Thursday, July 31, 2014

End of Yahoo Voices Era

Today marks the end of an era.  Yahoo Voices (also known as Yahoo Contributors Network) is shutting down for good.  Yahoo is generously allowing the rights to all of the articles there to revert back to their original authors.  Thus, all of my Yahoo watch reviews will be coming home to this blog. 

It also means that links from this blog to Yahoo will be dead.  I'll be working to remove those links from past blog entries or re-link them to full articles posted in this blog.  I suspect there will be some construction debris for a couple of months.  I apologize for any inconvenience.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wristwatch Review: Casio MRW200H Neo-Display Dive Watch

Reviewing an Inexpensive Classic from Casio

 [I originally published this review on Yahoo Contributors Network on March 22, 2014.  However, as Yahoo is shuttering their site on July 31st, the article is being republished here.]

If you plan to take a wristwatch in harm's way, there are two approaches you can take. You can buy a expensive armored watch or you can buy a super cheap watch that you don't mind getting damaged. One such disposable watch is the rugged Casio MRW200H Neo-Display Dive Watch. It's a very inexpensive watch, but it mimics much of the style and some of the functions of far more expensive timepieces. I was thrilled to pick up a diver-style watch for less than $20.

Watch Style. This Casio looks like an expensive dive watch. It has a black case, black dial, and a black resin strap. I got model MRW200H-4BV on which the watch hands are luminous and numbers are in contrasting orange. (This watch is also available in different variants with white, blue or green numbers or with luminous bubbles instead of numbers on the dial). This Casio has a rotating diver-style bezel with an inverted triangle marking 12 o'clock and the first 15 minutes marked at minute intervals and every five minutes with contrasting numbers. The dial has large numbers for 12 hour time and an inboard set of smaller numbers to provide 24-hour time. A day and date window take the 3 o'clock position. Multi-national forces may appreciate that the day is provided in Spanish, French, and English.

 Watch Functionality. My Casio MRW200H-4BV keeps time well and more than meets my expectations for a watch at this price point. For most daydreamers, this watch works quite well. However, if you have more demanding needs from a watch, you'll want to be aware of potential drawbacks with the MRW200H. First, the bezel is not uni-directional and it doesn't click with each turn. Scuba divers use rotating bezels to keep track of how much time they can spend under water. A uni-directional bezel can't be bumped to show that divers have more time available. It helps keep them from running out of air. Second, the watch is a little finicky to set. Finally, the crystal is definitely scratchable.

Watch Size. The Casio MRW200H-4BV is a nicely-sized watch with a 43 mm case diameter and 11 m case thickness. The strap appears to be robustly sized 22 millimeters near the watch, but tapers down to a far more modest width at the buckle. While the band is a bit flimsy, it is long with adjustments for any sized wrist. At only about 4 ounces, this Casio is extremely lightweight and comfortable.

Watch Construction. The Casio MRW200H-4BV has a black resin case and stainless steel caseback. The case bumps out slightly to protect the crown. While it is not a screwdown crown, this Casio does provide 100 meters of water resistance.

Price. I've seen this Casio at a wide variety of price points between $16 and $25. Walmart and Amazon have it for the lowest prices. I was able to pick it up from Walmart for just less than $19.

Overall. I really like this watch. The MRW200H series of Diver-Style watches are a good value for the money. They make a great "bang around watch" and cost less than $25.

These watches are a lot like potato chips, it's hard to stop with just one. A bang around watch from a name brand like Casio for less than $25 is always a great day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Classic Timex Expedition Metal Tech Watch

A couple of weeks ago, I was rooting about in a box of my older watches and found a Timex Expedition that my wife gave me a few years ago.  It had a shiny, well-finished case, and a classic, understated dial.  I had to replace the original leather straps a while back because it was just a tad too short.  Now, I have it on a cheap, nylon and Velcro band.  Amazingly, the watch is still ticking and I don't remember ever changing a battery.

At a department store, this Timex was over $50, but it is now available online for considerably less.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

ADNA: A New Watch Brand from Belgium

Can you imagine a watch with a silicone band and a high quality quartz movement?  It would be superbly comfortable and stylish!  Fortunately, Belgian watch designer Alain De Nys imagined just such a watch.  The new ADNA watch brand features interchangeable silicone straps and superbly readable dial and a high quality quartz movement from Japan.  The ADNA XXL line brings comfort, design, and functionality together in a timepiece that we can all afford!

If you've ever owned a watch with a silicone strap, you know that it is a really comfortable material to wear.  Plus, multiple colors are available.  If you are a traditionalist like me, you can stick with black or gray.  But, if you want to open up your options, you can buy a color like lime green, white, or orange.  If you buy more than one, you can swap the straps around.  These dive-style watches are water resistant to 3 atmospheres (98 feet) and are perfect for closing out the summer relaxing by the pool or kicking back at the beach.

The buying process is super easy.  There are plenty of ADNA XXL watches to choose from on Amazon. Plus, you can see most of the XXL collection right here:

For more information about the company and the collection, check out their European website:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Citizen Blue Angel Eco-Drive Watch

When it comes to respected middle class watch brands, Citizen has to be near the top of the pile.  They make high quality watches that incorporate the latest timekeeping technology.  The Citizen Men's Pro-Master Skyhawk Eco-Drive Watch is a serious aviation watch that incorporates atomic timekeeping for accuracy, local time for 43 cities, a 1/100 second chronograph, 2 alarms, 200 meter water resistance, and a slide rule bezel.

Citizen Pro-Master Skyhawk A-T

If you are ready for precision aerobatics, the popular series of Citizen Blue Angels watches are variants of the Skyhawk A-T that commemorate the famed U.S. Navy Blue Angels aerobatic flight demonstration team.  While it might be tough to read a watch while flying wingtip-to-wingtip in a formation of F-18 fighters, the Blue Angel watch has all the technical sophistication that any jet pilot would desire.

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Johnson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Blue Angels Skyhawk A-T watch brings all the best Citizen's technology to your wrist and connects you in a small way to a long line of distinguished pilots. The synthetic leather-band, this Citizens Blue Angels World A-T watch has blue and yellow accents that reinforce the connection to the famed flyers. It also keeps time for 26 world cities.

No matter which watch you choose, these are the kinds of timepieces that make any heart soar!

By U.S. Navy photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What Kind of Watch is Guy Fieri wearing?

Every time I watch an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with my wife, I notice that the host, Guy Fieri, is wearing some kind of bold looking watch.  Unfortunately, they flash across the screen so fast, I can never tell what kind of watch he is wearing.

By Mark Logico, U.S. Navy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 So, I went to the Guy Fieri fan page to learn  more.  They answered the question:

What kind of watch does Guy Fieri wear?
Serket Watch is one of his favorites, along with Doxa, Fender, Breitling, Rolex and Nixon. 

They even have a link to show Guy's favorite Doxa watch.  The guys on Watchuseek Forums have identified that he wears a Nixon 51-30, but there are many to choose from and that doesn't narrow it down much!  

This image from Amazon shows the Nixon 51-30.  The watch has a big 51mm diameter case and 100 meters of water resistance.  You can find that watch here on Amazon in many styles and colors.

Guy also wears the Serket Reef Diver from Serket watches.

Photo By Eric Liesse [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Panerai Luminor PAM01359 1950 Automatic Watch
On one watch forum, posters speculated that he may also wear an NFW Viperfish.  Another one of the commenters says that he wears a Panerai PAM 372.  My affiliate link shows a similar Panerai watch on Amazon.

We'll keep watching but may never really figure it out.  Oh well, there is always his book.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How to Take A Good Picture of Your Watch

Today's topic is taking "watchies."  When people take pictures of watches, some folks concentrate on getting every detail of the watch in sharp focus.  Those pictures are good for seeing all of the features of the watch.  But, I also think it is fun to take watch pictures with something interesting in the background.

Of course, some people will go to extreme lengths to take a good picture of a watch.  For example, this Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin guy went on a lunar mission just so that he could have his friend Neil take a picture of his Omega Speedmaster.  That seems a little extreme.  Plus, they took this watch photo at taxpayer expense.

Photo by Neil Armstrong (NASA):  Buzz Aldrin goes to extremes in order to show off his watch

However, the resulting photo is a little more interesting than the extreme detail of this Omega Speedmaster "Moonwatch" photo.  Unfortunately, this one has an unfortunate bit of glare off of the watch crystal.

Omega Speedmaster "Moon Watch" Photo by Rama (CeCIL License)

I like to take watch photos with something interesting in the background and with the watch dial well illuminated by sunlight.  In the coolest watch photos, the background supports the theme of the watch.  For example, this Timex Expedition has a classic military-style dial.  I was thrilled to be able to get a Arc de Triumph look-alike in the background.

Similarly, this Casio Forester looks best with a forest in the background.  The possibilities are endless.

Now, you can get your own Omega Speedmaster right here.  But, you have to figure out how to take it to the moon.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Men's Watches for Everyday Wear

Today, I am wearing one of my favorite everyday watches--a Timex Expedition.  It has an indigo backlighting system and a dial that is easy to read.   It has a sturdy two tone resin case and band. Even if I'm not going on an actual expedition, this Timex provides me with a sense of adventure and capability.