Tuesday, March 12, 2019

How to Replace A Watch Battery

Replacing watch batteries is a common problem faced by every owner of battery-powered quartz watches.  Often watches just languish for months or years for want of a new battery.  Many old watches just get discarded.  Some like these two Hello Kitty watches make it to thrift stores for resale.  My wife likes Hello Kitty stuff and bought these two with dead batteries.

The type of battery required is printed on the back of the case.  In this case, I was looking for a 377 type watch battery for both watches.  They came in a two pack from the drug store for about $7 or $8.

I am fortunate to have a case of dedicated watch tools and I also have a new caseback press.  I've had my kit for awhile.  But there are many like it available on Amazon.

For this project, the small blade proved most helpful for prying up the casebacks so that I could replace the batteries.  Some watches--particularly manly macho waterproof watches--have indents around the back because they are made to screw off using a watch case removal tool that works like a wrench.

Once the case back is off you can usually see the watch battery in the back of the mechanism.  If you look carefully with a magnifier, you may notice that crosses onto the back of the battery.  When you pry out the battery, be careful not to bend that out of shape.  It's a little flexible to enable you to get at the battery out, but it's necessary to get electricity out of the battery.

Next slip the new battery in where the old battery was.  Place the watch caseback on the back of the watch.  Be careful that any indent on the caseback lines up with the winding (setting) stem that comes from crown on the case so that you don't bend that stem.  Then you press the caseback down onto the case.  Sometimes that can be difficult to do by hand.  That's why it is useful to have a watch caseback press like the one pictured below.

There are discs for the press that match different watch sizes.  You'll want to pick the size that matches your watch and place that on the upper piston that gets pressed down on your watch.
Then, you put your watch and carefully lined up caseback on the press and gently press down.  It should snap right into place.  Be careful about putting too much weight on it or you could damage the watch crystal.  It didn't take much force at all using the press.  If it doesn't work, don't force it.  Check to see that the caseback is lined up and that the disc matches your watch size appropriately.

I was able to get both watches back running in just a few minutes.  Please note that I am just an amateur watch collector on the internet.  If you have very valuable or heirloom quality watches, you should probably take your watch to a jewelry store for a watch battery replacement.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Watch Review: Diesel Fastback Men's Watch

What would you do if a watch company offered an understated timepiece that was affordable, readable, perfectly proportioned, and tasteful.  In the case of Diesel watches, you might take their temperature and ask them if they felt okay.  Diesel watches are known for bold, over-the-top, designs that often combine huge watch cases, multi-layered dials, interesting subdials, and lots of interesting textures and materials under the crystal.  They make watches that tend to catch the eye and hold your attention.  However, they have also made a watch that is quite simply perfect for everyday wear, the Diesel Fastback (Model DZ1838).

Diesel Watch Design

The Diesel Fastback emphasized readability above everything else.  It has large hour and minute hands that are bright, white, and readable.  If you just take the quickest of glances at this watch, you know what time it is.  In a world full of watches with subdials that make you squint, the Fastback Diesel does what it is supposed to do.  There isn't even a date window.  The second hand is in a bright yellow that is also easy to read.

When you flip the watch over, you 'll find an etched caseback featuring a man with a Mohawk and the Diesel motto "Only the Brave."

Diesel Watch Construction

The Diesel Fastback offers an all stainless steel case, a mineral crystal, and a genuine leather strap.  The case is 45mm in diameter and 10mm thick.  The leather strap is 22mm wide and comes in a deep shade of blue.    It's an attractive dark color that goes well with blue jean denim.  The strap is 9.5 inches long.  The package is tight enough to provide 5 BAR (or 167 feet) of water resistance.

After a few months of wear and some light dish washing duty with this watch, I'm finding that it is one of the most comfortable watches in my collection.  The leather has been fading comfortably around the edges a bit, but the watch remains a solid performer.

Overall Review of the Diesel Fastback Watch

I really like the Diesel Fastback Watch.  While it may be out of character for a brand built on exuberant styling, this watch is excellent for every day wear.  It's a purposeful and attractive timepiece that makes a great addition to any watch box.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Watch Find: Stuhrling Originals Depthmaster Dive Watch in Black

It has been awhile since a really sharp looking watch that's within my budget has caught my eye.  But, tonight, I was surfing along on Amazon and this black and gold beauty from Stuhrling Originals caught my eye.  It's the Stuhrling Original Depthmaster.

It's a nice looking timepiece that boasts 100 meters of water resistance, a sensible 42mm diameter case that is 14 millimeters thick, and a 20mm wide bracelet.  It's powered by a Japanese quartz movement that is protected from water by a screw down crown. 

Amazon reviews for this Stuhrling are quite good with an average of 4.6 stars out of 5 for over 250 reviews.  Since this looks like an excellent deal, I've moved it to my wish list.

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Guide to Stealthy Watches for Commandos and Cat Burglars

Black Watches for Night Time Operators

If you are a commando, a jewel thief, or a late night art collector, you need a watch that will work well in the dark. As movie goers know every good raid or exciting heist begins with synchronizing watches. This is a guide to the watches of the night!

Are you planning to emerge from the sea, silently dispatch terrorists and free captives? Do you enjoy climbing from balcony to balcony snatching diamonds and jewelry from hotel rooms along the French Riviera? Would you like to drop from a skylight to snatch something pretty for your wall from the Louvre museum? If you have such plans or like to close your eyes and concoct such plans while working in an office cubicle, you'll need a really good watch. Here are some great watches for those men of action who dress in black from head to toe.

Less than $100.
In the less than $100 range, the Timex Expedition Military Classic is a very cool watch. It evokes evokes that stealthy, military commando, feeling--except for the jumping out of planes and getting shot at by angry foreigners part. This Timex is rugged, black, and ready for action with 12-hour and 24-hour military time on the dial. It has an attractive black nylon strap. Best of all, you can transmit morse code with the Timex Indiglo dial illumination feature.

$100 to $200. The Casio G-Shock Men's Analog-Digital watch with black resin strap has all the black and red styling cues that indicate danger in an armored black case. It has a black dial with red hands tipped with a dash of white. It looks like the perfect watch for a get away driver. While you wait in an idling van down in the museum parking garage, you can fiddle with all the digital handle all manner of stop watch and time zone functions. But, with magnetic and shock resistance built in, the Casio G-Shock can actually take lots action and excitement.

$300 to $1000. Movado Museum Sport. If your interests run to laser beams, motion sensors, and art history, the aptly named Movado Museum Sport looks like a classy combination. It doesn't have any markings, just white hour, minute, and second hands and the iconic Movado circle. The watch is only water resistant to 30 meters, but it has the famed Movado museum dial, a black face, a PVD-coated stainless steel case, and has a perforated black rubber strap. It's perfect for attending an art gallery show at any time in the evening.  The Movado Museum Sport Smartwatch (shown below) offers bluetooth connectivity and can track your steps and sleep patterns.

$1000 to $2000. The Tutima Pacific Black gets your commando fantasies into the realm of automatic watches. This one gives you a black PVD-coated stainless steel case, 200 meters of water resistance, and classic white diver-style markings with uni-directional rotating bezel. It is an excellent, no frills, watch for taking care of any wet work.

$2000 plus. The Kobold Phantom Black Ops Chronograph provides all the features expected from a divers watch: 300 meters (990 feet) of water resistance, a unidirectional rotating bezel, and luminous markings. But, the luminous markings are in green to make them easier to read with night vision goggles. Provided at a discount to Navy SEALS, this automatic watch also has chronograph features to let them time their operations to the second. Made in Nepal, the Kobold Phantom sounds and looks exotic in every way.

Timing is everything. These watches should help you make the most of any night out. But, be careful out there!

Watch Time Special Edition 2012. WatchTime Magazine. 2012.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Watch Sighting; Sutton Watch at Sears

Recently, my wife and I wandered over to our local Sears store to see what was on clearance.  Like so many Sears and Kmart stores around the country, our local Sears is closing and many items were marked down.  Unfortunately, we didn't have much in the budget to make any purchases.  However, I did see an interesting watch brand:  Sutton.  It sounds like an upscale name, but it is actually an affordable watch brand created by Armitron.  They offered this interesting looking diver-style mens watch at a very affordable price point.

I really like the look of this watch because it offers a classic, almost vintage, dive style look. It's unlikely that many people will be familiar with the Sutton brand. They will most likely just think that it is an upscale brand associated with a store or a boutique watch maker.  If the watch really is resistant to 165 feet that would be a nice plus.  At $34.99, I would definitely suggest taking a look at this watch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Watch Sighting: Viewpoint Watch at Walmart

There is a new watch brand at Walmart.  It's called Viewpoint or V|P for short.  It's a Timex brand and it appears to be aimed at bringing interesting low-cost watches to the Walmart jewelry section.  The watch example that I've seen for the last few months has featured a dial with painted on and relief features that evoke the gearing of a mechanical or automatic watch.  However, as the low price watch $29.92, this is definitely a quartz watch.

I'm not a big fan of watches that don't put function first. When subdials don't work, I get a bit frustrated. Initially, I felt the same way about the Viewpoint watch. If it's not a mechanical watch, why paint gears on the dial? However, over the past few months, I've come to view the dial as a merely a design feature. It's just art--a painting of gears.

The thought that the gears are merely graphic design element has made me a bit more accepting of this watch. Someone who purchases this watch might at least remember and reflect that all watches were once mechanical marvels.

At less than $30, this watch does offer 30-meters of water resistance, a mineral glass crystal, and a metal bracelet.  That's not a bad value for a Timex product.  If you are wandering about in a Walmart and you like the look, check out the Viewpoint watch!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Wristwatch Review: Oniss "Meca" Stainless Steel & Leather Sport Watch

This is a review of the Oniss "Meca" Stainless Steel & Leather Sport Watch that I received due to my membership in Watchgang.  It's a bold watch design with an interesting style that some folks like and some don't.  The watch features a Japanese quartz movement.

Oniss "Meca" Watch Design

The design of the Oniss "Meca" watch features large readable hands for hours, minutes, and seconds, large numerals, and two large sub-dials that dominate the face of the watch.  One sub-dial provides the day of the week and the other provides the day of the month on a 31-day calendar.

Oniss "Meca" Quartz Stainless Steel & Leather Sport Watch

The hour numerals initially appear to be the typical chromed numerals that are featured on many watches.  However, on closer examination, the numbers are cut into the dial itself and reveal an underlying chromed plate.  It's an interesting design feature and a rich touch, but it doesn't serve to make the numerals more readable.  In contrast, the watch hands are supremely readable and I really like following the march of the bright second hand.

Numerals and Subdial Close Up of Oniss "Meca" Quartz Stainless Steel & Leather Sport Watch

This watch dial is protected by a mineral crystal which is slightly convex.  It feels like real glass, but can show a bit of glare from some angles.  I believe it gives the watch a bit of vintage flair.

Oniss "Meca" Quartz Stainless Steel & Leather Sport Watch

The Oniss "Meca" watch also has a few features that you would expect in a high end watch like etching on the clasp and caseback.

Buckle Etching on Oniss "Meca" Quartz Stainless Steel & Leather Sport Watch

Oniss "Meca" Watch Construction

The Oniss "Meca" has some features that are expected in a high end watch.  For example, this sports watch has a stainless steel case and is water resistant to 5 Atmospheres (50 Meters or 164 Feet).  However, to me, the stainless steel case seems very light and thin.  I think the case quality seems more akin to a cheap Chinese watch than a luxury European-style timepiece.  The watch does come with a genuine leather strap with a typical crocodile pattern.

Caseback of Oniss "Meca" Quartz Stainless Steel & Leather Sport Watch

Oniss "Meca" Watch Dimensions

According to the Amazon description, the Oniss "Meca" sport watch has a 45 millimeter case that is 11 millimeters thick.  The strap is 22 millimeters wide.  As previously noted, the watch has a very lightweight stainless steel case.  While it may not give it the heft of a luxury timepiece, it certainly makes the Meca a comfortable lightweight watch to wear.  In my opinion, this watch has winning proportions.

Overall Oniss Watch Review

The Oniss "Meca" is a challenge to review.  People offer opinions on it.  My wife says it "looks cheap" and compares it to watches that are typically found at Target or Walmart.  I think it's definitely better than a discount store watch.    The watch also draws compliments.  For example, the barista dude at my local Starbucks said--"Cool watch man"--when I paid for late night refreshments at the drive through.  As a dude, I find much to like about the "Meca."  It has the look of a sports car driver's watch.  The big sub-dials are classic.  It's a great "bang around" watch for casual wear.  However, it doesn't look quite high end enough to support my aspirations in a professional office setting.

Oniss "Meca" Quartz Stainless Steel & Leather Sport Watch

In some respects, it is unfair for me to compare this Oniss watch to the higher end timepieces that one might see in a horological magazine like WatchTime.  All of the watches that I recently read about in that publication cost in excess of $1000.  I do appreciate good looking quartz alternatives that come in at affordable price points.  Given the price of my WatchGang membership, this watch is coming in at around $50.  It offers a great look, but it feels like a watch that is worth $50 to $100.  Overall, I really do like the Oniss "Meca" and I wear it a lot.  But, at a minimum, I think it needs a more substantial case to come into the office.