Friday, December 15, 2017

Star Wars Stocking Stuffer Watches


The key to giving a watch as a little extra stocking stuffer is to choose a watch that will be fun for the recipient.  The world is awash in inexpensive watches that celebrate sports teams, superheroes, and movies.  For example, kids aged 6 to 60 might find a Batman watch or a Star Wars watch a lot of fun.   I recently spotted a number of Star Wars watches at Big Lots for very low prices.  For $10-$15 you simple can't go too far wrong.

Obviously, these little quartz watches aren't the finest of Swiss timepieces.  But, for a young Star Wars fan, they would probably be very cool.


Older Star Wars fans may find more expensive Star Wars watches appealing.  Nixon produces an excellent looking line of Star Wars watches for adults.


If you don't want official Star Wars logos on all of your gear, you might try the Casio Tough Solar in white.  It looks like a great Storm Trooper watch, but it doesn't have anything to do with Star Wars.




If you want the Storm Trooper look or you actually want to see Bobba Fet, watch makers have you covered.


 I was able to find one inexpensive kids watch on Amazon.  It's not a huge watch, but it would be a huge gift for a young Star Wars Fan.




Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Guide to Military Style Watches

The military style watch has been gaining popularity in recent year.  Our nation and the western world has been at war against Islamic terrorism for 16 years and there is little sign that the struggle will ever end.  As the Army recruiting commercials say, "every generation has heroes," and perhaps all of us want to identify with those heroes and show our support.  Military-style watches are practical tools for today's warriors and a fashion homage to our heroes for the rest of us.

What time is it? - Photo by U.S. Army Europe Images from Heidelberg, Germany (What time is it  Uploaded by GiW) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Most military-style watches are generally based on standard issue military watches from the Vietnam era.  They consist of a simple analog dial displaying the 12 and 24-hour times against a plain dark background and feature a drab canvas or leather strap.  Many military-style watches feature a white triangle at the 12 o'clock position.  While the SKMEI military-style watch below features numbered minutes prominently, many do not.  This is a typical example of a military inspired watch.  Amazingly this one costs less than $10.


Some military style watches forego the 24 hour markings in favor of a simplified dial.  One of my favorite affordable military-style watches is this simple Timex Expedition Vintage Metal Field Watch.  It's very simple and it fits the military theme well.


If you are looking for another inexpensive option, this U.S. Polo watch is a nice simple and inexpensive example.  While war is no polo match, this watch has the big readable numbers, 24-hour time, and that ever present triangle.  You can generally find US Polo watches priced for less than $25 at traditional retailers like Kohl's or Sears.


You'll find some watches are even more simplified with markings inspired by World War 1 era aviation watches.  This Invicta 1461 is typical of that genre of watch.  On a more expensive end of the spectrum, Bell & Ross followed its smash hit instrument panel watches with a very sparse and utilitarian World War I inspired pilots watches.  These watches are great for those of us with older eyes because we don't have to explicitly admit that we need an Easy Reading Watch.


Of course, sometimes there is no substitute for the real thing.  The Marathon Watch company currently makes military specification watches.  These watches have tritium tubes that provide lighted markings without having to be charged via a light source.  They are also made for the extreme conditions that soldiers may actually face.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Guide to Dive or Diver-Style Watches

If you are looking for a gift watch for man this Christmas, you can't get much more manly than a dive or diver-style watch.  Dive watches embody manly virtues like strength and endurance.  They are also available at a wide variety of price points.


Insignum Dive Watch

Some of the fundamental questions to ask before giving someone a dive watch for Christmas are --
  • Is the gift recipient actually a scuba diver?
  • Does the person snorkel or swim?
  • Will the person wear the watch into the ocean or a pool?
Casio Dive Watch
Why all the questions?  It's simple, the specifications for a real dive watch are much more rigorous than the specifications for a diver-style watch.  The world is awash in affordable watches that look like dive watches and there are many solid watches that are rugged enough for swimming.  But, real dive watches are made to withstand high pressures of the depths.

A real dive watch will be able to withstand pressures of at least 1 atmosphere (100 meters or 330 feet).  Serious dive watches are marked as dive watches and often can withstand pressures of 200 or 300 meters.  Generally, dive watches will have screw down crowns that prevent water from infiltrating the watch through the winding stem.

In my collection, I have one dive watch that can survive depths of up to 200 meters.  However, I have many attractive diver-style watches that look great, but are actually not rated for diving.

If you are looking for an entry-level dive watch, the Casio MDV106-1A is a great choice.  It is water resistant to 200 meters and it has a screw-down crown.  It has a uni-directional bezel for tracking elapsed time.  It's a good choice for a watch that will actually spend time in the water or performing other rugged duties.


If you want to stay affordable, there are many good dive watches from companies like Invicta.  However, if you want a real dive watch that looks good at an affordable price, you might try Momentum dive watches.  Ultimately, the standards for dive watches are set by brands like Omega and Rolex.  But, there are a lot of fun watch brands to explore along the way.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Few Tips for Giving A Watch This Christmas

If you are giving a watch this year for Christmas, here are a few tips that might make the whole process easier.

1. Consider the Needs of the Wearer.  Any watch give as a gift should match the wants and desires of the wearer.  If they are an outdoorsman, a dressy watch that looks great with a suit might not work.  If they are an older person, a busy watch with subdials and small day and date windows will be hard to read.  Think of the age, gender, and personality of the recipient when you select a watch.



2. Value Matters.  When giving a watch for a special occasion, the brand and value of the watch will matter.  There are lots of cheap Chinese watches from no name brands in the marketplace.  A $10 watch is fine for personal use, but it's rather chintzy for a gift.  Instead, give a watch from a name brand with a solid reputation whether it is Timex or Tissot.  A little research can tell you if a new brand has a good reputation.



3. Seek Something Unique.  The world is awash in watches.  To find something unique, you may have to research smaller watch brands like AVI-8.  Orient might be a good alternative to Seiko.  These brands have good reputations and bring something a little different to the market.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Guide to Neo-Classic Watches for Men

AN OVERVIEW OF NEO-CLASSIC WATCHES


The next step up from the minimalist watch is the neo-classic watch.  Just as mid-century modern architecture and decor has become a thing, so have straight forward watches that are simple and functional.  They remind us of the watches that our fathers or grandfathers wore in the 1970s or 1980s.  I would submit that my classic Citizens Eco-Drive dress watch is an excellent example of a modern neo-classic watch.  It looks almost exactly like the kind of Citizen watch that would have been worn in the 1950s through the early 1970s.  But, underneath, it has a modern solar power plant that charges it up and keeps it running for a very long time.

Citizen Eco-Drive Dress Watch

Not every neo-classic watch is powered by the sun, but every neo-classic watch evokes a past era of classic watch design.  The watches of the 1960s and 1970s were basic and functional.  Today, these watches make great dress watches or business casual watches.  They are great in situations where you don't want to bring focus onto your watch.  When you just want a sensible, simple, and elegant timepiece, neo-classic watches are excellent choices.

Pulsar Men's Stainless Steel Dress Watch

Whenever I have a job interview, I choose a neoclassical watch like my Pulsar.   It's simple, easy to read, and it comes from a reputable manufacturer.  Here is a very similar Pulsar watch on Amazon for an amazing price.





You'll find many neoclassic watch designs from discount stores like Walmart on up. When giving such a watch as a gift, you'll want to make sure you select a brand that recipients have heard of and respect. Brands like Pulsar, Citizen, and Seiko excel as respectable manufacturers that most people have heard of and enjoy.

Monday, November 20, 2017

A Guide to Minimalist Watches for Men

Christmas is right around the corner and it's time to start thinking about which watch will make the perfect gift.  Amazon has put together their own guide to men's watches. It's a good place to start.  Over the years, I've looked at many watches myself and I've built a personal collection that is simply way to large.  I'd like to take a crack at a short guide myself.  Over the next few weeks, I will cover some important types of watches for men and provide a little advice for Christmas shoppers.


MINIMALIST WATCHES


I think the biggest trend in men's watches today is the trend towards minimalist watches.  Perhaps  MVMT watches best typify this trend.  They have an understated, no nonsense look that fits into today's modern business casual wardrobe.  MVMT watches look really good.  While MVMT has been on-point with their marketing, it's worth noting that minimalist watches have been around for a long time.  If you are physically shopping for a simple watch, you may be able to actually find watches by Skagen and other makers at the shopping mall.  Nearly every watch maker is offering a minimalist watch today.  Now, it's just a matter of selection one--and only one if you are a true minimalist.  I've covered a few minimalist watch choices here before.


A Minimalist Watch from Skagen's Grenen Brand

In era where smart phones can do nearly everything, minimalist watches do one thing well.  They present the time at a glance.  It's easy to think that any old maker can provide you with a decent minimalist watch.  In the Christmas season, I would urge buyers to stick to major brands with good reputations.  I didn't have really great luck when I bought a cheap Chinese minimalist watch.  It would have failed completely as a gift. If you have the money, Movado is the master of minimalism.


If you'd like to read a more extended guide to watches, this looks like a good one for e-readers like the Kindle.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Citizen Watches for the Dead

A cold and blustery October evening is the perfect time to show your latest Citizen watch to the dead.  They are sure to be impressed and they'll know what time it is . . .

Citizen Stainless Steel Chronograph Watch

The nice thing about this Citizen Chronograph watch is that you can use the stopwatch functionality to time your run away from any skeleton you encounter.  If you'd like to read a complete review of this quartz chronograph, check out this Citizen Chronograph Watch Review.