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.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

What kind of watch does Clint Eastwood wear?

Clint Eastwood is one of my favorite actors.  From classic spaghetti westerns to Dirty Harry to modern classics like Gran Torino, he has been a major contributor to American cinema.  It's natural to wonder what kind of watch he wears.  In this 1981 NASA photograph, Eastwood is wearing a Rolex GMT Master.


According to the "Rolexicon" published by the renowned British watch magazine, QP, this watch has been nicknamed "The Dirty Harry" by Rolex collectors.  Due to the brown bezel scheme, this Rolex is also known as the "Root Beer" watch.


If you have the money for a vintage Rolex, an Amazon dealer has this Rolex GMT II available at this writing.



For the rest of us, it can be difficult to find a similar watch that evokes the Rolex look and feel at an affordable price point.  One watch that I found on Amazon looks like a GMT Dweller.  However, it would be tough to find one with a "root beer" bezel design.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What kind of watch does Ryan Seacrest wear?

When it comes to professionalism, charisma, fashion sense, and personal appearance, no man has a better reputation than popular television and radio host Ryan Seacrest.  That dude is everywhere and he does a great job in every hosting gig.  If you wonder what kind of wristwatch Ryan Seacrest wears, the mystery has been solved.  Ryan Seacrest often wears a vintage Rolex.


According to Bob's Watches, Ryan often wears a vintage Rolex Daytona Reference 6239.  The popular watch blog spotted him wearing the watch to the Golden Globes.  Here is the same watch below worn by Seacrest when he hosted a USO function.
vintage Rolex Daytona Ref 6239.
vintage Rolex Daytona Ref 6239.
vintage Rolex Daytona Ref 6239.


Ryan Seacrest Rolex
In searching through images of Ryan Seacrest on the web, I've seen this same watch repeatedly in promotional shots for his short-lived 2015 show "Knock, Knock Live" and in photos of USO functions hosted by Seacrest.  This particular watch dates back to the late 1960s.

Photo By Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from Washington D.C, United States (161020-D-SW162-0288) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Emulating the Style of Ryan Seacrest's Watch

If you had money and wanted to recreate the Ryan Seacrest look, it would be a simple matter of finding a similar Rolex watch.  On mere mortal salaries, it's a bit more of a challenge to emulate the look of the Ryan Seacrest Rolex.  However, finding all black subdials and a white dial can be a bit of a challenge.  In my opinion, this Invicta Speedway comes closest.



Another similar watch is another Stuhrling Original Monaco Quartz Chronograph with white dials on a dark background.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

I Hate Unisex Watches

In these modern times when gender identity and sexual orientation are widely discussed, I'd like to make one thing clear to watch companies.  I'm beginning to really hate unisex watches.  I'm not a unisexual.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that no one is actually a unisexual.  As a man, I like to buy watches that are clearly and undeniably for men.  My wife likes to buy watches that are clearly and undeniably for women.



When men's watches are dainty and I have to ask - "Is this a men's watch?" - then the watchmaker has already lost a sale.  My wife also hates that "Boyfriend" watches that are women's watches that are the same size as men's watches have been traditionally.  For example, the Peugeot Boyfriend oversized watch below has a 40mm diameter case.   Unisex and boyfriend watches simply don't interest us in the least.



For the most part, I think unisex watches are a lame attempt to broaden the appeal of a production run of watches.  Perhaps the watchmakers want to save money on raw materials by shrinking the size of the average watch case and shrinking the width of the average watch strap?  Perhaps, they want to double the size of the potential market for a watch?  I'm not really sure about the motivations of the watch companies.  I just know that a watch is one of the few personal accessories that I wear as a man and that I want any watch I wear to be undeniably masculine.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Minuteman Jester - Fighting Back One Watch at a Time!

In times like these, we all want to strike back against the radical Islamic terrorists that senselessly bomb innocent civilian targets like the recent Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.  But, most of us are constrained by age, physical fitness, and the rule of law.  Instead, our soldiers fight on our behalf.  Many of them have served overseas in tour after tour.  Some have fought Islamic terrorists for over a decade.  Some have returned with deep physical and emotional scars and some have come back to lie in orderly rows marked by marble stones. 

U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan

However, not everyone on the home front stays out of the fight.  Over the years, one man has has redefined the term armchair warrior.  He is a hacker who goes by the name Jester.  According to this CNN article, the Jester is a former military man who served in Afghanistan and works in cyber-security.  He attacks and takes down the websites that jihadists use to train and communicate.  Why the U.S. military Cyber Command doesn't undertake this work is beyond me.  The Jester has taken down over 180 jihadist websites.



That's why Minuteman Watches commemorates the work of the Jester with a watch bearing his handle.  Minuteman Watches has long been helping America's veterans by donating a hefty share of its projects to important veterans charities like Fisher house.  When customers buy a Minuteman Jester, the company donates $100 to Fisher house.  It's one way that customers can help American soldiers, flip the Jihadists the bird, and commemorate the good work of a cyber crusader against terror.


Each Jester watch has a 42 millimeter diameter black PVD-coated stainless steel case (not counting the crown) and an American-made leather band.  The watches are powered by a venerable ETA movement and are assembled in the United States.  If you are interested in one of these Minuteman watches, check out them out on the Minuteman website.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Watches Celebrating Russian Achievements in Space

Comrade watch collectors this week will once again be dedicated to Russia-themed watches.  I haven't been hacked.  It's just that Russia has been on the news very much lately.  Naturally, there are watches out there to celebrate Russia's "Yuge" achievements.  On October 4,  1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik.  It was the first man-made satellite to orbit the Earth.  It was a major technological achievement and it ignited the space race between the U.S. and Soviet Union.  If you want to get all multimedia, here is what NASA believes transmissions from Sputnik sounded like and the picture below is a mockup of Sputnik.


With the 60th anniversary of the launch coming up, it's interesting to look at some of the watches used in the Soviet space program and some of the watches that commemorate Russian and Soviet achievements in space. The company that made the watches worn by cosmonauts still exists and still makes fine mechanical watches.  Many watches celebrate Yuri Gagarin the first man in space.

Sturmanskie 40th Anniversary of first man in space watch - photo by Jason vom Anger (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Amazingly, there are also now watches made in China that pay homage to old Soviet watch styles and watch companies.  In searching on Amazon, I'm not quite sure if these are created by actual Russian designers, Russian companies who have outsourced production, or Chinese companies pretending to be Russian.  Nevertheless, some of the watches that I've seen from a company called CCCP Time that look really good.



One of the most affordable Russian-style watches is a Sturmanskie watch assembled in China using a Japanese Miyota quartz movement.  It closely mimics the style of the original Sturmanskie watch worn by Yuri Gagarin.



Of course, if you want to go old school, simply check out Sturmanski mechanical watches on Amazon.  The mechanical watches are actually made in Russia and some are direct descendants of the watches worn by cosmonauts.



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Adventure Watches: Vostok Timepieces From Russia

Everyone wants a watch that is a little edgy.  Everyone wants a watch that has an element of DANGER!  Well, you can't get much more dangerous than Russia.  I have had this Soviet-era submariners watch for years.  It is a reminder of cold war era games of cat-and-mouse under the sea.


During the Cold War, American and Soviet submariners used to stalk each other quietly under the sea.  The Russians hoped to use their submarines to neutralize America's military advantage in aircraft carriers.  Both countries used increasingly sophisticated attack submarines in a desperate attempt to track the other's "boomers" which carried nuclear ballistic missiles for potential use in a nuclear showdown.

Soviet Akula-class attack submarine
 When I strap on my submariner's watch, I feel like I have a little Hunt for Red October occurring right on my wrist.



Today, Russia is a resurgent super power that is flexing its muscle all over the world.  From "little green men" encroaching on Ukraine to low flying fighter jets buzzing this U.S. Navy destroyer, the Russians are a force to be respected.  Under Vladimir Putin's rule, Russia is even more unpredictable than the old U.S.S.R.  Where stodgy party officials once made decisions for a monolithic state, today's Russia has a leader with wily KGB credentials and a bias for action.


In the real world, this means politicians shouldn't try to have amateur private servers, use "Password1234" to secure their email, use Russian financing for investment deals, or sign up for speaking engagements with Russian propaganda papers.  Under the leadership of watch collector Vladimir Putin, modern Russia is more than a little edgy.  Today's Russia is downright dangerous when crossed.  When you strap on a Russian Vostok Amphibian watch, you can capture just a little bit of that danger for your wrist.



Amazon offers a wide selection of Vostok mechanical watches at attractive prices.  For less than $100, you can get a genuine Russian military watch with 200 meters of water resistance, a well-made mechanical movement, and a history dating back to the cold war.  Vostok watches are just plain cool.  But, act fast, with all the controversy surrounding Russia and western election tampering and conflict in the Middle East, you never know if sanctions will someday be enacted against Russia. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Sad Saga of My Seiko Kinetic Watch

I recently dug deep into my vast warehouse of seldom used watches.  I found a Seiko Kinetic watch that I received a couple of years ago.  When I tried it on at home, I thought that the bracelet was a tad too loose and vowed to take it to a jeweler for adjustment.  Of course, weeks and months rolled by and I never did anything with the Seiko.  In retrospect, I should have.


Seiko Kinetic Men's Watch
When I set the Seiko Kinetic watch aside, I thought it was a mechanical watch just like any other mechanical watch.  But, I was wrong.  It's a rather unusual hybrid watch.  The Seiko Kinetic has a rotor that charges a battery or capacitor as it is wound.  Once wound, the battery is supposed to give months of service.  The accompanying manual gave instructions for shaking the watch from side to side and up and down to provide the initial charge.  Then it advised wearing the watch continuously for 10 hours.  If the charge is low, the Seiko Kinetic watch will advance two seconds at a time.



Unfortunately, my Seiko Kinetic Watch never really got going.  I could shake it and wear it and within a few hours it would be taking two seconds at a time in a strange stutter step and slowly losing time.  As it turns out, the Seiko Kinetic watch battery can go dead after a long period of not being used.  This ehow article Problems with a Seiko Kinetic Watch outlines some of the issues with the watch.


What will happen to my Seiko Kinetic?  I suppose it will sink back into the far recesses of my warehouse.  One day, I might take it to a service center.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Wristwatch Review: SKMEI Military-style Watch

I recently ordered a new Ola Oficina  SKMEI Men's Analog Luminous Hands Day and Date Black Watch With Black Leather Strap (SK9113A) from Amazon.  Just two days after I placed my order, this box arrived on my doorstep.  If you are accustomed to a 3 week wait for an inexpensive watch to arrive from China, the quick turnaround time was a pleasant surprise.

Unboxing the Ola Oficina SKMEI Men's Military-style Watch


Unboxing the SKMEI Military-Style Watch
I had a small unboxing ceremony.  To find a smaller cardboard watch box and a bit of plastic bubble cushioning material inside.  There was plenty of room in the Amazon box for the watch to slide around.  But, there really wasn't anything to damage the watch which was snug in a cute little cardboard box.  For less than $10, I didn't expect to find a fancy watch tin.  But, I thought Ola Oficina did a good job in creating very polished and presentable cardboard packing.



SKMEI Watch Design


While this watch has a very utilitarian name, I prefer to think of it as a SKMEI Military-style watch.  The timepiece is basically inspired by a classic military camp-watch inspired design.  It has a compass-like dial with minutes marked in 5-minute intervals and inner rings with 12 and 24-hour time markings.  The watch has a fairly readable panoramic date window at the 3-o'clock position.



SKMEI Watch Dimensions


This SKMEI watch has a 43 mm diameter case, a 13 mm thick case, and a 22 mm wide genuine leather strap.  While the watch seems perfectly dimensions, the watch strap is just a little short for my approximately 8-inch circumference wrist.  It barely fit with the buckle grabbing the very last hole on the strap.


Surprisingly, the SKMEI watch strap and watch seem close to the size of one of my favorite Nautica  watch and strap combinations.  However, the leather strap of the SKEI just doesn't stretch as much as the slightly longer plastic or resin strap of the Nautica.


SKMEI Watch Construction


To reach a less than $10, Ola Oficina had to make some hard decisions about materials and construction.  However, this watch offers an alloy case, a plastic bezel, and an acrylic crystal. The manufacturer even claims that the watch is water resistant to 50 meters.  Like many low cost watches, there is minimal lume on the watch hands, but none on other markings.  The SR626SW battery is a commonly available watch battery that should pose no challenge to change.  The leather strap is genuine and thick.  Some Amazon reviewers thought it was stiff, but I found it short, but easy enough to work with and soft.  I found that the acrylic crystal had a slight tendency to pick up fingerprint smudges that were easily wiped off with a shirt tail.


Overall, I'm pleased by my purchase.  For $10 or less, I had very low expectations.  However, I found this watch to be similar to the commodity quartz watches that you'll find in many department stores.  In my opinion, it is a little bit nicer than the no-name watches that you'll see at Walmart or Target.  If you are looking for cheap bang around watch, you might give SKMEI a try, they have a ton of different models available from a variety of Amazon sellers.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

New Watch Brands: Brigada Watches

I recently ran across another interesting watch brand on Amazon.  It's a Chinese brand called Brigada.  While some of the Amazon ad text says Brigada Swiss Brand, my research shows that they come from Shenzen, China.

East Gate in Shenzen, China.

Nevertheless, Brigada watches seem to be solid, no nonsense, minimalist watches with reliable Japanese movements.  The watch brand earns consistent 4 1/2 star reviews on Amazon.  Most importantly they simply look good and they sell for reasonable prices.


These kind of commodity quartz watches give the basic models from companies like Timex and Casio a run for the money.  Plus, with an exotic name like Brigada, people will wonder if you are wearing an exotic foreign brand.  In truth you are, but this exotic brand isn't coming from Europe.