Monday, March 30, 2015

Two Ways to Feel Like a Commando

Have you ever wanted to feel like a commando?  Well, there are two ways to feel like a commando.  The hard way and the easy way.  The hard way involves getting in shape, joining the army, getting airborne qualified, earning the Ranger tab, excelling as a Ranger, and joining Delta Force.

By Sgt. Austin Berner (https://www.dvidshub.net/image/1249435) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
On this path, feeling like a commando entails a life of danger, getting shot at, and tens of thousands of push-ups, pull ups, eating small lizards, and getting mud in all sorts of bodily crevices.

By Sgt. Austin Berner (https://www.dvidshub.net/image/1249402) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
On the plus side, you do get to blow stuff up and a lots of free ammunition.  Your government may trust you to run with sharp objects like this really kick ass commando dagger.


Most importantly, you will get the respect and admiration of your countrymen.  Every cubicle slave will wish that they were you.  You will be physically and mentally fit.  You will have earned the quiet pride that comes with knowing that you are truly the best of the best.

By Sgt. Austin Berner (https://www.dvidshub.net/image/1249849) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Alternatively, the second way to feel like a commando is to simply buy yourself a Wenger Men's Swiss Raid Commando Watch. Obviously, this is the easy way.  Since the watch is water resistant to 330 feet, it never gets mud into internal crevices and glows in the dark.  It comes in two models.  The Wenger Swiss Raid Commando has a green tint to the numerals on the dial and the Wenger Swiss Raid Commando Patagonian Expedition Race watch has a brighter white numerals.  Both watches are protected by a mineral crystal and a three year warranty. 



Sunday, March 29, 2015

What is an Oyster Watch?

Have you ever wondered what an Oyster watch is?  According to the Rolex website, the term refers to the world's first waterproof watch case. It was designed by Rolex in 1926.  According to Rolex, their Oyster case has a "patented system of screwing down the bezel, case back and winding crown against the middle case."

Rolex Oyster Submariner - Photo by User:Eternalsleeper (Own work of English Wikipedia user Eternalsleeper) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Today's Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch is water resistent down to 100 meters (330 feet) and features a "twin-lock" screw-down winding crown.  If you are lucky enough to own one, the world is your oyster!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Menacing Movado Watches for Men

When you think of Movado, you usually think of minimalist style, Museum dials, polish, refinement, and elegance. You usually think of Movado dress watches for executives, artists, and formal occasions. But, there is another side to Movado. It lives down in the dark alley behind the Museum. This dark side of Movado combines menace and power. Like a villain's black Jaguar parked in an industrial area, these dark Movado watches are ready for action.

© M 93 / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons

Check these bad looking Movado watches out!



Movado is mucho macho now hombres!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Announcing A New Domain Name For This Watch Blog!

Tonight, after years of blogging about watches with a simple blogger URL, I have finally upgraded to a full blown domain name.  We haven't talked to any marketing consultants, lawyers, copyright specialists, numerologists, or psychics.  But, I think the new domain will work.  It should be easier for everyone to remember and hopefully it will expand this blogs readership.

Danica Patrick Waves Off A Suggestion to Endorse This Blog.  photo by I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license: (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

We had hoped that Danica Patrick might endorse us.  But, we blew a whole $12 on the domain registration.  So, we'll have to announce the new name for this blog about mens watches without a lot of fanfare.  But, perhaps we could get a drum roll for our new name please. . .

No budget for a drummer either!  Photo By Stephan Czuratis (Jazz-face) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Here is our new domain name:  www.thewatchdude.com 

OK, perhaps it is a little obvious!  But, what better name for a blog about watches for dudes written by a dude.  Remember, here's the new domain:




Thursday, March 26, 2015

Men's Minimalist Watches: White Dial Simplicity

There seems to be a movement afoot towards watches with simple white dials, small hour batons, and streamlined cases.  These watches provide a vary smooth and minimalist look.  One of the leading brands with a watch of this time is the new brand MVMT.



However, MVMT isn't the only player in the white dial, minimalist design, wristwatch game.  Skagen has been doing Scandinavian minimalism for a long time.  Their "Theodor" model has a 39-millimeter diameter stainless steel case that is only 6-millimeters thick.


Even Stuhrling Original offers a simple white dial watch:


If you are looking for a low cost alternative that will give you the look, check out this Youyoupifa white dial watch.  It has a 43 millimeter diameter dial, a 9 millimeter thick case, and a stainless steel bezel.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Stealth Fighter Inspired Digital Watch

When the F-117 Nighthawk was revealed in 1988, it revolutionized air warfare.  For the first time, an aircraft was nearly invisible to radar.  It was the "stealth fighter."  The aircraft served with distinction in the skies over Panama, Iraq, and Yugoslavia until being retired in 2008.

Stealth Fighter - By Jon Sullivan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Today, you can get an interesting looking Stealth Fighter inspired digital watch.  It's from SKMEI and uses an unusual case design.  According to Amazon reviews, it's a very popular watch with kids.  If you are looking for a way to bring a grandchild into the world of watch collecting, the stealth fighter watch might be a great way to start.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Gents Timepieces: A Source For Inexpensive Watches

I recently ran across an interesting source for inexpensive watches.  It's an Australian company called Gents Timepieces.  The sell watches for men that look good, have style, and cost less than $100.  According to their website, they have free shipping worldwide and they have a generous return policy.

Gents Timepieces look good.  Their "fashion curators" have assembled a nice looking collection of watches.  You'll find plenty of skeleton watches, some nice looking multi-dial watches, and many watches with windup or automatic movements.  If you are interested in watches, their site is well worth a visit for the photography alone.  Check them out at Gents Timepieces.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Wristwatch Review: The Nautica Unisex N14663G NST 15 Date Watch with Textured Yellow Band

Spring is coming! But, to hasten its arrival, my wife recently bought me a very bright Nautica watch. It's the Nautica Unisex NST 15 Date Watch (Model N14663G) with a bright yellow band.


I've long admired Nautica watches because they have innovative designs and solid construction.  Unfortunately, one of my co-workers wears awesome Nautica watches all the time and I don't want to steal his style.  No one likes a copycat.   



Style. I like this watch dial design because it combines retro sensibilities and innovation.  I think that this Nautica watch looks like a dive watch from the early 1970s.  It is well proportioned with a 45 millimeter diameter case that is just over 13 millimeters thick.  But, the inner part of the dial contains a very cool retro-grade calendar.  In the first picture, notice the orange arrow pointing to the 5th day of the month at 10 o'clock.  How cool is that?  However, I must confess that I can't read the tiny date numerals at all.  That's what an old guy gets for trying to be hip.  The 20 millimeter wide yellow band is quite bright and takes some getting used to.  However, there is a similar Nautica watch with a dark blue band.



Construction.  The Nautica NST 15 Date Watch is solidly constructed with a stainless steel case, bezel and case back.  A screw down crown helps ensure 100 meters of water resistance.  According to Amazon ad copy, the watch is suitable for snorkeling or swimming, but not diving.  That's too bad because the watch also has a unidirectional rotating bezel.  I love those for the functionality of being able to measure elapsed time.  The dial is protected by a mineral crystal for scratch resistance.  Finally, beneath the beautiful exterior lurks an ever reliable Japanese quartz movement.   


Price. My wife got a phenomenal deal on this watch at our local TJ Maxx / HomeGoods store.  However, the prices on Amazon are quite good.  For more details check them out here --



Overall, I highly recommend the Nautica NST 15 Date Watch.  This is a watch deal that I'm excited about. It's a great looking watch and it's a great watch value for the money.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Xezo Air Commando: A Bad Ass Watch for a Good Cause

Sometimes when I browse Amazon, I come across some really cool watches.  For example, to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the U.S. Air Force 1st Air Commando Group and promote a good cause Unite4:good, Xezo watches created the Air Commando Pilot Diver Automatic watch.



The 1st Air Commando Group fought against the Japanese in Burma.  They supported guerilla forces that operated far behind enemy lines.  Today, they have evolved into the modern Air Force's elite 1st Special Operations Wing.

A P-47 Thunderbolt of the 1st Air Commando Group Takes off in 1944:  Photo by United States Army Air Forces [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This watch has the good looks that you'd expect of any commando watch.  It also has a Citizen Miyoto movement, a 45 millimeter diameter case that is 13 millimeters thick, and a 22 millimeter wide bracelet.  The Xezo Air Commando is water resistant to 200 meters.  The Air Commando watch can take anything you care to dish out.  The crystal is a "flat scratchproof Swiss-Made sapphire crystal glass with antireflection treatment."  Overall, it looks like a bad ass watch for a good cause.



Sunday, March 8, 2015

Wristwatch Review: Thre3 Mens' Sport Watch in Rose-Gold Tone

Reviewing a Watch That's Classier Than It's $25 Price Tag

[I like to review truly inexpensive watches, too.  Therefore, I'm reprinting this review that I wrote for Yahoo Contributors Network.]

On a recent watch watching expedition, I was appalled by the high prices of many name brand watches from companies like Citizen, Seiko, and Bulova. Most models were in the $200 to $500 price range. That's a lot of money. In my household, the opportunity cost of a wristwatch in that price range is a new laptop computer foregone. Even my perennial favorite brand, Relic, mostly offered watches that hovered around $100. Those kinds of prices drive me back to being a Kmart shopper. Kmart may not have blue light specials any more, but they do have much better prices. They offered a whole slew of men's watches in the $20 to $25 price range. The one I found is a Thre3 brand men's sport watch from U.S. Polo Association in a rich rose gold tone.




This Thre3 watch looks a little classier than its $24.99 price tag. It has a 12-millimeter thick base metal case with a rose gold tone atop an etched stainless steel caseback. The 48-millimeter diameter case features a black dial with a smooth central disc surrounded by a cross-hatched pattern beneath the time markers. The watch is supremely readable thanks to a large face and bold white and gold edged numerals at the 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock positions. Bold gold-edged hashmarks are placed at the remaining hours. The hands are thick and white with a gold edge. Surprising for a watch in this price range, the numbers, hashmarks, and hands have a generous amount of luminous white paint that glows in the dark for a time after being exposed to light. The numbers are done in a font that reminds me of the the numbers on NASCAR racecars. But, this brand is inspired by another kind of horsepower: polo ponies. Thre3 is actually a licensed trademark of the U.S. Polo Association. The brand has a small logo consisting of crossed polo mallets beneath a laurel leaf ringed shield with a polo pony on it. It looks classy and is repeated in a larger form on the etched caseback.


Like all $25 watches, there are compromises. Even though the watch has a rose gold tone to it and gold edged hands, there is no actual gold in the watch. It's not a shocking compromise. This watch is made by Accutime Watch Corporation, a company that provides low cost quartz watches to many retailers. The rubber watch strap is a little stiff when compared to the silicone bands used on many other inexpensive bands. It has a masculine cross-hatched pattern as well. There is no date or day function. This Thre3 watch is strictly about telling time. Finally, as on many cheap watches, you have to be a little careful pushing in the crown after setting the time. If you are careless, the minute hand may drift by a minute or two when you push in the crown. The quartz movement itself is Japanese.

The U.S. Polo Association's Thre3 brand creates another classy looking watch at an affordable Kmart price point.


While this watch won't serve as a secret handshake that will let you rub elbows with the rich and powerful, it does perform well. In a week of wear, this Thre3 men's sport watch has kept accurate time and blends in perfectly at my business casual office. It's a great watch for telling time quickly at a glance. Overall, I recommend this Thre3 brand watch as an attractive and inexpensive alternative to overpriced quartz watches. It looks good and keeps time. You can't ask for much more.



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Where has the Bulova Tuning Fork gone?

Would you by a Mercedes without a three pointed star?  How about a Jaguar without a leaping cat or cat face?


That's why I don't like reading a paragraph like this -

"Due to a recent redesign by Bulova, recently manufactured Bulova watches, including all watches sold and shipped by Amazon, will not feature the Bulova tuning fork logo on the watch face."

According to a post I read on the PrincetonWatches.com blog, Bulova is removing the Tuning Fork logo from most of their watches.  In the future, it will only be used on Bulova Accutron II watches. I like the tuning fork logo.  It sets Bulova watches apart from other watches made by Seiko family companies.  Now, to be fair, not every Bulova Watch has had a tuning fork logo:

Vintage Bulova Ambassador watch photo by Dnalor 01 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
But still?  Shouldn't most Bulova watches sport tuning fork logos?  It's such a recognizable part of the brand identity.  I'm really glad that my Bulova watches have the tuning fork!
 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Top 7 Off-Brand / Store Brand Commodity Quartz Watches

Quartz watch movements revolutionized the world of timekeeping.  They are reliable, accurate, ubiquitous, and fairly inexpensive.  That's led to a plethora of off-brand, store-brand, and revived brand watches on every mass merchandiser's shelves.  I tend to lump these watches into a category that I call "commodity quartz" watches.  The question most people have about these brands is -

Are these watches any good?

I think these watches are all pretty good.  They generally keep time well.  However, these watches tend to be lower in cost than the well-known brand name watches.  Typically, they have "base metal" cases with stainless steel backs.  That means the case is made of zinc or brass.   If they have subdials, they are non-functional for decorative purposes only.  These cost cutting measures don't necessarily mean that the watch is a low quality timepiece.  You have to judge whether the watch is a good value for the price.

Commodity quartz watches are often "on trend" in terms of style.  They are made by companies like FMD, MZ Berger, or Geneva Watch Group that have a lot of experience making watches.  Many of these manufacturers also make watches for recognizable niche brands with well known brand names. 

This ranking of watches is based only on my opinion and experience with the watches and stores that carry them.

1.  Elgin.  Elgin was once one of the best known American watch companies.  Today, Elgin watches are the flagship brand of MZ Berger.  They make a number of very nice watches that are sold in a wide variety of outlets including Sears and Walmart.  In my opinion, some Elgin timepieces have a little too much bling.  However, when you find an understated Elgin timepiece, it can really be beautiful.  Elgin watches generally seem to cost between $50 and $115.  This makes them a little more expensive than the rest of the lot.

A modern Elgin Timepiece from Sears


2. Structure.  I find the Structure brand watches from Sears to be among the best of the house brand watches.  They have a wide variety of innovative styles that are always "on trend."  Sometimes you can guess which high end watch brand served as the inspiration for a Structure brand watch.  Of course, Structure brand watches generally cost $30 to $40 so they are accessible to nearly everyone.




3. Folio.  Folio brand watches are sold at Kohl's department stores for around $30.  I recently purchased  one and found it to be made by FMD.  The watch itself is roughly equivalent to Structure brand watches.



4. Gruen II.  The Gruen brand also falls under the MZ Berger umbrella.  Gruen II watches on the Sears.com site are currently just for women, but I have picked up Gruen II watches for men in the recent past.  They currently cost around $30 on the Sears.com website, but can be picked up for less during a sale.


5. Zoo York.  Zoo York watches are sold at Kohl's and J.C. Penny.  The brand brings the stylistic sensibilities of the New York skateboard and graffiti scene to your wrist.  In terms of quality of materials and watch construction, they seem typical of the commodity quartz watch genre.  However, they get lots of extra points for originality and style.



6. Mossimo.  Mossimo watches are sold at Target.  They generally cost about $20 and can be good timekeepers.  Mossimo watches often follow design trends.  They generally look very good.


7.  US Polo Association.  I often see U.S. Polo Association watches at retailers like Sears and Kohls.  The brand has an attractive logo and great preppy look.  However, I've never bought one because I already have similar watches.  They also look just a little plain to me.  However, if I was a young professional on a budget, these US Polo Assocation watches are conservative enough for the office.




Beyond these seven watch brands, there are many other "commodity quartz" watch brands:  Legion (Belk), Merona (Target), Sharp (Kmart and other places),
Precision by Gruen (Kohls), Thr3 (Kmart), Globlu (Walmart), and Assorted Unbranded Walmart Watches.