Friday, December 15, 2017

Star Wars Stocking Stuffer Watches


The key to giving a watch as a little extra stocking stuffer is to choose a watch that will be fun for the recipient.  The world is awash in inexpensive watches that celebrate sports teams, superheroes, and movies.  For example, kids aged 6 to 60 might find a Batman watch or a Star Wars watch a lot of fun.   I recently spotted a number of Star Wars watches at Big Lots for very low prices.  For $10-$15 you simple can't go too far wrong.

Obviously, these little quartz watches aren't the finest of Swiss timepieces.  But, for a young Star Wars fan, they would probably be very cool.


Older Star Wars fans may find more expensive Star Wars watches appealing.  Nixon produces an excellent looking line of Star Wars watches for adults.


If you don't want official Star Wars logos on all of your gear, you might try the Casio Tough Solar in white.  It looks like a great Storm Trooper watch, but it doesn't have anything to do with Star Wars.




If you want the Storm Trooper look or you actually want to see Bobba Fet, watch makers have you covered.


 I was able to find one inexpensive kids watch on Amazon.  It's not a huge watch, but it would be a huge gift for a young Star Wars Fan.




Sunday, December 10, 2017

A Guide to Military Style Watches

The military style watch has been gaining popularity in recent year.  Our nation and the western world has been at war against Islamic terrorism for 16 years and there is little sign that the struggle will ever end.  As the Army recruiting commercials say, "every generation has heroes," and perhaps all of us want to identify with those heroes and show our support.  Military-style watches are practical tools for today's warriors and a fashion homage to our heroes for the rest of us.

What time is it? - Photo by U.S. Army Europe Images from Heidelberg, Germany (What time is it  Uploaded by GiW) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Most military-style watches are generally based on standard issue military watches from the Vietnam era.  They consist of a simple analog dial displaying the 12 and 24-hour times against a plain dark background and feature a drab canvas or leather strap.  Many military-style watches feature a white triangle at the 12 o'clock position.  While the SKMEI military-style watch below features numbered minutes prominently, many do not.  This is a typical example of a military inspired watch.  Amazingly this one costs less than $10.


Some military style watches forego the 24 hour markings in favor of a simplified dial.  One of my favorite affordable military-style watches is this simple Timex Expedition Vintage Metal Field Watch.  It's very simple and it fits the military theme well.


If you are looking for another inexpensive option, this U.S. Polo watch is a nice simple and inexpensive example.  While war is no polo match, this watch has the big readable numbers, 24-hour time, and that ever present triangle.  You can generally find US Polo watches priced for less than $25 at traditional retailers like Kohl's or Sears.


You'll find some watches are even more simplified with markings inspired by World War 1 era aviation watches.  This Invicta 1461 is typical of that genre of watch.  On a more expensive end of the spectrum, Bell & Ross followed its smash hit instrument panel watches with a very sparse and utilitarian World War I inspired pilots watches.  These watches are great for those of us with older eyes because we don't have to explicitly admit that we need an Easy Reading Watch.


Of course, sometimes there is no substitute for the real thing.  The Marathon Watch company currently makes military specification watches.  These watches have tritium tubes that provide lighted markings without having to be charged via a light source.  They are also made for the extreme conditions that soldiers may actually face.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Guide to Dive or Diver-Style Watches

If you are looking for a gift watch for man this Christmas, you can't get much more manly than a dive or diver-style watch.  Dive watches embody manly virtues like strength and endurance.  They are also available at a wide variety of price points.


Insignum Dive Watch

Some of the fundamental questions to ask before giving someone a dive watch for Christmas are --
  • Is the gift recipient actually a scuba diver?
  • Does the person snorkel or swim?
  • Will the person wear the watch into the ocean or a pool?
Casio Dive Watch
Why all the questions?  It's simple, the specifications for a real dive watch are much more rigorous than the specifications for a diver-style watch.  The world is awash in affordable watches that look like dive watches and there are many solid watches that are rugged enough for swimming.  But, real dive watches are made to withstand high pressures of the depths.

A real dive watch will be able to withstand pressures of at least 1 atmosphere (100 meters or 330 feet).  Serious dive watches are marked as dive watches and often can withstand pressures of 200 or 300 meters.  Generally, dive watches will have screw down crowns that prevent water from infiltrating the watch through the winding stem.

In my collection, I have one dive watch that can survive depths of up to 200 meters.  However, I have many attractive diver-style watches that look great, but are actually not rated for diving.

If you are looking for an entry-level dive watch, the Casio MDV106-1A is a great choice.  It is water resistant to 200 meters and it has a screw-down crown.  It has a uni-directional bezel for tracking elapsed time.  It's a good choice for a watch that will actually spend time in the water or performing other rugged duties.


If you want to stay affordable, there are many good dive watches from companies like Invicta.  However, if you want a real dive watch that looks good at an affordable price, you might try Momentum dive watches.  Ultimately, the standards for dive watches are set by brands like Omega and Rolex.  But, there are a lot of fun watch brands to explore along the way.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Few Tips for Giving A Watch This Christmas

If you are giving a watch this year for Christmas, here are a few tips that might make the whole process easier.

1. Consider the Needs of the Wearer.  Any watch give as a gift should match the wants and desires of the wearer.  If they are an outdoorsman, a dressy watch that looks great with a suit might not work.  If they are an older person, a busy watch with subdials and small day and date windows will be hard to read.  Think of the age, gender, and personality of the recipient when you select a watch.



2. Value Matters.  When giving a watch for a special occasion, the brand and value of the watch will matter.  There are lots of cheap Chinese watches from no name brands in the marketplace.  A $10 watch is fine for personal use, but it's rather chintzy for a gift.  Instead, give a watch from a name brand with a solid reputation whether it is Timex or Tissot.  A little research can tell you if a new brand has a good reputation.



3. Seek Something Unique.  The world is awash in watches.  To find something unique, you may have to research smaller watch brands like AVI-8.  Orient might be a good alternative to Seiko.  These brands have good reputations and bring something a little different to the market.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Guide to Neo-Classic Watches for Men

AN OVERVIEW OF NEO-CLASSIC WATCHES


The next step up from the minimalist watch is the neo-classic watch.  Just as mid-century modern architecture and decor has become a thing, so have straight forward watches that are simple and functional.  They remind us of the watches that our fathers or grandfathers wore in the 1970s or 1980s.  I would submit that my classic Citizens Eco-Drive dress watch is an excellent example of a modern neo-classic watch.  It looks almost exactly like the kind of Citizen watch that would have been worn in the 1950s through the early 1970s.  But, underneath, it has a modern solar power plant that charges it up and keeps it running for a very long time.

Citizen Eco-Drive Dress Watch

Not every neo-classic watch is powered by the sun, but every neo-classic watch evokes a past era of classic watch design.  The watches of the 1960s and 1970s were basic and functional.  Today, these watches make great dress watches or business casual watches.  They are great in situations where you don't want to bring focus onto your watch.  When you just want a sensible, simple, and elegant timepiece, neo-classic watches are excellent choices.

Pulsar Men's Stainless Steel Dress Watch

Whenever I have a job interview, I choose a neoclassical watch like my Pulsar.   It's simple, easy to read, and it comes from a reputable manufacturer.  Here is a very similar Pulsar watch on Amazon for an amazing price.





You'll find many neoclassic watch designs from discount stores like Walmart on up. When giving such a watch as a gift, you'll want to make sure you select a brand that recipients have heard of and respect. Brands like Pulsar, Citizen, and Seiko excel as respectable manufacturers that most people have heard of and enjoy.

Monday, November 20, 2017

A Guide to Minimalist Watches for Men

Christmas is right around the corner and it's time to start thinking about which watch will make the perfect gift.  Amazon has put together their own guide to men's watches. It's a good place to start.  Over the years, I've looked at many watches myself and I've built a personal collection that is simply way to large.  I'd like to take a crack at a short guide myself.  Over the next few weeks, I will cover some important types of watches for men and provide a little advice for Christmas shoppers.


MINIMALIST WATCHES


I think the biggest trend in men's watches today is the trend towards minimalist watches.  Perhaps  MVMT watches best typify this trend.  They have an understated, no nonsense look that fits into today's modern business casual wardrobe.  MVMT watches look really good.  While MVMT has been on-point with their marketing, it's worth noting that minimalist watches have been around for a long time.  If you are physically shopping for a simple watch, you may be able to actually find watches by Skagen and other makers at the shopping mall.  Nearly every watch maker is offering a minimalist watch today.  Now, it's just a matter of selection one--and only one if you are a true minimalist.  I've covered a few minimalist watch choices here before.


A Minimalist Watch from Skagen's Grenen Brand

In era where smart phones can do nearly everything, minimalist watches do one thing well.  They present the time at a glance.  It's easy to think that any old maker can provide you with a decent minimalist watch.  In the Christmas season, I would urge buyers to stick to major brands with good reputations.  I didn't have really great luck when I bought a cheap Chinese minimalist watch.  It would have failed completely as a gift. If you have the money, Movado is the master of minimalism.


If you'd like to read a more extended guide to watches, this looks like a good one for e-readers like the Kindle.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Citizen Watches for the Dead

A cold and blustery October evening is the perfect time to show your latest Citizen watch to the dead.  They are sure to be impressed and they'll know what time it is . . .

Citizen Stainless Steel Chronograph Watch

The nice thing about this Citizen Chronograph watch is that you can use the stopwatch functionality to time your run away from any skeleton you encounter.  If you'd like to read a complete review of this quartz chronograph, check out this Citizen Chronograph Watch Review.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Spooky Wristwatches on Amazon.

It's late October and All Hallow's Eve draws closer and closer.  Each tick of the second hand and each move of the minute hand brings the spookiest night of the year just a little closer.  It time to reflect upon timepieces and wonder if there were a timepiece that might better reflect the dark autumn mood.  In my own collection, the bright face of my latest Casio doesn't quite throw a fright in anyone's bones.



There are some fiendish watches available to watch collectors and enthusiasts.  I did a quick survey of Amazon and came up with a couple of frightful timepieces.  The first is the Montegrappa Chaos Watch which is reputed to have been designed by Sylvester Stallone.  It's an expensive, high end, timepiece with a rather unusual design.  The Montegrappa Chaos Watch isn't for everyone, but if you like skulls and a rather dark design, the Chaos Watch might be your choice!


At a more affordable end of the horological spectrum, I found this Pagani Skull Watch waiting for an unsuspecting teller of time.  It's a nice clean design with a skull in the center of the dial.  It's bad ass.  But, I suspect the wearer gets a bit of a fright every time he glances at his wrist.








Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Replacing a Watch Battery on a Timex Weekender

or . . . Reviving a Zombie Watch

The leaves are beginning to turn, darkness is falling upon the land at an ever earlier hour, and the wind howls through the trees.  Once again, it's fall and Halloween approaches.  The line between the living and the dead will soon be wafer thin.  It's a good time to open the crypt of dead wristwatches and dig up an old favorite.  Behold, here is my trusty old Timex Weekender with Tachymeter markings.  It's an old favorite, but it has lain dead in my watch box for several months.

Timex Weekender Tachymeter Watch
 The Guts of a Timex Weekender!

To revive a Timex Weekender, all you need is a new watch battery.  The case back calls for a CR-2016 battery to serve as the heart and soul of the timepiece.  Perhaps it's not surprising that it has such a commonplace battery to keep the ticker running?  If you'd like to rip the heart out of each of your dead watches, you can buy a bulk pack of batteries on Amazon.


To perform the actual operation, all you need is a small little screwdriver to pop the back right off.  You just have to probe the back of the watch and find a vulnerability.


 Then, you can insert your blade and pry to show everyone the insides of your Timex Weekender!


Then, you just carefully remove the old watch battery and replace with your new one.  Be careful to notice the various metal contacts around the edge of the battery compartment.  Then gently insert your replacement battery.  Once your "procedure" is completed, press the caseback back into place.  Your watch will live on for a few more years again.  Then it will die and you can revive it once more!





Sunday, September 24, 2017

Watch Review: Casio MRW210H Diver-Style Black Resin Casual Watch

A Contemporary Bang Around Watch from Casio


I have a new bang around watch.  It's a Casio Diver-Style Black Resin Watch (MRW-210H-7AVCF) from Kohl's.  It's a simple, readable, rugged, and affordable timepiece that is great for everyday wear out and about town.


Casio Watch Design


The design of this watch is obvious from the photos.  It has a generously-sized dial with very readable numerals, a readable day and date, 24-hour time markings just inside the 12-hour markings and a bright white background to make everything readable.  When I first looked at this watch at Walmart about a year ago, I could have sworn that the bezel didn't turn.  But, now that I own one, I find that the bezel does indeed turn.  It isn't uni-directional like a true dive watch.  But, it will do just fine for more mundane tasks like keeping track of how long a pizza has been in the oven.  With 100 meters of water resistance, this watch can go in the water and won't need to stay in your shoes at the beach or pool.

Casio Watch Price


This black resin watch was engineered to a low price point.  But, the watch offers an awful lot for the money.  The first trade off is that you have a resin case instead of stainless steel or base metal.  The second trade off is that there is not an indiglo backlighting function.  The final trade off is that lume is limited to the hour and minute hand and is pretty weak.  However, you get an attractive, rugged looking design, and a rotating bezel. Here in it's original packaging at Kohl's, the Casio (MRW-210H-7AVCF) was listed at $39.99.  However, the department store chain is known for constantly having good sales.  We got a 30% off coupon in the mail.  All watches were on sale for 10% or 20% off in the store.  With all the stuff we bought, we got $10 in Kohls cash back.  All in all, we were out the door with this watch for about $20.  Considering that Kohls offers a much better shopping experience than big box stores like Walmart, that is a great deal!



Casio Watch Dimensions


Over the years, Casio has offered many men's watches with small diameter dials.  Models like the Casio Forester and the Casio MRW200H have been reliable and affordable go to watches for years.  But, the trend in men's fashion watches has been to offer watches with bigger dials.  This Casio offers a 50 millimeter diameter case.  It's a watch size that just looks right on the wrist today.

Case Diameter:  50mm
Case Thickness: 14mm
Band Width:  Tapering down to 19mm

This watch also has a generous watch band length.  It fits on my wrist with room to spare.  Whether you are a young boy or a football player big, this Casio should fit you.


Casio Casual Black Resin Watch (14mm thick case)
When you look at this resin watch strap, you can see that this watch has enough strap length and enough perforations to fit anyone.

Casio Black Resin Diver-Style Watch has a generous watch strap

Casio Black Resin Watch - Stainless Steel Caseback
If you are looking for this watch, you should be able to easily find it at Kohl's, Walmart, or on Amazon.  The Amazon price seems competitive.  It think this watch is a real winner.  This watch is a definitely a best buy for under $30.



Sunday, September 3, 2017

Watch Sighting: Rolex Submariner worn by Gus Malzahn

What Kind of Wristwatch Does Coach Gus Malzahn Wear?


If you are interested in watches, then you can't help but notice them when you watch television or just walk around town.  Now that college football season has started, it's interesting to see what kind of watches prominent college football coaches are wearing.  As a Gator, it would be natural for me to start with my own coach.  But, since our first game was a disaster this year, we'll be moving right along.  The first wrist watch that I noticed in this 2017 College Football season was a Rolex Submariner worn by Auburn University head coach Gus Malzahn.  It's a Rolex Submariner!

Auburn University Head Football Coach Gus Malzahn's Rolex Submariner (Photo of Auburn University Football Game)
At this point, it would be customary for me to insert a cheap shot against Auburn University.  However, we'll keep it all on the up-and-up to start out the football season.  There's just no need to fuel the Gator Haters this year.  Instead, you note the clean, rugged, lines of the no date version of the Rolex Submariner.  It's an awesome watch and a great foundation for any man's watch collection.




Amazingly, I'm not the first watch blogger to ever notice Gus Malzahn's wrist watch.  Apparently, Gus Malzahn was spotted wearing inexpensive watches from Michael Kors.  These have been noted by On The Dash - A Vintage Tag Heuer Watch blog.




Sunday, August 6, 2017

Watch Sighting: Versace Dylos Chrono Watch for Men

I recently spotted this Versace Dylos Chrono watch for men at the runway T.J. Maxx. It's a pretty sharp watch with two interestingly recessed octagonal sub-dials and a third subdial with a rounded aspect.  It has a 44 millimeter diameter case and a 22 millimeter wide leather strap.  It's water resistant to 50 meters.  It is powered by a reliable Swiss Quartz movement.  The chronometer bezel markings and stainless case give this watch a purposeful nature that is balanced by the fashionable Versace Medusa logo.  This is somewhat toned down from my last Versace watch sighting.  Overall, it looks very much like an executive watch to me.

Versace Dylos Chrono Watch for Men

Unfortunately, I didn't catch the price on this luxury timepiece.  It seems that price tags on watches are always flipped down at the stores.  I hate that!  It forces buyers to ask the clerk, flip over the tag, and then admit that they are too poor to buy that particular watch.  At least on Amazon, you can either afford it or you can't afford it and no one has to know!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Watch Sighting: Armani Exchange Diver-Style Watch

I recently saw this nice looking diver-style watch at the runway T.J. Maxx in Dunwoody, Georgia.  This is a nice looking diver-style watch with clean lines, a strong uncluttered dial, and 100 meters (10 atmospheres) of water resistance.  It's fine for swimming and snorkeling, but probably not suitable for full-fledged scuba diving.   The watch has a 44 millimeter diameter case and a unidirectional rotating bezel.  In short it looks like a serious watch.


Since good watches don't stay at the runway T.J. Maxx for long, I looked on Amazon to see if I could find this watch.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find one with a stainless steel bracelet.  However, the watches that I did find opened up the possibility of alternative color and strap combinations.  Dive watches with leather straps provide a more casual but adventurous look.  They are certainly worth checking out.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Watch Sighting: Michael Kors Caine Chronograph Watch

I recently sighted this Michael Kors Caine Silver-Tone Chronograph Watch.  It looks like a nice solid watch with a 45 millimeter case, stainless steel case and bracelet, accurate quartz movement, and 100 meters of water resistance.  I like the brilliant blue dial, the slanted racing font for the numbers and the solid construction.  It looks like a good competent watch!


Michael Kors Caine watch

I spotted this watch at the Fossil Watch Outlet at the North Georgia Premium Outlets shopping center off of Georgia 400.  If you don't have a convenient outlet near you, it is also available on Amazon.  Instead of going to the watch, it can come to you.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Thrift Store Find - Keiser 8-Day 7 Jewel Mechanical Clock

Here is an interesting clock that I recently found at a local thrift store.  It's a German-made mechanical clock.  It currently shows the time correctly twice per day.  It's a potentially interesting project and a bit of a dilemma.  I'd like to get it working again.  However, there are no extra funds for a serious professional repair.  Yet, an amateur repair has a good chance of simply making a mess.  Putting a quartz movement on the back and calling it a day is a possibility, but would destroy any "collector value."


The clock is about 5-inches in diameter with gold tone hands and markings.  The background of the dial is a simple grid.
 
Kaiser 8 Day Clock


I took the cover off of the movement to reveal the complex 7 Jewel movement underneath.  I stopped at this point because I would require a smaller screwdrivers, some sort of cleaner for the parts, a parts container, and most importantly a clue about how to put it back together again!

Kaiser 8 Day 7 Jewel Clock Movement
 The movement appears to be a two-deck affair with lots of gears and small pieces.

Kaiser 8 Day 7 Jewel Clock Movement (Side view)
Since it is a wind up clock, there is also a spring to worry about.  I believe it is contained in the drum shown below.  Any tension on the spring would need to be released carefully.
 
Kaiser 8 Day 7 Jewel Clock Movement
 This gear assembly looks really cool.  It would be fun to actually see it in motion!  The question is how and when . . .
 
Kaiser 8 Day 7 Jewel Clock Movement
One thing that I noticed is that some parts are missing.  There is a fixed winding key screwed into the back that winds the alarm bell.  However, there was no winding key for the movement itself.  It seems possible that the clock might work if it were simply wound.  Ah well, I may actually have to read up on this topic.



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Invicta Specialty Quartz Pro Diver Chronometer - Watch Out On The Town

I had been holding this Invicta Specialty Quartz Pro Diver Chronometer aside for special occasions.  But, you really don't have to wait for a special occasion to enjoy wearing a nice watch.  I wore this watch out to grab a fast food lunch and cruise around our new baseball stadium.  This Invicta looks good in any setting.  This photo captures the watch and the new Coca-Cola Roxy Theater.

Invicta Specialty Quartz Pro Diver Chronometer

If you'd like to read a review of this watch, check out Wristwatch Review: Invicta Specialty Quartz Pro Diver Chronometer. After two years, the battery still seems to be going strong.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Watch Sighting: Burberry Men's Chronograph Watch with Leather Strap

I recently spotted this Burberry watch at a Fossil Outlet in North Georgia.  I snapped this photo while the clerks were all mobbed with other customers.  This watch is a Swiss-made quartz model with a leather strap, a very clean bezel design, and a subtle texturing in the dial design.  The sub-dials on this Burberry watch seem very readable.  Overall, it appears to be a very clean, dressed up, watch.


Finding an exact match for this watch out on Amazon proved to be a daunting task.  I was able to find this watch with a similar design, but with a black fabric strap.  I think it's a good looking watch, but somehow the leather strap version looks a little more streamlined.


The Fossil Outlet store often has some great deals and in-store coupons or buy one/get one for x% off specials.  It's always an interesting shop to visit.