Monday, December 28, 2015

Dream Watches - The Legendary Rolex Submariner Date Watch

Ruminations on the Rolex Submariner Watch 


A co-worker received a pristine Rolex Submariner Date watch as a gift. Now, he probably wonders why I keep stealing glances at his wrist. 

Rolex Submariner - Photo By The original uploader was LuckyLouie at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

If there is one watch brand that is most associated with luxury, that brand is Rolex. As a wristwatch collector and reviewer, I've reviewed lots of lesser watches. But, I've never actually had the opportunity to actually see a Rolex up close. That changed when a co-worker of mine received a pristine Rolex Submariner Date watch as a gift. His Rolex (probably Model 116613) has a steel case, a black face, and yellow gold trim. Now, he probably wonders why I keep stealing glances at his wrist.


When you look at the Rolex Submariner, you are immediately struck by how familiar looking the watch actually is. It is one of the iconic diver's watches that other brands repeatedly emulate. But, unlike many of today's gargantuan watches, the Rolex is quite reasonably sized. In fact, at 40 millimeters in diameter, the Submariner's dial really isn't any bigger than my latest Timex Expedition Core Analog watch. I think it's a perfectly proportioned watch. One thing I love about the Rolex is the magnification bubble in the crystal over the date window. The magnifier makes it easy to read the date--even from afar!



After the normality of the iconic styling and regular size of the legendary Rolex, the careful observer is struck by the solid construction and quality materials used in the Submariner. The hermetically-sealed "Oyster" case is made of corrosion-resistant, 904L steel. The bracelet, ceramic bezel, and triple-lock winding crown are trimmed with gold forged in Rolex's exclusive foundries. The face is protected by a real mineral crystal. The tough construction adds up to a very substantial watch. While my Caravelle by Bulova Diver-style watch is water resistant to 50 meters, my co-worker's Rolex Submariner is waterproof to 300 meters. That's a staggering 1000 feet. Plus, the Rolex has a perpetual, self-winding, movement while my humble Caravelle is a battery-fired quartz model. The movement is quite a wonder as the Rolex second hand moves amazingly smoothly in comparison to the halting ticking of most watches.

Rolex Sub - By Eternalsleeper at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Rolex Submariner certainly looks richer and more substantial than any of my watches and it simply puts the Seiko, Skagen, and Nautica watches worn by most of our workforce to shame. Although the Rolex is a well-known status symbol, the watch isn't just about bling. In 1926, Rolex developed the first waterproof watch and in 1927 a young English woman named Mercedes Gleitze proved the durability of Rolex when she swam across the English Channel. Rolex was also worn on the first expedition to successfully climb Mount Everest. Even though it's tough, I like bang around watches that cost less than $30. But, if you need a tough watch, the Rolex name is synonymous with tough, professional-grade, precision for divers and other adventurers.


While I won't succumb to a full-blown case of watch envy, it is really cool to see such a mechanical marvel up close.


(This article is reprinted from my Yahoo Contributors Network articles.)

Sources:
Rolex.com
Rolex Submariner, Wikipedia.org

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

What time is it?  It's Christmas Time!  I hope that every reader has a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Last Minute Gift Ideas: Watches from Retailers

It's officially the last minute for Christmas Shopping.  If you haven't bought a gift by now, it's nearly time to panic.  But, there are still some nice watches available.  You just have to figure out where to shop.  When I shop for watches in person, there are three stores that I frequent:

Walmart. (See my article Pssst....Check Out The Watches at Walmart)  Walmart has lots of stocking stuffer watches for less than $15.  They also have a great collection of Timex, Casio, Armitron, and Elgin watches.  If you are looking for a gift that counts as a "nice" watch, you can't go wrong with a Casio G-Shock from Walmart.  They have a pretty good selection and good prices.  One caveat, the amount of merchandise offered varies a lot from Walmart to Walmart.  Typically, better zip codes (in terms of Audi, Lexus, and Volvo vehicles per zip) have better merchandise.

Stocking Stuffer Watches at Walmart
Typically, I've found the Elgin watches at Walmart to be a little over-blinged.

Elgin Watches

T.J. Maxx.  If one store is consistent in surprising me with great watches, it's T.J. Maxx.  Major cities like Atlanta typically have at least one "Runway T.J. Maxx" with the best fashion merchandise.    See my article "Watches at the Runway T.J. Maxx in Atlanta".  You can often find watch brands including Bulova, Croton, Wenger, Tissot, Tommy Bahama at T.J. Maxx.

Kohl's.  My other go to store for watches is Kohl's.  Check your junk mail for a catalogue with a pull off coupon for something like 10 to 30% off of your purchase.  Also, if you've already bought from Kohls this season, you might have Kohl's cash coupons.  To see what a good deal from Kohls looks like, check out my article:  "The Anatomy of a Good Deal at Kohls."

If all else fails, there is always a Gift Card from Amazon, you can either send them via e-mail or print them out at home! An Amazon gift card can be a life saver when it comes to gift giving!

Finally, if you want to give something really cool, gift the gift of Amazon Prime.

Shop Amazon - Give the Gift of Amazon Prime

Your recipient will get great deals on shipping, lots of free e-books, and plenty of streaming content and the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger.

Good luck and happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Wristwatch Review: Timex Expedition Vintage Metal Field Watch

Reviewing a Classic Military-Style Timex 


Do you need to liberate France? If so, you might check out the Timex Expedition Vintage Metal Field Watch.   Originally published by me on Yahoo Contributors Network, this review examines a Timex watch that looks like World War II relic.

Timex Expedition Vintage Metal Field Watch

Adventure is always just around the corner. All it takes is a willingness to take a walk in the woods or drive down a country road. If you are looking for a watch with an adventurous spirit, you might check out the Timex Expedition Vintage Metal Field Watch. After weeks of researching military-style field watches, I simply happened across this Expedition on the shelves of my local Walmart. Priced at only$39.92, I couldn't let it languish on the shelf.



Patterned after classic military field watches and aviation watches of World War II, this Timex Expedition has a vintage sensibility with a low key brown face, a base metal case (with brass doing a great imitation of stainless steel), and a weathered-looking brown leather band. In terms of looks and style, this Timex field watch nails the vintage field watch look precisely. However, the vintage looks are only skin deep, the watch has a modern quartz movement and an Indiglo illumination for the dial. While field watches look like they may have marched across Europe and would look great on a camping trip, they also work well with the khaki pants and earth toned polo shirts that have conquered America's business casual workplace. To me, this ruggedly-constructed Timex looks a little more suitable for the office than the woods.



At heart, the Timex Expedition Vintage Metal Field Watch is a no nonsense watch with readable numbers 1 through 12, a stainless steel case back, a mineral glass crystal, a protected crown, and 50-meter water resistance. The watch is 40 millimeters in diameter and 10 millimeters thick. The leather band easily accommodated my now 7 and 1/2 inch wrists with 3 adjustment points to go. The case back is etched with the Timex Expedition logo. The case back etching also conveys additional information like the water resistance, the Timex URL, and the battery type. Additional small numerals at 5 minute intervals are found on the inner wall of the bezel in the space between the watch face and the crystal.



While nice looking field watches from elite manufacturers can run hundreds or even thousands of dollars, Timex sells this Expedition online for $54. However, the every day low price of this watch at Walmart makes it a very affordable part of any adventure. At the $40 big box store price point, you could easily issue this Timex to all of your troops without running a deficit or breaking your family treasury.

Sources:
Timex.com
Amazon.com

Monday, December 21, 2015

Wristwatch Review: Drive by Citizen Men's Black Ion Plated Eco-Drive Strap Watch

Reviewing a Solar Powered Watch 


Are you looking for a watch that incorporates interesting and ecologically sound technology? You might check out the Eco-Drive line of watches by Citizen.
(I originally published this article via the now defunct Yahoo Contributors Network.)

The special thing about an Eco-Drive watch is that it is powered by light. It harnesses the power of sunlight or artificial light and combines this solar energy with quartz watch accuracy. The result is a watch that can theoretically run forever and always keep accurate time. Fully charged, an Eco-Drive watch can run for six months in light or dark. I was excited to receive a "Drive by Citizen" Eco-Drive watch for my fifteenth wedding anniversary. The name of this watch seems to vary by merchant, but it is model AW1135-01E. Amazon calls it this catchy little moniker: Citizen Men's Drive from Citizen Eco-Drive CTO 2.0 Black Ion Plated Watch. I have also seen it called CTO 2.0 and simply Drive by Citizen. No matter what the retailers call it, this Eco-Drive model is a sporty watch with understated but technically sophisticated styling.

Drive From Citizen Eco-Drive CTO 2.0 Black Ion Plated Watch

Watch Style. The Drive watch has basic black style. It has a black ion plated stainless steel case, a black leather strap with black stitching, and a couple of orange accent stitches near the lugs. The dial is black underlying a silver mesh or honeycomb design. The dial is a subtle feature as it can appear silver or black depending on the light and angle of the watch to the future. This Drive also has a date window that shows 5 dates with today's date being outlined. Hours are marked by white batons around the perimeter of the dial and are further highlighted by an orange dot just inboard of the batons. At 12 o'clock, Citizen Eco-Drive is spelled out. At 6 o'clock, the water resistance is noted. The style of this watch is confidently masculine. The Drive CTO 2.0 has a refined muscular look without a bulky case or unnecessary gadgetry. There is nothing that screams "Solar" when it comes to this watch.

A "Drive by Citizen" watch that makes solar energy unobtrusive and routine!

Movement. The Eco-Drive has a solar powered Japanese quartz movement. When you first get it, you need to charge it up. However, ambient lighting seems to be enough to keep it going. Citizen basically recommends that you expose the Eco-Drive watch to sunlight or strong lamp light for one day per month. Unlike less expensive solar watches, the solar panel is built directly into the dial surface and you cannot explicitly see a traditional "solar cell."

Citizen Eco-Drive Watch


Watch Size. The size of this watch is an understated 41 millimeters. It is 11 millimeters thick and has a strap that tapers from 24 millimeters at the lugs down to 19 millimeters at the buckle. The watch is perfectly proportioned to wear under a long-sleeved shirt cuff.

Watch Construction. This watch has an ion-coated black stainless steel metal case and shiny stainless steel back. The Drive is built with 100 meters (330 feet) of water resistance. The strap is genuine leather with a "soft touch" finish. The leather is soft inside and out. It is truly a very comfortable watch to wear.



Price. This watch retails for $250 but smart shoppers can use sales to knock the price down considerably. However, Citizen is not one of those brands that claims a high retail price but is routinely 80% off.

Overall. In a world where tech gadgets grab headlines every day, the Citizen Eco-Drive line of watches delivers on the promise of solar technology in a low-key manner. There is no Richard Branson promising a space voyage. There is no Elon Musk crusading for an electric car in every garage. There is no goofy product shape to let the world know that that the wearer is ecologically correct. Instead, there are Citizen timepieces that simply work well, wear well, and happen to be solar powered. This Drive by Citizen watch is a very cool addition to any collection.

Sources:
Belk.com
Amazon.com

Sunday, December 20, 2015

My Fantasy Watch Gift List

It's time to compile ye olde watch dude's Christmas fantasy watch gift list.  Of course, the season is about giving, baby Jesus, manger scenes, and Salvation Army kettles.  However, it's also fun to think about the watches that would be cool gifts to receive.  If money was no object for Santa, my friends, and relatives, here are three watches that I would love to find under our Christmas tree.



1. Rolex Daytona. The Rolex Daytona Cosmograph is just plain cool. According to the Rolex blog, there was a time when it was one of the worst sellers for Rolex. But, according to the Rolex blog, Paul Newman wore a Rolex Daytona with a white dial and black subdials in the movie - Winning.  From then on, it was off to the races with a little subtle help from Rolex.  Of course, there are less expensive alternatives to the Rolex Daytona.  But, it would be nice to have the genuine article.



2. Omega Seamaster "James Bond" Dive Watch.  The Omega Seamaster 300 Meter Dive watch would be a very cool addition to my collection.  For the first month of ownership, I would probably wear a tuxedo 24/7 and introduce myself Last Name, First Name, Last Name at every opportunity.  Of course, I would love the special James Bond Spectre edition because it looks too subtle to compromise my secret identity.



3. Tudor Black Bay Dive Watch.   Of course, I don't have to have that Rolex name on my list.  I like to fly under the radar.  Even if I own fancy watches, I'll still eat at Waffle House.  That's where the Tudor Black Bay Dive watch will come in.  It's made by Rolex but uses non-Rolex Swiss movements.  It looks great.  It's an automatic.  It offers 200 meters of water resistance.  It costs about $10,000 less than the famed Rolex submariner.  It's quality, but it doesn't flash that fancy logo.  People won't murmur about whether it is real.  It's a luxury watch value and it has a rugged looking leather band.  Tudor is an alternative to Rolex and Omega watches.  It's an alternative that I might one day aspire to own.






Saturday, December 19, 2015

Star Wars Watch Have You Must!

Seeking a Star Wars watch are you?  The force ran strong within the first Storm Trooper-like Casio watches that I found.  But, when it comes to watches and the force, there is another!

Photo By Elgriyo1986 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

CLICK or CLICK NOT there is no Browse!

Go!  Seek and check out Nixon Star Wars watches you should!  For they are the official watch brand of Star Wars.  They have offerings that are strong, but also subtle!  Beware this Nixon Sentry has a bit of a dark side.  Click on it you must.  Buy it you might!  Fear you must not! 



Resistant you are.  Strong you are.  Perhaps this watch like you would?


Scrolling you are?  Hesitant!  Watches you must buy.  Time you must tell!  If these aren't the watches you are looking for, then look to Amazon you must.  A whole universe of Star Wars watches
ESA/Hubble [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Stay, Scroll, Learn and a watch you will find!  Soon you must buy!  Soon you will buy!  A watch will find you!

Photo By Ron Riccio [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons



Friday, December 18, 2015

Casio Watches for Imperial Storm Troopers

Today is the release date of a long anticipated movie -- Star Wars:  The Force Awakens.  The movie will re-unite the original Star Wars cast and has excited fans worldwide.  With Christmas just days away, the question has to be asked:  Do you have any Imperial Storm troopers on your Christmas list this year?

Imperial Storm Troopers from Star Wars - By Eva Rinaldi from Sydney Australia (Star Wars EP1 3D  Uploaded by russavia) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

If so, these watches from Casio might make the perfect gift.  These are simply white Casio Tough Solar watches, but I think they capture the sheen and attitude of Star Wars imperial storm trooper armor perfectly.  I have the "jungle" version of the Casio Tough Solar have previously reviewed it.


There is also a purely digital version for the high tech set.  Both of these watches look very cool.  Since they aren't actual Star Wars(tm) products, they also need to work first and foremost as watches.


These aren't expensive watches and you can even beat the Walmart price here:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wristwatch Review: Men's Casio HD Series Analog Watch

Need a Watch for the Next Decade? 


A review of a Casio HD Series men's watch that offers an amazing ten year battery life for less than $20. 



Batteries are the Achilles' heel of quartz movement watches. They don't last long enough. I've actually had watch batteries die within two hours of purchasing a watch. But, now, Casio offers affordable HD series watches with batteries that last for a decade. For today's high tech worker, that's long enough to live in five cities and get laid off at least once. Imagine a decade of always knowing the time.

The Casio HD

Of course, if you're going to live with a watch for ten years, you're going to want it to look good. How does the HD series Casio compare to other watches in its price range? The HD series what that I bought for just under $20 at Walmart is an interesting looking timepiece. It has a small (1-inch diameter) golden face with raised numbers at twelve, six, and nine o'clock. The numbers are outlined with golden trim and filled in with luminous material. A small date window is provided in the three o'clock position. The hour and minute hand are generously sized and also filled with luminous material.

The band is a fairly stiff black plastic or rubber watch band with perforations every 1/3 of an inch or so. The band has a raised center with a very tight stippling pattern that continues the entire length of the band and is integrated into the black plastic watch case. The stippling evokes more sophisticated materials like carbon fiber. The immediate bezel area around the face of the watch is a smoother area of black plastic. A raised area surrounding the watch face and beneath the crystal presents small numerals for minutes at five minute intervals.

To conserve battery life, the HD series watch does not include internal illumination or backlighting. It's not as fancy as my Casio Telememo 30 World Time ana-digital watch. However, I found it easy to tell time in low light conditions due to the luminous material in the hands. While the watch is a no frills model, the crown offers two positions: one for changing the time and one for changing the date. The watch also has a stainless steel back and is water resistant to an astounding 100 meters.



In wearing this watch, I found myself captivated by the shiny golden face of this timepiece. The gold color scheme has a monochromatic effect and the watch presents many facets to the sun. For a cheap watch without subdials, I find the watch visually stimulating. The band was generously sized, but feels a little cheap. It would fit my wrists a little more precisely if the perforations were slightly closer together. The black band and case do a good job of balancing the brightness of the golden face. Similar HD watches with more normal color schemes are available. Casio also sells a men's analog dress watch with a 10-year battery for less than $40.


Overall, this watch and the entire Casio HD series represents a great watch value for less than $20 at Walmart.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Wristwatch Review: Men's Pulsar Chronograph Dress Watch with Roman Numerals

Examining a Stainless Steel Chronograph Watch from Pulsar


Power, sophistication, and sensibility are the perfect combination for a man's dress watch. Does the Pulsar Chronograph Model PT3399 demonstrate all three? I received one for Christmas 2013 and will look for those qualities.


Pulsar Chronograph Model PT3399
[This is a re-print of a review that I published on the now defunct Yahoo Voices.  Spoiler alert - This watch is still available and still looks like a million bucks.]

 Watch Style. Roman numerals on a dress watch always up your game. Instead of piloting an aircraft or driving a sports car, a dial with Roman numerals suggests that the wearer is likely to pilot a major corporation or drive an important court case. It's a different kind of power and the Pulsar PT3399 demonstrates it. Roman numerals circle a silver dial with XII exerting its authority with a larger font in blue. The hour, minute, and second hands are done in the same blue. The hour and minute hands have a luminous white insert for night visibility.



This Pulsar has chronograph subdials at three, six, and nine o'clock. The subdials are silver with small black arabic numerals on raised rings. The subdial at three o'clock provides the 24-hour time. Seconds are provided at six o'clock and minutes are provided at nine o'clock. The pushers work well to activate, stop, and reset the chronograph subdials. However, I wouldn't really use this watch to time anything athletic.



A date window is canted and sits between four and five o'clock just inboard of the numeral track. The date and all of the other numerals on the watch are readable even with my aging eyes.

The watch itself is all stainless steel with the bracelet and case elegantly alternating high shine and flat satin finishes. The bracelet has a fold over clasp with push button. It fit me well with a little room to spare, but smaller wrists may need to remove a link or two. I think this watch is very sophisticated looking.

Watch Size. The diameter of this watch is officially 43 millimeters but that's about 45 millimeters counting the crown or pusher buttons. It is 10 millimeters thick and has a wide bracelet that measures 21 millimeters at the lugs and 20 millimeters at the clasp.

Watch Construction. Despite the Roman numerals, this Pulsar is built with a respectable water resistance rating. The watch has a hardlex crystal. It also has a screw down caseback. These features help the PT3399 achieve 100 meters of water resistance. Since Pulsar is a Seiko brand, it has a reliable Japanese quartz movement.

Price. The suggested retail price for this watch is $175. However, with smart shopping at Kohl's, my wife was able to get a considerable discount for this watch on sale.

Overall. I like this Pulsar Chronograph very much. It has the classic, powerful, styling that is seen in many far more prestigious mechanical watches. This Pulsar has Roman numerals to up the sophistication game. Plus, it has a reliable, economical, Japanese quartz movement. The Pulsar PT3399 has everything I look for in a dress watch. This watch will be my go to dress watch for important meetings, job interviews, and other important business functions.

Sources:
www.kohls.com
www.pulsarwatchesusa.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dream Watches - The Breitling Navitimer 01 (46 mm)

As a watch collector, my eyes are always drawn to billboards and posters advertising watches.  Sometimes the watches are well out of my price range.  But, they are always fun to dream about.  A recent stroll through Atlanta's Hartsfeld-Jackson International airport recently brought me eye to eye with this poster for the Breitling Navitimer 46.  It proclaimed that "An icon just got larger."

A Breitling Ad at the airport called ATL
I was intrigued as the Breitling wings always catch my eye.  As soon as I was waiting for my flight, I looked up the Breitling Navitimer on Amazon.com.  There it was a dream watch:  the Breitling Navitimer 01 (46 mm).  It's a new version of the Breitling Navitimer with a 46 millimeter case diameter.  It has a stainless steel case and what I can only imagine is a supple black calf leather strap.  Of course, this dream watch is an automatic and it has three sub-dials.  It has a minimum of 70 hours power reserve.  It grew out of the 43 millimeter Navitimer 01 shown below:



All I knew was that Breitling makes watches for pilots.  I've read a few reviews in high end watch magazines in the past.  But, when I reached my destination, I read even more while waiting for my bags and ground transportation.



From the company website, I quickly learned that Breitling has been a leader in technical watches since 1884.  Each of their movements is chronometer certified.  Plus Breitling is one of the last remaining independent Swiss watch makers.  Thus each of their movements is "their movement" and today that is truly special.  I found the Navitimer 01 on the website and learned that there are even options for the watch in red gold.  I wasn't surprised.  Nothing proclaims success and competence better than a Breitling.



Of course, I had work to do and such a fine watch is still outside my comfortable price range.  But, if it's within your price range, this dream watch would be a wonderful addition to your collection.  It would also make the perfect Christmas gift.  You should get this one right here --

Monday, December 7, 2015

Daniel Wellington Watches for Christmas

I just came across a new watch brand right in time for Christmas! If you are still looking for gift ideas for a preppy man, you should check out Daniel Wellington watches for men. They look like great weekender watches with GQ, ESQ, and The Hamptons written all over them.