Sunday, February 26, 2017

Three Watches That Look Like A Rolex Submariner

Have you bought a Rolex yet?  Me neither.
Are you closer to publishing that best seller or building that real estate empire?  Me neither.
Have you danced around in your underwear and become a Youtube sensation?  Me neither.
Any idea of how you are going to get a Rolex?  Me neither.
Sigh...
Rolex Submariner Professional - By Dr.K. (talk) 17:56, 28 January 2007 (UTC) (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-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

I'm thinking it might be time to look at watches that evoke that Rolex style at more accessible middle class price points.  The Rolex Submariner has a Rolex movement, a 40 millimeter diameter case that is 13 millimeters thick, a screw down crown, a cyclops magnifier over the date window, and a coin edge unidirectional bezel.  It also has a heft and feel that is unmistakably Rolex.  It also delivers hard core dive watch performance with 300 meters of water resistance.  But, alas, it is sold at a stratospheric price.

Affordable Alternatives to the Rolex Submariner


Instead, I offer three watches that offer the Rolex Submariner look at prices we can all afford.

1. Fanmis Black Dial Rotatable Bezel Luminous Hand Quartz Silver Stainless Steel Watch.  Reviewers like the sub-$50 price and looks of this Rolex homage watch.  It has a crown log at 12 o'clock and Rolex style text at 6 o'clock.  It also has the cyclops magnifier and a coin edge rotating bezel.  Like a Rolex Submariner, it has a 40 millimeter diameter case, but it is 12 millimeters thick.  The reviews are good, but this is a fashion watch don't expect it to be water resistant. 



2. Henry Jay Mens 23K Gold Plated Two Tone Stainless Steel "Specialty Aquamaster" Professional Dive Watch.  There are two versions of this watch, a quartz version and a $100 more for an automatic.  Amazon purchasers have been pleased with both versions and have given them 4.4 out of 5 stars over many reviews.  One quartz watch reviewer wrote, "No one will ever mistake this for a Rolex, but no one will ever think or believe you paid what you did. I am extremely surprised and pleased by this watch."  The watch does have a rich two-tone look, the cyclops, 100 meters of water resistance, the coin-edge unidirectional bezel, and the right dimensions (40mm diameter and 13mm thick).



3. Orient Men's FAA02004B9 Ray II Analog Automatic Silver-Toned Stainless Steel Diving Watch.  Orient is a Japanese company that has been making high quality watches for 65 years.  Their Ray II is powered by a 22-jewel automatic movement that is made in house.  The case is 41 millimeters in diameter and 13 millimeters thick.  The unidirectional rotating bezel is precision made for precisely 120 clicks.  You will find a coin-edge bezel, but no cyclops over the date.  I like the cool logo, the in-house movement, and the bit of independence and brand value that Orient brings to the table.  The watch is also rated for a respectable 200 meters of water resistance.



Each of these watches evoke the classic dive watch from Rolex.  Yet, they are not counterfeit watches.  Like you, they are simply inspired by a classic design.  They show that you can have the Rolex look even if you don't have the Rolex wallet.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Pride of Baltimore II - The Ship that Inspired a Watch


The Pride of Baltimore II is an authentic Baltimore Clipper ship that serves as a goodwill ambassador for the city of Baltimore.  She is 100-feet long on the deck and has a beam of just over 26 feet.  A top-sail schooner she can spread just over 9000 square feet of sail.  That's the equivalent sail to 41 Flying Scot sail boats.
The Pride of Baltimore II - Photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK (Pride of Balitmore II  Uploaded by tm) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The original Pride of Baltimore was launched in 1977 as part of the city's inner harbor renaissance.  She served as the city's ambassador for 9 years until she was lost in a squall along with her captain and three crew members.  Citizens of the city started sending donations shortly after the tragedy and a movement to build a new ship gained momentum.  The Pride of Baltimore II was launched in 1988.  While it remained true to the design of Baltimore clipper ships, it also incorporated more modern safety features.


The Pride of Baltimore II, on the Chester River, Chestertown MD, By Diiscool (Own work) [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
I briefly visited aboard the Pride of Baltimore at the Annapolis Boat Show many, many, years ago and she is a truly beautiful vessel.  The hardwoods used to build her are amazing as is the workmanship that went into her construction.

The Wheel and Binnacle - photo by Diiscool (Own work) [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
The Pride of Baltimore II is truly a ship to be proud of and an amazing ambassador for the city of Baltimore.
The Pride of Baltimore's Bell - photo by Diiscool (Own work) [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
The Pride of Baltimore II also inspired the Towson Watch Company to create a watch with her name.  The Towson Watch Company's Pride of Baltimore II was recently chosen as iW Magazine's Watch of the Day.  You can see pictures of this fantastic American-made watch here on the iW Magazine website - Pride of Baltimore II Watch of the Day

For more information on the Towson Watch Company check out there website - http://towsonwatchcompany.com/

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Wristwatch Review: the Timex Men's Elevated Classics Dress Watch

A Business Casual Timex Delivers Looks, Performance, and Value Rugged watches that deliver can cost thousands of dollars. But, sometimes, you can find a real gem of a watch for less than $50. This watch review looks at one such example: the Timex Elevated Classics Dress watch (Model T2N6959J). 



 [I originally published this review on the now defunct Yahoo Contributors Network.  If you are looking for this specific model, it is still sold via third party sellers on Amazon.com.  Just follow the links!]

We all have certain expectations of a man's watch. We demand highly visible numbers, excellent night visibility, readable hands, water resistance, and tough metal construction. These demands drive an industry dedicated to the production of precision timepieces that can satisfy the deep sea diver, secret agent, or commando that lurks within each of us. Rugged watches that deliver can cost thousands of dollars. But, sometimes, you can find a real gem of a watch for less than $50. This watch review looks at one such example: the Timex Elevated Classics Dress watch (Model T2N6959J).



This Timex is so humble that it doesn't seem to even have a proper name. Yet, this watch is rapidly becoming my "go to" watch. This Timex simply has the most readable dial of any watch in my collection. Of course, the Timex Indiglo lighting system is the coolest feature of all on this watch. By simply pushing the crown, the whole face of the watch gets illuminated. This makes the watch easy to read even in total darkness.

The dial of this Timex Indiglo watch makes sense. The stark contrasts and plain fonts make this watch very easy to use. Black numbers reside at three, six, nine, and twelve o'clock on a starkly contrasting white grid background. Large black hashmarks mark the remaining hours on the face. A readable date window is positioned just inboard of the three o'clock position. Minutes are noted by smaller numerals and tick marks on the upslope of the bezel just under the mineral glass crystal. The surface of the bezel has diver style numerals at five minute intervals.

Unfortunately, these markings are useless because the bezel is fixed. That's really the only drawback to this watch. I love rotating diver-style bezels because they are great for timing pizzas--uh--monitoring air in scuba tanks and timing commando raids. The caseback is stainless steel. The case and bezel look like stainless steel, but are made of silver-toned brushed brass. It looks like stainless steel, but allows Timex watches to sell at a more affordable price. A simple genuine 20 millimeter wide leather strap attaches the watch to your wrist. This watch seems a little less likely to want to rotate around my wrist than my Timex Weekender Chronometer-style watch. This watch is equally well-proportioned with a 42 millimeter diameter face and a 10 millimeter thick case.



Overall, this Timex is an excellent business casual men's watch. It is equally at home in the office or at play. While it isn't a full-fledged scuba diver, commando, parachutist watch, this Timex Elevated Classic does offer water resistance to 50 meters. At $40 to $50, this very practical watch is a great value.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Watch Gifts for Valentines Day

I really hate the jewelry commercials that jewelers run for Valentines Day.  They are designed to make men feel like losers if they don't buy their wives or girlfriends expensive jewelry.  While jewelry, watches, and material things are nice, they aren't the real point of the Valentine's Day holiday.  The day is supposed to be a day that re-focuses people on their love and re-energizes their relationship.  Valentines should be from the heart not the wallet.  When it comes to affairs of the heart, the gift of time and renewal of your spark should be the most important thing!


Nevertheless, gifts are a way of showing that you care.  A nice watch makes an excellent gift for Valentines Day.  Whether you are shopping for a man or a woman, you can find a great watch from a reputable brand and show that you really care.  I also did a little searching and discovered an interesting wristwatch concept called the His & Her Watch.  You can find a matching pair of watches one for a man and one for a woman.  It's a way of showing that a couple belongs together.  If you are reading this just before Valentine's Day, I might add that you still have a chance to get this matched set of watches delivered by Valentines Day with Amazon Prime.  But, you still have to add the wine, the roses, and the chocolate.



Sunday, February 5, 2017

Recreating the Style of the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Watch

Being cursed with more taste than money, one of the watches that I really like is the Tudor Heritage Black Bay.  With a black case, black leather strap, black bezel, and black dial, this Tudor has the business-like look of a classic commando dive watch.  The weathered look of the watch strap makes the Tudor Black Bay look like a timepiece with a thousand stories that it can never tell.  I also respect that Tudor as a Rolex-brand brings high quality components and workmanship together with a non-Rolex movement.  It sheds pretense to bring you solid capability at a more affordable price point.  Unfortunately, that price point is still quite a bit out of my range.



The next obvious question for me is simple:  how do I recreate the look and some of the capabilities of a Tudor Black Bay watch at a price point that I can afford?  The first step is to identify a suitable water resistant watch that has a similar look to the Tudor Black Bay.  One of the first dive watches to meet my criteria is the Orient Ray Raven II Black PVD watch.  It has the black case, black dial, and black bezel.  It also has circular batons to denote the hours.  Both are similarly sized watches with the Tudor coming in at 41 millimeters and the Orient coming in at 41.5 millimeters.  Both watches are water resistant to 200 meters.



The next step would be to replace the stainless steel bracelet of the Orient with a distressed leather strap.  Fortunately, StrapsCo offers a 22 millimeter distressed leather watch strap in a variety of colors including black. With the strap and the watch, you'll get the all black look of the Tudor Black Bay.  You'll also get a bona fide automatic watch.  However, the price tag will still be somewhere in the neighborhood of $300.




There are Tudor Black Bay models with a similar look but a traditional stainless steel case.  If you prefer the flat unpolished stainless steel look, this project gets considerably easier.  For the lowest cost for this project.  I would suggest an Orient Pro Diver or even a Casio Duro Quartz Analog Dive Watch.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to verify the strap width.  But, the look is right on!