1. Newest Posts About affordable watches

  2. Seiko Street Fighter Watches: A Sentimental Treat for Fans

    Seiko Street Fighter Watches: A Sentimental Treat for Fans

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

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  4. 15 Best Swatch Watches For Everyday Use

    15 Best Swatch Watches For Everyday Use

    If we are talking about affordable, versatile watches for everyday use, Swatch is one of the brands that immediately come to mind. Swatch is known for its vast selection of everyday timepieces, all of which boast unique and diverse designs that cater to the masses. In fact, if you are just starting out in the watchmaking world, Swatch is the perfect company to check out for entry-level, mass-market models.  Considering how extensive Swatch’s catalog is, you might have a little trouble parsing out the models that really interest you. To make things easier for you, we have curated a list of the 15 best Swatch watches you do not want to miss out on. Why Go for Swatch Watches?  Before we get into the list proper, let us look at some of the main reasons why you should consider buying Swatch watches.  Affordable. One of the main reasons why Swatch is so popular today is because of its reputation as a budget-friendly brand. Swatch appeals to the masses by offering reliable, diverse timepieces which they do not have to break the bank for. As Swatch makes horology more accessible to the people, it also proves that there is more to the industry than just premium and luxury watchmakers.Cool Designs. Another reason why people choose to buy Swatch watches is that its portfolio consists of a wide selection of fun and diverse pieces. Swatch does not really stick to just one type of aesthetic. Rather, the brand has a more experimental and avant-garde take on watchmaking, producing varied designs that cater to virtually everyone’s tastes. Whether you want a simple, classic model, or a striking and vibrant piece, Swatch is sure to have the style of watch you want. Well-Crafted. There is this misconception in watchmaking that the cheaper it is, the lower quality it has. While that may be the case for some brands, you do not have to worry about that with Swatch watches. First of all, Swatch is very transparent when it comes to the products it offers, so your expectations will be managed from the start. Furthermore, Swatch is a well-known Swiss brand that has been in the industry for a long time, which means its timepieces are all tried-and-tested. The brand would not be thriving to this today if the watches it offered were not good or reliable. 15 Best Swatch Watches You Should Check Out Now, let us delve into the best Swatch watches out there. 1. Swatch Once Again Ref. GB743  Starting off with a classic and safe option for everyday use, we have the Swatch Once Again Ref. GB743. This watch shows off a simple yet rugged exterior that appeals to those who like straightforward pieces. One of the best things about this model is that it is versatile enough to blend well with virtually any outfit. The Ref. GB743 comes in a 34mm black plastic case and a bracelet made of the same material. The watch’s cool all-black exterior is contrasted against a clean white dial, which is adorned with luminescent blunt hands, Arabic numerals in a neat typeface, and a magnified day-date window at 3 o’clock. On the underside of the watch, you can find a solid plastic caseback, engraved with the watch’s technical details, such as its 30-meter depth rating. It also comes with a view of the quartz battery that powers this watch’s functions. You can get this candid and functional Swatch watch for just $60 USD. 2. Swatch Sir Blue Ref. GN718  Like the Swatch Once Again Ref. Ref. GB743, this Swatch Sir Blue Ref. GN718 is a very simple and straightforward timepiece. However, it comes in a different colorway, giving it a more suave look. This timepiece deserves a spot on this list of Swatch watches because it is both straightforward and laid-back, making it an ideal beater accessory. The Ref. GN718 is presented in a 34mm plastic case in dark blue, paired with a textured silicone strap in the same color. Its blue sunray dial consists of luminous silver hands and painted indices, Arabic numeral markers, and a day-date window at 3 o’clock. The entire exterior of this watch comes in a deep, dark blue hue that simply exudes elegance. This watch also has a plastic caseback, with a slot that shows off the quartz battery driving this timepiece.  The Swatch Sir Blue Ref. GN718 is priced at $77 USD. 3. Swatch Windy Dune Ref. GE709  For a classy, vintage-looking Swatch watch, take a look at the Swatch Windy Dune Ref. GE709. This timepiece is incredibly versatile, as you can wear it in your everyday routines or pair it with some smart-casual attires too. The Ref. GE709 is housed in a 34mm clear plastic case, coupled with a supple leather strap in brown. Its stylish blue sunray dial gives off a slightly retro feel, with its luminous, beige-colored indices and Arabic numeral markers. Aside from that, this dial also bears a day-date display and long blunt hands coated in lume. Since the entire case of this watch is made of transparent plastic, wearers are also given an up-close and personal view of the inner mechanisms and quartz movement that keeps this watch running. If you enjoy vintage-influenced pieces, you can get this watch for around $77 USD. 4. Swatch Big Bold Bioceramic Desert Ref. SB03C101  If you want a more avant-garde timepiece, check out the Swatch Big Bold Bioceramic Desert Ref. SB03C101. Even without knowing its name, you can tell just by the look of this watch that it is inspired by the vast, sandy deserts. This is a minimalistic watch option that fans of Bauhaus watches are sure to enjoy. The Ref. SB03C101 utilizes a bulky 47mm case made of bioceramic along with a beige silicone strap. This bio-ceramic material is actually an eco-friendly alternative, as it is a mix of both ceramic and bio-sourced plastic. As such, those who engage in green initiatives will definitely appreciate this environmentally-friendly swatch watch. The minimalist brown dial consists of just blunt black hands coated in lume, perfectly complementing the lightness of this watch’s exterior. Like the previous Swatch watches, this model is equipped with a reliable quartz movement. Retailing at around $150 USD, this is one of the best sustainable timepieces you get at such an affordable price.  5. Swatch LA Night Ref. GB330  Next up, we have the Swatch LA Night Ref. GB330, which shows off a snazzy, vibrant design that caters especially to younger audiences. This watch is encased in a 34mm black plastic case with a matching black silicone strap. On the underside of this watch is a black plastic caseback, which shows off a glimpse of the quartz movement that keeps this watch running. The star of this watch, by far, is its striking dial, which boasts a solar spectrum effect, showcasing a multitude of pink, green, and blue hues that mimic the light shows in nightclubs. This gorgeous design creates a watch face that is incredibly aesthetic and pleasing to look at. Aside from that, this dial is also decorated with pink Arabic numeral markers in a slender typeface and matching pink blunt hands. If you like truly cool-looking timepieces, you can get the Swatch LA Night Ref. GB330 for $77 USD. 6. Swatch Clearly Gent Ref. SO28K100  The next entry on our list of excellent Swatch watches is the Clearly Gent Ref. SO28K100, which is a more eccentric yet subtle timepiece. Despite its unconventional design, this watch has an understated charm that can blend well with your everyday outfits. It also makes use of eco-friendly materials, so you do not have to worry much about your carbon footprint with this watch. The Clearly Gent Ref. SO28K100 uses a 34mm transparent case made out of 100% bio-sourced plastic, paired with a transparent TPU strap. The dial of this watch manages to be both simple and sophisticated. It consists of just stick indices for the minute track and colorful blue, red, and yellow blunt hands, while also giving wearers a clear view through to the complex mechanisms ticking away inside the watch. This $82 USD Swatch watch is ideal for those who want something different yet still practical. 7. Swatch Love-O-Clock Ref. GW718  If it was not obvious from its design, the Swatch Love-O-Clock Ref. GW718 is a model Swatch made for its Valentine’s Day collection. The great thing about this watch is that it is neither too masculine nor too feminine, so anyone could wear this lovely timepiece. It is a great option for couples seeking the perfect his-and-hers couple watches. This Swatch piece comes in a 34mm white plastic case paired with a smooth white silicone strap. For those with larger wrists, Swatch also offers this watch in a bigger 41mm case. The dial of this watch has a very straightforward design, bearing just blunt black hands, a large heart icon that takes up most of the dial, and a date window that displays different love emoticons. This timepiece is driven by a quartz movement and has a solid depth rating of 30 meters. For around $82 USD, you can celebrate love every day with this cute Swatch watch. 8. Swatch The Starry Night By Vincent Van Gogh The Watch Ref. SUOZ335  Next up, we have the Swatch The Starry Night Ref. SUOZ335 — a gorgeous watch based on Vincent Van Gogh’s famous “The Starry Night” painting. It was made in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), which is known for housing Van Gogh’s legendary artwork. This artsy Swatch piece utilizes a 41mm plastic case with a silicone strap. Every inch of this watch, from the case and dial to the bracelet, is painted over in an artistic recreation of “The Starry Night”. The dial of this watch also contains circular hour markers and luminous blunt hands in neon green that really complement this watch’s array of blue hues. The Ref. SUOZ335 is also driven by a quartz movement and comes with an SR1130SW battery that has an impressive 5-year lifespan. For $110 USD, Van Gogh enthusiasts can have a little piece of him with them through this Swatch watch. 9. Swatch Black Rebel Ref. SUOB702  For those who enjoy minimalistic aesthetics, here is another simple, understated timepiece that is sure to be right up your alley. The Swatch Black Rebel Ref. SUOB702 simply exudes an air of casual elegance, making it a great accessory to wear on both casual and formal days. This watch is housed in a 41mm black plastic case, coupled with a matching black silicone strap. Its all-black look is finished off by the watch’s black dial, which consists of just black stick indices, luminous blunt hands in black, and an inconspicuous day-date window at 3 o’clock. At the heart of this lovely Swatch watch is a quartz movement that is powered by an SR1130SW battery, which can last for up to five years. If you are a fan of monochromatic, minimalist accessories, this $87 USD Swatch watch is definitely worth considering. 10. Swatch Just White Soft Ref. GW1510  The Swatch Just White Soft Ref. GW1510, on the other hand, can only be described as the complete opposite of the previous model. While it also has a mostly monochrome design, the Ref. GW1510 comes in all white and has a different, softer vibe that the ladies are sure to love. This Swatch watch is encased in a 34mm plastic case with a sleek white silicone strap. Its straightforward white dial is furnished with luminous blunt black hands, Arabic numeral markers in a neat typeface, and dot indices for the minute track. The solid plastic caseback also bears a slot, which holds the watch’s quartz SR1130SW battery. The best part is that this casual, feminine timepiece retails at just $60 USD. 11. Swatch XX Rated Black Ref. SUOB402 The Swatch XX Rated Black Ref. SUOB402 is a simple yet extremely cool timepiece. This watch is actually a modern reinterpretation of one of the most popular Swatch watches from the 1980s which also went by the same name. It was also specially designed to appeal to all the punk rock lovers out there. Featuring an all-black exterior, this watch is presented in a 41mm plastic case with a textured silicone strap. This dark exterior is contrasted sharply against a clean white dial, which comprises silver blunt hands, a compact date window at 3 o’clock, and a large X emblem design that covers most of the dial. A highly accurate quartz movement is used to power this watch’s straightforward functions. This $89 USD watch is a must-have for all the edgy kids at heart. 12. Swatch Tiger Power 2022 Ref. SB03Z102 Next up, we have the vibrant Swatch Tiger Power 2022 Ref. SB03Z102, which is a special Chinese New Year model released for 2022. Much like Vacheron Constantin’s Métiers D’Art Year Of The Tiger Ref. 86073/000R-B901, this watch is also based on the 2022 Chinese Zodiac, which, as you may know, is the Year of the Tiger. Aside from that, this is also one of the Swatch watches that use more sustainable materials, making it very eco-friendly as well. This watch uses a 47mm bioceramic case in black, coupled with a black strap made of bio-sourced plastic. On the front of the case, the words “YEAR OF THE TIGER” are printed in bright orange, adding a pop of colorful personality to this watch. Orange accents can also be found all over the watch’s strap, with its orange buckles and the print of the Chinese word 虎, which means tiger, on the underside of the strap. The golden dial of this watch is also quite flashy, featuring a geometric, striking tiger emblem, diamond-shaped hour markers, and hollowed-out hands. Like the other Swatch watches, this timepiece runs on a reliable quartz movement. If you want something to commemorate 2022, then this $175 USD watch should certainly be on your radar. 13. Swatch Checkpoint Black Ref. SB02B400 This list of Swatch watches would not be complete without a nice chronograph model, which is exactly what the Swatch Checkpoint Black Ref. SB02B400 is. This serves as an affordable, multi-functional timepiece with a very stylish design.  The Ref. SB02B400 uses a bulky 47mm plastic case paired with a silicone strap, both in black. Fixed on top of the case is a fixed plastic bezel with six protruding flaps, which provide the case with greater protection against impacts and shocks. The dial of this watch shows off a gorgeous checkered pattern and is adorned with luminous blunt hands, slender hour indices, and a standard chronograph display with three checkered sub-dials. A small round date display can also be found above the 4 o’clock marker. This watch is driven by a quartz movement, which is equipped with an SR936SW battery. When fully charged, this watch can run for up to five years. If you like bold, fashionable chronographs, then this $160 USD Swatch watch might be just what you need. 14. Swatch GRE_MEM L Ref. SO32M102  For a casual, contemporary-looking modern timepiece that is sure to draw some stares, check out the Swatch GRE_MEM L Ref. SO32M102. Despite its unique look, this modern Swatch watch is incredibly versatile and would complement any attire you pair it with. The Ref. SO32M102 comes in a 41mm light grey bioceramic case along with a matching strap made of bio-sourced plastic. Its black dial goes well with this softer exterior and is decorated with a pattern of geometric shapes, funky patterns, and colorful pink and green hands. The overall color scheme blends incredibly well, creating a true visual experience for any who sees this watch. A reliable quartz movement can also be found inside this timepiece. For just $100 USD, you can get this cool and distinctive Swatch watch. 15. Swatch Elementary Ref. SUOB728  Last but not the least, we have the Swatch Elementary Ref. SUOB728. This watch is a bonafide crowd favorite, thanks to its simple yet quirky design. If you are the type of person who enjoys straightforward accessories that show off your spunky personality, then you will surely enjoy this watch.  The Ref. SUOB728 is housed in a 41mm plastic case with a silicone strap in black. The white, unadorned dial consists of just applied Arabic numeral markers, a day-date display at 3 o’clock, and colorful hands in vibrant red, blue, and yellow hues that add a splash of character to this timepiece. This watch also comes with a quartz movement and has a 30-meter water resistance capacity, which is enough to withstand some splashes and showers. This quintessential Swatch piece will cost you around $87 USD. Final Thoughts  After going through that list, hopefully, you now have a better idea of what Swatch can offer. The brand serves up beautiful, fun, affordable, and most importantly, extremely diverse timepieces that were designed to resonate with anyone who encounters them. Ultimately, this list is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Swatch’s extensive catalog, so prepare to be amazed should you continue looking for more Swatch watches.  Photo Credits: Swatch Official Site Want to read more listicles? Check out our piece on the 15 Custom Engraved Men’s Watches. 

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  5. Oris Aquis Date: A Look at the Brand’s Iconic Dive Watch

    Oris Aquis Date: A Look at the Brand’s Iconic Dive Watch

    Oris is a coveted Swiss watch brand that offers a plethora of highly-functional and stylish timepieces. More specifically, the Oris Aquis is one of the most popular collections in the brand’s extensive catalog. This is a series of expertly designed diver’s watches equipped with state-of-the-art practical features.  One highly regarded range from the Aquis collection is the Oris Aquis Date. This iconic diver watch possesses a modern design, high-performance specifications, and a budget-friendly price, making it a go-to timekeeper for many divers and watch enthusiasts. Built to withstand the harshest conditions underwater with its 300-meter depth rating and dressy enough to up your formal wear, the Oris Aquis Date is a highly versatile timepiece you can bring to nearly any occasion. In this article, let us take a closer look at the Oris Aquis Date, its history, and the excellent features it offers. History of Oris Aquis Date  The release of the Rolex Submariner in 1954 was a game-changer for the watch industry as a whole. The Submariner hit the ground running with explosive popularity, giving dive watches a reputation for prestige, class, and luxury. As a result, by the 1960s, the entire horology industry had started shifting towards a trend of creating classy dive pieces. This led to Oris releasing its first 100-meter diver’s watch, popularly known as the Oris Divers Sixty-Five, in 1965. Oris’s entrance into the dive watch market was a success, as the Oris Divers Sixty-Five became a crowd favorite, especially amongst divers and watch enthusiasts. 46 years down the line, Oris released a new collection dedicated to divers — the Oris Aquis. This is a series of high-end diving models that boast a more contemporary style. Oris equipped the Aquis with an improved 300-meter water resistance capacity, giving it a competitive edge against many of its other dive watch counterparts in the market. Among the many Aquis watches, the Oris Aquis Date is one of the most highly-regarded variants, thanks to its distinctive and modern style. Versions of the Oris Aquis Date Throughout the Years Oris Aquis Date 43.5mm Version In 2017, Oris launched an Aquis Date model in a 43.5mm size. It has a quintessential stainless steel case and a unidirectional bezel with a black elapsed time scale insert made of ceramic. This watch is instantly recognizable, thanks to the detailed engravings of the Oris shield emblem and logo on the caseback and folding clasp respectively. One great thing about this 43.5mm version is the diversity of dial colorways offered. You are given a choice between three options. The first dial features a dark blue sunburst design with contrasting silvery-white indices and hands, while the second has similar elements against a classy black backdrop instead. The third dial is more vibrant and sporty, consisting of bright orange pointers and hour markers against a black surface. All three dials are generously treated with Super-LumiNova pigments to provide optimal readability in any sort of lighting condition. Oris also offers you three different strap options to choose from with the Oris Aquis Date 43.5mm. You can opt between a stainless steel bracelet, a rubber strap, or a leather band. The models with the black rubber strap or brown leather band retail at just $1,531 USD. The blue rubber strap variant, on the other hand, has a price tag of around $1,637 USD. Finally, the stainless steel version is priced slightly higher at $1,649 USD. Oris Aquis Date 39.5mm & 41.5mm The smallest version of the Oris Aquis Date available is the Oris Aquis Date 39.5mm, which, as you might expect from its name, has a 39.5mm stainless steel case and matching bracelet of the same material. Rather than using the typical ceramic bezel, the brand utilizes a black tungsten bezel — a rare material known for being highly resistant to scratches. This bezel is engraved with white numerals and markers for the elapsed time scale and comes in a variety of colorways including black, dark green, silver, and more. In February 2020, Oris released a new model of the Aquis Date 39.5mm. This sophisticated piece came with a striking ocean blue sunray dial, paired with a gleaming black tungsten bezel. It is adorned with thick luminous hands and hour indices, along with a rectangular date window at 6 o’clock. This Oris Aquis Date piece is driven by a self-winding movement with a 38-hour power reserve. Like other Aquis Date models, this watch comes with an impressive 300-meter water resistance rating, making it a reliable option on diving excursions. In 2020, Oris also released a 41.5mm version of the Oris Aquis Date, which has similar features to its smaller counterpart. Apart from its size, the main difference between the two models is that the 41.5mm model is offered with either a rubber strap or a stainless steel bracelet. It also has a slightly different dial, boasting a darker blue sunray finish. You can purchase the 39.5mm model for around $2,000 USD, while the 41.5mm costs more, at around $2,200 USD. Oris Aquis Date 45.5mm Version Photo from Watchshopping The largest model of the Oris Aquis Date available is the Aquis Date 45.5mm. This model has similar specifications to the smaller variants of the Oris Aquis Date, but it comes with larger angular crown protectors and wider lugs, giving this watch more of a spiral balanced look. It also comes with a black dial furnished with sword hands, luminous indices, a day-date aperture, and a broken-up orange or yellow second scale around the rim, adding a burst of vibrant color to the otherwise dark watch face. This Oris Aquis Date 45.5mm comes in either a stainless steel bracelet or a rubber strap. The rubber strap is also available in three hues, which you can pick based on your preference: yellow, black, and orange. Depending on the specific model and materials chosen, the price of this watch ranges from between $1,450 USD to $ 1,755 USD. Best Selections of the Oris Aquis Date  1. Oris Aquis Date Ref. 01 733 7730 4153-07 4 24 63EB Movement: Automatic Oris Caliber 733 Jewels: 26Power Reserve: 38 hoursWater Resistance: 300 metersRight off the bat, this Oris Aquis Date Ref. 01 733 7730 4153-07 4 24 63EB looks incredibly classic and sophisticated. It is housed in a 43.5mm stainless steel case, which perfectly complements the striking sunburst grey dial and matching grey rubber strap. Its dial comes with luminous sword hands, hour indices, and a vibrant red seconds hand that adds a burst of vibrancy to the watch face. Priced at $1,799 USD, this diver’s watch is a great choice, not just as a companion on your underwater adventures, but also for your everyday look. 2. Oris Aquis Date Ref. 01 733 7731 4151-07 8 18 05P Photo from Watchshopping Oris Aquis Date Ref. 01 733 7731 4151-07 8 18 05PMovement: Automatic Oris Caliber 733Jewels: 26Power Reserve: 38 hoursWater resistance: 300 metersThe next watch on our list is an ideal time-telling tool for all the ladies out there who enjoy minimalist designs. The Oris Aquis Date Ref. 01 733 7731 4151-07 8 18 05P is encased in a slender 36.4mm stainless steel case and a matching stainless steel bracelet. This is paired with an exclusive, snow-white dial and a stainless steel bezel with a white elapsed time scale insert. The white dial of this watch is decorated with luminous sword-shaped hands and silver-white indices that maintain the watch’s quiet silver-and-white aesthetic. If you are looking for a classic ladies’ piece, then this $1,549 USD Oris Aquis Date model is a worthy grab. 3. Oris Aquis Date Ref.01 733 7730 4152-07 5 24 12EB Movement: Automatic Oris Caliber 733Jewels: 26Power Reserve:  38 hoursWater Resistance: 300 metersIf you are looking for a dressier dive watch that is sure to draw everyone’s eyes at your next dinner party, then you should definitely consider the Oris Aquis Date Ref.01 733 7730 4152-07 5 24 12EB. This watch has a 43.5mm stainless steel with squarish, angular lugs and an aged brown leather strap. Its dial showcases a gorgeous sunburst brown finish which pairs surprisingly well with the gleaming maroon-colored elapsed time scale bezel. On the underside of the watch, you can find a transparent caseback, which provides wearers with a clear view of the watch’s Oris 733 Caliber. You can get your hands on this watch for approximately $1,399 USD. 4. Oris Aquis Date Ref. 01 733 7732 4157-07 4 21 64FC Movement: Automatic Oris Calibre 733Jewels: 26 Power Reserve: 38 hoursWater Resistance: 300 metersFor another stylish, masculine Oris Aquis Date option, take a look at the Oris Aquis Date Ref. 01 733 7766 4157-07 4 22 64FC. Presented in a 41.5mm stainless steel case, this watch shows off a glamorous green dial, a stainless steel bezel with a metallic, royal green elapsed time scale insert, and a comfortable black rubber strap. It also has a layer of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal fitted on top of the case front, providing greater security to the dial. Retailing at $1,580 USD, this timepiece is a wonderful partner for both your diving adventures and your everyday routines. 5. Oris Aquis Date Automatic Ref. 01 733 7730 4134-07 8 24 05PEB Photo from Watchshopping.com Movement: Automatic Oris Calibre 733Jewels: 26Power Reserve: 38 hoursWater Resistance: 300 metersLast but not least, we have the Oris Aquis Ref. 01 733 7730 4134-07 8 24 05PEB — a handsome timepiece with a quintessential black and silver build. This watch is housed in a 43.5mm stainless steel case and bracelet, serving a classic contrast against the grandiose black dial and metallic black elapsed time scale bezel. Like other Oris Aquis Date models, this timepiece is outfitted with a sapphire crystal that protects the dial from any external threats. For an estimated price of $1,799 USD, you can get this durable and stylish Aquis Date watch. Alternatives to Oris Aquis Date The Oris Aquis Date is one of the most classic and reliable divers watches on the market. However, although it is packed with all the essential features of a good diving timepiece, not everyone might be able to get their hands on it. As such, we have collated a list of the best alternative models to Oris Aquis Date that you should consider checking out. 1. Seiko Prospex Ref. SNE573P1 Photo from Watchshopping.com The first watch on the list is from another iconic Japanese brand, Seiko. The Seiko Prospex Ref. SNE573P1, like the Oris Aquis Ref. 01 733 7730 4134-07 8 24 05PEB, is a lovely classic option with its 38.5mm stainless steel case, striking black dial, matte black elapsed time scale bezel, and black silicone strap. Its watch face is decorated with luminous arrowhead hands and geometric hour indices for easy reading even in low-light conditions, along with a compact date window at 3 o’clock. This Seiko Prospex piece has a 200-meter depth rating, which ensures it can withstand some harsh underwater conditions, although it is not quite as impressive as the Oris Aquis Date’s 300-meter water resistance capacity. In addition, it is driven by an in-house quartz Caliber V147, which has an outstanding 10-month power reserve when fully charged. If you are looking for a reliable, practical, and durable diving piece, you should opt for this Seiko Prospex piece, retailing at just $509 USD. 2. Omega Seamaster Ref. 231.10.44.50.09.001 Photo from Watchshopping.com If you are into more understated styles, the Omega Seamaster Ref. 231.10.44.50.09.001 might be just the right choice with its quiet all-silver aesthetic. This watch is presented in a 44mm stainless steel case and matching three-link bracelet of the same material, which go well with the soft white dial. This dial, which features a pattern of fine vertical lines running across it, is adorned with luminous arrowhead hands, triangular hour markers, and a date window placed between 4 and 5 o’clock. Its chronograph layout consists of three sub-dials, which function as the small seconds, 30-minute, and 12-hour counters. This Omega Seamaster piece runs on a top-notch in-house Caliber 3313 movement, which offers a 52-hour power reserve and a solid 150-meter water resistance capacity. You can purchase this Omega watch for approximately $5,429 USD. 3. Citizen Promaster Ref. NB6004-83E Photo from Watchshopping.com The last watch on our list of Oris Aquis Date alternatives is the Citizen Promaster Ref. NB6004-83E — a reliable, high-quality diver that should definitely be on your radar. It comes in a 46mm titanium case and a three-link bracelet made of the same material. The use of titanium gives this watch a lightweight build, ensuring that it is easy to tote around during your long dives in spite of its larger size and robust profile. Fitted on top of the case is a chunky, heavily textured bezel, which bears a pattern of pyramid-shaped studs and raised numerals for the elapsed time scale. The face of this Citizen Promaster watch showcases the same pyramid pattern as the bezel, except in a black hue. It is also furnished with luminous geometric indices, silver and red hands that add a burst of vibrant color, and a small date aperture at 3 o’clock. Citizen also made sure to equip this timepiece with a 200-meter water resistance rating, so it can fulfill all your underwater needs. Powered by an in-house Caliber 9051 with a 42-hour power reserve, you have to be prepared to shell out around $869 USD for this rugged diving watch. Final Thoughts Oris is a distinguished Swiss watch brand that caters to the needs of both men and women looking for stylish, highly-functional timekeepers. The brand’s Oris Aquis Date fits perfectly into its catalog. With its handsome modern design, high-performing specifications, relatively accessible price, and outstanding 300-meter depth rating, you can never go wrong with this dressy diver’s watch. Featured image courtesy to Kyle Wasinger on Flickr All images from Oris’s official website unless otherwise stated. Still looking for other options of the best diving watches in the horology market? Why not take some time to read our article on the Top Dive Watches Under 1000 to get more familiar with other top-notch diving watches that come at a very budget-friendly price.

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  6. Casio Rangeman: A Review of the Brand’s Toughest Watch

    Casio Rangeman: A Review of the Brand’s Toughest Watch

    Casio is widely regarded as being home to some of the toughest watches in the world. While this Japanese brand has numerous refined collections that have greatly contributed to horology, it only truly made a name for itself with its legendary Casio G-Shock collection. This is a line of exceptionally rugged tactical timepieces designed to survive any sort of harsh conditions. One particular high-caliber watch in this collection is the Casio Rangeman GW-9400. Equipped with G-Shock’s famous triple sensor technology and a robust build that is virtually unmatched in the watchmaking world, the Casio Rangeman has become the perfect companion to professionals and adventurers working in extreme conditions. In this article, we will be taking an in-depth look at the Casio Rangeman GW-9400, including its specifications, price, and just what makes it so popular. Brief History of Casio G-Shock Rangeman  In 2013, Casio launched a new series of modern G-Shock watches. Known as the Master of G line-up, these new additions to the G-Shock collection were notable as they came with Casio’s newest, state-of-the-art triple sensor technology. Among these watches was, of course, the Casio Rangeman GW-9400. Today, the Casio Rangeman has become the most coveted model out of the many G-Shock watches in existence. It is the number one pick amongst outdoorsmen and sportsmen of all categories. With its superb features, rugged, combat-ready profile, and accessible price, the Casio Rangeman’s popularity is truly no surprise. Anatomy of the Casio GW-9400 Rangeman Case and Bezel Photo from Watchshopping.com All of the Casio Rangeman GW-9400 watches are built using solid resin cases. The Casio Rangeman’s case is incredibly thick, which provides greater protection against shocks and impacts. They also tend to be large, measuring around 53mm to 55mm in diameter. However, despite their robust sizes, the use of resin means that the Casio Rangeman is actually very light, weighing around 93g, so you can still wear the watch comfortably for extended periods of time. The Rangeman’s thick case is also constructed to have a more three-dimensional profile, with the dial being submerged and surrounded by layers of resin so that the screen of the dial is always protected. As a digital watch, the Casio Rangeman comes packed with an array of useful functions. As a result, the case is also crowded with pushers and buttons that allow you to control these features. For instance, a larger, protruding pusher located at the 3 o’clock position allows you to access the triple sensors’ different modes. Other pushbuttons can be used for the watch’s chronograph functions, to change between different time zones, and so on. You also don’t need to fear being confused by all these buttons and features. The pushers on the Casio Rangeman are all carefully labeled in clean grey and white typefaces, allowing you to get the hang of this watch very quickly. Dial As previously mentioned, the Casio Rangeman has a digital dial that is filled with useful features. It consists of a layer of scratch-resistant mineral glass, with a gray backdrop text in a highly legible, typical black font. Casio opted for a digital dial instead of an analog one because they wanted to optimize this watch in terms of readability and ease of use, so as to better serve the adventurers and hikers that were the main target audience of the Casio Rangeman. With a segmented digital dial, wearers could take one quick glance at the watch face and immediately see all the information they needed. In order to accommodate all of the functions the Casio Rangeman has, the dial is split into four different screens. When in the default modes, the screens each display the time, day of the week, the month and day, and a chronograph display. By pressing the different pushers on the side of the case, you can change the modes of the watch to bring up different types of information such as the compass, the barometric pressure readings, and so on. Movement The Casio Rangeman’s impressive functions are all driven by a high-performing quartz movement. As a quartz caliber, it offers a superlative accuracy rate of ±1 second per day, or ±15 seconds per month. It is also equipped with an incredible 8-month long battery. If necessary, you can also turn on the watch’s power save function, which allows the Casio Rangeman to last up to 23 months when fully charged. Furthermore, this is a solar movement, so you can charge it with solar power, simply by exposing it to light. Bracelet Photo from Watchshopping.com The Casio Rangeman GW-9400 also comes with an integrated resin band, which completes the watch’s sporty and rugged aesthetic. This strap is ergonomic and feels comfortable against your wrist even after hours of use. A stainless steel buckle keeps the strap securely wrapped around your wrist. Resistance The Casio Rangeman GW-9400 is not called one of the toughest watches in the world for nothing. With its sturdy resin case, Casio designed this watch to have water, mud, and shock-resistant properties. It can withstand low temperatures of up to -10°C or 14°F and is water-resistant up to depths of 200 meters. Whether you are diving, swimming, hiking, or doing any other outdoor adventure, this timepiece is the best partner you could have, since it can take a beating and still remain functional no matter what you put it through. That said, make sure to give your Casio Rangeman a good rinse afterward so it always looks clean and pristine. Functions First off, the Casio GW-9400 Rangeman is one of the first timepieces to ever feature the brand’s triple sensor technology, which means that it is equipped with a barometer, altimeter, and compass functions. These are essential to those who are out and about in their adventures. Aside from this, the watch also contains sunrise and sunset data, a thermometer, and Casio’s MultiBand 6 technology, which allows the watch to keep precise time by staying calibrated to surrounding radio waves. This watch also comes with features that are incredibly useful in everyday life. These include a chronograph stopwatch that can measure up to 1000 hours, 31 different time zones, a countdown timer, 5 daily alarms, a full auto-calendar, and much more. With everything that it can do, the Casio Rangeman is a watch that is truly meant to serve you and make your life easier. Best Casio Rangeman GW-9400 Models Now that we have established the Casio Rangeman’s impressive specifications and everything it can do, let us take a look at some of the best GW-9400 models available right now:  1. Casio Rangeman GW-9400J-1JF Photo from Watchshopping.com The Casio Rangeman GW-9400J-1JF is an instantly recognizable G-Shock model with its rugged, mostly grey build, which is complemented by some vibrant red accents. This is one of the most sought-after models of the Casio Rangeman for the power and practicality it boasts. The Casio Rangeman GW-9400J-1JF comes in a 53mm case and strap, primarily crafted from resin, rubber, and silicone. These are materials renowned for being highly flexible, hypoallergenic, and having excellent water-resistant capacities. Its digital screen displays the hour, minutes, seconds, date, and day of the week and is filled with grey hues of varying shades. This is complemented by bright red accents dotted around the watch, in the form of red texts and a red stripe around the stainless steel pusher, which serve to brighten up this Casio Rangeman and enhance its sporty look. The Casio Rangeman GW-9400J-1JF is equipped with an in-house quartz Caliber 3410. This powerful movement ensures top-notch accuracy, with a precision rate of ±15 seconds per month. It also offers Multiband Atomic Timekeeping and a 200-meter water resistance capacity, making it an ideal piece for your next water adventure. This Casio Rangeman retails at around $449 USD, which is a very budget-friendly price for such a tough watch. 2. Casio Rangeman GW-9400DCJ-1JF The next watch on this list is of the best Casio Rangeman models is the GW-9400DCJ-1JF, also known as the Rangeman Desert Camouflage. This is another powerfully-built Casio Rangeman with a design that is based on the camouflage uniforms of military units assigned to work in the desert. As the newest member of the Master of G sub-collection, this Casio Rangeman piece was crafted with desert adventurers and military soldiers in mind. The Casio Rangeman GW-9400DCJ-1JF comes with the standard black resin case with some carbon fiber inserts to better reinforce the case’s sturdiness and resistance to shocks and impacts. Its strap is different from other Rangeman models, coming in a light brown camouflage pattern that blends into its desert surroundings. This Rangeman piece has a stunning digital dial with sharp black text and a lighter-colored background than the Rangeman GW-9400J-1JF. This dial is protected by a flat layer of scratch-resistant mineral crystal. In addition, you can find gold and beige-toned markings all over the thick resin bezel, complementing the softer hues of the dial and the resin strap. The Rangeman Desert Camo GW-9400DCJ-1JF comes at a slightly more expensive price tag of $770 USD. 3. Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400-3DR Last but certainly not least, we have the all-green Casio G-Shock Rangeman GW-9400-3DR. This watch bears the standard Rangeman build but stands out with its unique, forest-themed colorway. It is a tough-looking watch equipped with innovative features that correspond to its price. The Casio Rangeman GW-9400-3DR features a case and strap both made out of dark green-coated plastic resin, paired with a mineral crystal that provides the digital dial with greater protection. This watch is slightly larger than the aforementioned models, coming in at around 55.2mm in diameter. It is a rugged, sturdy timepiece that can withstand shocks, mud, low temperatures, scratches, and even has a water resistance rating of 200m. As with other versions of the Rangeman, the GW-9400-3DR is equipped with a solar-powered quartz movement and the brand’s famous triple sensor technology. You can purchase this watch for approximately $300 USD, making this the most affordable Rangeman piece in this guide. Final Thoughts  While there are other durable and rugged watches out there, there is still no timepiece that can be as tough and reliable as the Casio Rangeman. Equipped with the G-Shock’s impressive technological innovations and signature robust build, this is the best survival watch to use in any and every adventure. Furthermore, with its very accessible price range, virtually anyone can own a Rangeman of their own.   Featured image from Casio Official Website. All images courtesy to Casio’s Official Website unless stated. Want to know more about other toughest watches from the Casio collections you should never miss paying attention to? Check our guide about the Best Casio Dive Watches.

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  7. 15 Best Russian Watches

    15 Best Russian Watches

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

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  8. A Complete Guide to the Swatch Sistem51 Collection

    A Complete Guide to the Swatch Sistem51 Collection

    The Swatch Group is famous for changing watchmaking forever as it salvaged multiple companies from the wrath of the quartz crisis. Since the company took its stand as a Swiss giant, its name became synonymous with affordable yet excellent timepieces. After 30 years of excellence, the company was challenged to release a watch that best described its heritage while also dictating its future. So, in 2013, everyone was treated to a modern icon — the Swatch Sistem51. What is the Swatch Sistem 51? The Swatch Sistem51 is quite a sight to behold. When it was first launched, it was conceptualized as a plastic watch. Plastic watches are actually quite typical for Swatch. However, what made the Swatch Sistem51 truly impressive was that it is a mechanical watch, unlike Swatch’s usual quartz-powered pieces. To put things into perspective, a simple mechanical movement typically has 130 components. The Swatch Sistem51’s self-winding mechanical movement truly outdid itself, with just 51 parts, and all of its cogs mounted on a single screw. In addition, it is also a true powerhouse caliber, with features like 90 hours of power reserve and top-notch accuracy. 5 Best Swatch Sistem51 Watches Swatch has a plethora of Sistem51 watches you can choose from. So, to help you decide which one to pick, we gathered 5 of the best Swatch Sistem51 watches for your perusal. 1. Sistem51 Sistem Pilote YIB404 The Sistem Pilote stands out with its unique all-black design. This model comes with a sunburst black dial that features a cut-out in the shape of a crescent. This allows wearers to view the movement at work through the face of the watch. This 42mm stainless steel watch also innovatively plays with blacks of various hues. From its dial case to its hour indices and hands, each of these comes in contrasting hues of black that allow for better legibility. In addition, this Swatch Sistem51 piece also has a silver second hand and a circular date window at 3 o’clock. With a comfortable black leather strap, this watch would make a fine everyday accessory. You can purchase the Sistem Pilote for just $245 USD. 2. Sistem5 Sistem White SUTW400 From a black Swatch Sistem51 watch, let us head to the other side of the color spectrum with a white edition. Also measuring 42mm in diameter, this watch, like most Swatch watches, is made mostly from plastic. The white strap comes in very durable rubber material. This Sistem White piece also has a circular date window at 3 o’clock, but this one comes in a bright lime shade. On the white dial are vibrant, multi-colored dots that give the timepiece more personality. Even the caseback and movement of the watch are brightly colored in a variety of different hues, spicing this watch up. This bold and bright Swatch Sistem51 piece has a price ranging from $100 USD to $110 USD. 3. Sistem51 Irony Sistem Soul YIS402 For those who prefer stainless steel watches, check out the Sistem Soul. This is a monochrome watch with a very minimalist design. The dial of the watch comes in white, while the stainless steel case bears a cool silver hue. The white dial also boasts an intricate geometric design that is sure to draw your eye in. Unlike the previous two models, this Swatch Sistem51 piece has a square date window. It is also marked with 60-minute markers in 5-minute increments and has a 24-hour layout to boot. In retail, this watch costs around $245 USD. 4. Sistem51 Sistem Thought The handsome Sistem Thought stands out as a contemporary take on military watches. This 42mm stainless steel watch in black also bears a striking black dial. It has a cut-out in the middle of the dial that gives you a glimpse of the caliber running underneath. It also boasts 12-hour markers and a peculiar date scale on the inner ring of the dial. This watch comes with a classy brown leather strap, so you could easily bring it to dressier occasions too. This Swatch Sistem51 piece retails at around $245 USD. 5. Sistem51 Sistem Col-Ora SUTB408 Much like the Sistem White, the Sistem Col-Ora boasts splashes of color in an otherwise simple, monochrome watch. The markers of this watch come in bright colors, with the caseback striped diagonally in the same hues. The strap of the watch also comes with vertical ridges for a little bit of texture. This is a plastic watch and costs around $150 USD in retail. History of the Swatch Sistem 51 The concept of the Swatch Sistem51 takes people back to the history of Swatch. Today, the company is better known for its colorful and popular designs, collaboration with artists, and marketing that targets the masses. However, Swatch is also remembered as a company that changed the way the Swiss watchmaking industry was run forever. Swatch was created in response to the horology industry’s quartz crisis. Prior to the 1970s, the industry was comprised only of mechanical timepieces. However, this all changed in the late 1970s, when there was a quartz watch boom. Quartz is cheap and can be mass-produced, and this greatly threatened the mechanical watch business, which is what the Swiss watchmaking scene is mostly composed of. This crisis completely overtook the Swiss market, so much so that James Bond — known for his Rolex watches at the time — even switched to using a digital watch from Seiko for a while. Nicolas G. Hayek is the person responsible for turning the Swiss watchmaking industry around. He created a company that was known as the Swiss Corporation for Microelectronics and Watchmaking Industries. This company, better known as SMH, became a merger of prominent brands including Omega, Tissot, and Longines. This company, which was funded by Hayek himself, reformed the watchmaking industry. Eventually, SMH was renamed the Swatch Group. Through this company, Hayek introduced the modern age of machination and continued to mass-produce Swiss masterpieces. Launching the Swatch Sistem51 In 2013, Swatch celebrated its 30th year in the industry. Creative director Carlo Giodanetti was asked to create a brand new Swatch timepiece for the brand’s 30th anniversary. Indeed, this was quite a challenge as he had to come up with something spectacular that still remained true to the idea of what Swatch is all about. At the 2013 Baselworld, Swatch pulled the curtains back on their Sistem51. Deemed as a spectacle and one of the most exciting launches of that year, the Swatch Sistem51 was a worthy tribute to Swatch’s 30th anniversary. The Swatch Sistem51 was notable for two reasons: firstly, it was a new, unique mechanical timepiece from a company that lived primarily on quartz movements. Secondly, the Swatch Sistem51 watches are sold at around 100 CHF to 200 CHF. This makes the Swatch Sistem51 the cheapest automatic Swiss watch on the market. Building the Swatch Sistem51 A mechanical movement follows some basic principles that need to be preserved for it to function well. Firstly, the mechanical caliber should have a mainspring barrel. It should also be wound by a peripheral rotor that powers the gear train. The gear train then functions at a rate controlled by the oscillating balance wheel as well as the ticking level escapement. What is impressive about the Sistem51 is that they kept all these intact with just 51 parts. Considering the average mechanical movement has around 130 components, the Swatch Sistem51, which has been slimmed down to just 51 parts, is truly a mechanical marvel indeed. In addition, the Sistem51 movement does not have any screws. All of its components are held together by metallic pins. You can see this through the clear caseback of a Swatch Sistem51 watch. Finally, for efficiency reasons and to stay true to the idea of a Swatch watch, the escape lever of the Swatch Sistemt1 also comes in plastic! There are some polarizing views about this but it helps make this watch truly affordable. The process of building the Swatch Sistem51 is also a technological marvel in itself. This is because the whole process is entirely robotized. ETA, Swatch’s movement manufacturer, put up an innovative facility in Boncourt, Switzerland for just this purpose. According to reports, the facility has a total of 400 machines installed that work non-stop, 24 hours a day, up to six whole days a week. These machines are responsible for creating the components in the Swatch Sistem51 movement. They are also in charge of fixing the movement into the main plate before moving on to the decoration of the watch. Using digital printers, each Swatch Sistem51 piece gets decorated according to different themes that best reflect Swatch’s affordable yet flamboyant design philosophy. Although Swatch does not share how many watches it makes a year, estimates suggest that around 4,000 Swatch Sistem51 are made every day. In 2016, Swatch built a second facility, doubling its production capacity. Combining the prowess of these two facilities, we are looking at an estimate of two million watches made every year. That is way higher than even Rolex! Final Thoughts On the whole, there are some polarizing views when it comes to Swatch. Watch enthusiasts have gone into endless debates over the brand’s use of plastic and flamboyant, loud designs. That said, you cannot deny that it has achieved an efficient marvel with the mechanization of the Swatch Sistem51’s production process. The Sistem51 is a true testament to Swatch’s ideals of affordability, efficiency, and innovation, and continues the legacy of Swatch’s colorful and accessible plastic watches. Looking for more affordable mechanical watches? Learn more about the Hamilton Khaki King and Seiko 5 watches. Photos courtesy of Swatch Group.

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  9. Casio GA-2100: The Outstanding CasiOak Watch

    Casio GA-2100: The Outstanding CasiOak Watch

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

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  10. 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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  11. Tudor North Flag: A Guide to Classic Yet Underrated Chronograph

    Tudor North Flag: A Guide to Classic Yet Underrated Chronograph

    Although Tudor first became known as the sister company of the more prestigious watch brand Rolex, the company allowed this to be a reason not to establish its own reputable name in the watch industry. In fact, over the years, Tudor has developed into one of the most highly-coveted Swiss watchmakers with its luxurious and refined timepieces that are available at very reasonable prices. It offers a range of top-notch watches that cater to the needs of both men and women who wish to own a high-caliber timekeeper. Aside from that, Tudor is also known for many innovations in the world of horology, such as the creation of its own first-ever caliber movement, the Caliber MT5621, which you can find in the Tudor North Flag. This particular collection features many classic and cutting-edge timepieces, with the Caliber MT5621 providing exceptionally precise timekeeping as well. That said, the Tudor North Flag has been a remarkably underrated line of watches. In this article, we’ll take a look at the Tudor North Flag in detail and break down just why it deserves more attention from watch enthusiasts. Tudor’s First in-House Calibre Photo by Manuel Rebic from Flickr The Tudor North Flag, as mentioned, stood out because it featured the brand’s first-ever powerful in-house Caliber MT5621. As earlier versions of Tudor watches were equipped with caliber movements from external suppliers, the creation of its first in-house movement was a massive milestone for the brand. In fact, this was the major shift that allowed the brand to establish its own identity in the watch community and no longer be referred to as just a sister brand of Rolex. While it is true that the Tudor Pelagos was the first watch to be powered by the Caliber MT5621, it was the Tudor North Flag that proudly showcased its excellent functions and mechanisms with the North Flag’s see-through caseback. This feature is not one often found in Rolex watches, making the Tudor North Flag all the more distinctive. In fact, the Tudor North Flag serves as a testament to how Tudor expertly carves out its niche, setting itself apart from Rolex. The Inspiration Behind Tudor North Flag’s Existence Named after the British North Greenland Expedition, the Tudor North Flag actually takes inspiration from the 1952 expedition’s Oyster Prince time-telling accessory, as well as the exceptional 1970’s Tudor Ranger II. The Oyster Prince was historically crafted to be used by the crew of the British North Greenland Expedition back in 1952, which means that it was designed to be a reliable, robust, and highly accurate timepiece that could survive being exposed to all sorts of extreme environments. The Tudor North Flag took from the Oyster Prince a similar identity of being a tough, rigid, and highly precise timekeeper intended for the hardiest of survivalists. With regards to the overall design of the Tudor North Flag, on the other hand, a quick glance makes it immediately apparent that it has a resemblance to Tudor’s own Ranger II, an iconic timepiece from way back in the 1970s. Like the Ranger II, the Tudor North Flag features a similar arrow-shaped handset filled with lume and a heavy-based chapter ring. One difference between the two watches, however, is that the Tudor North Flag does not adopt the Ranger II’s oversized fluted bezel, opting instead for a smoother and more refined bezel. All in all, the Tudor North Flag is a fresh, modern take on the Ranger II. Up Close with Tudor North Flag Case Material: Stainless steel Dial: Black Case diameter: 40mm Movement: Calibre MT5621 Power reserve: 70 hours Water resistance: 100m Case and Bezel Right from the outset, the most striking feature you’re likely to notice from the unique Tudor North Flag is its sophisticated case. Crafted as a luxury sports watch, the stainless steel case of this timepiece has a slim build and clean lines with its sharp, angular edges. In addition, it features a high-tech steel bezel that is unusually lined with black ceramic on the outer rim and a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that serves as protection for the dial. With its proportionate 40mm case diameter, previous owners have reported that the Tudor North Flag is extremely comfortable on the wrist, with a size that is just right. Its incorporated lugs and tapered crown are fine details that add to the lightweight profile of the watch. Along with its substantial 100m water resistance, this timepiece displays a contemporary appearance that is a modern twist on the vintage Tudor Ranger II. Dial The dial of the Tudor North Flag is yet another highlight of this handsome timepiece, as it boasts an avant-garde and minimalistic style. Along with its rectangular hour markers, the watch also displays two oversized Arabic numerals at 6 and 12 o’clock that dominate the black dial. The numerals and hour markers are all wrapped in white lume to provide excellent visibility even in poor lighting conditions. You will also notice the small rectangular date aperture located at the 3 o’clock position and a bright yellow power reserve indicator located at 9 o’clock that serves as a splash of color to the dial. This power reserve also works as a rotating disc, adding a touch of contemporaneity to this timepiece. Another elegant feature of the Tudor North Flag is its luminous silver-toned hour and minute hands, and vibrant yellow seconds hand with a rectangular tip. The white and yellow handset smartly contrasts against the black dial, which adds to the legibility of this timepiece. We can also find the Tudor name and logo printed on the dial, right under the 12 o’clock marker. Lume Tudor ensures that the hour markers and hands of the North Flag are all either coated or filled with luminescent material. This gives it a gorgeous light blue glow in low-lighting conditions, making time-telling easy no matter where you are. This is one of the most essential features a timepiece must have and the brand’s use of a high-end lume for the Tudor North Flag highlights how Tudor spared no expense in crafting this watch. Movement While the gorgeous aesthetics of the Tudor North Flag are definitely an eye-catcher, the real show-stopper when it comes to this watch is its movement. The Caliber MT5621 movement is, as previously mentioned, Tudor’s first-ever in-house caliber movement. It was a significant turning point for Tudor, as this ability to craft a top-notch movement with excellent engineering and craftsmanship helped the brand to build its own reputation instead of just being identified as a sister company of Rolex. As the Tudor North Flag was the primary vehicle that Tudor used to introduce the Caliber MT5621, this gives the watch a special status in the Tudor catalog and history indeed. Going back to Caliber MT5621 movement, it is a top-notch automatic movement that features a 4Hz beat rate, a bidirectional winding system equipped with an anti-magnetic silicon hairspring, and an adjustable inertia oscillator. It is a COSC-certified chronometer with a record of accuracy rating of not more than -2/+4 seconds, and as such is a highly reliable, accurate, and functional movement that you can rely on for years to come. It also features a whopping power reserve of up to 70 hours. This is a particular standout compared to other high-end sports watches, which tend to only offer up to 40 hours of power reserve. Moreover, this in-house movement is also surprisingly durable. Not only is it able to withstands shocks and external vibrations, but it is also anti-magnetic and has superior dimensional stability. It features a free-spring balance wheel, a design that is characteristic of high-end Swiss-made movements like those from prominent watchmakers Patek Philippe and Rolex. The mechanisms of the Caliber MT5621 can be observed through the see-through case back of the Tudor North Flag, allowing wearers to appreciate the grand and efficient design of this movement. Bracelet/Strap Tudor offers two different options for the strap of the North Flag. You can choose between a brushed, professional stainless steel strap or a yellow-stitched, black leather strap. The former is crafted with a solid satin finish, which blends perfectly with the matching stainless steel case. The yellow and black leather strap, on the other hand, pairs well with the neon accents visible on the Tudor North Flag’s sporty dial. Regardless of which one you opt to use, both straps are crafted by Tudor to be durable and easy to wear. Both of them feature safety catches and folding clasps that allow the straps to fit nicely and securely around wrists of any size. Pros and Cons of Tudor North Flag Despite all of the impressive attributes of the Tudor North Flag, it is not quite the perfect timepiece. That is why, before making a decision on the Tudor North Flag, you want to make sure to consider all the good and the bad first. We’ve come up with a list of pros and cons so you really know what you’re getting with the Tudor North Flag. Pros Excellent build and quality finish.  Each component of the Tudor North Flag watch is skillfully crafted by the brand to ensure its durability, reliability, and functionality. Furthermore, knowing that Tudor is one of the most reputable Swiss watchmakers, you can rest assured that it only uses premium materials to create its timepieces, and the Tudor North Flag is no exception.Equipped with Tudor’s first in-house movement and COSC-certified chronometer. One of the most noteworthy features of the Tudor North Flag is that it is equipped with the brand’s first-ever in-house movement, the Caliber MT5621. This movement is shock-resistant and has anti-magnetic capabilities, making it a durable movement with a long shelf life. It is also commended for its highly precise timekeeping, showcasing the identity and reliability of a genuine Swiss-made movement.Known for its affordability. Another highlight of the North Flag watch is its budget-friendly pricing. Considering the robust features this watch offers, getting it at a price that will not break your bank is certainly considered a steal. Cons Limited strap options. If you’re the type of person who loves to switch up the straps of your timepiece for different occasions, then sadly, this Tudor North Flag might not be for you. Although it has incorporated lugs to provide greater comfort against the wearer’s wrists, there isn’t really a diversity of choice available in terms of strap options. As mentioned, these North Flag watches only come with two types of straps, formal stainless steel, or a sporty black and yellow leather version. An alternative solution is to buy a custom-made strap, which, unfortunately, can be quite expensive.Not as popular as other Tudor collections. Despite all the features the Tudor North Flag offers, it remains quite an underrated timepiece. If you’re planning to buy a watch to invest in for the future, buying this watch might be a risk for you, particularly when it comes to resale value, as it isn’t as heavily sought-after as some of its Tudor peers. Two Variants of Tudor North Flag  1. TUDOR North Flag 91210N-0002 One notable feature of this version is its stunning black dial, boasting a contemporary and classic sporty look. This Tudor North Flag 91210N-0002 features a 40mm stainless steel case, a sapphire crystal to add extra protection to its dial, a see-through skeleton caseback, and a smooth black leather strap with a fold-over safety clasp to complete the overall classy, sporty look. It is equipped with the brand’s first-ever in-house automatic movement, famous for its high accuracy and resistance to shocks and magnetism. Aside from that, this Tudor model also comes equipped with a water resistance rating of up to 100 meters. You’ll notice that the handy date aperture can also be found at the 3 o’clock position. This first version of the Tudor North Flag is available for only $3,939 USD. 2. TUDOR North Flag 91210N-0001 This second version of Tudor North Flag features all the same characteristics as the previous watch. It also has a 40mm round stainless steel case with integrated lugs, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and a see-through caseback that showcases the watch’s in-house Caliber MT5621 movement. It has an impressive power reserve of up to 70 hours and is equipped with 100 meters of water resistance. The only difference of this Tudor North Flag 91210N-0001 is its strap, which is made of stainless steel and offers more of a professional, classic feel with its clean geometry. This version is just a little pricier, retailing at $4,499 USD. Final Thoughts We can’t deny that we tend to opt for the most prestigious watchmakers like Rolex, Tag Heuer, or Omega when looking at Swiss luxury watch brands. Sometimes, we forget that it is not just the most prominent brands that are worthy of interest or capable of delivering high-quality timepieces. Indeed, Tudor, with its luxurious and reliable watches available at very reasonable prices, is definitely one to keep an eye on. In particular, the Tudor North Flag is a classic and functional timepiece that offers highly accurate timekeeping and a handsomely contemporary aesthetic. This timepiece was the vehicle through which Tudor introduced its first-ever in-house movement, which adds to the historical significance and depth of the Tudor North Flag as well, as part of this impressive Tudor milestone. At the end of the day, the Tudor North Flag is a durable, reliable, and functional time-telling accessory with an important history to boot. For these reasons, it is an excellent and underrated piece perfect for watch enthusiasts looking to expand their collections. Looking for other Tudor watches you would definitely want to add to your collection? Check our article on the Best Picks From Tudor Watches. All photos are credited to Watchshopping.com unless stated otherwise. Featured image from Manuel Rebic on Flickr.

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

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

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

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