Friday, January 29, 2016

Ferrari Racing Watches

According to racer.com, a new Ferrari will be racing in this year's Rolex 24.  The Risi Ferrari team will be introducing their new Ferrari 488 in the IMSA GT Le Mans class.  The Scuderia Corsa team will also be racing a Ferrari 488.  You can see it's sleek lines in private owner garb at an autoshow in Geneva.

Ferrari 488 at a Geneva Autoshow in 2015 - photo by Norbert Aepli, Switzerland [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
If you love all things fast, red, wheeled, and Italian, you may want to add a Ferrari watch to your personal collection.


Ferrari watches feature the famed prancing horse and a style inspired by the exotic super cars.  These watches fit on any wrist with sporting potential and many of them have a fast racing look.



It will be interesting to see how the new Ferrari 488 GT cars fare in the grueling Rolex 24.  Hopefully, they will continue to uphold the winning tradition of the prancing stallion.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Watches for the Rolex 24 - The 24 Hours of Daytona

The Rolex 24 (24 Hours of Daytona) race is scheduled to run January 30th and 31st, 2016 at the famed Daytona International Speedway.  The race is a thrilling test of endurance for both driver and car.

The Ford Pit Box at the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona photo By Puchino (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
When you think of watches for the 24 hours of Daytona, the first one that springs to mind is the famed Rolex Daytona Cosmograph.  The Daytona really is synonymous with racing.  But, it's not a watch that everyone can afford.

Rolex Daytona Cosmograph (circa 1980) Photo by Rastapopoulos at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
If you want to achieve the same look, you should check out the Invicta Men's 9211 Speedway . It's a quartz watch that offers a style that was obviously inspired by the famed Rolex.  However, it's offered at a price that almost anyone can afford.



For a newer, more modern, take on the motorsport timepiece, the Invicta company offers, the Invicta Men's 1453 S1 Racing Team Chronograph Watch. This watch offers tire tread black and dashboard inspired sub-dials. Everything about the watch just looks FAST!




If you are interested in more high end watches designed expressly for motorsports enthusiasts, check out racewatches.com (RaceWatches@Racewatches on Twitter).  It's a company that works with a long-established jeweler to bring you some of the best race inspired watch designs from a variety of well-respected brands.  They've done a good job focusing on watches that draw inspiration from the track and that competitive drive to come in first!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dream Watches - The Masterpieces of Breguet

If you are going to dream, dream big. There is perhaps no bigger horological dream than a watch by Breguet. Every watch brand has a unique history.  The history of prestigious watch brand, Breguet, goes back to 1775.  That's when Abraham-Louis Breguet first set up shop on Quai de l'Horloge on Ile de Paris in the famed French capital city.  Just five years later, the company released their first self-winding watches.  The self-winding (or automatic) watch was just the first of many innovations that made A.L. Breguet one of history's greatest watch makers.

A Breguet Timepiece from 1785 - Photo By PHGCOM [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

According to the Breguet website, one of their first great patrons was the last French Queen, Marie-Antoinette.

Marie Antoinette painting by Martin van Meytens [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

She went to the guillotine in 1793, but the company held on to "Number 160" a watch that a French officer had commissioned on her behalf.  The watch was intended to be the ultimate timepiece and was completed 34 years after the French revolution.  The fabled watch went off to have an interesting life in the hands of various collectors and thieves! The company is also famous for inventing the tourbillon which is a part of the watch escapement that is intended to counter the effects of gravity on the accuracy of a timepiece.


Today, Breguet is headquartered in Switzerland as the luxury flagship of the Swatch group.  But, it continues to innovate in the world of mechanical watch making.  It is a very special company where art, engineering, and craftsmanship combine to make amazing timepieces. For example, the Breguet Marine Automatic Big Date men's watch (below) features a stainless steel case and a silver guilloche dial.



Breguet watches are unique and special watches for people with discerning tastes and far beyond average means.  Most are obviously intended for the super wealthy.  However, when it comes to Breguet watches, the focus really is on art, design, and craftsmanship.  These aren't watches that you flash to impress people.   A Breguet watch is something far more special.


A Breguet watch (circa 1830) with a portrait of Ben Franklin reading by a bust of Isaac Newton (Photo courtesy of Walters Art Museum [Public domain, CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons)

Breguest timepieces are very special watches that people buy because they are impressed by a beautiful timepiece and all that goes into it. If you wear one, it is because you appreciate the history, the aesthetics, and the meticulous craftsmanship that precedes your purchase.  The Breguet buyer is more than a purchaser.  He or she is a patron of a rare and vanishing art.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Wristwatch Review: Grenen Men's Stainless Steel Mesh Watch

Danish Design in a Thin, Comfortable, Black Stainless Steel Package 


Are you ready to rebel against all the clunky macho watches for men? Do you need a sleek alternative to wear with a suit or tuxedo? If so, check out this review of the Grenen Men's Stainless Steel Mesh Watch. 

[This watch review is a reprint of a review that I first published on the now defunct Yahoo Contributors Network.  I haven't seen Grenen in stores for awhile.  But, I strongly suspect you could find a similar Skagen Grenen watches but with lighter more durable titanium construction!]

Have you noticed that men's wrist watches are getting thicker and thicker? To rebel against the clunky watch trend, you should check out brands like Skagen--the Danish watchmaker. Scandinavian designs feature common articles done in an uncommonly sparse and clean way. Naturally, Skagen makes thin, streamlined, and superbly comfortable watches. When I came across Skagen's Grenen brand at a Kohls department store in Tallahassee, Florida, I was excited. Grenen brings simple, sleek, Scandinavian watch design from Skagen to the poor huddled masses at affordable department store prices.

I chose the Grenen Stainless Steel Mesh Watch (model M - 24XLBBB) which retails at full price for around $85. However, I found mine on sale for far less. My Grenen watch features a slim Japanese quartz movement, an all stainless steel case, and a fine stainless steel mesh band. It's all done with a deep black finish that evokes ninjas, tuxedos, and the night. For another affordable thin dress watch, consider the Hamlin Ultra Thin Stainless Steel Dress Watch.

The Grenen Stainless Steel Mesh Watch has a minimalist design centered around a traditional round case measuring one and a half inches in diameter. In contrast to clunky watches from makers like Invicta, the Grenen case is a wafer thin quarter inch thick. The watch features a raised track with silver-tone Arabic numerals for 1 through 12. Inside the track of the numbers, the face is slightly recessed. A small portal reveals the date at just above the six o'clock position. Just below 12 o'clock, there is a small white logo, the Grenen name and Denmark. Just above the date portal, tiny white letters remind the wearer that this thin watch is made of steel. The watch hands have thin inserts of luminous material. The layout is sparse, functional, and effective.

This Grenen watch has a thin, fine, steel mesh band that almost imperceptibly tapers from 7/8 of an inch wide at the case pins down to about half an inch at the clasp. Fine mesh bands are very comfortable because they don't catch and pull arm hairs. The fold-over clasp with safety has smooth surfaces and doesn't cut into your flesh if you rest the weight of your wrist on the clasp while typing, computing, or doing other general office tasks. The fold-over clasp ensures that the watch stays securely fastened to your wrist.

I found only a three minor drawbacks with my Grenen. First, the crystal tends to show fingerprints and I find myself wiping it off regularly. Second, the mesh band seems a little delicate when compared to traditional watch bands. Third, the date portal is very small and can be a little difficult to read. Since I rotate several watches during the week and keep the watch cased when it's not in use, I doubt that I'll ever wear out this Grenen watch.

Since the thin case fits neatly under any dress shirt cuff and the Grenen is comfortable to wear while using a keyboard, I'd say that this watch is nearly perfect for the office. If a man needs a watch for a formal occasion such as his prom or wedding day, this Grenen is clearly an affordable wristwatch option that looks rich and sophisticated. Its sleek Scandinavian design and black finish give the watch a polished look that would work well with a tuxedo or suit. In a world where less is often less, this Grenen wristwatch clearly offers more.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Independence Series from Minuteman Watch Co.

Just a few years ago, there were only a few American-made watch brands and they were available only to a wealthy handful of people.  Now, a domestic watch industry is alive and growing.  Minuteman Watch Co. has been leading the charge with manly watches that look really cool.  However, the high quality automatic watches have been a little expensive for many of us.  But, change is in the air!  The Minuteman Watch Co. has been working on a high quality quartz model that is more affordable.

The Minuteman Independence Series

The company has recently unveiled its new Independence series of watches.  These watches are powered by the venerable Ronda 515 Swiss Quartz movement.  Each watch is assembled in Mentor, Ohio, by Wiegand Custom Watches.  If the name sounds familiar, Chris Wiegand is the man behind the revered Lum-Tec brand of military-style watches.




These Minuteman watches have a streamlined military style.  I particularly like the Minuteman silhouette centered above the six o'clock position.  These Independence series watches are tough customers with 100 meter water resistance and sapphire crystals with an internal anti-reflective coating.  They have a sensible 40 millimeter diameter stainless steel case.  You can get a stainless model or you night raiders can get a black PVD coated stainless steel case.  With either case, they'll be backed by a 5 year warranty and lifetime battery replacement.

Minuteman Independence with Black PVD Case

The Minuteman Watch Co. also strongly backs our military.  The Minuteman Watch Company donates 25% of their net profit to charity.  In 2016, these donations will go to support the highly regarded charity Fisher House.  Fisher House is best known for providing a network of 67 comfort homes near VA hospitals and military bases where the families of military men and veterans can stay while a loved one undergoes medical treatment.  Fisher House also provides programs to assist with similar treatment-related travel and hotel stays for military families.   

Regularly priced at $309, these Minuteman watches are now for sale at a special introductory price of only $250 or $275 for the black PVD model.  Check them out at Minuteman Watch Co.

 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Exclusive Glimpse at Eclipse Brand Watches

Some watch bloggers and journalists spend all their time in Geneva, Switzerland, looking for exclusives and scoops.  They go on press junkets to the annual Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) watch show.  Only this blogger is willing to make the sacrifices needed to find a completely new brand that will sell thousands of watches over the next few years.  While this new brand may never appear in The Robb Report or WatchTimes, according to The Millionaire Next Door, this is precisely the kind of watch that real millionaires wear.  To find it, I had to go where other horology bloggers fear to tread.  I had to get the exclusive spy pictures that no one else has.  I had to go to Walmart.

I slipped into the big box retailer under the guise of picking up a loaf of bread and some dog biscuits.  Since these items were sold on completely opposite ends of the store, I was easily able to detour through the watch section.  When I did so, I quickly discovered a watch brand that I had never heard of before.  It was hidden in plain sight.  It's a brand called Eclipse and it was created by the watch experts at Armitron.  While I had to hustle home for a hungry hound, I did get a chance to take a quick look at these watches and bring you these world exclusive spy photos of Eclipse watches.

The five watches I saw were men's quartz watches that would be suitable for the office, church, and business casual work environments.  The designers of these watches couldn't fall back on hundreds of years of horological history, call whole summers a holiday, and demand big bucks.  Instead, they were likely challenged by the quality benchmarks and low price points demanded by the notoriously tough fashion buyers at the world's most famous big box store.

The resulting watches look nice, are most likely quite reliable, and were priced to move at only $22.84.  The first of these watches mixed silver tones and gold tones quite effectively in a water resistant, quartz-movement, package.  



The second watch was the Eclipse take on the basic field watch with a genuine leather band.  It was quite readable, offered 165 feet of water resistance, and even had a date window.


I love silver on silver watches and the Eclipse by Armitron brand obliged with this basic beauty.  I really do like basic watches of this style and I think this one has a very nice design.


Of course, intelligent discourse and society sophisticates insist that every man have at least one watch with Roman numerals on the dial.  This Eclipse obliges and has a bit of a sunburst on the dial.


This final Eclipse watch had a dark dial, a sunburst, a date, and clear, readable numbers.  To me, it's not the brand's strongest effort because it has too many disparate style elements that detract from the unity of the design.


When I searched for the brand using the google shopping search, I saw that they had plenty of models to choose from at Walmart.  At this price point, you get a decent working watch backed by the recognizable Armitron brand.  They also seem well differentiated from the $10 to $15 watches available on nearby shelves.  While they might not be shown or even worn in Geneva, these timepieces have their niche and fill it well.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Best Watches for Lottery Winners

As I write this, the Powerball lottery jackpot is climbing to over $1 billion. That's some serious money.  It would certainly be enough to allow for an expanded watch collection.  While the odds of winning are astronomically low, the fun of playing the lottery as a game is that participants can dream and imagine winning. 

If I won the lottery, I would buy some nice watch winders.  I'll need them to keep all the automatics running nicely and keeping good time.  



Once I have the winders, I would revamp my watch collection.  Of course, I'd have to go down My Fantasy Watch Gift List and pickup my Tudor Black Bay, Omega Seamaster, and Rolex Daytona.  But here are some of the watches that I would buy as a Powerball or Megamillions lottery winner.

1. Tudor Heritage Advisor.  Before winning Powerball, I liked watches with a silver dial and silver case.  The silver-on-silver motif is simply cool.  Winning a big jackpot wouldn't change me.  I'd just get a nicer silver-on-silver watch like this Tudor Heritage Advisor.  I like it a lot.  It has a single readable sub-dial and a great look.  The model I would get would be the Tudor Heritage Advisor Silver Dial Stainless Steel Mens Watch 79620T-95740




2. Bell & Ross BR-01-93-GMT Aviation.  With a Powerball jackpot going jingle-jangle in my pocket and the convoy of semi-trucks full of money that might follow me around as a winner, I'd FINALLY get a real Bell & Ross instrument panel watch.  While they've come up with some nice vintage aviation watches of late, I'd still want a square original.  They are different and they just look cool.



3.  Rolex Air King.  Finally, I'd have to get myself a Rolex.  I'm thinking the Air King would be sufficient.  I'd like a masterpiece watch, but I've looked at the Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, and Richard Mille watches.  I think I'd find it difficult to pull the trigger on a $100,000 model.  I'd really have to ease into the billionaire lifestyle.  An Air King is perhaps the humblest of Rolex watches and would tell the world that I like the brand without being an over-the-top victory lap.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Wristwatch Review: Citizen's Stainless Steel Eco-Drive Dress Watch

For Christmas in 2015, my wife got me a very nice Citizen Eco-Drive dress watch.  It goes by the catchy name - Model BM7193-07B.  It's a great addition to my watch collection and will never need batteries.

Citizen Eco-Drive Dress watch

Style.  This men's Citizen Eco-Drive is a beautiful watch with classic retro-styling.  If you search vintage men's watch or vintage Citizen watch and look for images, it won't be long before you come across watches that look much like this one.  Vintage Citizen dress watches typically had the double baton at 12 o'clock and regular batons to denote the hours.  The cursive script on the classics was typically centered below the hands at 6 o'clock and described the number of jewels in the mechanical movement.  A vintage Citizen typically has a date window surrounded by a gold tone box and this Eco-Drive as well.  This watch even has a domed crystal.  The dial is white, but I'd almost call it an off-white or parchment white.  It's not a bright white.  At a contemporary 40 millimeters, the case diameter is probably a little larger than the classics.  It is dress watch thin at 10 millimeters thick.  I find the size just right for a dress watch.  Even though this watch is thoroughly futuristic on the inside, it is still connected to a long line of great Citizen watches.  For that, I give extra style points.


The strap is crocodile-embossed leather and long enough to fit my wrists comfortably.  At first, it was a little stiff, but it is comfortable and looks pretty good.  I like the Citizen label on the buckle to help differentiate this watch from lesser brands.  In this price category, these little touches are expected.  If I was the designer of this watch, I think I would also put some sort of inscription (perhaps a 'C') on the crown.



Construction.  This watch has a gold-tone stainless steel case, stainless caseback, and a scratch-resistant mineral crystal.  The watch is water resistant to 99 feet if you stumble into a pool or water feature while texting about important business matters.  Overall, this watch seems pretty well constructed.



Movement.  This watch has a Japanese quartz movement and is powered by Citizen Eco-Drive technology.  After a day of charging, it can keep time for a very, very, long time.  (See my post The Citizen Eco-Drive and the Sock Drawer). After a full day of charging, this watch should keep time for six months.  Despite the high tech power, this watch does not have any design features that appear to be a solar cell at all.  It is perhaps the most subtle of sun-powered watches.



Overall, I really like this Citizen Eco-Drive dress watch.  It is perfect for the office and other events.  The brown band and rose gold-tone are the perfect style for such settings.  It's not a big watch that beats you over the head with pizazz.  Instead, it's a refined, cultured, design that fits into a long line of great Citizen watches.  Perhaps, this business-like watch is a solid Citizen.

You can check this watch out here on Amazon:

Friday, January 8, 2016

Ferrari and the Clock

I found this Ferrari and three dial clock at a thrift store in a land of sunshine and big alligators.



If you are interested in more photos of die-cast cars, check out my recently revived blog www.dailydiecastcar.blogspot.com.



Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Celebrate the Alabama Crimson Tide with a Watch

The University of Alabama Crimson Tide are the powerhouse of American college football.  In their Cotton Bowl play-off game, the #2 Crimson Tide crushed the #3 Michigan State Spartans 38-0.  Since 1892, the team has won 15 national championships!  15!  They won 6 of those championships under legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and 3 under current head coach Nick Saban.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban - Photo By RammaJammaYellaHamma (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

During the 2015 season, the Alabama Crimson Tide showed resilience and character by bouncing back from an early season home loss at the hands of Ole Miss.  They finished their season by dominating all the remaining opponents.

No matter how they fair in the National Championship game against Clemson University, this Alabama season is worthy of celebration.  Here are some great watches that celebrate the Alabama Crimson Tide. Roll Tide!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Celebrate the Clemson Tigers with a Watch!

Who will be the College Football Champion for the 2015 season?  Two teams have survived the play off to play in the championship game:  Alabama and Clemson.  Today, we'll talk about the Clemson Tigers!

The Clemson Tigers hail from South Carolina and dominated the ACC this season.  They had a glorious undefeated 14-0 season highlighted by their complete demolition of the Miami Hurricanes 58 - 0!!!  They went on to win the ACC Championship against North Carolina 45-37 and then to convincingly beat the Oklahoma Sooners in their playoff game, the Capital One Orange Bowl by a score of 37-17!

Clemson Tigers Mascot - photo By Matthew Blouir (Tiger) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
No matter how the championship game works out, it's time to celebrate the team's amazing accomplishments with a Clemson Tigers watch!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year! - Reflecting on the Road to a Rolex

Happy New Year!  It's a time of celebration and reflection.  As the New Year kicks off, it's time to reflect on what we are going to make of our time in the coming year.  How will we survive?  How will we succeed?  What can we do to be more successful?  How can we change our image to project more of an air of success and professional competence. One night earlier this week, I saw this billboard for a local jewelry chain advertising a beautiful Rolex.  It got me thinking about the iconic watch brand.

A Rolex Billboard
Later that same night, I came across and read an interesting review of a Rolex ( A Week on the Wrist: The Rolex Datejust ) on Hodinkee by Stephen Pulvirent.  It was a bit strange to have the Rolex brand coming at me from multiple directions on the same evening. 



The article described the development and history of the classic Rolex Datejust very well.  It's amazing to think that even a pure dress watch from Rolex has an oyster case and 100 meters of water resistance.  More importantly, I gained some insight about what it would be like to wear such a beautiful Rolex for a week.  These Rolex encounters made me think about the road in life that leads to a Rolex.  

Rolex Datejust Oysterquartz - photo by Esperto Orologi at it.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

One of the commenters on the hodinkee article noted that a Rolex was an achievement watch that people bought upon attaining a major career milestone.  Once bought, a Rolex would be worn for life.  The 36 millimeter diameter case is much, much, bigger in the heart of the wearer.  As we start the New Year, I think we all want to be successful and we all want to get that Rolex one day.



But, where does that road to a Rolex watch start?  Where does your road start?  For some it starts with hard work, getting to work early, staying late, and applying prodigious energy to career matters.  For others, it may be a matter of saving up money, assessing a market, taking a risk, creating a product, and filling a need.  Still others, may analyze, research, and invest in opportunities that pay off.  There is no one proper road.  I think everyone must choose their own path.



In the meantime, if there is a watch for the end of a journey, then there must be a watch for the beginning of a journey.  Perhaps a simple dress watch like this Seiko two-tone quartz watch would suffice as step one?



Have a happy and prosperous New Year!  May you find your road!