Saturday, December 31, 2016

Goodbye and Good Riddance 2016

We're finally ushering 2016 out the door.  I wish we could punch 2016 in the nose, throw all of its stuff out on the lawn, cuss this year out, tell it to lose our number, and slam the door in its face we would.  From a personal perspective, 2016 has simply sucked.  The year started out with a case of shingles and it never got better.  We got rid of our SUV due to mechanical issues.  Then this summer, our beloved dog died suddenly at the age of 10.  As if having your truck and your dog die in the same year weren't bad enough, there has been one worrisome event after another to keep us off balance and stressed all year long.  Even now, we are planning to move to a new apartment due to drug fumes from an unknown neighbor.  In the public sphere, the world seems to be in perpetual crisis and this year has claimed the lives of far too many celebrities.  The list is long this year and includes icons from Prince to Prince Leia:  all of whom really meant something to society and my generation.  While I know that pain, loss, and setbacks are part of life and many have had it worse.  I think most of us can agree on one thing.  It's definitely time to turn the page on 2016 and move forward!

GOOD BYE 2016!  DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU IN THE ASS!

I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Sydney Harbor New Years 2008 - Photo by Adam.J.W.C. (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Make the most of 2017!  Keep track of the time.  Chances are it will fly right by in the blink of an eye!  Keep watching this blog in 2017.  This year we'll feature reviews of new watches from Tissot and Citizen!

Friday, December 30, 2016

College Football Play Off Watches - 2016 - Bama vs. Washington

University of Washington and University of Alabama Wristwatches


The college football championship is here once again!  This year matches up four quality teams in a battle for the right to play in the championship game.  On December 31, 2016, the battle is on!  Today, we'll take a look at the first match up - Alabama versus Washington.
The 1892 Alabama Crimson Tide

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Washington Huskies.  As a Gator, I can pretty much guess how the match up between the University of Washington and the University of Alabama will go.  I predict another victory for the Crimson Tide.  However, Washington Huskies fans can still celebrate their teams success this season with the very nice watch shown below.  It has a nylon and leather strap and a nice look.  I feel your pain.  I really do.  The Crimson Tide has beaten my Gators two years in a row.






In my opinion, Alabama has the defense and the discipline to beat Washington handily.  Of course, I've never watched Washington play because they are a west coast team.  Here's to surprises!



As for you Alabama fans, all y'all need to order a watch just so you can remember this particular championship season.  I'm sure they are starting to blur together now.  Y'all can order this officially licensed Bradford Exchange watch now and then come back to this blog when you when the championship is won to order an even more awesome University of Alabama TAG Heuer Carrera watch.  You Alabama fans will really appreciate these watches every time some ignorant barner asks you the time.  Roll Tide!




Thursday, December 29, 2016

What kind of watch does Vladimir Putin wear?

It's always interesting to see what kinds of watches world leaders and other celebrities wear.  In the past, I've checked out celebrity watches worn by lightweight celebrities like Guy Fieri and Justin Bieber.  But, with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin being blamed for all manner of election tampering, I had to check out what kind of watches he wears.

Vladimir Putin - photo by Kremlin.ru [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

As it turns out, I'm not the only one keeping tabs on the Russian leader's watch collection.  A Russian opposition group has made this video linking Putin to a vast collection of very expensive timepieces.  They estimate the value of his watch collection to be around $700,000.  Since this video is in Russian with English subtitles, it can be hard to follow.  However, this ABC News article highlights the most important aspects of the accusations leveled at Putin.


According to the video, Vladimir Putin has given ordinary Russian citizens that watch right off his wrist on two separate occasions.  Both times, the recipient got a Blancpain Aqua Lung watch similar to the one shown below:




According to the video, Vladimir Putin has been seen wearing even more expensive watches like the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar watch in white gold.  I would imagine that it looks much like this one below:

Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar watch - photo by Rama (Own work) [CeCILL (http://www.cecill.info/licences/Licence_CeCILL_V2-en.html) or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons
If you'd like to own a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar watch just like the one worn by Vladimir Putin, please order it from Amazon below:


A Patek Philippe would look very, very, good on your wrist.  You need it, you want it, and you should snatch it up before it is gone!



I try to stay non-political on this blog.  It is not my place to comment on politics or judge the leader of one of the world's most powerful nations.  I also don't want "little green men" coming to visit my apartment.  It's possible that he may have received this watches as gifts.  A former KGB agent, Vladimir Putin looks after his own interests and the interests of Russia in a very powerful way.  People respect him because he is clearly not a man to be trifled with.  I'll simply say that the man knows his watches.  From the perspective of improved public relations, I would suggest that Putin switch to a humble but rugged Vostok watch for everyday wear.  Perhaps, he'd like to trade?



Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Three Affordable Automatic Watches for Men

The automatic self-winding watch has long been regarded as the pinnacle of prestige timepieces.  When someone says automatic, you typically think of watches by Constantin Vacheron, Rolex, Tudor, Tag Heuer, or Bell & Ross.  Unfortunately, these watch brands are beyond the means of many of us mere mortals.  But, that doesn't mean we can't own automatic watches.  There are plenty of affordable automatic watches.  In fact, my first automatic watch only cost $50.  It was developed and sold by Walmart for a short time a few years ago.  I believe that they created the $50 automatic to pressure their suppliers to meet low price points.

My First Automatic - The Walmart $50 Automatic

Men's Automatic Watches for Less than $100


Some luxury watch magazines regularly run articles on inexpensive automatic watches.  Those articles make me laugh and then they make me cry.  Unfortunately, most of the "affordable" watches they cite start in the low thousands of dollars.  As an alternative to those heartbreaking articles, here are three truly affordable automatic watches from respected and well known brands that start at less than $100.  

1.  The Armitron Automatic Skeleton watch.  Today, you can find attractively priced automatic watches from Armitron at price points similar to my first automatic.  While I haven't compared the Armitron automatic to my Walmart automatic, I strongly suspect that there might be a common heritage.  The cool thing about these transparent dial skeleton watches is that you really can see a lot of the inner workings of the movement.  So, if you really like automatic watches for their intrinsic mechanical interest, you really can't go wrong.



2. Invicta Pro-Diver Japanese Automatic Stainless Steel Watch.  Of course, if you want an automatic watch, you are going to want to a taste from the fountain of Rolex.  The company set the standard for high performance automatic dive watches and made the automatic dive watch into the prestige timepiece it is perceived to be today.  Unfortunately, Rolex ownership remains an elusive goal for most of us.  That's where Invicta comes in.  Invicta makes a nice Rolex Submariner homage dive watch with similar lines and solid construction.  If you love the Rolex look, you can typically find an Invicta Automatic Pro-Diver for less than $100.  With 200 meters of water resistance, you can even take the Invicta to a beach and get it wet.  Plus, the Invicta has an exhibition caseback that allows you to see the movement.



3. Seiko 5 Automatic.  Finally, an inexpensive automatic can still be respected for its form and its function.  The venerable Seiko 5 Automatic watch has long been highly regarded by collectors as an excellent timepiece in its own right.  It works well and it is quite affordable.  The only drawback for the Seiko 5 Automatic Field Watch is the rather small 37.5 millimeter diameter case size.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

How to Spend a $50 Amazon Gift Certificate on Watches

If I had been fortunate enough to receive a $50 Amazon gift certificate for Christmas 2016, there are more than a few men's watches that I would love to own. But, today, I'll confine my recommendations to two candidates.  Both are from brands that are worth exploring on Amazon.

Ben & Sons.  The first brand that caught my eye is Ben & Sons.  This "Airstream" model sports a mustard yellow leather NATO strap and a military-inspired dial.  It a manly looking watch at a miniscule price.  Ben & Sons is a fashion brand from Miami-based Swiss Watch International.  Their designs seem to nod at the famed Bell & Ross brand of European instrument panel watches.  Like Bell & Ross, these watches are not designed by former commandos.  They have not been extensively tested in Antarctica.  Heck, they haven't even made it to the summit of K2.  But, if it has the look you like, it's worth taking a shot with a Christmas gift certificate.




Stuhrling Original.  At one time, Stuhrling was poised to break out and become the next Invicta.  For whatever reason, I don't think that happened.  However, Stuhrling still offers great looking watches and they have affordable price points.  I like the looks of many Stuhrling Original dive watches.  However, for a watch collection, you can't beat the unusual and off-beat look of this Leisure Mad Man C-2 Quartz watch.




I've posted on how to blow a $50 Amazon gift certificate before.  Back then I liked Haurex watches.  They still have some great values on Amazon.  However, most have climbed above $50.  If you want to stick to your budget, Amazon has collected many solid watch values on their feature Amazon Favorites Under $50

Monday, December 26, 2016

Wristwatch Review: Diesel Deadeye Watch

This Christmas, my wife got me a fashion forward Diesel watch from Belk.  This watch is called the Diesel Deadeye Watch (DZ4409) and, according to the Diesel website, it draws inspiration from vintage military instrument panels.

Diesel Deadeye Watch Design


In the beginning, Diesel watches were big and bold and seemed to be about the size of the alarm clock that typically hangs from rapper Flavor Flav's neck.  The brand brought 50 to 60 millimeter watch cases to the market and made this look great.

Rapper Flavor Flav - photo by Javier Mediavilla Ezquibela (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Now Diesel watches are taking those initial design queues and evolving in some interesting directions.  This watch is a prime example.  It's more than just big.  From the front, the Diesel Deadeye looks like a competently executed what with sub-dials.  But, the bezel makes it special.  It's transparent.  When you look at the bezel from certain angles, it magnifies the minute numbers.  From other angles, the transparent bezel makes the watch dial appear to be suspended in mid-air.  It's very cool!


The Diesel Deadeye watch also features a hinged crown guard which is a nifty feature for those of us who are prone to bang watches into thing.  It also adds to the interest level of this watch. 



Of course, this watch also shares some common design themes that run through the Diesel line.

Only the Brave - Diesel Deadeye Watch etched caseback

Diesel Deadeye Watch Dimensions


This watch is large.  It has a 51 by 56 millimeter diameter case that is 13 millimeters thick.  It is secured to the wrist by a supple black leather strap.  Despite the size, I didn't find this watch awkward or heavy.  It is quite comfortable.  The watch offers 5 atmospheres (150 feet) of water resistance.  However, I wouldn't recommend swimming or diving.  This is a fashion watch design.

Diesel Deadeye Watch Strap

Diesel Deadeye Watch Conclusion

Diesel watches make bold design statements and are designed to be noticed and draw commentary.  By that standard, the Diesel Deadeye (DZ4409) is a very successful design.  However, as bold as this watch is, it is understated enough for wear by watch lovers of all ages.  I like that this design wins with an innovative bezel and dial rather than sheer size and bling.  I find this watch interesting every time I glance at it.  That's why this Diesel is a great addition to any watch collection.  I highly recommend it.


If you are a fan of Diesel watches, check out my review of the multi-time zone Diesel Machinus.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas Day filled with joy and peace! 

My Latest Diesel Watch

Over the next few days and weeks, I'll post some great ideas on how to best blow an Amazon gift card and I'll review some of my latest new watches!  I received a couple of nice new watches for Christmas and I have a couple that I've kept below the radar.




Saturday, December 24, 2016

Last Minute Gift Ideas: Legion Watches from Belk

At the height of the Christmas season, it can be great fun to enjoy the extended hours at department stores.  Sometimes, it's like you get to sneak in and enjoy the service, the decor, and the personal attention that the early birds miss out on.  One retailer that we like in our region of the United States is Belk.  They are a southern department store based in Charlotte, North Carolina.  During this holiday, we visited one of their premiere stores in Atlanta, Georgia.  It was a good opportunity to take stock of the every day quartz watches they offer in their Legion store brand.


I took a look at the Legion watches stacked in a store display.  After a busy shopping day, the sales people remained effervescent, but they hadn't had a chance to front the display and make it presentable.  Nevertheless, I had a great chance to take a look at many of their Legion brand watches.
 
Legion Diver-style Watch
 The first watch to catch my eye was the Legion diver-style watch with subdials shown above.  It has all the right markings for a dive watch, but the bezel doesn't rotate and the subdials are purely for decorative purposes.  Still, $40 is a great price for a fashionable quartz watch with a 10-year warranty.
 
Legion Watch with Extra Strap from Belk

Another interesting choice might be this gold-tone Legion watch with extra strap.  It would give you the flexibility of a metal bracelet or a leather strap.  However, this gold tone is a little too much like a women's "boyfriend" style watch for my taste.

Legion Watch with Roman Numerals

Handsome Roman numerals and a leather strap drew my eyes to this Legion watch as well.  It's likely that the sub-dials are non-functional, but it is a nice looking watch.

Legion Watch with Gold & Silver Tones

If bling is your thing, the silver and gold-tone Legion watch (above) offered a masculine take on the matter.  It's a solid looking timepiece for sure.  There were many other watches in the Belk lineup of Legion brand watches.  However, after a few minutes, it was time to move on.  Overall, these watches make a great "bonus" gift or stocking stuffer.





Finally, I saw the silver-on-silver Legion watch shown above.  It a Legion watch that I have previously reviewed here:  Wristwatch Review:  Men's Legion Analog Watch.


I should note that there is a Legion brand of watches that is sweeping the Internet.  I don't believe that these watches are in any way related to the housebrand watches sold at Belk.  But, with a ten year warranty and a plethora of styles to choose from, these Legion watches from Belk are solid last minute holiday gift!


Friday, December 23, 2016

Watch Collector Calendar Republished for 2017

The New Year is almost upon us and it is time to get ready for 2017.  I've republished the Watch Collector Calendar for 2017.  If you haven't seen it, it contains some of the best photography from this blog.  Feel free to check out the calendar here -

 

This calendar and some of my other photography calendars are available here on Lulu.com:

GatorDude's Calendars and Books


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Watch Sighting: Wenger Off Road Watch with GMT Dial

Still looking for a great gift idea for a man?  You might check out this Wenger Off-Road GMT watch.  It offers rugged good looks, a Swiss-made quartz movement, a unidirectional rotating bezel, and water resistance down to 100 meters (for swimming or snorkeling).  The 42 millimeter diameter case and 22 millimeter wide strap are perfectly proportioned for most men.


The small red hand on the dial should be set to point at the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).  The Greenwich Mean Time is the time at the Prime Meridian (0-degrees longitude).  When you read the GMT, you can mentally make the adjustment to any familiar timezone.  For example, Atlanta, Georgia, is GMT -5:00 hours.  When it's 7:30 a.m. at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich England, it's 2:30 a.m. here in Atlanta.  You can check your time difference here at GreenwichMeanTime.com.  There are a wide variety of ways that aviators and other professionals can use a GMT watch.  Read this web article for a great GMT Watch Explanation.


The Greenwich Royal Observatory - Photograph by Clem Rutter, Rochester, Kent. (www.clemrutter.net). (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
If you are a last minute shopper, I saw this example of GMT watch at the leading Belk department store in my area.  However, you can also get a great deal on this watch on Amazon as shown below:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Gift Idea: Pulsar PS9319 Diver-style Watch

Christmas is only 5 short days away! For shoppers, it's crunch time. If you are looking for an attractive, action-oriented, stainless steel, sport watch for men. This Pulsar PS9319 makes an excellent gift. It's one of my go to watches for daily wear and its beautiful blue dial still captures my eye. I love the look of this watch and its panoramic date window.


This watch might be just the gift you are looking for during this Holiday Season!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Classic Metal Watches for Christmas

Classic metal. The phrase evokes images of Led Zeppelin and hard rock from the 1960s and 70s.  However, Amazon recently highlighted what it calls  Classic Metal Watches.  It's a great category of substantial watches from respectable manufactures that offer traditional masculine styles and metal bracelets.  The category made me reflect on some of the great watches that I have in my collection and some of the even greater watches that I'd love to own.  Here are a couple of  classic metal watches from my own collection.

1. Wenger Swiss Military Grenadier Watch.  I like the simplicity of my Wenger Swiss Military Grenadier watch.  It's a rugged timeless design that always looks good.  You can read my review here on this blog:

Wenger Swiss Military Grenadier Watch Review


2.  Relic Moonphase Multifunction Watch. When you think of Multi Function Moon Phase watches, you think that you might have to go to France or Switzerland and drop a cool $100,000+ on a piece of art.  But, you can just go down to the Fossil outlet or search amazon and find this practical, masculine, quartz watch.  It's pretty awesome.  You can read my review here:

Relic Moon Phase Multifunction Watch Review



If you are looking for a great gift for a man this Christmas, you can't go wrong with an all metal watch.  These watches offer rugged good looks that will stand the test of time.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

New Casio Watch Model: MRW-210H Men's 'Diver Style' Quartz Resin Casual Watch

On a recent trip to Walmart, I spotted a brand new model of Casio watch.  At least, I hadn't seen this model before so it was new to me.  This new Casio offers a fixed, non-rotating, bezel diver-style watch.  I'm not a big fan of non-rotating bezels.  However, the dial of this sport watch is considerably larger and easier to read than the dial of the popular classic Casio MRW-200H dive watch.  The fixed bezel watch has a 53 mm diameter case while the rotating bezel has a 43mm diameter case.  Consequently, this new watch (Model MRW-210H) should definitely give Timex Easy Reader and Timex Expedition models a run for the money during this holiday season.



One nice thing about this new, larger, Casio model is that it still has a robust 100 meters of water resistance.  This should allow you to shower, wash dishes, and do a little swimming.  At this price point, you don't get a stainless steel case.  Instead this model features an attractively molded black resin case and bezel.  This material is pretty rugged and should stand up to years of use.  The watch comes with a three year battery.



If you are interested in going commando--at least in the horological sense--the new fixed bezel Casio watches also come in all black.  In this case, the numbers receive a silver, chrome, treatment.


This watch should be compared with the Timex Core Resin Expedition watch with has a very similar look.  You'll note that both watches have a similar look and provide an inner ring of numbers for the 24-hour time.  I'll post a review of the Timex Core Resin Expedition watch in a few days in order to provide a comparison.


If you are looking for practical and pseudo-tactical, these new Casio diver-style watches are definitely worth a look!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Watch Sighting: Invicta Classic Dress Watch

On a recent visit to Ross, I spotted this classic dress watch from Invicta.  It is a rich looking watch with gold tones, a leather strap, and a Roman numerals.  This model has two subdials:  one to provide a 24-hour clock and another to keep track of seconds.



While I didn't buy this watch, it just goes to show that it always pays to keep your eyes open for watches at Ross or TJ Maxx.  Both chains get interesting watches and price them affordably.  Often the watches on display have been discontinued.  For example, I haven't been able to find this Invicta model in any other outlet.  Other times, these stores feature close out merchandise that haven't sold at other merchants.


If you are holiday shopping at Ross this Christmas, it's always worth checking the jewelry counter to see what kinds of treasures they have.  You are unlikely to find interesting watches like this in conventional department stores.  If you are looking high and low for a specific Invicta, Amazon is a great place to look for Invicta Dress Watches.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

New Watch Brand Sighting: Skechers Watches

On a recent visit to Kohl's, I was surprised to see a new "to me" brand of watches:  Skechers.  The same company that makes casual shoes and sneakers has extended their brand into affordable casual timepieces for men and women.



I took a brief glance at the watches and they appear to be typical department store quartz watches.  According to the box, they use Japanese movements and sport straps made in China.  The come in cardboard boxs with white pillows emblazoned with the Skechers logo.


Skechers Women's Watch
 The watches in the Skechers display appeared to be a mix of men and women's styles.  As a traditionalist, I would characterize the colorful watch above as a woman's watch.  While the watch below seems to be more of a man's watch.


The final Skechers watch that I looked at has more of an Imperial Storm Trooper motif.
 

Finally, it looks like these generally retail for around $50 at Kohls before any discounts or sales. These watches may be a good stocking stuffers for Christmas.  You can also find a wide variety of Skechers watches on Amazon.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Gift Ideas for the Watch Collector

Do you have someone on your list who is a watch collector?  Is it tough to find a great gift for him?  Are the watches he likes hard to find?  Is it tough to guess his style?  Are the watches he collects out of your price range?  Does he scoff at consumer grade watches sold in stores?  Does he turn his nose up at the quartz watches that mere mortals wear?  Does he have so many watches that you are afraid of duplicating something he already has?  Well, worry no more!  I have three great gift ideas for the hard to shop for watch collector on your list.

Diplomat Watch Winder
1. A Watch Winder.  Automatic mechanical watches are generally wound while being worn by the wearer.  However, if you have a collection or you don't wear your automatic watch every day or every other day, they will eventually stop and need to be wound again.  However, you can get a watch winder that rotates the watches many times every hour or so.  This winds the watch so that it will keep the time accurately and be ready to wear.  Watch winders can vary widely in price.  I found mine used in a second hand shop for about $20.  But, new they can vary widely in price.  Upscale purchasers can even buy find watch winders in mahogany or other fine woods.



2. A Watch Box.  If your favorite watch collector has more quartz watches that automatics or conventionally wound manual watches in his collection, a nice watch box is a great gift and good way to protect a watch collection from scratches.  A watch box organizer answers the age old question:  How do you store your watches?





3. A Watch Repair Kit.   Finally a watch repair kit comes in handy for resizing watch bracelets, replacing watch straps, or changing batteries.  There are many varieties, but if you aren't going to a watchmaking school in Switzerland, almost any choice will do.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Black Friday Deals on Watches - 2016

Today we give thanks and enjoy Turkey Day.  Tomorrow is Black Friday and many stores are getting a jump on the holiday sales season.  I've did a quick look through my e-mail box and here are a few of the deals on watches.

Orient is offering 50% off your order and free shipping with code BF2016 through November 28, 2016.  The offer is good at www.orientwatchusa.com and excludes Mako USA II watches.



Timex.com is offering 20% off plus free shipping if you use the code BLACKFRIDAY20.  Some exclusions apply.  The offer expires at midnight on 11/27/2016 and excludes Timex Waterbury, Timex IQ+, and Timex Metropolitan+ watches.

Of course, Amazon is a Black Friday Machine.  They have tons of Black Friday deals.