Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Watch Review: Citizen Eco-Drive Black Ion-Plated Axiom Watch

This summer, I received an interesting watch for my birthday.  It's a beautiful watch that sits right on the border between fashion and practicality.  It's a Citizen Eco-Drive Black Ion-Plated Axiom Watch.

Photo from Amazon
If you like black, this Citizen Axiom watch is your watch.  It's a black watch with a black bracelet, a black case, a black  dial, and black hands.  As the recipient of this watch, my main question was:

Can I read black hands against a black dial?

The answer is a definite sometimes.  First you have to acknowledge that this watch is totally useless at night.  If it's dark, you won't be able to read this watch.  However, if you are in the sunshine or indoors in a room with artificial light, you should be able to read the hands.


Citizen Eco-Drive Axiom Watch Dimensions


This watch has comfortable dress watch dimensions with a 40mm diameter case.  The band is a masculine 23mm wide and the case is 8mm thick.



Citizen Eco-Drive Axiom Watch Construction

The Citizen Eco-Drive Black Ion-Plated Axiom Watch is ruggedly constructed for a dress watch.  It has a stainless steel fold-over clasp, a stainless steel bracelet, and a stainless steel case.  The dial is protected by a mineral crystal.



Citizen Eco-Drive Power

The watch uses a quartz movement powered by the Citizen's venerable Eco-Drive system.  With a full charge, this solar watch will run for six months in total darkness.  This makes it a very long lasting solar watch.  You can leave it in your sock drawer for a long time.  I suspect that Eco-Drive watches will eventually take over my watch collection.  I simply love the idea of never having to change a watch battery.



Overall Review

I really like this watch as a dress watch for work and social function.  Since this Axiom watch is not as easily readable as some of my military-style watches, I generally reserve this one for bright days, work at the office, or for special occasions.  It's an interesting watch to add to your collection.  You won't find a blacker watch around!


Sunday, November 17, 2019

Watch Sighting: Armitron Multifunction Gold-Tone Bracelet Watch

If you are ever going to get a 65-foot sailboat with endless decks of beautiful teak, you are going to need to visualize yourself as a yachtsman.  Fortunately, Armitron can help with this Men's Multi-Function Dial Gold-Tone Bracelet Watch.  They call it model 20/5144BKGP, but I think you could call it your yachtman's watch.  Here's a quick photo of it that I took at Walmart.



This watch has a stainless steel case, a mineral crystal, and 165-feet of water resistance.  While this isn't a watch for snorkeling or diving, it would be just fine for short periods of recreational swimming.


Despite the rich yachtsman looks of this timepiece, it is actually a very practical watch. I think this Armitron would make a great gift this Christmas for anyone who likes a gold-tone watches. It offers a brilliant gold tone in a dressy but functional watch from a well-known company. At less than $100, this Armitron also comes with an affordable price tag that won't crush your gift giving budget.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Watch Review: Accutime Star Wars Millenium Falcon Pocket Watch

Sometimes the watches that add the most fun to a collection are the watches that don't cost much at all.  They are the watches that take you to a different time and a different place.  In the case of my new Accutime Star Wars Millenium Falcon pocket watch, it takes me to a galaxy far, far, away.



Some folks can just close their eyes, use the force, and know what time it is.  I'm not one of those folks.  I like to use a watch.  I picked up this one a few months ago at Walmart. It's an Accutime Star Wars Millenium Falcon pocket watch and it is pretty cool.  The detail of the watch cover is simply spectacular for a sub-$20 watch.  The timepiece is an officially licensed piece of Star Wars merchandise made by Accutime.



The dial features a top-view of the Hans Solo's famous freighter.  It's a nifty detail, but not nearly as spectacular as the case cover.  The watch does feature a Japanese quartz movement for reliability.


The scalloped interior detail of the case cover is a nice touch.


There are many more expensive and prestigious Star Wars themed watches.  For example, Nixon makes a very nice line of Star Wars watches.


However, the low price point at Walmart brings this watch into the realm of spectacular.  This watch is cheap fun!  It makes me happy to see Star Wars merchandise and gear available at every price point.


I plopped the watch down on a fire hydrant near my home so that I could capture the watch from a couple of different angles.


No matter how you look at this pocket watch, it just looks cool.  It does successfully evoke the Millenium Falcon feeling.


As far as practicality goes, the Millenium Falcon watch has all the drawbacks of an old fashioned pocket watch.  With the chain, it's a lot to put in a pocket and if you have to pull something out of a pocket to tell the time, it's easier to pull out a cellphone.  Thus, this collectible is not a watch I take with me very often or use much.  But, it is a watch I enjoy handling and looking at.  I do throw it in my pocket ever so often.


Practical?  Maybe not.  Pretty yes!


If you are a nerd, this might just be your watch.  If I had no cares about fashion at all and totally wanted to geek out, a Star Wars tee shirt and this watch on a Medallion would be THE outfit.


It would be ridiculous to put together a point-by-point review of this watch.  It's just inexpensive fun.  If you are a fan of the Star Wars films, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the Millenium Falcon, this is just a cool watch to own.


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Watch Review: Cufuo SKMEI Men's Quartz Dress Watch with Brown Leather Strap

One of the watches in my current rotation is a cheap Chinese watch, but you'd never know it from a casual glance.  It's a nice looking dress watch that was sold by Cufuo on Amazon under the brand SKMEI and cost me less than $15.  I have also seen this watch sold under LYMFHCH.  The Amazon advertisement lists the watch with the short and elegant moniker - "Mens Leather Band Quartz Watch, Men's Analog Business Working Roman Numeral Casual Waterproof Watches with Calendar Date Daily Dress Fashion Wristwatch - Brown."  Sheesh!  You'll likely just want to find it via my link.


WATCH DESIGN FEATURES

The watch has some surprising features at this price point.  The dial is marked with Roman numerals on the hour, hashmarks on the minute, a small date window at 3 o'clock, and an elegant, but basic, guilloché pattern on the dial.  The genuine leather strap offers a generous length that I have found very comfortable from the first wearing.  The dial has a bright white face, but it easily takes on the tone of your surroundings.



WATCH DIMENSIONS

This is not a huge watch. The case diameter is 38 millimeters and the watch is 10 mm thick.  The strap is 20 mm wide.



WATCH CONSTRUCTION AND QUALITY

This is one of the best cheap Chinese watches in my collection.  But, it is not perfect.  When I run my finger over the zinc alloy case, there is a little burr on the front that I can feel.  However, I cannot see it with my eyes.  It's the only flaw that I can find.  Otherwise, this watch would be right in there with other commodity quartz watches or even basic Timex or Armitron watches.



Another issue with this watch is that when you click on it directly on Amazon, you see the watch as I have pictured it.  However, when you order it, a brown watch of a completely different model is shown in the picture on the order page.  This makes for a bit of a panic until the watch arrives.  The seller really needs to clean the listing up so that the right picture is shown consistently.


OVERALL

This is a great watch for under $15.  If you are on a budget and want a decent looking dress watch, this might be one to take a chance on.  I like it.




Sunday, July 7, 2019

Are you ready for Amazon Prime Day

As a watch collector, I find Amazon to be an amazing resource.  You can use Amazon to learn about smaller brands with interesting timepieces.  Alternatively, you can skip the middleman and order some popular watch styles directly from the factory.  Finally, you can shop unobtainable prestige brands and weep privately in your own home.  But, as great as all this is for Amazon shoppers, Amazon Prime takes it to the next level.

Advantages of Amazon Prime


Amazon Prime opens up access to more free and fast shipping options.  It also provides online photo storage, an excellent music streaming service, and prime video with exclusive programming that is unavailable elsewhere.  But, if you really want good deals, Amazon Prime offers Amazon Prime Day on July 15th and extended into July 16th.  The whole day is like a Black Friday sale in July.  You'll get great deals, all day long, on the coolest products.  If you don't want to miss out, you'll want to sign up for prime today!

Sign Up for Amazon Prime



Thursday, July 4, 2019

The Other Moon Watch: The Bulova Lunar Pilot

The Omega Speedmaster has always been the official moon watch of NASA.  Consequently, it commands big money in the marketplace.  However, another wristwatch has also visited the moon:  the Bulova Lunar Pilot.


On August 2, 1971, Commander David Scott's NASA wore his personal Bulova as a replacement for his NASA issued Omega.  The crystal of the Omega had popped off and was lost.  He was able to use the Bulova for his remaining five hour moonwalk.


 With this month marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo moon landings, interest in the Apollo program and our astronauts has never been higher.  If you'd like to add a watch with a connection to astronauts to your collection, the Bulova Lunar Pilot Chronograph is a watch that we can all aspire to own.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

On the Road with my Buech & Boilat Thresher Dive Watch

When it comes to travel, everyone has their own favorite "go to" watch.  My current favorite is my Buech & Boilat Thresher dive watch.  It looks great in a business casual setting and has the rugged stainless steel construction that's needed for the hustle and bustle of travel and airport crowds.
 
The Buech & Boilat Thresher

The readable dial came in handy as I wondered whether I would ever make it through intensely long airport security lines.  Fortunately, the TSA moved us quickly and this huge security line in Atlanta was only a 45 minute wait.


 After a long day, the Thresher looks great on the hotel nightstand.  It's a watch that goes with anything.


The next morning it was up and ready for breakfast.  While I was tired, my watch didn't miss a beat. 


When your watch makes you feel like a real man, you don't have any problem wolfing down quiche.



Most of my week was spent in meetings, but as they drug on, I did find time to take a few quick shots of my watch.

The etched caseback is interesting.  The pattern and logo are cool.




It would have been nice to take advantage of the pool.  But, that was only a dream.  An escaped to see it on a short break.


At the end of a long week at the Mall of America, my Buech & Boilat still looks great. I've had this watch for just over a year.  I got it when I was a member of the WatchGang watch club.



I was tired on the airplane, but I had time to take in a light show beneath the wing.


Check this link out for my complete review of my Buech & Boilat Thresher.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Watch Sighting: Izod Diver Style Watch

I recently spotted this Izod diver-style watch in a  discount store for about $15.  It's a nice looking quartz wattch, but a little tough to find online.  There's no date window.  It's just a basic no nonsense diver-style watch with a rotating bezel.

Izod Diver Style Watch

I probably should have picked it up.  But, the day was young and I passed on it.  In retrospect, I think it was a pretty good deal.  If I stumble upon it again, I may have to snatch it up. I'm kicking myself because it would have been perfect for that James Bond watch project idea I had a couple of weeks ago.


Sigh.  I may have to root around in my watch boxes to find another nice looking dive watch.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Recreate the James Bond watch from Goldfinger on a budget.

Most of us wish we were James Bond at some point in our lives and watch collecting can bring us a little glimpse of that James Bond world from time to time.  One of the most famous James Bond scenes is the opening scene from Goldfinger.  A SCUBA diving James Bond wears a Rolex with a nylon strap on a demolition mission. Would you like to recreate a classic James Bond look with your watch collection?


The first step in recreating this Bond look is to get a watch with suitable styling. In the best of all possible worlds, we'd simply saunter down to the nearest jeweler and pick of a Rolex Submariner.  Unfortunately, that's not something most of us can do.  Instead, you might look for an affordable watch that draws inspiration from the classic Rolex Submariner.

 Choosing a Cheap Bond-style Watch 

 

The Rolex Submariner look is the standard look for dive watches.  It is quite simply the epitome of a dive watch.  Lots of watch can recreate the style.  If you want a waterproof dive watch, I'd suggest starting with watch makers like Invicta.  However, if you just want to recreate the fashion, there are many timepieces that will fit the bill.

For less than $50, you can get this Fanmis diver-style watch. This watch features a rotatable bezel, sapphire glass crystal, and luminous hands. It has a 40 millimeter diameter stainless steel case and 20 mm band.
Fanmis Diver-style Watch

Choosing a James Bond-style Watch Strap


Of course, you'll need a suitable strap to go with your Bond watch.  The easiest choice would be to simply get a NATO strap.  But, 007 didn't actually wear a NATO strap in Goldfinger.  If you don't believe me, check out this explanation from the European watch strap retailer Esprit NATO.  This Barton Watch strap is the closest match I could find on Amazon.

Barton Watch Bands Ballistic Nylon Strap

You can get this James Bond-style strap here from Amazon at an amazingly affordable price.
 


Neither this watch nor this strap will transform you into James Bond. You'll have to become suave and debonair on your own. But, this watch and strap combination should successfully evoke the James Bond Goldfinger look for less than $50. Have fun and, for your own health, stay away from the unfiltered cigarettes.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Watch Sighting: Armitron Watch with Sub-dials at Walmart

Watches are one of the few fashion accessories men enjoy.  They are a practical means of self-expression.  They also convey a perception of social status.  Thus, when it comes to watches, a luxury look and feel can be just as important as practical function.  That's why this Armitron analog watch with tachymeter markings and sub-dials caught my eye on a recent stroll through Walmart.  It has the look of a luxury brand timepiece.


When I see an Armitron watch like this with a great look, nice features, and an affordable price tag, it really makes me wonder what the advantages of a more prestigious name brand would really be.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Watch Sighting: Caribbean Joe Analog Quartz Watch

Every once in awhile, I'll encounter a watch from Caribbean Joe Island Supply Company in stores like Ross, T.J. Maxx, or Marshalls.  They are always attractively packaged and evoke an island lifestyle.  On days, when I wish I lived on a little island hut, this brand looks like one that could take me there.


I recently saw this Caribbean Joe watch at a discount retailer in North Georgia.  It must have been a Ross or a Marshalls store.  While the store is a blur, this watch looked nice and almost enticed me to break my rule against non-functional sub-dials.  



When I looked further into Caribbean Joe watches on Amazon, I found that there are a wide variety and that they are very inexpensive.  The Caribbean Joe brand brings a casual island look that evokes the Hemingway era in a wristwatch.  With a low price point around $20, these watches are a real bargain.  It's kind of cool to find an interesting brand with a nice looking quartz watch and an attractive price.




Friday, April 26, 2019

Watch Review: Kenneth Cole Reaction Camouflage Watch

On a recent trip to a Ross discount store, this Kenneth Cole Reaction watch caught my eye.  It had a flat black case, a black leather strap, and a darkly camouflaged dial with blacked out numbers.  Readers of this blog know, I love stealthy commando-style watches.  Since this Kenneth Cole watch was priced at less than $50, I had to add it to my collection.


Kenneth Cole Reaction Watch on Amazon

Kenneth Cole Reaction Watch Design

This watch has a flat black case and genuine leather strap.  The case diameter is 49 millimeters.  It is 12 millimeters thick.  The Amazon specifications list this watch as having a 22 millimeter strap, but I found that mine was actually 24 millimeters.


Kenneth Cole Reaction Watch Construction


This watch feels pretty solid with an alloy metal case and stainless steel caseback.  However, macho looks aside, the Kenneth Cole Reaction is clearly a fashion watch.  It is only rated as water resistant to 30 meters.  That's enough water resistance for a little rain and hand washing, but not much more.

This is not really a tactical watch.  However, it isn't priced like one either.  The quartz movement is powered by a standard SR626W battery.  The camouflage paint job on the dial is well done, but a little dark.  

You can see the detail in bright sunlight, but it is very dark in lower light conditions.  I would have also opted for wider watch hands so that the time was a tad more readable at a glance.



By far, the weakest link in the design is the synthetic leather strap.  I found it to be a little short with my wrist barely fitting with the use of the last hole on the strap.  


With a very minor flex of the wrist to do something as mundane as picking up a television remote control, the strap failed.  It was almost the most ignominious end to a promising addition to my watch collection.  What if I had been fast-roping out of a helicopter or rappelling down from the ceiling of an art gallery?






Fortunately, I pressed on and replaced the failed strap with an inexpensive black nylon NATO watch strap.  In my opinion, the new strap greatly improved the look of this watch.  The new strap is more utilitarian and brings a more purposeful military or "tactical" look to the timepiece. 





Now that my Kenneth Cole Reaction watch is back in action, I can go back to my imaginary life as a cat burglar on the French Riviera.  This watch fills the "stealth watch" void in my collection perfectly without busting the budget.




 Overall Kenneth Cole Reaction Watch Review

Overall, I really like the look of the Kenneth Cole Reaction Camouflage Watch.  It does look cool.  However, I was disappointed in the durability and length of the original leather strap.

The NATO strap greatly improved the look of this wath and brought it back into my collection for about $10.  However, that is $10 I would rather spend on something else.

While I still enthusiastically wear this watch and love the stealthy looks.  However, I would give this watch a 3 out of 5 star review for the feeble faux leather watch strap.  It may still be a good value to add to your watch collection depending on the price.