William McCleary

William McCleary

First Published: December 09, 2018
Following a lengthy stint as an Entertainment Reporter in Hollywood, William focuses on writing for the travel and lifestyle sectors. His clients include Google, Hotels.com, and AccorHotels, specializing in website content, SEO-friendly blog posts and product-marketing copy. He also pens a wide range of feature articles, microcopy and a slew of social media content.
  1. Articles by William McCleary
  2. An Introduction to Monta Watches

    An Introduction to Monta Watches

    Given the surge of boutique watch brands in recent years, Monta Watches may not have hit your radar screen. But maybe they should have. While headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, the microbrand makes all of its watches in Switzerland. They have a passion to preserve the centuries-old tradition of fine Swiss watchmaking. In less than five years Monta has earned the respect of watch aficionados. They’ve offered some serious competition to established brands. Let’s take a closer look at this American-born Swiss-made success story. It Started with the Oceanking In 2016, Monta watches debuted its first-ever offering. The Monta Oceanking may have been new but it owed much of its makeup to the greatest dive watches in the history of horology. Specifically, those from the 1950s, as the Oceanking is an unashamed homage to classics like the Rolex Sea-Dweller, Omega Seamaster, Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, and others that captured the imagination of adventurous watch lovers decades ago. The connection to Rolex is even deeper (pardon the pun) as the founders of Monta watches hail from Everest Horology, which produces rubber straps for Rolex sports watches. Photo from montawatch officialIn design, the Oceanking checks all of the boxes that all great dive watches should. A 40mm stainless steel case has a large nearly-onion-shaped crown for easy underwater gripping. Its bearing-mounted bezel is equally grip-friendly. Plus there’s water resistance up to 1,000 meters. An anti-reflective domed crystal tops a non-nonsense matte dial with easy legibility that serves well in undersea situations and presents subdued sophistication on land. And while the case has notes that echo a contemporary Rolex Submariner, its beveled edges and polished flanks give it a truly unique feel. Comparisons to other luxury dive watches get even better when you consider the Oceanking’s price point of around two grand. Monta Watches, Then Came the Triumph In strictly branding terms, one might have thought the Triumph Field should have been Monta’s debut timepiece. The name Monta, derived from “mountain,” is an ode to the company’s connection to Everest. It stands to reason that a watch designed for mountainous terrain would have come first. But we didn’t meet the Triumph Field until Baselworld 2017. It has some design elements that echo the Oceanking. One could call the Triumph Field a military spin-off of Monta’s first-ever watch. Photo from montawatch officialIt has a case diameter of 38.5mm and 9.6mm thickness. The Triumph is slightly smaller than the Oceanking, but wears just about as big given the heft of its broad lugs. The stainless steel case mixes finish with polished (chamfers, for example) and brushed (planes) surfaces. That continues the unique mix on the bezel, bracelet, and clasp. The dial follows the Oceanking’s no-frills approach. Flip it over to find a display case back that lets you get a look at the Swiss-made Sellita SW-300 automatic movement. And while the Triumph Field falls squarely into the tool-watch bucket, it wears well in dressy situations, equally at ease on a link bracelet or a sturdy rubber strap as it is on fine leather for more formal occasions. Things Soar with the Skyquest GMT Another Monta watch we met at Baselworld 2017, the Skyquest GMT again serves as an homage to the great tool watches of the 1950s. This time we harken back to the revered Rolex GMT Master Ref. 6542, first made for Pan Am pilots in 1954 and today beloved by collectors for its once-groundbreaking ability to track dual time zones with a glance to the wrist. Photo from montawatch officialWe owe some of Skyquest’s design to the Oceanking. This could also be considered a spin-off, a GMT version of Monta’s firstborn. Just as Rolex did when they rolled out the Submariner and its GMT-Master cousin together back in 1954 at the Swiss Watch Show that would become Baselworld. Even the names of Monta’s “Oceanking” and “Skyquest” sound like they could be part of the Rolex family. More on Skyquest But the Skyquest departs from Rolex’s influence in a number of intriguing ways. Skyquest’s ramp-up GMT hand is more reminiscent of classic Seiko models than Rolex. The coin-edge bi-directional bezel features a target-shaped and lumed pip at the 12’clock position. Available in two finishes, black and gilt, the Skyquest dials don’t spare the lume and are super bright with an intensity that rivals pro dive watches. Rhodium-plated sword hands and red accents offer a vintage feel without going old-timey. Photo from montawatch officialThe Skyquest’s stainless steel case also mixes brushed and polished finishes. While its Sellita SW330 automatic GMT movement has 25 jewels and a power reserve of 42 hours. Priced in the $1,600 to $1,900 range, this is not the cheapest GMT out there, as the market today is flooded with automatic GMTs you can pick up for under a grand. But the quality and craftsmanship of the Skyquest is comparable to that of luxury watches found at much higher prices. Monta Watches Conclusion If you’re in the market for a fine tool watch, you can, as many do, look to the established brands like Rolex, Hublot, and Tudor, to name a few. Or turn your eyes to emerging brands who have looked back to watchmaking heritage to stake out new paths ahead. Monta watches will likely one day spawn its own new generation of watchmakers intent on continuing the tradition.

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  3. A Closer Look at Orion Watches

    A Closer Look at Orion Watches

    In the recent avalanche of affordable watch brands, Orion Watches has managed to poke its head above the pack and grab attention. That’s no easy feat. Let’s look at how this upstart microbrand has earned so much respect in just a few short years. Orion Watches, A Family Heirloom Launches a Dream It began with one simple act of gift-giving. While a teenager, Orion watches founder Nick Harris received a 1955 Omega Constellation that had been passed down in the family for generations, starting with his great grandfather. Nick saw that the watch needed repair and started studying up on horology. And a passion for watches was ignited. Nick began modifying watches as a hobby, and soon started selling them online. People readily purchased his creations and the demand for his modding grew. After some training at Seattle’s SAWTA watch-making school, Nick decided it was time to go pro by launching his own brand. Orion watches was born with a plan to hit the market in 2016. Orion Watches Debut of the Orion 1 The Orion 1 was the first watch to bow under the Orion banner, starting with a limited 300-piece run. Nick created his premiere piece for watch wearers like himself, those with slim wrists and a love of vintage flair. And for watch lovers who like things a bit out of the norm, with a 9mmdiameter that should in no way work on a 38mm case. Yet it does, with some help from hefty crown guards, a generous bezel, and oversized lugs that combine to make these large individual components not seem so big as a whole. Keen observers will note that the matte dial is a nod to classic Omega Seamaster’s, giving the watch that dressy-but-sporty vibe that we first saw with luxury tool watches in the 1950s. Calamity Stakes a Claim Among Dive Watches The Orion Calamity is one of their most popular offerings. And it’s not one that was destined to succeed. Today’s market is inundated with dive watches, from both established brands and a slew of recent microbrands. Plunging into those waters and making waves (how many puns can we get?) probably isn’t the best business plan. Yet Orion went for it with their Calamity. The results? A great modern dive watch that pleases the masses. Keeping things simple, the Calamity is only offered in stainless steel with black, blue, or green matte dials. Measurements also stay conservative at 40mm across with 11.3mm thickness. In what appears to be a nod to the Orion 1 (and thus Nick’s signature feature) it comes with a massive knurled screw-down crown that’s bracketed by sloped crown guards, helping to downplay its considerable size. The dial is no-nonsense, feeling sporty with a pop of orange on the second hand. And while most microbrands go with more affordable components on the inside, the Calamity features Swiss ETA 2892 automatic movement, costing more as it’s thinner than the more common 2824. With water resistance up to 666 feet, the Calamity is ready for underwater action but perhaps feels more suited for dress-casual occasions. Orion Watches, Going Classic and Contemporary with the Hellcat The name “Hellcat” may have stirred up a notion about airplanes in your brain. Yes, the Hellcat was a famous World War Two fighter plane and the US Navy’s go-to aircraft for missions in the Pacific theater. And so Orion aptly named its pilot watch after this aviation legend. A follow-up to the Calamity, the Orion Hellcat isn’t quite as vintage-inspired as its name might suggest. Yes, it does have elements of throwback flair. Such as the lack of crown guards that reminds of watches from a previous era. But overall it feels more modern. It has a thin bezel on a streamlined stainless steel case that mixes polished and bead-blasted surfaces. Large Arabic numerals give a contemporary feel to the dial. It’s available in black and an eye-catching glossy red. The latter is a rarity with pilot watches, as black, white, and blue are the norms. That makes the Hellcat an iconoclastic entry in the pantheon of aviation horology. Source: orionwatch offical websiteOrion Watches, Suave Military Style of the Field Standard The Field Standard was created in reaction to the poorly made military watches. More so from that lesser microbrands who have churned out of the past few years. With their flimsy crowns and crystals that feel on the verge of cracking. Instead, Orion’s field watch features a domed sapphire crystal with AR coating and a case made out of 316L stainless steel that’s highly resistant to corrosion. And the Field Standard is water-resistant up to 100 meters. But this isn’t really a watch that wants to get tested out in the wilds. Unless your idea of wild is a buttered rum latte at an upscale bistro. The dial goes for classic cool with large Arabic numerals, topped by pronounced cathedral hands. On a black or brown croc-patterned strap, the Field Standard oozes business-casual charm. But as field watches tend to do, it’s just as happy to dress down with jeans and a t-shirt. Nick’s come a long way since that fateful day when he first held the family heirloom that would guide his life into the watchmaking world. And now we imagine that the cherished timepiece he passes on to future generations will be an Orion.

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  4. Best Affordable Quartz Watches for Men

    Best Affordable Quartz Watches for Men

    At the risk of offending horology snobs (you know who you are), let’s just accept that some of the best watches for men are quartz watches. Yes, purists will always argue in favor of mechanical watches. But for accuracy, longevity, and, maybe most importantly, affordability, it’s hard to top quartz watches. So let’s look at some quartz watches for men that are priced within the reach of almost everyone. Timex Weekender Chronograph Quartz Watches Simplicity is at the heart of the Timex Weekender. The no-nonsense watch serves as a call to take things easy on the weekend. Exuding the sense that slipping on this minimalist charmer invites you to relax in classic style. With a round steel case, large Arabic numerals, and a few chronograph subdials. On a basic leather strap, it’s aptly named for a break from the workweek and offers the quality of Timex craftsmanship for under $100! Timex Official Website Shop Quartz Movement Watches Fossil Grant Chronograph Quartz Watches Another great chronograph at another great price, the Fossil Grant Chronograph also comes in at under 100 bucks but wears like a watch with a heftier price tag. True elegance is found in the Roman numerals on its face, gracefully accented by skeleton hour and minute hands. At 44mm in diameter, the case is big and bold but kept classic with rounded stainless steel. Japanese quartz movement powers this dressy (if not entirely a “dress”) timepiece that goes impeccably with smart-casual ensembles. Fossil Official WebsiteSkagen Hagen Steel-Mesh Rounding out the top offerings for under $100, the Skagen Hagen might seem to wear on the larger side with a 40mm diameter. But its bare-bones minimalist style seriously tones things down, with a sandblasted dial adding to the understated balance. Sleek, contemporary, and looking pitch-perfect on a Milanese mesh strap, this stainless steel quartz watch is right at home in the modern workplace and adds a dressy touch to your dressed-down times. Skagen Official WebsiteBraun Gents Classic Chronograph There’s nothing wrong with stating exactly what this watch is: a classic chronograph for gents. Modern gents, specifically. Gents who like minimalist design, a utilitarian vibe, and a Bauhaus-inspired feel to their contemporary timepieces. You can call it cold, and you wouldn’t be wrong, but that’s what makes the clean aesthetics and raw functionality of the Braun Gents BN0035 so appealing. And it’s versatile, working as easily with jeans and a t-shirt as it does slip under a jacket on dress-casual outings. And all for under $300? Yeah, lots of gents like that too. Citizen Promaster Nighthawk The Citizen Nighthawk has gotten a lot of attention over the years. And deservedly so. It’s one of the world’s most-popular mass-produced quartz watches for lots of good reasons, probably the first being that it just looks really cool. Add in features like a slide-rule bezel, a GMT hand, various complications, solid water resistance, solar power, and more. And most models cost under $250! So yeah, we know why it’s popular. The Citizen Promaster Nighthawk is a particularly fine entry in the line. With a perpetual calendar and the ability to track 26 time zones across the globe with a glance at the dial. With this watch on a sturdy leather strap, you’ll look like you’re ready to fly off and visit every one of those far-flung lands! Citizen Official WebsiteHamilton Khaki Field Men’s Quartz Watches At the opposite end of the spectrum from the Nighthawk, Hamilton probably isn’t the first name you think of when on the hunt for affordable quartz watches. But maybe it should be. While Hamilton excels at mechanical watches, they have also carved out a nice spot in the quartz world. Notably with the quartz versions of the classic Khaki Fields. The same traditional military style that’s on display with the automatic Khakis is found on the PVD-coated Field Quartz. This one goes into full stealth mode with the black-and-grey design scheme of its 40mm stainless steel case. It’s also topped with a high-quality sapphire crystal. But you don’t need to be Billionaire Bruce Wayne to afford this one, as it costs less than $350. Shop Hamilton Khaki Field Watches Quartz Watches Conclusion The world of watch lovers isn’t exactly divided into two camps: mechanical and quartz watches. Most collectors have both types of timepieces and recognize each for their strengths and weaknesses. So don’t turn your back on mechanical watches just yet. Know that if you want to pick up a fine affordable timepiece, there are lots of quartz watches out there waiting.

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  5. Top Tudor Watches for Men

    Top Tudor Watches for Men

    Most talk about Tudor watches begins with their association to Rolex, as Tudor has always had to live somewhat in the shadows of the legendary brand from which it was born nearly a century ago. And Tudor’s ties to Rolex are notable, even to this day, perhaps most visible in the Black Bay GMT owing its heritage to the Rolex GMT Master. But Tudor has also staked out its own ground when it comes to luxury watches, and here we delve into a few of their finer offerings for men. Tudor Black Bay Bronze Following blue-dial and brown-dial versions of the Tudor Black Bay Bronze, the third incarnation is the charm with the slate grey fumé dial we met in 2019. And what a dial it is, with lume-filled bronze indices on a design that echoes those of classic Rolex Explorers and Submariners. And, adding a traditional touch, the Black Bay Bronze has Tudor’s signature snowflake hour hand. It comes with either a striped nylon strap or black leather with contrast stitching; the latter giving the formidable timepiece a more formal look. Chronometer certified with water resistance up to 200 meters and a power reserve of about 70 hours, it’s built as tough as it looks.   Tudor Pelagos 25600 TB We had to include the Pelagos on this top Tudor watches list. Bold blue. Brilliant blue. Eye-catching and vibrant. These are just a few of the ways the Pelagos Ref. M25600TB-0001 is inevitably described. The blue-and-white design is stunning, it’s guaranteed to grab attention. Though its anti-reflective sapphire crystal tones things down a tad.   While other Tudor dive watches are made plenty tough, this is the most rugged with a titanium case. It has a depth rating of 500 meters, and a helium escape system protecting its in-house self-winding mechanical movement. It also comes with a striking titanium bracelet. Although this tough timepiece just loves getting fitted with its sturdy rubber strap in matching blue. Tudor North Flag Ref. M91210N-0002 The Black Bay may be the first watch that comes to mind when you think of Tudor watches. And the Pelagos gets understandable attention for its toughness. But the lesser-known North Flag collection deserves more recognition than it gets. We met the first North Flag at Baselworld 2015, but its design roots go much deeper. It is modeled (and thus named) after the Tudor Oyster Prince that went on the rugged British North Greenland Expedition in 1952. Though today’s North Flags have vintage-inspired designs that are more reminiscent of watches from the 1970s, notably the Tudor Ranger II. At 40mm in diameter, the North Flag Ref. 91210N-0002 is smaller than other luxury sports watches. And quite sporty it is with a black, white, and yellow color scheme that’s bold and basic in the best possible sense. While it doesn’t grab attention like Tudor’s flagship models, wearers of this retro watch come to love its unique charm.   Tudor Glamour Double Date Ref. M57103-0021 The “Double Date” part refers to a two-window date complication at the 12 o’clock position. Here, Tudor watches turns away from the sports watch styles that have gained it so much fame for dressier timepieces in the Glamour line. There are a lot of options among the Double Date model, such as dials in silver, black, and opaline white, all either with or without diamonds. The champagne dial of the 57103 reference is particularly appealing. While all measure 42mm in diameter, you can select stainless steel or steel with yellow gold and complementing steel bracelets or leather straps. As this is a watch that loves to dress up, a fine black leather strap is hard to top with a Double Date.   Tudor Fastrider Black Shield Ref. M42000CN-0018 When we first encountered the Black Shield Fastrider in 2013 most of the hype was about its ceramic case. And the buzz was understandable, as the black monobloc ceramic case is an impressive engineering feat. The Fastrider’s association with Italian motorcycle legend Ducati is also no small thing. The watch’s tachometer scale and chronograph complications brazenly pronouncing that this watch is steeped in the world of racing. With high contrast in its black-and-white design scheme, the watch presents itself boldly. Perhaps more boldly than anything else Tudor produces. And while its look does have odes of vintage flair and notes that recall great racing watches of the past, this one feels altogether contemporary. Tudor 1926 Ref. M91651-0003 Tudor’s 1926 collection goes seriously retro, harkening back to the Roaring 1920s and an Art Deco world. Influenced by flappers who ruled jazz clubs and when fine suits were essential to any well-dressed man’s wardrobe. Through this prism, we get classic dress watches that embrace the elegance of traditional style. The most notable aspect of this throwback style is the lack of a crown guard. That gives the case the formal look of watches from days gone by. There are a lot of options to choose from in this line of Tudor watches. There are choices in silver, black and opaline to sizes that include 28, 36, 39, and 41mm.   The M91651-0003 is particularly striking, as its black dial embraces the collection’s sense of sophistication arguably better than any other. Rose gold presents the perfect complement, on arrow-shaped indices, slim hour hands, and the bezel on the classic round case. Slip this stylish watch on with a tuxedo and you’re ready to sip martinis with the Great Gatsby. Whether you’re looking for sporty style, vintage charm, or something more contemporary and cosmopolitan, look to Tudor watches.

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  6. Closer Look at the Chopard Mille Miglia

    Closer Look at the Chopard Mille Miglia

    For more than three decades, the Chopard Mille Miglia has kept the spirit of vintage road racing alive with a steady flow of limited-edition timepieces. Let’s delve into what makes this watch so special. Mille Miglia. “1,000 Miles” in Italian. It stands for the distance and the thusly titled open-road race that once roared through the Italian countryside. While the last of the endurance racers competed in the grueling heat more than half a century ago, today Chopard captures their essence in the watch that’s named in their honor. They Rolled Out of the 80s While the final drivers crossed the last finish line of the Mille Miglia in 1957, it wasn’t until over three decades later that the Swiss watchmakers Chopard paid homage to their neighbors to the south. In 1988, Chopard debuted what would be the first of a series of limited edition Mille Miglia watches, starting with their Chopard Mille Miglia Chronograph. It was designed to capture the spirit of road racing with a prominent bezel, pronounced tachymeter scale, and a design inspired by the look of a classic race car’s dashboard. Drivers and Watches Today, the famed race is honored by the annual Mille Miglia Storica.  A parade of pre-1957 classic cars and a massive road-rally event for serious auto enthusiasts. The event features a rotating roster of A-list celebrity drivers. These drivers have a serious incentive to participate. Each is presented with that year’s limited edition Mille Miglia just for taking part. A Few of Our Favorite Chopard Mille Miglia Watches With a new offering each year since 1988, there are lots to choose from in the line. But let’s take a look at some standouts that have become favorites through the years. Chopard Mille Miglia 8331 To mark the 10th anniversary of the watch, Chopard created the much-loved 8331. This one doesn’t try to overwhelm with size, with a relatively small 39mm diameter round case. Like all in the line, it honors racing heritage, here with a tachymeter on the dial and three chronograph functions. And, sure, maybe they are overdoing it a bit on the racing theme with the rubber strap featuring a tire-tread pattern. But hey, it works. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does. And for all of those gearheads who like to poke around under the hood of a car, flip this one over to view the inner workings of the movement through a display case back. Mille Miglia GTS We first met the Chopard Mille Miglia GTS Power Control at Baselworld in 2015. A bezel with a black aluminum insert gives the GTS a super sporty look. It’s complemented by a black dial that pays tribute to dashboards of yore. The dial is dominated by large Arabic 6 and 12 numerals. Those numerals are matched only in their prominence by the trademark Chopard red-arrow logo that crosses the date window. The power reserve indicator is styled to look like a gas gauge on a car from the 1950s. It is available in stainless steel and 18-karat rose gold. The GTS can go on a stainless steel bracelet but the sporty watch feels just as at home on a sturdy rubber strap. Chopard Mille Miglia GMT 8992 This is one of the most iconic timepieces in the line. The GMT 8992 is an all-stainless-steel chronograph that jumps feet first into racing style. It has the trademark tachymeter on the dial and a 24-hour bezel that frames its 42mm face. Three chronograph dials continue the racing functionality, as does the signature Chopard Mille Miglia red-arrow race logo. While it comes with a fine leather strap, this sporty offering might feel a bit more fitting on a thick rubber strap. Chopard Mille Miglia Racing Colors These are arguably the most popular watches in the line. We need to leap forward 30 years from its debut to the anniversary editions we saw in 2018. The watches stayed true to the racing roots. The five colors on the 30th-anniversary rollout represent the colors of the countries that competed in the original race. France raced blue Bugatti’s, Italy drove red Alfa Romeos, the British brought green Bentleys, Silver Arrow Mercedes came from Germany, and Belgium competed with yellow race cars. Each watch in the group sports these different dial colors. In common they have 42mm wide stainless steel cases with 12.67mm thickness, screw-down crowns, and pushers to operate chronograph functions in true vintage racing style. Chopard Mille Miglia, Does the Name Sound Familiar? No, you’re not crazy. Well, at least not for any strange sense of familiarity you may have felt with the name Chopard Mille Miglia. That’s also the name of Italian airline Alitalia’s frequent flyer program. Classic Corvettes are painted with Mille Miglia Red. And the Mille Miglia is also a type of jacket, featuring goggles in the hood, that’s popular with British soccer fans. But the name Chopard Mille Miglia will forever be associated with the iconic watches from Chopard. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky few who are invited to take the wheel of a classic roadster. More realistically, just keep an eye out online and perhaps one of these coveted watches will find their way from the race routes of Italy to your wrist.

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  7. Top Affordable Mechanical Watches for Men

    Top Affordable Mechanical Watches for Men

    When looking for affordable watches for men, many people simply don’t consider mechanical watches. Not at first, at least. They first think quartz, mainly based on price. And sure, there are lots of great quartz watches out there at great prices. But there are also some wonderful mechanical watches in the same affordable price range as quartz. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best. Seiko 5 for Military Style Military inspiration is on full display with the Seiko 5 SNK805. A no-nonsense matte-finish face keeps things simple with an inner ring for hour markings. The outer indices for seconds, as does the round steel case that’s basic in the best possible sense. Lightweight and on the unassuming side with a 38mm diameter, this ready-to-go watch feels right at home on a casual nylon strap. And Seiko’s trusty 7S26C movement offers reliable accuracy that performs beyond the low price tag: under $100!     Beyond Bambino with the Orient TriStar When people ask about an affordable mechanical dress watch, the Orient Bambino is often the first response. And the Bambino is great. Both its elegance and its affordability are praise-worthy. But the often-overlooked TriStar (also referred to as 3 Star or Three Star) is impressive in its own right. Branded by three stars on the face, the TriStar has a history stretching back to the 1970s. Orient says they made the affordable mechanical watches as alternatives for those living in developing countries with less access to the replacement batteries needed for quartz watches. Orient has kept the watches old school in style, under 40mm. It has a classic stainless steel bracelet, and a day-and-date window on its retro face. While some models in the TriStar line creep up in price to the $200 range (still a great bargain) you can find a new TriStar for about $100. Invicta Pro Diver for a Rolex Feel Okay, fine, most of us know that Invicta dive watches have been derided as the alternative for a Rolex. And, sure, there is some justification in that, as Invicta has mimicked the looks of Rolex (most especially the Submariner) to create lower-end timepieces. But that doesn’t make Invicta watches bad, just not Rolexes. And let’s just consider the fact that you can get one for about 100 bucks. So, for that price, yeah the Invicta Pro Diver 8926 is a pretty nice selection, both in terms of looks and functionality. The 40mm stainless steel case has solid machining and a fine finish. The aluminum bezel is equally substantial. It’s water-resistant up to 200 meters and the NH35A automatic movement is reliable. While the movement is non-branded, that’s actually Seiko handiwork in there behind the display case back and it’s as dependable as most everything the time-honored watchmakers produce. So, sure, it’s not a Rolex, but still a nice option if you’re looking for an affordable alternative. Get Seriously Sporty with the Citizen Promaster While the Invicta Diver 8926 is a great bargain, you can take a serious step up in dive watches for not all that much more money with a Citizen Promaster Automatic. The Citizen NY0040 is a true ISO-certified dive watch with a depth rating of 200 meters and a high-visibility dial. Mixing brushed and high-polish stainless steel finishes, the case is rugged and looks super sporty on a formidable rubber strap. Inside you´ll find the in-house 21-jewel Miyota 8200 movement. With a 46mm diameter and 12mm thickness, this is a watch that wears prominently and really wants to get noticed. That’s all pretty nice for the price of under $300!   Mid-Century Style with the Timex Marlin Mesh This watch might remind you of a timepiece that would be on the wrist of an up-and-coming executive in the 1960s. The Timex Marlin Mesh is a re-issue of a dress watch we first met over half a century ago. Going seriously old school with a hand-wound movement, it oozes sophistication with a silver-on-silver design scheme. The watch, which was made with input from fashion designer Todd Snyder, has a Milanese mesh band. While the 34mm stainless steel case is muted enough to feel understated, eyes will be drawn to the silver sunray dial with mid-century-style indices. Priced at just over $200, it’s an elegant choice with a big dose of throwback charm. History and Heritage with the Hamilton Khaki Hamilton is always a great choice when you’re looking for something with deep ties to America’s watchmaking history, as the company dates back to 1892 in Pennsylvania. And their Khaki Field Mechanical watches offers a homage to that heritage albeit nearly a century later with a re-issue of a military field watch we first saw in the 1960s. It doesn’t feel formidable at first, as its 38mm diameter is on the smaller side. But it more than compensates for its diminutive dimensions with a classic style that adheres to the US military specs of days gone by. Swiss made today (Hamilton was sold back in the 70s), the Field Mechanical watches has ETA 2801-2 hand-wound movement with a 42-hour power reserve. On a green NATO strap, it positively exudes classic military style and is nicely priced within the reach of most at under $500.   Now, nobody is saying you shouldn’t splurge on a Rolex. Or that a fine Omega isn’t worth the price. Luxury timepieces come with luxury costs because they have value that justifies the investments. You can put a fine mechanical watch on your wrist without having to shell out big bucks.

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  8. Watch Guide to Different Types of Watch Materials

    Watch Guide to Different Types of Watch Materials

    A lot comes to mind when considering a new timepiece. Like what the price or style, but watch materials should also be right up there on the list. So what should your watch be made of? Well, let’s delve into this watch guide for distinct types of watch materials that go into making high-quality watches.  Watch Materials Stainless Steel for Lasting Durability If you’re looking for a watch, you’ll likely be browsing a bunch of steel models, as stainless steel is the most used material in watches today. One big reason for its popularity is durability, as stainless steel has a serious ability to resist corrosion. It’s lightweight and more affordable than gold. Stainless steel eclipsed when it came into wide use at the dawn of the 1930s. With polished or brushed finishes, stainless steel watches do have slight downsides. They can scratch and dent more easily than some other more-durable materials. But stainless steel is still plenty tough! A popular material for dive watches, stainless steel is found in some of the most legendary timepieces designed for undersea exploration. While the Rolex GMT Master II and the Rolex Daytona are both popular stainless steel offerings, the Rolex Submariner is particularly tied to stainless steel as it owes its heritage to the Rolex Perpetual Oyster, the world’s first hermetically sealed steel watch. From the Omega Speedmaster on the high end to more-affordable selections such as the Seiko Prospex, stainless steel dive watches are things of beauty that literally stand the test of time. Gold and its Many Mixers These days when on the hunt for a stylish gold watch you can choose from white, yellow, and rose gold. What’s the difference? Well, white gold looks a lot like steel because pure yellow gold is mixed with steel or the silvery-white metal palladium, as well as possibly zinc or nickel. It’s not hard to tell Rose Gold at first sight, as the copper that gets mixed with the Yellow Gold gives it a rosy hue. On the plus side, you get a warm and elegant coloring that goes great with dress watches. But there’s the negative in that Rose Gold can scratch and dent more easily than other alloys. Yellow Gold, as you can probably guess, has a traditional golden color that’s a common sight with luxury watches. But it’s usually not pure gold, as 24 karat gold is too soft to make a durable watch. So it’s mixed with copper, much like Rose Gold. The difference is in the copper content, as the more copper you put into the mix the more red, or rose, coloring emerges. The number of options for high-end gold watches can be dizzying, from the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Chronograph to the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date or the Omega Speedmaster 57 and on and on and on. If you’re looking for something affordable, you can consider steel watches with gold plating’s. Tissot, Seiko, and Invicta are great brands to look to if you’re in the market for an affordable watch that gleams in gold. Titanium for Twice the Toughness This lightweight alloy came onto the scene in the early 1970s. That’s when many thought the days of stainless steel were numbered. Titanium has nearly two times the strength of stainless steel and half the weight. It’s also highly resistant to corrosion. Perfect, right? Well, sort of. Titanium is also more expensive than steel and, perhaps most importantly, its duller finish just doesn’t gleam like stainless steel. Titanium settled into an esteemed spot in the watch world as a go-to material for dive and similar tool watches. The Citizen Promaster Diver is a great example of a fine titanium dive watch, as is the Tudor Pelagos with a titanium case that’s water-resistant to 500 meters. Some other great titanium timepieces include the TAG Heuer Formula 1, the PVD-coated Hamilton Khaki Field Titanium Auto, and the Seiko Presage SARX055, an atypical titanium dress watch. Buy TAG Heuer Formula 1 Watches   Watch Materials, An Ancient Art Goes Modern with Ceramic While it may seem strange, ceramic watches are made of exactly what they sound like they are hardened clay. It’s the same technique that’s been used in making pottery for centuries. With some help from today’s modern science to create super-durable compositions of zirconium oxide. But despite its long history, ceramic is a relative newcomer with watches. It didn’t really go mainstream until the debut of the IWC Da Vinci Ceramic in 1986. Before that, Omega had dabbled with ceramics in the early 80s for the special-order Seamaster Cermet. And even earlier, the Rado DiaStar broke ground in the early 60s with its tungsten carbide ceramic case. But it wasn’t until IWC hit the market with its zirconium oxide case that we got the kind of material that’s used in today’s ceramic cases.

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  9. Best Seiko Women’s Watches

    Best Seiko Women’s Watches

    With inimitable style, accessible pricing, and impressive solar power, Seiko women’s watches have staked out a unique spot on the international timepiece scene. Seiko Women’s Watches 1: SUP252P9 for Classic Style It doesn’t get more classic than this traditional dress watch, exuding elegance with its pure simplicity. A PVD gold-plated case effortlessly complements an off-white dial and subtle indices in place of numeral hour markers. Fitted on a brown leather strap, the SUP252P9 is a watch that’s ready for office duty and brings an air of sophistication, if not opulence, to any dress-casual occasion. Shop Seiko Women’s Watches   At 20mm across, the case works best on slimmer wrists. It presents a low profile, grabbing attention with subtlety instead of size. While you can’t take this one swimming, it’s nice to know it’s water-resistant up to 30 meters. 2: SUT374 for a Shimmering Show When you want to dazzle with diamonds, the SUT374 is ready in all its glittering grandeur. Sprinkled over a Mother of Pearl dial and the round bezel, 28 diamonds give this showy timepiece some serious sparkle. Rose gold adds to the elegance, found on dramatic sword-style hands, contoured on the outer edge of the bezel. It’s also slipped along the center lines of a stainless steel link bracelet. This is a watch that cries out to be seen. It’s perfect for a Saturday night on the town, its flash, perhaps, offset by your favorite little black dress. Shop Women’s Watches   3: SUP399P9 for Bling That Won’t Blind When you want to put on a show with diamonds that’s not too showy, look to the SUP399P9. The white MOP dial and polished stainless steel case complement the diamond insets and hour markers perfectly. On second look, your eyes will inevitably be drawn to the precious stones running parallel to the square case and found on the dial in tandem. Not the slimmest of offerings in the Seiko line, wearing small-to-medium with a case that’s 24mm across. The watch also lacks contrast in its color scheme,  while at the same time making a bold style statement that fits perfectly with an elegant evening. 4: Timeless Elegance of a SUP406P9 Midnight black, lustrous gold, and shimmering diamonds. Each on their own projects sleek style and cool sophistication. Put them together and the result is simply stunning. That’s what you find with the SUP406P9, a luxury watch that, because it’s a Seiko, does not come with a luxury price tag. While the design echoes that of the SUP399P9, its contrasting elements come together to put on a dramatically different display. The adage that basic black goes with anything applies here. This is a watch that’s equally at home on formal outings or paired with a smart-casual ensemble. And like most others in the Seiko canon, it’s built plenty tough for everyday use, with a Hardlex crystal, a durable stainless steel case and bracelet, and up to twelve months of charge in its solar-powered movement. 5: Minimalist Style with the SUP385P9 Here we have one of the most casual watches Seiko makes for women. And its most minimalistic. And, arguably, its most unisex, making this one of the most versatile watches Seiko offers. The cool blue face of the SUP385P9 eschews the finer details found on most of the watches Seiko makes for women in place of the slightest white indices and slim hands. The round case provides just the right contrast in gleaming black, with a 27.4mm diameter that is tailored to female wrists, true, but also works well for men with slimmer wrists or those who just prefer a timepiece with a lower profile. The black-and-blue cases motif blends effortlessly with the silver of the stainless steel bracelet. Wear this one with jeans and a t-shirt or play to its sporty side with workout wear. 6: SFQ800 is a True Essential Hailing from Seiko’s Ladies’ Essential Collection, the SFQ800 is just that. Essential. It’s an excellent selection when it comes to Seiko women’s watches. At first glance it appears like a casual everyday watch with a classic round case. Bold blue dauphine hands pop in contrast to the silver dial, telling the world this timepiece is at home on a laid-back weekend. Things get a bit dressier when you look to the link bracelet. It has a two-tone mix of silver and gold that puts the watch equally at home at dressier moments. If you’re looking for an essential piece that works with chameleon-like adaptation across your wardrobe, this is a solid choice with charm. Seiko Women’s Watches Conclusion With over a century of watchmaking history, Seiko knows more than just a little about watches and the people who wear them. If you’re looking for a casual timepiece, something for formal occasions, or perhaps something in between, consider the Japanese watchmakers’ wide range of women’s watches.

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  10. 5 Reasons the IWC Big Pilot is a Great Watch

    5 Reasons the IWC Big Pilot is a Great Watch

    Yes, the IWC Big Pilot is a great watch. That’s not a big statement. Or even an uncommon one. One look at this marvelously oversized watch tells you it’s something special. But why? Let’s dive into that with a closer look at this classic aviation timepiece. IWC Big Pilot Watches 1: It’s Big in the Best Possible Way So how big is the IWC Big Pilot? Well, if we’re talking about the traditional models, they have case diameters of 46.2mm with 15.6mm thickness. And yes, that’s big. And its crown is big, hanging out there like a sturdy faucet handle ready to shut off the hot water. This is not a watch that easily slips under the sleeve of a dress shirt. It wasn’t designed for that, nor was the original model that measured a whopping 55mm across and 17.5mm deep. But its simplicity of design means it doesn’t feel so big. It doesn’t overwhelm on the wrist. We all know of watches that are just “all face,” loaded with subdials, complications, extra hands, extra indices, more of this and more of that. Even smaller watches of this sort can feel “big,” whereas the no-nonsense design of the IWC Big Pilot serves as a relieving counterbalance to its generous proportions. 2: It Has Some Serious History For most of us, the IWC Big Pilot came onto our radars in 2002 when the watch was re-released. It grabbed attention. With a 46.2mm diameter, how could it not? But the history of the watch goes back much farther. Buy IWC Big Pilot Watches That timepiece we met nearly 20 years ago followed the design of a watch that was produced for the German Air Force, an even bigger Big Pilot, the largest IWC has ever made, with a diameter of 55mm! It had design aspects we still see to this day, both in IWC watches and a host of aviator watches from other manufacturers that have copied its style (we’re looking at you A. Lange & Söhne!). The oversized conical crown was made for easy use by the gloved hands of pilots. The big Arabic numerals in san serif font were made for easy visibility at a glance. Today IWC pays tribute to the original’s size with the Big Pilot Heritage 55. IWC’s connection to aviation goes even deeper. An IWC pocket watch was one of the first timepieces to ever take flight, back in 1896. And IWC’s forefathers to the Big Pilot, which look and function unsurprisingly similar to today’s incarnations, were made for aviators in 1936. So when you strap on a Big Pilot, you’re wearing an honored piece of aviation history. 3: It’s Got a Finer Side No question, the Big Pilot is a workhorse, a tough watch built for on-the-go use. But it’s still a luxury timepiece, and IWC seems to understand the importance of the latter fact very well. Look to the strap, crafted by renowned Italian leather maker Andrea Santoni at his workshop in Corridonia. Santoni’s handcrafted creations can be found in upscale boutiques across the world, from Milan to Tokyo, and add a special air of refinement to Big Pilot watches. Then there are the IWC Big Pilot cases to consider. While the originals are made of stainless steel, the collection has since grown to include precious metals such as platinum, titanium, bronze, and gold. Anti-reflective for practical use, convex sapphire crystals of the highest quality protect the faces. They may be made for action in the air, but Big Pilots are just as at home in sophisticated settings on land. 4: It Embodies the Best of Swiss Timekeeping Since setting up shop alongside the River Rhine in 1868, IWC has been at the forefront of Swiss watchmaking. From their state-of-the-art factory on the outskirts of Schaffhausen, IWC manufactures in-house movements including the renowned A51000 and A52000 automatics. All watches are assembled by hand and go through a rigorous testing process, which includes about 30 tests over several months. Impact, abrasion, corrosion, and harsh climates are all recreated to ensure that your IWC has a long life. 5: Special Editions That Are Truly Special Many times when we see that a “special edition” of a well-known watch is hitting the market, you can almost feel the collective eye roll among watch enthusiasts. The same with “limited editions” as the difference between “special” and “limited” is sometimes none. I mean, do we really need a new timepiece for all of those action movies? Is the world really clamoring for editions designed by sports stars? And do we actually believe these elite athletes have dug in deep, pouring over blueprints and design specs at labs in Switzerland? Of course not. They’ve just slapped their names on that year’s “special edition.” That’s not to say IWC doesn’t like to court its share of high-profile brand ambassadors. They’ve got legendary quarterback Tom Brady, Brazilian model Adriana Lima, and Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper (Four nominations with no wins? Come on Academy, were you really watching A Star is Born?) IWC just doesn’t pretend that these folks are watch designers! So when IWC makes a special edition of the Big Pilot, it means something. Consider the IWC Big Pilot “Right-Hander” special edition with the trademark conical crown on the left side of the case, designed for those who prefer to wear their watches on the right wrists. That’s a practical special edition, as about ten percent of the population is left-handed. Or look to the Le Petit Prince edition, paying homage to author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic book. We can all agree that’s just a little classier than stamping a superhero on the dial. Chances are you’re not hopping into a cockpit to navigate a plane anytime soon. You may not even like to fly at all. But you can certainly put some of that aviation spirit on your wrist, in a big way, with the IWC Big Pilot.

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  11. Closer Look at the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

    Closer Look at the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

    For nearly half a century, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak has been a favorite of watch lovers across the globe. Like the square-cased Santos de Cartier and the rectangular Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, the Royal Oak is one of the few luxury watches that is instantly recognizable by its shape. Let’s look at what makes this octagonal offering so special. A Watch Born Out of Turbulent Times To truly understand this beloved watch we need to slip back in time. We find our way to the start of the 1970s. Things were changing in every direction and the revolutions we saw, from fashion to politics. Roaring up in the late 1960s tumbled into the next uncertain decade. The watch world, too, was shaken to its core by the rapidly changing landscape, and with just one word: quartz. Seiko was at the forefront, stunning all with the debut of the Seiko Astron on Christmas Day in 1969. The planet’s first mass-produced quartz wristwatch had many believing that the days of mechanical watches were numbered. The precarious period would become known as the Quartz Crisis. Other watchmakers quickly reacted and followed Seiko’s lead, giving us the Omega Electroquartz and Hamilton’s digital Pulsar. Audemars Piguet Puts its Faith in Steel But Audemars Piguet took a drastically different route. They doubled down on their mechanical heritage and instead looked to foment change with innovative design. To do this they called upon Gerald Genta, a designer who had gained fame creating watches for Omega and Patek Philippe. Buy Audemars Piguet Watches The results were stunning, a luxury steel watch that was as elegant as it was sporty. It was a true hybrid, blending two once disparate watch styles, and an unabashed attention-grabber with its unconventional octagonal bezel. The Royal Oak debuted in 1972 and has been in production ever since. The Audmars Piguet Royal Oak has since been made in a myriad of ways, featuring perpetual calendars, tourbillons, and drizzled with diamonds. In 1993, the Royal Oak Offshore made its debut and brought a standard chronograph into the mix. With decades of models to choose from, it’s hard to apply categories such as “best” and “top” to Royal Oaks. But let’s at least try and take a look at a few standouts in the collection. The Original Reference 5402ST The one that started it all is a much-loved classic that’s coveted by collectors. Not large by today’s sports watch standards (though it was in 1972), it measures 39mm across and is just 7mm thick. Its tapisserie dial, raised octagonal bezel, and hexagonal screws were controversial at first, considered too futuristic to be taken seriously as a formal watch. The world has since come to embrace its forward-leaning style. Ultra-Thin Reference 15202 Closely related to the original, the 15202 earned the nickname “Jumbo” even though at 39mm x 8.1mm it’s actually not so oversized by today’s standards. Through the display case back you can view calibre 2121 self-winding movement. On the front, you’ll find a striking steel blue dial with a date display. In 2012, we got some variations that included the additions of titanium, platinum, and different dial colors. Buy Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Watches Perpetual Calendar Ultra-Thin And this one really is ultra-thin, coming in at just 6.1mm in thickness. Its titanium 41mm case features the trademark bezel in platinum, while the dial is one of the busier in the collection, with subdials displaying the date, month, and day of the week. As its name tells you, there’s a bosom moon phase indicator with a moon moving across a star field to give a graphic representation of the lunar cycle. Royal Oak Offshore Diver While it comes in a variety of colors, simple black is a good way to go with the Offshore Diver. Featuring the distinct “Méga Tapisserie” pattern, the black dial with white-gold indices perfectly complements the stainless steel case and silver-toned bezel that features a diving scale. With a glare-proof sapphire crystal, rubber-clad screw-down crowns, and a hearty rubber strap, the Offshore is ready to plunge up to 300 meters. Source from hereRoyal Oak Concept The watches in this line keep true to the original Royal Oaks. The overall octagonal design but take radical departures almost everywhere else. Going “dial-less” faces of concepts expose the intricate micro-mechanics. The super sonneries, flying tourbillons, central bridges, golden facets, and chronograph complications are all displayed marvelously. Source from hereOf course, there’s more. We could talk about the Self Winding Steel Chronograph, or the Double Balance Wheel Open worked and on and on.  The number of variations we’ve seen over the decades can seem almost dizzying. But there’s one thing all Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watches have in common. All adhere to that guiding principle formed back at the dawn of the 70s, to resist the fear-driven impulse to follow the pack and instead forge ahead on your own true path.

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