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  2. Certina DS Action Diver: One of the Best Diver Watches?

    Certina DS Action Diver: One of the Best Diver Watches?

    Certina is a Swiss luxury watchmaking brand that many enthusiasts and collectors would acknowledge as underrated. The brand has a rich history of being at the forefront of waterproof innovations, and a prime model that exemplifies this is the Certina DS Action Diver. The DS Action Diver is an elegant timepiece from the Certina Aqua collection. It showcases a stylish design, tried-and-tested timekeeping accuracy, and certified water resistance. While classified as a luxury diver watch, the DS Action Diver is one of the brand’s more accessible references. Despite its affordability, the DS Action Diver maintains the quality seen in all Certina watches and sticks true to the brand’s traditional watchmaking values. Today, we will take a better look at the Certina DS Action Diver, its specifications, and its price. In addition to that, we will also view some alternative wristwatches from different brands and see if the DS Action Diver is truly worth the investment. Specifications Watch Dimensions Certina has released several variations of the DS Action Diver. For this review, we will be focusing on the Certina DS Action Diver Ref. C032.407.11.051.00.  This Certina DS Action Diver has a case diameter of 43mm and a case height of 13.1mm, making this a rather oversized watch. It has a non-standard lug width of 21mm, so finding a matching after-market strap might take some effort. Although this watch weighs around 180 grams with its bracelet, it is well-balanced and surprisingly not as top-heavy as it looks. On the whole, the DS Action Diver is quite a substantial watch and will look large on smaller wrists. If you have a thicker wrist or you are not bothered by its heft, then this Certina watch is well worth your time and budget. 316L Stainless Steel Case, Bezel, and Case Back Image By: Certina 316L stainless steel continues to be the ideal material for watch cases due to its ruggedness, corrosion resistance, and unmistakable luster. The case of the Certina DS Action Diver mainly consists of brushed steel. Taking a closer look at the sides of the case, you will notice that Certina has brushed the steel vertically. This is a little uncommon compared to the usual way other watchmakers brush their watches and gives the Certina DS Action Diver a slightly different shine. Other components of this Certina timepiece, such as the bezel and the rear case, utilize polished steel instead.  Located on the right of the steel case is a large crown with crown guards. Engraved on its center are the letters “DS,” which stands for the “Double Security” concept that the Certina DS Action Diver is crafted with. The crown of the watch is screwed-down, creating a secure vacuum seal that prevents water from entering the watch. With its considerable size and patterned grooves, the crown provides an easy grip so wearers and divers can use it with relative ease. Inserted on top of the case is a unidirectional rotating bezel made of aluminum and polished stainless steel. The bezel has a full 60-click rotation and no back play whatsoever. This bezel also comes with patterned grooves around its rim for a more secure grip. That said, the bezel is quite small. So, once your palms get sweaty, getting a proper hold of the bezel might be a little tricky. Such a design might be a problem for divers who plan to bring this watch to their expeditions. Aside from that, the bezel also has a black surface that contrasts with legible silver indices. At the tip of the bezel is an inverted silver triangle with a luminous pearl at the centre. This provides wearers with a source of brightness so they can read the elapsed time scale more easily. Moving on to the rear of the watch, the Certina DS Action Diver uses a solid steel caseback that bears the iconic DS turtle logo. Certina engraves the turtle there as a reminder of the brand’s long-term affiliation with the Florida Sea Turtle Conservancy. The rear case also bears bits of information regarding the watch and its specifications.   Anti-Reflective Sapphire Crystal As always, sapphire glass is the material of choice for luxury watchmakers due to its unparalleled scratch resistance. The sapphire crystal that Certina uses is flat and treated with an anti-reflective coating from top to bottom. This makes it very legible, and you will not have to worry about light glares or reflections no matter what angle you view it from. Black Dial The dial of the Certina DS Action Diver has a classic layout, with a jet-black face and lume-applied geometric hour markers and hands. The hour markers take the form of luminescent shapes that neatly contrast the black dial. Additionally, the 3 o’clock marker is smaller, to make room for the date window. The handset of the DS Action Diver consists of a sword-like minute hand, an arrow-shaped hour hand, and a red Breguet second hand that adds a splash of vibrant colour to the dial. Each hand possesses decent girth and length, which allows the watch to be easily read with a simple glance. In the dark, the hour markers, hands, and bezel pip start to radiate with different shades of Super-LumiNova coating. The pip itself emits a green color, while the hands and markers have a blue luminescence. While it is not anything drastic, the different hues of the Super-LumiNova coatings add some fun to the watch, as opposed to the usual monochrome luminescence you see in most watches. Powermatic 80.111 Image By: Certina Underneath the surface of the Certina DS Action Diver is the brand’s Powermatic 80.111 movement. The Powermatic 80.111 is an automatic caliber that Certina modified from an ETA.2824 caliber. What makes this movement stand out is its 80-hour power reserve. For Certina to achieve this, they added a customized kinetic chain and reduced the beat frequency of the ETA movement from 28,800 beats per hour to 21,600 vph. As a result, the caliber uses less energy, which also cuts down on excess wear and tear. This modified caliber produces only six beats per second, instead of the eight beats per second produced by the standard ETA.2824 movement. However, this is not a very noticeable difference, and the improved power reserve is an excellent trade-off. 316L Stainless Steel Bracelet Image By: Certina As with the case, Certina uses 316L stainless steel to forge the bracelet of the DS Action Diver. This bracelet consists of solid polished links and half-links that have the same sheen as the rest of the watch. Its buckle features a deployment clasp with double pushers to release. A set of smaller pushers are also present to give the bracelet a diver extension. This provides around 15mm of leeway for micro-adjustments, which is convenient for divers who want to wear the watch over a wetsuit.  If you are not fond of the stainless steel bracelet, a matching rubber strap is also offered for this Certina DS Action Diver. 300m Water Resistance Certina places a lot of importance on being ISO-certified, which is not surprising. Before obtaining certification, the model must go through rigorous testing. The criteria involve resistance to water pressures, condensation, shock, temperature, and overpressure. Once your watch matches the international standard for diver watches and is ISO-certified, people will begin to see your dive piece as remarkable and trustworthy.  The Certina DS Action Diver is an ISO-certified timepiece that can withstand up to 300m of water pressure. That means that the DS Action Diver can participate in all sorts of water-related activities. From taking a shower to scuba diving, this Certina timepiece can handle it all. In fact, the 300m water resistance rating even allows the user to bring the watch to the dark depths of professional or saturation diving. Approximate Price The Certina DS Action Diver retails at approximately $865 USD. Compared to other dive watches of its caliber, the DS Action Diver is highly affordable. You will definitely get your money’s worth with this diver timepiece. A pre-owned model can cost as low as $550 USD, which is around the same price as a brand-new Seiko Prospex Samurai.  What is Double Security? Image By: Certina Double Security, or DS, is a concept Certina created that provides several protective procedures and enhancements for their watches. It ensures that the timepiece is reliable, durable, and efficient at work. Double Security usually improves upon certain aspects of the wristwatch, such as anti-magnetism, water resistance, longevity, and robustness. Over the years, Certina has continuously adapted its DS concept to reflect the brand’s high standards in watchmaking. Through arduous research and rigorous testing, the DS concept continues to produce Certina wristwatches with top-of-the-line quality. Alternatives Still not convinced that the DS Action Diver is the watch for you? No need to worry. Just like the fish in the sea, there are plenty more watches out there for you to try. Here are some highly competitive alternatives to the Certina DS Action Diver. Seiko Prospex Automatic Divers Watch (SRPE93K)  Seiko is a watchmaker that seems to have an answer to everything. As such, they also possess an excellent, budget-friendly alternative to the Certina DS Action Diver. Feast your eyes on the Seiko Prospex Automatic Divers Watch Ref. SRPE93K. While this tonneau-cased timepiece has a look similar to the DS Action Diver, it also has a set of exclusive qualities that make it stand out.  This Seiko Prospex timepiece fetches an approximate price of $530 USD. It comes in a 44mm stainless steel case, making it a millimeter bulkier than the Certina DS Action Diver. As a more affordable alternative that is cheaper by more than $300 USD, the Ref. SRPE93K has some features that are not as first-rate as the DS Action Diver. For instance, Seiko uses their patented Hardlex crystal to shelter the dial. Although Hardlex offers decent protection, it is not as scratch-resistant as sapphire glass. Seiko equips the Ref. SRPE93K with their 4R36 caliber. This is a self-winding movement with manual hacking capabilities. While that in itself is neat, the caliber can only last up to 41 hours, nearly half of what the Certina’s Powermatic 80 is capable of. Additionally, this Seiko Prospex has a water resistance of 200m. It is still pretty substantial but is lower than the DS Action Diver’s 300m water resistance rating. One thing the Prospex excels in is lume quality. As many of us know, Seiko watches are known for their exceptional glow in the dark. With their eco-friendly LumiBrite technology, the Ref. SRPE93K has fantastic luminescence and is slightly brighter than the Certina DS Action Diver. In terms of style, the DS Action Diver has more ample spacing between each component compared to this Seiko Prospex watch. The hints of red, smaller hour markers and slimmer hands make the DS Action Diver appear more refined. Of course, preference is king, and it will always be the deciding factor. What makes the Seiko Prospex Automatic Divers Watch Ref. SRPE93K something to consider is its balance between quality and price. It offers great specs for an affordable price of just $530 USD, which is much cheaper than the Certina DS Action Diver. And like many other gorgeous timepieces, the Ref. SRPE93K is not just a divers watch, as you can bring it to chic events or on your daily routines. Truthfully, it would be quite a task to find a $500 USD watch that offers as much as this Seiko Prospex Automatic Divers Watch does. Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Auto (H82335131) Hamilton is another brand associated with top-notch quality and affordable prices. For this reason, we chose the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Auto as the second alternative to the Certina DS Action Diver. This Hamilton watch comes in a 40mm stainless steel case. At first glance, you will notice the Khaki Navy Scuba’s lovely black dial with white indices, hour markers, minute and hour hands, and a splash of red on its second hand. Aside from the largely monochrome color scheme, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba Auto also has other similarities with the Certina Diver. First of all, the Hamilton Khaki Navy is powered by a Hamilton H10 automatic movement. It features a power reserve that can last up to 80 hours — the same amount of time as Certina’s Powermatic 80. The Khaki Navy Scuba utilizes high-quality sapphire glass to protect its dial. Like Certina, Hamilton also wants to best protection possible for its dark and alluring watch face. In addition, the sapphire crystal used by Hamilton is anti-reflective as well. Like the Certina DS Action Diver, the Khaki Navy Scuba also comes with a round stainless steel case and a screw-down crown. These are is crucial in ensuring the security and waterproofness of the watch. That said, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba is only water-resistant up to depths of 100m. Although this allows you to take the watch for a good swim, it is considerably less than the Certina DS Action Diver’s 300m. Even comparing this Hamilton watch with the Seiko Ref. SRPE93K, its water resistance rating is 100m less. If having excellent water resistance is not a high priority for you, then this Hamilton watch is definitely worth checking out. Even with its lesser water resistance capabilities, the Hamilton Khaki Navy Scuba still stands out as a highly competent and sleek timepiece. Final Thoughts All in all, the Certina DS Action Diver watch is an incredible piece. It showcases the attention to detail, sophistication, and craftsmanship that Certina provides with all its models. Moreover, it bears a classy and timeless look that also makes it an excellent dress watch. Realistically, you can use this Certina timepiece for all sorts of activities and events. It has a stellar design and a robust exterior that allows it to withstand anything that gets in its way.  To top things off, the Certina DS Action Diver comes at a relatively modest price point. Although excellent alternatives do exist, the DS Action Diver promises quality and reliability above all. It is a practical and affordable piece of luxury that you cannot find just anywhere. Looking for another kind of divers watch? Check out the Orient Mako II and see if it’s worthy of a spot in your collection. Featured Image By: Certina

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  3. A Little Bit About Seiko’s Hardlex Crystal

    A Little Bit About Seiko’s Hardlex Crystal

    While Seiko is known for creating an immense variety of high-quality and affordable watches, the brand is famous for its invention of the Hardlex crystal. As many enthusiasts know, Hardlex is Seiko’s patented glass material, which they use to protect the dials of many of their models. Although some people appreciate and admire Hardlex for doing its job, others prefer to replace it with something else. In this article, we will be comparing Seiko’s Hardlex glass with the other kinds of crystals currently present in the market. For those who are sold on this bit of Seiko technology, we will also be providing a list of the best timepieces that use Hardlex crystals in their cases. Seiko’s Hardlex Crystal Hardlex is a type of crystal glass Seiko produces by heating a mixture of barium and silicon. According to Seiko, this material comes in several grades and is more scratch-resistant than run-of-the-mill mineral glass. Customers can typically find Hardlex in some of Seiko’s more affordable collections, such as the Seiko 5 series. Depending on the model you choose, the crystal may come with a treatment of AR (anti-reflective) coating. Hardlex vs. The World of Watch Crystals Image By: WayTru (Flickr) Just to be clear, none of these materials are minerals dug straight out of the mines. These are crystals synthetically made from compounds and mixtures that are tempered in blistering heat to boost the overall resistances of the material. That said, here are the matchups against Seiko’s Hardlex crystal. Hardlex vs. Acrylic (Plexiglass) Acrylic crystal, otherwise known as plexiglass, is probably the weakest material in this category. The product is made from plastic, is cheap to produce, and is very easy to replace. Although you usually see this type of acrylic glass on lower-priced watches from brands like Timex and Lorus, some high-end timepieces, like the Rolex Datejust, can also sport acrylic glass on their cases. In a comparison of the two types of glass, Hardlex easily comes out on top, as the harder and more scratch-resistant material. That said, acrylic has its own strengths. For instance, it is actually easier to buff out the scratches on acrylic glass. In addition, acrylic tends to be more shatterproof than the other types of watch crystals out there. Hardlex vs. Mineral Mineral glass is the most common kind of crystal found in entry-level watches. This material is moderately durable and provides a neat and clear lens through which the wearer can view their timepiece. Although Seiko states that their Hardlex crystal is more resistant to scratches than mineral glass, there have not been many demonstrations that prove that claim. In most cases, Hardlex and mineral crystals tend to offer similar results. Both materials have limited resistances and can be polished to remove light scratches. Hardlex vs. Sapphire On the Mohs scale of hardness, sapphire crystal measures at a hardness level of 9, just one point below diamond, which is famously hardy and resistant to scratches. Sapphire glass is the most commonly used material for high-end watches. Virtually scratch-proof, sapphire stands above Hardlex as the more capable watch crystal. Though that may be the case for scratch resistance, there are some other things that Hardlex can do better. For one, sapphire glass is quite brittle and can crack or shatter after a tremendous impact. Hardlex crystal, on the other hand, is not as fragile and is less likely to break even after an impressive blow. Another aspect to consider is the price. Since scratch resistance is a crucial factor for watch crystals, sapphire tends to be a lot more expensive than Hardlex due to the pricey tools needed to process it. As a result, replacing a sapphire crystal would cost you a lot more than replacing a Hardlex one. Furthermore, since sapphire is highly reflective, watchmakers typically treat the glass with a layer of AR coating, which adds to its cost. Lastly, in terms of aesthetics, there is actually not much difference between the two watch crystals. Hardlex vs. Sapphlex Besides their Hardlex glass, Seiko has also manufactured another trademark crystal known as Sapphlex. Essentially, Sapphlex is a mineral crystal coated in sapphire. By adopting the best qualities of both mineral and sapphire glass, Sapphlex manages to be both scratch-proof and shatter-resistant. On the whole, Sapphlex outshines Hardlex in scratch resistance, quality, and durability. However, it is also a bit more costly to replace. When to go for Hardlex? Budget When you’re on a tight budget, going for the more affordable option is a no-brainer. Despite being relatively cheap, Hardlex is still a reliable watch glass that can withstand a good amount of impacts and light scratching. Furthermore, if your Hardlex glass starts garnering too many deep scratches, it won’t be that expensive to replace it either. Seiko also states that their Hardlex crystal is indeed more scratch-resistant than mineral crystals. Indeed, it will not do you any harm to test this claim out for yourself. Purpose While some people use watches to add a little class to their get-up, others need a timepiece to fulfill a specific purpose. If you are looking for an affordable wristwatch that you can bring to various expeditions, picking a model that has a Hardlex glass would be a terrific option. As previously stated, Hardlex is a material that will not shatter easily, which is good for tight spots and bumpy adventures. Watches That Sport A Hardlex Crystal 1. Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Automatic (SRPF39J1) The Presage collection is one of Seiko’s most recent successes. With the series came this wristwatch — the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Automatic Ref. SRPF39J1. Worth approximately $500 USD, this automatic timepiece stands as an affordable dress watch with an exquisite and unique aesthetics inspired by a cocktail beverage — the margarita. The watch has a 38.5mm stainless steel case paired with a Milanese mesh bracelet. What truly makes this model stand out is its patterned mocha dial. With its pronounced indices and minimalist look, this mocha dial has an alluring face that is also easily legible to the eyes. The dial is protected by a Hardlex crystal, while the watch itself is powered by Seiko’s Caliber 4R35. The 4R35 is an automatic movement that features manual winding and a 41-hour power reserve. Thanks to the Ref. SRPF39J1’s exhibition-style caseback, wearers can view the 4R35 and its many components at work.  Overall, the Seiko Presage Cocktail Time Ref. SRPF39J1 is an astounding watch in many aspects, including its price. Of course, its affordability is related to its use of inexpensive but durable Hardlex crystal. Altogether, you really cannot go wrong with an affordable luxury like this. 2. Seiko Mechanical Cocktail Time (SARB065) The Cocktail Time is a line of hefty and elegant dress watches inspired by cocktail beverages that showcase incredible Japanese watchmaking techniques. For those who are fond of more sizable watches, have a look at the Seiko Mechanical Cocktail Time Ref. SARB065. The wristwatch measures 40mm in diameter and is 13mm thick. Like most Seiko Cocktail Time models, all the attention goes to the unique dial. Protected by a domed Hardlex crystal, the dial has a blue sunburst surface with pointed hour indices and a date window at 3 o’clock. Because of its reflective surface, the Hardlex glass complements the dial and makes it look even glossier. Powering the watch is the Seiko 6R15d caliber movement. The caliber is an automatic movement with manual winding and hacking capabilities. Sheltered by a see-through caseback, the 6R15d has a power reserve that can last up to 50 hours.  The SARB065 comes at an affordable price of approximately $480 USD. Without a doubt, this Seiko Mechanical Cocktail Time is a gorgeous watch. Accompanied by a black semi-gloss leather strap, this timepiece highlights the brilliance of Japanese artistry, craftsmanship, heritage, and expertise. 3. Seiko Prospex PADI Diver Samurai (SRPB99K1) The Seiko Samurai is an iconic watch. It is a timepiece that has received a lot of love and admiration, not only for its marvelous design but also for its top-notch quality and affordable price. Several factors contribute to making the Seiko Samurai so exceptional. Possessing a water resistance rating of up to 200 meters, the Seiko Samurai is fully capable of traversing both shallow and deep waters.  The Seiko Samurai also comes in a sturdy stainless steel case coupled with a bracelet of the same material. On top of its steel exterior are a Hardlex crystal and a unidirectional rotating bezel which sports the highly recognizable Pepsi colors that watch enthusiasts love. Its black dial features a pleasing wave pattern accompanied by thick, outlined hands and indices for optimal legibility. In addition, Seiko equipped the watch with the LumiBrite technology. LumiBrite is another one of Seiko’s trademarks. Aside from providing ample luminescence in dark environments, LumiBrite is also 100% eco-friendly. Operating the Seiko Samurai’s mechanisms is a 4R35 automatic caliber. This movement features manual hacking and winding capabilities and can last up to 41 hours.  The Seiko Samurai is everything a sports enthusiast could ever want. It is the perfect timekeeping companion for you to bring to your different adventures. With its impeccable looks, polished exterior, and sturdy Hardlex glass, this honored timepiece can take on all kinds of hardships, just like an actual Samurai. The Seiko Prospex PADI Diver Samurai costs $490 USD and is one of the best affordable divers watches out there. 4. Pulsar Gents Accelerator Solar Chronograph (PX5019X1) Image By: Pulsar Watches Aside from Seiko watches, Hardlex is also used to protect the dials of Lorus and Pulsar timepieces. One distinguished Pulsar watch that comes to mind is the Pulsar Gents Accelerator PX5019X1. First of all, this watch costs only around $150 USD, which is quite surprising, given its sleek and urban looks. Encased in stainless steel, this wristwatch features a black tachymeter perched on top and is water-resistant up to depths of 10 bars (100 meters). The Pulsar PX6019X1 is also equipped with a pretty intriguing movement. While it is a quartz caliber, the movement is also solar-powered. As a result, its power reserve can last up to an astronomical 4,380 hours — equivalent to 6 months. The dial on top of the movement has a sporty black surface with luminescent hands and indices that provide legibility in the dark.  If you want a multi-faceted watch that is not as expensive as it looks, then the Pulsar Gents Accelerator PX5019X1 is the timepiece for you. Coupled with its protective Hardlex crystal, this model offers functionality, style, and convenience, all for a very affordable price. 5. Lorus Gents Titanium Watch (RXD425L8) As previously mentioned, other brands also equip their watches with Hardlex crystals. For Lorus, they have created a notably affordable and reliable timepiece known as the Gents Titanium Watch RXD425L8. Lorus forged the model with hypoallergenic titanium, allowing wearers with sensitive skin to sport the 35mm RXD425L8 without developing any allergic reactions. Its dial boasts a delightful cream face that has a 24-hour inner chapter ring and a date window at 3 o’clock. Protected by a layer of Hardlex glass, this watch is water-resistant up to depths of 100 meters. Lorus pairs this watch with a military green fabric strap and a reliable quartz movement. What makes titanium such an astounding material is its ability to replicate the sturdiness of steel while weighing much less. With the addition of a Hardlex crystal, the Lorus Gents Titanium proves to be an acutely sturdy and dependable watch that easily aligns itself with other more mainstream military models. Worth approximately $80 USD, this Lorus timepiece is exceedingly budget-friendly. 6. Seiko 5 Sports (SRPD59K1) Seiko 5 Sports is home to a far-reaching variety of sports watches. A distinct model that catches our attention is the SRPD59K1. Retailing at approximately $340 USD, this Seiko 5 Sports timepiece showcases a 42.5mm stainless steel exterior accompanied by a stunning orange dial. Protected by a Hardlex crystal and a unidirectional rotating bezel, the orange dial bears a vibrant aesthetic with geometric indices and thick hands. In the dark, the watch is capable of illuminating itself with Seiko’s LumiBrite technology, offering users a light source to help them read the time efficiently. Below the watch face is a 4R36 movement equipped with a 41-hour power reserve. Sealed by a screwed-down see-through caseback, the Seiko 5 SRPD59K1 possesses a water resistance rating of 100 meters. As watch fanatics would say, the Seiko 5 SRPD59K1 is not a “true” divers watch, as its water resistance capacity is fairly standard. However, if you want a splendid, good-looking timepiece that you can bring for a swim, then this Seiko model will not disappoint. With its stainless steel case, Hardlex glass, and bright orange dial, this watch is affordable, robust, and eye-catching. 7. Seiko 5 Sports (SRPE65K1) Yet another representative from the Seiko 5 Sports collection is the Seiko SRPD65K1, a timepiece with a simple yet handsome black and dark grey design. While the two-tone dial is impressive, to say the least, its hard-coated stainless steel case and bracelet also give the timepiece a PVD-esque look. The SRPD65K1 uses the same automatic movement as the SRPD59K1, listed above. As such, it also has manual hacking and winding capabilities and runs on a power reserve that can last up to 41 hours. The SRPD65K1 bears a water resistance capacity of 100 meters and has LumiBrite technology applied on its hour markers and hands. Sealed off by Hardlex crystals on its front and rear, this Seiko timepiece is approximately worth $400 USD.  There is no going wrong with selecting a watch from the Seiko 5 Sports line. With its affordability and widely recognized looks, the Seiko SRPD65K1 will surely grab the attention of anyone who sees it. The sleek Hardlex glass embedded on top of it not only provides ample protection but also matches the watch’s overall understated looks. Final Thoughts Despite being the go-to watch crystal for lower-priced timepieces, the fact remains that Seiko’s Hardlex is a reliable and sturdy watch glass. While offering wearers a good view of their watch, it can also easily take on a few good hits and some light scratches — making it an excellent and budget-friendly choice. Looking for a REALLY good divers watch? Have a look at Orient’s Mako II. Featured Image By: Shane Lin (from Flickr)

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  4. Seiko SNK809: All About The Best Starter Watch

    Seiko SNK809: All About The Best Starter Watch

    In the watchmaking world, there are certain essential know-hows you want to be aware of if you are at the start of your journey as a collector or an enthusiast. For example, one important detail you need to know is which timepieces are accepted or highly regarded by those in the watch community. While looking through hundreds and thousands of models might seem like an impossible task, starting off by doing research on beginner’s watches will serve as the foundation you need for everything else. With that being said, a handful of the most popular and wide-acclaimed starter timepieces are actually from the Japanese brand Seiko, which is why, today, we will be delving into one of their most marketable beginner models, the Seiko SNK809. Seiko: Through The Years Since their foundation back in 1881, Seiko has become one of the go-to brands for many watch patrons, and for good reason. The Japanese company has a very rich and colorful heritage that has helped shape who they are today. Just like most success stories out there, Seiko’s tale began with a determined protagonist called Kintaro Hattori.  At 21 years old, Hattori opened his very own shop in Tokyo where he sold and repaired all types of timepieces. This business endeavor did better than he could have ever imagined, and in a couple of years, he was able to upgrade to a factory that he dubbed the Seikosha. Seikosha is an amalgamation of two Japanese words that roughly translate to success (Seiko) and house (sha) in English. While it might have seemed like just an old factory to some, the Seikosha symbolized so much more for Hattori and his brand. With the opening of the Seikosha, opportunities came left and right until, eventually, Hattori was able to manufacture his first clock.  The years that followed came with both successes and challenges for Seiko. For example, in 1913, they launched the Laurel, which was the first wristwatch to ever be manufactured in Japan. A decade later, Seiko suffered a massive setback when their entire factory was destroyed by an earthquake. Seiko continued to push forward despite this, releasing the first timepiece with their official Seiko brand name on it in 1924. However, come the 1940s, and Seiko was one of the businesses negatively affected by the World War. These are just some events, out of many others, that makeup Seiko’s interesting history over the years. In a span of 140 years, Seiko has become one of the most established watch manufacturers in the industry. The Japanese brand is known as an innovator that produces accessible timepieces with unmatched quality. From leading the quartz revolution to the creation of numerous digital and analog models, these milestones and breakthroughs have helped in cementing their well-deserved status today. Ultimately, Seiko is a strong and unshakeable presence that is at the forefront of watchmaking, along with other renowned names like Rolex and Patek Philippe. Currently, Seiko offers a vast selection of timepieces that are further categorized into the following collections: Astron, Prospex, Presage, Lukia, Premier, and 5 Sports.   All About the Seiko 5 Sports Collection Our main watch for today, the SNK809, is actually a part of Seiko’s 5 Sports series. This iconic range is arguably the most popular one in the Japanese brand’s arsenal and has been for around 5 decades now. It was first launched in the 1960s and immediately took the world by storm with its unique principal attributes.  This Seiko 5 Sports is called such because it showcases 5 qualities, namely: an automatic movement, a day-date display, excellent water resistance, a deep-set crown, and a durable overall exterior. These features are the very foundation of the collection and can be found in every Seiko 5 Sports model.  Moving on, the Seiko 5 Sports is also considered something of an umbrella, with a bunch of other watch lines under it. These different sub-collections can be distinguished through the first couple of letters on the watch model’s name. For example, at present, the main Seiko 5 Sports pieces in production are those from the SRPD (2019) and the SRPE (2020) lines. On the other hand, they also used to offer the SNK series, which was once one of their most loved selections but is currently not being manufactured anymore. And the model of discussion today, the Seiko SNK809, is from this SNK sub-collection. Unfortunately, this means that the Seiko SNK809 is no longer available directly from Seiko, but we will focus on that later on.  Seiko SNK809: A Closer Look Now that we have established a more solid background about the brand and the collection, let us delve into the Seiko SNK809 itself. As mentioned, the SNK809 belongs to the Seiko 5 Sports range, specifically as a part of their SNK800 line. It was launched around the mid-2000s, along with other models in different color variations. In addition, the SNK800 timepieces primarily showcase aesthetics with an overall vibe that can only be described as something similar to military or field watches. If this is your first time hearing about the Seiko SNK809, it is probably not what you have been expecting after reading about how well-loved it is among watch enthusiasts. While it may not have a particularly avant-garde design or super-advanced mechanisms, the beauty behind this particular timepiece truly lies in its simplicity. Factors like its straightforwardness, accessibility, and how it boasts excellent craftsmanship are just some of the reasons why the Seiko SNK809 is considered one of the best introductory watches out there.  So, let us take a closer look, shall we?  Case First and foremost, the Seiko SNK809 is the picture-perfect example of a watch with a very versatile case. It has a diameter of around 37mm and a thickness of 11mm which makes it quite ideal, in terms of comfort and look, for those with either small or average-sized wrists. In addition, this watch also weighs a total of approximately 50 grams, making it incredibly lightweight and ergonomic.  When it comes to the materials used, the Seiko SNK809 features a 315L stainless steel case with a matte finish. Moreover, protecting the dial is a Hardlex crystal that is kept in place by a fixed bezel. Hardlex is a type of watch crystal specifically used by Seiko for their timepieces and, while it is not as popular as sapphire glass, it definitely does not lose out in terms of durability. In fact, Hardlex is known to be more shatterproof than other crystal materials. As mentioned earlier, one of the key pillars of the Seiko 5 Sports lineup is the unique placement of its deep-set crown. This is clearly seen with SNK809, whose crown is situated at 4 o’clock like the other Seiko 5 Sports models, as opposed to the usual 3 o’clock position seen on the vast majority of timepieces.  Lastly, behind all of this is a transparent case back through which you can get an up-close and personal view of the SNK809’s well-oiled mechanisms.  Dial Moving on to the face of the watch, the SNK809 comes with a strikingly simple and straightforward dial in black. It follows an analog layout with Arabic numerals, luminescent hands, an inner circle featuring the hour markers, and an outer circle with the minutes. Also, going back to the attributes of the Seiko 5 Sports collection, this model has a day-date display at 3 o’clock.  Strap As previously mentioned, the Seiko 5 SNK800 series was released in multiple color variations. The strap and the dial would typically come in the same shade, giving it a slightly monochromatic palette. The Seiko SNK809 was paired with a plain black canvas strap. While this may come off as a little boring to some, Seiko probably opted to go with this because they had the timepiece’s robustness in mind above all else. I personally think that the strap goes really with the sleek titanium case and jet-black dial, especially since it gives off strong military watch vibes. Regardless, for those who want something a little more exciting, there is always an option to swap the band for one that you prefer more.  Technical Details While Seiko is known for producing excellent dive watches, the SNK809 is not one of them. That said, as part of the Seiko 5 Sports range, it does still have water-resistant properties, but only up to depths of 30 meters. This means that the SNK809 can withstand splashes here and there, but should not be used for any underwater activities like swimming or diving.  Furthermore, the Seiko SNK809 is equipped with an in-house 7S26 caliber which follows an automatic movement. This mechanism features 21 jewels, a daily accuracy of -20/+40 seconds, and a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour. Lastly, it also boasts a rather impressive power reserve of up to 41 hours.  To put it simply, the Seiko SNK809 comes with great technical specifications, especially for a starter watch.  Price  The Seiko SNK809 was priced at approximately $100 USD when it first came out. While it is still in the same price range today, you can definitely get it at a lower cost from resellers online, depending on its condition. Its affordability from the get-go, paired with its amazing quality, is why the SNK809 is considered by many to be an excellent choice for a starter watch.  Who should get the Seiko SNK809?  Watch Collectors (Beginners). The Seiko SNK809 is widely known as a great introductory watch for those at the start of their watch collection journey. There are many factors that contribute to this reputation, such as how it exhibits quality Japanese craftsmanship, its affordability, and its unassuming aesthetics. If you are a new watch collector, you should definitely look out for this timepiece, because it makes for a solid addition to your personal range. Patrons of Seiko. For a brand that has been in the industry for over a century, it is only expected for Seiko to have a long list of iconic timepieces. While the SNK809 did not break any world records, it still became one of their most popular watches. This model is definitely a must-have for fans of the Japanese manufacturer, just because of its sheer impact on the watchmaking community which can still be felt today. Those on the Hunt for an Affordable, Quality Timepiece. This one is self-explanatory, especially after discussing the specs and affordability of the SNK809. Needless to say, it would be difficult to find a timepiece that shares the same excellent craftsmanship, reasonable price, and solid reputation as the Seiko SNK809. Where to get the Seiko SNK809? As previously mentioned, Seiko has stopped manufacturing the SNK series, which means that the SNK809 cannot be purchased directly from Seiko anymore. However, with a simple Google search, you will find that you still have a chance to get your hands on an SNK809 timepiece through online resellers. In addition, this particular model is currently available on Amazon for around $94 USD.  Be that as it may, if the SNK809 pieces online are not accessible for you, we have compiled a list of alternative models with a similar vibe to the SNK809 that you might want to check out. 5 Similar Models  Here are some watches that can serve as excellent alternatives to the Seiko SNK809.  Seiko 5 Sports SRPG33K1 Starting off with a watch from the same family as the SNK809, the Seiko SRPG33K1 is a very similar model in terms of the overall design. This watch makes for a great, more vibrant alternative that is readily available right now.  The Seiko SRPG33K1 comes in a stainless steel case along with a nylon bracelet in green. The forest green dial, which is protected by Hardlex crystal as well, features luminescent hands, Arabic numeral markers, and a day-date window at 3 o’clock. However, some notable differences are that the Seiko SRPG33K1 has an additional 24-hour dial layout and its crown is positioned at 3 o’clock.  When it comes to the technical specs, The Seiko SRPG33K1 still follows an automatic movement but is powered by a 4R36 caliber instead. The SRPG33K1 also has the same 41-hour power reserve but provides a better water resistance capacity at 100 meters.  Seiko 5 Sports SRPE69K1 Next up, we have another piece from the Seiko 5 Sports range, called the SRPE69K1. This model has a distinctly different design but gives off the same robust military watch vibe as the Seiko SNK809. It is a lovely option if you want a watch with a perfect balance of similarities to and differences from the SNK809.  The SRPE69K1 is presented in a stainless steel case paired with a black nylon strap. Its dial, which features a matte black finish, consists of hour markers in various shapes, slightly rounded hands, a minute track on the rim, and a day-date window. The layout of this model is definitely less busy than the SNK809’s, but it also comes with the signature crown positioning at 4 o’clock.  Moreover, this particular watch is powered by an automatic 4R36 caliber with a power reserve of 41 hours. Lastly, it boasts an excellent water resistance capacity of up to 100 meters as well.  Orient Sports RA-AC0H03B10A The Orient Sports RA-AC0H03B10A is a relatively popular model from another Japanese brand. It practically follows the same dial layout as the Seiko SNK809, which is why it is on this list. This timepiece is definitely an excellent alternative to check out as well! The Orient RA-AC0H03B10A comes in a stainless steel case with a classy leather bracelet in black. Much like the SNK809, its dial consists of luminescent hands, Arabic numeral markers, an inner circle for the hours, and an outer circle for the minutes. Aside from the crown position, the only other difference between the two watches is that this Orient model only has a date window rather than a day-date display.  Furthermore, the RA-AC0H03B10A is powered by an automatic F6722 caliber with a power reserve of 40 hours. It also has a water resistance rating of 100 meters, which means it can be used for various water activities.  Citizen Eco-Drive Chandler BM8180-03E The Citizen Chandler is a military-inspired model, just like the Seiko SNK809. This is the perfect accessible alternative for those who want a more sustainable option.  The Chandler comes in a stainless steel case with a woven strap in an army green shade. The black dial features Arabic numeral markers, large luminous hands, and a day-date window at 3 o’clock. This layout is similar to the SNK809, as this model also has hour markers on the main face and minute markers on the outline of the dial.  Unlike the SNK809, the Chandler is equipped with Citizen’s Eco-Drive technology, which utilizes light energy to power the watch. Lastly, just like the many other models on this list, it also boasts a 100-meter water resistance rating.  Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical H69439531 The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical is the only option on this list that is not from a Japanese brand. Regardless, it is a suitable alternative because it also draws inspiration from the military, which happens to make up a huge aspect of Hamilton’s heritage. The Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical features a stainless steel case paired with a brown NATO strap. The black dial consists of a minute track on the outline, a 24-hour layout, luminescent hands, and Arabic numeral markers. Unlike the SNK809 and the other models previously mentioned, this Hamilton Khaki Field does not have a day-date window.  In terms of movement, this watch is powered by an H-50 caliber that boasts an impressive power reserve of 80 hours. It has a 50-meter water resistance rating, which is just slightly better than the Seiko SNK809.  Final Thoughts  The Seiko SNK809 is one of the best affordable starter watches out there. Regardless of whether you are a collector or not, this particular timepiece is one that you should not miss out on if you want a good quality watch at a reasonable price. Aside from that, it also has a good reputation in the watchmaking community, which makes it even more appealing than it already is.  Photo Credits: Seiko, Amazon, and Official Brand Websites Want to read more about Japanese timepieces? Make sure to check out our article on the Orient Kamasu.

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  5. Top 20 Eco-Friendly Watches for Enthusiasts with Green Thumbs

    Top 20 Eco-Friendly Watches for Enthusiasts with Green Thumbs

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

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  6. Seiko SARB017: The Iconic Alpinist Watch

    Seiko SARB017: The Iconic Alpinist Watch

    The Seiko Alpinist line is home to many high-quality Japanese hiking watches. Amidst the various stunning models, the collection contains the Seiko SARB017 Alpinist. Created in 2006, the Seiko SARB017 is probably the most iconic piece in this renowned series. While the main purpose of this timepiece is to be a reliable timekeeper for mountain climbers, it also carries an exclusive and luxurious design that keeps wearers and on-lookers constantly fascinated, no matter how many times they look at it. Even though the Seiko SARB017 was discontinued a few years ago, it continues to be highly sought-after by all sorts of enthusiasts and collectors from the watch community.  In this review, we will be inspecting the various specifications of the Seiko SARB017 Alpinist, to see just why there is so much undying hype surrounding this timepiece. Furthermore, we will also be taking a look at some excellent alternative models from the Seiko Prospex and the Citizen Automatic lines, to see how they compare against the Seiko SARB017 in terms of quality, characteristics, and price. Without further ado, let us have a go at the Seiko SARB017 Alpinist. Specifications Case Dimensions Most people would agree that the Seiko SARB017 Alpinist perfectly hits the sweet spot with its size. The SARB017 features a proportionate, well-sized case that measures 39mm in diameter, including its crown. It has a thickness of 12mm and has a slim lug width of 20mm. Lug-to-lug, the SARB017 measures around 47mm, which is also quite reasonable. In terms of weight, the watch weighs 79g, so it does not have much heft at all, which makes it light and easy to carry around on your wrist. Altogether, the timepiece can certainly fit comfortably on all kinds of wrists without looking too meagre or too bulky. Additionally, the Seiko SARB017 has a good curvature profile on its lugs, which makes it fit more cleanly on owners with small wrists while still being adequate to wear for those with larger wrist sizes. This model is pretty slim and compact, so you will not have to worry too much about accidentally bumping the wristwatch into things. Stainless Steel Case and Bi-directional Compass Bezel Seiko crafted the case of the SARB017 entirely out of stainless steel. Smoothly beveled throughout, the steel casing showcases a sleek exterior with a blend of brushed and polished surfaces that play around with light nicely. Fixed on top of the case is a stainless steel bezel that fits the watch case perfectly. The bezel of the Seiko SARB017 serves a unique purpose. While its outer portion is stationary and does not offer much beyond the protection of the dial, the inner section of the bezel wields the SARB017’s internal compass. The internal compass contains the directions, indices, and degrees that you can usually find in most compass watches. Printed in clear white and red, the labels are pretty small-scale but are still legible enough for wearers to easily read. The internal compass is neatly designed and does not compromise the dial’s elegant aesthetic. With the bi-directional compass bezel, wearers can use this Seiko timepiece to navigate through all sorts of terrains. For those who plan on bringing the Seiko SARB017 to their expeditions, this is a very welcome feature indeed. On the right side of the timepiece are two screw-down crowns. One is positioned at 3 o’clock, while the other can be found at the 4 o’clock position. The 3 o’clock knob carries a delicate “S” engraving and allows for manual hacking and winding. Those who possess this watch will know that turning the 3 o’clock crown also produces a distinguishable noise. Surrounding it are adequately-sized crown guards large enough to protect the crown well without hampering the wearer’s grip. The 4 o’clock knob, on the other hand, is used to manipulate the internal compass bezel. At first, wearers may find the compass a bit tricky to use, as the watch does not feature a compass hand, which can make it a little complex to read. In this case, the Seiko SARB017 comes with an instruction manual that informs users on how to operate the bezel. If you do not have the manual, there are also guides and videos online, made by owners of Seiko SARB017 timepieces, that will help you get accustomed to it. On the back of the SARB017 timepiece is a solid stainless steel caseback, which is screwed down for maximum security. While it would have been rather delightful to be able to view the movement through an exhibition-style caseback, the solid steel rear ensures that nothing can enter the watch from the outside, keeping the inner mechanisms safe from damage.  While the Seiko SARB017 is technically a mountaineering watch, it bears a water resistance capacity akin to that of a diver’s timepiece. Locked by screw-down crowns and a solid steel caseback, the watch can withstand up to 200m/20atm of water pressure. With that much water resistance, wearers can bring the SARB017 to any water sports and activities, from washing their hands to shallow diving. Honestly, this water resistance rating is more than enough for a wristwatch made for the mountains. Green Sunburst Dial The true highlight of the Seiko SARB017 is its dial, which features a green sunburst surface that plays around with light spectacularly. Depending on the light and angle, the face of the watch can promptly change from bright and pleasant emerald green to darker and more sincere jade green. On the outer rim of the watch dial, you can find a date window at 3 o’clock, Arabic numerals, and hour markers, all with gold-colored accents. Towards the center of the green watch face is an exclusive handset showcasing cathedral-themed minute and hour hands. There are not many inscriptions labeled on the dial. The only engravings you can find are Seiko’s signature and a few specifications about the watch’s movement and water resistance. As with many of Seiko’s models, the SARB017 uses the brand’s patented and eco-friendly LumiBrite technology for its luminescence. Seiko has always done a fantastic job when it comes to applying lume to their various watches. Though the lume pips of the SARB017 are pretty minuscule, the dial still manages to glow impressively in the dark. However, there is one downside. While the brightness does not disappoint, there is a bit of a problem with the watch’s overall legibility. Due to how Seiko designed the pips of the SARB017, identifying where the watch hands are pointing to can be a challenge in very dark environments. For a situation like this, you would probably have to take a closer look to really puzzle out the time. On the whole, the dial is not just lovely but also pretty well-balanced. Bearing only the essentials of a traditional Seiko watch, the dial is clean, uncluttered, and easy to read and admire. Along with the inner compass bezel, the Seiko SARB017’s dial looks unique while still remaining modest and elegant to the eyes. Sapphire Glass The Seiko SARB017 uses a sapphire crystal to protect its gorgeous green dial. Knowing how luxurious this material is, it can be relatively uncommon to find sapphire glass in a watch of this category and price range. Of course, with its luxury comes quality. As many of us are aware, sapphire glass is virtually scratch-proof. Rated “9” on the Mohs scale of hardness, the scratch-resistance of sapphire glass can only be outdone by diamonds. Keep in mind, however, that the sapphire crystal of the SARB017 does not come with an anti-reflective coating, so you might find yourself impeded by light glares in brightly lit areas. The sapphire crystal is flat and slightly raised above the case, which neatly matches the simple, measured, and elegant aesthetic of this Seiko watch. Seiko Calibre 6R15 Operating beneath the beautiful emerald green dial of the Seiko SARB017 is a Seiko Calibre 6R15 movement. Like many of the brand’s in-house movements, the automatic Calibre 6R15 uses the Seiko Diashock anti-shock system. This prevents the movement’s mechanisms from accumulating excess wear and tear. Paired with a power reserve that can last the watch up to 50 hours, the Calibre 6R15 can produce a total of 21,600 vibrations per hour. In terms of its precision, the Seiko 6R15 has an accuracy of +25/-15 seconds per day. Though it is an automatic movement, the Seiko 6R15 also has manual winding and hacking capabilities, which allows wearers to adjust the time more accurately. Patterned Leather Strap Seiko pairs the SARB017 with a classic brown patterned leather strap. That said, despite its comfortable fit, many owners of the Seiko SARB017 found the leather band to be a not-so-favorite part of this watch. This is largely due to the strap’s slightly plastic feel, which makes it a little stiff to wear. Thankfully, this wristwatch has a universal 20mm lug width, which allows users to easily replace the patterned leather strap with any other kind of after-market strap of their choice. As such, you can decide to either keep the strap or swap it for some other bracelet that perfectly suits your preferences. Price Before Seiko discontinued the SARB017 in 2018, the timepiece would retail at around $450 USD to $550 USD in Japanese domestic markets. Furthermore, as a member of the prestigious Seiko Alpinist line, this Seiko wristwatch is not something you can find just anywhere. Thankfully, there are sellers online who are currently in possession of a number of Seiko SARB017 pieces. Due to its demand and rarity, dealers tend to sell this Seiko timepiece for a much higher price than retail. An unworn SARB017 would generally cost you between $890 USD and $1,400 USD. If that seems a little too expensive for your budget, do not fret, for we have also found a Seiko SARB017 in good condition, selling at just $579 USD.  Alternatives Can’t find the watch anywhere? Not a fan of certain specifications? Whatever the case may be, we have prepared for you a list of excellent alternatives that nicely match the sleek aesthetics and overall feel of the SARB017 while costing you only a little more or a little less. Note that the prices listed below are approximate values as prices can vary depending on the dealer. Seiko Prospex SBDC091/SPB121J1 – $700 USD Just at a single glance, anyone can see that the Seiko Prospex SBDC091/SPB121J1‘s resemblance to the Seiko SARB017 Alpinist is uncanny. Before we proceed, you might be wondering why this Seiko Prospex model has two reference numbers. To make things clear, SBDC091 is the original reference number used locally in Japan, while SPB121J1 is its international reference number. Factually speaking, both reference numbers are correct. Seiko released the SBDC091/SPB121J1 in 2020, under the Prospex line. This timepiece was dubbed the Seiko Prospex Alpinist and features a slew of refined specs and up-to-date technology while still retaining the excellent qualities of the original 2006 model. So, just what is new with the Seiko Prospex Alpinist SBDC091/SPB121J1? Several things, to be precise. First of all, this 2020 Alpinist edition is a millimeter thicker than the SARB017. Instead of having a leather strap like the previous SARB017, Seiko couples the SBDC091/SPB121J1 with a new leather band made of calfskin. The calfskin band bears a lighter shade of brown and feels much smoother and more comfortable than the 2006 variant. Aside from that, the SBDC091/SPB121J1 also carries a new and improved sapphire crystal, which Seiko has treated with a layer of anti-reflective coating. With the addition of a cyclops lens on the sapphire crystal, wearers can also have a better view of the date window. As you look at the beguiling green dial, you will notice the Seiko Prospex logo and other compact inscriptions.  The differences don’t just stop there. Underneath the dial is an automatic Seiko 6R35 Caliber that runs numerous mechanisms within the timepiece. Compared to the 6R15 Caliber of its predecessor, the slightly larger 6R35 contains 24 jewels and has a power reserve that can last a whopping 70 hours. With the addition of 20 more hours of power reserve, owners of the SBDC091/SPB121J1 will not even have to wind their watches on the weekends. Apart from those differences, the 6R35 works just as well as the 6R15. It is just as accurate in timekeeping and produces the same number of vibrations per hour. That said, another difference between the two Alpinist models lies in their rear cases. While the SARB017 uses a solid stainless steel caseback to cover its hind end, the SBDC091/SPB121J1 showcases the beauty of the Seiko 6R35 movement through a highly secure see-through rear case. Lastly, we can compare and contrast the availability of the SARB017 and the SBDC091/SPB121J1. Since Seiko ceased production of the SARB017 back in 2018, stocks are limited, which, in turn, has affected its pricing. As stated previously, most SARB017 timepieces these days can cost you anything between $890 USD and $1,400 USD. On the other hand, if you find that a little exorbitant, you can opt for the SBDC091/SPB121J1 instead. Since the SBDC091/SPB121J1 is still being produced by Seiko and is, therefore, easier to find. It retails at a more budget-friendly price of $700 USD. Citizen Automatic NJ2198-16X Mechanical Field Watch – $170 USD If you are on a budget and cannot deal with the Seiko SARB017’s elevated prices, Citizen has a neat and affordable alternative for you. The Citizen Automatic NJ2198-16X is a green dial compass watch that proves to be highly competitive despite its lower retail price of $170 USD. That said, compared to the Seiko SARB017, the price of the Citizen NJ2198-16X does reflect some cuts in terms of quality. So, what are we getting from this watch with the $170 USD price tag, and how exactly does it fare against the SARB017? Let us find out. The Citizen NJ2198-16X comes in a 46mm stainless steel case. It has a bottle cap rotating compass bezel with very pronounced directions and degrees printed in white. Since this is a timepiece that costs less than $200 USD, it is no surprise that the watch uses a mineral crystal instead of luxury-grade sapphire. Mineral crystals are certainly more limited in terms of resistance, but they can still handle some light scratching. Furthermore, they might actually be more impact-resistant than sapphire glass is. The NJ2198-16X also boasts a screwed-down solid steel case rear which has a smoothly polished surface and some inscriptions on its outer rim. With all its exterior components, this Citizen watch is water-resistant up to depths of 100m. Citizen pairs the NJ2198-16X with a textile black and white leather strap. Apart from sharing the same green hue, the dial of this Citizen watch is quite different from the Seiko SARB017. Its boasts sizable Arabic numerals and thick hour indices. There is not much on the dial, except for the brand signature and the “automatic” specification of its movement. The true standout of the dial is its eccentric handset. It has a stubby minute hand and a red-outlined hour hand that resembles the standard-issue dark lightsaber of The Empire in Star Wars. The second hand has a white bubble and a red tip on its end. Visually, the dial comes off as a little plainer than both the SARB017 and its 2020 re-edition. Still, it does not look bad at all, with a clean aesthetic and well-spaced elements that are easy to read. Controlling the different gears and mechanisms of the NJ2198-16X is an automatic Citizen 8210 Caliber. Held together by 21 jewels, this mechanical movement produces 21,600 vibrations per hour and is manually hackable. It also possesses a power reserve of up to 40 hours. Not bad for a $170 USD timepiece.  While the Citizen NJ2198-16X is not quite up to par compared to the Seiko SARB017, it still proves to be an efficient timekeeper at a much more affordable price. If you are on a tight budget and appreciate its looks and qualities, the Citizen NJ2198-16X remains a good option. Final Thoughts Many would consider Seiko an underrated brand, not just because of its popularity, but on account of its reputation. As many of us know, Seiko, and Grand Seiko, are known for making stellar timepieces that step up to the quality of the likes of Rolex and Omega. Unfortunately, Seiko is commonly associated with mall brands, which, does not give it the same prestigious image as other Swiss watchmakers. Those who know the Japanese brand well agree that Seiko does not get the credit it rightfully deserves. All things considered, no words can rightfully describe how astounding this Seiko watch truly is. For something as relatively affordable as it is, you cannot go wrong with the Seiko SARB017. Boasting numerous hiking capabilities while still appearing sleek and stylish, it is easy to see why everyone wants to get their hands on this brilliant Seiko timepiece. Whether it is for navigating the mountains or upping your dress game at prestigious events, the SARB017 can get the job done right. It is a shame that, with its discontinuation, this iconic watch is not so easy to find nowadays. That said, while the Seiko SARB017 is indeed a rare specimen, its alternatives, the Citizen Automatic NJ2198-16X and the Seiko Prospex SBDC091/SPB121J1, are easier to find and are pretty nifty as well. Want to learn more about watch movements? Why not check out the most iconic caliber of them all, the Valjoux/ETA 7750. All photos credited to WatchShopping.com

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  7. Orient Kamasu: A Guide To The Expert Diver’s Watch

    Orient Kamasu: A Guide To The Expert Diver’s Watch

    Ever since Orient entered into the world of horology, it has received a great deal of respect in the community for producing high-quality, well-designed timepieces. All of their watches are made to honor Japan’s traditions and values. When you wear a Japanese watch, it is not just about wearing it to complete your newest fashionable look. Rather, you are actually wearing a piece of the country’s state-of-the-art technology, as is the case with the Orient Kamasu Red and Orient Kamasu Green models.  Since they are both renowned Japanese brands, Orient watches are often mistaken for and even compared to Seiko watches. These two popular watchmaking brands have their own individual expertise in craftsmanship and different inspirations for producing watches. While Orient is part of the Seiko Group, they can still be considered two different brands as both are distinct when it comes to their operations and productions.  Today, let us get into the Orient Kamasu, which is one of the toughest competitors to the Seiko SKX line. Read more about the Orient Kamasu’s exceptional qualities below and see just why it is one of the most popular timepieces today. Get To Know The Orient Kamasu  The Kamasu collection got its name from a distinctive sea creature, which is the Barracuda. Barracudas are big and fearsome fishes that are widely considered to be strong and inquisitive. Its long and thin body allows it to move rapidly, at speeds of around 36 mph (58 kph). Despite its terrifying appearance, the barracuda is an animal that receives utmost interest from professional divers around the world. The Orient Kamasu mirrors the fish’s features, specifically the teeth, which are mimicked through the sharp, triangular indices and handset of the Kamasu. Since its release in 2019, the Orient Kamasu has thrived among the thousands of dive watches on the market. This is largely due to its superior elements, robust functions, and much more affordable prices compared to other brands. One of the Kamasu’s most remarkable highlights is its wearability. Most users cannot deny the fact how smooth the watch feels against the wrist. Its solid structure, with polished surfaces and no sharp edges, also gives off the impression of being very well-crafted. One improvement Orient has made with the Kamasu is that it fixes the problems of old Orient watches, such as the lack of hand-winding, hacking movement, and poor hand functions. To address these shortcomings, Orient has equipped the Kamasu with a new automatic caliber that has increased accuracy of ±15 seconds from -25/+35  seconds accuracy per day and comes with a stops-second function. This caliber is used in a number of Orient Kamasu variants, including the Orient Kamasu Red Ref. RA-AA0003R19A, the Orient Kamasu Green Ref. RA-AA0004E19A, the Orient Kamasu Blue Ref. RA-AA0006L19A, and more.  Orient Kamasu’s Specifications and Overview An affordable price does not have to equate to low-quality and poor performance, and the Orient Kamasu is certainly proof of that. If you are planning to purchase a reliable dive watch, but you’re also working with a tight budget, look no further than the Orient Kamasu collection. Let us take a deeper look at its features and functions. Case Case Diameter: 41.8mmCase Thickness: 12.8mmCase Material: Stainless steelBand Width: 22mmLug-to-lug Distance: 46.8mmThe case is a crucial component of any watch, and as such Orient devoted a great deal of effort into creating a good one for the Orient Kamasu. The Kamasu has a well-proportioned case size of 41.8mm and a lug-to-lug distance of 46.8mm with a 22mm lug width, so it can fit comfortably on the wrists of both men and women. Despite being a robust watch, the Kamasu is not too bulky or sporty and is just versatile enough to fit most fashion senses. The case itself is crafted from corrosion-resistant stainless steel, with a brushed surface on top and well-polished surfaces on the sides. Stainless steel is not just anti-corrosive but is also impact-proof and able to withstand being accidentally knocked around, especially when used in everyday life. This durability makes the Orient Kamasu perfect for people with adventurous and outdoorsy lifestyles. You will also notice the Kamasu’s properly curved lugs, tucked without reaching beyond the bottom of the screw-down caseback and with no harsh edges. The curved lugs sit well on the wrist, making the experience of wearing this watch a comfortable one that will not wear your wrist out throughout the day. In addition, the brand’s craftsmanship is shown in the gradual transition from having a brushed finish to a polished finish. Using solid, dense materials like stainless steel can sometimes make a case too heavy for a wearer, especially for those with more petite wrists. However, the Orient Kamasu only weighs 6oz, or 170g, which is considered quite lightweight for a dive watch. Its overall case design is also reminiscent of a traditional sports watch, so people who prefer a sportier vibe will be quite satisfied with the Kamasu. Dial The dials in the Orient Kamasu come in a variety of colors like red, dark green, blue, and black. Perhaps the favorite of most watch enthusiasts is the wine red dial. The subtle gradient red dial with a ruby sunburst pattern shines impeccably when reflected under direct light. As mentioned, the triangular hour and minute markers, as well as the thick handset, are all inspired by the Barracuda’s sharp teeth. The second hand is the most distinctive of all, as it has a thin and long shape, stretching up to reach the minute markers and give an accurate reading of time.  All Orient Kamasu watches are equipped with day and date displays that are nicely framed at the 3 o’clock position. You can see that the numerals in the date display are perfectly sized so as to be clearly visible regardless of the lighting conditions. LumiBrite technology is also added to indices, the handset, and the day and date aperture to give you a handy glow-in-the-dark watch when in the dark. On the dial, you can find the brand’s name, logo, the water-resistance capacity of the watch, and the movement used, all delicately printed and spaced out. Unlike other dive watches, the Orient Kamasu does not come with a chapter ring that makes the dial appear larger, which is a rather unique choice. Instead, the Kamasu maintains a slim and lightweight appearance.  Crown and Bezel The Orient Kamasu also features a secure screw-down crown, placed in the customary 3 o’clock position. It has the Orient logo engraved into it, and is well-sized, just enough to be functional and easy to grip. The solid teeth-shaped ridges also help to provide the wearer a more secure hold on the crown. As with most Japan-made crowns, the crown of the Kamasu is waterproof, styled to have a long post and a direct o-ring gasket. You might observe that the Orient Kamasu’s crown is slightly smaller compared to other watch brands. This is intentionally done so that the crown will not get in the way, scratching against the wearer’s wrist or getting easily damaged. The crown is often one of the most vulnerable parts of a watch, so Orient has designed it to be slightly smaller, with secure crown guards for extra protection. In addition, the Kamasu also has a 120-click unidirectional bezel, a standard requirement for diving watches. It rotates counter-clockwise providing a safe and consistent pattern for divers to track their bottom times. That said, if you are a professional diver, you know that the deeper you dive into the depths of the ocean, the darker it is, and the poorer your visibility will be. To ameliorate this, Orient has equipped the Kamasu with a luminescent bezel for accurate timekeeping even underwater. The 120-click function of the bezel also gives you better and more precise accuracy when aligning the zero markers at the bezel tip to the minute hand. Bracelet The Kamasu watches come in either stainless steel bracelets or rubber straps, depending on which model you choose to have. The stainless steel bracelets are water-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and able to withstand variations in temperature. They are easy to clean, and because of the material, do not soak up or retain any kind of sweat after thorough exercise. Stainless steel bracelets can be a little heavy on the wrist, but they are also very versatile and can blend well with almost any style.  On the other hand, if you frequently engage in water activities, rubber straps might be preferable. Rubber is best used underwater. They are built from materials like silicone and polyurethane, which tend to be more lightweight, comfortable, and incredibly resistant to water. So if you intend to regularly exercise the Orient Kamasu’s capabilities as a dive watch, you might want to opt for a rubber strap. Movement An F6922 Caliber Automatic powers all the models under the Kamasu collection. It is a self-winding, automatic movement equipped with 22 jewels. This powerful in-house movement provides functions including hours, minutes, central sweep seconds, and a day/date indicator. Orient has claimed that the movement comes with an accuracy of -15 seconds to +25 seconds a day. Of course, this depends on the surrounding temperature, as well as the winding mechanism and the dial’s position. The F6922 Caliber comes with a 40-hour power reserve, which is more than sufficient for a modern mid-range dive watch today. It also has self-winding and hacking features, which are great additions to this movement, since many other dive watches lack them. You just have to make sure to carefully maintain the accuracy of the watch by wearing it for at least eight hours a day and setting the date within the hours of 8:00pm and 4:00am. Top Orient Kamasu Watches 1. Orient Kamasu Red RA-AA0003R19A For a price of just $280 USD, you can get this beautifully masculine Orient Kamasu Red. The case of this watch is almost exactly like that of the Orient Ray II. It is 41.8mm wide and measures 46.88mm from lug to lug, large enough to fit well on any man’s wrist. The bracelet is made of 316L stainless steel with a push-button deployant clasp. The bracelet uses a solid, Oyster-style link, so you don’t have to worry about its durability. The jet-black bezel also stands out from the usual dive watches in the market, with dotted patterns in between bold white numerals. The real highlight of the Orient Kamasu Red, however, is the red sunburst pattern on the dial, especially when positioned at the right angle, and with perfect lighting. At the 3 o’clock position is the day and date aperture, enclosed in a silver frame and placed against a white background. The color combination of red, white, and silver against the wine-red dial provides a good contrast, giving the wearer a clear and visible display. 2. Orient Kamasu Blue RA-AA0002L19A Another variation of the Orient Kamasu is the model with a deep blue dial and bezel. Just like the other pieces, this can be bought for $280 USD. This price is a great deal for a dive watch, especially given its top-notch features and functions. The Orient Kamasu blue has a 41.8mm size diameter, which is great for those who want a mid-sized watch with a comfortably lightweight profile for water activities. The contrast of its smooth silver finish and royal blue bezel and dial adds a level of class and elegance, so you could easily wear this watch to more formal suit-and-tie occasions as well. As with other Kamasu watches, this Orient Kamasu Blue comes with a flat sapphire crystal. Sapphire is one of the hardest materials used in luxury watches. Not only is it scratch-resistant, but it is also durable enough to withstand impacts, cracks, and breaks, unlike glass or plastic materials. The use of sapphire gives the dial a great deal of protection. 3. Orient Kamasu Black RA-AA0005B19A The Orient Kamasu Black RA-AA0005B19A is the latest addition to the Kamasu collection. Despite looking strikingly different from most other Kamasu models, it retails at the same affordable price of $280 USD, making this a piece worth checking out indeed. This model of the Orient Kamasu features gold accents on its bezel, indices, and hands set that contrast handsomely with the sharp black dial and strap. A slim profile highlights the entire case, giving it an air of sophistication that makes it a good match for any outfit and occasion. This model has a different look than the others in this collection. It uses silicone as its strap material instead. Silicone is a good material for sports watches since it is highly resistant to low and high temperatures. It is also more flexible and does not hurt the wrist, especially when you are doing intense sports activities. The Orient Kamasu Black also uses an Ardillon buckle for the clasp, adding a classic and simple look that’s well-suited for men. This is a more traditional option for watchmakers who want to design an easy-to-wear watch. This kind of clasp only needs to be clipped onto the buckle and pinned securely on the wrist. It has a flatter profile, a more classic design, and is less expensive. One problem with this clasp is that the Ardillon buckle can sometimes come open while being worn, so wearers have to be careful with this watch to make sure it does not fall off unexpectedly. 4. Orient Kamasu Green RA-AA0004E19A The Orient Kamasu Green RA-AA0004E19A is another best-selling timepiece for men. Just like the previous watches, it has a 41.8mm stainless steel case and 47mm lug-to-lug length. For a price of $280, it showcases a dark green dial with a beautiful sunburst pattern, which changes its color depending on the reflection of light. This timepiece also comes with a matching dark green bezel, with its 60-minute scale printed on it in a contrasting white hue. The Barracuda-inspired indices of the Orient Kamasu Green are generously coated with luminous material, which is very important for a dive watch, as it guarantees optimal readability even in dim lighting conditions. A substantial power reserve of 40 hours ensures that you don’t have to constantly wind this watch to keep it running. Orient Kamasu vs Seiko SKX  Anyone interested in the horology industry knows that these two lines of Japanese watches are always compared with each other. In fact, the Orient Kamasu and Seiko SKX are likely each other’s greatest competitors in the industry of watchmaking. They both set a high standard for entry-level dive watches in the market.  Though Orient is part of the Seiko Group, it maintains itself as a distinctive brand, with its own unique timepieces and innovations. Although Orient watches tend to be of slightly inferior quality compared to Seiko timepieces, the Kamasu collection was specially designed to be an improvement on the old models, featuring cutting-edge innovation and top-notch craftsmanship. It is Orient’s crowning glory, both in terms of aesthetics and functions offered. Combined with the fact that it is available at a very competitive price, the Orient Kamasu’s superior aspects cannot be ignored by many watch collectors. So, how exactly does the Kamasu fare against the Seiko SKX? Firstly, the case of the Seiko SKX has a polished finish, with slender curves and no sharp edges. It has a slightly larger case size of 42.3mm and offers a variety of colors for the dial. And to support the inner adventurer in you, it uses Seiko’s Hardlex crystal, which is proven to be resistant to everyday wear and tear, to protect the dial. An ISO-certified 200-meter water resistance capacity is another great feature that the watch possesses, as wearers can bring the Seiko SKX with them to poolside diving, swimming, snorkeling, and other such water activities. The Orient Kamasu, on the other hand, is lightly brushed on the top. It features the Orient brand logo delicately carved into its case back. A closer look at the dial reveals to you a beguiling and subtle gradient texture, which is great for those who don’t want a dial with just one solid color. To protect its dial, it uses a sapphire crystal, which is also known to be extremely scratch-resistant and is commonly used in durable watches. The Kamasu watches have a smaller case size of 41.8mm, so they can be worn more comfortably by both men and women. While the Orient Kamasu does not have an ISO rating, it does feature the same 200-meter water resistance, just like the Seiko SKX. The movement used is also a big determiner in the competition between these two watches. The Kamasu’s Caliber F6922 is an innovative movement with features like hand-winding and hacking and features +25 / -15 seconds accuracy per day. The Seiko SKX, on the other hand, only provides an accuracy of +50/-20 per day and does not come with hand-winding or hacking functions. In terms of the accuracy of timekeeping and the robustness of the features offered, the Kamasu clearly wins this round. Price is yet another deciding factor between these two models. Orient retails at a lower price of $280 USD, while the Seiko SKX can be purchased for an approximate price of $400 USD. Note also that the SKX collection has been discontinued; as such, prices may change depending on the independent seller you are dealing with. Most people can tell you that Seiko SKX is a popular, historical, and established collection of dive watches. On the other hand, the Orient Kamasu is a perfect example of a new challenger, a risk-taker that gives you a better value for money. All of its watches are made to give a modern, youthful look for a wearer. Final Thoughts If you are planning to get yourself a practical and functional diver’s watch, the Orient Kamasu will definitely be a great pick for you. On the whole, it offers plenty of features for a very affordable price point. The sapphire crystal, 40-hour power reserve, hardy stainless steel case, robust Caliber F6922, handy uni-directional bezel, secure screw-down crown, and wide range of models available for your choosing are more than enough to justify the affordable $280 USD price.  The Orient Kamasu will make for a great companion during your outdoor activities. Not only does it come with many useful functions to fulfill your every need, but its versatile look, which is not too sporty or bulky, also makes it great for everyday wear. Looking for a dive watch that would allow you to explore even greater ocean depths? Check out our list of recommended Deep-Sea Dive Watches and find a watch perfect for your next deep-sea mission.  Photo credits: All photos courtesy of the brand’s official websites.

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  8. A Guide To Buying The Perfect IWC Portofino

    A Guide To Buying The Perfect IWC Portofino

    The IWC Portofino is a diverse collection of exceptional timepieces. With hand-wound, automatic, chronograph, moon phase, and even tourbillon models, the Portofino is as eclectic as it gets. Despite having a great variety of models, the IWC Portofino collection adheres to tradition as its cornerstone concept. IWC is a Swiss watchmaking brand renowned for its excellent quality and timeless designs. In this guide, we will help you discover all you need to know about the IWC Portofino. Furthermore, we will also take a look at some of the different pieces in the series and find out which Portofino truly belongs to your wrist. History of the IWC Portofino Image By: IWC Schaffhausen The story of the IWC Portofino began in the 1980s when watchmakers around the world were still recovering from the quartz crisis. While other brands were looking for modern ways to remain relevant in changing times, IWC decided to look further into the past. Instead of looking for contemporary methods to create new timepieces, the brand stuck to more conventional roots by seeking inspiration from an ageless design that has proven itself time and time again. For this, they looked to one of the most prolific watchmakers in history, Jean-Antione Lepine. Lepine is well-known for his signature 18th-century pocket watch. His iconic timepiece stands as one of the most recognised watches ever made and features a design that remains a classic from generation to generation. Preparing for their future by looking into the past, IWC knew that they were onto something potentially game-changing. Through extensive deliberation and expert craftsmanship, the Swiss brand was able to develop the IWC Portofino. IWC Portofino Models Throughout the Years 1980s IWC introduced the Portofino collection in 1984. Their first model, the IWC Portofino Ref. 5251, was a sleek and elegant timepiece showcasing a vintage look with horological elements attributed to Jean-Antione. Taking influence from his famous pocket watch, the Ref. 5251 sported an oversized case and a plain white dial with Breguet hands, Roman numerals, a seconds display, and a moon phase indicator. With all these things put together, the IWC Portofino Ref. 5251 had the appearance of a classic pocket watch for the wrist. What made this timepiece particularly unforgettable was its moon phase function. Bearing a golden moon by the 3 o’clock position that strikingly contrasted the white surface, the dial of the Ref. 5251 resembled that of a freshly cooked sunny-side-up egg. As a result, collectors started nicknaming this premiere piece “The Fried Egg.” In 1988, IWC added two more models to the Portofino, namely, Ref. 3730 and Ref. 3731. These two watches housed an innovative movement known as the Caliber 631 or the “Mechaquartz.” The Caliber 631 was a hybrid movement conceived by the creative minds of Jaeger-LeCoultre. While it was technically a quartz movement, the Caliber 631 came equipped with mechanical chronograph functions. The Ref. 3730 and Ref. 3731 featured a handy rotating date display located at the outer rims of their respective dials.  1990s Five years later, IWC created a classic dress watch that was more minimalistic than its previous offerings, the Ref. 2010. This 1993 model was one of the smallest Portofino models IWC ever made. It displayed a modest aesthetic with gold stick hands and hour indices. Underneath the Ref. 2010 was IWC’s Caliber H/849 — a flat hand-wound movement that was only 1.85mm thick. This watch underwent production from 1993 to 2005. In 1995, IWC engineered the Ref. 3050 Romana Perpetual Calendar, the collection’s first perpetual chronograph. This was one of the slimmest perpetual chronographs ever produced and was in the foreground of IWC’s shelves until 2001. It highlighted a hand-wound movement and a timeless design beloved by all. 2000s The IWC Ref. 3533 Portofino Automatic is a model developed with IWC’s community. By garnering feedback from their audience during the 1990s, IWC created a traditional Portofino with a more sizable case. The Ref. 3533 bore a design similar to the collection’s Ref. 2010, but with very different specifications. The Portofino Automatic Ref.3533 highlighted an automatic caliber with new complications such as central seconds and a date function at 3 o’clock. 2008 marked the brand’s 140th anniversary. To commemorate the momentous occasion, IWC released an exclusive collection featuring re-editions of their most coveted watches. Among those timepieces was a tribute to the very first Portofino, the Portofino Vintage. While bearing the Ref. 5251’s iconic elegant design, the Portofino Vintage showcased IWC’s in-house Caliber 98800, which relocated the moon phase indicator to the 12 o’clock position and the seconds display to 6 o’clock. Watch enthusiasts were delighted to see the return of the moon phase indicator. Additionally, IWC offered the new Portofino Vintage with an exhibition-style caseback for wearers to view the movement at work. 2010s In 2011, IWC established the Ref. 5101 Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days. Bearing the brand’s newest hand-wound caliber, the Ref. 5101 stands at the forefront of IWC as the flagship model of the Portofino line. The dial of the new IWC Portofino displays several chronograph complications such as a date function, a seconds display, and a power indicator. Although it has numerous robust features, the dial bears a clean and uncluttered look, promoting easy readability. Underneath the dial is the IWC-manufactured Caliber 59210. Possessing the brand’s latest technology, the Caliber 59210 features a power reserve that can last up to 192 hours or eight days. With such a brilliant innovation, wearers of the Ref. 5101 would only have to wind this luxurious timepiece once every week. Exceptional and sophisticated all around, the Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days is one of IWC’s most capable and popular Portofino models ever. Three years later, IWC crafted the latest edition to the Portofino collection, the Portofino Automatic 37. The Portofino Automatic 37 brings a slew of wonderfully crafted, mid-sized three-hand models to the IWC Portofino collection. Its case measures 37mm in diameter, which is perfect for those with more slender wrists. Through this timepiece, the Portofino collection once again expands its variety. With two-button chronographs, moon phase watches, quartz movements, automatic movements, two-hand models, and now three-hand models, the Portofino was nothing short of diversified. In 2017, IWC created their latest in-house chronograph caliber, which was the Caliber 59800. The new movement featured a moon phase indicator along with IWC’s ground-breaking eight-day power reserve. Holding IWC’s latest horological innovations, the brand then integrated the Caliber 59800 into their Ref. 5101s models in the same year. On their 150th anniversary in 2018, IWC brought the spotlight back to the Portofino Automatic by unveiling a limited edition variant known as the IWC Portofino Automatic 150 Years. This upgraded automatic wristwatch showcases an eye-catching blue lacquer-finished dial with a sleek rhodium-plated handset. IWC limited this exclusive version of the Portofino Automatic to 2000 models. Sheltered by a 40mm stainless steel case, the Portofino Automatic 150 Years suits the wrists of both ladies and gentlemen. The showcase, however, didn’t stop there. A year later, IWC introduced a luxurious edition of the IWC Portofino Automatic, which featured a petite 34mm 18K gold case with 104 diamond studs encrusted around its surface. Accompanied by an embossed silver-plated dial, this new 34mm automatic timepiece is now the most prestigious ladies’ model in the IWC Portofino line. Exploring the IWC Portofino Family The IWC Portofino line is home to all kinds of timepieces. Ranging from automatic watches, moon phase watches, chronograph watches, and more, you definitely won’t be running out of choices with the IWC Portofino. But with so many variations, it can be quite the challenge to pin down the ideal watch for you. Rather than going through every single model in the collection, we have hand-picked a few timepieces that truly embody the heritage and core aspects of the IWC Portofino. Prices for the IWC Portofino start at $4,900 USD and increase from there. Depending on the model, the materials used, and the features offered, a brand-new Portofino can cost you up to $58,000 USD. While prices for the IWC Portofino aren’t strictly top-of-the-line, you would still get more value for your money if you purchased a model from the pre-owned market.  IWC Portofino Automatic Watches The Portofino collection primarily consists of classic automatic watches. With a timeless look and a highly recognisable build, the IWC Portofino Automatic stands out as an excellent tribute to the vintage pocket watch of a bygone era. Each Portofino Automatic holds a black, white, or blue dial and uses stainless steel or 18K 5N rose gold for its case. IW356504 Portofino Automatic The IWC Portofino Automatic IW356504 is one of the most alluring and talked-about timepieces in the entire collection. With an exquisite 18K 5N rose gold case, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and a minimalist silver dial, the IW356504 brings back an ageless aesthetic with a modern twist. Underneath the dial is an automatic IWC 35111 Caliber. Carrying some of the latest technologies of IWC, the 35111 Caliber consists of a self-winding mechanism and a substantial 42-hour power reserve. IWC also pairs the IW356504 with a comfortable dark brown alligator leather strap. What makes this model truly unique, apart from the high-quality materials used, is its one-of-a-kind case back. When you look at the back of this watch, you can see a beautiful engraving of the Ligurian coast in all of its glory. Delicately carved, down to the smallest detail, the panoramic view perfectly captures a moment in Portofino frozen in time for all to admire. With a water resistance of 30m, the IW356504 Portofino Automatic retails at $12,800 USD. IW356502 Portofino Automatic For an automatic wristwatch with a more budget-friendly price, look no further than the Portofino Automatic IW356502. Unlike the IW356504, the case IW356502 is made from high-quality stainless steel. Furthermore, this version of the Portofino Automatic contains a stark black dial that satisfyingly contrasts against clean silver indices and hands and a stainless steel caseback. As a more affordable variant, the caseback of the IW356502 does not feature the Portofino engravings that can be seen in the collection’s more luxurious timepieces. All in all, the IW356502 costs $4,900 USD. IW459401 Portofino Automatic Moon Phase The IWC Portofino collection also features some automatic models with moon phase indicators. One of the most popular variants is the IW459401 Automatic Moon Phase. What sets the IW459401 apart is its moon phase indicator, which is run by an automatic IWC 35800 Caliber. With this added complication, the IW459401 becomes a more robust timepiece while still sporting a nostalgic vintage design. This IWC Moon Phase watch utilizes a hardy stainless steel case and sapphire glass to protect the entirety of the model. The IW459401 sells for just $6,900 USD. IWC Portofino Automatic Chronographs The IWC Portofino also offers an attractive selection of automatic chronographs. While bearing multiple complications that allow you to keep track of the various aspects of time, the Portofino chronographs still retain the neatness and timelessness that this prestigious collection is known for. The Portofino Chronograph can come with a white, black, or blue dial, and is housed in a 42mm case made from stainless steel or 18K 5N rose gold.  IW391027 Portofino Chronograph  The IW391027 Portofino Chronograph is an elegant timepiece with a sophisticated look. Crafted with the utmost care, it bears a clean and crisp design throughout its structure. The IW391027 comes in a sizeable 42mm stainless steel case paired with a classic dark brown alligator leather strap. Inside the round steel case is a clean, uncluttered silver-plated dial. Apart from the usual hours, minutes, and seconds functions, the dial also contains a few chronograph complications and a handy day and date window. Accompanied by sleek rhodium hands and indices, the dial is protected by a layer of sapphire glass. The IW391027 is operated by IWC’s 75320 Caliber. Held by 25 jewels, the 75320 Caliber is a self-winding, automatic movement with a power reserve that can last up to 44 hours. Covered by a stainless steel caseback, the IW391027 sells for $6,100 USD. IW391035 Portofino Chronograph Image By: IWC Schaffhausen Compared to the IW391027, the IW391035 Portofino Chronograph is a more luxurious variant. The timepiece has similar functions and dimensions to the IW391027 but uses a sensual 18K 5N rose gold case. Additionally, the IW391035 sports a striking royal blue dial that perfectly compliments its golden hands and indices. Located at the back of the timepiece is a rose gold caseback that showcases the artful engraving of the Portofino harbour. Since it is made from more exotic materials, the IW391035 Portofino Chronograph is slightly costlier, retailing at $16,800 USD. IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Watches This line of IWC Portofino timepieces is quite possibly the most popular among watch enthusiasts. Featuring IWC’s revolutionary eight-day power reserve, the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound boasts an impeccable design and practical innovations. Portofino Hand-Wound timepieces come in three forms: Original, Moon Phase, and Tourbillon Retrograde. IW510104 Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days Image By: IWC Schaffhausen The IW510104 Hand-Wound Eight Days is arguably the most iconic modern-day watch of the Portofino collection. The IW510104 comes in a 45mm 18K rose gold case paired with a dark brown alligator leather strap. Its dial features a slate-colored surface that contains golden hands and Roman numerals, complete with a power reserve indicator, a seconds display, and a date window. The watch runs on IWC’s highly capable 59210 Caliber. This in-house automatic caliber is capable of winding itself through the natural movement of the wearer’s hand and is capable of powering the IW510104 for eight whole days. Sealed by a see-through sapphire rear case, the IW510104 Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days is worth $19,800 USD. Another version of this Portofino comes with an additional moon phase indicator at the 12 o’clock position and costs $23,900 USD. IW510103 Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days If the IW510104 is too extravagant for your tastes, IWC also offers a subtler, more affordable version with similar specifications. Priced at $9,900 USD, the IW510103 Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days uses durable, scratch-resistant stainless steel to make its case. Its cool silver-plated dial showcases an analog layout, with a gold-toned set of hands and indices. This watch features the exact same complications that you can find in the slate dial of the IW510104. In general, the IW510103 bears capabilities and functions identical to more expensive variants of the IWC Portofino Hand-Wound Eight Days watches, including the whopping eight-day power reserve. Brand-new vs. Pre-owned Once you decide to buy an IWC Portofino watch, your choices will boil down to whether you want a timepiece that is either brand-new or pre-owned. Both sides have their respective sets of pros and cons. Pre-owned watches are almost always more affordable than brand-new models. That said, it is pivotal to take into account all the aspects of the timepiece when discussing its price. A few factors that apply in this discussion include Portofino’s overall condition, the presence or absence of its original box and paperwork, and whether the whole piece still retains all its original parts. Generally, pre-owned Portofino timepieces can help buyers save up to 50% of their total budget. If you look hard enough for a second-hand Portofino, it is possible for you to find sellers who offer IWC Portofino watches with prices as low as $3,700 USD, although you have to be careful to double-check the authenticity of the watch and the condition it is in. Of course, buying a brand-new IWC Portofino from an authorized dealer eliminates all possible worries. However, each watch bears a value that runs the risk of depreciating over time. While Portofino watches resell quite well, it is crucial to consider all your options so that you invest in the right timepiece. If you know where to look, purchasing a pre-owned timepiece could be the better option compared to buying a Portofino that is brand-new. Having that choice allows you to own a fantastic IWC Portofino watch of nearly the same quality for a more budget-friendly price. Final Thoughts For thirty-seven years, the IWC Portofino has continued to be one of IWC Schaffhausen’s most outstanding collections. With its natural looks, gorgeous structure, robust features, and the public’s undying demand for classic watches, the Portofino holds an impressive reputation among men and women alike. By retaining the brand’s core values, the IWC Portofino collection establishes itself as a permanent member of the IWC family to look out for. Looking for a pilot watch? Here are the Best IWC Big Pilot watches for aviation enthusiasts. Featured Image By: IWC Schaffhausen

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

    Rolex Submariner Blue (Date 126613) – The Modern Bluesy

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

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  10. Citizen NY0040: The Enduring Diver

    Citizen NY0040: The Enduring Diver

    If you are familiar with the world of watches, then you know that there is more to the industry than Swiss timepieces. Countries like Germany, Denmark, the United States, and others are becoming more and more known for their expertise in watchmaking. However, if there is one country that’s almost as well-recognised as Switzerland when it comes to horology, it would probably be Japan. Longstanding Japanese brands, like Seiko and Casio, are proof of how well the Japanese have mastered the craft. While it may seem like a competition, the watchmaking industry is a place of innovative cooperation and coexistence, and Citizen is the perfect embodiment of this. Many view this brand as the perfect mix of Swiss and Japanese craftsmanship, but we’ll get more into that later. If this has piqued your interest, then read on because we’ll be talking about Citizen Watches and in particular, their Citizen NY0040 model in this article.  Citizen: A Brief History  Citizen’s origin dates back to a little over 100 years ago in 1918. A jeweler named Kamekichi Yakamazi established a watch manufacturing firm called the Shokosha Watch Research Institute. The interesting thing about this firm is that Yakamazi was able to acquire Swiss machines and instruments for his company from watchmaker Rodolphe Schmid. This is where the idea of Citizen as a product of both Swiss and Japanese craftsmanship began. A couple of years down the line, and the Shokosha Watch Research Institute changed their name to the one they’re still known for today: Citizen Watch Company. This change was brought about by an ambitious goal in which they hoped to equip every citizen in Japan with a watch produced by them. Just like any other origin story, Citizen also went through their fair share of triumphs and obstacles throughout the years.  The Japanese manufacturer had a relatively strong start but certain unfortunate events happened, specifically the 2nd World War, which negatively affected the whole economy. While this was a devastating time for many individuals and businesses, it also became an avenue for a fresh start. After the war, Citizen decided to introduce themselves to the rest of the world under the name the Citizen Trading Company. This new moniker highlighted how their goals had shifted from being a Japanese-centric company to one that is more focused on showcasing their craft globally.  One of the defining moments for Japanese watchmaking was the onset of the Quartz Revolution back in the 70s. Seiko is known to be the first brand to ever release a quartz watch and Citizen followed their footsteps just a couple of years later. This opened up countless opportunities for Citizen which eventually led to greater success and more milestones for the brand. From groundbreaking digital models to the first-ever solar-powered watch, the Japanese company has focused on developing their technology to become the renowned name they are today.  Come the 21st century and Citizen has proved that they are not messing around. They’ve engaged in a massive expansion of their assets, purchasing well-known brands and watch groups like Bulova, Frédérique Constant, Arnold & Son, and more. The Japanese brand is also famous for its partnerships and collaborations with sports institutes, sports teams, and even Disney. When it comes to reputation, they are highly regarded today for their sustainable, eco-friendly, and reliable timepieces.  All About the Citizen Promaster The specific model we’ll be talking about in this article belongs to Citizen’s Promaster line. Before we delve into the Citizen NY0040 itself, let’s take a closer look at the Promaster collection.  The Citizen Promaster is regarded as one of the best that the brand has to offer. It consists of a selection of sports (and diving) watches that showcase Citizen’s technological prowess. The Promaster was officially launched in 1989, although some argue that this line actually dates back to the late 1950s when the Citizen Parashock and Parawater models came out. Regardless, there were 3 different Promaster models released in 1989: the Promaster Aqualand, the Promaster Altrichron, and the Promaster Sky. These pieces were specifically designed for professionals who were constantly in harsh environments whether it be land, air, or sea. It was marketed as the result of Citizen’s unwavering research and innovations in the last few decades.  Since then, this series has been home to numerous revolutionary pieces such as the Promaster Navihawk, the Promaster Amphibian, the Promaster Cyber Aqualand, and lots more.  What is the Citizen NY0040?  The Citizen NY0040, also known as the Promaster NY0040, was first launched back in 1997. It is a widely known model, especially within the watch community because of its distinctive physical features. Despite being released over 20 years ago, the NY0040 is surprisingly still being offered today, albeit with slight variations from the original. To the unfamiliar eye, this watch might seem like any other sports watch in the market, especially since it has aesthetic attributes similar to that of a typical diving model. However, there is definitely more than meets the eye with this timepiece simply because Citizen always manages to add a splash of Japanese workmanship to its pieces. Everything about the Citizen NY0040 is an expert Japanese take on sports watches, so you know it’s built to last. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?   Citizen Promaster NY0040 Specs Case Material: Stainless Steel Diameter: 42mm Case Thickness:12mm Strap Material: Rubber (Urethan) Movement: Automatic | Miyota Calibre 8203 Power Reserve: 45 hours Water Resistance: 200 meters Exterior: Case & Bracelet The Citizen NY0040 actually comes in two variations — the NY0040-09EE and the NY0040-17LE — with the first sporting a mostly traditional black look and the second mostly in blue. Just like most sports watches, this model sports quite a rugged exterior but with an aura of professional class at the same time. It is a versatile piece that would look great with an everyday outfit or even a smart-casual ensemble. The Citizen NY0040 comes in a stainless steel case that has a diameter of 42mm, a thickness of 12mm, and 20mm lugs. These numbers may seem intimidating but it is in fact an ideal size for a men’s diving watch. Furthermore, it also has a one-way rotating aluminium bezel in smooth matte black with a luminescent pip in lieu of the 60-minute marker. The material and the design of the gear-shaped edges of the bezel were chosen for optimal visibility and ease of use when underwater.  Moving on, the dial is protected by mineral crystal glass which has scratch-resistant properties. On the rear of the watch is a solid caseback with engravings of the Citizen Promaster logo and other information regarding the specifications of the watch. One of the most distinctive features of the NY0040 is the position of its crown. In most watches, the crown is placed at the 4 o’clock position but this model has its crown on the opposite side at 8 o’clock. This was purposefully done to cater to left-handed individuals whilst also providing better comfort in general.  Lastly, the Citizen NY0040 comes with a high-quality rubber strap which is perfect for the harsh conditions of diving. Bracelets and straps are very important things to consider, especially when you’re looking for a durable sports timepiece. Rubber is the usual choice of strap when it comes to dive watches, while leather and steel are not recommended. Another great thing about the NY0040’s strap is that it has no-decompression limits, making it incredibly durable at any depth. Overall, making use of a rubber strap for the NY0040 was definitely a conscious decision on Citizen’s part in order to promote better functionality and reliability.  Dial The focus on ease of use did not stop with the materials and exterior of the Citizen NY0040. Each and every component in the dial was also designed with readability and comfort in mind. If you are familiar with watches, all you need is a single glance at the dial to know that the NY0040 is indubitably a diver’s watch. As mentioned, the NY0040 comes in classic shades of either black or blue, with both variants sporting a matte finish to avoid reflective light glares. It follows a typical analog layout with big luminescent hands and hour markers in various shapes. You can also find a day and date display at 3 o’clock. This aperture is presented as a black background with red text to indicate the day and white text for the date, adding a splash of color that to the dial that makes for better readability.  While most of the elements in the dial scream “diving watch”, it is also clear that Citizen kept the Citizen NY0040 versatile enough to be used both on land and underwater. It is a great option for people, especially divers, who don’t like changing their watches on a daily basis.  Movement The newest Citizen NY0040 is powered by a Miyota 8203 caliber automatic movement. It consists of around 21 jewels to reduce excessive wear and tear and has a frequency of 21600 beats per hour, which boasts a relatively high accuracy. Lastly, it has an impressive power reserve of 45 hours.  Citizen NY0040 vs Seiko SRP367 Baby Tuna The Citizen NY0040 is often compared with the Seiko SKX007 but, today, let’s switch it up by putting it against the ever-so-popular Seiko Baby Tuna. Both are renowned sports watches but today, we’ll see which is the better diver.  Seiko SRP637 ‘Baby Tuna’ Specs Case Material: Stainless Steel Case Dimension: 47.5mm x 13.5mm x 50mm Strap: Stainless Steel  Movement: Automatic Power Reserve: 42 hours Water Resistance: 200 meters Exterior With a case diameter of 47.5mm, the Seiko Baby Tuna is definitely heftier than the Citizen NY0040. The Seiko Baby Tuna also looks a lot more robust and rugged compared to the NY0040, which leans towards a more classic sports watch style. Both are made from hardy stainless steel and have unidirectional bezels with luminous pips at the 60-minute marker. A key difference between the two, however, is that the Baby Tuna has a crown at 4 o’clock while the Citizen NY0040’s crown is at 8 o’clock. In addition, the NY0040 has a mineral crystal to protect the dial while the Baby Tuna makes use of Seiko’s patented Hardlex crystal.  In terms of the strap, the Seiko Baby Tuna comes with a stainless steel bracelet while the Citizen NY0040 has a rubber strap. As mentioned, this is a crucial factor because some strap materials are more ideal for diving than others. However, it should be noted that the Baby Tuna has a clasp with a folding expansion feature which allows for a more snug fit around your wrist, even when you are wearing a wet suit.   Dial Moving on to the dial area, both models follow a standard dive watch layout with an analog display. Just like the Citizen NY0040, the Seiko SRP637 also has large, luminescent hands and hour markers. However, the Seiko Baby Tuna uses rectangular shapes while the NY0040 has mostly circular ones. Lastly, the Seiko model has a day and date window with a stark white background and black text while the NY0040 has one with a black background.  Technical Specifications When it comes to features and functions, it is safe to say that both are equally impressive. The two models each offer water-resistance of up to 200 meters and power reserves of over 40 hours. Both are also equipped with in-house Japanese calibers that follow automatic movements.  Prices This is probably where they differ most. The Seiko Baby Tuna SRP637 is priced at over $800 USD online today while the Citizen NY0040 retails at not more than $250 USD.  Verdict It is undeniable that both timepieces are excellent but, at the end of the day, it all boils down to what you consider worth it or not. In this case, I would have to go with Citizen NY0040 because it’s the more classic and sophisticated model between the two. It is an amazing diver’s watch but it’s also very versatile which means you can wear it on a variety of occasions. The best part is you get great functions and design without having to break the bank, as opposed to the Seiko Baby Tuna, which is considerably more expensive than the NY0040. Who should buy the Citizen NY0040?  Citizen Patrons. If you’re a fan of Citizen, then owning any piece from the Promaster collection is definitely the dream, given its rich history. Out of Citizen’s diverse catalogue, the NY0040 is one of their most recognizable models and it has been in the market for over 20 years now. The fact that it is still available today and is loved by so many just shows how well this timepiece has withstood the test of time. With that being said, the NY0040 is certainly a must-have for Citizen patrons out there! Professional and Leisure Divers. The Citizen NY0040 is a great starter watch for both professional and casual divers out there. It has all the elements and components of a great diving watch and it boasts quality Japanese craftsmanship as well. You get precision, ease of use, durability, and easy readability for under $300 USD. Sports Watch Enthusiasts. For individuals who are just in the beginning stages of their sports watch collection, the Citizen NY0040 is an excellent choice to consider. The NY0040 has a good story and rich heritage behind it, plus it belongs to a highly-regarded watch series from a renowned brand. Furthermore, this model is a popular one among the watch community so it makes for a great conversation topic. Final Thoughts  The Citizen NY0040 is a versatile-looking sports watch that’s equipped with equally excellent features. The Japanese brand truly found the perfect balance between functionality and aesthetics with this timepiece. It is perfectly understandable why it is still being produced and sold in the market even after over two decades. Ultimately, the Citizen NY0040 is a great model to own regardless of whether you’re a diver or not.  If you’re interested in Japanese timepieces, make sure to read our article on The Orient Mako II. Photo Credits: Citizen Official Website

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  11. Grand Seiko SBGH267 Review: Accuracy and Grandeur

    Grand Seiko SBGH267 Review: Accuracy and Grandeur

    In 2018, Grand Seiko celebrated the 20th anniversary of the launch of the iconic in-house caliber 9S automatic movement. With this celebration came the release of new, upgraded limited edition timepieces, to the delight of many fans. These are all models that are definitely made for luxury, using top-tier materials, and designed with undeniable finesse. Among the watches released for the 20th anniversary of the caliber 9S, the platinum VFA watch and the Special Standard gold timepiece stand out. These two models are — without a doubt — more expensive than other watches during the drop. However, the most stunning piece, without a doubt, is the Grand Seiko SBGH267. This timepiece displays Grand Seiko’s excellence when it comes to crafting stainless steel watches. It simply isn’t possible to find a Grand Seiko watch that’s subpar in the design department. The company prides itself on producing high-quality, meticulously designed watches that could easily compete with Swiss luxury watch manufacturers. Even among the catalog of exquisite and lavish luxury watches the Grand Seiko has, however, the Grand Seiko SBGH267 is still a standout. This watch is magnificently simple at its finest. Reviewing the Grand Seiko SBGH267 alone would be pointless without touching on the caliber 9S itself. How can a movement be so iconic that it deserved a new, updated release even 20 years later? Let’s examine the beginnings of Grand Seiko, how the company came up with the caliber 9S, and how it has influenced the creation of the Grand Seiko SBGH267. What makes this movement so iconic? History of the Caliber 9S The release of the in-house caliber 9S is one of Grand Seiko’s most prominent milestones and for good reason. For a long time, it was the standard movement used in all Grand Seiko watches. The caliber 9S’s excellent performance and innovative design made it a favorite in the horology community. The creation of this movement is one of the many achievements that truly put Grand Seiko on the map as a brand that could compete with more prominent Swiss luxury brands, proving that Grand Seiko is just as much about top-of-the-line innovation as it is about luxurious designs. Let’s take a closer look at Grand Seiko and how the caliber 9S really came to be. The Beginnings of Grand Seiko When Grand Seiko launched, Seiko Corporation had already made a name for itself in the Japanese market as a manufacturer of clocks and gauges. Seiko Corporation was well on its way to carving out an important place in the watch industry. In order to promote competition within the corporation, which would lead to improved and better quality products for all of the Seiko brand, the company opened two subsidiaries. These subsidiaries were named Suwa Seikosha and Daini Seikosha, and each operated completely independently of the other. Seiko’s strategy worked, as the competition between the two subsidiaries pushed each to come up with more out-of-the-box thinking and present different solutions to horological challenges. As a result, Seiko was met with increasing success as a horological innovator. Among the two subsidiaries, Suwa Seikosha was the more prominent name, and it was Suwa Seikosha that came up with Grand Seiko in 1960. However, ultimately, the inventions and efforts of both subsidiaries were crucial to the formation of Grand Seiko as a brand. In 1960, Suwa Seikosha created the first Grand Seiko watch, known simply as the Grand Seiko (GS) 1960, fitted with the caliber 3180 movements. This movement was the first chronometer-grade caliber produced in Japan. Such a watch, of course, cost a great deal. In today’s dollars, it cost around $3,500 USD. This was quite an exorbitant price for Seiko Corporation, which had, up till then, produced mainly mid-range watches. However, this soon became the standard of Grand Seiko watches — luxury watches that were more expensive than the offerings from its sister brand Seiko, that could easily compete with Swiss luxury watches. Grand Seiko’s Milestones The Grand Seiko 1960 was an impressive watch, even by today’s standards. The watch had a two-phase regulator mechanism. It was also outfitted with a hacking mechanism, which means that the movement could be instantly stopped when you pulled on the crown. This allowed you to more accurately set the time of the watch. Suwa Seikosha, however, was insatiable and constantly seeking new ways to improve upon this watch. In 1963, Suwa developed the 57GS. It is a low-bear hand-wound wristwatch released under the Grand Seiko brand. The 57GS is far different from the first-generation GS. With the 57GS, Suwa innovated by creating a luxury wristwatch encased within a stainless steel case. Keep in mind that this watch was launched in 1963. The first Swiss luxury watch with a stainless steel case — the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak — wouldn’t be released for another 9 years, making Suwa a true pioneer with the design of the 57GS. The 57GS has a screw-down caseback, replacing the old snap-back crown of the first-generation Grand Seiko. As a result, it provided better water resistance, up to depths of 50 meters. It also featured an automatically changing date. The movement also earned its certification as a chronometer. In 1966, certain changes were made to the 57GS movement. Suwa increased the beat rating of the movement to 19,800 from 18,000, but the movement also lost its chronometer certification. In 1966, the 62GS was launched. The 62GS’s design stood out with its tiny crown unusually positioned at 4 o’clock. It was also the first Grand Seiko watch to function with an automatic movement. At the time, Grand Seiko had already become a popular choice, not only in Japan but also in other parts of the world. From there, the innovations from the brand just kept pouring in, building further upon the reputation of Grand Seiko as a quality manufacturer of luxury watches that constantly sought to upgrade itself. Launching the Caliber 9S Now, the previous few watches from the brand that we’ve discussed were definitely game-changers. They placed Grand Seiko firmly on the map as a luxury watch brand to keep an eye on. However, the Grand Seiko’s distinctive style wasn’t quite there yet. We’re talking about the distinguishing aesthetics and physical design of Grand Seiko watches. Sure, GS had already released a number of luxury timepieces but they were very much a callback to the conservative designs popularized by Swiss brands. So, in 1967, the company launched the 44GS — the watch that truly defined the Grand Seiko’s own style. There are three main features from the 44GS that made the brand stand out from its competition. It was a truly iconic watch that allowed light to play beautifully off its surface no matter the day, time, or place. Firstly, the 44GS features flat surfaces that are true to their definitions — two-dimensional and extremely flat. Within the dial, the hands and hour markers of the watch were also designed to be wide and flat on the surface of the dial. However, the polished edges of the watch still allowed light to reflect off them well. Finally, the 44GS had distortion-free mirrored surfaces achieved through Zaratsu polishing. On top of its high-precision calibers, Grand Seiko made a step forward with the 44GS by improving upon their watches’ aesthetic designs, making them truly worthy of the luxury status. From there, the company took a break due to the debut and increasing popularity of quartz movements. For the next 30 years, Grand Seiko took a backseat to let Seiko ride the tides to greatness with their quartz watches. However, this break didn’t cause Grand Seiko to disappear. Instead, the brand took its time to enhance the performance of its mechanical calibers. Grand Seiko used various tests to improve upon the performance of their movements. Moreover, their engineers and designers created a new balance spring that featured a special curved shape. These innovations resulted in the launch of a brand new mechanical caliber, the 9S5 series, which was first launched in 1998. The Caliber 9S Series The 9S5 caliber proved to be a great addition to Grand Seiko. In later developments, the brand also produced a new SPRON alloy for the mainspring as well as a new escapement, perfected with the advanced Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology. New Caliber 9S versions continued to be released with different upgrades, such as the 9S6 with its 72-hour power reserve. The 9S8 also proved impressive with an improved 10-beat movement. The 9S caliber series proved to be the new Grand Seiko standard, with impressive accuracy that went beyond simple chronometer certification. Truly, it was on a different scale from the 1966 standards set by its predecessor. 20th Anniversary Models To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 9S mechanical caliber, Grand Seiko launched three new, limited-edition models of Grand Seiko watches in 2018. Each contained a different, special and newly-released 9S caliber movement, encased within distinctive 20mm cases. The first model is a Hi-Beat 36,000 VFA Ref. SBGH265J. This watch, which comes in a platinum case, is a truly rare collector’s piece, with only 20 pieces released on the market. It bears the V.F.A. initials on the dial, which stands for Very Fine Adjusted. This abbreviation was first used in 1969. This abbreviation refers to the precision rate of the caliber, that exceeds that of the Grand Seiko Standard. Powered by the 9S85 Hi-Beat 36,000 Caliber, it boasts an accuracy rate of +3 to -1 seconds per day. Then, there’s the Hi-Beat 36000 Special Ref. SBGH266J. Now, this is a classy yellow-gold watch, limited to only 150 pieces. This watch contains the movement commonly known as the Grand Seiko Special Standard. That means that the watch has an accuracy of around +4 to -2 seconds per day. Finally, the main star of our article: the Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000 Ref. SBGH267G. It features a clean, traditional stainless steel case. Grand Seiko only released 1,500 pieces of this watch. The SBGH267G’s movement features a different, unusual oscillating weight made from titanium and tungsten. This weight comes in exquisite blue, due to anodic oxidation, which generates an oxide film via the process of electrolysis. We’ll be taking an in-depth look at the Grand Seiko SBGH267G, and all the great features it brings to the table. Reviewing the Grand Seiko SBGH267 The Grand Seiko SBGH267 Limited Edition truly has its wonderful features, whether that’s due to the exquisite Grand Seiko design or the outstanding and distinctive movement. There’s something special about this stainless steel offering that makes it even more appealing than its higher-priced siblings. For sure, the VFA model in platinum and the Special Standard in gold are both true collector’s items. However, the SBGH267, with its more classic Grand Seiko look and equally outstanding performance, is the one that watch enthusiasts should really keep their eye on. First Impressions Right off the bat, it’s easy to see that this is a quality watch. We do have a lot of expectations with this watch, however. It’s a Grand Seiko watch with an iteration of the 9S and that alone bears more weight than it just being a limited edition watch. 9S is the first movement the Grand Seiko has released after 40 years of staying still. It features 36,000 vibrations per hour. The SBGH267 itself not overly fancy but its clean, professional exterior made from stainless steel is definitely luxurious, from its look to its texture and feel. Sure, the gold and the platinum models might seem more elegant at first glance. However, this is an equally refined offering with little details that truly make it a luxury watch hailing from the east. Grand Seiko SBGH267 Specs Before we get to our complete review of this watch, let’s first take a look at its specifications: Model: Hi-Beat 36000, Caliber 9S 20th Anniversary Limited EditionReference Number: SBGH267Case Diameter: 39.5 mmCase Thickness: 13 mmCase Material: Stainless steel, Zaratsu polishedIndexes: Baton, laser polishedDial Color: Deep blueWater Resistance: 100 meters, 330 feet, 10ATMStrap/Bracelet: Three-link stainless steel bracelet Movement Caliber: 9S85Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, datePower Reserve: 55 hoursFrequency: 5 Hz (36,000 vph)Accuracy: +5 to -3 seconds per day Jewels: 37Diameter: 28.4 mmWinding: Automatic winding with tungsten and anodized titanium oscillating weightInformation: MEMS fabricated skeletonized escape wheel with micro-oil reservoir teeth, and MEMS fabricated skeletonized leverChronometer Certification: Grand Seiko Hi-Beat internally controlled Case The case of the Grand Seiko SBGH267 is quite similar to the two other watches from the limited edition drop. Each watch carries a similar Grand Seiko Style that no other brand could emulate. We’re talking about the unusual designs we mentioned earlier — two-dimensional, impossibly flat and thin, and mirror-like in polish. In particular, Grand Seiko’s method of polishing their watches can only be achieved through Zaratsu polishing. Zaratsu polishing has existed even before the beginnings of Grand Seiko. During the 1950s, the Hayashi Seiko factory had a polishing machine that had the words GEBR.SALLAZ engraved on it. This is the very place where a great deal of Grand Seiko watches are being manufactured. GEBR. stands for a German word that means “brothers.” Meanwhile, SALLAZ was the family name of the company that had built the machine. Indeed, the word Zaratsu was derived from the way the Japanese pronounced SALLAZ. This polishing machine became prominent for one very clear reason. Instead of the sides of the rotating disc used to polish watches, the machine uses the front of the disk to polish the surfaces of the case watch. This allowed for a very distinct polish that provides exceptionally crisp case lines and a mirror-like reflection to whoever is looking at the case of the watch. No distortions, no weird faces. This method of polishing became what we popularly know today as the Zaratsu polishing. Now, not everyone can achieve this, that’s why it’s so unique to the Grand Seiko brand. Only the machine and Grand Seiko’s master craftsmen can make this work. Dial The dial of the Grand Seiko SBGH267 has a very unique motif. On the dial, you can find spiral engraving with letters of the Grand Seiko logo, along with the mark of Daini Seikosha. Daini is the other half of Grand Seiko and was responsible for developing the first Hi-Beat movement. The company is now known as Seiko Instruments Inc. The design of the dial is unparalleled; it comes in an exquisite, textured deep blue color like no other. What we love about this design is that it successfully invokes luxury and class without having to use any precious metals at all. It doesn’t come in the usual gold, platinum, or even silver that is frequently used in luxury watches. It’s just a blue dial with a really great design that speaks for itself and adds even more dimension to an already impressive watch. Furthermore, as you might’ve noticed, the baton hands are not simply rectangular metal markers applied on the dial. They’re also raised to a height that adds volume and layers to an otherwise minimalistic watch. Even the date aperture comes with the same three-dimensional design, protruding out from the face of the dial. Once again, this is where the Grand Seiko Style comes in. You can see the light play off every part of the watch — the shadows on the engraved dial, as well as the reflections on the sharp, polished edges of every marker and hand. The GS logo at the 12 o’clock position and the second hand both come in fine gold. It allows both to stand out from the stainless steel casing and markers, as well as the blue dial, giving the watch an aura of sophistication. Movement Now, the dial of the Grand Seiko SBGH267 is already very impressive. However, there’s nothing like a high-quality movement to make it all better. We’ve already gone through the makings and history of the 9S movements. Since this watch a tribute to that, we know that the same movement powers this watch. It displays a high level of accuracy and precision, as well as a power reserve that lasts up to 55 hours. The 9S85 caliber movement on this watch doesn’t have quite the same accuracy and precision as the Very Fine Adjusted or Special models. However, Grand Seiko fans know that the performance of Grand Seiko movements frequently outperforms the standards which are promised. Grand Seiko watches are always better in practice than on the brochure, and this is no different. It is worth noting, though, that the movement of the SBGH267 stands out from the others as a particularly beautiful deep blue-colored movement that matches the blue motif of the dial. It has an anodized titanium and tungsten rotor as can be seen on the see-through caseback. This is very similar to the rotor of the 10th Anniversary GMT Grand Seiko. Although its caliber underperforms slightly compared to the Very Fine Adjusted and Special models, its gorgeous hue and more affordable pricing make the SBGH267 a very good deal still. Pricing The Grand Seiko SBGH267 is a limited edition, Hi-Beat watch. That means that it’s bound to have a fairly high asking price. With only 1,500 editions available, it costs around 6,300 USD in retail. Now, that’s what you get for a luxurious, well-made, bang-for-the-buck wristwatch from Grand Seiko. Compared to other models like Rolex, the price isn’t that exorbitant and it definitely has a promising future ahead of it. Is the Grand Seiko SBGH267 a great investment piece? The easy answer to this question is yes. The Grand Seiko SBGH267 is a great investment piece. This isn’t only because it’s a limited edition, though. For a long time, since the formation of Grand Seiko as a brand, its watches have long been in the line of sight of collectors. This adds the SBGH267 to the same pedestal. Indeed, reports have shown that, in the years after its release, collectors are certainly keen to pay more than the retail price of this timepiece just to own it. Right now, you can purchase one for around 8,800 to 9,000 USD. And that’s just a couple years since its debut. We look forward to seeing just how this watch will be valued in the future — we certainly expect it to just keep rising! Grand Seiko SBGH267: Accuracy and Grandeur in One Perfect Package This release from Grand Seiko is definitely one for the books. It displays everything we expect from the brand — an equally luxurious and functional watch without the sky-high prices of Swiss brands. What we can see with this watch is the future of Japanese luxury watch manufacturers. The SBGH267 forces Swiss watch purists to look their way and see just what else Grand Seiko has in store for the horology community. Can’t get enough of Grand Seiko? Learn 3 reasons why we love Grand Seiko! Photo credits: All photos courtesy of Grand Seiko’s official website.

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