comes with a unidirectional, rotating elapsed time scale bezel that has 120 clicks. It has a bottle cap design, with thick ridges that ensure wearers can grip and turn it more easily.  The Seiko SRP777’s bezel is also fitted with a jet-black ceramic insert that is highly scratch-resistant. Aside from bearing a 60-minute scale, this insert also has a luminous pip at 12 o’clock. This provides better visibility, so you can read the watch face clearly even when in dark environments.  Dial Image by: americanloko on watchuseek The matte black Seiko SRP777 has a very simple and straightforward layout that promotes easy legibility. It is decorated with large hour markers in various geometric shapes, thick arrow-headed hands that are outlined in silver, and a day-date display at 3 o’clock. The hands and indices of this watch are all generously coaxed with Seiko’s patented LumiBrite material. This helps illuminate the watch face, so you can read it easily even when submerged in dark underwater depths.  On the rim of the dial, you can also find a black chapter ring that complements the dial and bezel. This chapter ring bears white stick indices for the watch’s minute scale. Finally, the dial is protected by a layer of scratch-resistant Hardlex crystal.  Strap Seiko complements the Seiko SRP777’s black watch face with a matching, high-quality black silicone strap. The choice of silicone for the strap is an excellent one, since it is completely waterproof, so it is a great fit for dive watches like the Seiko SRP777.    This rugged black strap is equipped with a stainless steel pin buckle, which keeps the watch firmly fastened to your wrist. In addition, the strap has an abundant number of adjustment holes. You can use these holes to determine how tightly or loosely you want to wear your watch, whichever you find most comfortable. This also comes in handy when you have to wear your diving suit, since you can easily adjust the strap to fit more loosely around it.  Water Resistance The Seiko SRP777 has a solid depth rating of 200 meters. Built to withstand extreme water pressures, this is the perfect dive watch for all sorts of watersports activities, be it surfing, scuba diving, jet-skiing, or more. It is also ISO-certified, which means it meets the ISO 6425 requirements — the standard for all dive watches.  Movement Image by: eBay The Seiko SRP777 is powered by an in-house Caliber 4R36. Held together by 24 jewels, this automatic Seiko movement has a beat frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz) and a standard power supply of 41 hours. It also comes with manual-winding capabilities, so you can swiftly reset the watch if it runs out of power. Seiko also reports that this movement has an accuracy rate of +45/-35 seconds per day. One great thing about Seiko being such a popular watch brand is that you can buy a lot of its replacement parts online quite easily. If the movement of your Seiko SRP777 piece ever gets damaged, you can quickly find a brand-new replacement for it on the internet.  Price The Seiko SRP777 retails at just $379 USD. This budget-friendly price tag sets up the Seiko SRP777 as the king of entry-level dive pieces. With its affordable price and robust quality, this dive watch is certainly worth every penny.  Alternatives to the Seiko SRP777 1. Seiko Prospex Save The Ocean Ref. SBDY021 The all-black Seiko SRP777 might seem a tad too serious to some, so here is another Seiko Turtle piece that brings out the fun with its striking blue dial and bezel. The Seiko Prospex Save The Ocean Ref. SBDY021 belongs to the special edition Save the Ocean sub-series, which itself is part of the Seiko Prospex lineup.  This Seiko watch comes in a 45mm stainless steel case with a stout, cushion-shaped build. This is paired with a sturdy black resin strap. Affixed to the top of the watch case is a unidirectional rotating bezel. It bears a ceramic elapsed time scale that comes in two different shades of blue.  The dial, likewise, also comes in charming gradient blue. From top to bottom, the dial goes from a lighter blue color to a dark shade of almost black, as if you are descending into the depths of the sea. It also has a teak finish, such that it further resembles the choppy waves of the ocean.  This dial is adorned with large geometric hour markers and arrow-headed hands that have been treated with LumiBrite. A compact day-date window is placed at 3 o’clock too. Intriguingly, the day counter has its text in Japanese katakana, rather than the standard English used by most watches. This is a clever way to pay subtle tribute to the watch brand’s Japanese roots.  Like the Seiko SRP777, this watch is driven by a Caliber 4R36. It has a 41-hour power reserve and a water resistance capacity of 200 meters.  You can purchase this good-looking Seiko timepiece for around $479 USD.  2. Citizen Promaster Ref. NY0040-09W Citizen is another well-established and well-respected Japanese watch brand. Like Seiko, it houses a roster of amazing dive pieces under its Citizen Promaster series. One great dive watch offering from the brand is the Citizen Promaster Ref. NY0040-09W. This watch stands out with its brilliant green dial and its unusually-placed crown.  Packed in a 42mm stainless steel case, this Citizen watch is slightly smaller than the Seiko SRP7777. It comes with a hardy black silicone strap, which goes well with the watch’s black elapsed time scale bezel. This bezel also has sharp edges at intervals, which allows wearers to grip and turn it more easily. Contrary to most watches in the industry, the crown of this timepiece is placed at 8 o’clock. This makes it much easier to turn for right-handed users.  The dial of this watch is actually coated entirely in a neon green luminous pigment. As a result, the entire dial glows brightly in the dark, allowing for excellent visibility at all times. It is decorated with black and gray geometric hour indices and thick syringe hands. A day-date aperture with a black background and red and white text rest at 3 o’clock.  Underneath this vibrant watch face, you can find an in-house Citizen Caliber 8203. This automatic movement is sealed safely behind the watch’s stainless steel caseback. It has an accuracy rate of +/-5 seconds per day and a depth rating of 200 meters.  The Citizen Promaster Ref. NY0040-09W sells at just $319 USD.  3. TAG Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WAY101A.FT6141 In terms of design, this TAG Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WAY101A.FT6141 is the closest to the Seiko SRP777. It utilizes a 43mm stainless steel case and a striped black rubber strap. Fitted on top of the watch case is a unidirectional rotating bezel. It bears a gleaming black ceramic insert with broad indicators in silver for an elapsed time scale.  This TAG Heuer watch also showcases a jet-black dial, which offers a great deal of unity with the black bezel. The dial is furnished with trapezoidal hour markers and long sword hands, all of which are outlined in silver. These dial components are also coated with Super-LumiNova material. In addition, a compact date complication is placed at 3 o‘clock.  Unlike the previous models mentioned in this article, this TAG Heuer Aquaracer watch runs on a battery-operated quartz movement. It offers an extensive battery life of four months. This watch also has an outstanding water resistance rating of 300 meters, exceeding that of the Seiko SRP777.  The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WAY101A.FT6141 costs approximately $1,600 USD.  Final Thoughts The Seiko SRP777 is no doubt an excellent dive piece that rightfully deserves to be called the king of entry-level watches. Normally, when you purchase a cheap timepiece, you would get a somewhat average watch with a tolerable quality and build. But since this watch is made by Seiko, one of the best watchmakers in the world, you can rest assured that you will get far more than what you pay with the Seiko SRP777.  All images courtesy of WatchShopping website, unless otherwise stated.  Photo Credits: Seiko Watches, watchuseek, and eBay. Featured image courtesy of Seiko Watches. On the hunt for a uniquely-shaped timepiece? Read our article about tonneau watches and fifteen of the best watch offerings that are built in this lovely shape!

    read more
    0
  3. Orient Sun and Moon: The Earth’s Constant Companions in One Powerful Timepiece

    Orient Sun and Moon: The Earth’s Constant Companions in One Powerful Timepiece

    Those familiar with the watch industry probably know that Orient is one of the go-to brands for stylish yet affordable timepieces. Orient is known for offering exquisite dress watches that are with very accessible price points. One example is the well-loved Orient Sun and Moon sub-collection. Hailing from the Orient Classic series, the Orient Sun and Moon sub-collection holds a very popular reputation with many watch enthusiasts. These watches are famous not only for being budget-friendly but also because of their eye-catching sun and moon sub-dials. The Japanese watch brand regularly comes up with brand-new versions of these admirable Orient Sun and Moon watches that every watch collector looks forward to.  Without further ado, let us delve deeper into the Orient Sun and Moon series and everything it has to offer.  Orient Sun and Moon: How Does It Work? Image by: Orient Watch Out of all the different types of watch complications, the sun and moon sub-dial probably ranks as one of the most visually interesting ones. Much like how celestial bodies like the sun and the moon keep the company of Earth, the Orient Sun and Moon sub-dial accompanies its wearer in constantly informing them whether it is daytime or nighttime.  Taking the shape of a crescent-like contour, the Orient Sun and Moon sub-dial is a revolving disc that is divided into two equal halves. One half bears an image of a vibrant yellow-gold sun against a light blue background. The other boasts a metallic moon insert that is colored in a shade of gray or muted gold, placed against a dark blue backdrop that is also filled with stars.  As time passes, the sun and moon sub-dial rotate swiftly. When it is daytime, the part containing the face of the sun is displayed. However, as the day passes and the sun sets, the sub-dial rotates to show the other half, containing the moon’s face, to herald the arrival of nighttime. To put it simply, you can think of this complication as an AM/PM indicator but packed in a striking sub-dial that is very nice to look at.  Just like the moonphase complication that can be found on moon phase watches, the Orient Sun and Moon sub-dial is a very innovative, beautiful aspect of a timepiece. The incorporation of such a lively sub-dial is an appealing aesthetic that definitely enhances the Orient Sun and Moon’s elegant, classic look.  5 Best Orient Sun and Moon Models 1. Orient Classic Sun and Moon V3 Ref. AK00001Y Image by: Orient Watch For the first Orient Sun and Moon piece on this list, look at the Orient Classic Sun and Moon V3 Ref. AK00001Y. This watch comes in a 42.5mm stainless steel case that is coated in rose gold and a classic crocodile leather strap in brown. The warm tones of this watch give it a very soothing look that mature professionals are sure to love.  This watch also shows off a guilloche cream yellow dial, which wonderfully complements its exterior. It is decorated with slim Roman numeral hour markers and black leaf hands. You can also find two submerged sub-dials, which serve as the day-of-the-week counter and the sun and moon counters. In addition, an elongated date wheel also rests between 6 and 7 o’clock. This dial is protected by a layer of sapphire crystal.  An in-house Caliber F6B24 powers this enchanting rose gold watch. This self-winding movement is fitted with 22 jewels and beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz). It has a standard power reserve of 40 hours. Furthermore, the brand also claims that this movement has a reliable accuracy rate of +25/-15 seconds per day. You can get your hands on this beautiful piece for around $250 USD to $300 USD. 2. Orient Classic Sun and Moon Ref. RN-AS0004L If you are looking for a blue dial watch with an interesting color gradient, check out the Orient Classic Sun and Moon Ref. RN-AS0004L. This watch is presented in a 42mm gold-plated stainless steel case and a lovely blue alligator leather strap.  This dress watch has an alluring dial with a rich, sunray blue finish that turns into a darker shade as it spreads out evenly towards the dial’s rim. It is furnished with silver hour indices, rose gold Roman numerals, and slender leaf hands. The sun and moon sub-dial can be found at 6 o’clock, while a sophisticated open-heart display is placed at 9 o’clock.   Visible through the watch’s see-through caseback is an in-house Caliber F6L22. This automatic movement consists of 22 jewels and has a beat frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz). In addition, it has an average power rating of up to 40 hours.  As a limited-edition watch, there are only 1,500 pieces of the Orient Classic Sun and Moon Ref. RN-AS0004L available. You can buy one for about $599 USD.  3. Orient Classic Sun and Moon Ref. RN-KA0004L Compared to the previous models, the Orient Classic Sun and Moon Ref. RN-KA0004L shows off a more complex dial layout which offers greater utility.  This delicate ladies’ watch is encased in a 34.8mm gold-plated stainless steel case, which is perfect for slender feminine wrists. It is coupled with a blue leather strap, which is secured by a deployant clasp in the same beautiful shade of rose gold.  Topped by a layer of sapphire crystal glass, the captivating blue gradient dial is composed of silver indices, rose gold Roman numerals, and leaf hands. Three rings are arranged on the dial. These serve as the date display, the day-of-the-week sub-dial, and the sun and moon complication.  Flipping this Orient Sun and Moon watch over, you can find a caseback made of solid stainless steel. This caseback guards a battery-operated quartz movement, which drives all of this watch’s functions.  As another limited-edition Orient Sun and Moon piece, there were only 1,000 pieces of the Orient Classic Sun and Moon Ref. RN-KA0004L produced. It has an estimated price tag of just $319 USD.  4. Orient Classic Sun and Moon V4 Ref. RA-AK0003S Image by: Orient Watch Launched in 2019, this next piece is among the first Orient Sun and Moon watches to house Arabic numeral hour markers. The Orient Classic Sun and Moon V4 Ref. RA-AK0003S utilizes a 42.5mm stainless steel case and a classic black alligator leather strap. This case is fitted with a curved sapphire crystal, which gives wearers a clear view of the watch’s dial.  Complementing the watch’s silver case is a pristine, smooth white dial. It is adorned with Arabic numerals in a slanting typeface, black leaf hands, and a date wheel at 8 o’clock. You can also find submerged sub-dials for the sun and moon and day-of-the-week counters.  This watch runs on the in-house Orient Caliber F6B24. You can admire this movement through the watch’s transparent caseback. It beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz) and can last for up to 40 hours when fully wound. In addition, this watch is also completely water-resistant up to depths of 50 meters, allowing it to survive any accidental splashes or showers.  The Orient Classic Sun and Moon V4 Ref. RA-AK0003S sells at around $350 USD to $400 USD.  5. Orient Classic Sun and Moon V5 Ref. RA-AK0302B10A Image by: Orient Watch For the last Orient Sun and Moon watch on this list, have a look at the Orient Classic Sun and Moon V5 Ref. RA-AK0302B10A. Released in 2020, this watch is one of the more recent offerings from the Orient Sun and Moon line. Unlike the previous watches mentioned, this timepiece boasts a sleek, all-stainless steel construction. The case of this watch measures 41.5mm in diameter and is matched with a sturdy three-link bracelet.  The dial of this watch comes in matte black, standing out sharply against the silver exterior. It comprises silver-tone applique indices, sharp dauphine hands, and a traditional date window at 3 o’clock. A day-of-the-week sub-dial and sun and moon display can also be found on this dial. Both complications are ringed with silver so that they are more clearly visible against the black backdrop of the dial.  This refined dress piece is powered by an in-house Caliber F6B24. You can see this movement through the watch’s sapphire crystal caseback. It possesses a power supply of 40 hours and a depth rating of 50 meters, which is quite standard for dress watches. The Orient Classic Sun and Moon V5 Ref. RA-AK0302B10A costs approximately $455 USD.  Final Thoughts Given that the roster of Orient Sun and Moon timepieces are designed as dress watches, these are all versatile pieces that you can pair with your everyday outfit or wear on dressy occasions. Indeed, as casual everyday watches, the Orient Sun and Moon timepieces show off timeless, elegant aesthetics that complement just about any attire. Offered at affordable price points, these astonishing Orient Sun and Moon watches are a testament to the fact that, sometimes, you do not need to spend much in order to own a prestigious timepiece.  All images courtesy of WatchShopping website, unless otherwise stated.  Photo Credits: Orient Watch. Featured image courtesy of Orient Watch. Interested in a timepiece that has gone up to space? Check out our article about the Omega X-33!

    read more
    0
  4. Get to Know the Robust Sinn U50

    Get to Know the Robust Sinn U50

    Despite being a rather underrated brand, the watchmaker Sinn certainly has what it takes to impress everyone with its versatile timepieces. Established in 1961 by pilot and entrepreneur Helmut Sinn, this German watch company has consistently produced an array of trustworthy, robust tool watches. For instance, the durable pilot chronograph Sinn 365 from the brand’s Instrument Chronographs lineup has long been a favorite of many watch enthusiasts.  In this article, however, instead of taking to the skies, we will be delving deep into the ocean depths with one of Sinn’s most interesting dive watch offerings: the Sinn Diving Watches Ref. 1050.030-Solid-2LSS. Commonly referred to as the Sinn U50, this German dive watch packs a ton of features in a very compact, rugged form. Housed under Sinn’s Diving Watches collection, the Sinn U50 is the quintessential dependable dive watch designed perfectly for the modern-day man. Without further ado, let us take a closer look at the Sinn U50 and everything it has to offer. For now, let’s take a look at the awesome features that the Sinn U50 has to offer. First Impressions Image by: Sinn Right off the bat, the Sinn U50 has a very robust look that simply screams masculine ruggedness. The watch’s dapper exterior and steel-grey makeup give it a very distinctive look that sets it apart from other, more common silver-tone watches.  You can also immediately tell that the Sinn U50 is a dive watch, thanks to its highly legible dial layout and its distinguishing elapsed time scale bezel. However, thanks to its sleek poise, the Sinn U50 can also easily be used as a dress watch. Indeed, given its versatility in both form and function, the Sinn U50 is a suitable timepiece for just about any occasion, be it water-based fun activities, formal events, or everyday use.  A Closer Look at the Sinn U50 Case and Caseback A handsome dive watch that is constructed with an exceptionally robust build, the Sinn U50 is encased in a 41mm German Submarine Steel case. Unlike ordinary stainless steel cases, German Submarine Steel is more durable and highly indestructible. It also comes with a deep grey hue, giving the watch a seriousness and gravitas that sets it apart from the usual silver-tone stainless steel timepieces.  The Sinn U50 is fairly slim, coming in at just 11.2mm thick, so you can easily and unobtrusively slip this watch under the cuff of your shirt. This is quite unique for dive watches since they tend to be quite hefty and bulky in size. Most watch enthusiasts will probably recognize that the Sinn U50 is a smaller version of the Sinn U1, which shows off a very similar design but is slightly bigger, with a 44mm diameter case size. As such, the Sinn U50 will fit quite well on small-to-average-sized wrists.  On top of its hardy German Submarine Steel build, the Sinn U50 is also coated with the brand’s in-house Tegiment technology. This Tegiment treatment bolsters the case hardness of the Sinn U50, further improving its already-impressive resistance to scratches and impacts. As such, you can expect added durability and toughness from the Sinn U50, courtesy of Sinn’s impressive innovations.  The Sinn U50 also has a smooth matte coating, which is truly a delightful treat to the eyes. Its muted luster pairs well with the dull gray sheen of the German Submarine Steel metal, adding to the watch’s masculine style. Flipping the watch over, you will see the same uniform matte finish on the watch’s caseback. Aside from that, this caseback also displays a stamped engraving of the U50 name.  Bezel Equipped on top of the watch case is a 60-click unidirectional rotating bezel. Like the case, the bezel is also crafted using German Submarine Steel and reinforced with the same in-house Tegiment material, making it extremely strong and resilient.  This bezel is also patterned with markers in black, white, and vivid red for the elapsed time scale. These colored markers contrast sharply against the silver-grey dial so they can be seen more easily. The white inverted triangle at 12 o’clock is also filled with lume, which helps keep the watch face illuminated in the dark.  Crown One feature that is sometimes seen on dive watches is the placement of the crown at the 4 o’clock position. Typically, on most timepieces, crowns are placed at 3 o’clock, perpendicular to the watch case. This can be uncomfortable for wearers, as the crown can end up digging into the skin of the wearer’s wrist. Placing the crown at 4 o’clock puts it at an angle against the wrist. This prevents it from pressing into your wrist so that you will have a more comfortable watch experience.  The Sinn U50 adopts exactly this design in order to maximize user comfort, with its long screw-down crown being placed neatly at 4 o’clock. This crown is very wide, with smooth ridges that provide you with a better grip, so you can turn and wind the watch more easily. Crafted using German Submarine Steel, this crown is covered in a matte finish and bears a neat, embossed image of Sinn’s emblem on top.  Dial Image by: Sinn The dial of the Sinn U50 is a highly aesthetic component that boosts the watch’s entire look. It follows a very simple and straightforward layout that prioritizes legibility. This is very important for dive watches like the U50 since it ensures that the dial will be easy to read at all times, even when you are in the midst of an underwater dive.  This matte black dial houses large, printed white hour indices, white minute markers, and a compact date aperture at 3 o’clock. It is also furnished with a pair of thick hour and minute syringe hands, along with a slimmer seconds hand that has a square-shaped tip. The hands of the watch all come in bright two-tone colors of red and white. They stand out clearly against the black backdrop of the dial, and the vibrant red hues in particular help add a pop of eye-catching color to the watch face.  Aside from its sizable indices, the dial also has a clear, luminous display that allows for optimal legibility, even in poor lighting conditions. The hour indices and hands are all generously coated in Super-LumiNova, which is the preferred brand of lume for most watchmakers. It provides steady and long-lasting luminescence, so you do not have to worry about it losing its effectiveness even after years. A layer of sapphire crystal is also used to protect the dial, safeguarding it from any scratches or hard knocks.  Bracelet The Sinn U50 is accompanied by an H-link bracelet made from stainless steel. The matte finish of the bracelet blends perfectly with that of the case and caseback, giving the whole watch a very smooth and clean look. The bracelet is locked using a safety deployment clasp, which keeps the bracelet firmly wrapped around your wrist. As the most secure type of watch clasp, it ensures that the bracelet will not simply come loose and slip off your wrist. Water Resistance An ultra-reliable dive watch, the Sinn U50 possesses an outstanding water resistance of up to 300 meters. It is also ISO-certified, which means it has undergone extensive testing throughout its manufacturing process, guaranteeing that it can survive harsh underwater depths. Both its caseback and crown are tightly screwed down, preventing any entry of water into the timepiece. Truly a meticulously crafted dive watch, you can bring the Sinn U50 with you on all your water-based conquests, be it swimming or deep-sea diving.  Movement The Sinn U50 is powered by an automatic Swiss Sellita Caliber SW300-1. This movement is relatively slim in size, measuring just 3.6mm thin, and is the main reason why the Sinn U50’s watch case is also quite slender. Held together by 25 jewels, the Sellita Caliber SW300-1 has a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). It also has a standard power reserve of 42 hours.  Price It’s safe to say that the Sinn U50 has what everyone is looking for in a dive watch. Aside from possessing a stunning, rugged appearance, this watch is also built with robust, heavy-duty construction and possesses excellent water resistance capabilities.  Despite how it exceeds people’s expectations for a dive watch, the Sinn U50 is actually priced quite reasonably. You can purchase this watch for around $3,079 USD, which is still relatively budget-friendly compared to the other luxury dive watches on the market. Alternatives to the Sinn U50 Below is a list of dive watches that we recommend as alternatives for the Sinn U50. These timepieces are all from trustworthy watch companies and are meticulously crafted, boasting reliable dive watch qualities. They are also offered at different price points, so you can select the piece that best fits your budget. 1. Tudor Black Bay Ref. 70150-0001  For a more luxurious alternative to the Sinn U50, take a look at the Tudor Black Bay Ref. 70150-0001. Known as a subsidiary company of Rolex, the Swiss brand Tudor is famous for offering Rolex-quality watches at much more affordable prices. In particular, the brand is recognized for its iconic Black Bay collection, from which the Tudor Black Bay Ref. 70150-0001 hails.  This Tudor watch utilizes a 42mm stainless steel case. Despite the average size of the watch case, this timepiece wears quite large on the wrist, thanks to its thick watch lugs and 55.7mm lug-to-lug measurement. As such, this watch might be a little uncomfortable for those with smaller wrists. However, if you have an average-to-large-sized wrist, or if you simply love wearing oversized watches, then this is just the right piece for you.  This watch also comes with a hybrid strap. This is quite a rare type of strap that you do not see much. It is made from an interesting combination of leather material lining the top of the strap, and rubber material underneath its lining. The hybrid strap is stylish, efficient, and most importantly, waterproof. Thus, it is a great choice for a dive watch like the Tudor Black Bay Ref. 70150-0001.  The dial of this watch shows off a matte black finish, which stands out in sharp relief against the polished silver case. This dial has a classic Black Bay layout, comprising luminous geometric indices, Tudor’s iconic snowflake hands, and a small date window at 3 o’clock. Driving all of these features is an in-house Tudor Caliber MT5612. Aside from offering a 200-meter depth rating, this movement also has a stellar 70-hour power supply. The Tudor Black Bay Ref. 70150-0001 retails at $4,100 USD. 2. Seiko Prospex Ref. SLA021J1 The Japanese watch brand Seiko is known for having some of the best dive watches in the industry. Its Seiko Prospex collection offers an entire buffet of dive watches with outstanding features and diverse designs, giving you a massive variety of amazing timepieces to choose from. An excellent alternative to the Sinn U50, the Seiko Prospex Ref. SLA021J1 sports a 44.3mm stainless steel case, coupled with a three-link bracelet made from the same material.  Affixed to the top of the watch case is a smooth black elapsed time scale, with large white indicators for improved visibility. This bezel is wonderfully complemented by the watch’s black dial. This dial contains oversized geometric indices, thick sword hands, and a rectangular date display at 3 o’clock. The indices and hands are coated with Seiko’s patented LumiBrite pigment, which keeps the watch face illuminated in poor lighting conditions. This Seiko Prospex watch runs on an in-house Seiko Caliber 8L35. Containing 26 jewels, this movement has a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). It can last for up to 50 hours when fully wound, which gives it a slight advantage over the Sinn U50. In addition, like the Sinn U50, this watch also has a depth rating of 300 meters.  The Seiko Prospex Ref. SLA021J1 costs approximately $2,399 USD.  3. TAG Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WBD1110.BA0928 TAG Heuer is best known for producing racing watches under its popular Carrera lineup. Over the years, however, the Swiss brand has cultivated an impressive series of dive watches with its Aquaracer collection, which provides high-quality dive pieces at entry-level prices.  The TAG Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WBD1110.BA0928 is presented in a 41mm stainless steel case and a matching three-link stainless steel bracelet. On top of the case, you can find a thick stainless steel bezel. Aside from bearing bold black indicators for its elapsed time scale, this bezel also features six claw-like structures, which gives the watch a more unique, distinctive look. Like the aforementioned models, this watch also shows off a jet-black dial. It is ornamented with luminous silver-tone indices, bold arrow hands, and a date complication at 3 o’clock.  As opposed to the other dive watches in this article, all of which are automatic timepieces, this TAG Heuer model is powered by a quartz movement. This gives it an excellent battery life of about 24 months. As with the Sinn U50, this watch is also water-resistant up to depths of 300 meters.  In spite of its sleek, professional appearance, the TAG Heuer Aquaracer Ref. WBD1110.BA0928 is the most affordable option on this list. It is priced at just $1,700 USD.  Final Thoughts The Sinn U50 certainly surpasses the requirements of what makes a great dive watch. Aside from its good-looking appearance, Sinn’s usage of robust German Submarine Steel is what truly makes this watch worth the purchase. Adding to that, the watch is a lovely, versatile timepiece that can be worn in just about any event and situation. The Sinn U50 is not only simply a tool to be used in swimming or diving, but it is also an accessory that adds more character to its wearer. All images courtesy of WatchShopping website, unless otherwise stated. Photo Credits: Sinn. Featured image courtesy of Sinn. Are you into motorsports or racing? Are you looking for the perfect racing watch? Check out our article on the Best Racing Watches this 2022 – you’ll never know, some pieces might spark an interest in you!

    read more
    0
  5. Rolex Coke: Everybody’s Favorite GMT Watch

    Rolex Coke: Everybody’s Favorite GMT Watch

    Highly-coveted Swiss watch brands like Rolex have cemented their place in the whole field of horology. As one of the pioneer watchmakers, Rolex is notable for having iconic timepieces that also come with catchy, memorable nicknames. Some popular examples from the brand’s GMT-Master II collection include the Rolex Pepsi and Rolex Root Beer, which are named after soda drinks, as well as another well-known watch that is dubbed with a famous DC comic character’s name, the Rolex Batman.  Following the brand’s trend of naming watches after beverages, we have yet another striking GMT-Master II watch: the Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16710. Commonly known as the Rolex Coke, this is one of the most sought-after timepieces in the GMT-Master II series. In this article, we will be delving deep into the stylish Rolex Coke and everything it has to offer.  History of the Rolex Coke Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16760 Image by: Conan435 on watchuseek Out of Rolex’s extensive series of GMT watches, perhaps the most famous is the Rolex Pepsi, which immediately garnered much attention when it was released in 1954. Rolex continued to research and develop its GMT timepieces, before finally debuting its upgraded collection, the GMT-Master II.  The first-ever GMT-Master II watch to be launched was the Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16760. Introduced in 1983, the Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16760 had a color palette that resembled the popular Coca-Cola beverage. Encased in a traditional bottle container, the Coca-Cola drink itself came in black, while its brand name was stamped on the bottle in a bright red label. The Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16760, with its two-tone combination of black and red, was therefore quickly associated with the famous Coca-Cola soda. It became the first watch to earn the nickname “Rolex Coke”.  The original Rolex Coke was built with a rather chunky body. This was necessary to accommodate its thick in-house Caliber 3085, which had a diameter of 28.5mm and a height of 6.3mm. As a result of its physique, this first Rolex Coke actually also went by two other names. Firstly, it was called the “Rolex Fat Lady”, because it possessed a taller case height, a broader bezel, and chunkier crown guards compared to previous Rolex GMT-Master watches. This watch also came to be known as the “Sophia Loren”, after a popular Italian actress. This was because the Ref. 16760’s thick curves reminded folks of Loren’s curvy figure.  Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16710 Several years after the debut of the Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16760, Rolex released an updated version of the original Rolex Coke in 1989: the Rolex GMT-Master II Ref. 16710. This variant was constructed with a slimmer height and smaller crown guards. It also ran on a brand-new, more advanced movement. The updated Rolex Coke was in production for about 18 years before Rolex decided to discontinue it in 2007. In fact, it is this specific Rolex Coke GMT-Master II Ref. 16710 that we will be tackling in this article.  Although it has been about 15 years today since the Rolex Coke was discontinued, watch fans continue to hope for the brand to release it again, or to even produce a newer version of it. As of today, the vintage Rolex Coke is sold mostly as a pre-owned collector’s item, with prices sky-rocketing with every passing year. With that, let us learn more about the Rolex Coke and what makes this watch so one-of-a-kind.  Anatomy of the Rolex Coke Case and Caseback The Rolex Coke comes in a 40mm case made of the brand’s patented, highly scratch-resistant Oystersteel material. This case spans a lug-to-lug measurement of 47.6mm and has a standard lug width of 20mm and a height of 12mm. Given these measurements, the Rolex Coke will fit nicely on smaller-to-average-sized wrists. It also comes with slim watch lugs that slant inwards, giving the watch a more streamlined, subtle build that you can easily slip under the cuff of your shirt. The surface of the Rolex Coke’s case is embellished with a lovely satin finish. This is complemented by uniformly satin-finished lug hoods and polished flanks on both sides of the watch. This interplay of different textures gives the watch an exquisite sheen that is unlike any other, so it shines lustrously no matter what angle you view it from.  When you flip the watch over, you will also see a plain screwed-down caseback. Made of solid, brushed Oystersteel, this sleek and sturdy caseback protects the watch’s reliable in-house movement.  Bezel The two-tone bezel of the Rolex Coke is the most identifying characteristic of this watch. The shiny red and black color scheme of the bezel’s Cerachrom insert recalls the colors of the bottled Coca-Cola soda, hence its catchy nickname. This is a bi-directional rotating bezel, with grooved sides that are shaped like a bottle cap, so that wearers can grip and turn it more easily when setting the time.  Aside from its Coca-Cola hues, the Cerachrom bezel insert is also patterned with a 24-hour GMT scale in clean silver indicators. This plays a crucial role in helping wearers keep track of a second timezone using this watch. Since the bezel can be rotated in two directions, you can easily turn it back to your intended hour format, even if you accidentally rotate it out of the desired timezone of your choice. Crown On the right side of the watch case, you can find a screw-down crown surrounded by two crown guards. The top of the crown is elegantly engraved with the iconic Rolex crown logo, which is a traditional feature of all Rolex timepieces.  One thing to note is that, unlike its Submariner cousins, the Rolex Coke is not actually designed as a dive watch. Nevertheless, the crown of this watch is still equipped with the brand’s patented Twinlock system. Together with the watch’s securely screwed-down caseback, this Twinlock system ensures that the Rolex Coke has a depth rating of 100 meters, which meets the ISO 6425 standard for dive watches.  As such, you can freely take this watch with you to all your water-based adventures like swimming and snorkeling. Indeed, the Rolex Coke’s respectable water resistance capacity depth rating is a testament to the quality and durability that Rolex imbues in all of its watches.  Dial Image by: u/Big-Shtick on Reddit The Rolex Coke houses a distinct, jet-black dial. It is decorated with luminescent hour indices in various geometric shapes, Rolex’s signature Mercedes hands, and a date window at 3 o’clock. This date display is magnified by a classic Rolex Cyclops lens, which makes it easier for wearers to read the date. The dial also includes an additional, fourth GMT hand. This GMT hand has an arrow-headed tip and is painted in a vibrant red tone, allowing it to stand out more clearly against the rest of the black dial.  Furthermore, this dial is safeguarded by a layer of luxurious sapphire crystal. As the most durable watch crystal available on the market, it offers excellent resistance against scrapes and impacts. Indeed, you will not have to worry about accidentally dropping the Rolex Coke or bumping it against a hard surface, as its sapphire crystal will not easily break or scratch.   Bracelet The Rolex Coke is offered with a three-link Oystersteel bracelet. This bracelet shows off an intriguing aesthetic makeup that is very similar to the Rolex Coke’s case, with satin-finished top links and gleaming, polished sides. It is also equipped with what Rolex calls the Oysterclasp. This is an Oystersteel safety deployment clasp that is further locked in place by a built-in additional flap,  With the watch’s secure locking system, you will not have to worry about it falling off your wrist or accidentally snapping the clasp open. The clasp is also engraved with the brand’s crown logo, which adds a lovely air of refinement to this timepiece.  Movement Underneath the good-looking exterior of the Rolex Coke is an in-house Perpetual Caliber 3185. This powerful automatic movement is fitted with 31 jewels and beats at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). It boasts an impressive power reserve of 50 hours. This durable movement is also highly resistant to shocks and temperature changes, thanks to its innovative Parachrom hairspring.  First introduced in 1989, the Caliber 3185 is one of the oldest in-house movements from Rolex. Today, the Caliber 3185 can only be found on the brand’s earlier watches, with one example being the Rolex Coke. In 2005, the Caliber 3185 was replaced by the upgraded Caliber 3186. The Caliber 3186 is now used to drive newer timepieces from the GMT-Master II series, such as the Rolex Batman, and from the Explorer II range, like the Rolex Explorer II Ref. 16570.  The use of the rather old-school Caliber 3185 helps boost the Rolex Coke’s reputation as a distinguished vintage timepiece. Price The Rolex Coke is one of the most coveted luxury watches in the world, and it is set at a price that reflects this. Thanks to its hardy Oystersteel build, its prestigious brand name, and its refined vintage movement, the Rolex Coke is priced at a whopping $31,769 USD.  One of the best things about the Rolex Coke is that you can expect its price to appreciate in the coming years. Since Rolex stopped the production of this watch in 2007, in most cases, it is sold as a secondhand timepiece. Indeed, you would be lucky to be able to find an unused, untouched piece of this vintage watch. Thanks to its rarity and vintage quality, the Rolex Coke stands out as an excellent investment watch. Alternatives to the Rolex Coke We know that the Rolex Coke is exceptionally pricey and may not cater to everyone’s budget. As such, if you love the look of the Rolex Coke but are looking for a more affordable, entry-level alternative, we have got you covered. Detailed below is a list of timepieces from different trusted watch brands that show off a similar design and aesthetic to the Rolex Coke. Do not worry – unlike the Rolex Coke, you will not have a hard time finding any of them since they are all widely available in the market today.  1. Bell & Ross Instruments Ref. BR0393-BL-ST/SCA Firstly, we have a uniquely square-shaped watch from Bell & Ross: the Bell & Ross Instruments Ref. BR0393-BL-ST/SCA. This watch distinguishes itself with its angular case and stylish Coke colourway. It is presented in a 42mm x 42mm square case made of stainless steel and a thick black leather strap. Like the Rolex Coke, it also boasts a bidirectional 24-hour GMT bezel with a fashionable black and red insert. The screw-down crown on the right side of the watch, along with its solid caseback, gives the watch a water resistance capacity of 100m. Like the Rolex Coke, this watch’s dial also showcases a matte black finish. It houses thick hour indices and Arabic numeral hour markers in a large round typeface, along with thick sword hands and a circular date window between 4 and 5 o’clock. As a GMT watch, this dial also contains an additional GMT hand, which has an arrow-headed tip that is outlined in bright red. This Bell & Ross Instruments timepiece runs on an in-house Caliber BR-CAL 303. Based on the ETA 2893-2 movement, this automatic movement is fitted with 21 jewels and has a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). It also possesses a standard power reserve of 42 hours.  You can purchase the robust Bell & Ross Instruments Ref. BR0393-BL-ST/SCA for around $4,200 USD.  2. Seiko Prospex Ref. STBR009  For another affordable timepiece greatly influenced by the Rolex Coke’s design, check out the Seiko Prospex Ref. STBR009. This is a limited-edition watch, with only 2,000 pieces available worldwide. Hailing from Seiko, a watch brand that is famous for its arsenal of versatile dive watches, the Seiko Prospex Ref. STBR009 is a rugged and chunky-looking diver that doubles as the perfect everyday companion.  This Seiko Prospex watch is packed in a 42.7mm round case made of stainless steel and black polymer. This is coupled with a sturdy black silicone strap. Completing the watch’s striking, mostly black motif is its jet-black dial, which is protected by a layer of Hardlex crystal. This dial is filled with geometric hour indices and thick arrow-headed hands, all of which are generously coated with the brand’s LumiBrite material. A compact date aperture also sits at 4 o’clock.  The only color that can be found on this Seiko watch comes from its stylish elapsed time scale bezel. This unidirectional rotating bezel is fitted with a ceramic insert in the classic black and red Coke hues. Unlike the Rolex Coke, however, which has the insert divided evenly into two different colors, this watch’s bezel is only painted vibrant red up to the 15-minute indicator. Inside this watch, you can find a solar-powered Caliber V147 movement. This quartz movement has an excellent accuracy rate of +/- 15 seconds per month and can withstand water pressures up to 200 meters. When fully charged, it can also last up to approximately ten months. You will not have to worry about this Seiko timepiece stopping at any time since it can be quickly and efficiently charged through exposure to any stable source of light. If you want a dive watch that comes in the style of the Rolex Coke, the Seiko Prospex Ref. STBR009 retails at $575 USD.  3. Bulova Classic Ref. 98B348  Lastly, we have the Bulova Classic Ref. 98B348. This watch sports a 44mm stainless steel case and a black silicone strap. On top of this Bulova timepiece is a two-tone elapsed time scale bezel that can be rotated unidirectionally. It is painted in the same metallic red and black hues as the bezel of the Rolex Coke, hence its similarity to the iconic Rolex watch.  This dial also showcases a sector black dial. The outer ring of the dial has a smooth finish and consists of thick white hour indices and a small date complication at 3 o’clock. The center segment of the dial, on the other hand, bears a waffle-like texture and is furnished with thick, luminous sword hands. Protecting this watch face is a layer of scratch-resistant mineral crystal, which gives its wearer a clear view of the dial This Bulova Classic watch is powered by a battery-operated quartz movement that’s very easy to maintain and replace. It has an extended battery life of two years. The Bulova Classic Ref. 98B348 sells at a bargain price of just $239 USD.  Final Thoughts No matter how expensive the Rolex Coke is, a classic watch like this is no doubt an ideal investment. If you have the budget and happen to come across this glorious timepiece, consider yourself one of the luckiest persons in the world. A rare vintage watch like this is truly a treasured possession that deserves the highest level of appreciation.  All images courtesy of WatchShopping website, unless otherwise stated. Photo Credits: watchuseek and Reddit. Featured image courtesy of Paola Kizette Cimenti on Flickr. On the hunt for an elegant dress watch? Read our article about the Grand Seiko White Birch. Or if you’re interested in a dress watch that has a very unique style, read our review of the Grand Seiko Godzilla. 

    read more
    0
  6. AVI-8 Watches: Home to Some of the Best Pilot Watches

    AVI-8 Watches: Home to Some of the Best Pilot Watches

    Pilot watches are some of the most sought-after watches today. Their robust efficiency and functionality in the aviation industry contribute to the increasing chamber of pilot watch enthusiasts around the globe. Truly, any watch collection is incomplete without a pilot watch. That said, a lot of pilot watches can come at a very expensive price, falling outside the budget of most folks. This is where AVI-8 enters the picture.  The roster of AVI-8 watches holds its own against its competitors, thanks in large part to its affordable prices. Sure, AVI-8 watches may not be as popular as other brands for pilot watches like IWC’s Pilot collection or the Pilot lineup from Zenith, but they are a great, reliable alternative for buyers on a tight budget. With prices kept firmly under $500 USD, what more can you ask for from such affordable but durable pilot watches? But first of all, what exactly are AVI-8 watches? Stick around as we find out. AVI-8 Watches: Your Guide to the Skies Stylized as “AVI-8”, the brand’s name is actually meant to be pronounced as “aviate”. This is a run and clever way to name the brand, while also referencing what its watches are all about: aviation.  Established in the year 2012, AVI-8 is a UK watch brand that offers a wide variety of pilot watches with different designs. This ten-year-old watch brand proudly pays homage to various historical planes with its timepieces. It also serves as a tribute to the heroic airmen who have piloted these machines. As such, an AVI-8 timepiece is not just an ordinary pilot watch in itself. Instead, each AVI-8 watch tells the story of a particular historical aircraft. This rich heritage gives the AVI-8 watches a certain historical value within the aviation industry.  AVI-8 Collections Hawker Hurricane  Image by: AVI-8 The Hawker Hurricane collection is AVI-8’s most popular lineup for its pilot watches. It references the Hawker Hurricane which was a British fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force during World War II. The Hawker Hurricane aircraft were manufactured between the 1930s and 1940s, acquiring its due fame for being one of the keys to defeating the German air force. The Hawker Hurricane watch collection consists of classic pilot watches with lovely vintage designs. The timepieces in this series are offered with either a leather strap or a stainless steel bracelet. They also come with features such as Arabic numeral hour markers, long indices, tachymeter scales, and chronograph layouts. In particular, the Hawker Hurricane Classic Chronograph is especially useful for aviators or anyone who plans on going on an adventure through the skies.  Hawker Harrier Image by: AVI-8 The Hawker Harrier lineup shows off a totally different vibe from the Hawker Hurricane. The pilot watches in this collection simply ooze sophistication, with complex skeletal dials that show off the inner mechanisms of each Hawker Harrier timepiece. Through these skeletal dials, you can admire the different gears that keep the Hawker Harrier ticking. The design of the Hawker Harrier watches especially resembles that of the Oris Big Crown Propilot X. This collection is inspired by the Harrier Jump Jet, which was first used in the 1960s. The inner mechanisms of the Hawker Harrier are inspired by the engines of the Rolls Royce Pegasus that powered the Harrier Jump Jet, hence the unique design of the Hawker Harrier’s skeletal dial. The pilot watches in this series have case diameters that range from 44mm to 45mm. They are well-suited for those with large wrists, or people who enjoy wearing extra-large timepieces.  Hawker Hunter Image by: AVI-8 Home to exceptionally rugged and impressive pilot watches, the Hawker Hunter watch collection pays homage to the British fighter aircraft of the same name. This aircraft is famous for being the first plane to beat the world’s airspeed record back in 1953. In addition, the sub-collections in the Hawker Hunter series also reference the important mechanical components of the aircraft, along with the legendary aviator responsible for breaking the world’s airspeed record. In line with that, there are three sub-collections in the Hawker Hunter lineup: Avon, Retrograde, and Duke.  Like the Hawker Harrier, the Hawker Hunter Avon timepieces boast complex skeletal dials that show off the Japanese automatic movements powering them. The Hawker Hunter Duke and Retrograde models are chronograph models. Each Duke and Retrograde watch can be distinguished using the large crown on the right side of its case, along with the two pushers that help control the timepiece’s chronograph functions.  P-51 Mustang Image by: AVI-8 Inspired by the fighter bomber used by the US Air Force, the P-51 Mustang series comprises a seemingly explosive array of pilot watches. This line consists of four sub-collections that celebrate important figures and parts of the P-51 aircraft: Hitchcock, Blakeslee, Jubilee, and Patriot.  The Hitchcock and Blakeslee models are notable for their multilayered dials, which are designed to resemble the body of the P-51 Mustang military aircraft. The watches from the Jubilee and Patriot series, on the other hand, are inspired by the cockpit and aviation elements of the aircraft respectively. Every watch in the P-51 Mustang series is protected by a layer of sapphire crystal, ensuring that they are just as tough as the P-51 Mustang aircraft itself. If you are into robust and extremely durable watches, then the AVI-8 P-51 Mustang watches are the perfect choice for you.  Spitfire Image by: AVI-8 Lastly, we have the Spitfire collection, which is composed of watches that celebrate the Spitfire, a British fighter aircraft used during World War II. The pilot watches in this series are categorized into three sub-collections: Smith, Lock Chronograph, and Type 300 Automatic.  All of the watches in the Spitfire line showcase domed cases that mimic the elliptical structure of the Spitfire aircraft itself. Each watch also comes with a bulky crown located at 3 o’clock, with two pushers on either side that resemble the propellers of the historical aircraft. In addition, the AVI-8 Spitfire watches also show off an oversized hour and minute numerals that provide optimal legibility to their wearers. If you want a truly classic, vintage watch that bears a striking resemblance to a historical machine, then the AVI-8 Spitfire is the one to go for. 5 Best AVI-8 Watches 1. AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Classic Chronograph Classic White (Ref. AV-4011-01) Image by: AVI-8 The first timepiece on our list of recommended AVI-8 watches is a timeless classic: the AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Classic Chronograph Classic White (Ref. AV-4011-01). This sleek pilot watch comes in a solid 42mm stainless steel case and a brown leather strap with white stitching. Thanks to its supple leather strap, this watch fits snugly on your wrist.  The plain white dial of this watch is furnished with large, bolded Arabic numeral markers, a small date window at 3 o’clock, a tachymeter scale, and three chronograph sub-dials. The 60-minute and 1/10th of a second counters show off gleaming, metallic sunray finishes that distinguish them from the rest of the dial, and the 60-minute counter in particular is decorated with blue and red accents. The 60-second sub-dial at 9 o’clock, on the other hand, boasts vibrant blue, red, and yellow tones, which stand out distinctly from the Hawker Hurricane’s black-and-white motif. Next to the date display, you can also find the printed image of a small Hawker Hurricane aircraft.  The back of this watch is sealed shut by a solid stainless steel caseback. This caseback is also engraved with a silhouette of the Hawker Hurricane aircraft, encapsulating what this timepiece is all about. A large crown and two pushers are located on the right side of the case and can be used to operate the mechanisms of this watch. In addition, it runs on a Japanese quartz movement, which is powered using a watch battery.  With its classy, quintessential looks, the AVI-8 Hawker Hurricane Classic Chronograph Classic White is a versatile pilot watch that can easily double as a dress piece. This watch retails at just $210 USD.   2. AVI-8 P-51 Mustang Blakeslee Chronograph Legion (Ref. AV-4077-11) Image by: AVI-8 Next on the list is the AVI-8 P-51 Mustang Blakeslee Chronograph Legion (Ref. AV-4077-11). This watch is presented in a 43mm stainless steel case that measures 13mm thick and a matching stainless steel bracelet, which adds to the watch’s robust look. Fixed on top of the case is a round bezel with a tachymeter scale that comes in handy when calculating speed.  As a celebration of Colonel Don Blakeslee, who is known for piloting the P-51 Mustang aircraft, this watch’s multilayered black dial is designed to mirror the frame of said aircraft. It comprises thick sword hands, oversized, hollow Arabic numeral hour markers, and rectangular applique indices that give the watch a unique, rugged look. The red accents scattered across the minute and second chronograph sub-dials, along with the vibrant red seconds hand, provide a sharp contrast to the watch’s mostly monochrome theme.  This watch is driven by a meca-quartz movement. This is a hybrid caliber that allows a plain quartz movement to take on certain characteristics of a mechanical caliber. Protecting the watch’s meca-quartz movement is a solid stainless steel caseback. The caseback is engraved with an image of the P-51 Mustang aircraft, adding to the aesthetic appeal of this watch.  If you are looking for an exceptionally robust and sporty pilot watch, the AVI-8 P-51 Mustang Blakeslee Chronograph Legion (Ref. AV-4077-11) is definitely worth considering. It costs around $315 USD.  3. AVI-8 Hawker Harrier Matador Chronograph Desert Brown (Ref. AV-4065-06) Image by: AVI-8 If there is one word that can properly describe the AVI-8 Hawker Harrier Matador Chronograph Desert Brown (Ref. AV-4065-06), it is simply strange, but in a good way. As a tribute to the mighty Hawker Harrier aircraft, this AVI-8 watch is truly an odd-looking, almost avant-garde watch. This watch uses a bulky 45mm stainless steel case and a handsome brown leather strap. Surrounding the dial is a large, slanting internal tachymeter bezel, which is protected by a layer of scratch-resistant mineral crystal. On the right side of the case, you can also find two long piston-like pushers and a guarded crown.  The most interesting thing about this timepiece is its sophisticated skeletal dial, which is heavily inspired by the intricate engineering of the Hawker Harrier aircraft, with several layers of gears carefully arranged across the dial. This dial is also adorned with applique indices coated with muted yellow lume and luminous skeletal hands. As a chronograph watch, this timepiece comes with sub-dials for the 60-minute, 60-second, and 1/20th of a second counters, all of which are designed to resemble the gears of the engine that controls the Hawker Harrier aircraft. Finally, a big date complication is also located at 12 o’clock.  Flipping the AVI-8 Hawker Harrier Matador Chronograph Desert Brown (Ref. AV-4065-06) over, you will see a solid stainless steel caseback. This caseback shows off an engraved symmetrical pattern that imitates the turbine blades which drive the Hawker Harrier aircraft. Underneath this caseback is a powerful quartz movement with a solid depth rating of 100 meters.  This complex and stylish AVI-8 watch sells at approximately $330 USD.   4. AVI-8 Spitfire Type 300 Automatic Gunmetal Grey (Ref. AV-4073-44) Image by: AVI-8 Next up, we have a pilot watch that honors the military aircraft, Spitfire. The AVI-8 Spitfire Type 300 Automatic Gunmetal Grey (Ref. AV-4073-44) is sheltered in a 42mm gray-tone stainless steel case accompanied by a bracelet made from the same material. This watch is also offered with an additional gray leather strap, giving wearers an option as to which style of bracelet they prefer. A complete package for a magnificent pilot watch, indeed.  In keeping with the watch’s all-gray exterior is a simple, elegant gray sector dial. This dial consists of large double-digit Arabic numerals, slim indices for the minute track, and a small date aperture at 3 o’clock. One of the most intriguing things about this dial is its alternating display of minutes for the odd hours and hours for the even hours. A small seconds sub-dial is also located above the 5 o’clock marker. Unlike other AVI-8 watches, this pilot watch is driven by a Miyota automatic movement which contains 21 jewels.  The AVI-8 Spitfire Type 300 Automatic Gunmetal Grey (Ref. AV-4073-44) can be yours at $425 USD.  5. AVI-8 Hawker Hunter Avon Automatic Diables Rouges (Ref. AV-4078-22) Image by: AVI-8 For the last watch in this list, we have an AVI-8 pilot watch that celebrates the aviators who flew the Hawker Hunter aircraft. The AVI-8 Hawker Hunter Avon Automatic Diables Rouges (Ref. AV-4078-22) sports a 44mm stainless steel case, with a matching stainless steel bracelet and a truly iconic skeleton dial. A close look at this watch reveals a design that almost looks like a never-ending spiral illusion. Equipped on top of the dial is a textured fixed bezel that resembles the turbine of the Hawker Hunter Avon engines. This same design is also borne out on the watch’s large crown, which is also highlighted with red accents that give the watch a bolder, fiercer look.   The open-heart dial of this watch is ornamented with lume-coated applied indices, thick sword hands, and subtle minute markers. One downside to this dial is its Arabic numeral hour markers. Although some of these markers are painted in bright red, others come in faint gray hues which blend into the rest of the dial and can be a little difficult to read without squinting.  Through the watch’s transparent caseback, you can see its NH36 movement. Held together by 24 jewels, this automatic caliber beats at a frequency of 21,600 per hour. In addition, it has a 40-hour power reserve which gives the watch ample idle time before having to be wound up again. The AVI-8 Hawker Hunter Avon Automatic Diables Rouges (Ref. AV-4078-22) is currently priced at $395 USD. Final Thoughts AVI-8 watches, however unknown they may seem, offer an amazing stack of pilot watches. Its pilot watches deserve due recognition, not only for their affordability but also because of their durability. By using hardy stainless steel material as their main element for their watches’ construction, AVI-8 assures you of a reliable deal for its pilot watches.  Moreover, AVI-8 watches are also famous for their rich heritage, intricate designs, and craftsmanship. Just like the historical military aircrafts that AVI-8 pilot watches pay tribute to, the brand itself also deserves to be iconized in the history of aviation watchmaking.  Photo Credits: AVI-8 Looking for a reliable and durable dive watch? Read more about a watch that you can take to the seas with our Seiko Tuna review.

    read more
    0
  7. Omega X-33: The Popular Space Icon Watch

    Omega X-33: The Popular Space Icon Watch

    Traveling to space is definitely on a lot of people’s bucket lists. Thanks to all the recent advancements in science and technology, we have entered a chapter where almost anyone can go up to space as long as they have the money and tools. And when it comes to the topic of space exploration, there is no watch brand more trusted than Omega. This established Swiss luxury watch brand is known for creating timepieces designed to cater to astronauts and individuals who would love to travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere.  Throughout the age of space exploration, Omega has certainly made its mark through a number of significant events, such as being the official watchmaker for the quadrennial Olympic games and creating official Olympics watches. And of course, who could ever forget that the first watch on the moon was a timepiece from this acclaimed watchmaker? Since then, Omega has gone on to develop a series of wonderful, highly durable timepieces designed just for space, such as the Omega Speedmaster Professional “Moonwatch”.   In this article, we will be delving into one of Omega’s most historic sub-collections: the Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33. The Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 watches are crafted specifically to be used in the pursuit of space exploration and traveling through the sphere of heavenly bodies. More commonly known as the Omega X-33, let us take a closer look at the history of this lineup and the current models it offers.  Omega X-33: Your Reliable Travel Buddy to Space The Omega X-33 was first introduced in 1998, in collaboration with esteemed space agencies like the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA). Over the years, Omega has produced many different, upgraded generations of the Omega X-33, which has continued on to this day.  Like the emblematic Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, the Omega X-33 is a series that is both rich in heritage and of the utmost significance in the domain of mankind. Having been used in a number of space missions, the Omega X-33 is notable as a part of the prestigious list of watches that have been to space.  Omega X-33 First Generation Image by: Omega Watches After years of meticulous research and testing by Omega, NASA and ESA, the first-ever official Omega X-33 watch was presented in 1998. Witnessed by accredited NASA astronauts and Russian cosmonauts, the Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Ref. TPIC 3990.50.00 was launched at the NASA Space Center in Houston, Texas. This watch is considered the first generation of the Omega X-33 collection and was succeeded by newer versions in the following years to come.  This first Omega X-33 timepiece was a watch built to be worn on the planet Mars. Also dubbed the Mars Watch, this Omega Speedmaster piece boasted an all-titanium construction. It showed off a sophisticated hybrid dial, which consisted of both analog and multifunctional digital displays.  This watch had a case diameter of 42.25mm and was equipped with a polished, unidirectional count-up bezel. Since this Omega X-33 watch had a digital layout, it could quickly and easily show its time, date, alarm, and countdown functions. It could also efficiently display the watch’s chronograph features, which came in especially handy when accurately timing specific events like launching a ship.  The Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Ref. TPIC 3990.50.00 also had four sizable pushers, which you could use to control its functions. This watch was designed in such a way that even astronauts wearing thick gloves could operate it without any hassle. Capable of withstanding extreme fluctuations in temperatures and gravitational pressures, this Omega X-33 piece was the best option for space travelers in every aspect. It was driven by the brand’s in-house Caliber 1666 quartz movement, which was made exclusively for this Omega X-33 model.  Omega X-33 Second Generation Image by: Omega Watches The second generation of the Omega X-33 was the Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Ref. 3291.50.00. Released in 2001, this Omega X-33 variant was quite similar to the first model. It had a similar robust appearance, the same functions, and the same in-house quartz movement. It only underwent minor tweaks in terms of its design and the materials used.  The second-generation Omega X-33 came in a similar case size measuring 42.25mm but was crafted from a more durable grade 2 titanium material instead. This particular alloy has a more muted, dull gray sheen, which gives this watch a certain degree of seriousness and gravitas. In addition, the case and bracelet of this Omega X-33 model also boast a sleek and well-brushed finish.  Affixed to the top of the watch case is a matte silver count-up bezel that can now rotate bi-directionally. At the bezel’s 12 o’clock, you can find a luminous pip that is filled with Super-Luminova, which helps keep the watch face illuminated in the dark for better legibility.  Images by: @SpaceX and @AstroBehnken on Twitter Back on May 20, 2020, astronaut Robert Behnken was seen wearing an Omega X-33 piece during the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket ship. This spacecraft was the first crewed mission of Elon Musk’s SpaceX program and it was bound for the International Space Station (ISS). However, contrary to most speculation on the internet, it was actually the second-generation Omega X-33 watch that Behnken sported, and not the latest model (2014).  In a photo posted on July 21, 2020, through Behnken’s Twitter, he can be seen floating inside the ship, amidst the celestial bodies, with his Omega X-33 watch wrapped around his wrist. The fact that even the second-generation Omega X-33 model can survive so well in space, even today, is a testament to the quality and durability the brand has imbued in its X-33 timepieces. Indeed, Behnken is one of a few people who have used this watch in space, along with fellow astronaut Ronald Garan Jr. and Russian cosmonaut Nikolai Budarin.  Omega X-33 Third Generation Image by: Omega Watches In 2014, Omega released the third generation of the Omega X-33 series. With the help of the ESA, the third-generation Omega X-33 is a new and completely improved space watch. It has passed a series of tests and simulations conducted by the ESA. As such, this hardy space watch is so qualified that it is even provided by the agency as official equipment for their own astronauts.   The phenomenal partnership between Omega and the ESA resulted in these third-generation X-33 models having a brand-new, super durable construction. This allows the watches to withstand a series of significant space take-off-related problems. For instance, the third-generation X-33 is now able to withstand 7 G’s of acceleration, varying ranges of extreme temperature conditions, vibrations from a spaceship’s launch, and even high radiation.  In terms of its appearance, the third-generation Omega X-33 now has a larger case size, measuring 45mm. It also shows off a brand-new ceramic bezel insert that is highly scratch-resistant. Finally, this model is now powered by a well-crafted in-house thermocompensated quartz movement. The newer, updated versions of the Omega X-33 are widely available in the market today. There are two models in the third generation of the Omega X-33. We will be taking a close look at both of them in the following section of this article.  Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Models 1. Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Ref. 318.90.45.79.01.001 Image by: Omega Watches Although this model is slightly larger than its predecessors, you will immediately recognize this as an Omega X-33 piece, thanks to its recognizable design and distinctive, muted gray look.  Case and Bracelet The Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Ref. 318.90.45.79.01.001 utilizes a 45mm case constructed from grade 2 titanium. This case is on the thicker end, with a height of around 14.89mm. However, since its titanium material weighs about 45% lighter than stainless steel, the watch still has a very lightweight build that wears comfortably on your wrist. It weighs just 110 grams, which is perfect for astronauts who need to avoid being weighed down while in space.  This Omega X-33 piece also comes with a three-link bracelet, which is crafted from a combination of grade 2 and grade 5 titanium. Due to the properties of grade 2 titanium, the entire watch comes in a dull, muted gray hue. It is given a smooth, brushed finish to prevent any visual distortions or light reflections, which is especially important during space explorations.  Dial and Bezel The eye-catching dial of this Omega X-33 model showcases a lovely hybrid display. On the rim of the watch, you can find a black ring, which is filled with white hour indices that are coated with Super-LumiNova. This ring surrounds a black LCD display, which showcases the time, date, timer, and chronograph functions. This LCD screen can also show different space-relevant functions, such as mission elapsed time (MET) and phase elapsed time (PET). The dial is also furnished with a pair of thick Super-LumiNova sword hands, along with a bright red seconds hand that adds to the vibrancy of the watch face. Protecting the dial is a layer of luxurious sapphire crystal. This crystal is enclosed within a bi-directional rotating count-up bezel made from durable ceramic material.  Movement This Omega X-33 piece runs on an in-house Omega Caliber 5619. This is a thermocompensated quartz movement that provides superb accuracy even when undergoing extreme fluctuations in temperature. It is sealed shut behind a solid titanium caseback.  As a space watch, the Omega X-33 only has a depth rating of 30 meters. This is a little disappointing, as you can take this watch up to stellar heights, but not on deep underwater depths. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure — this watch was designed to be used in space and not for water-based activities.  Price The Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Ref. 318.90.45.79.01.001 retails at $5,900 USD.  2. Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Ref. 318.92.45.79.03.001 Image by: Omega Watches The second model available in the Omega X-33 range today is the Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Solar Impulse Limited Edition. This limited-edition watch was made in celebration of the Solar Impulse project, a project supported by Omega which aimed to create an aeroplane that could fly around the world powered solely by solar energy. Although this Skywalker X-33 Solar Impulse watch has the same features as the other Omega X-33 model, it stands out with its cool, distinct colors and more laidback, casual vibe.  Case The Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33 Ref. 318.92.45.79.03.001 comes in a stunning blue and green ensemble and shows off a more playful side of the serious Omega X-33 collection. It is packed in a grade 2 titanium case with a relatively large diameter of 45mm. This is paired with a vibrant, colorful NATO strap with blue and neon green tones. On the whole, this watch wears incredibly lightly on your wrist, weighing just 76 grams.  Dial and Bezel The gorgeous dial of this watch is composed of a blue outer ring that is outlined in green, giving the watch face a more vibrant and dynamic look. On this blue ring, you can find Super-LumiNova-coated hour indices and a subtle minute track. This dial also encompasses a black LCD display, with Super-LumiNova sword hands and a neon green seconds hand.  The functions of this watch can be operated using the four hefty pushers located on either side of the watch. Furthermore, affixed to the top of the watch case is a bi-directional count-up bezel that is crafted from grade 2 titanium and blue ceramic.  Movement  Because of its name, you might mistake this watch for a solar-powered one. In reality, however, it is still run by the brand’s in-house Caliber 5619 quartz movement. Like the previous model, this timepiece also offers a mediocre depth rating of 30 meters. This allows it to survive any accidental splashes of water or rain.  Price With only 1,924 pieces available worldwide, this limited edition Omega X-33 watch is priced at $5,900 USD. Final Thoughts Omega will always be the watch brand to beat when it comes to watches fit for space exploration. The rich history of astronauts and cosmonauts who have used Omega watches beyond the Earth’s atmosphere is already a statement in and of itself. With hardy and durable space-ready watches like the Omega X-33 and the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch, Omega will forever be an inextricable part of mankind’s illustrious space endeavors.  Photo Credits: Omega Watches and users @SpaceX and @AstroBehnken on Twitter. Featured image courtesy of Omega Watches. Interested in a very affordable and useful smartwatch? Read our article about the awesome Coros APEX Pro!

    read more
    0
  8. Seiko Marinemaster: All About Seiko’s Outstanding Diver

    Seiko Marinemaster: All About Seiko’s Outstanding Diver

    One of the world’s largest and most renowned watchmakers is the Japanese brand Seiko. The brand offers a wide range of outstanding watch models, including professional dive watches that are loved by watch enthusiasts worldwide. On top of that, Seiko is also known globally for its introduction of the quartz movement in the sphere of horology. Thanks to its ceaseless innovation and consistent production of high-quality watches, many watch aficionados have developed an inclination toward the brand’s products over the years.  Of all the dive watches in Seiko’s catalog, one particular standout is the Seiko Marinemaster. Powerful and robust, the Seiko Marinemaster is a distinctive timepiece that has carved out its own place in the brand’s history. Without further ado, let us get better acquainted with the Seiko Marinemaster, its history, achievements, and the best Marinemaster models that money can buy you.  Seiko Marinemaster: A Brief History First released in 1968, the Seiko Marinemaster has been around for a very long time, with many new Marinemaster models being released over the years. Because of the extensiveness of its history, we will only be discussing a few of the Marinemaster’s significant milestones, particularly those that relate to the models we will be discussing in greater detail later in this article:  1968: Seiko releases its first Hi-Beat dive watch, the Marinemaster. Launched just three years after Seiko first ventured into the dive watch market, the 1968 Marinemaster Ref. 6159-7001 showed off a monobloc case and an impressive 300-meter water resistance capacity. The high-beat frequency of this Marinemaster’s new, built-in driving system also ensured exceptionally precise timekeeping, even when used underwater.  1975: The first Seiko “Tuna” Marinemaster Ref. 6159-7010 was born. It came in a chunky yet lightweight titanium build and was made especially for professional diving. This Seiko Marinemaster model had an outstanding 600-meter depth rating and its outer case was bolstered by a thick shroud which provided additional protection from scratches and impacts.  1978: Three years later, an upgraded timepiece with a similar build to the 1975 Seiko “Tuna” Marinemaster Ref. 6159-7010 was released. This new Marinemaster was the first saturation diving watch ever to utilize an in-house quartz movement. It continues to epitomize Seiko’s dedication to never-ending innovation.  2005: Fast forward to thirty years later, and the Marinemaster Spring Drive Ref. Ref. SBDB001 was introduced. This watch was crafted using lightweight titanium and equipped with a luxurious sapphire crystal, which served to protect the watch’s dial. This watch was well-suited for saturation diving with its water resistance capacity of 600 meters. Today, the Seiko Marinemaster sub-collection has expanded to hold a wide variety of timepieces, all of which fall under the extensive Seiko Prospex series. These, of course, include the “Tuna” Marinemaster models. Fun fact: the “Tuna” nickname awarded to these timepieces is a witty reference to the cylindrical shape of a tuna can. The Seiko “Tuna” Marinemaster watches showcase round, shrouded cases that are said to resemble actual tuna cans, hence the nickname. This tuna can design continues to be used in modern Marinemaster models today.  In addition, there are two distinct features that tie every Marinemaster watch together. The first is an aesthetic one: the off-center placement of the Marinemaster’s huge crown on the right side of the case, at 4 o’clock. Secondly, each Marinemaster variant also possesses an excellent water resistance capacity that exceeds 200 meters.  Now that we are more familiar with the collection as a whole, let us take a look at some of the best Marinemaster models on the market.  Best Seiko Marinemaster Models 1. Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBBN035 First on this list is the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBBN035, which is also famously known as the “Ninja Tuna.” The striking all-black theme is what this timepiece is all about. This watch comes in a bulky 47.7mm case made of stainless steel. Not only is the case wide, but it is also quite thick, with a height of 14.7mm. This gives the Ninja Tuna a nice, substantial heft on your wrist. The black-tone case is coupled with a matching black silicone bracelet which is durable enough to carry the weight of the timepiece.  As per its all-black theme, the dial of this watch also comes in matte black. It has a fairly simple layout, with geometric hour markers and broad arrow-head hands, all of which are generously coated with lume. A day-date window is also located next to the 3 o’clock marker. Placed atop the case is an 120-click rotating bezel with a black insert for its elapsed time scale.  The Ninja Tuna is driven by a Seiko 7C46 quartz movement. Held together by seven jewels, this movement has an excellent battery life of five years. On top of that, the Ninja Tuna also has a respectable depth rating of 300 meters.  If you want a tough yet subtle-looking dive watch, you can get the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ninja Tuna Ref. SBBN035 for $1,149 USD. 2. Seiko Prospex Diver Marinemaster Ref. SBDX017 Next on this list is the Seiko Prospex Diver Marinemaster Ref. SBDX017. This Seiko Marinemaster watch is packed in a 44.3mm stainless steel case, along with a three-link case made of the same material. Both the case and bracelet are treated with Seiko’s unique Diashield coating. This enhances their resistance to scratches and protects the elegant, brushed mirror finish of the watch’s exterior.  The watch’s gear-edged elapsed time scale bezel and dial, on the other hand, come in jet-black. The dial is adorned with geometric hour indices and thick sword hands, all of which are coated in the brand’s patented LumiBrite material, allowing for optimal legibility even in the dark. A small date display, outlined in silver, also sits at 3 o’clock.  Driving this Seiko Marinemaster piece is the brand’s in-house 8L35 automatic movement. Based on the Grand Seiko 9S55 caliber, this movement has a solid 50-hour power reserve. The Seiko Prospex Diver Marinemaster Ref. SBDX017 is also able to withstand water pressures of up to 300 meters.  This luxurious Seiko Marinemaster watch sells at around $2,999 USD. 3. Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SLA021J1 In this entry, we have what is perhaps the most popular Marinemaster model ever: the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SLA021J1. This watch is presented in a 44.3mm stainless steel case with a bracelet made of the same material. The 15.4mm width of the case makes this watch thicker than the average dive watch.  As with the previous Marinemaster models, this watch shows off a stark black dial. It is furnished with LumiBrite-coated geometric indices, satin-finished hands, and a date complication at 3 o’clock. The yellow seconds hand also stands out clearly with its lovely, bright yellow tone, which adds a burst of vibrancy to this monochrome watch face.  This watch runs on the Seiko 8L35 automatic movement. Aside from having a reliable 50-hour power supply, it also has a depth rating of 300 meters.  This powerful Seiko Marinemaster classic is priced at approximately $2,399 USD.  4. Seiko Prospex Ref. SPB077J1  The next timepiece on this list is the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SPB077J1. More commonly known as the Seiko Baby Marinemaster, this is a modern re-interpretation of Seiko’s 1968 Marinemaster 300m dive watch. It is housed in a 44mm stainless steel case that measures 13.1mm thick, making it relatively smaller and slimmer compared to other Seiko Marinemaster models. This is coupled with a sleek three-link stainless steel bracelet and a black elapsed time scale bezel.  Complementing the bezel is a matte black dial. This dial follows a straightforward design, comprising circular and trapezoidal hour indices, thick arrow-headed hands, and a compact date aperture at 3 o’clock. The hands and indices are all treated with Seiko’s LumiBrite material for optimal legibility at all times.  Underneath this simple watch face, you can find the brand’s in-house 6R15 automatic movement. This caliber possesses a 50-hour power supply and is equipped with hand-winding and hacking capabilities. Finally, as a “baby” version of the Seiko Marinemaster, this dive watch comes with a depth rating of just 200 meters.  The Seiko Prospex SPB077J1 costs $1,595 USD. It is a great choice for those seeking a more budget-friendly Seiko Marinemaster option.  5. Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive Ref. SBDB011 Next up, we have the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive Ref. SBDB011. This watch comes in a robust titanium case measuring 46mm wide and 17mm thick, along with a bracelet made of the same material. Despite its large size, however, the watch’s titanium construction makes it quite lightweight compared to other stainless steel watches.  Standing out against the watch’s all-silver exterior is a black elapsed time scale bezel and a matching black dial. This dial has a slightly more complicated layout compared to the aforementioned Seiko Marinemaster models. It consists of LumiBrite-coated hour indices in various geometric shapes, broad sword hands, a date window at 3 o’clock. An arcing power reserve indicator is also located near the 9 o’clock marker.  This watch is powered by an in-house Seiko 5R66 movement. As an automatic movement, this caliber provides an extended power reserve of 72 hours. It also possesses an impressive depth rating of 600 meters, so you can easily use this watch for deep-sea saturation diving.  With its lightweight build and powerful movement, the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Spring Drive Ref. SBDB011 is definitely a great pick. The price of this watch costs $3,699 USD. 6. Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBDX014  The next watch on this list is the Seiko Marinemaster Ref. SBDX014, which is more commonly known as the “Emperor Tuna.” As befitting its name, this watch is encased in a majestic 48.2mm titanium case. Adding to its already massive size is the black ceramic shroud that surrounds the watch, giving it its robust “tuna can” shape. Despite its large build, however, the Emperor Tuna is actually quite light, thanks to its lightweight titanium case construction and sturdy black silicone bracelet.  The dazzling contrast between the black and rose gold hues of this watch is easily one of its most fascinating features. The lovely rose gold accents on the Emperor Tuna’s bezel and crown truly help make it distinct from its Marinemaster peers. This effect is enhanced by the watch’s geometric, LumiBrite-coated indices and rose gold-tone arrow hands, which stand out cleanly against the dial’s black finish. A tiny date display can also be found between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers.  Inside this luxurious-looking timepiece, you can find an in-house Seiko 8L35 movement, which possesses a reliable 50-hour power supply. In addition, the Emperor Tuna is also able to withstand water pressures of up to 1000 meters, which is excellent for saturation diving.  Priced at $3,149 USD, this one-of-a-kind Seiko Marinemaster watch is a must-have for any dive watch collector. 7. Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBEX005 Joining this list is the Seiko Marinemaster Ref. SBEX005, which stands out with its stylish silver-and-blue colourway. This watch utilizes a chunky 48.2mm titanium case which measures 19.77mm thick and a bracelet made of the same material. While its oversized case gives this watch a considerable presence on your wrist, its lightweight titanium build ensures that it is not too heavy to tote around. Fixed atop the case is a titanium bezel with a metallic blue elapsed time scale insert and a diagonal-cut design that adds more personality to this stylish watch.  Another highlight of this Seiko Marinemaster watch is its lovely blue dial, which showcases an alluring, ocean-inspired wave texture. This dial is beautifully contrasted by satin-finished sword hands and LumiBrite-covered geometric indices. A small date aperture can also be found between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers. Driving this watch is an in-house Seiko 8L55 automatic movement. Held together by 37 jewels, this calibre can last for up to 55 hours when fully wound. Like the Seiko “Emperor Tuna” Marinemaster, this watch also has an excellent depth rating of 1000 meters.  The Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBEX005 is worth approximately $5,089 USD, making this one of the more expensive Seiko Marinemaster pieces available.  8. Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Hi-Beat Ref. SLA025 Image by: eBay Eighth on the list is the limited-edition Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Hi Beat Ref. SLA025. As a homage to the 1968 Seiko Hi-Beat, this is a modern take on the aforementioned vintage dive watch. It uses a 44.7mm monobloc stainless steel case and a pyramid silicone strap in black. On top of the case, you can find a 120-click unidirectional bezel. This bezel is fitted with a black ceramic insert, bearing exquisite gold indicators for its elapsed time scale.  Like many other Marinemaster models, this watch also showcases a simple black dial. However, this watch distinguishes itself with the luxurious gold accents peppered across the dial. The dial’s luminous geometric indices and sword-shaped hands are all encased in gold plating, while the date complication at 3 o’clock is also framed in gold. This Marinemaster piece runs on the brand’s in-house 8L55 automatic caliber. This gives the watch a 55-hour power supply and a reliable depth rating of 300 meters.  As a limited-edition gem, there are only 1,500 pieces of the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Hi Beat Ref. SLA025 available in the world. It retails at around $4,900 USD. 9. Seiko Prospex Ref. SBDX043 Image by: Seiko Watches For the next watch, we have another limited edition timepiece, the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBDX043. Released in honor of the brand’s 140th anniversary, this Marinemaster model is one of three limited-edition divers launched by Seiko under the branding of “Iriomote Island.” It is housed in a 44.3mm polished stainless steel case and a matching stainless steel bracelet. Fixed on top of the case is a black elapsed time scale bezel, with ridged edges that provide wearers with a better grip.  The star of this watch, without a doubt, is its mesmerizing green dial. Boasting a rich green hue, this dial contains geometric hour indices and satin-finished hands that are filled with LumiBrite, maximizing legibility in the dark. Its seconds hand comes in a distinctive, bright yellow hue, adding a hint of vibrancy to this dark watch face. You can also find a compact date window located at 3 o’clock as well.  Like many other Seiko Marinemaster models, this timepiece is powered by the brand’s in-house Seiko 8L35 automatic movement. Aside from possessing a 50-hour power supply, this watch also has a solid 300-meter depth rating.  Seiko produced only 3,000 pieces of the Seiko Prospex Ref. SBDX043. Thanks to its exclusivity and its charming design, this Marinemaster model sells at $2,509 USD. 10. Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBBN027 For the last watch in this list, we have the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBBN027, popularly known as the “Yellow Tuna”. This watch is presented in a colossal 49.3mm black-tone case and a robust silicone strap in black. Surrounding the case is a glossy black shroud made of ceramic which adds to the watch’s heft and protects it from any impacts or scratches. You do not have to worry about the Yellow Tuna’s large size, however, as it is actually quite light and comfortable to wear — thanks to its titanium build.  On top of the watch’s case, you can find a 120-click unidirectional bezel with a funky yellow insert for the elapsed time scale. This vibrant bezel helps give the watch a certain lively personality. Yellow accents can also be found scattered all over the watch’s black dial, in particular, on its minute and seconds hands, further enhancing the watch’s quirky vibe. Aside from that, this dial is also decorated with geometric hour markers in white, an arrow-headed hour hand, and a day-date display at 3 o’clock.  Driving all of these functions is the brand’s in-house Seiko 7C46 movement. This automatic movement carries a power reserve of about 50-hours. This is complemented by the watch’s incredible 1000-meter depth rating, which makes it well-equipped for long-distance saturation diving.  If you want a powerful yet fun dive watch, you can buy the Seiko Prospex Marinemaster Ref. SBBN027 for approximately $2,049 USD. Final Thoughts The Seiko Marinemaster models are indeed amazing and innovative timepieces that have helped exhibit the excellence of Seiko’s craftsmanship over generations. Without a doubt, these Marinemaster pieces are a great inclusion to one’s growing dive watch collection. With their robust movements and impressive water-resistance capacities, you would definitely not want to miss out on these Seiko Marinemaster watches.  All images courtesy of WatchShopping website, unless otherwise stated. Photo Credits: eBay and Seiko Watches. Featured image courtesy of ludalmg90 on Flickr. Are you interested in military-inspired digital watches? Check out our review of the Nixon Regulus.

    read more
    0
  9. Seiko Street Fighter Watches: A Sentimental Treat for Fans

    Seiko Street Fighter Watches: A Sentimental Treat for Fans

    For many video game and arcade game enthusiasts, watch collectibles made in honor of their favorite games are some of the best forms of memorabilia. Most of the time, these items serve as a token of sentiment for gamers and also give wearers a tinge of nostalgia for the time that has passed. Seiko, a leading watch manufacturer, has collaborated with Capcom, the popular Japanese distributor of several popular video and arcade games, to introduce a lineup of six watch collectibles from the famous video game, Street Fighter V. The Seiko Street Fighter V watches serve as a gift for all the fans who have a deep affection towards the iconic fighting game and also for collectors intrigued by such watch memorabilia Seiko Street Fighter V Collection Released in 2020, the Seiko Street Fighter V collection consists of six watches that pay homage to six of the most-loved characters from the Capcom video game, Street Fighter V. Each of the six Seiko Street Fighter watches corresponds to the respective personalities, attributes, and colors of the referenced characters. This is an exclusive, limited-edition lineup, with only 9,999 pieces available per model.  The Seiko Street Fighter V watch series is housed under the Seiko 5 Sports collection. The Seiko 5 Sports is a massive lineup of very affordable timepieces with modern designs, catering to people of all ages. In fact, the Seiko 5 Sports range is also home to the limited-edition Seiko Naruto and Boruto watch series from the hit manga and anime show, Naruto.  The Seiko Street Fighter V Watches 1. Seiko 5 Sports RYU – Unshakable Fist (Ref. SRPF19K1) First up, we have the Seiko 5 Sports Ryu, which embodies Ryu, a fan-favorite character who is considered one of the best fighters in the Street Fighter video game. With its red, white, and black themes, this watch is entirely designed according to the distinct color scheme of Ryu.  This watch comes in a 42.5mm stainless steel case and a white nylon-leather strap that is patterned to look like Ryu’s white karate gi. Fixed on top of the case is a two-toned red and black unidirectional rotating bezel, which introduces a spray of color to this watch. This bezel bears an unusual pattern of scratches and cuts, which symbolize the wounds that have been inflicted upon Ryu during his struggles and his journey as he trains to become a better fighter. The watch’s silver case and white strap go well with its clean white dial, which also showcases a cloth-like texture that is quite particular to Ryu’s white attire.  This dial is furnished with rectangular hour indices, thick lume-covered hands, a day-date display at 3 o’clock, and a set of four Kanji characters at 9 o’clock. These four stylized Kanji characters, which can be found printed on both of Ryu’s red gloves, translate to wind, forest, fire, and mountain. Combined, they make up the concept of “Furinkazan”, which conveys the concept of “as fast as the wind, as quiet as the forest, as daring as fire, and immovable as the mountain”. This is a reference to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and a representation of Ryu’s impressive skills.  This watch is powered by Seiko’s in-house Caliber 4R36. Held together by 24 jewels, this automatic movement has a solid power reserve of 41 hours. The serial number of this limited edition watch can also be found engraved onto its caseback.  A robust watch that truly epitomizes a strong fighter, the Seiko 5 Sports Ryu can be yours for around $469 USD.  2. Seiko 5 Sports KEN – Rush ‘n’ Blaze (Ref. SRPF20K1) Next up, we have the Seiko 5 Sports Ken. With its striking combination of red, black, and gold, this watch is a homage to Ken Masters, showcasing a completely different motif compared to his longtime best friend and rival, Ryu. Ken Masters is the total opposite of Ryu in terms of personality and this can be seen through the rugged, aggressive Seiko 5 Sports Ken.  This Seiko Street Fighter watch is presented in a 42.5mm black-tone stainless steel case and a vibrant red nylon and leather strap with contrasting black stitching. The underside of this strap is made of black leather material with a golden print of Ken’s company’s logo, the Masters Foundation. This stylish feature enhances the visual quality of the watch as a whole, while also paying tribute to Ken’s character beyond his status as a fighter.  Fitted on top of the watch’s case is a gorgeous unidirectional bezel with luxurious gold-rimmed sides, much like Ken’s beautiful, lustrous blonde hair. This bezel bears a black insert, with stark red indicators that stand out clearly for the elapsed time scale. A layer of Hardlex crystal, which is an identifying feature of most Seiko watches, also helps shelter the dial from any scratches and impacts.  In opposition to the Seiko 5 Sports Ryu, the dial of this watch shows off a matte black finish. It is elegantly decorated with sizeable geometric hour indices in red, mimicking the patterns that can be found on Ken’s red-and-black fighting attire. This dial also contains lovely gold skeletal hands and a handy day-date window at 3 o’clock.  Through the watch’s see-through caseback, you can admire its in-house Seiko Caliber 4R36. This automatic movement possesses a depth rating of 100 meters and can last for up to 41 hours when fully charged. If you want to feel the presence of a fierce and suave timepiece, you can buy the Seiko 5 Sports Ken for $449 USD. 3. Seiko 5 Sports CHUN-LI – Blue Jade (Ref. SRPF17K1) Chun-Li, the first-ever female character introduced in the whole Street Fighter series, shows what it means to be an empowered woman: bold, brave, and beautiful. The elegance and poise of Street Fighter’s main female protagonist are manifested through the alluring Seiko 5 Sports Chun-Li. Through its stylish blue and gold motifs, this watch mimics Chun-Li’s iconic blue Chinese dress.  This Seiko Street Fighter watch is housed in a 42.5mm stainless steel watch, coupled with a posh blue calf leather strap with white stitching. The underside of the strap is decorated with the enchanting sight of a hovering dragon, an aesthetic which can also be seen on Chun-Li’s white belt. The case is also affixed to a blue bezel with stylised Roman numeral markers in gold that simply ooze luxury and glamor. Like other Seiko Street Fighter models, this watch’s face is protected by a Hardlex crystal, which is as strong as Chun-Li’s ability to defend herself from her enemies The dial of this watch boasts a royal blue hue with a gorgeous sunray finish. It is adorned with jewel-like dot indices, luminous arrow and syringe hands, and a day-date aperture outlined in silver at 3 o’clock. At 12 o’clock, you can find an exquisite gold emblem that recreates the pattern of Chun-Li’s collar. The 6 and 9 o’clock markers are also replaced with sharply beveled triangle markers in silver, which reference the large spiked bracelets that Chun-Li wears while fighting.  Inside this Seiko Street Fighter piece, you can find the brand’s Seiko Caliber 4R36. This self-winding movement beats at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz) and possesses a 41-hour power supply.  The Seiko 5 Sports Chun-Li is priced at $379 USD.  4. Seiko 5 Sports GUILE – Indestructible Fortress (Ref. SRPF21K1) Cool, patriotic and loyal, Guile, a Major in the US Air Force, is one of the eight original characters released in the first Street Fighter game. What better way to give tribute to such a fearless man than to create a watch solely in honor of him? Hence, we have the sporty Seiko 5 Sports Guile, which looks extraordinarily like a military watch.  This Seiko Street Fighter piece utilizes a 42.5mm black-tone stainless steel case and a solid brown calf leather strap with contrasting white stitching. On top of the dial is an olive green unidirectional bezel with indicators in neat white and red typefaces for the countdown scale.  The military camouflage of Guile’s attire is especially illustrated through this watch’s dial. Arranged on its camouflage-patterned dial are luminous white Arabic numeral markers, skeletal silver hands, and a day-date complication at 6 o’clock. The golden patch that Guile wears on his uniform is located at 6 o’clock, while the military dog tag that he wears in honor of his late best friend in the Air Force, Charlie Nash, can be found at 9 o’clock.  Underneath this stoic watch face, you can find the brand’s in-house Caliber 4R36. Beating at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz), this automatic movement possesses a 41-hour power supply and a depth rating of 100 meters.  Thanks to its earthy tones, the Seiko 5 Sport Guile is probably the most versatile timepiece in the Seiko Street Fighter collection and can be paired with virtually any outfit. It sells at just $369 USD.  5. Seiko 5 Sports ZANGIEF – Iron Cyclone (Ref. SRPF24K1) The Seiko 5 Sports Zangief is based on Street Fighter’s Zangief, a professional wrestler with a massive, brawny build that is terrifying to his fellow fighters and enemies. This watch is encased in a 42.5mm stainless steel case in matte yellow, coupled with a red and yellow nylon strap. The great thing about this nylon bracelet is that it shows off a design that is almost identical to the red and gold wristbands wrapped around the wrestler’s wrists. With this watch, you will be able to possess an image just like Zangief himself.  The glossy red paint of the watch’s dial and its circular pattern is reminiscent of Zangief’s special attack move, “Cyclone Lariat”, which invokes a cyclone. This dial is ornamented with black Arabic numeral markers and rectangular indices that are accented with gold, along with black arrow and syringe hands. A day-date window can be found at 3 o’clock, with a magnifier lens above it for greater legibility. Fixed on top of the case is a layer of hardlex crystal and a gold-toned unidirectional bezel. This bezel is inspired by Zangief’s studded gold belt, which makes the watch appear sturdier and more durable. This watch is driven by an in-house Caliber 4R36. This automatic movement beats at 21,600 vibrations per hour and is held together by 24 jewels. The watch itself also has a reliable depth rating of 100 meters, which makes it a great choice for watersports activities.  The Seiko Sports 5 Zangief costs approximately $359 USD.  6. Seiko 5 Sports BLANKA – Call Of The Wild (Ref. SRPF23K1) From the jungles of Brazil, Blanka is the mean and green feral man who has powerful electric abilities that can stun any fighter down. With his thick orange locks and green skin, Blanka is a truly distinctive character, and those eye-catching traits are passed down to the Seiko 5 Sports Blanka too. Indeed, the vibrant colors of the watch are as electrifying as Blanka’s electric powers This watch is presented in a 42.5mm gray-tone case with a vibrant green and red nylon strap. The case is also affixed to a gray unidirectional bezel. This bezel bears a green insert that has been painted with yellow strikes of lightning. This design is an allusion to one of Blanka’s special attacks, “Electric Thunder”, which he uses to create a massive volt of electricity that can zap any enemies who come close to him.  The dial of this watch also comes in a flamboyant, bright green hue. It showcases a spiral pattern that references the rolling attacks of Blanka as he charges toward his enemies. This dial also comprises silver and yellow hands and a day-date window outlined in silver at 3 o’clock. Along the rim of the dial, you can find sharp triangular hour indices that mimic the razor-sharp teeth of the ferocious fighter.  Underneath this vivid watch face, you can find the brand’s in-house Caliber 4R37. This automatic movement possesses a 100-meter water resistance capacity and can last up to 41 hours when fully wound. If you are into a watch that has electrifying features and an ostentatious design, the Seiko 5 Sports Blanka retails at $369 USD. Final Thoughts The Seiko Street Fighter V watches paves the way for lovers and enthusiasts of watches, video games, and arcade games to relive the precious memories of their beloved interests. For Seiko Street Fighter watches in particular, the relatively affordable prices of the watches pose a great element of added opportunity for their fans and gamers worldwide to invest in such noteworthy watch collectibles. Considering their inexpensive prices, the Seiko Street Fighter watches are no doubt a great investment and a nice addition to any fan’s watch collection.  All images courtesy of WatchShopping website, unless otherwise stated. Featured image courtesy of Seiko Watches. Are you a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Check out our article on the epic Citizen x Marvel Watch collection!

    read more
    0
  10. Grand Seiko SBGM221: A Review of Grand Seiko’s GMT Watch

    Grand Seiko SBGM221: A Review of Grand Seiko’s GMT Watch

    Grand Seiko has always been about packing stylishness and quality into a single watch. Those familiar with the watch industry probably know that this Japanese watchmaker has consistently created timeless pieces that leave an indelible mark on the whole watch market. Apart from its famous roster of dress watches influenced by nature’s grandeur, which includes models like the Grand Seiko White Birch and Grand Seiko Snowflake, this luxury watch brand is also known for producing vintage-inspired timepieces. In this article, we will be taking a look at one of Grand Seiko’s most popular vintage-influenced watches — the Grand Seiko SBGM221. Elegant and handsomely built, the Grand Seiko 9S Mechanical Ref. SBGM221 clearly epitomizes the brand’s distinguished reputation for making exceptional watches. As a GMT watch, the Grand Seiko SBGM221 is easily on par with some of the most famous GMT luxury watches. Hailing from the brand’s 9S Mechanical series, this timepiece is especially notable as it is powered by Grand Seiko’s outstanding, state-of-the-art Hi-Beat caliber.  Without further ado, let us delve deep into the details of what the Grand Seiko SBGM221 has to offer.  A Closer Look at the Grand Seiko SBGM221: Case and Caseback The Grand Seiko SBGM221 is housed in a 39mm stainless steel case, with a height of 13.7mm. With these dimensions, this Grand Seiko watch fits well on small-to-average-sized wrists, especially for men with slimmer and more slender wrists. The entire case is polished with the brand’s in-house Zaratsu polishing technique. Thanks to Grand Seiko’s Zaratsu polishing technique, the Grand Seiko SBGM221 has a glossy, mirror-like shine. So, if you are looking for a truly lustrous and luxurious timepiece, then this is the perfect watch for you.  When you flip the Grand Seiko SBGM221 over, you will find a transparent caseback made of stainless steel and sapphire crystal. Like the rest of the watch case, this caseback is embellished with the brand’s Zaratsu finish, so it has an impeccable glamor when viewed under the light. Through the sapphire crystal insert, you get to see a full view of the powerful in-house movement that drives this watch.  This caseback is also screwed in using six sizable bolts, which keep the caseback firmly secured to the rest of the case, protecting the watch’s inner mechanisms from any dust or moisture exposure. Thanks to its screw-down caseback, the Grand Seiko SBGM221 has a depth rating of 30 meters. This is a fairly standard water resistance capacity for a dress watch like the Grand Seiko SBGM221, allowing it to withstand any splashes or showers.  Crown Tucked on the right side of the Grand Seiko SBGM221’s case is a polished screw-down crown. This crown is quite thick and is designed with a grooved pattern, giving wearers an easy grip so they can hold and turn the crown with little trouble. As is the tradition with most luxury timepieces, the top of the crown is stamped with the brand’s iconic “GS” emblem, marking this as a uniquely Grand Seiko timepiece.  Unlike most watches, the Grand Seiko SBGM221’s stout crown can be used to set not just the time, but also the timezone of the watch. When the crown is wound to the first position, you can turn it to move the hour hand and set the intended hour. When wound to the second position, the turning of the crown determines the minute and GMT hands, allowing you to set your desired time and timezone.    Dial Image by: user/torpedo109 on Reddit A glorious sight to behold, the Grand Seiko SBGM221’s dial is easily its most aesthetic component. Unlike the snow-covered dial of the Grand Seiko Snowflake or the azure sky-inspired backdrop of the Grand Seiko Skyflake, the Grand Seiko SBGM221’s dial shows off a clean, rich ivory ensemble. Although it has a fairly simple layout, the interior elements of this dial come together to create a very enchanting, well-organized watch face.  This ivory dial is adorned with thick, silver applique indices and razor-sharp dauphine hands, all of which are nicely beveled and completely polished. This ensures that the hands and indices of this watch all show off the same mirror-like finish as the case, so that they shine just as exuberantly when this dial is viewed under the light. A rectangular date display is also placed at 3 o’clock, encased inside a polished stainless steel frame. In addition, the rim of the dial is furnished with simple black stick indices for the minute track.  You probably also noticed that, apart from its usual stainless steel hands, the Grand Seiko SBGM221 also has a fourth hand made of blued steel. This thick, arrow-headed hand is the watch’s GMT hand. It is the very feature which makes this timepiece so intriguing. This hand points towards the printed 24-hour GMT scale, which is located near the applique hour markers. As a GMT watch, the Grand Seiko SBGM221 uses this display to keep wearers updated on a second time zone.  Strap A dress watch would not be as classy as it is if it is not paired with a stylish, elegant strap. Grand Seiko lives up to expectations by pairing the Grand Seiko SBGM221 with a handsome brown leather strap. This durable band is made from calfskin leather. It bears an aged crocodile pattern that adds to the watch’s vintage aesthetic. It also comes with a convenient stainless steel deployant clasp, so you can easily slip the watch on and off your wrist at any time.  Movement Visible through the watch’s see-through caseback, the Hi-Beat Caliber 9S66 that powers the Grand Seiko SBGM221 is truly a well-engineered one. The Caliber 9S66 is a state-of-the-art GMT movement that is crafted entirely in-house.  As one of the brand’s exclusive, innovative Hi-Beat movements, this movement is incredibly efficient, beating at a breathtaking frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour (5Hz). Held together by 35 jewels, it offers an accuracy rate of -3/+5 seconds per day. When fully wound, the Caliber 9S66 can also last for up to 72 hours, or approximately three days, which is extremely impressive for a high-beat movement.  Price The price for the Grand Seiko SBGM221 is set at around $4,889 USD. For a high-end luxury timepiece equipped with an appealing Zaratsu finish and a highly advanced movement, you will find that this is actually quite a reasonable price.  Alternatives to the Grand Seiko SBGM221 If you think that the Grand Seiko SBGM221 is a little too exorbitant for you, fear not! We have prepared a few alternatives to the Grand Seiko SBGM221 that you might be interested in. Coming from highly-recognized watch companies in the industry, all of the dressy timepieces below show off the same vintage appeal as the SBGM221 and are also set at more budget-friendly price points.  1. Omega De Ville Ref. 424.13.40.20.02.001 First up, we have the Omega De Ville Ref. 424.13.40.20.02.001. This is a classic dress watch with very minimalistic features, boasting a quiet simplicity that is reminiscent of the German Bauhaus watches.  This Omega De Ville timepiece is presented in a 39.5mm stainless steel case, coupled with a quintessential black alligator leather strap. While its case is only half a millimeter larger than the Grand Seiko SBGM221, this watch also has a height of just 10mm. On the whole, this is a much slimmer timepiece, which you can easily and unobtrusively slide under the cuff of your shirt.  Complementing the sleek silver case of this Omega watch is a clean, silver-white dial. It contains Roman numeral hour markers, slender applique indices, beveled dauphine hands, and a date complication at 3 o’clock. All of these dial components come in sleek silver, which blends well with the rest of the dial, creating a very consistent color theme.  Underneath this straightforward watch face, you can find an in-house Omega Caliber 2500. Based on the ETA 2892-AT movement, the Caliber 2500 has been modified to fit this Omega watch. Held together by 27 jewels, it offers a reliable power supply of 48 hours or two days. The Omega De Ville Ref. 424.13.40.20.02.001 sells at about $3,750 USD.  2. Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Ref. 112520 Next up, we have the Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Ref. 112520. Like the aforementioned Omega piece, this watch has a very simple and classic appeal. That said, it offers a different, slightly more ostentatious style, with its colorful dial components and livelier watch face.  This Montblanc timepiece is packed in a 38mm stainless steel case, with an extremely slim height of just 7.65mm, and an alligator leather strap in black. Of all the dress watches listed in this article, this is by far the smallest one. As such, this watch is best suited for smaller wrists with measurements that are on the slender side.  The dial of this watch comes in a soft white finish, which stands out well against the black strap. It is decorated with slim applique indices in rose gold, Arabic numeral markers in a rounded typeface, and rose gold dauphine hands with sharp, well-beveled edges. A rectangular date window, outlined in rose gold, can also be found at 6 o’clock. These rose gold accents, along with the single, blued steel seconds hand, add an exquisite, luxurious edge to this watch face.  Driving this Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie watch is the in-house Montblanc Caliber MB 24.09. Consisting of 25 jewels, it has a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz) and sustains an average power reserve of up to 42 hours.  The Montblanc Heritage Chronométrie Ref. 112520 retails at approximately $2,835 USD.  3. Seiko Presage Ref. SARW049  A sibling brand of Grand Seiko, Seiko is another very reliable brand when it comes to suave dress watches. The Seiko Presage lineup offers elegant, dressy pieces with varying price points that range from as low as $300 USD, up to as high as $3000 USD.  The Seiko Presage Ref. SARW049 utilizes a 40.6mm stainless steel case, paired with a deep brown crocodile leather strap. That makes this Seiko Presage watch the largest timepiece to show up in this article.  The dial of this watch comes in a lovely porcelain white finish, which looks almost snow-white when viewed under the light. It is filled with Roman numeral hour markers in thin black font, blued steel leaf hands, and two sub-dials at 6 and 9 o’clock. The sub-dial at 6 o’clock serves as the pointer date display, while the sub-dial at 9 o’clock indicates the watch’s power reserve. At 12 o’clock, you can also find a Roman numeral marker in bright red, adding a burst of vibrancy to this watch face.  This watch runs on an in-house Seiko Caliber 6R27. Wearers can admire this movement in all its glory through the watch’s transparent caseback. Moreover, this movement also provides a power reserve that lasts up to 45 hours when fully wound, and you will be able to check this anytime using the sub-dial at 9 o’clock. Finally, although this Seiko Presage timepiece is designed as a dress watch, it actually has an excellent depth rating of 100 meters. As such, you can bring this watch with you to your swimming adventures without any fear.  The Seiko Presage Ref. SARW049 costs just $1,859 USD, making it the most affordable alternative to the Grand Seiko SBGM221.  Final Thoughts There is no doubt that the Grand Seiko SBGM221 is indeed one majestic dress watch. What better way to pair your formal attire than with an elegant timepiece that exudes great charm?  When it comes to aesthetics, the shine that radiates from the Grand Seiko SBGM221 and its captivating dial is just one of the reasons why you should not miss out on this watch. It also offers top-notch functionality, with its useful GMT feature and efficient, innovative Hi-Beat caliber. On the whole, the Grand Seiko SBGM221 is definitely a superb dress watch that is worth investing in.  All images courtesy of WatchShopping website, unless otherwise stated. Photo Credits: Reddit and Grand Seiko. Featured image courtesy of Grand Seiko. Interested in a very flamboyant luxury dress watch? Read our article about the Rolex Rainbow Daytona!

    read more
    0
  11. 15 Best Tonneau Watches For Your Exquisite Outfit

    15 Best Tonneau Watches For Your Exquisite Outfit

    Watches come in all shapes and sizes. Aside from the usual round builds that most timepieces use, some are also molded into quirkier and more distinctive shapes. For instance, you have probably seen a number of square watches or rectangular watches. At some point, you might even have glimpsed the unique shape of the Hamilton Ventura watches from the movie franchise Men In Black. The Italian luxury watch brand Bvlgari even has a lineup of winding watches with a snake-like construction through its Serpenti collection.  In this article, we will be going through a roster of tonneau watches. But what exactly is a tonneau watch? Stick around as we find out just what is so special about this intriguing type of watch and its case shape. We will also be taking a look at the 15 best tonneau watches on the market.  Tonneau Watch: What is It Exactly? Image by: WatchTime Tonneau watches refer specifically to watches that come in tonneau-shaped cases. The French luxury watch brand Cartier was the pioneer of tonneau watches. Back in 1906, the brand was in the process of experimenting with timepieces that came in various shapes and dimensions.  Cartier’s efforts paid off with the release of a watch in the shape of what seemed to resemble a barrel: the Cartier Tonneau. Its name was derived from its unique look, as ‘tonneau’ is actually the French word for ‘barrel’. As one of Cartier’s earliest watches, the Cartier Tonneau certainly made an impact in the field of watch manufacturing. Even now, more than a hundred years later, tonneau-shaped cases are still used by watch brands worldwide, as part of a continuing trend.  Strictly speaking, the tonneau shape is neither a square nor a rectangle. Instead, it comes in a rectangular shape with curved edges and rounded corners, with a consistent smooth pattern that runs all throughout its figure. Tonneau watches are designed to rest as comfortably as possible on your wrist. Thanks to its level, curved outlines, the edges of this watch do not dig too deeply into your skin, unlike square or rectangular watches.  Now that we have a better idea of what tonneau watches are and where they came from, let us proceed with 15 of the best tonneau watches you can find on the market today. This list contains not just superb dress watches for men, but also wonderful women’s accessories that you could gift to the lovely ladies in your life. 15 Best Tonneau Watches: 1. Fossil Wallace Ref. ES3174 A perfect and very affordable gift for ladies with exquisite tastes, the Fossil Wallace Ref. ES3174 comes in a slender 28mm x 29mm stainless steel case, along with a three-link stainless steel bracelet. On top of the watch case, you can find a fixed bezel which is studded with crystals that run all the way down to the watch’s lugs, adding to the watch’s look of refined luxury.  This Fossil watch’s all-silver exterior is complemented by a plain white dial. It is composed of silver-tone Roman numeral markers in a slim typeface and elegant pencil hands. Underneath this watch face, you can find a battery-powered quartz movement that is very easy to maintain.  The Fossil Wallace Ref. ES3174 is a wonderful dress watch that looks far more than it costs. You can purchase this Fossil Wallace timepiece for just $109 USD.  2. Emporio Armani Retro Ref. AR2489 The Italian fashion brand Emporio Armani does not just make posh clothing and perfume, but it also offers a wide variety of timepieces. Through the Emporio Armani Retro watch collection, you can choose from a wide variety of timepiece options at very decent prices.  The Emporio Armani Retro Ref. AR2489 is a delightful tonneau watch that blends well with the skin, thanks to its warm brown leather strap and light brown sunray dial. These earthy tones give it a soothing look that is very pleasing to the eye. The dial has a fairly simple layout, comprising thin hour indices and Arabic numeral hour markers in gold, as well as luminous black pencil hands. The watch is also presented in a 37mm x 33mm stainless steel case, which is quite a large size for a tonneau watch.  The Emporio Armani Retro Ref. AR2489 retails at a very cheap price of $129 USD.  3. Emporio Armani Retro Ref. AR2491   A twin of the previous Emporio Armani timepiece, the Emporio Armani Retro Ref. AR2491 shows off a more masculine, handsome demeanor. Encased in a 37mm x 33mm stainless steel case, this watch is coupled with a stark black leather strap.  The dial, on the other hand, comes in a more vibrant blue finish that is sure to draw the eye. It is decorated with silver-toned hour indices, Arabic numeral markers, pencil hands, and the brand’s iconic eagle logo at 12 o’clock. Although this watch’s depth rating is quite subpar, coming in at just 30 meters, it is still more than enough to withstand any light showers or splashes.  The Emporio Armani Retro Ref. AR2491 is slightly more expensive than its twin, selling at around $139 USD.  4. Hamilton American Classic Ref. H13431553 Did you know that one of the first watchmakers to follow in Cartier’s footsteps of making tonneau watches was the American brand Hamilton? Hamilton has been making tonneau watches since as early as the 1920s, and this case design continues to be utilized in its watches today.  The Hamilton American Classic Ref. H13431553 is sheltered in a 27mm x 31.6mm gold-tone stainless steel case, which is topped with a layer of mineral crystal. A very luxurious-looking piece, this watch’s white dial is furnished with gold-tone Arabic numeral markers in a stylized typeface, alpha hands, and a small seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock. All of these functions are powered by a battery-operated ETA Caliber 980.163 quartz movement. Paired with a brown leather strap, this watch is a charming timepiece that is sure to elevate your style.  The Hamilton American Classic Ref. H13431553 costs approximately $625 USD. 5. Longines La Grande Classique Ref. L47054116   Hailing from one of the oldest watch brands in the world, the Longines La Grande Classique Ref. L47054116 is a classy and professional-looking watch that is perfect for the workplace.  This Longines timepiece utilizes a 29.7×32.5mm stainless steel case and a multi-link bracelet made of the same material. Its clean white dial is ornamented with Roman numeral markers in a very slim, slanting typeface, along with silver-tone stick hands. A layer of sapphire crystal safeguards the dial from any scratches or impacts. Inside this watch, you can also find a robust Caliber L209 quartz movement.  This Longines La Grande Classique is worth about $839 USD.  6. Hamilton American Classic Ref. H13519711  The next entry in this list is another offering from the Hamilton American Classic collection. The Hamilton American Classic Ref. H13519711 sports a 34.5mm x 38mm stainless steel case paired with a smooth black leather strap. It runs on a reliable in-house Hamilton Caliber H-50, which possesses an outstanding 80-hour power reserve.  Complementing the watch’s silver case is a classic white dial, which consists of bold black Roman numeral markers and elegant blued steel Alpha hands that stands out clearly against the rest of the watch face. You will not have any trouble reading the time with this Hamilton watch, thanks to its highly legible hour markers and dial. A layer of durable sapphire crystal is also used to guard the dial.  The Hamilton American Classic Ref. H13519711 has a price tag of $895 USD. 7. Hamilton Boulton Ref. H13519641  Tonneau watches can also be found in other Hamilton collections, such as the Hamilton Boulton. Here, we have the Hamilton Boulton Ref. H13519641, which shows off a stylish blue motif that is perfect for both the dance floor and for everyday wear.  This Hamilton watch is packed in a 34.5mm x 38mm stainless steel case, coupled with an alligator leather strap in dark blue. This strap is complemented by a dial with a matching sunray blue finish. It is adorned with sizable Roman numeral markers and sleek Alpha hands, all of which come in lovely silver. It is important to note that this watch does not come with any lume, so it is not really intended to be used in dark places.  Driving this watch is the brand’s in-house Caliber H-50 movement. Based on the ETA 2801-2, it boasts a power reserve of up to 80 hours when fully wound.  You can get your hands on the Hamilton Boulton Ref. H13519641 for about $895 USD.  8. Longines Longines Evidenza Ref. L21424736 Another exquisite timepiece that caters exclusively to women is the Longines Longines Evidenza Ref. L21424736. It uses a slim 26mm x 30.6mm stainless steel case and a bracelet made of the same material. Both the case and bracelet have a polished finish that adds to the enchanting luster of the whole timepiece. The dial of this watch shows off a mesmerizing, textured beige finish that enhances the watch’s vintage vibe. All of its components effortlessly exude elegance, from its Arabic numeral markers in a slanting, cursive font down to the striking blued steel hands. A compact date aperture can also be found at 6 o’clock.  This Longines Longines Evidenza watch runs on an in-house Caliber L595. Held together by 20 jewels, this movement has a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz). In addition, it has a standard power supply of 40 hours. With such a sleek, ravishing design, this Longines timepiece is definitely one that should not be missed.  The Longines Longines Evidenza Ref. L21424736 retails at $2,150 USD. 9. Longines Longines Evidenza Ref. L21428732   There is no denying that rose gold watches have a distinct aura unlike any other. For instance, the rose-gold Longines Longines Evidenza Ref. L21428732 is a timepiece with exceptional poise. This watch comes in a 26mm x 30.6mm rose gold-tone stainless steel case, coupled with a crocodile leather strap in dark brown. This leather bracelet is patterned with cream-colored stitching, which enhances its glorious composition.  The warm, rich tones of the watch’s exterior go incredibly well with its soft beige dial. Like the previous Longines offering, this dial contains cursive Arabic numeral markers, blued steel hands, and a small date window at 6 o’clock. Inside this watch, you can also find an in-house Caliber L595 that can last for up to 40 hours when fully wound.  The Longines Longines Evidenza Ref. L21428732 is priced at $4,800 USD.  10. Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V45 SC DT TT NR BR NR  At first glance, this watch might look quite heavy and chunky. However, this timepiece is the perfect one to prove that first impressions are not always correct. Crafted using titanium, which is lighter than stainless steel by 45%, the Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V45 SC DT TT NR BR NR is a lightweight timepiece packed in an all-black ensemble. This Franck Muller watch is presented in a 44mm x 53.7mm matte black titanium case and a black leather strap. Arranged on its brushed black dial are large, stylized Arabic numeral hour markers, blunt black hands, and a circular date display at 6 o’clock. The outer rim of the dial is also surrounded by a handy compass scale.  An in-house Franck Muller Caliber FM0800 powers this watch, giving it a standard power rating of 42 hours. Exuding charisma and vigor, black watches like this Franck Muller Vanguard timepiece wear extremely gloriously on the wrist.  You can get the Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V45 SC DT TT NR BR NR for $5,389 USD. 11. Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V41 SC DT Yachting  For a more stylish, glamorous Franck Muller offering, check out the Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V41 SC DT Yachting. This watch utilizes a 41mm x 50mm stainless steel case that boasts a neatly polished surface, giving it a fashionable radiance. The dark blue dial is filled with stylized Arabic numeral markers in white, silver-tone hands that are placed on top of a compass rose, a circular date complication at 6 o’clock, and an internal compass bezel. This watch is also accompanied by a blue rubber strap, which is patterned to resemble a leather bracelet. Considering this watch is designed for those who own yachts, it is quite unfortunate that it only has a 30-meter depth rating. Nevertheless, this is still a majestic watch to be dressed up in, not just for formal affairs but also for daily routines.  The Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V41 SC DT Yachting sells at $6,549 USD.  12. Franck Muller Casablanca Ref. 6850Casa  Timeless and gorgeous, the Franck Muller Casablanca collection holds a lineup of watches that are inspired by the look and feel of vintage timepieces. In this entry, we will be looking at the Franck Muller Casablanca Ref. 6850Casa in particular.  This watch is housed in a 34mm x 47mm stainless steel case, coupled with a matching stainless steel bracelet. Its sharp black dial contrasts sharply with the all-silver exterior, giving the watch a very quintessential look. This dial is also slightly simpler compared to the previous Franck Muller timepieces mentioned. It comprises just stylized Arabic numeral markers in white and luminous Alpha hands that are outlined in blue.  The watch is also driven by an in-house Caliber FM0800 which offers a 42-hour power supply. If you are into timepieces with vintage makeup, this Franck Muller Casablanca piece is a great option.  The Franck Muller Casablanca Ref. 6850Casa costs around $7,189 USD.  13. Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V45 SC DT TT NR MC VE Camouflage A robust timepiece that is inspired by military watches, the Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V45 SC DT TT NR MC VE Camouflage boasts a rugged camouflage touch. Despite its sturdy build, however, this watch actually looks quite funky, thanks to the bright colors of its dial.  This Franck Muller timepiece utilizes a solid 45mm case made of black-toned titanium, along with a military green strap. This strap is topped with a layer of leather and has black-toned rubber lining its underside. The colorful camouflage dial, on the other hand, shows off lively hues of green in various shades. It is decorated with stylized black Arabic numeral markers, luminous black hands, and a circular date aperture at 6 o’clock.  The Franck Muller Vanguard Ref. V45 SC DT TT NR MC VE Camouflage is worth $8,749 USD. 14. Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Ref. 665.NE.2010.RW.1204  The Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Hublot is widely recognised for its robust Classic Fusion and Hublot Spirit of Big Bang series. While both of these collections are best known for their titanium-clad watches, some of their timepieces are also notable for being enveloped in diamonds.  The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Ref. 665.NE.2010.RW.1204 is constructed in a 39mm titanium case that showcases a mix of satinized and polished sides, coupled with a clean white rubber strap. When taken as a whole, this mix of textures creates a very intriguing look which gives the watch a premium aesthetic. Furthermore, the fixed bezel is also embedded with fifty sparkling diamonds that only bolster the lavish vibe of this timepiece.  Complementing the silver and white exterior is a matching matte white dial that simply exudes purity. This dial is ornamented with applique silver-tone indices and sword hands, all of which are generously coated with luminous pigments. A small square date display is also located at 6 o’clock.  For obvious reasons, diamond watches like this Hublot timepiece do not come at cheap prices. Nevertheless, looking at the exquisite elegance of the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Ref. 665.NE.2010.RW.1204, most would agree that it is surely worth the investment. This watch has a hefty price tag of $16,700 USD.  15. Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Ref. 665.NX.7170.LR.1204  For another diamond-studded Hublot watch, check out the Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Ref. 665.NX.7170.LR.1204. While the previous Spirit of Big Bang watch showcased a more serene vibe with its white hues, this watch boasts a more rugged and stylish aura. It is encased in a 39mm titanium case, paired with a blue rubber strap. Fitted on top of the case is a fixed bezel, which is also embellished with fifty lavish diamonds.  The dial also shows off a dark blue finish, matching the watch’s strap. It is furnished with silver applique indices, luminous sword hands, and a date complication at 6 o’clock. Underneath this simple watch face, you can find an in-house Hublot Caliber HUB1710, which possesses a 50-hour power supply. This watch is also water-resistant up to depths of 100 meters, making it one of the tonneau watches best suited for any water adventure.  The Hublot Spirit of Big Bang Ref. 665.NX.7170.LR.1204 can be purchased for $17,200 USD. Final Thoughts Generally, while it is true that the main function of a wristwatch is basically to tell the time, sometimes it can also be used as a fashionable wrist accessory. The tonneau watch is a magnificent creation that wears satisfyingly on the wrist and is a delightful sight to the eyes. Given these fifteen tonneau watches with varying price ranges, we are sure that any one of these deserves a space in your growing inventory of watches. All images courtesy of The Watch Company, unless otherwise stated. Featured image courtesy of WatchTime. Interested in finding out more about an underrated Swiss watch brand? Read our article about Gevril Watches and some of their best pieces!

    read more
    0
To Top